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Messages - adventurepdx

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General Discussion / Re: Restricted Items on Amtrak ("flammable" etc.)
« on: September 21, 2016, 02:07:21 pm »
Yeah, I've taken fuel with me on Amtrak, plus chain lube and multi-tools. Since Amtrak doesn't search bags like airlines do, unless the station or on-board personnel are made aware of it for some reason, they won't know. So I wouldn't worry much about it. If you want to play it safe, check to see if where you are going will have fuel canisters (if that's what you use.)

Hi! I'll be doing the ride from Vancouver to San Diego in October and am stressing out about encountering cougars along the highway. I hear they can come up on you. Has anyone encountered or heard of cyclist on this route having to deal with them?

While there are probably cougars around somewhere on the coast route, unless you are getting way off the beaten path, the chance of seeing one while doing the Pacific Coast are slim to none.

However, the animal that you will need to be the most concerned with are raccoons. No, they aren't going to attack you, but they will attack your food! They are particularly bad in several campgrounds along the way. If there are food storage lockers in your campground, use them. Don't leave your food out!

I knew the moment I wrote that that someone would jump on the term "normal"  No, I'm not against articles on exotic and unusual touring destinations but there has been a preponderance of them lately.  Perhaps more accessible locations have all been written about?

Well, "normal" is a loaded term, so I apologize if you felt I jumped on that. As for the magazine, maybe it's an editorial decision to get more interesting/unusual destinations. Or maybe it's what people have been submitting to the publication. We won't know unless we ask. Of course, if you want stories about more accessible locations, you have to write some!  ;)

I still enjoy reading AC but I agree that some of the articles are getting pretty far afield from rides "normal" people can even think of doing.   I further agree with your take on O'Grady's bike reviews.  His definition of "Touring Bike" seems to be rather wide and includes some pretty unsuited bikes.  How can you recommend a touring bike that has a 52x11 high gear and a 39x25 low gear?

So, should the benchmark of what tour reports go into Adventure Cyclist be whether or not a "normal" person can do it? And how would we define normal?

I look at Adventure Cyclist the same way I look at some other bike adventure mags: some of the stuff I could or would want to do, some of it I couldn't or wouldn't. But that's not the point. I think the key thing is whether the report is interesting and compelling, and there's a healthy mix of bike touring stories, and all types of bike touring. ACA is a broad organization and there will be things in the publication I can't get into (like the fully supported tours I mentioned above). But I'm okay with that.

As for the touring bike reviews, I guess if you define a touring bike as basically a road bike with beefier tubing, relaxed angles, mountain bike gearing, and lots of ways to hang racks and bits for a four pannier setup, then yeah, I guess many of the bikes recently reviewed in Adventure Cyclist don't fit that definition. But the definition of bike touring is becoming more elastic, and a lot of it now is about doing it with a bike that can tour, not necessarily with a  "touring bike". Then there's the whole bikepacking thing which is definitely not a traditional touring bike. And I think a lot of folks are interested in seeing these different approaches, not just another iteration of a 520/LHT/Randonee/etc.

As for gearing, some bike companies are putting some pretty high gearing on what would be considered a traditional touring bike. For example, when MEC (the Canadian equivalent to REI) introduced their touring bike, the National, it came with a 50-40-30 in the front. They've since changed it to a more reasonable 48-36-26, though, but probably after a bit of grumbling.

Nowadays, Adventure Cycling seems to reflect the schizophrenia within ACA itself.  I expect to read "Biking with Brown Bears" any issue now.  It'll be right after an announcement that some paved ACA route has moved off a four-lane road, recently paved, with daily traffic of 500 vehicles, because a parallel rail-trail opened up surfaced with leftover riprap...

Does such a thing as a four lane road with shoulder with a daily traffic count of 500 actually exist?  ;D

On another note, I haven't been a member of ACA as long as some of you have, so I don't know what the magazine looked like in, say, 1996. But overall, I've been fairly pleased with it as of late. But there are some articles/themed issues that I either gloss over or don't read because the subject interest me. (Like anything to do with fully supported tours, no matter how beautiful the setting is.) That's going to be the nature of an organization like ACA, which is trying to appeal to a wide set of people who like "touring". And if it wants to stay relevant to a younger generation of folk who have a different definition of touring than an older generation, it's going to be reflected in the magazine.

Routes / Re: Seattle to Anacortes--First time touring
« on: September 09, 2016, 02:13:20 pm »
I have an upcoming camping trip in the San Juan islands with a group of friends from Seattle...I want to bike through and back Deception Pass and Whidbey Island! Does anyone have any good routes or route planning techniques for this? My main fear is that I'll follow Google maps and end up on a two lane road with no shoulder...

How set are you on riding the length of Whidbey? I found the riding on the south part of the island nice, but hilly. The main route (525) is not as hilly (I think) as the alternates and generally has a decent shoulder, but is fairly busy. The big thing, however, is figure out the route from Seattle to the Mukilteo Ferry Terminal. You can use the Interurban Trail for some of it, but it's pretty disjointed north of Seattle, and seems to involve a lot of riding around freeways and humongous parking lots around malls.

If you want to avoid some of that, you can ferry across the sound from Seattle. You can ferry to Bremerton and pick up the Pacific Coast route that Carla mentions. When I rode up this way a couple years ago, I opted to ferry to Bainbridge instead and ride to Port Townsend. A lot of it is on pleasant and quiet (and rolling) country roads. But do to the geography of the area, there are a few "pinch points" like the shoulderless Agate Pass Bridge. (Hood Canal Bridge now has a decent shoulder.) And there are a few stretches of busy road, like 104. But overall I liked the ride. Here is the route:
There are a few campgrounds around Port Townsend (like Fort Worden, with a hiker/biker site) so it makes a convenient end of day.

From there, you can take the ferry to Keystone and then ride up to Anacortes. There are a few pinch points as well, like Deception Pass Bridge. But overall pretty nice (and hilly!)

As for your concern about "two lane roads with no shoulder", well, most of the roads you'd be using that are not state highways are going to be like that. But these roads tend to be on the quiet side. You usually only find shoulders on busier roads. For me, I prefer touring on quiet shoulderless roads than busier roads with shoulders, but everyone's different.

It looks like a pretty standard hybrid from the 00's onward, probably aluminum frame.  Can't help you on the model.

Are you wondering what model it is because you want to tour on it? Or you just want to know just what model this is? Because if it's the former, you could probably tour on it, but it would be hard to mount a front rack with a suspension fork, and the lower quality components and parts won't take sustained heavy abuse. If it's the latter, I would go to another website, like and see what they have to say.

Just my 2 cents.

Routes / Re: Why does the PC route bypass Olympic Peninsula?
« on: August 22, 2016, 12:28:09 pm »
As to the nature of traffic along Lake Crescent it certainly is no worse, and in my mind, a whole lot better, than riding through Sea Ranch in CA where there has been no upgrade on CA 1 since Sea Ranch was built.

That's interesting. I rode through Sea Ranch on my tour 10 years ago and don't remember anything particularly bad about it. I did do it during a weekday morning in September, though. However, I hit Lake Crescent during the worst possible time possible--a Friday night in July right after they freshly chipsealed the road (and there were no warning signs for it!) The gravel was still in thick drifts on the side of the road, so we basically had to "take the lane". Not fun.

Since we've traveled to Port Townsend several times in the last three years, we've driven the stretch along Hood Canal - other than the proximity of campgrounds I wouldn't take it over the peninsula route - way more traffic (and fast) and so-so shoulders. Certainly scenic enough.

Yeah, the inside route on 101 is a bit busier than I wanted, but yeah, scenic. Going the long way around is quieter.

Count me in the camp that favors riding the Peninsula and taking in the side trips, if you can. The part that does rub me the wrong way is the lack of HB camping sites at both Kalaloch and Hoh (not to mention a lack of showers). Sure would like to see ACA put some pressure on the Park Service on this. Riding 18 miles one way from 101 to the Hoh to not find a camping spot is not acceptable.

Agreed on the hiker/biker sites! When I did my tour it was difficult to find camping at the campgrounds. A couple nights the ranger basically plopped us on the service road since the regular campsites were full. I'm glad they were accommodating, but I'd rather camp in a real spot if I can.

Routes / Re: Why does the PC route bypass Olympic Peninsula?
« on: August 15, 2016, 12:39:01 pm »
What it boils down to is route selection is somewhat subjective. We take in as much information as we can, distill it to what we've decided are the most important factors and determine a route from there...What you have to remember for this route in particular is that when it was developed in the 80's, there was a lot of logging going on in the area and US 101 carried much of that traffic with little to no shoulders. Safety is a large factor in our selection process, it won out over other considerations.

Thanks, Jennifer. Yeah, I understand that there's a lot of factors that go into route selection, and no route is going to be perfect. And things change.

But I'm definitely more interested in why the ACA Pacific Coast Route stays so far inland in Washington and does not see the Pacific Coast AT ALL in that state (but does see the Puget Sound.) And I know that route selection and planning is a big process, but is there any plans to reevaluate the route, esp. through Washington? Maybe have it hit the coast towards Aberdeen? Or another possibility is that the Willapa Hills Trail should be complete from the coast (Raymond) to Chehalis in the next few years, which would give folks a traffic-free route. I understand that some people are freaked out by the Astoria Bridge, but there is a bus option that runs over the bridge, or they could detour to the Westport Ferry.

Routes / Re: Why does the PC route bypass Olympic Peninsula?
« on: August 14, 2016, 12:58:01 am »
i disagree with  those posters who think the peninsula is not great unless you do the side trips.

Well, I guess we agree to disagree.  ;)

I will have to say that 101 was for the most part manageable on the west side of the Olympic Peninsula (from about Port Angeles down to Aberdeen), when it came to traffic levels or grades--no real steep or high areas for the most part. But for me, I could do that style of riding (quietish riding through rolling hills with a mix of forest and clearcut) in plenty of places down here in Oregon. If I go up that way, I want to see the highlights of the peninsula--and Olympic National Park--which means for me doing side trips.

Routes / Re: Why does the PC route bypass Olympic Peninsula?
« on: August 11, 2016, 03:53:24 pm »
Kirkendall/Spring has both an Inland route along the Sound to Shelton (where it turns West) and a Coast route using 101 around the Peninsula.  They take 101 around Crescent Lake which as you note is among the worst sections on the the coast.  There I'd instead take 112 along the Strait of Juan de Fuca as WA Parks does.

Yeah, I should have pointed out that "The Book" has both routings. The Book does use the 101 routing around Crescent Lake. In the first one or two editions of the book, they did use 112, but they modified it due to the increase in logging trucks at the time (early 90's?) Of course, the logging truck situation is more fluid than the constant stream of recreational traffic on 101.

In general there is nothing wrong with ACA's "I-5" route (though basically it's Cascade's long available STP route) and those of us who ride down there certainly ride all over that. It's just not the Pacific Coast in an area where actually riding along the Pacific Coast is an option and pretty great.

It would be interesting to see why ACA chose such an inland routing. I have a strong feeling it's because they wanted to avoid the Astoria-Megler Bridge across the Columbia, which is daunting for some (and would probably lead to complaints at ACA.) The ACA route uses the Westport Ferry instead, which is cool, but that section of US 30 from Westport west to Astoria is busy and can be hairy.

Routes / Re: Why does the PC route bypass Olympic Peninsula?
« on: August 11, 2016, 01:44:15 pm »
The WA coast is a far more rugged and wild coast then the tame (though wonderful) OR Coast. Only very Northern CA coast compares and is of course different.  And while there are plenty of places where the route ducks in from the coast it's not like you are riding on the beach the whole time on any stretch of the coast.  Not to mention there is a distinct difference between the northern and southern stretches of the coast and on the southern end you are pretty close to the water for long stretches if you use 105, 109 as well as 101. 

To be clear, I wasn't talking necessarily about the ACA route (WA Parks) nor even the Kirkendall/Spring "Bicycling the Pacific Coast" book, just about 101. I definitely think its worth getting off of 101 as much as possible, though even if you do, there are some pretty good stretches along 101 that are unavoidable, and a bit boring in my opinion. But to make going the "long way" around the Olympic Peninsula worth it, one needs to take the time to get off 101 as much as possible, and do the side trips into the Olympic National Park like at Hoh. But I feel like a lot of people riding this way just buzz down 101 because they're more concerned about speed and directness, and then miss out on what this area is about.

Finally even if you want to take the inland route along the Sound and Hood Canal at the very least the Coast Route should from Elma (where WA Parks inexplicably starts) take the back roads and 105 to the Coast at Twin Harbors State park and down the coast and along the bays to Cape Disappointment.  There is great views, great parks and great riding on this stretch and this isn't part of WA Parks, so no way to do all of the WA coast on ACA rates...  Why anyone would want to take the inland route near I-5 (which does have some nice places, but just doesn't compare) beyond being in a real hurry, is bizarre to me.

Yeah, I don't understand why the ACA route goes south from Olympia practically to Longview and then west from there, rather than west from Olympia. But then again, the Olympia/Longview routing is good knowledge for those of us riding from Portland to Seattle!  ;D

The Kirkendall/Spring book goes west from Olympia to the coast, though. And the combination of SR 6 and the Willapa Hills Trail west from Chehalis is another great way to get to the coast at Raymond.

Routes / Re: Why does the PC route bypass Olympic Peninsula?
« on: August 10, 2016, 01:58:12 pm »
What Jennifer says.

Also, I think most folks doing the Pacific Coast Route want a more direct routing, and going  the "long" way around the north and west sides of the Olympic Peninsula can add almost a week to the trip. It's faster to stay "inside" and follow the Puget Sound south towards Olympia and turn out to the coast there.

And the Washington coast is a lot different than either the Oregon or California coasts. In OR/CA, 101 or 1 stays fairly close to the ocean and beaches are pretty accessible. In Washington it winds its way many miles inland in many spots, esp. on the Olympic Peninsula. In SW Washington, there are numerous bays and inlets that US 101 winds around, so you'll see "water" but it's not the ocean. The one benefit to 101 in Washington is that it's quieter than 101 in OR and CA.

I biked around the Olympic Peninsula in 2010. It was a nice tour, but as I said above, 101 stays pretty far inland for most of the way from Port Angeles to Aberdeen. There is only one section that hugs the Pacific Coast, and that's only about 10 miles long. Also, while Olympic National Park is nearby, 101 only passes through it in a few spots, up around Lake Crescent (which ironically enough features the worst riding on 101) and that section on the coast at Kalaloch. If you wanted to access other areas of the park, like the beach at Mora or the Hoh rain forest, you'll need to be doing 20 to 40 mile round-trip detours to access these areas of the park. Most of the ride consists of looking at trees and hills and clearcuts, which isn't bad, but you're neither going to be riding directly through the Olympic rainforests nor seeing the Pacific from the saddle for the most part.

I'd like to go around the Olympic peninsula again at some point, but I know that in order to do more stuff in the park, I'll need to plan more time.

Routes / Re: Cycling from Portland, Or to Logan's Pass
« on: July 01, 2016, 11:34:11 pm »
I guess the question is "Where do you want to connect to the NT before Logan Pass?" Does it only matter that you get to the Northern Tier by Glacier National Park, or do you want to get to it as soon as possible?

The route that Carla proposed above would be good, as would be connecting to the TransAm from Portland, then getting on the Great Parks North route in Missoula. This would be a longer and more challenging way to get there, but another possibility.

If you want to hook up to the Northern Tier as soon as possible, you can get off the Lewis and Clark in far eastern Washington, say around Clarkston/Lewiston, and then head north towards Seattle on the quieter highways paralleling US 195. Until you hit the Spokane metro area it's really small towns with not a lot of services, but there's more chances of towns and services here than heading northbound west of here.

General Discussion / Re: Thank You card for hosts
« on: May 23, 2016, 01:05:07 pm »
That's a great idea!

In the past decade, I've only done one really long tour, and I made a card for that, though I didn't get around to it until we were 1,000 miles in! Better late than never.  ;)

This year I don't think I'll be on a bike tour that's any longer than a week or so. Maybe I'll make a generic card to give out.

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