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Messages - jamawani

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Ah, yes, spending a day with maps - both paper and electronic - is a great part of the process.

Thanks Snowy -

Hey, what is it that you want out of this trip?
Have you been to the States before? Do you want to hit some of the spectacular parks?
There are plenty of lodging options near the great parks - but they also tend to be sold out.
Also, the couple who run the Westwinds Motel in a small town will be glad to see you -
While the summer employee at a resort lodge will just yawn and tell you they are full.
Still, biking Going to the Sun Road - for ex. - is truly unforgettable.

For the purpose of discussion, let's say you will have from June 10th to July 20th.
June can be tricky in the American West. I've skied on fresh snow even in late June in Wyoming.
Plus, if it's been a snowy winter, there's a winter's worth of snow to melt out.

As far as the central part of the U.S. - the Great Plains - Nebraska sure beats Kansas.
On the TransAm in eastern Colorado and western Kansas you have 300+ miles of oppressive flat.
The Nebraska Sandhills are gently rolling and have much of their grass cover rather than square wheat fields.

One possibility is to fly into Seattle and take the morning ferry to Friday Harbor in the San Juan Islands.
You can spend the afternoon tooling around the island and overnight in Friday Harbor.
(This will allow you ferry rides at the beginning and end of your trip.)
Another ferry the next a.m. will take you to Anacortes and the start of the Northern Tier.

I would suggest the Northern Tier from Anacortes to Glacier National Park.
Then US 89 makes a fine ride along the Front Range all the way down to Yellowstone. - read backwards

From Yellowstone, you could either head due east over the Bighorn Mountains to the Black Hills -
Or you could cut southeast thru Wind River Canyon to Casper and via US 20 into Nebraska. (More direct)
US 20 really is a pleasant way to cross the Great Plains - and I have ridden the Plains many times.

It's about 2150 miles from Anacortes in Washington State to Sioux City on the Missouri River.
(About 200 miles longer that the route I did this past summer)
Which would mean about 3563 miles, total, if you then did a straight short to the east coast.

ZZZZ is right about the distance between lodging in the West.
But there are some excellent place to stay 20-30-40 miles outside of the major national parks.
One way to do Yellowstone would be to stay in Gardiner - then ride to Pahaska Tepee.
Leave early when traffic is light - then spend the middle of the day hiking along Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone -
Then ride late afternoon and early evening to Pahaska - it's a wild downhill from Sylvan Pass that will peel your ears back.
(Of course, you always have to be attuned to the weather, too.)


I've ridden Nevada many times and love it - but it is extremely remote and challenging from the get go.
The Northern Tier is moderately remote, too, but with more services.
The route I took last summer misses the national parks but has plenty of services.

Just some ideas - there are many ways to slice the pie.

PS - Whether you fly into Seattle or San Fran, you will need a little time to acclimate.
Gaining 8 hours in a 10 hour flight plays tricks on your body.
So if you stay up until 9 p.m. and get up at 5 a.m. you can be raring to go.
A ferry ride and low-key day make sense on day 1.

Snowy -

If you are hoping to ride x-USA in fewer than 60 days, then you need as direct a route as possible.
It's more than multiplication - i.e. 50 x 80 miles = 4000 miles.
There's weather, mechanical issues, unexpected illness - they can and do happen.
And you don't say anything about your touring experience, so it's hard to say.
Will you be mostly camping or motels every night - i.e. not carrying camping gear for lighter weight.
Also, you are likely to encounter 40C temperatures in the Great Plains - have you ridden in that?
All of these things make a difference.

I have 100,0000 miles experience, mostly in North America - you don't have to stay on ACA routes.
But that means you have to do a good deal of advanced planning.
My most recent trip is here:
Mike's 3 trips offer possibilities - but he rides on  some pretty busy roads.

The WE makes a good start - there's a lovely hostel in Golden Gate National Recreation Area on the other side of the bridge.
And the ferry ride across San Francisco Bay is a great way to start a big bike tour.
But the WE - or any central California route - has big climbs by the third day out.
(Or do you want to see Yosemite National Park?)

In a similar vein, the Seastreak Ferry from Highlands, NJ makes a good ending and easy way into Manhattan.
There is a small walk-in camping area at Sandy Hook in the Gateway National Recreation Area.

The WE is a direct route across Nevada, but I ride more northerly in Utah via US 6 to Provo then to US 40.
The combination of US 40 and Hwy 14 makes a direct and scenic route across northern Colorado.
Nebraska is easy cycling - I've done it many times - most small towns have free or cheap camping.
Here is a state cycling map -
(Most states have similar maps - Iowa -

The Northern Tier segment between Muscatine, Iowa and Monroe, Indiana is a straight shot.
And you might consider riding part of the historic Old Lincoln Highway in Ohio -
Strip maps -
This was the first transcontinental highway in the U.S. - the Ohio sections are mostly back roads.

Pennsylvania also publishes strip maps of a number of routes -
The west-east choices are S in the south, V in the middle, and Y in the north.
Sometimes the highways are busier than I like - but the routes are direct.

You should be able to but together a 3500-mile route - 7 weeks - 500 miles per week.
Hope that helps.

45 days?

General Discussion / Re: Which Route Would You Suggest?
« on: November 10, 2016, 03:30:18 pm »
I'm going to take your two major parameters and go from there - -
August & New to touring

Since you said you hiked the Appalachian Trail, I suspect you plan to do a lot of camping.
Adventure Cycling is a good source - esp. if you need the reassurance of a designated route.
But there is no need to stick to a set route - as you probably know.
I also think that 5 weeks is way too short for a cross-country ride unless you plan to ride 100+ miles per day.

That said, where is the best weather in August?
Three areas - the Northwest, the northern Great Lakes, and northern New England.
The East Coast, the South, and the Midwest are hot and humid and just plain nasty.
The Southwest is dangerously hot - 45C hot - with the occasional monsoon storm, but otherwise dry.

1) You could do the Pacific Coast - from Seattle down to L.A. in 5 weeks.
It is one of the more popular routes with lots of hiker/biker camping in parks along the way.
The roads are reasonable, but there will be traffic.

2) I think a Rocky Mountain ride would be fabulous - say from Glacier N.P to Santa Fe.
If you can do two countries - I would suggest from Calgary, Alberta to Santa Fe.
Incredible scenery and national parks all along the way. But it would be starting with a bang.

3) Another option would be to do a ride from Seattle or Portland to Denver.
From the Pacific you could ride east to Glacier N.P. then south along the Front Range.

I am a Westerner and find the open spaces of the West so much nicer.
The distances can be intimidating to more civilized types - but not to Aussies.
I will leave it to others to talk about the Great Lakes or New England.

Pic - Going to the Sun Road in Glacier N.P.

General Discussion / Re: The Schwarzenetruber Amish.
« on: November 08, 2016, 01:26:40 pm »
Zero - Thank you for your thoughtful post. Freedom of belief is one of the bedrock values of American political society. Of course, it has been applied selectively over the past 240 years - especially if you happened to be black or female or Jehovah's Witness. But little by little, we seem able to recognize that my freedom of belief and your freedom of belief are one in the same. For some Amish congregations, the bright orange reflectors contradict all of their beliefs about arrogance and pride. Is it a risk for them to travel without the reflector? Yes. Are there compromises that the Amish themselves might offer and the state ought to hear. Absolutely. Does that religious protection allow me to drive my truck without headlights. No. And I see no contradiction there at all.

Routes / Re: Route 6 east to west
« on: November 01, 2016, 11:52:25 am »
With the online tools now available, there is no need to restrict yourself to a single choice.
This is especially important because sections of US 6 are profoundly dangerous.
One of the most dangerous highways in America is US 6 between Spanish Fork and Price, Utah.
Same goes for other stretches mentioned above.

US 6 is magnificent across Nevada - albeit extremely remote.
US 6 used to end in L.A. - but a much easier routing is from Ventura to Santa Clarita.
Then you can follow the old road thru Lancaster and Mojave to US 395.
US 395 is busy, but has good shoulders all the way to Bishop and the current endpoint.

As for Colorado, unless you plan to go thru Denver, I would avoid it.
You can take a combination of US 40 and Hwy 14 reconnecting in Sterling.
At Cameron Pass there is a forest road leading into the backcountry of Rocky Mountain N.P.
(If you wish to do any wilderness hiking and camping - but it needs to be June or later.)

East of Lincoln, Nebraska US 6 gets much dicier.

Routes / Re: Louisville, KY-Virginia Beach,VA route advice.
« on: October 31, 2016, 12:16:24 am »
The North Line Trace provides a low-traffic direct route just south of the NC/VA border and ready access to Virginia Beach without the issue of getting thru the Norfolk metro area and the bay tunnels. On the west end there is a pretty nice link via Grayson Highlands to the Virginia Creeper Trail and Abingdon, VA.

General Discussion / Re: Which Airport?
« on: October 29, 2016, 04:33:27 pm »
The nearest airport is Newport News - only a few miles away.
Norfolk is a bit further away and across the harbor.
Richmond is still further, but perhaps, easier connection than Norfolk.
But I don't think any of these have non-stop flights from London.

Washington metro area has 3 airports - Dulles, Reagan, and BWI.
Although BWI is furthest away, it has a direct Amtrak rail link to Williamsburg, VA.
Reagan means shuttling stuff downtown to Union Station.
Same for Dulles which is way out from DC.

Of course, Dulles has the magnificent Saarinen-designed terminal.

Routes / Re: Pacific Coast Route
« on: October 19, 2016, 03:33:33 pm »
How soon the rainy season starts varies from year to year.
(This year has started with a bang in N. Calif and S. Oregon.)
But it always starts sooner in Washington, then Oregon, then N. Calif, then S. Calif.

The only problem with Sept & Oct is the risk of fire.
After a rainless summer, the forests and chaparral are tinder dry.
Combine that with hot, dry Santa Ana winds in S. Calif and you can get some big fires.

Article on the massive Cedar Fire in October 2003 -

Daylight hours also decline rapidly by mid-September.
A six-week tour beginning August 15 might work a bit better.

Routes / Re: Road 395 south in USA?
« on: September 29, 2016, 11:33:50 pm »
The Oregon coast will be pretty brutal in late fall.
Lots of rain, lots of headwinds. The summer northwest wind shifts to southwest.
You would have better conditions - still cool & damp - in the Willamette Valley.
I've ridden the coast during a late spring storm. Constant cold rain in the face.
It made me an evil person.

Your best chance for better coastal weather is south of the Bay Area.

Routes / Re: Road 395 south in USA?
« on: September 28, 2016, 09:57:51 pm »
US 395 is very, very remote in Oregon and northern California.
And cold in winter.

I got snowed in near Susanville, California on Memorial Day.
Averages for December at Burns, Oregon -
Hi - 35F; Lo - 14F; Precip - 1.5 inches; Snow - 10.2 inches

General Discussion / Re: One piece earphone while riding
« on: September 15, 2016, 09:59:26 am »
How can the gods hear you cursing the wind --
if you have the music turned up high?

Gear Talk / Re: Getting bike and gear to start of tour
« on: September 12, 2016, 08:43:47 am »
PS - If you have the time, Amtrak makes taking the bike and gear easy and inexpensive.
From Mass, you would take the Lakeshore Ltd and connect to the Empire Builder to Portland.
Then you would catch the evening bus right from Union Station to Astoria.
Amtrak bike boxes are huge - just remove pedals and turn the handlebars.
You get two checked bags and two (two+) carry-ons for free.

It does take a while, though - 3 days - with layover time in Chicago and Portland.
I hopped on the train in NYC at the end of my x-usa trip this summer and rode to Seattle.
Coach seats are 2X airplane seats - but if you can swing $$ for a sleeper, all the better.
Just another idea.

Gear Talk / Re: Getting bike and gear to start of tour
« on: September 11, 2016, 06:02:07 pm »
Craig -

This has been covered many times - here and on other websites like BikeForums and CrazyGuy.
If you are flying, there is a twice-daily bus from Portland to Astoria.
Bike, Bob, and all your gear will cost a fortune on the plane.
I would suggest business-to-business shipping - which is cheaper than personal with both FedEx and UPS.
There's a good bike shop in Astoria - ship your bike and pay for assembly.
You can either ask to ship your gear to the shop or book a motel and ask to ship there.
If you fly in to PDX at midday and take the evening bus, you can motel it -
then pick up your bike and get set up at a leisurely pace the next day.
Give yourself sufficient time to get started without going nutz.

Best - J

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