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Messages - litespeed

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General Discussion / Re: Passports?
« on: March 19, 2016, 10:54:31 am »
John Nelson is right but, I might add, it is always a good idea to have a passport at the ready. You never know what is going to happen. I can recall a few instances of people missing out on a trip overseas because they didn't have a passport and couldn't get one soon enough. One young lady, in particular, was really heartbroken.

General Discussion / Re: So I bought a bike now which panniers?
« on: March 19, 2016, 10:41:42 am »
"Like one big pocket and complete waterproofing without added raincovers? Choose Ortileb."

After wrestling with raincovers on my Bruce Gordon Panniers for a couple of years, including a rainy 7 months circumnavigating the 48 states, I went to Ortliebs. I've happily used them ever since.

At first I missed the many pockets but as I simplified and cut back on my baggage (as most touring cyclists do) it ceased to be a problem. In fact, the simple design encourages a lighter, simpler load. My toiletries/change-of-clothing/off-to-the-showers pannier is packed full but the others are only 1/2 - 2/3 full.

Routes / Re: My First Cycling Tour From Michigan To Oregon!
« on: March 07, 2016, 03:20:50 pm »
I crossed Oregon from the Idaho border to Florence in about five leisurely (by my standards) days. US26 and US20 join at Vale OR a few miles from the Idaho border. To this day I recall riding US26 across western Oregon as one of the highlights of all my bicycle touring.

Routes / Re: Options for crossing the plains from New Roads, LA to Taos, NM
« on: February 05, 2016, 09:25:57 am »
I have done Florida to Utah via Taos a couple of times. Louisiana is a tough bicycling state - few shoulders on the roads - and one of the few places I have used the ACA maps. Usually I just wing it. Avoid US190 across Louisiana at all costs. The eastern third of Texas also has a lot of shoulderless roads. Once you get west of Dallas the roads tend to have wide shoulders, probably for farm machinery.

I've had good luck with US70 across southern Oklahoma and on to the Texas panhandle.

Routes / Re: Wilmington, NC to Charleston, SC
« on: January 21, 2016, 03:04:41 pm »
You are pretty much stuck with US17 most of the way and it's not very scenic. I always bypass Wilmington via Military Cutoff Rd., Oleander Dr., S College Rd., then 421 down through the beaches to the ferry to Southport. Southport is a very pretty little town. Then 211 back to 17.

You can get off 17 by taking secondary roads between Shallotte and Calabash on the state border but they are a bit confusing and hardly worth the trouble. If you take BR17 through Myrtle beach you will hit services as well as the KOA and the state park.

Definitely get off 17 as you approach Mt. Pleasant. It is no place for a bicycle - shoulderless and heavily trafficked. Turn south at the hospital and continue on the parallel road - Legends Club Dr. and S Morgans Point Rd. Turn left where it ends on Porchers Bluff Rd. At the roundabout turn right on Rifle Range Rd. and go a few miles to 703 - Ben Sawyer Blvd. and Coleman Blvd. Turn right and go to the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge and its very nice recreational trail. This will dump you right in Charleston.

Routes / Re: Virginia Beach, VA to Wilmington, NC
« on: January 20, 2016, 02:50:27 pm »
Right. According to the web site the Ocracoke - Cedar Island ferry is $3 for bicyclists but the Ocracoke - Hatteras ferry and the Currrituck - Knotts Island ferry are both free.

Routes / Re: Virginia Beach, VA to Wilmington, NC
« on: January 20, 2016, 12:46:08 pm »
The Outer Banks ferries are no problem - quite the contrary. They are pleasant, efficient, run frequently and are free. They let you relax while enjoying the scenery and still making progress. The Outer Banks are also bicycle friendly with plenty of bicycle paths and services and light, laid back traffic.

Routes / Re: Virginia Beach, VA to Wilmington, NC
« on: December 31, 2015, 01:16:46 pm »
briwasson's advice is sound. I have made this trip northward a half dozen times via the Outer Banks. Some further tips:

NE winds prevail so you will probably have good tailwinds although I had a fine southerly tailwind on one trip. There is (or was) a campground/fish camp a little east of the Wright Memorial in Kitty Hawk. The huge (sea-to-sound) KOA at Rodanthe is a bit pricey but it's a good place to spend the night or wait out headwinds - well run with a restaurant across the street. Avoid the buggy campground north of Ocracoke and go to the private campground in town near the ferry terminal.

Avoid the crummy, overpriced motels in Morehead City and go to the excellent Forestry Service campground in Cedar Point.

Routes / Re: Western NY to NYC and the Atlantic route
« on: December 23, 2015, 02:46:45 pm »
Another suggestion for getting from Albany to NYC is to go down 9W and across the George Washington Bridge. This puts you right near the north end of the Hudson River Bikepath. When I lived in Hoboken 9W was my favorite get-out-of-town ride. 9W is lightly trafficked as all the traffic is on the freeway. On much of it you are just riding through the trees.  I admit this was almost 40 years ago but things probably haven't changed much. US9, across the river, is much more congested.

Routes / Re: Has anybody cycled through the entire continental 48 states???
« on: November 28, 2015, 12:06:59 pm »
In John W. Triggs' book "America at 10 Miles Per Hour: A 17,300 Mile Bicycle Journey" (1996) he hits all 48 states in about 13 1/2 months. Not a bad read.

I have bicycled 44 states in my various tours. Someday I might hit the 4 remaining widely scattered states - Maine, West Virginia, North Dakota and Nevada.

Routes / Re: Western NY to NYC and the Atlantic route
« on: November 14, 2015, 06:49:15 pm »
Pennsylvania and New Jersey are both good bicycling states, especially southeastern Pennsylvania (good, well-shouldered roads and plenty of fudge and ice cream shops and good, cheap eating places). You can cross NJ in a day easily and you're right on the Atlantic. If you want to go into NYC you can take the ferry from Atlantic Highlands or the train in non-rush-hours from Long Branch.

General Discussion / Re: Dogs n' bears
« on: November 09, 2015, 01:33:43 pm »
As I've said before on this forum: Dogs get all confused and stumble all over themselves if you swerve back and forth, traffic (or lack thereof) permitting. I have had dogs run into lamp posts, trip into ditches, stop in total confusion, etc. Once I had two dogs get all tangled up with each other and go down in a frantic, dusty heap. Quickly swerving back and forth invariably throws them off their game - totally ruins their concentration.

General Discussion / Re: Dogs n' bears
« on: November 06, 2015, 02:31:28 pm »
I have bicycle toured and camped in 44 states and two Canadian provinces. I don't pack cooking gear. The only incident of animal trouble I can recall was the numerous raccoons in Anastasia State Park in St. Augustine, Florida. You can't turn your back on anything edible and they prowled around my tent all night. When passing through there I now stay at the KOA a mile or two down the road.

Once while backpacking in Yosemite a bear unzipped (?) a pocket on my backpack at night and clawed out some food but no real damage was done - just lost some food.

I was in the local West Marine store when I spotted some long sleeve jerseys. I bought one and have been using them ever since for bicycling. I usually have to buy extra large to get the length even though they hang off me like a tent but the size large West Marine jerseys are plenty long enough and fit just fine.

I did my early touring in tee shirts and baked the skin on my forearms. Now I wear long sleeves to keep it from getting worse.

Routes / Re: james river bridge crossing
« on: October 06, 2015, 07:32:31 pm »
From Wikipedia: "Bicycles, mopeds, and pedestrians are banned from using the bridge; the easternmost crossing for them is the Jamestown Ferry, about 25 miles (40 km) upstream. The State Highway and Transportation Commission banned these transportation modes from using the bridge in 1978 "in the interest of safety", due to high traffic and lack of sidewalks. Once the replacement bridge was completed, they returned to the question in 1983, and decided to continue the ban, since the new bridge also had no sidewalks or sufficient recovery area."

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