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Messages - raybo

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Routes / Re: Route from Sacramento to San Francisco
« on: January 21, 2015, 10:52:44 am »
I've ridden on the ACA Western Express route from San Francisco to Sacramento.  It is a nice ride on mostly lightly traveled roads to Vallejo where you take a ferry.

I wrote a journal of that ride and you can read about that day's ride and see photos I took along the way.

Routes / Anyone ridden on Pennsylvania's Route Y?
« on: June 05, 2014, 10:53:46 am »
I am looking to ride across Pennsylvania and wondering what it is like to ride Route 6 across (west to east), which is, essentially, Route Y.

I've heard it has good shoulders most of the way but carries a lot of truck traffic due to fracking.

Has anyone ridden this route?

Any idea where the traffic is bad?

Any suggestions for alternative routes?

Routes / Re: Biking Spain - Valencia to Barcelona
« on: March 02, 2014, 11:43:53 am »
This page has 37 links to information about bike touring in Spain.

None of them deal directly with Valencia to Barcelona.  But, some of them will be of general interest to you.

Have a great time.

Have you even ridding the whole way to San Diego/Mexican border? If so, any recommendations for that bit of the trip?

I have only ridden down to the link with the Southern Tier Route.  I haven't gone all the way to the Mexican Border, so I can't help you there.

I've had the opportunity to go through it more carefully. You mention the ride to Santa Cruz can be done in 3 leisurely days, but you recommend 2.  I have been planning the 3 leisurely days option, so I wondered if there's a reason you recommend doing it in 2.  From a things to see/do, would it be better to do this section in 2 days, and then spend a day looking around Santa Cruz?

Whenever I've ridden from SF to Santa Cruz, I gotten driven past Devil's Slide (I haven't ridden there since the tunnel opened) and done the ride in a long day.  Adding the part from San Francisco makes it too long for a single day, which is where the 2 day recommendation comes from.  In addition, unless you want to stop and hike or do some birding, there isn't much to do, other than ride a bike on that section of coast.

Some people prefer to do shorter days at the start of a tour or just less daily mileage in general, which is where the three day recommendation comes from.

Santa Cruz is a classic California beach town. If you surf, sail, fish, or jus want to lay on the beach, it would be a place to spend a day.  Otherwise, San Francisco or Monterey offer more things to do and see and would be better places to spend a day.  But, if you like Mexican food, don't miss El Palomar in downtown Santa Cruz for the best I've ever had!

From Santa Cruz to Monterey, I'm considering going on the Eastern side of Elkhorn Slough (

I've not done it on a bicycle, though I have driven it.  The slough is surrounded by farmland or empty fields. There are no roads into the slough and at low tide, there might not be much water, either.  If you do take this route, be sure to know how you will link up with Del Monte Rd. Hwy 156 in Castroville is a busy road that might not be bicycle friendly.  If you want to visit the slough, make arrangements to do a kayaking trip in.  My guess is that you would access it via Hwy 1, which goes along the edge of the slough on the west side.

Quick question - I keep reading about hike/bike campsites.  Just wondering what exactly they are....

For the most part, they are a single large campsite that has been converted into a multi-tent site that is shared among all the hikers and bikers in that campground that day.  In my experience, there is a wooden table and a flat tenting area for each place where someone might camp in the hiker/biker site. They are great for bike tourists who are camping.

I'm also thinking of cutting out the Santa Barbara to LA section and catching a train, to save a bit of time and potentially traffic stress. Am I missing much by doing this?

Not really.

Routes / A detailed guide for bicycling from San Francisco to Los Angeles
« on: January 18, 2014, 10:57:19 am »
I live in San Francisco and have family in Los Angeles. I ridden from SF to LA half a dozen times and I wanted to write a detailed guide for others who might be considering this ride.

You can read the guide here.

I'd be interested in any comments or suggestions for improving it.

Be warned that it is long.

Routes / Re: Missoula to Glacier?
« on: November 28, 2013, 11:57:33 am »
By few days, do you mean 2 or 3 or 4 or what?

Let me say that Glacier NP is a great place to hike, see animals, stand in and look at stunning scenery, and easy to visit due to free bus rides.

I'd guess 3 days of biking to get there and, at least, one full day there (2 nights).

You might consider detouring into the eastern part of the Park (Many Glacier is worth an overnight), taking Going to the Sun Road over the divide, and then riding down to Missoula.

I'd recommend it.

General Discussion / Re: Riding from Portsmouth NH to Bar Harbor Me.
« on: October 19, 2013, 12:15:47 pm »
I rode from Pennsylvania to Maine and then down to Boston.  I went through Portsmouth on the way back and even stayed in the Exeter Inn!

I mapped my own route through New York, western Mass, Vermont, New Hampshire and then across Maine, where I eventually picked up the ACA route, which I rode down to Boston.

I wrote a detailed journal about this ride with many photos.

I took camping gear but rarely used it (I don't like to camp).  Instead I stayed in cheap motels and got hosted via and .

Don't miss Acadia NP.

My advice would be to follow a different route than the ACA's Pacific Coast Route in Washington State.  You may wish to go North around Olympia National Park, which I didn't do, but instead of heading inland and following Hwy 5, I'd suggest going out and along the coast.

Here is a link to the plans I made for that tour.

Here is the journal I wrote for that tour, including lots of photos.

While there is a bit of the Oregon and Northern Californian sections I haven't ridden, I think the Pacific Coast Route is one of the best and, with the exception of the bit in Washington, I think the ACA route is a good one.

Have a great time.

Some people swear by their Leatherman, but before you buy and carry one, ask yourself exactly what maintenance on the bike requires one. Very little to none. Yea, sure, there are some theoretical things you might do with it, but most are unlikely and you can figure out other ways to do those things.
+1  the Leatherman and it's copies are both heavy and have a lot of unnecessary tools for bike travel.  A middle range Swiss Army Knife will have all of the useful tools (knife, small screwdriver, scissors, and even the essential corkscrew.) with much less bulk and weight.

I use a Leatherman Juice S2.  I've used every single tool in it more than once.  The reason I don't use Swiss Army Knife is that it is hard to find one with pliers and I don't need a corkscrew!

Routes / Re: Portland to Sun Valley, ID
« on: May 23, 2013, 11:05:36 am »
I rode from just south of Portland (Newberg) to Yellowstone through lower Idaho.  I didn't go through Sun Valley.  I rode to Stanley took 75 to the east toward Challis.  Had I gone south, I would have gone to Sun Valley.

I followed the ACA Transamerica route until Austin Junction, OR and then veered off south toward Vale.

Here is my journal of the ride.  It includes a map of the route I took, a daily journal and hundreds of photos.

I really enjoyed the ride.  I'm sure you will too!

Routes / Re: Hotels in Astoria, OR
« on: May 23, 2013, 10:53:23 am »
I stayed in a small, basic motel toward the end of town, not far from the bridge entrance.  They were one after the other there.  I picked the one I did because it was early in the day and I could get into a room there.  Others I tried, I would have had to wait.

I was allowed to bring my bike into my room.

General Discussion / My experience dehydrating food to take touring
« on: May 17, 2013, 10:49:45 am »
On my recently completed tour around Big Bend National Park in West Texas, I experimented with dehydrating my own food and taking it along for eating on the road. I dehydrated mashed potatoes, broccoli, and carrots. I also took dehydrated re-fried beans (this I'd taken before), textured vegetable protein (TVP) and nutritional yeast.

I had the potatoes, broccoli and carrots for two meals. The resulting stew was filling, tasty (with enough spices added), and lightweight. Unfortunately, the carrots were very chewy and the broccoli a bit tasteless.

The nutritional yeast was a great addition to the re-fried beans and make a great replacement for cheese. I will definitely take this on future trips.

I have written an article that covers all this is much greater detail, should you be interested in reading more.

For future tours, I will definitely be dehydrating some foods and packing them along for the ride!

I use a Camelbak and it gets heavy on my back.  When it is filled (about 2.5 liters or close to 6 pounds), it is uncomfortable on my back.  But, I drink much more water with it and I put all my valuables in it so I always have them with me.  I rarely run low on water.

I can't imagine not having some kind of pad to sleep on.  I use a thin Thermarest and was thinking of getting something even thicker.

Heavy cameras are a personal choice.  If you really value the photos it takes, carry it.  If you are only going to post the photos on your website, get a lighter camera or use a smart phone.

You clothes will get wrinkled and dirty no matter how careful you are.  I use gallon ziplock bags to hold my folded clothes in my panniers.  It helps but not much.

The amount of water I carry depends on the day I have planned.  I always ride with my camelbak and have a pretty good idea of how long I can go with a full pack.  I prefer not to carry extra water.  If possible, I plan to get water along the way.  Many times, I have stopped at a house and asked for water which has never been refused.  On a recent trip, I got water from passing motorists, both requested and not.  This is something you have to work out for yourself.

I don't lock my bike bags and I rarely let my bike out of my sight.  A quick way to do it is with zipties (need to be cut off).  There are lockable metal meshes you can get.

U-locks are heavy and unnecessary, in my opinion.  Here is an article I wrote about locking you bike on tour.

I either have electronics that use replaceable batteries (camera) or use available electrical outlets at bakeries, coffee places, restaurants, motels, or anywhere else to charge my iPhone and iPad.

Some articles you might find interesting:

Taking less weight on tour.

Bike touring trade-offs.

General Discussion / Re: Stanley, Id -93-loop?
« on: April 11, 2013, 09:16:19 pm »
I rode from Challis down to Arco (and beyond) in 2009.  I wrote a journal of the trip and here is the day I started south from Challis.  I got to MacKay and the next day went to Arco and beyond.

The journal entry has many photos of the entire route, several of which show the road, which didn't have any shoulder most of the time.  It also didn't have much traffic and I don't recall any problem (except wind and storm) riding it.

While this isn't the most exciting part of Idaho, it wasn't the worst, either.

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