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Messages - adventurepdx

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General Discussion / Re: Roll on service for Amtrak long haul routes
« on: February 23, 2015, 10:45:17 pm »
I'd like to think that they would allow for the loading/unloading of unboxed bikes at unstaffed (no baggage service) stations. And it's not like Amtrak can't do it: Cascades corridor service (Eugene-Portland-Seattle-Vancouver) has the bike storage in the baggage car, and there are a few unstaffed stations (Olympia-Lacey, Mt. Vernon). And when I've had to load/unload a bike at those stations, the conductor or other train employee opens the baggage door and takes care of it.

Routes / Re: Primitive Camping on Pacific Coast Route
« on: February 20, 2015, 12:25:20 pm »
And here's where to find the Oregon state park camping:
TIP: Click "hiker biker campsites" from the column on the left.

Routes / Re: Primitive Camping on Pacific Coast Route
« on: February 20, 2015, 12:04:29 pm »
Not sure about Oregon parks, but California parks have had multiple years of budget cuts. I would suspect that many are not open yet in March - especially those further north and on the coast.

Oregon's parks haven't suffered the same budget woes that have befallen California, or Washington state for that matter. And as far as I know, all the Oregon coastal camping parks are open all year round. The only parks that close for winter (west of Cascades) are inland, and these typically open mid-March.

Routes / Re: Primitive Camping on Pacific Coast Route
« on: February 19, 2015, 09:17:12 pm »
Thanks for the information.  I wasn't sure if the sites were still that cheap, that is a great deal.  Unfortunately the timeline is locked inas the only longer stretch I can get off work this year.  At least I can hope to pedal into better weather.

Unfortunately early spring is a bit unpredictable on the Pacific Coast, esp. north of San Francisco. You may luck out and get some good weather, which usually means a wind from the NW (tailwind!) But if it's still wet/stormy, the wind would be coming out of the south. Then you'd be looking at a fierce headwind on top of getting soggy. My old room-mate toured south along the coast around your timeframe (late March into April) many a year ago, and there were lots of reports of headwinds and wetness. South of San Francisco the chances of better weather increase, but you'll probably have to work really hard for it.

Routes / Re: Great Parks North - Canadian Camping
« on: February 06, 2015, 08:35:09 pm »
The second thing is that the ride can definitely be done in 2 weeks. I was in Missoula before lunch of my 9th day.

Yeeps! How many miles a day did you average?

Routes / Re: Great Parks North - Canadian Camping
« on: February 06, 2015, 03:22:18 pm »
May I ask - did you pre-book the hostels or just turn up and find space? And what time of year are we talking here? I've heard good things about these hostels so they'd certainly be another accommodation option.

Yep, I pre-booked them. I went in the high-high season (July) and they ran full every night, at least the smaller wilderness hostels outside of the "big towns" (which are Jasper, Lake Louise, Banff townsite, and Canmore). You may luck on a spot, but I wouldn't count on it. (The "big town" hostels may be easier to find space on the fly, but they still can book up.) When I toured the Icefields Pkwy a few years back, I designed the tour here to hop from hostel to hostel. It's pretty easy, since the biggest distance between hostels is about 40 miles.

As for price, if you are travelling solo, I found that a dorm bed in one of the wilderness hostels was not much more than camping. Campgrounds looked like they were running around $22 a night per site and dorm beds start around $25 (plus fees.)

You might not be able to do it all by hostels, but you might be able to squeeze a few in. And the bigger hostels in the "big towns" have good services (laundry!) when you need to take care of that stuff.

Routes / Re: Great Parks North - Canadian Camping
« on: February 06, 2015, 01:28:10 pm »
I can't comment too much on the camping in Canada, as when I rode parts of this route through Banff/Jasper I stayed at hostels. But the campgrounds were pretty busy, I will say.

But the thing I do want to comment on is length of tour. While on paper Jasper to Missoula could be done in two weeks, that's quite a hurried pace with several mountain climbs and lots and lots of things to see and do, especially on the Icefields Parkway. If I went back I might even try to go slower than the last time! What about just staying in the Canadian Rockies, or maybe Jasper to Glacier (MT)?

When I'm planning a tour in an area that may not be a typical bike-touring destination, I'll use Google Maps to see what legal camping options are available. Basically find a town near/on the route and search "Camping near x town". If you have a smartphone or tablet device, an app like Allstays is handy. While you have to pay a small fee for the Allstays app, the one big benefit is that it saves the information for an area you searched. This is really useful when you don't have WiFi or data coverage.

My two cents: Free camping is always appreciated, but I can understand why the National Park Service would want to start charging something for camping. Still, I think $5 per person for hiker/biker camping is more in line with what I've seen elsewhere, including other National Parks like Glacier.


The biggest change proposed for touring cyclists is for the hiker/biker sites along the path. Currently they are free, NPS is proposing a charge of $20, which would be the same proposed fee as drive-in sites.

Pacific Northwest / Re: Anyone ridden the John Wayne Pioneer Trail in WA?
« on: December 24, 2014, 06:36:17 pm »
Link to a Google Maps overview of this route - basically it's Seattle-Ellensburg-Yakima-Columbia River Gorge-Portland-Centralia-Tacoma-Bremerton-Port Angeles, 980km nominally. Two-and-a-half to three weeks, including a couple of days drinking beer in Portland.

Overall, your route looks decent, though I'm not familiar with the North Bend to Biggs section. One change I would recommend is in the Columbia Gorge. I'd get over to the Oregon side at The Dalles. While this means about 10 miles of freeway riding, you'd get the Historic Columbia River Hwy between Hood River and The Dalles. The Rowena Loops are not to be missed!

Food Talk / Re: vegetarian trek on the transamerica?
« on: December 12, 2014, 11:17:27 pm »
Yeah I should say I've had to turn down offered food which I always feel a bit bad about. Also because of that I never stay with Warm Showers hosts or anything like that.

To note: WarmShowers makes this stuff easier than the random offered meal. You can indicate in your profile that you have dietary restrictions. And when I contact a host, sometimes they ask about dietary restrictions or I let them know what mine are. And I never had any problems! I think a host would prefer to make food for a guest (if they are going to make food) that the guest can actually eat. Remember that it's not always about vegetarianism/veganism, but it can be about food allergies too.

Routes / Re: HWY 75 - Alligator Alley
« on: December 09, 2014, 04:14:34 pm »
That's Interstate 75. Unfortunately, you can't ride on Interstates in Florida, or states east of the Mississippi for the most part.

General Discussion / Re: Useless advice/help
« on: November 21, 2014, 05:40:20 pm »
I've definitely gotten my share of bad info in the distance/hills/service/etc. department. And I accept the info graciously, then take what has been said with a grain of salt. So it's easy to fall into the trap of all advice given on the road (that isn't from other tourists or cyclists) is bad. But sometimes it can come back and bite you in the posterior.

For example, when I toured the Pacific Coast in 2006, I ended up staying at the Point Reyes Hostel. This is a bit off the main route. When I called the hostel to confirm that I was coming that night, they warned me of the "big hill" between Point Reyes Station (the town, on route) and the hostel about six miles away. "Pshaw", I thought. I had been biking down the coast for two weeks, over many a hill. I made it up and over the Crescent City Hills and Leggett summit, the dreaded two "big hills" on the route (between Astoria and SF), ones they warn you about in "the book". I figured if I made it over all that, the "hill" the hostel staff mention should be a cakewalk, er, roll, right? Probably nothing at all.

Big mistake! That was quite the hill, almost 850 feet in elevation (starting from near sea level), and some of the steepest pitches that I encountered on that tour. I made it up, yes, but there was a section on the return I needed to walk. It was posted at 17% grade!

So I guess what I'm saying is: Don't get too cocky when offered advice from the locals. While a lot of it may be bad, sometimes they are right.

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