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Messages - adventurepdx

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196
Routes / Re: Vancouver to Los Angeles
« on: February 25, 2012, 03:31:32 am »
Am I missing much if I skip Washington and start in Oregon?  I would love to keep this around three weeks if possible.

Depends on who you ask and what you want to do. My short answer if you want to keep the route to three weeks and see as much of the actual Pacific Coast as possible, then yes, start in Oregon.

There are two "main" Coast Routes, the Peninsula and the Inland. The Peninsula route starts in the NE part of the Olympic Peninsula (Port Townsend/Angeles), heads west than south along the Olympic Peninsula. The Inland route goes through the Puget Sound region. Depending on whose Inland routing you use (either the Kirkendall/Spring Bicycling the Pacific Coast book or ACA's Pacific Coast Route), you can join up with the Peninsula route around Aberdeen (Kirkendall/Spring) or near Astoria (ACA).

The Peninsula Route to me is worth it if you can invest the time and energy into getting off the main road (US 101) and explore Olympic National Park. But these explorations mean side-trips anywhere from 10 to 40 miles round-trip to see things like the Hoh Rain Forest and Sol Duc Hot Springs. 101 itself stays inland north of Aberdeen so you'll see very little of the coast. South of Aberdeen 101 stays nearer to the coast.

While the inland routes go through some lovely countryside and you'll see quite a bit of the Puget Sound or Hood Canal (depending on the route), you don't see the actual ocean. But it is more direct than taking the Peninsula route.

What do you think your daily mileage will look like?

197
General Discussion / Re: Travel info Portland to Seattle
« on: February 24, 2012, 03:44:07 pm »
If you're going to use the ACA Pacific Coast Route from Vancouver BC to get to Portland, you can deviate from the route at Castle Rock, Washington. From Castle Rock to Kelso, where this route into Portland begins:
http://www.bikely.com/maps/bike-path/Vancouver-to-Longview-WA
you can use SR 411, the Westside Highway. It's got low-to-moderate traffic but no shoulder (traffic picks up closer to Kelso/Longview.)

Or you can use this route that uses the east side of the Cowlitz River:
http://maps.google.com/maps?saddr=ph+10+and+hwy+411+castle+rock+wa&daddr=1st+and+allen+kelso+wa&hl=en&ll=46.213457,-122.887917&spn=0.051315,0.110378&sll=46.213655,-122.90048&sspn=0.20526,0.441513&geocode=FegbwgIdOHCs-CnF9ea1IwyUVDGG6_BxNP_MUw%3BFRAgwAIdnnKs-CktUOeavmyUVDH1-h_Qn6_kdw&dirflg=b&mra=ltm&t=m&z=13&lci=bike

I've done both routes. They're approximately the same length, 10-12 miles. The advantage to the 411/Westside route is it is more direct (one road) and shorter (10.5 miles). The advantage to the eastside route is less traffic and more scenic.

Have a fun ride!

198
Routes / Re: Vancouver to Los Angeles
« on: February 22, 2012, 02:16:00 pm »
1) How long would this take? The route says roughly 1800miles but with all the hills, etc... am I looking at 3 weeks roughly?

Three weeks would be quite ambitious in my opinion, unless you were mostly pulling centuries each day and not taking any break days. When I did a coast tour several years back it took me a little under two weeks to get from Tillamook, Oregon (about 100 miles south of the OR/WA line) to San Francisco. I would say at least a month, but if I were doing it again I would take 5-6 weeks, allowing for more off days. I can't really answer this question without knowing what kind of rider you are and your touring style. (Do you like long days? Don't want to stop much? Bike loaded like a pack mule or going ultralight?)

3) I have all the gear..  any idea how much a trip like this would cost? I'd prefer to wild camp / warmshowers as much as possible... but also okay to pay for camping when needed.  I'm just looking for a ballpark figure.

In Oregon, most state park campgrounds have hiker/biker sites, which are reserved exclusively for non-motorized travellers. These typically run $5 a night per person, hot shower included.

199
General Discussion / Re: Travel info Portland to Seattle
« on: February 22, 2012, 01:51:34 pm »
Have to disagree with the two previous posters.  I thought the STP was a great route and would do it again.  Most was rural with regular friendly small towns.

I never said I didn't like the STP routing. (Well, I'm not particularly fond of the urban stretch from Spanaway to Seattle.) I just said it wasn't thrilling, compared to say, the Oregon Coast or Columbia Gorge, two other rides in the vicinity. For me, riding the direct route between Portland and Seattle is usually more a matter of getting from point A to point B than the ride itself. But to each their own.

To mix it up a bit, one could take the ACA Pacific Coast Route from Castle Rock to Centralia. It stays east of I-5, whereas the STP stays west. It's pretty similar scenery, but has the advantage of going right past Lewis and Clark State Park, which has a hiker/biker site. Watch out for the dogs, though.

If I were to do it again any time soon, I would definitely try to integrate Vashon Island into the route like waynemyer suggests, or going for a easterly path along the Cascades like bogiesan proposes.

200
Routes / Re: Start date suggestions for Pacific Coast (north to south)
« on: February 21, 2012, 10:54:37 pm »
Generally yes, the winds are still coming from the north that time of year. I started my Coast tour (Tillamook, OR south to San Luis Obispo) I started in mid-September and don't remember headwinds. If it's stormy, however, the winds tend to come out of the south. September is generally not a stormy month, October is when the weather generally starts to turn.

Note how often I've said "generally". ;-)

201
General Discussion / Re: Travel info Portland to Seattle
« on: February 21, 2012, 12:07:12 pm »
The STP is a mostly drab route, but there are some changes you can make to the route to enhance it. Taking the reverse of the STP brings you along OR-30 and over the Longview bridge, which is not really a pleasant experience. OR-30 has a wide shoulder, but it is highway.

I suggest going over the I-205 or I-5 bridge into Vancouver and riding north on the WA side...Prepare for damp conditions that time of year and expect a prevailing northerly wind.

Second the STP routing. It's the most direct way between the two cities. As waynemyer states, it isn't a particularly thrilling route, but I don't think any direct bike route between Seattle and Portland is going to be more exciting. I like it o.k. but it's a mix of woods, farms, and small towns, at least until you reach Seattle metro area around Spanaway. (You really don't encounter Portland's suburban sprawl using US 30.) And it's fairly flat to rolling, with only a couple decent hills.

I rode the Longview (Lewis and Clark) Bridge once and wouldn't do it again. Long, steep, narrow, littered with logging debris. The routing to avoid it and get over the Washington side is here:
http://www.bikely.com/maps/bike-path/Vancouver-to-Longview-WA
It's pretty low traffic and rolling for the most part, using quite a bit of old US 99. However, there is a monster of a hill north of Woodland, between mileposts 27 and 31 on the map. Since I-5 plowed over old US 99 here, this is the only way around it, unless you hop on I-5 for this section (yes, it's legal.)

As for wind, I've ridden northbound this way in May/June and didn't remember much of a headwind. The wind inland isn't as bad as the coast. Of course I say that now and the next time I ride this I'll get the fierce headwind.

202
Routes / Re: Trail of the Coeur d'Alenes
« on: February 20, 2012, 03:45:42 pm »
We did basically what you are looking at last year. From Missoula to the Trail of the Coeur d'Alenes, as far as I could tell there's really no great way. We used I-90 from Mullan, ID (east end of the trail) to Missoula for the most part. Where we could get off the interstate and use parallel roads we did, but there are sections where it didn't seem possible, like the 30 odd miles from Lookout Pass to St. Regis. There is the old rail-grade that goes over Lookout Pass that we could have possibly used, but since no one could give us a straight answer as to what condition it was in (we knew it was unpaved, but didn't know how graded it would be) we just took I-90 over the pass. You could use MT 135/MT 200/US 93 to get from Missoula to St. Regis, but it would be longer and you would still need to use I-90 from St. Regis to Mullan.

Westward from the Trail of the Coeur d'Alenes, the route we took departed the trail at Harrison, ID, headed north on ID 97 on the east shore of Coeur d'Alene lake to where it intersected I-90, got on the freeway for a couple miles, and then got off to follow the Centennial Trail through Coeur d'Alene city into Spokane. From Spokane northward we used US 395 to connect to the Northern Tier/WA 20 at Colville. (Note: when we did this trip we were travelling west-east.)

Choosing the Colville-Spokane-Coeur d'Alene-Missoula route required us to make some compromises, like quite a bit of freeway riding in Montana. We found it tolerable, if not perfect riding. Thankfully the scenery was beautiful and the traffic not so bad. Others might not like it.

203
General Discussion / Re: Communications on tour
« on: February 19, 2012, 04:20:42 pm »
This why, I suggest voting for the preferred method (as in the original posting).

Oops. Sorry Lucas, missed that one from the OP. Went back and voted for my primary means of communications.

It would be interesting if a poll could be "weighted", as one can make different choices but rate it 1, 2, 3 by how often used.

I found that I used the internet as the prime means of communicating with folks on my summer tour last year, but that was if these were people that I was visiting down the road, and if there was enough time (a few days) that I could assure a timely response. Sometimes I'd use my cell if I was only a day or two away. This wasn't always possible since we were in a couple Canadian provinces where I had no coverage whatsoever. (This was the first time I had to use a pay phone in a long time and I couldn't believe how expensive it was!)

But if I was communicating with people back home, I would often write postcards.

204
Routes / Re: Libby to Kalispell on Rt #2 OK to ride?
« on: February 19, 2012, 01:21:36 am »
My personal opinion is that U.S. 2 was fine from Columbia Falls into West Glacier.  NT routes you on a beautiful back road that turns into a rough gravel road.  No thanks, that part needs at least front suspension.

When did you ride that? We (April and myself) rode that part of the NT/Great Parks North last summer (July) and the unpaved section was fine with our bikes. It was mostly hard packed dirt. Neither of us had front suspension, and also had front bags. We were running 32mm/35mm tires. April didn't mind that section, and she HATES gravel.

205
Connecting ACA Routes / Re: Seattle to Northern Tier
« on: February 16, 2012, 02:59:36 pm »
Stopping at South Whidbey State Park is a great option but if one wanted a few more miles camping at Deception Pass State Park is another great place. That puts you right on the edge of Fidalgo Island and you could easily start the Northern Tier from that point (it'd only add maybe 15 miles).

Agreed that Deception Pass is a good place to camp! They have hiker/biker spots in the main Cranberry Lake campground south of the pass. (The park straddles both sides of the pass.) It's okay, but there's the constant drone from Whidbey Island Naval Air Station and aggressive raccoons. I prefer the Bowman Bay campground on the north side of the pass. While there is no dedicated hiker/biker sites, it's a smaller campground and you get great views of Bowman Bay. This was the photo from our campsite:


And info on Deception Pass here:http://www.parks.wa.gov/parks/?selectedpark=deception%20pass&subject=all

And Itinerant Harper, that revised route you posted looks really good!

206
Connecting ACA Routes / Re: Seattle to Northern Tier
« on: February 15, 2012, 02:54:13 pm »
There is a mostly pretty great ride from Seatac to Anacortes. It's a bit over a hundred miles, so if you can do that in a day, then you can. Otherwise there are places to camp on Whidbey Island at roughly the half-way point (South Whidbey Island State Park).  This Google Maps route is pretty close to what I'd do though definitely with some tweaks: http://g.co/maps/59uyk

Here's the route with some of those tweaks that adds about 5 miles, but adds some very scenic, lower traffic riding on Whidbey and Fidalgo Islands: http://g.co/maps/nkh7q

I've ridden much of that same route, and can attest to its pretty greatness. The section of the Interurban Trail north of Shoreline can be a little grating, though.

On Whidbey Island you can detour off of SR 520 a little bit north of Freeland and use Bush Point/Smugglers Cove Road. Gets you away from the traffic for a bit, and it's not too hilly. South Whidbey Island State Park is on this detour, so it's a good camping option.

Regarding the two options on north Whidbey, I've done both. I would take the "detour Oak Harbor" option the next time. While it is much hillier and a tad longer, the traffic is minimal and the views great. The through Oak Harbor route is shorter and flatter, but Oak Harbor drivers...eh. This was the only place where I got honked/yelled at from my last tour between Portland and Vancouver BC.

207
General Discussion / Re: Communications on tour
« on: February 15, 2012, 02:38:54 pm »
Wish there was a way to choose multiple choices on the poll. Since there isn't:
I use a "normal" cell phone, plus iPod Touch (internet). For the long tour I did last year, we brought a netbook so we could write long blog posts and all that. But for anything short, I wouldn't bother.

208
Gear Talk / Re: touring bags
« on: February 10, 2012, 11:07:56 pm »
(a) Never heard of that manufacturer.

Looks like Racktime is a subsidiary of Tubus.
http://www.racktime.com/en/about-us/who-is-behind-racktime

I've seen some Racktime bags in bike shops. They look decent, but I've never tested them.
But if they're built as well as Tubus racks, they're probably some pretty decent bags!

209
General Discussion / Re: NEW BICYCLE QUESTIONS
« on: February 10, 2012, 02:22:05 pm »
Regarding the original posters plan for taking Amtrak from Michigan to Everett, WA: As far as I know, none of the trains that service Michigan have checked baggage service, nor allow regular sized bikes on board (no "roll-on" service):
http://www.amtrak.com/servlet/ContentServer?c=AM_Route_C&pagename=am%2FLayout&cid=1241245664519
http://www.amtrak.com/servlet/ContentServer?c=Page&pagename=am%2FLayout&cid=1241337895554

You may have to ride/get a ride to Chicago, South Bend IN, or Toledo. These stations have checked baggage.

You could get on one of the Michigan trains with a folding bike, though.

210
Routes / Re: Best Novice Route Under 500 Miles
« on: February 02, 2012, 08:50:15 pm »
Within those parameters, what route would you nominate as the epic ride?

Well, I wouldn't go as far as "epic", as my West Coast acclimated head associates epic biking with lots and lots of mountains. But for "pretty darn good" bike touring for someone who doesn't want to deal with mountains and who wants to be near facilities, I'd recommend checking out some of the long-distance bike trails in the Upper Midwest, particularly in Minnesota and Wisconsin. Since most of these are rail-trails, they are flat or have gentle inclines, and are either paved or have crushed limestone.

I can't think of any of these paths are over 100 miles, but you could always string together a few different routes to give longer rides. I've ridden a few, like the Munger Trail in northeastern Minnesota, the Elroy-Sparta and other linked trails in southwestern Wisconsin, and the Glacial Drumlin in southeastern Wisconsin. I'd like to ride them again at some point!
http://mntrails.com/
http://www.dnr.state.wi.us/org/land/parks/trails/bike.html

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