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Messages - indyfabz

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Last year I rode that stretch of U.S. 93 one late Friday afternoon around June 19th. I was initially worried when I saw the relatively high volume of traffic in Darby, where I stopped for groceries. While there was some traffic, it was generally light and came in waves of three or for vehicles at a time. The traffic coming the other way was also light so vehicles could pass with ease.

I remember stopping for a nature break. IIRC, the land generally sloped down towards the river, steeply in some places. MDOT would likely have had to do a good amount of fill work to add a shoulder. Not only that, there are some stretches that already come very close to the bank of the river. If you look on Street View you can see several places (e.g., a bit east of Robbins Gulch Rd.) where if you added two or three feet to the river side of the road your supporting slope would be extremely close to, or even in, the river. Plus, you'd have to cut down trees and other growth that helps stabilize the bank. On the other side, you are hemmed in by the hillside. The further east you go, the more things widen out and the shoulder picks up again.

The next day I rode MT 43 to Wisdom after Gibbon's Pass. I don't think I got passed by one vehicle on that stretch and only saw a handful coming in the opposite direction. The only menace were the mosquitoes during the climb of that little lip maybe 5-6 miles outside of town. There is a ranch there. I think they breed and raise mosquitoes.

Connecting ACA Routes / Re: Albany to Northern Tier
« on: May 26, 2015, 10:07:50 am »
If you take the latter, I recommend staying on the route proper and going into Niagara Falls, ON and then to Buffalo. The Rainbow Hostel in the old part of Niagara Falls was decent.

I don't recall any rustic camping between Lockport and a bit east of Rochester. We stayed in the dorms at SUNY Brockport the one night we stayed along the trail before heading north to Lake Ontario.

General Discussion / Re: Flying With Touring Gear
« on: May 26, 2015, 09:44:20 am »
You've heard stories of people stealing touring gear from duffel bags?  I have flown 9 round trips with touring gear in duffel bags and never had anything go missing. Most U.S. airlines allow one free carry on bag and a second "personal item," up to a certain size. One Ortlieb rear pannier is my free carry on and the smaller front pannier is my personal item. If you have things that might have some practical resale value (e.g., laptop, camera), carry them with you. I wouldn't worry about things like a tent, sleeping bag and bike shorts.

BTW...If you will be brining a stove you might consider shipping it in the bike box because of residue. My stove and empty fuel bottle fit easily inside my bike box.

Routes / Re: Connecticut connect to Northern Tier
« on: May 26, 2015, 07:19:48 am »
Just wait until you hit the real hills. :)

Take a spin around historic Wellsboro if you can. Some of the streets are still lit with gas lamps.

General Discussion / Re: GDMRB 2015 Casual Ride!
« on: May 25, 2015, 07:50:17 am »
My current plan for this tour was to be dropped around 250 miles east of Glacier National Park, get there by the 19 and hope the Going to Sun Road is opened.  Then head to Banff.  There is 474 miles between the east side of Glacier and Banff.  If you all were interested in having me part of your group I would take the "Marias alternative" around Glacier, so I would not have to worry about whether the road was open.  Then I'd for sure make it by July 1st.

While the West Lakes Road Crew is already at the pass and clearing the Visitor Center, it's always risky to plan something around the road being open that early. I would poke around the park's official web site to see if there is a date that the road definitely will not be open before due to construction activity.

Unless you plan to do a near century budget at least one extra day for the Marias Pass Alternative. I did it in the opposite direction back in '09. St. Mary to Sprague Creek Campground on the west side of the park. About 100 miles. It was a lonnnnnnnnnnng day. It's going to be even longer on a Moonlander. There are not a whole lot of services between W. Glacier and E. Glaicer. There are none between E. Glacier and St. Mary.

The unpaved sections I refer to don't require a MTB. I did them on my Surly Long Haul Trucker with 37c tires. I think the option with partially unpaved roads between Hamilton and Darby would be doable on 32c tires. Not sure if I would want to do the west side of Gibbons Pass or the connector road I mentioned with 32c or less.

Up to the second photo after the Z Bar T street sign were taken between Missoula and Pipestone Pass on the way to Butte on the route I took last year:

You can see some of the unpaved road surfaces.

Let me know if you would like me to map out some alternatives based on your criteria.

I have done loops from/to Missoula that included Wisdom and Butte twice in the last four years, the second time being last year.

The first part is easy. U.S. 93 between MSO and Lolo, while busy at times, has a large shoulder. From Lolo there is a now a  very nice bike path that basically parallels U.S. 93 all the way to Hamilton. From there, U.S. 93 is not bad. There is a partially unpaved alternate route between Hamilton and Darby that is terrific. In '11 I did U.S. 93/MT 43 from Darby to Wisdom. Saw very few vehicles. Last year I took Gibbons Pass instead. Great ride if you have sturdy, wide tires and don't mind bumpy roads. The west slope doesn't appear to undergo much if any maintenance. The east slope is much nicer. Mostly hard packed dirt with fine gravel in some places. This is all shown on the appropriate map section of ACA's Trans Am route. You might want to invest in a copy.

Wisdom to Butte can be done several ways. I went from Wisdom through Jackson to Twin bridges via the Pioneer Mountains Scenic Byway and an unpaved connector road then took MT 41 to MT 2 over Pipestone Pass to Colonial Drive into the center of Butte.

MT 43 east through Wise River to Divide then frontage roads and I-15 is probably the most direct. You could follow the Trans Am route through Jackson and Dillon to Twin Bridges (where there is a fabulous cyclist camping facility in town) and then take MT 41 and MT 2 over Pipestone to Butte. (Don't camp in Butte. The only campground is right next to I-90 and is a bit seedy. Get a room in the motor lodge section of the Hotel Finlen.)

There is another way from Wisdom to Butte via Anaconda. Are you looking for directness? Looking to avoid as much climbing as possible. Looking for as much climbing as possible? Are unpaved roads an option? The answers to those questions will dictate which route is optimal.

Routes / Re: Connecting from Northern Tier to TransAM near Missoula
« on: May 24, 2015, 07:44:00 am »
When I rode that (83/200) connector route I camped at a state park campground outside the center of Big Fork. There was a tourist shuttle to take you into town for shopping. The second night I stayed at Lake Alva, which is a U.S.F.S. campground. Both were nice and should be listed on the map. If you plan to visit Missoula and camp at the KOA I would consider a reservation, at least on a weekend. When I ended a tour there last year on a Saturday night in late June the place was booked solid. That tour took me east on the TA as far as Twin Bridges. Send me a PM if you have any questions about that stretch.

Routes / Re: North Eastern routes...
« on: May 22, 2015, 07:53:39 am »
To avoid the gap left by the removal of the U.S. 9 drawbridge over Great Egg, go inland to Ocean City via CR 623 (34th St. Bridge). You can get back to U.S. 9 via NJ 52 (the 9th St. Causeway), which was rebuilt a few years ago and now accommodates bikes, or continue north through town, go over the big bridge and then hang a left at the light onto NJ 152, right on Bay, left on E. Ocean, right on Buffalo and left on Ocean Heights. Much, much shorter than going to Mays Landing. I would use the latter option. The traffic around the circle on NJ 52 at Somers Point can be bad, and there is a large strip mall on U.S. 9 south of where Ocean Heights intersects with U.S. 9. Take the northern route out of town and you avoid both.

Gear Talk / Re: Touring without fenders - big mistake?
« on: May 21, 2015, 11:06:56 am »
Never used them, even on the Northern Tier route, and don't think I ever will. If it's raining hard enough, no fender is going to keep me dry or drier Also, my tent is positioned on the rear rack in line with the bike. Under the tent is a folded 4x8 plastic "tarp." This set up keeps the spray off my jersey and rear end.

Gear Talk / Re: Single pair of shoes, or bike AND walking shoes?
« on: May 21, 2015, 11:01:11 am »
Sandals are light, small, and multi-purpose.  Take a shower in them (oh, and avoid leather for this purpose and for general water and rain tolerance).  Set up the tent in them.  Heck, I even did a white-water rafting trip in them.  Get a pair that are easily adjustable, put on warm wool socks, and you can go hike for a few miles.

+1. My extremities tend to feel cold and a pair of warm, wool socks and sandals works for me. They don't have to break the bank. For the last two years I have been using a cheap pair of Dexters I got on sale from PayLess for under $30. They are extremely light and flatten out nicely, even at size 12.  I wouldn't take them in the shower, though. For that I carry a pair of cheap flip flops. Those sit under the chords that strap the tent to the rear rack so they take up no pannier space.

Routes / Re: Atlantic Coast ride
« on: May 21, 2015, 10:52:06 am »
Details, including an explanation of how the maps go both ways:

In the example used, you can see the bi-directional narratives, eastbound and westbound in that particular example.

Gear Talk / Re: How heavy is your touring bike (unloaded)?
« on: May 19, 2015, 09:42:56 am »
My Surly LHT is heavy even without racks. It's also 60cm, which means a larger frame, more stem and more bars than smaller rides. I also put a heavier, more adjustable seat post on it. Saddle is a Terry Liberator Gel, which isn't the lightest thing out there.

Routes / Re: North Eastern routes...
« on: May 17, 2015, 11:19:33 am »
There is a fairly popular, supported event in the Finger Lakes region called the Bon Ton Roulet.

General Discussion / Re: Should I pack an Air Pillow
« on: May 15, 2015, 09:37:37 am »
I took a Sea to Summit pillow on my tour last year. Best gear addition I've ever made. Infinitely better than clothes in a stuff sack that I previously used.

+1. I was a die hard "clothes in the stuff sack" person. Pillows were for people who belonged in motels.  ;) My GF wanted a pillow so I got her a Cocoon air pillow. While we had some fun trips together, she never really took to unsupported touring, which freed up the pillow for my solo trips. Gave it a try and really like the pillow thing.

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