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Messages - adventurepdx

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Overnight costs.  Europe is 1/4 or 1/3 the cost of USA.  The US is unbelievably expensive for housing.  Campsites in the US are as expensive or more expensive as motels/pensiones/hostels in Europe.  You get a private room with a bed and small breakfast and maybe shared bathroom in Europe for the same price you pay for a campsite at a park in the USA.

There's a lot of hiker/biker spots on the Pacific Coast, which cost usually $5 a night per person. And outside of that, if you stay in state parks, you shouldn't pay more than $20. Private campgrounds are of course another matter. The most I spent on my coast tour in 2006 was at a KOA that had "hiker/biker" accommodations for about $20.

Are motels/pensiones/hostels in Europe really that cheap?

A few more notes:
  • If you're heading down the coast, you'll primarily be on US 101 through Oregon until you hit Highway 1 in Mendocino Co.  in California. There are some alternates (take them when you can!) but I'd say over 80% will be on 101 and 1.
  • There are many hiker/biker sites on the coast, especially in Oregon, where you'll be able to stay in a state park hiker/biker site each night.
  • Adventure Cycling puts out a good map. Oregon Dept. of Transportation puts out a good free bike map. And the "bible" of touring down the coast is the book "Bicycling the Pacific Coast".

In about 3 weeks I'm going to start up the coast from San Francisco to Portland...

Tim, I have no experience with touring in Europe, so I can't compare.

But I'll be the first of probably several more people to let you know that most people tour north-to-south along the Pacific Coast, since the wind comes out of the NW during summer. Now late May is still a bit variable, and you can get storms which mean winds from the SW. But you'll probably be looking at more headwinds than tailwinds. Also, the best views are on the west side of the road, which would be handily on the right when going south (and you don't have to cross the road to see it!) Plus when the road is narrow and the highway department can only put a bike lane/shoulder on one side, it's going to be the southbound side. So I'd advise you to rethink the direction and start in Portland instead.

General Discussion / Re: Which shops stock ACA maps?
« on: April 30, 2015, 02:26:51 pm »
Here in Portland, OR, besides the local map shop that had a pretty old Transam map the last time I checked, the REI downtown has some ACA maps. But it's only for the routes closest to Portland, and the stock isn't always great. So if you're looking for Pacific Coast Section 2, you might be in luck, but you won't find Northern Tier Section 4. I'm guessing that other REIs would have a few ACA maps of local-ish routes, but I can't say for sure.

So as others have stated, it's hard to find ACA maps from shops on the road, which makes it difficult if you are making up the trip as you go along. Best bet is to figure out your next section a few weeks in advance and have Adventure Cycling mail them to you on the road, whether General Delivery (info on that has been posted on these forums a few times) or at a place you know you'll be staying at.

Routes / Re: Getting bikes to Canada from California
« on: April 23, 2015, 01:49:58 pm »
Are you sure the train is actually cheaper?  I have often found flying to be cheaper, so don't rule it out without checking.

If you left on Tuesday, July 16 from Los Angeles on the Coast Starlight to Seattle, the one way adult fare is $115, and from Seattle to Mount Vernon on the morning of Thursday July 18 it's $22. This doesn't include bike fees or the lodging fee for being in Seattle overnight.

Routes / Re: Getting bikes to Canada from California
« on: April 23, 2015, 01:45:55 pm »
No Amtrak to Victoria - need to get there by ferry. Several options exist and I think others can speak to that. There is a ferry from Seattle but my recollection is that it is $$$. You could take the Amtrak Cascade to Vancouver from Seattle and then take BC Ferries to Victoria - if you're coming up the coast via the Starlight that means an overnight in Seattle. I'm sure there might be some other options.

You can do that, but getting a bike between downtown Vancouver and the ferry terminal in Tsawassen is a major pain in the you know what. I've done it many a time, and I've tried the gamut of options, none of them are easy, fast, or convenient. Unless you want to check out Vancouver (and it is a city worth checking out), the easier ferry option via Amtrak would be this:
  • Take Coast Starlight from unknown city in California to Seattle, overnight in Seattle
  • The next morning, take the Amtrak Cascades to Mt. Vernon
  • Ride 20 miles west to Anacortes
  • Hop on the Washington State Ferry to Sidney, BC
  • Ride the 20 miles south on the Galloping Goose Trail to Victoria

Of course, since you're now on an island, you'll need to take a ferry from Victoria to start the coast route. Then you'll use the Black Ball/Coho ferry to get to Port Angeles, WA.

My tip: If you are going to make the point of starting the trip to Victoria, budget in the extra time to explore the San Juan (US) and/or Gulf (Canada) Islands up there. Worth it! There is also some nice exploring to do around Victoria.

Routes / Re: Getting bikes to Canada from California
« on: April 22, 2015, 04:36:49 pm »
You’ve got to respect the 50lb weight limit as well. The weight weenies in Seattle made sure I was aware of this the last time we traveled on Amtrak (and right now it probably is the last time sadly).

I agree that the 50 lb limit is somewhat annoying, but I'd refrain from calling them "weight weenies". I think that limit is in effect because at some small stations, there is only one ticket agent/baggage handler that has to do everything. They want to keep the baggage weight limit reasonable so one person can load/unload a train without help, and at a relatively fast speed, as they're trying to keep a schedule. (Insert snarky joke about Amtrak and schedules here.)

And to note: It's not just Seattle that will weigh bikes, I've had that happen in Portland too. And it doesn't need to be a tandem to tip the scales...

Routes / Re: Getting bikes to Canada from California
« on: April 22, 2015, 02:33:56 pm »
I believe the answer is no for tandems on Amtrak.


From the site: Recumbent, tandem and special bicycles over the standard bicycle dimensions and will not fit in a standard bicycle box are prohibited.

So if you can somehow fit your tandem into the Amtrak bike box, dimensions of 70" x 41" x 8.5", you'll be fine. If not, you're out of luck.

Someone could prove me wrong, but I highly doubt that Greyhound would be any better in regards to a tandem, and the same goes with airlines. You'd probably need a freight service to ship it to Vancouver, which, assuming you are based in the States, would be very expensive.

Hopefully someone who has toured with a tandem can chime in with some advice.

Another thing to note: Hwy 1 starts in Legget, CA, about 200 miles north of San Francisco. In WA, OR, and the rest of northern CA you'll primarily be riding on US 101.

Routes / Re: Touring From Seattle Beginning Early In May
« on: April 20, 2015, 12:09:18 pm »
I am assuming that it will be decently dry east of the Cascades. Is this a bad assumption to be making?

It's a good assumption, but not always true. I did two different tours in Eastern Washington and Oregon, both late May/early June, and encountered more rain than I wished for. Though this year it looks like a better chance of dry.

Is it feasible to bike comfortably in the vicinity of the I-90 corridor from Ellensburg to Seattle if I were to shorten the eastern loop?

Yep! Have you looked into the Iron Horse State Park? It's a rail trail along the old Milwaukee Road that parallels I-90 from outside North Bend to about Ellensburg. And there are several camping opportunities along the way.
Please note that it is gravel, though doable on road bikes (so long as those tires aren't too narrow), and there are a few tunnels they close in the winter.

Routes / Re: Cross-US Trail-Based Route - Feedback Please!
« on: April 19, 2015, 02:04:55 pm »
A nice route west from Council Bluffs is to follow the Platte River to Kearney, NE, where the Oregon Trail route joins the river and follow the Oregon Trail to Portland, OR.

One thing to note if you follow the Columbia westward to the Pacific through the Columbia Gorge: The wind blows predominately from the west in the summer, creating quite a fierce headwind if you're heading westward.

Some challenges on your proposed route:
Journals from riders on the John Wayne/Ironhorse Trail state that much of it is loose ballast.

I got the impression that the OP will be heading west on the Iron Horse from Ellensburg WA to Seattle over Snoqualmie Pass. This is the well-maintained gravel section of the trail, and people regularly ride it on road bikes. The section of the John Wayne east of the Columbia River to the Idaho state line is the unimproved section that has loose ballast and closed trestles.

Routes / Re: Alternative to TransAm for OR to KS
« on: April 13, 2015, 05:46:47 pm »
Are you totally set on riding back? You could do TransAm then Pacific Coast route from Astoria to the Bay Area, then fly/train back to KS.

Routes / Re: Alternative to TransAm for OR to KS
« on: April 13, 2015, 02:01:30 pm »
60 days seems like a tight timeframe for going from KS to OR and back again, but I don't know how many miles a day you average.

If it were me, I'd get all the maps you need in advance, but at the very least get the maps you'll need up until getting to ACA headquarters in Missoula.

Routes / Re: Alternative to TransAm for OR to KS
« on: April 13, 2015, 01:39:42 pm »
What's your timeframe?

From Astoria, going south along the Pacific Coast is nice. But if you intend on biking back to Kansas, unfortunately that means you'd be heading east across the deserts in the middle of summer. What about heading north from Astoria into Washington to ride the Northern Tier, then head back to Kansas via Great Parks to TransAm? Or you could do the Lewis and Clark route that starts in Astoria? That would bring you at least to Kansas City.

Routes / Re: Minnesota to West Coast route options?
« on: April 07, 2015, 08:50:02 pm »
Going into Canada and back to the U.S. is entertaining if for no other reason than to see the different levels of security at the border crosssing. The Canadian officials are friendly Dudley Do-Right, down-home people. The U.S. officials are stern, all business.

I've crossed the border several times, and don't feel it's as cut and dry as Canadian Customs "good", US Customs "bad". I've had good and bad experiences with both. And while it may seem that you'll have a better shot of a "good" interaction at a small, out-of-the-way border crossing, sometimes you'll get that bored, humorless officer on a power trip.

Routes / Re: Seattle to Boise
« on: April 02, 2015, 07:55:24 pm »
You could get the official ODOT map, which shows highways and roads, posted routes, mileage, interstate exit numbers, rest areas, cities, towns, counties, State and Federal lands, water features, parks, campgrounds, airports, lighthouses, fish hatcheries, winter recreation areas, and historic/national trails.

Here's a link to ODOT bike maps:

To note: The print copies of the statewide bike map are currently out of print, and should be back in stock by summer. And they no longer print the Columbia Gorge map. But you can look at the PDFs online.

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