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Messages - BobG

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Routes / Re: MAPS/ GUIDES WANTED: Netherlands, Belgium, France
« on: March 12, 2015, 04:07:45 pm »
For planning purposes you can look at Michelin maps online and scroll up to any level of detail you need. In France you can buy the local paper versions when you get there at any bookstore, "presse" or "tabac" shop. Not sure about the Netherlands and Belgium. If you use the bike routes option you need to limit your route to 200K per search for that function to work.

General Discussion / Re: Washington, D.C. To Portland Maine.
« on: February 15, 2015, 01:27:40 pm »
I had a bike shop box it up. They didn't have a shipping contract so I took it to a UPS store. I returned my rental car back to Reagan after a week of visiting family around VA and flew back to Boston. I took the bus from there back to NH.

General Discussion / Re: Washington, D.C. To Portland Maine.
« on: February 15, 2015, 11:24:11 am »
697 miles, 13 full cycling days plus the last short morning to the airport to pick up a rental car. As you can see, aside from Day 1 my mileages were fairly moderate.  That comes to an average of 54 miles/day not counting the last  25.

My route in NW CT crosses the ACA route at Riverton or you can just stay on it in Poughkeepsie. If you have the ACA map and you want to play around with it, compare my mileage north from there with the ACA mileage east and north to the Portland area. If you take my route north connecting to the Northern Tier, add about 60 miles for a direct (non ACA) cycling route to Portland from Conway NH.

Conway to Portland-

Jackson NH
Orford NH- Pastures CG                                         85 
Ascutney VT- Wilgus State Park                             42
Putney VT -KOA                                                     38
Westhampton MA- KOA                                         58
Bantam Lake CT- White Memorial CG (2 nights)    63
Highland NY- Super 8                                             55
Goddefroy NY- KOA                                               48
Delaware Water Gap NJ- Worthington SF               45
Quakertown PA- Red Barn CG                                56
Geigertown PA- French Creek SP                           42
Marietta PA- Blue Note Motel                                 65
Westminster MD- Day's Inn                                   50
Swain's Lock MD- C&O bike camp                          50
Reagan Airport                                                       25

I never use warm showers. I don't like to reserve ahead nor do I like to be a polite house guest after a day of travel. Lots of folks enjoy the service though.

General Discussion / Re: Washington, D.C. To Portland Maine.
« on: February 14, 2015, 06:59:44 am »
Here's more details of my route from Jackson NH to DC.......

Jackson to Orford                          ACA Northern Tier
Orford to Putney                  
Putney to Westhampton      
Westhampton to Bantam Lake*
Bantam Lake to Highland     
Highland to Riegelsville                  ACA Atlantic Coast
Riegelsville to Quakertown   
Quakertown to French Creek
French Creek to Marietta               ACA Atlantic Coast

* W Hartland Rd in SW MA is dirt

General Discussion / Re: Washington, D.C. To Portland Maine.
« on: February 13, 2015, 11:07:55 am »
I left Jackson and headed west across Bear Notch, Kancamagus Pass and Kinsman Notch for a long day finishing at Orford NH on the CT River. Most of that is a section of the ACA Northern Tier. I followed the CT river on south through VT and MA and into the hilly NW corner of CT to near Litchfield. From there west to Poughkeepsie where I picked up the ACA route. I stayed on that route until Rieglesville NJ/PA where I took a more direct alternate to French Creek SP, then returning to the ACA route. After the bridge at Columbia I diverted to my route in MD.

The ACA route across MA is probably more direct to Portland. Their route through MD is also likely more direct than mine but if you study the cue sheet on the ACA map you'll see that the twists and turns are just endless.

Lodging on my trip was very pricey for a solo traveller. The only cheap camping was at Orford, Bantam Lake and the C&O. Every where else was $25+ as well as the three motels. The Blue Note at Marietta was only $40 or so and despite it's name it was very clean.

Jackson NH
Orford NH- Pastures CG
Ascutney VT- Wilgus State Park
Putney VT -KOA
Westhampton MA- KOA
Bantam Lake CT- White Memorial CG (2 nights)
Highland NY- Super 8
Goddefroy NY- KOA
Delaware Water Gap NJ- Worthington SF
Quakertown PA- Red Barn CG
Geigertown PA- French Creek SP
Marietta PA- Blue Note Motel
Westminster MD- Day's Inn
Swain's Lock MD- C&O bike camp

General Discussion / Re: Washington, D.C. To Portland Maine.
« on: February 12, 2015, 11:06:59 pm »
Here's an alternate route through MD to PA that I've used several times. It's not as complicated as the ACA route and stays further away from the Baltimore and northern DC suburbs.

Follow the C&O canal tow path as far as Swain's Lock. There's some traffic to deal with around Gaithersburg and Germantown but you will find a bikeway on the north side of MD 119. Once you get to MD 27 beyond Germantown it's a straight shot all the way to Damascus, Westminster and Manchester then secondary roads to the PA line.  MD 27 has some traffic but it is a designated bike route, with a shoulder most of the time and occasional bike lane markings. A MD or PA state map shows the roads more clearly from Glen Rock to Red Lion PA. Google takes some unnecessary squiggles. When you get to the Susquehanna River you'll connect with the ACA Atlantic Coast Route.

Not much camping opportunity on this route in MD. Southbound 2 years ago I stayed at a motel in Marietta PA, Westminster MD and the C&O bike camp at Swain's Lock.

I live about 75 miles NW of Portland in NH. The trip to DC took me 2 weeks last time including one rest day. My route went west to the CT River Valley then south through VT, MA and CT. I didn't pick up the ACA route until Poughkeepsie and I left it once in PA and again in MD.

better PA detail-

General Discussion / Re: Question About Minimum Stay Requirements
« on: February 09, 2015, 03:43:54 pm »
Vermont State Parks do have minimum stays but fortunately they do not apply to bike travellers. From their brochure.......

Minimum Reservation Periods
All parks have minimum reservation periods.  If you are making your reservation prior to March 1st of the current camping season, the minimum reservation period is 4 nights at most parks. If you are making your reservation after 9:00 am, March 1st, (or 9:00 am the first business day following March 1st if March 1st falls on a weekend) the minimum number of nights drops down to two nights.

A complete listing of minimum reservation nights can be found on our fee schedule.
Bicyclists and paddlers who are arriving at the park under their own power may make 1-night reservations, through the park or the reservation call center.

Routes / Re: I90 into Missoula
« on: December 22, 2014, 05:36:50 pm »
I rode your proposed route west over Lemhi Pass on a trip back in 1983. The climb was rocky and rough but well worth it for the long, glorious descent into Idaho. Here's some pics of conditions back then.........

A rocky double track up the eastern side from Grant MT-

A cattle guard at the top-

A heavenly descent through the sagebrush into Idaho!

Enjoy your trip!

General Discussion / Re: Best Time to Leave
« on: December 16, 2014, 01:57:30 pm »
As noted above by staehpj1, even traveling East to West it's possible to be too early to ride McKenzie Pass. It was still closed on July 31, 2009 when our Westbound ACA TransAm group came through. We had to ride Santiam Pass. In 1999 McKenzie Pass was open for bikes only in late July. Still closed to cars, we got to ride it traffic free!

General Discussion / Re: Cardboard Box for Bike as Checked Baggage
« on: June 15, 2014, 02:28:25 pm »
The last time I did so was at Eugene 5 years ago with Alaska Air. The current United website says the following-

"The following items are available for sale at most United Airlines airport ticket counters:"
"Bicycle box   69 in.   8.5 in.   33.5 in.   $25.00"

Not sure if they'd sell to a customer of a different airline, but at $25 it must be a money maker and worth a try if your airline doesn't have a box.

In the past I've always found boxes or bags at Boston's Logan, Montreal's Mirabelle and Dorval, Calgary, Geneva, Paris' DeGaulle, Washington's Dulles, Bozeman MT, Missoula MT, Helena MT, Portland OR, Portland ME, Denver, LAX and Christchurch NZ. Not sure if the availability is still as widespread as some of those flights were 25 years ago on various airlines. None ever on WestJet so it would be wise for the OP to check in advance.

I've also used UPS for returns trips recently but after paying $170 last year from VA to NH because my box was 2" longer than a previous shipment + $50 to a bike shop for prep..... I may go back looking for $50 airline deals! The only time I flew SW was from St. Louis-Manchester NH without the bike.

PS Enjoy your Idaho trip! I'll be following your Crazy Guy journal.

General Discussion / Re: Cardboard Box for Bike as Checked Baggage
« on: June 15, 2014, 08:26:07 am »
it is nice to not have to deal with getting a huge box to the airport

But if the airline box is indeed available at check in* (maybe, maybe not), you never have to lug it around. Your loaded bike serves as a luggage cart all the way to baggage check at which point the airline takes it off your hands. The only time I prefer to prepackage a bike for flight is if I'm arriving at the airport by bus or train where it is already required.

I've always felt more comfortable with the BIG box as the assembled parts are in place to protect the frame. Wheels are installed to prevent dropouts from crushing, and will absorb impact from below just as they do on the road. Racks can usually be left on which protects the frame from the sides. I can never fit the front wheel into the smaller shop size box like the guy in the factory does with such robot like precision! I'm always afraid it will get crushed from the side into the frame.

*Brian, sometimes it's hard to get a phone call through to a local airline desk. If you live near your departing airport you may want to stop by and check availability and rules before the day of your flight.

General Discussion / Re: Cardboard Box for Bike as Checked Baggage
« on: June 15, 2014, 07:13:57 am »
I believe that airlines supplied boxes are identical to the Amtrak boxes. United says their bike boxes are 69"x8.5"x33.5"= 111 linear inches......

Westjet says to just remove pedals and turn bars to pack a bike which would require this big of a box. That does conflict with their 80" restriction for oversize. I suspect a phone call to them would clarify the question and availability of the box.

I boarded Alaska Air at Eugene OR in 2009 and they had the big boxes on hand then at the ticket counter. Conveniently their $50 bike fee carried over to Delta which I transferred to at Portland for a flight on to VA.

General Discussion / Re: GDR in Montana
« on: May 21, 2014, 07:04:03 am »

For a loop in that area that does include the GDR you could drive to the Raynold's Pass/Henry's Lake area west of Yellowstone and look for a place to leave your car. (maybe a campground or motel?) Follow the GDR west through Red Rock Lakes NWR to Lima then north to Bannack State Park (bring lots of bug dope for there). After Bannack catch the TransAm back to Yellowstone unless you want to attempt a dirt road route back from Dillon.

Should you do so, keep an eye out for a Moss tent that bounced off my bike 15 years ago just west of Lakeview at Red Rock!

Edit: Red Rock Pass is a bit over 7000' so check conditions first.

General Discussion / Re: GDR in Montana
« on: May 19, 2014, 08:38:29 pm »
No problem if your headed south. That side is relatively smooth. Hope the snow is gone in time!

General Discussion / Re: GDR in Montana
« on: May 19, 2014, 07:49:31 pm »

If you're taking your Surly to MT you may want to consider adding cross top brake levers if you haven't already. Gibbons Pass is a gorgeous descent northbound towards Sula. Easy packed dirt north from MT 43, becoming steep and rubbly on the descent, requiring constant braking. Photos are from TransAm, July 2009. I was on my Rock and Road with cross tops with one other rider who rode a mt bike. We had a blast. Two others from the group rode their LHTs with conventional road brake levers and they did not have fun. Too much wrist and neck fatigue from drop bar braking.

I've ridden the TransAm route 4 times now through MT and I still haven't seen Chief Joseph Pass! 3 times over Gibbons and another time included a long side trip through ID over Lemhi and Horse Creek Passes.

descent starts in burn zone...........

then opens up wide..............

road surface.............

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