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Messages - Pat Lamb

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From memory, coming from the east, the last "official" water source close to the road was near Mazama, at the Early Winters campground.  There were signs to perhaps four campgrounds on the way up, but all of those looked to be 1/2 to 2 miles off route (and all downhill).  The next was past the two passes at Colonial Creek campground.  That was about 50 miles, I'd guess.  For what little it's worth, I went through 3 quarts on the climb, and wished for more, in early August.

Not to try to dissuade you from the water filter, but general information for anyone else who might want it: the west side was wet, with water cascading down to the ditch or under a bridge roughly every 1/2 mile.  The east side was pretty parched.  The road stayed pretty well above the creek on either side.

I don't remember any campgrounds or water sources after Colonial Creek. As Fred pointed out, you might luck out and get water from people in cars. And if you have a water filtration system there are numerous streams you can use. There is a pit toilet between Rainy and Washington Passes, but no water.

Ditto the recommendation for a water filter.  Lots of streams, right off the road. 

Note you probably won't need water once you hit Washington Pass -- it's literally all downhill from there!

Gear Talk / Re: Cars and bike racks
« on: March 27, 2012, 09:31:40 pm »
Problem with a hitch rack in this case is the question asker has a Tercel.  Hitches mounted to small cars like this are the ones with the tongue permanently attached.  Unlike hitches put on trucks and SUVs where the rack frame is attached to the frame of the truck.  And then you have a separate tongue hitch part that fits into the 2" square pipe.

If you want to go for a hitch rack, it's worth going to a decent welding shop.  They can either install or fabricate and install just about anything you want.  Downside is the cost ($150-200 for the hitch).  Upside is you may never have to buy a rack again, if you get a new hitch on your new car.

I've heard the 2" hitch is more stable than the 1-1/4".  No personal experience, as I wanted a 2".  And it pitches on bumpy roads anyhow unless it's really tight.

I wouldn't worry about the wind on that stretch.  It never cooled me down when climbing.  :(

Although I've only done it E-W, I don't think there's going to be much difference in difficulty.  Getting out of Omak is going to be an effort in either direction, ditto the Washington/Rainy Pass climb.  People say there's 60 miles of climbing going east over Washington Pass, but there's some downhills in there too.  Not many, but some.  There's about 25 miles of serious, continuous climbing in either direction.

The only suggestion I'd have is to shoot for Colonial campground if you're going east, to shorten that day.

General Discussion / Re: Long distance trip alone?
« on: March 26, 2012, 02:31:25 pm »
it seemed much less fun when there wasn't someone there suffering with you
Suffering? There's not supposed to be any suffering on a tour!

I think he meant, "Enjoying the adventure!"


Gear Talk / Re: 2012 Novara Randonee rear rack
« on: March 26, 2012, 08:59:15 am »
FWIW, my daughter and I took the previous incarnation of the Randonee rack across the U.S. with no problems beyond loose mounting bolts.  They're a bit off-center now, because we both went down and bent them a bit, but they carried everything just fine.  I probably had 30-40 pounds on the rear.  (Is your friend going to use front racks, too?  Tubus Tara is very good.)

The newer version of the Randonnee rack in the last couple of years has a longer center post up from the lower rack mount before it branches out.  I'm a little bit concerned with the change (longer moment arm, necessary structural rigidity, blah, blah, blah), but I haven't read or heard of any failures because of that theoretical weak point.  I'd try to leave the kitchen sink at home if I were loading that one, but it should be good with a reasonable load.

Gear Talk / Re: 700, aka 29er, aka *-622
« on: March 23, 2012, 09:14:45 am »
I think you're going to be searching for large numbers of people, so you get some who have bicycled outside the U.S., and have done so enough to be able to detect trends outside the U.S., and, as you note, are not out touring.  I don't meet either of the first two criteria, although (alas) I meet the third.

Bikeforums' touring forum gets more visibility even than CGOAB, I think, so you might want to double-post in both.

Coming from the east, we stayed the night in Anacortes.  There's a bike shop downtown that packed and shipped bikes for us (you could ship to them and have them assemble it, but make sure you arrange it well in advance!).  There's a shuttle service that goes through Mt. Vernon (change to a bus) and straight into Seatac.

Were I to do something like that from the west, I'd probably stay a couple nights in Mt. Vernon, and run out to Anacortes as a day trip before heading east.  Easier access, less expensive motels, and a couple bike shops to fine-tune anything that went wrong on the shake-down day.

I'm riding the TA this summer. I've heard small town merchants require cash for purchases.

I'm curious where you heard that; it doesn't jive with my experience.  I can only remember two motels (both sort of, well, questionable) and some B&Bs that didn't take credit cards.  The motels were happy with cash, and the B&Bs with checks.  The only reason I can see for merchants, even in small towns, to dislike credit cards is if you're charging small amounts, because of the fees they get hit with.  I do remember a few minimum purchase signs, usually around $5-10.

ATMs are ubiquitous.

Gear Talk / Re: Derailleur compatibility lower gears
« on: March 17, 2012, 09:01:34 pm »
When you reassemble remember the lockring is supposed to be very tight.

True.  Never could figure out why it needed to be so tight when the thing feels so notched going on, but after it came loose two years in a row on the same fall century, I now use the "tight as I can get it with a 12" wrench" spec.  Haven't had any problems since.

General Discussion / Re: Rain pants? Yay or Nay
« on: March 17, 2012, 08:58:33 pm »
If you do decide on rain pants (I didn't, and don't see the need for them), save yourself the weight when you get out of the Rockies.  Mail them home from Pueblo.

General Discussion / Re: Bibs VS casual commuting to work??
« on: March 17, 2012, 08:57:07 pm »
I commuted for about two years, 10 miles each way, to a place without a shower.  A few things make it possible:

(1) Shower before you leave home.
(2) Go slow in the mornings.  (In the summer, balance speed and sweating as best you can.)
(3) Check email until you stop sweating.
(4) Use unscented baby wipes in the handicapped stall of the restroom to wipe down before dressing.

FWIW, I carry clothes (in panniers) daily, except I'll park shoes behind a computer in my cube.  The key is to wash before you leave, so there's not an accumulation of stench when you arrive, dry and wipe when you get there, so the sweat doesn't "ferment."  Plain sweat doesn't stink until it's fed skin bacteria for a while.  Even after I'd been doing that for a while, there were people who were surprised that I did not shower after the ride -- those who hadn't seen me over the summer and didn't know the routine were amazed I didn't smell like a jock  or a locker room.

Also FWIW, I prefer a shower at work.

General Discussion / Re: Campgrounds and bear boxes
« on: March 15, 2012, 08:15:39 pm »
Always ask around about recent bear activity in the area to understand what precautions are warranted.

... but don't always believe what you hear.

When we went through North Cascades at Newhalem, the signs said it was bear habitat, etc.  I asked the campground host if they had a way to store our food, since we didn't have the bear barrel.  He told me they hadn't seen bears in years.  Couple days later, when we found cell coverage, my wife had a fit.  She'd found a journal of a guy who'd actually seen a bear in the campground we were staying within 10 days of our arrival.

At least we were almost out of food, so nothing bothered our gear.

Gear Talk / Re: Chain Length
« on: March 14, 2012, 08:11:20 pm »
A couple of years ago I acted on Sheldon's advice in this area, and I left on the "factory lube". It did not work out for me as Sheldon advertized. My new chain started squeaking in no time.

I run new chains until they squeak.  I got a few SRAM chains a couple years back that just barely had enough lube on them to rust-proof them in their cellophane package.  The others I've bought, including the two on my bikes now, typically run 500-700 miles before they need re-lube.  I guess their ISO QC caught up with the penny-pinchers.

Gear Talk / Re: Tire recommendations
« on: March 12, 2012, 10:58:44 am »
IMHO, I would not even bother to get new tires before you leave. My trust in these is that high.

Fully agree on this point.

Question for those who have toured with 26" tires; are reasonably non-knobby replacement tires readily available?  I know good 700C tires over 28 width aren't always available.  Wonder if it would be worth carrying a spare, or having a reliable person keep one to mail quickly, if/when one wears out on tour.

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