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Messages - jamawani

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1
General Discussion / Re: Best Time to Leave
« on: December 16, 2014, 03:31:42 am »
May is a better month for east to west - June is a better month for west to east.
I've been caught in a snowstorm in the Cascades with a June 1 departure.
And this year is already looking pretty snowy for the Cascades.

I'm guessing you are from somewhere without heavy snowfall.
It takes a while for all that winter snow to melt out.
Quite often, recreation sites in the West don't open until Memorial Day.
(Even later in some high altitude locations)

2
Howdy -

Well, I'm glad you're going to do something good for yourself when you get out of the army.
6 months is a long time - and you haven't indicated your aims or your experience.
From your other posts, it sounds like you have a few others interested.
But it also is a big trip - and some folks may not find it their cup of tea.

Your time frame for the loop you have posted is not the greatest - in some places just plain bad.
You've got yourself in the Northern Tier in late April/early May and it can still be pretty cold and wet.
Similarly, you have yourself in the Southwest desert during the hottest time of the year.
I'm sure you can survive it - but you've probably been "surviving" for the past year or so.
Not to mention that the Northern Rockies still have lots of snow in May/early June.

The route you have outlined works best with an early May start.
The time frame you have - March 15 to Sept 15 - works best if you start further West.
In fact, if this winter is rainy out in California - the deserts should be blooming in March/April.
Southern Tier/Route 66 to the Mississippi River then north and the loop to S.F. and Western Express.

It's hard to come up with a good loop starting in St. Augs in mid-March.
Either you go clockwise - i.e. west - and end up the wrong way on the Pacific Coast -
Or you get into chilly wet weather if you head north too soon.

Here's Prism's climate website with monthly temp and precip maps.
http://www.prism.oregonstate.edu/

PS - Nothing says you have to stick to ACA maps.
They are good - esp. at first - but no need to limit your possibilities once you get used to riding.

3
Routes / Re: US Route 83
« on: November 29, 2014, 03:42:43 pm »
I was biking north on Hwy 47 near Hoven in northern South Dakota - heading towards southern North Dakota.
There was a brutal north wind. I was huffing and puffing along in my granny gear.
When I stopped at a corner store to take a break and have a Coke, I told the woman there,
"Man, I'm beat - been heading north all day."
She responded, "Must be tough riding north since you're going uphill all the time."

Sad, but true.

4
Routes / Re: US Route 83
« on: November 29, 2014, 12:02:03 pm »
Looks like you are fairly new here -
And it looks like you pulled your quote from US83.com -
Which is, basically, a tourist promotional for communities along US 83.

US 83 is just a number -
If you are heading north to south or south to north in the Great Plains -
There are far, far better route options.
In fact, US 83 is one of the WORST choices if you are doing such a tour.

Why?
US 83 has far more traffic - and more through truck traffic - than nearby roads.
Although US 83 often has shoulders - where it doesn't is really dicey.

Take Nebraska, for example -
From North Platte to Valentine you can take US 83 or you can ride Hwy 97.
US 83 has 10X more traffic - Hwy 97 is practically empty.
Both route traverse the Sandhills region -
But on Hwy 97 you can be transported to another world.
On US 83, it's nice, but you have the steady whirr of traffic.

Nebraska Traffic Count Map -
http://www.transportation.nebraska.gov/maps/Statewide%20Traffic%20Flow%20Maps/2012-Statewide-Traffic-Flow-Map.pdf

Nebraska Bicycling Map -
http://www.transportation.nebraska.gov/docs/bicycle-guide-current-2.pdf

PS - Winds and heat are a big factor in the Great Plains.
In the mid Plains winds are almost always either southerly or northerly.
Southerly winds prevail in the summer - alternating spring and fall.
Biking against a 25mph headwind is brutal and nearly impossible.
In mid-summer - temperatures above 100F are not unusual - even in the Dakotas.
Shade is rare, water is dear, and towns are far apart.

5
General Discussion / Re: northern tier - how to start in bar harbor
« on: October 13, 2014, 12:18:01 pm »
It's not Canada - it's those Canadians.
They are a wild and crazy bunch.

6
Routes / Re: riding into Los Angeles from 395
« on: October 08, 2014, 12:22:25 am »
Ben -

You can continue on US 395 to Inyokern -
Then take Hwy 14 to Mojave -
At Mojave Hwy 14 becomes an expressway -
Take the Old Sierra Highway that parallels it.

It gets pretty urban in Lancaster and Palmdale, but doable.
Just south of Palmdale, take the Old Soledad Canyon Road to Santa Clarita.
For the most part, you avoid any major climbing over the San Gabriel Mtns.
Reconnect to the Old Sierra Hwy in Santa Clarita - most traffic is on the 14.
It squeezes you along I-5 into San Fernando.

From there you is on your own.

7
General Discussion / Re: northern tier - how to start in bar harbor
« on: October 07, 2014, 07:50:32 pm »
Go to crazyguyonabike - -
There are a couple of hundred diaries on the Northern Tier
Plus lots of forum discussion.

http://www.crazyguyonabike.com

May is generally early for northern New England.
Can be chilly, rainy, and dreary.

8
Bicycle Route 66 / Re: Welcome to Bicycle Route 66!
« on: October 04, 2014, 02:26:23 am »
BG -

As I have said many times before, a route that attempts to follow Historic Route 66 religiously will be very disappointing for cyclists. The two main reasons are 1) There are many places where I-40 or other interstates have been built over the old route with no parallel route - so you have to ride on the interstate. 2) Where there is a parallel road, it is often a service road to the interstate with all the noise and ugliness of the interstate - plus often a pretty lousy riding surface.

I have argued for a route that attempts to recreate the "feel" of Historic Route 66 in New Mexico and Arizona rather than the actual physical route. (Not to mention that the physical route changed many times.) This would involve, perhaps, riding from Abiquiu to Cuba to Crownpoint to Gallup, then riding via Window Rock and Second Mesa to Tuba City and the Grand Canyon.

9
Routes / Re: Western Express to Los Angeles
« on: September 22, 2014, 10:45:41 am »
US 6 used to go all the way to L.A.  Now it is truncated at Bishop, Calif.
Riding thru Vegas is tough - tougher recently that I-15 had major washout damage.

If you choose to go via US 6 - stay on the Western Express to Ely.
Then take US 6 via Tonopah to Bishop - - even more remote than US 50.
Then follow US 395 and/or side roads to Hwy 14 - runs along the eastern escarpment of the Sierras.

Hwy 14 has some expressway section with parallel service roads.
Then Soledad Pass Road to Santa Clarita.

<<<>>>

Or you can turn south at Tonopah and ride thru Death Valley - still hot.
Reconnecting to US 395 and Hwy 14.

<<<>>>

Or if you are in a hurry -
From Cortez, Colo - head west on McElmo Road to Bluff, Utah.
Then take US 163 thru Monument Valley - tough but very scenic.
Then US 160 to Tuba City and US 89 / Hwy 64 to Grand Canyon.
Continue on Hwy 64 to Williams - then you have to ride I-40 a few miles.
Get on to Old Route 66 thru Peach Springs to Kingman -
Then take Old Route 66 over the pass to Oatman and Needles.
Another short stretch of I-40 - then Old Route 66 via Amboy to Barstow.

These are the best preserved stretches of Old Route 66 - lots of roadside history.
BUT, BUT - - you need to be aware of temperatures and water in the Amboy stretch.
The Amboy Café is kinda reopened - you should be able to get water, but check first.

10
The TransAm route through Yellowstone is closed for construction for the remainder of this year and, likely, for a chunk of 2015 over Craig Pass from Old Faithful to West Thumb. It is possible to detour via Canyon and Bridge Bay - - which is 30 additional miles. (It's actually a pretty nice route.) This route will remain open until November 3 unless - and quite possibly - closed earlier due to snow.

I have biked in Yellowstone since 1987 and it has gotten increasingly bike unfriendly - while the administration always bewails the crush of cars. Meanwhile - the NPS has constructed a cloverleaf interchange at Old Faithful so the thousands of onlookers can zoom away as soon as the geyser erupts; there are 40-foot pull-thru parking places at all of the major attractions; 4 people in a car pay $25 - but 4 cyclists pay $12 each or $48.

I have follow park activities carefully- especially cycling related activities. I toured in the park in late July. Never did I see anything related to earlier closure of Craig Pass or alternatives for cyclists - online at the park website, posted at ACA (which would have been a nice thing for the NPS to do), or posted within the park itself.

After 25 years of bike touring, I have to say that the National Park Service is, fundamentally, aimed at automotive visitors with their ever larger RVs and need for auto services. After all, everything is political and car visitors vote - especially retired folks in RVs. Whatever the various superintendents at Yosemite, Grand Canyon, or Glacier say about traffic - they really don't mean it.

11
General Discussion / Re: Riding on the US Interstates
« on: August 30, 2014, 07:36:29 pm »
I live in central WA state and have ridden at least hundreds, perhaps thousands of miles on I-90 near my home.

But the I-90 bridge over the Columbia at Vantage is an example of what many people are talking about - a death trap. No shoulders, heavy traffic, high speeds and high winds at times.  Still waiting for the old railroad bridge at Beverly to be opened for cyclists - but will probably die first. Wouldn't it be nice to have a ferry from the old highway landings? Old Vantage Highway on the east side is stunning. I've hitch-hiked across major rivers about a half-dozen times. Have thought about doing so there.

It's tough to find a good place to cross the Columbia in central Washington - obviously Wenatchee is a good choice - and thus, I will often plan my route using the limiting points - river crossings & mountain passes.  Another possible crossing of the Columbia is at the Hanford Site east of Yakima - narrow but not that much traffic.

12
General Discussion / Re: Riding on the US Interstates
« on: August 26, 2014, 06:10:27 pm »
I have more than 100,000 miles of riding over the last 30 years
and I must disagree with you.

I am saddened by Joanna Abernethy's death.
She represented what is best about all of us.

But the answer is not riding on interstates.
Staehpj1 is right - many states permit interstate riding.
But it surely is not a pleasant experience -
The traffic, the fumes, the noise - all for a wide shoulder littered with stuff?

A cyclist was recently killed on a 4-lane highway in Colorado with wide shoulders.
The driver was intoxicated and drifted off the highway.

You are never going to have perfect roads and perfect drivers.
It would be nice if cycling routes had low traffic and good shoulders,
but highway departments put shoulders on busy roads, not empty ones.

I have been hit twice and have been lucky.
Both times were on city streets at fairly low speeds.
I prefer low traffic and scenic roads for the quality of the riding -
but I also feel they are safer.

Many times they are winding, low-speed, and not very direct.
People in a hurry will usually not be driving on these roads.
I also advise people to avoid cycling during peak times of holiday weekends -
when the likelihood of drunk drivers is greater.

Generally, I avoid night riding when on tour -
because even with a headlamp and rear flasher - I am less visible.
Drivers don't expect to encounter a cyclist on a rural highway in the middle of the night.

I don't have any pat answers for you -
Joanna's death is a tragic loss - yet one more cyclist.
And far too many cyclists have died.

With slim budgets and expanding costs,
I don't see highway departments building more cycling facilities.
Two things are helpful that don't cost much - -
First, the posting of "Share the Road" signs
which let people know that cyclists use the roads, too.
Second, a "3-Foot Passing Law" -
which, if enforced, means drivers give cyclists room on the road.

It's not much, but it's a start.

13
Routes / Re: Adventure Cycling Maps - Missing Routes ?
« on: August 22, 2014, 05:02:12 pm »
Nebraska.

14
Routes / Re: before I'm 70
« on: August 20, 2014, 09:51:07 am »
Hi High -

The appropriateness of a route can vary depending on your age, level of experience, and time of year.
I'm guessing that you are in your 60s, live in the East, and are planning on riding east to west.

I've ridden cross-country a half-dozen times - all on routes I planned - but have done most of the TransAm.
There's nothing wrong and much right about planning your own route - but not on Google, necessarily.

Early May can be chilly and wet in Upstate NY and western New England - it was this year for sure.
Large metro areas are, for the most part, tough to ride through - college towns have all cyclist services.
Once you get west of the Missouri, there are some major WTF sections - the problem with Google maps.
South Dakota - lots of remote dirt roads. Wyoming - dirt road west of Sheridan, nonexistent road in Yellowstone.

But the biggie - the biggie is in southern Idaho and northern Nevada where you are on two-tracks.
Now, if you have experience on remote BLM land with no water, no cell coverage, and no markings -
Then yes, you might be able to do it. Otherwise, it is classic Google crap.

The I-80 section in Nevada sucks - legal to ride Interstates in the West, but why?
Then it has you on remote dirt roads in the Carson Sink - brutal heat and sand - think Donner Party.
Finally, US 50 over the Sierras has heavy traffic and is a poor choice for cyclists.

<<<>>>

Nearly every state has county road maps and traffic count information on their websites.
Google is not your friend. Especially in the West where it is notoriously bad.
You can make your own route, but you will need to more footwork.

15
Routes / Re: Connector Advice: WE to Northern Tier
« on: August 15, 2014, 03:16:29 pm »
Scott -

Why did you take US 30 in eastern Nebraska?
The linked map above clearly shows it as red.
Sorry you had a tough time of it, but yeah, I know US 30 sucks.
The worse stretch, between North Bend and Fremont,
does have a parallel gravel road on the other side of the RR tracks -
the Old Lincoln Highway.

Crossing the Missouri River is tricky in the Nebraska/Iowa stretch.
The roads leading up to the Decatur bridge are pleasant, but the bridge is steel grate and narrow.
The US 30 bridge at Blair is great, but the road on the Iowa side sucks.
The new pedestrian bridge in Omaha is amazing, but getting to it thru Omaha is a total hassle.
The new Hwy 92 bridge is excellent with good approaches - still a lot of urban Omaha.
The Bellevue Bridge is ancient and narrow, but has a fabulous campground on the west side.
The Plattsmouth Bridge was redone and still narrow, but with low speed limit and good approaches
   (The new US 34 bridge to the north will make this bridge a backwater.)
The Hwy 2 bridge is wide and modern although Hwy 2 itself is too busy for my pleasure.

As with most things bike touring - there are always compromises that have to be made.

My vote? The Plattsmouth Bridge.


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