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Just got back from my 2-week west coast tour - it rained just once (lucky me), but the bike and panniers got covered in grime, and my pump ended up getting filled with water and some grit. I think I may get some fenders for the next tour. :-)You just answered your own question! I agree by the way.
I'm with you on this. No better way to clear out the cobwebs than to get on the bike and go, without having to meet the schedule or demands of anybody else. Actually, that's what I enjoy most about bike touring. I do agree with the advice to plan a little more time than you think you need in case you have problems or if you just want to hang out in a nice spot.It's really a question of why are you on the bike?
If it's to simply stay on the bike all day, enjoy the scenery but ultimately do little else then 75-80 miles a day
If however you want to meet the locals, enjoy a cafe and see what you are passing through then 45-50 miles a day.
I've led tours with both types of cyclists and I am definately in the 45-50 mile a day catagory.
The Lands End John O'Groats in the UK is a classic example.
It's a 1000 miles trip. For some a 3 week meandre is ideal. However for most it's a 10 day sprint and I personally think they are missing the point as if you talk to them they have nothing to say about the trip aside fatigue, but look on it more as an achievement.
I am not one to spend my days chatting away with strangers. I do enjoy a good convo, but this trip is more about me and my need to go solo and get out on my own and explore. I spend too much time around others currently, which is why this trip came up in the first place. It's going to be an opportunity for me to strike out on my own, not have to be on anyone else's schedule but my own, and spend some time reflecting. I realize this is a bit different from what most others strive for (apparently) and this all may change after a few solo days on the road.
While it would be an achievement, it's more about the journey for me. I enjoy long days in the saddle and get a sense of accomplishment out of it. This trip would be about sight seeing and taking in the scenery, not so much about meeting people along the way. I have that in my daily life as it is, thankfully!!
I'm thinking of doing half of the main route this September using the Lowman cutoff. I'd like to know if anyone has thoughts on which half would be better, northern or southern? Also, I'll be riding on a Salsa Fargo but not sure on choice between B.O.B. or panniers?
I completely disagree that 4 panniers look better. I think having only rear bags looks more streamlined, and front panniers produce more drag against a headwind or sidewind. My view is less is better, each bag just adds weight so if your stuff fits in two and it feels right, go with that. i also tour with mis-matched tires, 32 in the rear and 28 in the front.
Sounds like a fun trip. People must think we are crazy to talk about riding such distances. I know I used to.
You are asking one of those "religious" questions where logic and reason will soon be swamped by dogma and faith.....
Welcome to bicycle travel and Adventure Cycling!
I'm not sure where in NJ you are but you might want to take a peek at these two Bikeovernights in NJ for inspiration:
The only mapped routing we have in New Jersey is the Atlantic Coast Route, Section 2: http://www.adventurecycling.org/store/index.cfm/product/7_10/atlantic-coast-section-2.cfm
Hope this helps get you going.