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Messages - staehpj1

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Routes / Re: Getting bikes to Canada from California
« on: April 23, 2015, 06:59:10 am »
We don't have the money to fly so I was wondering if anyone knows of a bus that goes up that far or if you can take a train with a tandem.
Are you sure the train is actually cheaper?  I have often found flying to be cheaper, so don't rule it out without checking.  Be sure to check on the airlines bike in baggage policies though as they vary widely in price.  I try to fly Southwest for their more reasonable baggage and bicycle policies, buy they don't fly to Vancouver.

Shipping the bike using something like might work for you with whatever mode of transit you use to get there.

Routes / Re: Idaho Hot Springs Loop 2015
« on: April 10, 2015, 02:23:52 pm »
I suggest you call the national forests listed on the main route map in the USING THIS MAP text. They will be able to give you a good idea of snowpack. It sounds a bit early to me but some parts of the northwest have had a mild winter.

The National Forest guys there are super helpful so definitely ask them.  If it is open all the way in May or even the first week of June that would be super early.  Also they still may get more snow between now and then.

A good resource is:;jsessionid=wF0KxWzI-yh7BX82aXLsVvgA?report=Idaho&format=SNOTEL+Snowpack+Update+Report

General Discussion / Re: Hello newb here looking for advice
« on: April 09, 2015, 08:19:49 am »
Just me, but I would consider either going later in the season when it will be cooler for that last leg or not doing it as a loop if the heat will be too bad.  If timing the trip to finish in the Fall wasn't an option I would probably fly or take the train from San Francisco or San Diego back to SLC.  I really hate hot weather though.

Abandoning the loop requirement could maybe open up some other possibilities.  Something to consider anyway.

On the 100 mile per day goal...  Most of the folks I met who planned to average 100 mpd wound up doing a good bit less; most of them more like 80 mpd.  Ideally I'd suggest allowing enough time for a slower pace and taking it as it comes pace wise.  Alternately being flexible on the end point works too.  That way you can do 100 mpd if you want but you have plenty of flexibility built in to the plan for a slower pace if that winds up making sense.  A rigid schedule can really suck a lot of the joy out of a tour.

What ever you decide, have a great trip.  It sounds like you will be travelling through some beautiful country.

General Discussion / Re: Hello newb here looking for advice
« on: April 08, 2015, 07:01:53 am »
One suggestion I am able to offer is, if indeed west coast is the route, to consider north to south. There are a number of reasons for this suggestion, with one being the pacific coast route tends to have much better shoulders when travelling north to south.
Also the winds are generally more favorable on the coast going N-S, and the winds can really kick up on the coast.  I would strongly suggest getting to the northern end of the coast via an inland route and then riding South on the PCH. 

jmsbrlw, you really don't give us enough info to estimate your time needed.  The length of the route you mention could vary pretty widely and we know nothing about your personal pace.  A lot of folks fall into the 50-60 miles per day range, but 20 miles per day above or below that isn't that unusual.

Costs can vary widely depending on your choices.  I find that camping most of the way I manage on $15-20 per day depending where I am and how frugal I am.  I know of folks who get by on half that and others who spend 4-5 times as much.

On much of the inland portion of the route, I'd camp for free in plain sight most of the time and on the coast there are cheap hiker biker sites in Oregon and California.  So the actual camping part can be pretty cheap.  Camping in small town parks or picnic areas and other impromptu sites when possible and using hiker bikers sites when I can, I have averaged less than $5 per day for camping on longish tours in the West or across the US.  On the other hand campgrounds can cost $20-30 in some places if you use them.

Food and drink is tough to call because it will depend on your choices.  Both sport drinks and alcoholic beverages can raise costs a lot.  Food will vary widely depending on whether you are eating ramen noodles and oatmeal or steaks in restaurants.  I find that I can eat and drink on $15 pretty easily while eating some diner meals, cooking at least one meal a day, and getting stuff like $5 footlongs at Subway when available.

Routes / Re: Pacific Coast Route
« on: March 26, 2015, 07:56:37 am »
North to South is generally highly recommended.  If you go the other way I'd recommend starting early to get as many miles in before the wind kicks up as you can.

General Discussion / Re: Charging iphone for maps while touring
« on: March 26, 2015, 07:54:06 am »
I have cut back on the electronic devices I carry and now it is usually just the smart phone.  I leave it turned off most of the time nd generally tend to minimize usage.  Mine takes spare batteries that are about an ounce and are fairly inexpensive.  I also own one of the smallish power wallets which I may or may not take depending on the trip.

I tend to eat at least one meal a day in some kind of diner or restaurant so charging is typically available much more often than I need it.  If you don't you still might consider buying a beverage and sitting in a fast food place nursing the beverage while you use their wifi and charge batteries.

If going out into the backcountry I get by without charging by taking the spare batteries, the power wallet and conserving on usage.  I really don't think I personally will resort to a dynohub or solar panels for any tour I am likely to do.  The weight, drag, and expense of a dynohub (or solar panel) seem like enough downside for me to not even consider them.

Routes / Re: Need additional Rider or Riders ASAP.
« on: March 25, 2015, 07:50:33 pm »
Kind of an off the wall suggestion maybe, but could you possibly do the Pacific Coast or the Trans America instead.  On the Pacific Coast in Oregon and California, you can camp in hiker biker sites most of the time.  You will almost certainly fall in with a group that you can camp with and maybe ride with.  I was with a large-ish group most nights in camp and we typically planned where to stop the next day.  I probably could have ridden with others every day, but didn't choose to.

Those routes are popular enough that you might be more likely to find someone to officially join your group.

Routes / Re: Need additional Rider or Riders ASAP.
« on: March 24, 2015, 05:29:56 am »
I am curious as to why you "must" have 3 people to go?  I did it solo and many more cyclists do it solo or with just 1 other person than with 2+ persons.
That made me wonder as well.  I always figured one was a good minimum number to go :)

I can think of two reasons why three might be his minimum.  One is that they want to split expenses three ways.  Given that this tends to be a route with expensive camping, that could be a good reason.  The other reason that comes to mind would be if it was a guided trip that had a minumum.

Lars,  I hope you get to go and have a great trip.

General Discussion / Re: Here we go!
« on: March 20, 2015, 03:12:16 am »
Have a great trip!

Routes / Re: Starting Transam in Yorktown, nearest train station?
« on: March 18, 2015, 10:33:25 am »
Not into doubling back.
I can relate to that.  I avoid doubling back like the plague once underway, but the logistics of getting to a tour are a different matter IMO.

BTW, one thing you might consider is whether you really want to start in the East.  If you will be using air travel between the west coast and home, I find it is easier to get the flying out of the way up front.  It is easy to buy a ticket for a specific date when you know the exact date for sure.  It is much harder to know when you will finish than to know when you will start a trip.  Amtrak is much easier to deal with for changing a departure time/date.

We found the Appalachians to be the hardest part of the trip and were happy to save them for the end when we were well road hardened.

With regard to weather, what date you want to start will also play into direction of travel.  An early start favors starting in the east.  June or later favors starting in the west.

Routes / Re: Starting Transam in Yorktown, nearest train station?
« on: March 18, 2015, 09:37:31 am »
No offence intended, but isn't a bit odd to worry about 12 miles in getting to the start of a 4200+ mile tour.  It seems like it would be a pretty rare case to have a train or plane get even that close to the start of a coast to coast route.

My suggestion is to do one of the following:
  • Start your ride from the train station in Williamsburg and skip Yorktown.
  • Start your ride at the train station in Williamsburg and ride to Yorktown before doubling back through Williamsburg.
  • Use the bus to get to Yorktown from Williamsburg.  Double check, but it looks like there is an hourly bus with bike racks.  Given the short distance I'd probably just ride my bike though.
  • Figure out a way to actually start at the ocean.  That would probably mean using the Newport News station. plus some other form of public transportation or a ride to the coast.

That is really early in the season.  I know it has been a light snow year, but you are still fairly likely to get snowed on.  On the other hand you will probably beat the heat which can be horrible on the southern portion of this route sometimes.  We went later in the year for the southern half and had temperatures below freezing and over 110 F.

I have my doubts about doing this route without camping.  It is a very difficult route with a tremendous amount of climbing and if memory serves sometimes accommodations were pretty widely spaced.  I myself would not do it without camping, but that is me.  You may be able to make it work.

Tioga Pass would usually not be open yet but they are predicting April 15th this year.

BTW, South to North is fine.  Advice about going N-S are usually referring to the coast.

Is flying or taking a train to Portland and riding back to Banning an option?  That would allow a later start and you could either ride the SC route or the coast.

Excuse me if I am wrong, but...  John touched on this but I am not sure it is clear to you what AC maps are.  They are not maps of an area, but rather strip maps of a specific route.  There isn't much shown that isn't very close to the specific route.  They are not very useful unless you want to mostly follow the specific AC route.

I really like AC maps.  They have a wealth of text info and lots of info about the area including a pretty complete list of services along the route.  On most trips I also pick up the (usually free) state road maps for states as I enter them.   That way I have maps of a wider area if I want to wander from the route.

Routes / Re: Going out West -- Bike Route Recommendation
« on: March 09, 2015, 11:13:49 am »
Does "after  graduation" mean a May-June start?  How much time do you have?  How set on that general route are you?  Timing can be tricky, but I'd try to avoid:
  • The heat of the southern route which that late in the season can be pretty unpleasant.
  • The headwinds of riding North up the coast are probably not something you want to deal with.  I'd think about arriving in Oregon first and heading down the coast.  That might mean riding North early in the trip.
  • Hitting mountain passes before they are open can be an issue.  It has been a light snow year for a lot of the country so some passes may open extra early, but I would check and keep an eye on conditions for the places you will cross the Rockies
Don't rule out starting somewhere other than home (assuming Austin is home).  Hopping on a plane or train may open lots of better options.  If you have interest in it, that could allow going coast to coast for not all that much more mileage.  If you are willing to ride in crazy hot conditions you could start in Oregon and ride home to Austin.  Personally I'd only consider the Southern Tier Late Fall through early to mid Spring though.

Routes / Re: New Rt 66 tour anyone ?
« on: February 27, 2015, 03:32:43 pm »
I don't have current plans, but am intrigued by it.

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