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Messages - adventurepdx

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Yes on waterproofing any/everything. Ortliebs would be a good investment for that time of year!

Olympic Hot Springs Road from the 101 junction to (what's left of) Lake Mills is flat to rolling. Going beyond Lake Mills to Olympic Hot Springs is a constant steep upgrade, at least 8% if not more. I didn't take the side trip to Sol Duc so can't speak for that. The side trip to La Push is fairly flat, and the road to the Hoh Rainforest is rolling.

Routes / Re: Another Great Parks North Ques...
« on: January 29, 2012, 08:05:57 pm »
Hey Scott!
My girlfriend April and I rode out this way last July as part of our cross-con trip. I can give you my impression of Canmore-Waterton Lakes via the east side, but don't have the experience of the west side to compare.

We used Great Parks North from Glacier NP to Waterton Lakes NP,* then north up to Pincher Creek and Alberta Route 3/Crownsnest Highway. We diverged from the Great Parks North route just west of Lundbreck and headed north on Route 22, the Cowboy Trail and took that north to Black Diamond where we headed east to Okotoks and then Calgary. You could continue north on 22 from Black Diamond and then either take 1 (Trans-Canada Hwy) or 1A west into Canmore.

22/Cowboy Trail was some nice riding. Alberta's major highways all feature nice wide and paved shoulders, yet traffic was pretty moderate here. The terrain is rolling, with a couple of climbs, nothing too bad. Scenery is a mix of grasslands and ranches with some woodland interspersed, and great views of the Rockies. And there are a couple campgrounds along 22, the bigger one being at Chain Lakes.

The one thing to note about this route is the lack of services for the most part.  There are no towns between the 22/3 junction and Longview, which is about 110 km or 65 miles. No people either but lots and lots of cattle! You would need to stock up on stuff at Lundbreck (but since it's a very small town, the best supplying up is in Pincher Creek with a supermarket and Wallyworld) including water. There are a couple campgrounds along the route, but the one furthest south has non-potable water. Chain Lakes has potable water, a soda machine, and a snack bar that is open sporadically. The Bar U Ranch, a historic ranch site, is south of Longview and has gift shop and snack bar as well.

And you would pass by a mile or so long fence with hats on the posts.

Here's basically what the Cowboy Trail looks like:

1A west of Calgary wasn't bad. There's a section of no shoulder for about 15 miles we were warned about, but barely any traffic (as most through traffic uses the Trans-Canada west of Cochrane) so not too bad. A few places to camp along the route as well.

The other route between the Crowsnest Hwy and Canmore would be 40/Kananaskis Trail, which is west of 22. It's supposed to be more rugged and hilly, with a long section of gravel and even less in the way of services. But it's supposed to be really beautiful. Next time if I go through this area I might try it.

*Even though the main part of Waterton Lakes is a bit off route, I would advise you to take the detour, it's worth it!

r2thekesh, going north from Vancouver to Powell River takes 2-3 days at that mileage. It isn't boring, though you don't get many great views of the water. Going down Vancouver Island isn't bad either. But there are no ferry options between Langdale (port of entry to the Sunshine Coast) and Powell River to Vancouver Island. So you'd basically have to turn around if you got bored/tired of it.

As veloveg says, there will be plenty of rain in March, but if you can deal with that, you should be fine. Some campgrounds might not be open yet, so be prepared. As for Olympic National Park, much of the good stuff is anywhere from 10 to 20 miles one-way off route, so if you want to see all of this stuff, be prepared to take it slow through this area and do a lot of side trips.

There are several good breweries along the coast! I'm not too familiar with anything in Washington in that area (I'm guessing Port Angeles will have something), but there are a few good ones to recommend when you get to Oregon: Fort George in Astoria, Pelican Bay in Pacific City and Rogue in Newport.

Routes / Re: pacific coast- astoria, OR to San Diego, CA
« on: January 26, 2012, 08:51:01 pm »
I haven't toured the Pacific Coast in April, but my roommate did years ago. (Actually, he started in late March, but still...) He encountered quite a bit of rain on the trip, at least the Astoria/San Francisco portion. April is a transitory weather month on that part of the coast: expect to see rain. You might luck out and get more nice weather than not, but chances are you'll be running into a few storms coming from the south (headwind) or days that go through a cycle of clouds/wind/hail/rain/sun/repeat about every two hours. The weather will be cool: probably a high of 50-60F (10-16C) and lows around 40F (4C).

Looking at the raw numbers you could pull off three weeks of 60 mile days , as it's about 1,200 miles between Astoria and San Diego. But this won't allow for any time off, so you can't wait out a day if the weather's bad, mechanical issues, or if you wanted to take a day off to either rest or see stuff, like explore San Francisco or hike in the redwoods. Do you have to do it in three weeks? If you have the flexibility I'd suggest budgeting for longer. Or if you have only three weeks to spare, maybe a shorter route, say Astoria/SF.

General Discussion / Re: Favorite Eating Spots
« on: January 26, 2012, 12:07:51 am »
On the NT in Washington, the food co-op in Tonakset (in the Okanogan Valley) was definitely an oasis.
And it's right on route!

General Discussion / Re: Must have iPhone apps
« on: January 26, 2012, 12:02:21 am »
I have an iPod Touch, but the apps are the same.
I second track my tour. And warmshowers! And the HI app.

My favorite app was the sunrise/sunset one. It is really useful to know exactly when the sun is going to set! Mine was different than the one shown by Joe B, but any that you find should work. At least find one with GPS ability, because there can be areas without cell reception and/or wifi.

Other useful to semi-useful ones:

Amtrak: If you're going to use the train in the US.

USPS: Locates nearby post offices, provides hours, even tells you where blue mailboxes are! Can also calculate postage.

Bike shops USA: locates bike shops within a certain radius.

Oh, Ranger! Park Finder: finds state/national parks in the area. Can be filtered to find which ones offer camping.

Free Wifi: maps out where free wifi hotspots are. Because using an app to find wifi isn't useful if you don't have wifi, it saves information.

REI: because you know you'll end up there at some point!

Allstays Camp/Tent: This one you have to pay for (it's $5 I believe) but will show where tent camping is available. I found it was so-so. The good: it saves info so you can use it while off-line. The bad: not as extensive as I hoped it would be. I found it was more useful to pick up a free lodging/camping publication from the state/provincial welcome center. Yeah, it weighs more. But there were times I found things listed there that weren't on the app. And when you leave the state/province you can recycle it.

Moon: Moonrise/set, what phase it's in, etc. Not essential, but I found cool.

Connecting ACA Routes / Re: Seattle to Northern Tier
« on: January 23, 2012, 11:35:29 pm »
Glad to hear that it all turned out well, Matt!
That route from Seattle to the NT looks interesting, esp. since it uses the east side of the Metro area. Have to try it out sometime.

General Discussion / Re: TRANSPORTING A BIKE ON A BUS
« on: January 18, 2012, 12:34:55 am »
For those folks suggesting train: as far as I know, the only (only) Amtrak train that crosses the US/Canada border that allows trains is the Cascades train that runs from Vancouver BC to Seattle/Portland/Eugene. That's it. (VIA Rail does not cross the border.) No train that departs from Toronto or Montreal will get you across the border with a bike. That includes the Adirondack (Montreal-NYC), Maple Leaf (Toronto-NYC), or the Vermonter (bus from Montreal to St Albans, VT, train rest of way south Springfield-New Haven-NYC-DC). The Vermonter used to have a baggage car that allowed unboxed bicycles along with skis, but it got dropped many years ago.

If you got to either Albany or Buffalo, you can take the Lake Shore Limited, which has baggage service for a boxed bike. But you'd still have to get to Albany or Buffalo first.

More on bikes and Amtrak here:

General Discussion / Re: Crossing Canadian Border
« on: January 16, 2012, 12:58:51 pm »
I've crossed the border many times and have had the gamut of experiences from good to bad, nice border guard to surly. And that's for both US and Canadian officials. Sometimes border guards at rural less-trafficked crossings tend to be real nice, and sometimes they're real jerks. There doesn't seem to be any "rule" that if you go with a "smaller" crossing you'll get better service, or vise versa. And this goes for crossing on bike, in a car, or on a train/bus.

My bit of advice (other than seconding mdxix re: green food) is have your itinerary through Canada formulated in your head before you get to the border crossing. From what I gathered through travelling 'cross the border is that Canadian Customs/Immigration is most worried about you coming into the country, staying indefinitely, and mooching off of their social services. They want to hear that you'll be in Canada for x days, and only x days. So be ready to answer how long you'll be in the country and where you plan to exit back into the US. I know things can change a little, but having an itinerary you can rattle off makes them feel more confident about you being in their country. If you are flying or taking the train out of the country, it's good to have a printed itinerary or ticket to show them (if they ask.)

Also: don't make them suspicious that you'll be looking for work in Canada. If you say that you are unemployed or "freelance" anything you may face resistance.

You will definitely need a passport or passport card to enter into Canada and to return into the US. The passport card is a drivers license sized card that can serve as passport while travelling by land or water to other North American countries. And it's a lot cheaper than a regular passport. But it is only good for surface transport to a country like Canada, so if you had plans to fly out of Canada at the end, you'll need a regular passport.

Routes / Re: Pacific Coast Route
« on: December 17, 2011, 10:20:00 pm »
S'pose I'll toss in my experience as well...The one thing you are guaranteed of, following the WA coast, is the likelihood of rain...IMO, the WA coast, such as it is, can be an amazing place. There are stretches of clear cut that will bore you and ancient rain forest that will amaze you. How much of this you get to see will depend on your time frame and willingness to explore.

I agree with cgargh. Going the "long way" around the Olympic Peninsula can be great, but the key thing is to plan on exploring off the route. My girlfriend and I did an Olympic Peninsula tour in July of 2010. It was awesome! We planned on exploring as much of the area as possible. There are not that many things in Olympic National Park easily accessible from US 101 (the main route). Lake Crescent, Lake Quinault, and the beaches around Kalaloch come to mind. Everything else is a 10 to 20 mile (15 to 30 km) one-way side trip off the route. If you don't take the time to take side trips to places like Olympic Hot Springs, Sol Duc Hot Springs, Ruby Beach, or the Hoh Rain Forest, you'll mostly see various stages of forest, a couple small towns, and not much else. (101 stays inland except for the section around Kalaloch.)

And we managed to hit it off with weather--we had no rain on the trip. That was late July, though. September should have some rain.

General Discussion / Re: 100 dollar bills too large?
« on: December 10, 2011, 08:06:07 pm »
A real problem with $100 bills is that they are the most widely counterfeited US currency.

I've heard the opposite. $20s are the most counterfeited.
I'm guessing the 20 dollar bill is the most counterfeited because pretty much everyone takes them, as anything over it elicits suspicion.

But back to $100 bills. One reason not pointed out why small businesses don't like $100s (or $50s) is because many don't have a lot of smaller change on hand (often to discourage hold-ups.) If someone walks in to a country store and only buys $4 of goods, then pays with a $100 bill, then the store would have to give out $96 in change. Then they'd have a $100 bill on hand and little change. The store could be a distance from the bank, or it's a weekend when banks are closed, or there's change in the safe that only the manager/owner has access to and she/he is not there that day, etc. That's why some stores don't accept large bills.

Routes / Re: Best way (cheapest) to get bike and gear to the route start
« on: November 19, 2011, 11:08:56 pm »
Yeah it's weird.  The website says Providence definitely has checked baggage and I even called and they said bike boxes and checked baggage is available, yet when I go to the booking page for train trips...none of the trains offer checked baggage.  Couldn't get to the bottom of it either.

Train 67, a Northeast Regional, departs Providence at 10:22pm, arrives at New York-Penn Stn. at 2:20 am. Has checked baggage service. So you could get on that train and lay over for hours in New York, or ship the bike ahead of you, like a day in advance.

Routes / Re: Best way (cheapest) to get bike and gear to the route start
« on: November 18, 2011, 05:50:44 pm »
I have looked into Amtrak but for some reason the station in Providence, RI doesn't have baggage so I would need a ride to Penn Station in NY.

Are you sure about that? The Amtrak website shows Providence as having checked baggage service AND bike boxes for sale:

And if for some reason the site is lying, I can think of a closer station than New York Penn that has baggage service: Boston South Station.

One thing to note, however, the last time I used checked baggage on the Northeast Corridor north/east of NYC, they only have one train a day that offers checked baggage, and it's an overnight train. So you might have to go down to the station a day early to pack and ship your bike, so your bike will be ready and waiting for you in New York where you'd transfer to a Florida-bound train. Don't know if that would be better or worse than getting a ride all the way to NYC.

General Discussion / Re: Banff to San Francisco
« on: October 18, 2011, 08:07:59 pm »
syndrome, as for the camping, will you be staying in regular campgrounds or stealth camping? I'm figuring that a lot of the campgrounds in the high country will be closed in April. And have you done winter (snow) camping/tenting before?

General Discussion / Re: Banff to San Francisco
« on: October 16, 2011, 06:20:15 pm »
Banff to SF would be a lot of fun. I've done portions of what you describe.

However, how committed are you to starting in April? And how prepared are you for dealing with winter riding?
Banff and the Rockies are still going to be snowy and cool. Heading west from there you will will probably hit more snowy passes that early that early in the season (like Lolo). Not to mention that Going-To-The-Sun Road in Glacier Park (Montana) will most likely be still closed for the season. (This year it didn't even open until Mid-July!)

Once you get to the lower elevations on the Lewis and Clark heading towards towards the coast, things will be warmer. But spring comes late to the high country.

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