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Messages - Miller

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General Discussion / Re: Heading West in May, Advice Appreciated!
« on: December 11, 2013, 01:25:16 pm »
"jamawani- I'm glad you understand my general fear of my mom. I'll definitely sell her on the technology."

A Spot Tracker is yet another way to let your mom know you're OK without having to call every night. A list of a few of the features below...

Track your progress by sending and saving points along your route to Google Maps™
"SOS" function dispatches emergency responders to your exact location
Use "Help" feature to request assistance from friends or family
"Check-in/OK" allows you to transmit your location and that you are okay

General Discussion / Re: How to Blog? Crazyguyonabike?
« on: April 28, 2013, 08:52:46 pm »
Crazyguy journals are the easiest to navigate, the site get tons of traffic, the guestbook feature is nice, and overall it's a wealth of information (thousands of journals from all over the world). Not to mention lots of gear lists, reviews, articles, and decent forums.

There are many ways to explore crazyguy. You could go to journals, categories, routes and look at different routes. You can also browse by locale. You can sample journals by looking at featured journals on the home page or by perusing the "hit list." At this time of year there are also a lot of people beginning cross country rides on ACA routes (Southern Tier, TransAmerica, and Northern Tier)... 

To start a journal you register with the site and then go to the "my" option and there is a button to start a new journal.

General Discussion / Re: Bears
« on: April 18, 2013, 10:18:32 pm »
Miller - It depends on how you plan to use your tent.  If you are planning on doing significant backcountry hiking in the northern Rockies, then maybe I'd use another one.  If you simply will be camping in developed sites, then I would wash it according to manufacturers' instructions - light non-degreasing liquid - and allow it to air for an extended period.  Campgrounds already have so many food odors, I suspect your tent will provide little attraction.

PS - Make sure your tent is totally dry before packing it unless you like that mildew-tent smell.

Thanks, Jamawani. Yeah, probably campgrounds this year in NY but maybe some more primitive campgrounds next year (in the northeast). I'll wash and air out the tent this year regardless and I would hope that between that and the passage of another year that I would be OK with primitive camping (next year).

General Discussion / Re: Inspire or Scare the Begeebees?
« on: April 17, 2013, 02:54:51 pm »
+1 to indyfabz and others... I've found this group to be fairly level headed and to possess a wealth of experience that has helped me to put at lot of things in perspective. It's obviously a healthy impulse for people to educate themselves about bears if they have no experience with bears, to develop safe touring practices. Simply asking the question doesn't indicate a belief that there is danger around every corner. Recently someone asked about guns in the U.S., which made perfect sense to me... I've read scores of cross country touring journals and aside from the occasional joke in bad taste I don't think that people fear rural Americans. If they did this group would quickly put them at ease and suggest basic precautions that would be wise to take anywhere.

General Discussion / Re: Bears
« on: April 17, 2013, 11:33:03 am »
I took food in my tent last year in an area with no bears. Should I be concerned about using that same tent this year in black bear country?
Some would say yes.  Me. I wouldn't worry unless maybe you cooked and/or really slopped food around in there.  My impression is that you will carry some food odors in on your body and clothing.  I think bears can tell the difference between some odor on a human and food actually in there.

No cooking or spills. Crumbs at the most and I shook those out a long time ago. I agree that even if you do everything right--cook in different clothes than you sleep and eat in, eat far away from camp, etc there are bound to be odors (even soap from showering) and hopefully that is less attractive to a bear than food per se.

If I wanted to err on the side of safety is there anything I could do to reduce possible lingering odors? Wash with water or some special kind of soap (or would that cause more problems)?

General Discussion / Re: Bears
« on: April 17, 2013, 09:07:34 am »
I am from grizzly country and have cycled, hiked, and camped without incident.
I have had grizzly tracks around my tent the next morning.

First, NEVER take any food into your tent.
If you've had food in your tent, I would suggest getting another.

In a similar vein, do not pack you tent in a pannier with your food.

Second, in bear country change out of your cooking/eating clothes.
You may not smell the food odors, but a bear can and will.

I took food in my tent last year in an area with no bears. Should I be concerned about using that tent this year in black bear country?

Third, learn to hang you food and toiletries in a bearproof manner.
Grizzlies are too large to get correctly hung packs,
But black bear cubs - esp, around Yosemite NP have figured out how to get them.

In areas with bad bear problems, you must use a bearproof cannister.
Most frontcountry campgrounds have bear boxes - -
But you should know how to hang your food - just in case.

Parks Canada - Appropriate for Northern Rockies, too -

I took food in my tent last year in an area with no bears. Should I be concerned about using that same tent this year in black bear country?

Gear Talk / Re: Ergonomic Handlebars for Surly LHT?
« on: April 06, 2013, 03:48:32 pm »
After having oversized (31mm) drop bars with flat tops on my road bike I hated how the LHT 26mm drop bars felt so I switched them out for oversized flat top drops, which I find vastly more comfortable but as everybody has said it's a very individual thing. 

Regarding wrist pain I had a lot of problems with this on flat bars on my hybrid but it all went away when I started riding drop bars. The hoods hand position is very wrist friendly and you have so many other choices of hand positions to choose from. Not to mention the aerodynamic advantages of drop bars.

Gear Talk / Re: No Stove
« on: March 31, 2013, 12:45:10 pm »
My observation is that most folks on the TA do carry one.  I think every rider we met and camped with did.  The very few exceptions were those who had a support vehicle.  That said I am sure it would be pretty easy to do without, but why?  My light cooking/eating setup weighs 9-12 ounces depending on the particular choices.  That plus about 12 ounces for fuel.

Even when I trim my gear list to bare bones, the stove still makes the cut for me.

I haven't done the TransAm and maybe more people are bringing stoves than the sense I get from the many journals I've read. What I should have said above is regardless of whether people bring them it does seem that many people who had planned on cooking change their strategy and end up relying on restaurants. At least from the journals I've read... 

Gear Talk / Re: No Stove
« on: March 30, 2013, 10:27:14 am »
Many perhaps most don't take a stove on the TransAm. You should carry snacks and emergency food with you but there is plenty of food available in diners, cafes, restaurants....

Having said this I will carry a stove because because I want to save money, to be able to prepare my own hot food, and hopefully eat a little healthier. I also have some severe food sensitivities and want to know exactly what's in the food I eat. 

The most common things you hear from TransAm riders who are relying on restaurants is that fruits and vegetables are hard to come by in some parts of the country and that the are eating a lot less healthily than they normally do. Sometimes people have to rely on gas station food, which is pretty sketchy... But it can be done and don't forget you can buy cold food at grocery stores and make your own meals that way too. 

General Discussion / Re: New Touring Bike Suggestions
« on: November 03, 2012, 12:22:53 pm »
If she is committed to an upright bike I would think that wider tires, a long wheelbase, and front panniers would all contribute to stability. It might also be important for her to have brakes with excellent stopping power so that she can easily control the speed of her descent. I have found the cantilever brakes on my LHT to be less than sufficient in this regard and I will be switching to v-brakes. Others can advise you on disc brakes or other options...


Thanks for your impressions. This is helpful as I am trying to decide between the Northern Tier and the TransAm. I am leaning toward the Transam at the moment but ultimately hope to do both. More free camping on the TransAm is a plus. The Western part of the route is also very appealing to me to. But the pictures I've seen of the Northern Tier are impressive too. Thanks again, I've bookmarked this thread and will refer back to it in my planning... For those interested Mike Riscica has a nice comparison on the NT and TA on his NT crazyguy journal... Thanks again.

Excellent report, Lucas.... Can you say more about the TransAm vs Northern Tier? Overall impressions, traffic, scenery, costs...?


General Discussion / Re: Share how you got $ & time off to tour
« on: June 04, 2012, 12:02:59 pm »
I am recovering from a long neurological illness. I work part-time, my wife works full-time, we live frugally. Cycling has done a lot for me and my wife sees the value of a cross country trip. We are planning the trip for 2014. I imagine at that time I will have increased my freelance clientele quite a bit and may be working close to full time but with planning I'll be able to make time for the trip.

As far as finances, there are little things you can do that over time will make a huge difference.  We downgraded our cable/phone package and are saving about $90 per month, we also grocery shop every 7 instead of every 5 days, we have dumb phones instead of smart phones, and we don't spend money on little things that don't make our lives better or bring us joy. Surprisingly we haven't missed any of the above and it all adds up to 3-4k per year, which will pay for an entire cross country tour. 

If you need gear, planning a couple of years in advance gives you the luxury of watching for sales, which can amount to hundreds of dollars in savings. There are downsides to this of course but REI has credit card offers that includes a $100 gift card. If you are near an REI or know someone near one you can go to their scratch and dent sales. Grocery shopping with an Amazon credit earns reward points to buy gear (about $100-200 per year).. Also, you can obviously save money on the type of tour that you do... Originally I thought credit card touring was for me but now I think that camping and generally keeping expenses down is the way I prefer to do it. I'll probably do a hotel every week or two but to me it seems purer, more of an adventure to stay close to the land and do it all on the cheap...   

General Discussion / Re: Roadside stand/ camping/ B and B
« on: May 04, 2012, 09:09:16 am »
+1 to John Nelson's post above... I'll be coming through in 2014 and organic fruits and vegetables, a shower, and a nice/affordable place to camp would score big with me. There's a woman on the northern tier route who hosts cyclists on her farm. Below are a couple of journal entries from cyclists who stayed there...

Also, I think what Dave at the Knott County Historical Society offers in Hindman is unique. You might get some ideas from him...  A cyclist's journal entry below...

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