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Messages - jamawani

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General Discussion / Re: What to do with a bike box?
« on: August 29, 2016, 01:39:22 pm »
I cut my box down into a giant semi-circle on both sides - -
And went as a taco at a costume party at a Mexican restaurant.
I won the prize.

Classifieds / Re: FS: Set of 4 Red Arkel Panniers
« on: August 28, 2016, 09:22:11 pm »
I would be interested, please.
Would you pm me or email jamawani(at)gmail(dot)com

Routes / Re: Weather concerns for fall cross country?
« on: August 26, 2016, 01:51:48 pm »
Yikes - I must be showing my age -
"Allegheny Crossing" goes to GAP on Google -
But it is probably a term from 25 years ago.

Routes / Re: Weather concerns for fall cross country?
« on: August 26, 2016, 01:10:20 pm »
Mary -

My first cross-country trip was in the fall of 1987 - and I have done many more since then.
You don't mention a few important points:
1. When in the fall - and at what pace?
2. How much touring experience do you have?
3. How often do you plan to stay in motels - which may become more necessary towards the end?

There are excellent monthly temp/precip maps from Prism:

If you look at October highs and lows, you will see that the West cools much faster than the East.
For that and other reasons, I suggest a West to East routing.
I live in Wyoming and we have already had our first high country snows.
September is lovely, but variable, October can have full-scale blizzards.

Although summer winds tent to be only slightly favorable to eastbound riders, falls winds trend more northwesterly.
That means if you ride west, you will encounter more headwinds. Days of headwinds can be demoralizing.

If you do want to ride E-W, I would suggest heading southwest from Chicago - perhaps via Bike Route 66.
Northern New Mexico and Arizona will be more temperate - and you would end in L.A.

W-E you could do your route in the opposite direction - Starting with the Western Express.
The Western Express is stunning, but a tough ride for an inexperienced rider.

Another, easier, option for a W-E ride is starting in Oregon and riding diagonally.
I might suggest the Lewis & Clark to Missoula, Trans-Am into Wyoming -
Then across Nebraska and Iowa to Chicago.


For any of these rides, I would start as early in September as possible - and it is late August now.
It will probably take, at least, 70 days - putting you on the west coast in early/mid November.
And remember - the days get shorter pretty fast. By November you don't have much riding time.

If you are heading out of DC to get to the west coast - i.e. as transportation -
I would suggest the C&O Trail and ACA to Pittsburgh -
Then you can take the Old Lincoln Highway across Ohio and Indiana.
Unless you need to go into the city, I would take rail trails from Hobart to Joliet.
Then you can ride Bike Route 66 all the way to Barstow California.
If you want to ride up to the Bay Area - I would do Walker Pass on Hwy 178, not Tehachapi.
Then you can ride up the Central Valley either in the Sierra Foothills, the Valley, or the Coast.

Food Talk / Re: to cook or not to cook?
« on: August 18, 2016, 05:39:12 pm »
I have 30 years touring experience - trips as long as 5000 miles.
When I ride with others I cook - when I ride solo I do not.

You hit on two important concerns - the extra stuff to carry and the time.
When you are with others you can share the weight and the cooking is social.

I find that I am perfectly okay eating sandwiches - and I like PB&J anyhoo.
Plus, a meal a day at a cafe keeps me from becoming a recluse.
Local cafes for b'fast or Subways for lunch, rarely dinner.

It costs more to solo tour - esp. camping fees, motels.
I consider the extra food cost part of solo touring, as well.

Routes / Re: Cycling from Utah to ACA HQ
« on: August 17, 2016, 09:28:14 am »
CS -

You don't offer much info on what you want to do or how you tour.
Are you willing to do some dirt or do you need all pavement?
(That is more applicable in the west than the east - but it may impact route choice.)
Also, will you be camping or do you need motels every night or a mix?
(Again, in the west it can be tricky getting motels in remote locations.)
Also, how direct of a route do you want? How much time do you have and what is your daily mileage?
Are you thinking about wandering via Yellowstone or do you want a straight shot?

Thinking backwards from Missoula:

The ACA TransAm Route links Lost Trail Pass on the Idaho border to Missoula.
If you look at an Idaho map you will see three diagonal roads south of Lost Trail Pass.
Hwy 28, County roads from May to Howe, & US 93.  All of them are fairly remote.

US 93 is shortest, but has no services for miles and is narrow with moderate traffic in places.
The country roads include dirt stretches and are extremely remote - only for experienced tourers.
Hwy 28 has low traffic and country stores at crossroad hamlets. And is very scenic.

But there is a "But" - Why is there always a "But"?
Connecting from the south is way easier via US 93 than Hwy 28.
The US 93 connector is via US 26 from Arco to Blackfoot.
Taber Road, thru the almost ghost town of Atomic City, is almost carless with varying pavement.
The Hwy 28 connector is via county roads from Hwy 33 to Idaho Falls, US 91.
This entails busier roads with a good deal of local traffic.

Yet another possibility is to combine the best of both - -
Hwy 28 from Salmon to Hwy 22 then south on Hwy 22 thru Howe to US 26.
A bad fire a few years ago destroyed what was left of local businesses in Howe.

From Blackfoot you might take US 91 and Hi-Line Road to Pocatello -
Then follow Old Hwy 91 to Virginia and Westside Road to Dayton and Weston.
(Remember - - I am going backwards from Missoula south.)
This gets you to the Utah border near Logan.

Here is the link to Idaho DOT traffic counts:
(Click on the traffic count location for multi-year data.)
Under 1000 - good; Under 500 - Super
1000-2000 - okay; Over 2000 - Tricky without a shoulder
Over 4000 - Dangerous without shoulder

General Discussion / Re: Finishing ride in NYC, looking for a route
« on: August 11, 2016, 11:08:18 pm »
Yes - Google the Henry Hudson bike trail in northern New Jersey.
It leads out to Highlands which is a bridge away from the Atlantic.
Then, just north of the bridge is the Sandy Hook Recreation Area.
There is relatively inexpensive ($30 for NYC area) camping - walk-in only.
Reservations are available if you know your dates for sure.
Same day is possible on early weekdays.

Thren you can take the SeaStreak ferry directly to Manhattan from Highlands.
Or you can backtrack and catch NJ Transit to Newark airport or Manhattan.

Routes / Re: Wintertime Pacific coast OR Sierra C?
« on: July 04, 2016, 05:14:45 pm »

Are you timing this trip correctly?
Most people who live in Oregon and N. Cal would answer your question, "Neither."

If you are actually arriving on the U.S. border in November -
Many sections of the Sierra Cascades will be closed by snow.
The Pacific Coast route will be extremely wet - especially in Wash. & Oregon -
Plus, the prevailing wind becomes southwest - i.e. headwinds.
Nothing like a soaking wet ride at 46F (8C) with headwinds to make you happy.

November is chilly with some early snow, but pretty dry overall in the High Plains.
There are no satisfactory November routes - the the High Plains are probably best.
Plus - - the days are extremely short.

You should plan to start the Dalton Hwy in June - not September.

Routes / Re: Mountain Home, Idaho to Bend and TransAmerica?????
« on: June 28, 2016, 07:48:02 am »
1) The Oregon Part -
In Oregon you have two choices - US 20 or US 26
a) Taking US 26 you connect up with the TransAm at Austin Junction.
There are stores at Willowcreek, Unity, and Austine Jct, and water at Brogan Park.
The is also a huge climb west of Brogan.
Pleasant, scenic, very light traffic.
b) Taking US 20 is more direct, but less scenic - esp. west of Burns.
You have three moderate passes between Vale and Burns - and a long downhill into Bend.
There are services at Juntura, Drewsey, Burns, Riley, and Brothers.
There is also a wonderful natural spring on the side of the road between Vale and Juntura.
The eastern section following the Malheur River is scenic - the western section, blah.
Only light to moderate traffic until you get near Bend.
I've done both -  prefer A.

2) The Idaho Part -
Two choices also, I-84 and service roads to Ontario or Highway 78 thru Grand View and Murphy.
a) The interstate section is doable and safe on the shoulder, but with the constant roar of traffic.
There are paved service roads for part of the way to Boise, but you have to get on I-84 for much of it.
There is a lovely bike trail system in Boise along the river and then busy streets to Nampa.
Then you can get onto US 26 into Oregon.
b) Some good friends did the Hwy 78 route and like it - but it can be very hot.
From Mountain Home head southwest on Hwy 67/167 to Grand View - not Grand, no View.
There are very limited services along this route - in Grand View, Murphy, and Givens Hot Springs.
At Marsing you can connect with Hwy 55, US 95, Hwy 19, and OR Hwy 201.
This route has very little traffic except Hwy 67 to the base and Hwy 55/US 95.
If the weather is not too hot, I would do B.

Best of luck.
I did

Connecting ACA Routes / Re: Walden, CO to Boulder, CO
« on: June 26, 2016, 10:37:26 am »
Highway 14 through the Poudre River Canyon has the least traffic of the trans-mountain routes and is spectacular.
You do have to thread your way down the Front Range - but much of it can be trails or wide shouldered roads - as John says above.

If you take Highway 14, you can also access the Never Summer Mountains via the Michigan Ditch Service Road just west of Cameron Pass.
(Although dirt, since it follows an irrigation canal, it is nearly level.)
Stunning country and a fraction of the numbers at Rocky Mountain N.P.

Routes / Re: Northern Tier - N. Dakota
« on: June 25, 2016, 02:08:52 pm »
I think Highway 200 is a much nicer crossing of North Dakota.

From Sidney, Montana, you can take Hwy 23/68 to a back entrance of Theodore Roosevelt N.P.
(It involves about 8 miles of unpaved riding)
Then US 85/ Hwy 200 south which has much less traffic because of the drop in oil & gas development and with shoulders.
Then Hwy 200 straight east across the state. This road has fairly low traffic counts and county seats and services scattered along the way.
(The Hwy 1806 option above Halliday is quieter, still.)
It also traverses two of the finest historic/park locations in North Dakota - TRNP and the Mandan-Hidatsa villages.
I believe the latter to be one of the most important sites in the northern Great Plains.
There's Knife River NHS with visible lodge rings and a recreated earth lodge -
And there is the Fort Mandan site near Washburn.

Here's the ND DOT 2014 Traffic Count Map -

Note - Oil & gas traffic in western ND has dropped by about half.

General Discussion / Re: Getting the bike to Banff for the GDR?
« on: June 12, 2016, 04:38:20 pm »
My vote - - German Democratic Republic

Tell your partner that touring is not safe. But then, nothing in life truly is.
In the long run, touring is safer than sitting on a sofa watching reruns of Mad Men.

There are ways to reduce your risk considerably -
With online resources, you can ride low-traffic roads as much as possible.
You can avoid those times of the day - rush hours -
and of the week - weekend party-time - that are riskier.

Camping is a pleasant component of touring - for most, not all, people.
Camping gives you more stopping options - especially in remote areas of the West.
In some national parks, you have to have reservations months, if not years, in advance.

Some campgrounds look like Walmart parking lots - but others are magical.
Don't know where you live - but is there a nearby park with hiker/biker or walk-in sites?
These take a little more effort, but are more often the picture-book experiences that many imagine camping to be.
Try a nearby single-night car camp so that extra stuff is close at hand.
Then perhaps a weekend by bicycle.

It could be that she is just not the camping type -
And age sometimes has something to do with it for some unknown reason.
(Not that there is any correlation between stiff joints, hard ground, and age - of course.)

Hope all goes well.  -  J

General Discussion / Re: How to figure average miles per day
« on: May 23, 2016, 08:42:51 am »
Lie - - lie outrageously.
For people who don't cycle there is no difference between 2 miles and 200.

General Discussion / Re: Aggressive Drivers During Transamerica?
« on: May 21, 2016, 11:11:54 pm »
Awol -

I see that you are new here - and thank you for posting about your own experiences and concerns.
I have been serious cycling -  commuting and touring - since my teens.
Since I am pushing 60, I can easily say I have 100,000 miles - at least 2/3s touring.

I have been hit by a car, sideswiped, has stuff thrown at me, and obscenities yelled.
It is part of who we are as a nation - and especially, to be viewed as "different".
To say that there are no risks would be absurd. But the risks are relatively small and outweighed by the benefits.

I was hit in my college years by a brand new driver - who wedged herself in a phone booth and was hysterical.
I went to the hospital for stitches and observation, but I think it took longer to get her out of the phone booth.
I have had stuff thrown at me - macho guys seem to like to toss soft drinks - ha-ha, so funny.
And I have been known to shout back at people yelling obscenities. (Which is not so smart)

There are ways to reduce the risk.
Fact is, it is more dangerous for a woman solo than a man - that is a reality of 2016 America.
My grad school roommate was in a relationship with a white guy and riding thru Tennessee -
Some rednecks slowed down beside and yelled, "Hey, n----- girl, your white boyfriend is way behind you."

And there are times in the week or holidays where it is best to quit early.
Depending on where you are riding - Fri & Sat late afternoon and evening may not be a good time.
And big drinking holidays - July 4th or Labor Day - can have lots of drunks on the road.

I may elicit some serious push-back on this one, but I have lots of touring miles all over the U.S. and Canada.
Not only are there more dogs in the South, I believe that the South is less tolerant of touring cyclists.
Outside of college towns, the South is more firmly wedded to the altar of the automobile.
Rail trails, wide shoulders, hiker/biker camping - tend to be found in the North and West Coast.
As is an attitude of tolerance towards people doing things - like bike touring - that some might never consider.

I know you mention the TransAm - which has lots of miles in Virginia, Kentucky, and Missouri.
(Southern Illinois and eastern Kansas have a pretty Southern feel, too.)
If you stay on  the TransAm, there will be more cycling support - regardless of region.
And you will encounter other cyclists almost every day.

Other touring cyclists are rarer on other routes - rarer still if you craft your own route.
There is a trade-off, however.
On the TransAm you will be two of a parade that has been going on for 30 years.
If you chose to craft even a portion of your own route, you are likely to have a different experience.
It would be the latter case where region plays a greater role in overall comfort.


Obviously, I would not be posting here after 100,000 miles if I didn't think it was worth it.
In fact, I will be heading out on a 3000+ mile trip in two weeks.
Yes, there is some risk, but the rewards so outweigh any risks.
Physically, mentally, spiritually - you will never be the same.

US 6, Stone Cabin Valley, Nevada

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