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Messages - BikePacker

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Anyone had any 1st hand tour experience traveling from along The Silver Comet Trail (GA) / Chief Ladiga Trail (AL) south to anywhere along the Gulf Coast, safely....meaning some hope for shoulders and/or low traffic with avoidance of larger towns (e.g., Columbus, Auburn, Montgomery, etc.). 
'Total dream fulfillment' :- ) would be to find a route to Apalachicola, FL vicinity, however, I'd be elated to learn how to just get my toes in the sand/surf anywhere along the Gulf, as requested.
Thx.

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General Discussion / Re: Logistics of shipping equipment for touring
« on: April 17, 2014, 02:58:45 pm »
 Pete didn't say that they didn't do it; he just said he didn't like the terms under which they did it.
[/quote]
J.N. - You are right.
Thx.

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General Discussion / Re: Logistics of shipping equipment for touring
« on: April 17, 2014, 11:54:10 am »
And to think that was before the Great Corporate Takeover and Warranty Reduction of 2013.  Somehow, I doubt REI will have improved in the last couple of years.

Yeah the only reason I suggested verifying was because I had it only from one person in one store.  If he was correct, which seems likely, it is a slam dunk that their policy hasn't changed for the better.

While recognizing the above originators closure on this his/her's string, BUT because of 'staehpj1' prudent encouragement for recheck :- ) ...... I did so.... I rechecked on this with one of the 3 stores in metro-Atlanta.   I simply asked (no mention made by me, of course of this forum or string within) if they were fully willing for the right amount of money to pack/ship from their REI to any other REI and the Bike Dept. Mgr. said an unreserved "Yes."  I did NOT ask if they or other stores would reassemble. 
Soooo, at least some stores, but maybe not all stores are back on board.
Thanks 'staehpj1' for your emphasis on the recheck.  Stuff keeps changing doesn't it :- ) ?

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General Discussion / Re: Logistics of shipping equipment for touring
« on: April 16, 2014, 04:44:57 pm »
Can't speak to how this approach would 'cost compare,' however, I have dealt to my satisfaction with both your stated matters (fenders, et.al., + empty fuel containers) by simply giving my entire rig (bike, panniers, & then some) to REI at one location and had them pack/ship from one REI location to another REI location close to my tour start point.  I have taken this approach at least 3 times and will continue to do so IF, of course, REI locations are  in proximity to my tour start and stop sites.  I saved more time on 1 or 2 of those occasions by paying REI to reassemble/test out my bicycle, as well.  Coming home I always had the option of having them pack/ship straight to my house.

Last time I tried that they said the policy had changed.

That was in 2012 at the Denver store.

Have you shipped that way since then? *

Wow.  Your update is important.   Thx.  * Nope .... my last was just before 2012.  At that time I did one of the Atlanta REIs to Spokane REI. 

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I was leaning towards the Novara Safari or the Randonee.
Concur on REI.
For me the Safari for over a decade has been a 'comfortable'/cost effective/smoothly operating/minimal surprises touring platform. 

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General Discussion / Re: Logistics of shipping equipment for touring
« on: April 16, 2014, 03:45:15 pm »
My wife and I are planning to do some touring in the midwest (from California), and need to fly there with our bikes and equipment.
Can't speak to how this approach would 'cost compare,' however, I have dealt to my satisfaction with both your stated matters (fenders, et.al., + empty fuel containers) by simply giving my entire rig (bike, panniers, & then some) to REI at one location and had them pack/ship from one REI location to another REI location close to my tour start point.  I have taken this approach at least 3 times and will continue to do so IF, of course, REI locations are  in proximity to my tour start and stop sites.  I saved more time on 1 or 2 of those occasions by paying REI to reassemble/test out my bicycle, as well.  Coming home I always had the option of having them pack/ship straight to my house.

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General Discussion / Re: Tools for adventure
« on: April 09, 2014, 06:23:02 pm »
We are flying to Boston on April 15 to pick up our new Novara Safaris
Ken and Jules
Simply an fyi note of encouragement on your new rides ~  I have had the good fortune of owning/touring on and off road my 2001 Novara Safari since 2001 and found that its durability has met all of my expectations.  Would buy it all over again/would unhestitatingly recommend the rig to friends.
I wish you both a glorious expedition.
Your original Q was w/ regard to tools:
My best guess is that you have probably heard this before (& of course I request your forgiveness if it has already been posted above and I missed it), but there is a lot of value in the notion of only taking the tools that you really know how to use.... otherwise, you are simply adding to the weight/bulk of your load, not to mention the same for your false expectations.

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General Discussion / Re: First Bike Tour
« on: March 27, 2014, 05:49:42 pm »
Any advice on how to realistically train would be greatly helpful and appreciated. Thanks!
Adam - For me, I have found that doing saddle time/distance in advance of a 60 mile anticipated day, I'd train as follows 3 times per week over terrain similar to that which I would be touring the first few days:
6-3 wks. out - 10 mi. (e.g./i.e., three 10 mile rides each of said weeks); 2 wks. out - 15 mi.; the last week - 20 mi. One thing I have noticed that has happened with me consistently is that the last week before the tour typically gets a little hectic and I do not always get in all 3 of the planned rides for that last week/simply fyi on what happens in my own case.
All of the above distances is not with a fully loaded bike.... only I and the water bottles  :).
Somewhere in your mix of testing out all of your gear, etc., you will want to, of course, do some fully loaded test riding to acclimate to the whole new way your rig is, of course, going to feel/ride.

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General Discussion / Re: Miles Per Day
« on: March 25, 2014, 11:14:31 am »
Steve - Did that stretch about 7 years ago fully loaded and found that 50 - 60 miles per day worked nicely for me cause of the general flatness.  I remember being surprised at the hilly-ness of Tallahassee (sp?).  I noted that to the extent I wished to 'motel' there were mostly decent options every 50 miles.  The ACA maps were very accurate for my entire spin all the way you have bracketed.

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General Discussion / Re: 2 General Questions
« on: March 25, 2014, 11:03:30 am »
Reply to Q. No. 2:
1.   Regarding how far in advance to arrange for motels (can not speak to campsites), when I was riding thru eastern Montana and western N. Dakota, which I did in the earlier/beginning days of the oil/gas boom, I could find no/zero motel openings even 4 days in advance.  Now that the 'boom' has grown.... hopefully the motel capacity has as well.  Some days I would just knowingly go to the fully booked motel and be there at the front desk at the time that non-guaranteed reservation rooms were released cause the people did not show by that designated time, and I was, thereby, successful in getting a room.  Elsewhere in the USA I would consistently call ahead to a motel 1 day ahead & book a guaranteed reservation ... I found it valuable to ask if the guaranteed reservation was cancellable, and if so, by exactly when!!!  I had several cases where I had to cancel guaranteed reservation due to 'unanticipated circumstances.'  And, while having to mess with cancelling (and not always having the cell reception to do so) for me, I preferred the certainty of k-n-o-w-i-n-g that I had a motel room awaiting me at days end  :D
2.  Regarding ACA map accuracy & adequate detail, only in the above section of the country did I find a need for a backup set of maps (I used DeLorme software at the time cause 'smart phones' were not as info rich, nor was reception/towers as unbiquitous).... everywhere else the ACA maps worked adequately to nearly perfectly.  One of the factors causing the maps to be inaccurate was due to the fast changing conditions due to the economic growth of the oil/gas fields area(s).

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South Atlantic / Re: Atlanta to Savannah
« on: March 18, 2014, 11:51:19 am »
Santiago - Did you ever do the route from Atlanta to Savannah ?   If yes what did you learn? Thx.

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South Atlantic / Bicycle Ride Across GA in June
« on: March 14, 2014, 04:46:47 pm »
Anybody going to be participating (Sunday, June 8 thru Saturday, June 14 / Washington to Darien;  brag.org/brag.html) ?

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General Discussion / Re: Fort Myers to Key west
« on: March 08, 2014, 11:13:03 am »
".... this is the first attempt at camping while cycling, I have done organized rides but never a solo trip. What should I take along on a trip like this?* I know I need a tent, I'm good with the bike and gear..."
jfgll - I am aware that you may well have left by now, if so, Godspeed, if not and still researching *what to take (& not + 'how come,' on both counts :- ), the best single source of information I have ever encountered, and from which benefited significantly, is the text available thru ACA CycloSource entitled The Essential Touring Cyclist - A Complete Guide.... 
At least 40% of what I needed to know when I "converted" from group tours to solo touring was presented to me in that single 'study' text. 
Over the last 20 years I have re-read it about every 4 years and am reminded of 'things' that are good about which for me to be reminded.
If you have further interest, for convenience, here is the ACA link:
 http://www.adventurecycling.org/cyclosource-store/search-results/sp/essential-touring-cyclist/
Best wishes in your current & future expedition(s) !

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General Discussion / Re: Best routes for newbies?
« on: March 07, 2014, 10:22:25 am »
Hello Sauntrer -
What I am about to describe to you are GA/AL ("1" & "2") and, also, Virginia - North Carolina ("3") venues. I mention this so that if this geography is NOT of interest to you, you will not need to spend any of your time reading further.
1.  In GA, west of Atlanta to the GA/AL border is a completely traffic free paved route entitled The Silver Comet Trail (SCT).  Your campsite on the link/map diagram that follows is just east of the town by the name of Rockmart... the campsite is wide-open and friendly to cyclists and is called The Rock.
SCT: www.silvercometga.com/silver-comet-map/silver-comet-map.shtml
The Rock: www.therockrvpark.com
2.  At the state line the SCT connects with another paved trail that runs from the GA/AL line to just north of Anniston, Al (Anniston is an exit on I-20 and you will find that it is located east of Birmingham, AL.).  It is entitled the Chief Ladiga Trail.  I can not speak to the campsites along this trail. www.chiefladigatrail.com
3.  Forgive me if I missed any above reference to The Skyline Drive / Blue Ridge Parkway, so I will go ahead and suggest this, as well, for your consideration (NOT a winter ride - but this is now March :- ) ..... with the exception of Roanoke, Asheville and the southern terminus vicinity of Cherokee, I found it to be only about 4 vehicles an hour.  This route will take some serious research for campsites, as well as, where to get on an off....not to mention re-supplying.  This route is classified by most as arduous....at the same time it is as beautiful as any slice of Heaven.  There are MANY sites for your research... here are the ones from the Natl Park Svc:
www.nps.gov/shen/planyourvisit/driving-skyline-drive.htm
www.nps.gov/blri/index.htm

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Many thanks, Jennifer. 
- Fred 
P.S. Received the maps last week for the N.T. to Minneapolis/thanks, as well.  They arrived in 4 days or less     
(to Atlanta ! :- ).

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