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Messages - adventurepdx

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61
I'm planning to ride around Mt Hood in a couple of weeks and have hear conflicting opinions on the I-84 sections and specifically the Tooth Rock Tunnel. Anyone have thoughts?

First off, which direction are you heading on 84, westbound or eastbound? Only the eastbound section goes through the tunnel, and I would definitely NOT ride it as there is no shoulder there. But the old Historic Columbia River Hwy is closed to cars and bypasses the tunnel. That's the preferred bike routing through there. (You'll have to navigate a large flight of stairs, though.)

I would use the Historic Columbia River Hwy as much as possible between Troutdale and Hood River. With it, you get to stay off 84 except for the last 10-15 miles east of Cascade Locks, and a section around Bonneville Dam. (As for the latter, they are finishing up a section of the old highway from Yeon State Park and Bonneville. It should be done very soon.) And all sections of HCRH east of Bonneville are closed to cars!

If you haven't already checked it out, you should look at the Columbia Gorge Bike Map put out by ODOT: http://www.oregon.gov/ODOT/HWY/BIKEPED/docs/ColumbiaGorgeBikeMap.pdf

If your heart is set on riding 84, it's not too bad (besides Toothrock Tunnel.) The shoulder is pretty wide except for right around Shellrock Mtn (which is unavoidable as the old road is not open around there.) Expect a fair amount of debris in the shoulder, though.

I was thinking of riding over Lolo Pass rather than route 35 to Government Camp. Anyone have thoughts on Lolo Pass and the possible dirt sections (also conflicting reports).

Lolo Pass is a great route! Quiet and scenic. It can be steep in sections, and the west side will have high tension powerlines overhead. The "dirt" section is about 5 miles of gravel road. I found it rideable with only a few parts where the gravel felt loose. And it wasn't bad for descending, either. Of course, people's tolerance of gravel roads vary widely. I have 700X35C tires on my touring bike, so if you had 28mm wide tires you might not enjoy it as much.

Here's a few photos from Lolo Pass Road.


62
Routes / Re: Bus from Portland to Astoria
« on: June 29, 2013, 12:50:23 pm »
One more thing - are there lockers available for at the train or bus stations for something pannier sized?

Union Station does not. I know that Greyhound used to have lockers but am unsure whether they currently do.

63
Routes / Re: Bus from Portland to Astoria
« on: June 28, 2013, 02:21:37 pm »
Another thing to note: You'll need to buy a bike ticket for $5 for that bus, boxed or unboxed. This one is a strange rule. And by "strange", I mean that every time I've taken the bus from Astoria TO Portland and bought a ticket at the Astoria transit center, they tell me I don't need a special ticket for the bike and the bus driver doesn't care. But that one time I didn't buy a ticket in Portland for the trip TO Astoria, an Amtrak ticket agent came out and demanded that I do.

64
Routes / Re: Bus from Portland to Astoria
« on: June 28, 2013, 02:16:32 pm »
If you need a good book for the tour, definitely stop at the giant, independent book store in town. Can't remember the name, but it's famous.

That would be Powells at W Burnside and NW 10th.

There is also a big outdoor store in the downtown area. Can't remember the name of that, either...

Are you thinking of the REI at NW 14th and Johnson?

65
On a touring bike over very, very hilly terrain so I only average about 14 miles per hour.

Only 14 miles per hour?  :o

66
Routes / Re: Riding west to east along the northern tier
« on: June 14, 2013, 12:58:07 am »
We're planning to leave in the middle of May. Is cold weather clothing/gear required? What kind, how much?? We have big agnes sleeping bags rated at 15degrees. What type of clothing should i consider, rain gear/winter clothing?

Mid-May is a bit on the early side for the Northern Tier. Rainy/Washington Pass, the first pass you'll run into eastbound, closes each winter. Depending on how much snow the Cascades get, may not be open by the time you depart. My girlfriend and I did parts of the Northern Tier in 2011, and Rainy/Washington did not open until May 25. That year had high snow levels, though.

As for rain/cold gear, YES. Weather can change dramatically in the mountains, and May is still early spring depending on where you are. You may see snow/get snowed on at higher elevations. And even if it's not snowing, it can get cold. When we summitted Sherman Pass around mid-June it was 38F/3C and raining at the top of the pass. Not fun.

67
Gear Talk / Re: stability
« on: June 13, 2013, 03:35:30 am »
Stability, well I found myself not being able to go as fast as I would have liked with sideways wind gusts.

I'm no expert, but I think you found your problem there. Crosswinds are always a pain and there's not much you can do about it. I still would recommend wider tires, maybe 28-32mm at least.

68
Pacific Northwest / Re: Kelso/Longview to Astoria
« on: June 03, 2013, 12:37:06 pm »
I've never been across the Lewis and Clark bridge (at least via bike) so I don't hold any specific grudges against it. . . what is so bad about it?

For me, it's not just the fact that it's narrow, busy, and has a good climb on each side. It's the woodchips and other logging debris that litters the narrow shoulder. I got a flat on that bridge years ago because of the unavoidable debris. (Well, you could avoid it if you wanted to get into that busy lane...) I don't hear this complaint from STP riders, but I'm guessing that they get around to sweeping it right before the event.

Another thing to note: The Westport Ferry is a pretty cool experience. If you choose to go that route, make sure you check the schedule, as it only runs hourly.
http://www.cathlametchamber.com/ferry_schedule.php

69
Pacific Northwest / Re: Kelso/Longview to Astoria
« on: June 03, 2013, 03:11:39 am »
Max! My question for you is: Do you need to get to Astoria in a day? And are you set on de-training at Kelso? (Okay, I asked two questions, so sue me.)

If you were coming down from the north, you could get off at Centralia, WA and then ride out using SR 6 to the coast and pick up 101 at Raymond. SR 6 has some rolling hills but is a relatively easy and pretty quiet way to get out to the coast. This routing would of course be longer at about 110 miles, so it would be a two day ride. Here is the rough route:
https://maps.google.com/maps?saddr=Centralia+Amtrak,+Centralia,+WA+98531+(Centralia+Amtrak)&daddr=Astoria,+OR&hl=en&sll=46.71747,-122.953062&sspn=0.006341,0.013797&geocode=FR7ayAIdmuKr-Cnxe4bAKl6RVDEI8cTGuFEV1A%3BFWzFwAIdK3ye-CmL-5UJRHuTVDG_ihuh8XLd9w&oq=astor&dirflg=b&mra=ls&t=m&z=9&lci=bike
(Note: Google Maps routes you on the "Willapa Hills Trail". Much of this trail is not improved and there are lots of washed-out or unrideable bridges and rough surfaces. Best to stick to SR 6.)
You could camp at Bruceport County Park outside of South Bend, which would be about 70 miles from Centralia.

If coming from the south, you can get off at Portland and take "Route One" from this link out to Astoria:
http://www.portlandoregon.gov/transportation/article/301633
Also about 100 miles, but can be broken into two days.

If you do want to get out to Astoria in a day, and want to de-train at Kelso, I'd probably go with option one that you listed as it's the fastest. All of those options use high-traffic roads that sometimes lack shoulders, and you will be hitting a few good hills that you really can't avoid.  I despise the Lewis and Clark Bridge, but others find it less odious. Option two might be the least hilly, though.

70
There are many sanctioned campsites on the Icefields. Stealth camping is typically frowned upon and/or illegal in National Parks (unless it's backcountry, which the Parkway is not.) There is also numerous hostels along the parkway, which are great lodging options. More on them here: http://hihostels.ca/1084/Home/Canada-Hostels/Alberta-Hostels/index.hostel?p=ab

71
You could do the Pacific Coast from outside of Portland, Oregon to San Francisco in about two weeks (heading southbound). So that indeed is a good option. And the logistics of getting a bike to/from Portland and SF are not that complicated.

If I had two weeks, I'd probably ride the Icefields Parkway and areas around it in Banff/Jasper National Parks. Of course, that is Canada, not the US...

72
Gear Talk / Re: New bike questions
« on: May 28, 2013, 02:16:22 am »
Are we talking "subjective" or "objective" differences? Feel vs numbers? If it's the latter you should check out a site that has Miyata catalogs and then check out the specs for each year. Here is one:
http://www.miyatacatalogs.com/

73
Pacific Northwest / Re: route
« on: May 26, 2013, 01:57:54 am »
Yep, Amtrak is an easy option from Seattle to Mount Vernon. If you want to start at the true start of the NT in Anacortes, this will require about 20 miles of backtracking, or taking the Skagit County Transit bus out there.

74
Pacific Northwest / Re: Camping in St. Helens Oregon
« on: May 26, 2013, 01:55:35 am »
I found out the City of St. Helens has McCormick park that has 10 tent sites on a first come - first served basis for $10 per night.  This includes a shower.  Neat!!

Ooh, good to know! Here's more deets:
http://www.ci.st-helens.or.us/services/parks/city-parks-and-public-facilities/

75
+1 on the "locks." A fairly light cable and small lock are all you need to deter opportunistic theft. And keep in mind that a u-lock doesn't come in that handy outside the urban setting.

I guess I'm the "dissenter" when it comes to locks as I bring the same locking system (U-Lock plus cable) that I do in the city. For one, it's in the same spot(s) it would be for around town riding. And because its always a part of the bike, I don't think about removing it. I realize that yeah it weighs more than a fairly light cable lock, but I'm more for peace of mind than weight reduction with this one item. It's also worth considering where exactly one is touring. Through rural areas I don't always lock my bike (or sometimes I just "hobble" it.) But my tours tend to incorporate some cities so I like that security. And it doesn't always have to be big cities, sometimes college towns are pretty notorious for bike theft (Eugene, OR for example.)

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