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Messages - adventurepdx

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General Discussion / Re: wild camping in WA, OR and CA
« on: April 14, 2016, 01:44:06 pm »
One big benefit of using the hiker/biker sites is at least during the busy season you'll run into other touring cyclists every night, so it's not like you're travelling alone, even when you are! In fact, if you ride at the same pace as others, you'll end up running into the same people every night.

Of course, if you like being alone, this might be a drawback...

General Discussion / Re: wild camping in WA, OR and CA
« on: April 13, 2016, 10:32:37 pm »
Right.  And showers were only a few quarters 10 years ago all through Oregon and Calif.  For me, that's reason enough to use the campground if one is available, and along the Oregon and Calif coasts, they are very available.

Yes, having the showers as well makes it a slam dunk for me! Though I will note that the showers at Oregon State Parks are free, and have been for quite some time. WA and CA do charge, though.

On an average 60 mile day (with a few exceptions) you'll pass at least one hiker/biker campground, if not two or three.

General Discussion / Re: wild camping in WA, OR and CA
« on: April 13, 2016, 06:34:29 pm »
For Oregon, I know that in some spots it is legal to camp on the beach. But there's a lot of parameters involved. Basically, any spot that WILL be legal to camp on the beach is going to not be easily accesible by road, and probably would mean shlepping a loaded bike along a beach for aways, or through the woods. I think the main idea of legal beach camping in Oregon in the modern era is to give folks who hike the Oregon Coastal Trail a place to camp every night, as there won't always be a state park campground around, esp. in the southern portion of the state. As such, the idea of the free beach camping is designed around through hikers, NOT cyclists.

Here's a good discussion about the legality of camping on beaches in Oregon:

To the OP, if you are willing and skilled in the stealth camping arts, there is nothing stopping you from doing that as you travel the coast. But most likely, you'll be camping illegally, even on the Oregon Coast.

And as others have said before, the frequency and cheapness of hiker-biker campsites along the coast means that you'll really want to be in the idea of stealth camping instead of using the designated spots. For example, I was out at my favorite hiker/biker site at Cape Lookout State Park last week. It's $6 a night (per person) and the campsite is literally a hundred yards from the actual ocean.

General Discussion / Re: Asking too Much?
« on: March 22, 2016, 01:11:14 pm »
I think a lot of what the OP wants hinges on what "local rides" mean. Now if it means roadie style club rides as others speculate, then yeah, a traditional touring bike probably wouldn't be appropriate. But when I heard "local ride", I thought more commuting, or non-competitive recreational rides. For those, a touring bike would be fine. For many years my Long Haul Trucker was my good bike, so I used it for touring, commuting, and other recreational rides. And it worked fine for my needs. Sure, a lighter road bike would have been better for some of the long rides, but I didn't feel that hindered by my choice of the bike.

It's easy to overthink things and feel we need a specialized bike for every different thing we do. But sometimes a good general purpose bike can cover a lot of those bases.

I've only done a little bit of the TA recently, but it was in Oregon last September. Where we were there were fire restrictions because of all the active fires in the state. This was for both the National Forest campsites and all the state parks. Many in our group had Trangia stoves, which was considered "open flame" by one of the camp hosts, so we couldn't use it there. Since you'll be heading east-west, you'll most likely be entering the west when fire season is going, and when there will be open flame restrictions.

So yeah, it might be wise to have a canister back up plan. If you were going west-east, it probably wouldn't be an issue. But I can't tell you for sure.

General Discussion / Re: So I bought a bike now which panniers?
« on: March 19, 2016, 12:49:11 pm »
Like one big pocket and complete waterproofing without added raincovers? Choose Ortileb.

Like lots of pockets to organize your stuff? Choose Arkel.

On a budget? Choose anything else.

Nicely put.

I would that Vaude also makes quality panniers similar in design to Ortlieb.

Agreed on the goodness of John's succinct rundown.  :D
Also to note in the Ortlieb-esque on a budget is Axiom. I had a few of their panniers and they were decent. They also make more Arkel-esque panniers, too.

General Discussion / Re: Bike shops near Seatac airport
« on: March 06, 2016, 01:38:12 pm »
A logistics suggestion from someone who tries to get out west every year and ships his bike: Are you going to be spending the night somewhere in Seattle? If so, you might want to consider looking for a shop that is close to where you will be staying rather than one close to where you will be landing. Seattle has a nice HI hostel in the thick of the city...Also, the hostel is about 2.0 miles from the Seattle REI. Some REI stores will receive and assemble bikes for people who are about to start tours...
If you decide to go that route, I would call sooner than later and get on the schedule. The Missoula REI wanted to have the bike in their hands at least 10 days before my arrival because it gets very busy around that time. I would also make hostel reservations early. When I stayed there in late May of '99 and '00 the place filled up. They are in a different location now, so it may be larger, but I wouldn't chance it.

All good points. I'll add that you can take light rail from SeaTac into central Seattle. The HI-Seattle is just a block away from the lightrail station. And yes, book your stay as early as you can!

General Discussion / Re: Rain gear in the summer: Why carry it at all?
« on: March 06, 2016, 01:34:48 pm »
OK, I'll bite! Here's why ditching rain gear wouldn't work for me, or why I wouldn't do it:
  • I've been on a bike tour in the middle of the continent (so not an oceanic climate) and dealt with at least one day of all day rain, if not more.
  • Sometimes there's no handy shelter available.
  • Sure, I could try to set up a tent fly. But what if we're talking about a good stiff wind? And setting up a tent fly takes longer than grabbing a rain jacket from a bag.
  • And most importantly, good rain gear is an extra layer for when things get cold or go south. When touring on the North Cascades Hwy a few years ago, we got rained on early into our ascent up Sherman Pass, which we never really dried out from. At the top of the pass which is 5575 feet, there was a roadside thermometer reading 40F/4C. Descending from the pass for the next several miles was cold enough, but would have been a lot worse if we didn't have the raingear for warmth and windbreak.

I know raingear seems useless if there's no rain, but it's great to have it if/when you need it!

Routes / Re: TransAm Summer 2017
« on: February 25, 2016, 09:40:52 pm »
To the OP: I think two months is plenty of time to do a really good (and far!) tour at a 60 mile a day pace (plus a break day at least once a week.) You could head west from your home and hook up with the Northern Tier, which is a bit faster than the Trans-Am. And the scenery in the mountains is no slouch, either!

I think the concern shared with myself is others is: We want you to have a good time. A bike tour in itself is hard enough, so there's really no need to make it even harder than it should be. If anything, we want to make sure you enjoy yourself, and come back again at some point for another tour. Trying to do about 150 miles a day may mean you ride a few days, get frustrated, then go home, vowing never to tour again. I don't want that. I want you to get out there and see stuff by bike!  :D

Routes / Re: TransAm Summer 2017
« on: February 24, 2016, 03:29:51 pm »
Yeah, I agree with John and Nyimbo.

To the OP, if you look at the travelogues of those who have toured cross country, you'll find few that average 100 or more miles a day. They are out there, but they are not the majority. And those that you find will be more on the low side, say 100 or 110 miles a day. Not many who would push 150 miles a day. I remember reading about someone who did, but he was like an ultramarathoner or something and also travelled light. Going fully loaded would be quite the burden going that speed.

And you'll find very few that did 100 or more miles a day AND did the tour as an out-and-back. In fact, the guy John mentions is the only one I ever heard that did it.

So what you are proposing isn't technically impossible, but you should realize that what you want to do is very tough. And while though you could train for it between now and next summer, realize that what you want to do is more in the realm of endurance athletes.

I've been commuting by bike each day for 15 years, and touring for over 10. I shoot for an average of 60 miles a day, which is what many folks do. I have pulled 100 mile days, but that's not every day.

Routes / Re: Canada to Mexico from mid february, which way?
« on: February 20, 2016, 02:22:47 pm »
Maybe rather than just look at the weather today, go back and look at the climate normals for each city/region...Also check out any stations you can find in the higher elevations (e.g., Banff or Canmore just west of Calgary) if you are looking to cross any mountains. Probably not advisable from about mid-October onwards for the northern Rockies.

I did look at the weather, but it doesn't help me well. I saw only sun and rain no snow, around 9°C. Rain like 2mm it's not that much, so anyway it give idea but nothing like real information from local.

Yep to that. Look at what the normal weather is for a particular place for a particular month. Wikipedia is a good spot, since they usually have climate summaries for major cities.

For example, for February, the average high in Vancouver, BC is 8.2C/46.8F, the average low is 4.9C/40.8F, and average rainfall is 98.9mm/3.894in. Not horrible, but not great either. Here in Portland, OR, it's slightly better with an average high temp of 51F/10C  and an average 3.68in/93.5mm of rain.

Factor in short days where it may rain on and off all day, ending up at a wet campround by 4pm so you can set up before dark, long dark nights, and gear and clothing being damp all the time because you'll never get enough time to dry them out. I ride all year in Portland, and I don't mind riding in the rain, but I end up in a warm and dry house every day.  ;D

Also, another thing to note is that the inland cities will be DRIER than the actual coast. That's because the Coast Range/Olympic Mtns/Vancouver Island mountains block a good deal of the precipitation from hitting the inland. But the coast gets the brunt. For example, Astoria, Oregon is on the coast about 160km/100mi from Portland. The average high temp for February is 51F/10C, but the rain is 7.19 in/182.6. That's DOUBLE of what you'd see in already damp Vancouver! And Forks, WA on the Olympic coast gets 10.35 inches/262.9mm in February!

And finally, the prevailing wind along the coast in the winter is from the southwest. If you head south, it means you'll likely be getting a headwind the whole time.

This is what you'd face with a bike tour down the Northwest Coast in February. Sure, you will get some good days, but the odds are that you will see more bad days.

Routes / Re: Canada to Mexico from mid february, which way?
« on: February 18, 2016, 09:48:11 pm »
...Its upper 40s for high temps and rain a few days.  About what you can expect in Vancouver from November to February.  Maybe a bit colder in Vancouver and little more snow that rain.  Vancouver is on the ocean so gets the warming effect from the ocean water.  Vancouver hosted the winter Olympics in 2010 so they must get some kind of winter weather.

Vancouver is a lot like Seattle and Portland in the winter. Freezes are on the rare side, along with snow in the lower elevations. It's going to pretty much be rain going along the coast. There is the chance of hitting snow in the mountains, even the relatively lower ones. For instance, it snows fairly frequently at the low elevation passes going from Portland to the Coast.

(And if you are wondering why they'd hold a Winter Olympics in a place that doesn't really see snow, it's because the mountains with lots of snow are so close to Vancouver.)

General Discussion / Re: State Park Camping
« on: February 13, 2016, 01:43:20 pm »
Are you sure that's true, even in Michigan? Have you seen that policy in writing?

Adventure Cycling talked about Michigan's (and other state's) no-turn-away policy on the blog:

General Discussion / Re: Juneau - Seattle
« on: February 13, 2016, 01:35:16 pm »
Anyone cycled BC much? I was hoping to check out Whistler for some downhill as well to be honest...I've done a couple of big tours (Transam, Pacific Coast) so know the day to day issues with touring but BC is really drawing me in...

I haven't done that much touring in BC besides the coastal areas. That's definitely a cool place with a decent amount of services, but don't know if that's what you are going for. If you are set on BC, then that's what you should aim for! But it is possible to incorporate the Icefields Parkway into a BC tour, if you started from Jasper, then headed south, then west. And as said previously, the Icefields are nice...

General Discussion / Re: Juneau - Seattle
« on: February 06, 2016, 01:12:33 pm »
PS - You can ride the Canadian Rockies staying in hostels every 30 miles/50 km.

Yep, you can do that! I did that when I toured the Icefields in 2011. Most of them are spaced 20 miles apart, though the longest stretch was about 40 miles. But most of the hostels are very rustic, with outhouses, no electricity, or showers. And while there are some private rooms, they are mostly bunks. You do need to book in advance, though, as those hostels fill up regularly during the short summer.

The Icefields Parkway and the rest of the Canadian Rockies are a beautiful spot to tour.

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