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Messages - adventurepdx

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I like the Northern Tier route, too, but I wouldn't sell the Trans-Am short, at least the Oregon section from Eugene to Hell's Canyon. Quite a bit of mountain passes as well. No "four passes in four days" like the NT, but there is the "three passes in one day" section from Prairie City to Baker City. McKenzie Pass is great if you time it so you can cross it, and the Painted Hills country near Mitchell? I don't think there's anything quite like it on the NT through Washington.

So to complicate things, I'll throw out yet another routing option: Head south from Vancouver BC and pick up the Sierra Cascades route and take that until you intersect with the Trans-Am route in Central Oregon. I haven't done all of SC through this area, just parts (Sierra Cascades overlaps the Northern Tier from Sedro-Wooley to Twisp).

Options, options. A lot of things to think about.

PK, how much time do you have to play with?

Using the ACA Pacific Coast Route to get from Vancouver to Astoria is a viable option. The first half or so will go through the Puget Sound region, which is nice. The second half, from around Shelton, WA to Astoria, is doable but as noted by others is not particularly thrilling.

The other routing option would be to use one of the routes outlined in the "Bicycling The Pacific Coast" book:
The book has two routes: an inland route following the Puget Sound/Hood Canal, and the Peninsula route that goes the long way around the Olympic Peninsula. That area will most likely wet in mid-June, but it's worth it if you take the time to make the side trips into Olympic National Park. (If you don't, I would recommend the Inland Route.)

If you don't feel like biking, you can take Amtrak from Vancouver to Portland and then either take the Point bus to Astoria:
Or you can ride to the coast.

Routes / Re: Calgary to Banff
« on: November 19, 2012, 01:28:24 pm »
I rode Calgary to Banff and it's not all that interesting except to see the mountains getting closer.

I didn't find the route boring, but it's no Banff, for sure. I think the key is taking 1A, which goes through some nice countryside before entering the park itself.

General Discussion / Re: Step thru frames
« on: November 19, 2012, 01:26:58 pm »
Make sure she rides this bike on enough long rides before she starts (with her gear) to be sure it'll be comfortable enough. To me, that's a much bigger issue.

Very good point. Is there anywhere nearby that can be a good overnight camping destination? Can she go on a short tour (3 days or so) before the big one?

General Discussion / Re: Step thru frames
« on: November 19, 2012, 12:07:22 pm »
pzyduck, my two cents: I'm a big proponent of "ride what you got", especially if you have no choice. And I understand being broke.  She might get through the ride with not a lot of major issues and have the time of her life. People have toured on worse.
Or, she may scrap the ride after a week because of discomfort and mechanical failures, and never want to tour again.

You're already talking about replacing wheels, and show concern for the frame. With all that, I would advise getting a different bike. It doesn't have to be a brand new touring bike, there are plenty of good used deals out there that wouldn't set her back that much. Is there any local bike co-ops around her? She may be able to get a good deal and learn how to work on her bike.

General Discussion / Re: Step thru frames
« on: November 18, 2012, 03:20:41 pm »
The traditional American Woman's frame with two parallel downtubes and no effective top tube is very flexible and unsuited to carrying heavy loads.  Whatever strength it has comes from heavy wall tubing so it will be very heavy and very few if any came with good components or suitable gearing.

The "parallel top/down tube frame" for women's bikes are not exclusive to US bikes, as there were many British bikes that had the same design, and European countries had some variation on the theme.

Speaking of "Step-Thru Frame Touring", back in June I ran into a German woman touring the Pacific Coast with her very Euro step-thru frame bike.

If I were to look for a step-thru style frame, I'd definitely go for a mixte frame.

General Discussion / Re: The TransAmerican for a beginner?
« on: November 15, 2012, 03:38:07 pm »
I crossed the North Cascades W-E in October one year in the pouring rain. Climbing was OK, the exertion kept me warm but descending from Rainy Pass to Mazama I came close to hypothermia.

Heck, I came close to getting hypothermia due to rain on Sherman Pass (along Northern Tier in Washington) in June!

General Discussion / Re: adding pictures
« on: November 15, 2012, 12:45:12 pm »
Forrest, to make a photo smaller, use a photo-editing program and reduce size. Something like Photoshop works. Photoscape is a free program you can download which works ok.

Or, you can upload your photos to something like flickr, Picassa, or photobucket and link the photos.

General Discussion / Re: Advice on Heading South in Winter
« on: November 14, 2012, 05:33:17 pm »
Haven, if you use the Amtrak provided box, you won't have to "strip parts" or any of that business. All you need to do is remove pedals and turn bars sideways. (Note: if your bars have enough flare, this may cause issues.)

You may be able to use the kitty litter panniers as check on baggage, but I've never done it so I can't speak from experience. When I've taken Amtrak, I usually check a couple of my panniers with checked baggage, and bring two on board as "carry-on". (When I have full panniers.)

More on Amtrak bicycle/baggage policies here:

Routes / Re: Calgary to Banff
« on: November 05, 2012, 10:08:52 pm »
Hey Christian-

My girlfriend and I biked from Calgary to Banff last year. There didn't seem like any easy way of biking out of the city. We used Hwy 1A, which is basically a freeway getting out of town (legal to ride). 1A remains a wide divided highway with ample shoulders until Cochrane, and from there it becomes a two lane with decent shoulders and low-moderate traffic, as most through traffic is on Trans-Canada (Hwy 1) to the south. There is about a 10 or 20 mile section of 1A that is shoulderless. We were warned about this section, but there was barely any traffic, so it wasn't much of a worry in that department. The pavement is crap on that section, however. 1A will lead into Canmore, the town on the outside of Banff National Park, and from there you can take a bike path all the way into Banff townsite. (It parallels the Trans-Can.) Not too much in the way of services on this route, besides Calgary, Canmore, Banff, and Cochrane there is some stuff in Exshaw. You could do it in a day, but it'd be a long one. Hotels in Cochrane and a provincial campground at Ghost Lake.

General Discussion / Re: Tales of Calamity and Woe
« on: October 31, 2012, 03:24:06 pm »
I once snapped my handlebars on tour.

Thankfully, it happened on an off day, when I was riding around town unloaded. And the snapping happened right when I started to pedal after the light turned green. It could have been a lot worse.

Gear Talk / Re: Bushwhacker bags and panniers
« on: October 29, 2012, 10:39:07 pm »
I don't know anything about the Bushwhacker brand, but here's my two cents:

The Bushwhacker panniers depicted look like they could be ok. There are no dissatisfied Amazon reviews. And they have a retro pannier look about them, if that's your thing. But the photos don't show the mounting system, and zippers can be a problematic closing system. You have to have the things packed "just so", otherwise it won't close. A strap-down fastening system that most modern panniers have is easier to close, as the straps compress the load and also offer better opportunities for overstuffing the bag. (Not that it's advised... ;) )

If I were to pick up a set of bags in that price range and with the same capacity, I'd check out Axiom, which puts out some great budget gear. Maybe give these Axiom Seymour LX panniers a shot:
While I haven't owned this particular model of panniers, I've owned several sets of Axiom panniers over the years and put them through a lot. They didn't let me down. The mounting system looks pretty solid on the Seymour LX and it is fastened by straps.
You can most likely order the Axiom bags through your LBS.

General Discussion / Re: Tire Pressure
« on: October 22, 2012, 02:40:32 pm »
I'm no expert, but my advice would be to keep the pressure on the high side of that range if you're riding on paved streets.

If you want something more exact, check this out:

General Discussion / Re: First tour for Brits in US
« on: October 20, 2012, 01:42:17 am »
We also get the impression that just turning up at a campsite and asking for a pitch for the night and a shower is not always as straightforward as we're used to.

What do you mean by this? Are you referring to official campsites that you pay for? Government run or private?

I've done quite a bit of touring in the States and the basic protocol at most publicly-run campsites is show up and pay for a spot. Depending on where you are (say, the Oregon Coast), you may find sites specifically reserved for cyclotourists at a lower cost, known as "hiker/biker sites". Some campgrounds won't turn away touring cyclists even if the campground may be technically full. Then the park ranger/camp host will let you camp in an unofficial camping spot for the night. And some campgrounds don't have hiker/biker spots and will turn away cyclotourists. In my travels these tended to be privately run campgrounds (RV parks and the like) but I've heard of some state parks turning cyclists away too. It's best to do a little research on the campgrounds in advance, if you can. And you can always hope the park ranger/camp host will take pity on you.

Pacific Northwest / Re: Astoria to Boise
« on: October 16, 2012, 03:41:27 am »
Consider Estacada, Maupin, Fossil, John Day, to Ontario.  OR 224 turns into paved forest roads and tops out at Timothy Lake.

I rode from Estacada to Timothy Lake a couple years ago. There is about a 3-5 mile section of gravel before Timothy Lake, if you use the more direct Forest Service Road 5810. FS 58 is supposed to be paved the whole way, but is the longer routing. Still a beautiful, lightly trafficked ride in this area no matter what way you do it.

The gravel section of FS 5810 before Timothy Lake.

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