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Messages - adventurepdx

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General Discussion / Re: Amtrack Question Seattle Area
« on: March 07, 2012, 10:40:06 pm »
Those buses take boxed bikes, so shouldn't be a problem. In fact, the bus drivers prefer it that way and may give you crap if the bikes are unboxed.

As for Pacific Central/Vancouver, the neighborhood is on the edge of the Downtown Eastside area which is Vancouver's "sketchy" zone. I've been at that station late at night and never had any issues, though. Just keep your wits about you. And I haven't had problems riding through that area at night, but not knowing which way you'll be heading from the station, I can't give you a more definite answer.

General Discussion / Re: Affordable/free camping idea
« on: March 06, 2012, 07:55:10 pm »
While I think this is a cool concept, I tend to agree with others here that the logistics/money would not make this practical.

If we are to assume this is a nationwide network in the US, this would take a lot of cash to buy up even small parcels of land to have these bicyclist campgrounds. And even with the campgrounds being low impact, there are maintenance fees. And if it was a membership-based organization, how big of an organization would it have to be to make it feasible, and how much would dues be?

Let's take ACA as an example: in 2011, there are 43,550 members. If this non-profit organization were to be as big as Adventure Cycling, and membership dues were $40/year which is ACA's base member rate, this would mean $1,742,000 in yearly income for the organization. There would most likely be other revenue streams etc, but how far would about two million dollars a year go towards acquiring land, building campsites, maintaining them, etc?

This concept might work better on a smaller scale, local level, and partnered up with a like-minded organizaton. I know in Mt. Hood National Forest a group set up a series of "Bike Huts" for mountain bikers.

I think the best idea is encourage those organizations that are already set up for camping, like state parks, to develop hiker/biker sites either in already existing campgrounds or in other lands they own. Or get more of these small towns along ACA routes and in popular touring to allow free/nominal fee camping in their town parks.

I also agree that warmshowers is a great resource and the fear of trusting strangers is overblown. We stayed with quite a few warmshowers hosts on our trip last year, and most hosts were good to great. We had a couple less-than-stellar stays, but nothing along the line of fearing for our safety.

Classifieds / SOLD! North St. Bags "Route 7" Pannier Set
« on: March 04, 2012, 04:20:26 am »
These bags have already been sold, thanks!

I'm selling a set of North St. Bags Route 7 panniers. These panniers are hand-made here in Portland by Curtis Williams. They are basic touring panniers in an "Ortlieb" roll-top style. I have owned these panniers for about a year, and they served me well on my Cross-Con Tour. They are still in decent shape! (See below for pics.)

The official description and specs:
A simple, lightweight, waterproof pannier with a simple yet secure roll-top closure. The tapered shape allows for easier access, and a reduced change of heel-strike.
  • waterproof liner
  • d-ring tabs to add a shoulder strap
  • reflectors and blinky loops for visibility
Most of the materials in the bags are manufactured in the USA.

Size (individual bag):
6″ x 9″ (15cm x 23 cm) at the base, it tapers up to 6″ x 12″ (15cm x 30cm)
Stands 15″ (38cm) tall (not including the roll top extension).
1080 cubic inches (around 17.7 liters)

There's nothing wrong with these panniers. I'm just purging them from my collection because I don't need this size of pannier right now.

Price: $65 USD for the set. I'm not interested in selling them individually at this point.
This price is less than a single one new!

Available for local pick-up in Portland, Oregon. Shipping cost to be determined on location.

Routes / Re: Pittsburgh to Washington, DC
« on: March 01, 2012, 03:19:16 pm »
Great Allegheny Passage and C & O Canal Path trails:

I have not ridden them, though plan on at some point. Sure others here can chime in with first-hand experience.

Routes / Re: Trail of the Coeur d'Alenes
« on: February 27, 2012, 12:43:11 am »
The next day I road the trail and camped at a campground west of Kellog near a town that started with an "E"

That would be Enaville.

The next day I rode over Thompson Pass and camped in a nice campground on the western edge of the town of Thompson Falls that had an all you can eat buffet ( I tend to remember these things)

Did you ride to Thompson Pass/Falls from Wallace via Burke? How was that? Paved? Looks like mostly forest service roads. If I was to do the ride between the trail and Missoula again, I might try that option.

Yes, it extends about 20 more miles to Mullen, one of the strangest towns I've ever seen.  I'll leave it at that so as not to influence others' impressions.
The trail get somewhat steeper east of Wallace--one of the coolest towns I've ever seen.

It's only 7 1/2 miles from Wallace to Mullan, but second the steepness of the trail section between the two (but it's not mountain steep, maybe 3% grade, tops), strangeness of Mullan, and coolness of Wallace. It was a shame we only had a half-day to spend in Wallace. Next time I'd take at least one break day there, if not two.

Overall, I think incorporating the Trail of the Coeur d'Alenes is a good idea, difficulties of getting from the east end to Missoula notwithstanding. It is definitely scenic, west half more so than the east. And the east half has Wallace. Plus, we saw a moose!

Routes / Re: Vancouver to Los Angeles
« on: February 25, 2012, 02:44:19 pm »
Well, I just moved to Vancouver, BC and plan to live here for some years... so perhaps I'll save the exploration of Washington and Olympic Park for another time... :)   I think starting in Oregon makes more sense... Thanks for the tips!

Don't forget about exploring the Sunshine Coast, Vancouver Island, Gulf/San Juan Islands, and the BC interior as well! You won't get bored, trust me.

I'm thinking of averaging about 60miles per day.  The only thing I'm concerned about is that I remember the Pacific Coast to be quite hilly... ;)

Yep, there are plenty of hills. No mountain passes, but hills for sure.
I'd say it is possible to get to LA from Astoria at that rate, but it would be tight. It doesn't allow time for break days. I did Tillamook, OR to Cambria, CA in about three weeks, not counting break days, and averaged 55 miles a day. I chose Cambria as an end for that trip because of mechanical issues, but it is past Big Sur and close to San Luis Obispo where you can hop on Amtrak. That can be an option.

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?

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:
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:,-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!

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.

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.

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". ;-)

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:
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.

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.

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.

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.

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