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Messages - jamawani

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Routes / Re: El Nino impact on Sierra Cascade route this spring?
« on: April 04, 2016, 08:01:17 am »
No. I tried it.

Technically, even possessing a bicycle in a designated wilderness is illegal, let alone riding it.
I disassembled my bike and was planning two trips (actually meaning three including the return).
But it was too brutal - with panniers and bike parts and all.
If you had custom-designed, convertible equipment - then, maybe.

Also, since major storms 15 years ago, access is much reduced.
You used to be able to ride all the way up to Cottonwood.
Now, you can only get to High Bridge - where there is an complete wash-out.
I believe that the limitation is intentional, as does Congress - which ordered the NPS to fix the road.

Since the connector trail at High Bridge is in the wilderness,
you would be breaking the law riding or walking your bicycle over the gap.
Even this could easily be altered by a temporary superintendent's order -
i.e. permitting bicycle use of that small trail section.
But that is not the desire of North Cascades N.P. administrators.

Yes, there are conflicts between the park service's two main missions -
Preservation vs Public Use. Yellowstone is overrun with cars in midsummer.
But such has never been the case in North Cascades.
And the Stehekin-Cascade Pass has been a travel corridor since prehistoric times.


Long answer, eh?
Even with all the blah-blah-blah, it is worth taking the ferry up Lake Chelan.
Definitely, worth it.

Just come back down and ride around.
The North Cascades Highway is lovely, too.

Washington Pass on the North Cascades Highway

Routes / Re: El Nino impact on Sierra Cascade route this spring?
« on: April 02, 2016, 11:35:25 pm »
PRISM  has excellent climate normals -

Click on the July precip and you will see that the Sierras get very little in July.
The Oregon Cascades don't get much and the Washington Cascades only moderate.
The Rockies have more severe storms - but it the Cascades do get a few.

The storms are usually orographic - i.e. created by the mountains, themselves.
The pattern is - clear mornings, clouds pick up in the afternoons, storms in late afternoon - if then.
You can judge if there will be storms by the degree of build-up.
Plus, you can ride early and be done by 3:00 to reduce the risk even further.

Specifically, the Sierra Cascades route in Calif has little risk of thunderstorms.
The risk is slightly more in Oregon since you will be at higher elevation more consistently.
And much of the Washington route is at lower elevation with little risk of precip.

Actually, fire may be more of an issue than thunderstorms - esp. by late July.
Last year had extremely bad fires, but this year has seen lots of snow/rain.
Fire risk should be considerably lower this year.


The ACA Western Express doesn't get you to Yosemite.
You should NOT miss Yosemite if you can possibly do it.

Keep heading south on the Pacific Coast to Watsonville -
Then inland via Hollister and Panoche - via J1.
Cut across the Central Valley (hot!!!) to Chowchilla -
Then via Mariposa and the lovely Hwy 140 into Yosemite.

From Yosemite pick up the Sierra Cascades.
(You can hit thunderstorms crossing Tioga Pass.)

Routes / Re: TransAm question
« on: April 01, 2016, 11:04:50 am »
The Sawtooth Connector is 570 miles vs 900 for the TransAm - a savings of 330 miles.
(Almost as much savings as the Western Express - and if you cut off 150 miles in western Oregon, the same)

There is a very quiet, remote option from Arco, Idaho to West Yellowstone if you want to tour Yellowstone N.P.

Routes / Re: TransAm question
« on: April 01, 2016, 10:54:57 am »
I believe that I understand your question - and have done it.
Not Nevada, but directly across Idaho from John Day, Oregon to Jackson, Wyoming.

I've biked cross-country a half dozen times and have, perhaps, 100,000 miles touring.
It is a good route - stunningly scenic, with mountains and hot springs.

I have a general map over at RidewithGPS -
(The Rexburg option per the map is better, but I had to hit Idaho Falls for repairs.)

And a Crazyguy journal from a recent trip - Day 8 to Day 16 is the section in question

Another possible shortening in western Oregon:
On this trip, I chose to head southeast from Pacific City on the Oregon coast to Sisters.
There are easy connections between Portland and Tillamook - with the Three Capes as a starting point.

Empty Roads, Stunning Views

Routes / Re: El Nino impact on Sierra Cascade route this spring?
« on: March 26, 2016, 07:31:54 pm »
Mercy chile!
If you have to ask what makes it immoral - -
then you are already on the slippery slope.
;-)   ;-)

PS - My AADT scale:
Under 500 - Sweetness
500-1000 - Pretty darn good
1000-2000 - Tolerable
2000-4000 - Irritating
Over 4000 - Revolting

Routes / Re: El Nino impact on Sierra Cascade route this spring?
« on: March 26, 2016, 01:31:51 pm »
Andrew -

I don't think you need to be too worried, but you will probably have to do a few detours.
Map 5 should be no problem - it won't be that hot, nor too cold at Big Bear.

Map 4 will present the first challenges - esp. with the Western Divide Highway.
The main roads in Sequoia NP and Kings Canyon NP should be open.
If you have the time - and you may wish to stretch it a bit early on -
You really should head on up into Kings Canyon - worth it.

Yosemite Valley will be stunning this May. Have you ever been there?
The first time is always so amazing for everybody. Esp. in May.
So, do not, under any circumstances, skip Yosemite - even if you have to detour.

You will be coming in from the South Entrance and have your first vista past the tunnel.
Although not posted, people cycling into the park can camp 1 night at the backcountry campground.
(This is NOT Camp 4 - way better - on a bend of the Merced River - but you have to ask at backcountry office.)

More than likely, Tioga Pass will still be closed - they May (5% chance) let cyclists thru.
Most likely you will need to detour via Sonora (Hwy 108) or Ebbetts Pass (Hwy 4) - both have very steep grades.
There is a big climb out of the valley to Crane Flats - Hwy 120 is not my favorite, either.
If you have the time Hwy 140 to Mariposa is lovely along the Merced River and way less traffic.

The east side of the Sierras should be no problem. Monitor Pass usually opens in late April.
Traffic should still be pretty light north of Topaz - but campgrounds may still be closed.
Lake Tahoe will be stunning will snow-capped mountains and blue water - - but chilly.

Map 3 has a couple of challenges and question marks.
First, I don't know why ACA routes you via Graeagle, Quincy, Greenville on Hwy 70 - which is kinda sucky.
There are great 95% paved county & forest roads via Loyalton & Chilcoot then north -
Or via Calalpine and Beckwourth then north - coming out via genessee and Taylorsville.
Perfect time of year, too.
(Poor server, but give it a few tries and it will come up - esp. with new tab)
You can pick up a Plumas National Forest Map in Truckee.

The next challenge is Lassen Volcano N.P. - the main prak road may not open until June.
Your choices are to skip the park and head north to Hwy 44 via Westwood and Hwy A21 -
Or to head into the park as far as you can go, then return to the dirt forest road from Mineral to Viola.

Next is a choice - I think that it is highly immoral, although legal, to bike on interstate highways.
The ACA route takes you around Mount Shasta - lovely - but you have to do some interstate, too.
Another option is to head north from Old Station via Bieber, Lookout, and Lava Beds N.M. to Klamath Falls.

I am almost certain that the loop road at Crater Lake will still be closed in early June.
If so, then you can still ride into the park from the south but will have to use Hwy 62 & Hwy 230 to go north.
Whether you ride via Mount Shasta or Lava Beds, you should consider riding via Rocky Point on Upper Klamath Lake.

So we've gotten to Map 2 and it should be warmer - in fact, Crater Lake might be you last detour.
If possible, do the Windigo Alternate - US 97 has wide shoulders, but insane traffic.
Bend and Sisters are super yuppie - but have all services - esp, bicycle needs.
US 20 over Santiam Pass also has a good deal of traffic -
You can take the longer McKenzie Pass option - if open - Hwy 242 then Hwy 126.
From Detroit to Hood River should have few cold weather issues.

In southern Washington, do consider taking the side trip to Mt. St. Helens N.M. - worth it.
Also, there is a lovely, paved forest road from Packwood to Longmire in Mount Rainier N.P.
And you can camp just outside the park - they have no hiker/biker sites in the park - boo!

Then Map 1
It's a pretty brutal series of climbs over ridges in the park to Hwy 123.
And I don't know why the ACA routes you over White Pass on US 12 rather than Chinook Pass on Hwy 410.
Tipsoo Lake, at Chinook Pass, has one of the most spectacular views of Mount Rainier.
Then Hwy 410 is a sweet, quiet ride down to the Naches Valley and fresh cherries in June.

The Yakima Canyon along Hwy 821 is sweet - hike across the ped bridge at Umtanum Creek to camp.
North and east of Ellensburg (all services) there are two options.
The ACA route largely follows US 97 - pretty busy in Washington, too.
A lovely, but challenging option is to head east from Ellensburg on Old Vantage Highway.
The challenge is getting across the Columbia River - the I-90 bridge has no shoulders and fast traffic.
There are three ways to get across:
1. Pick a low traffic time - just before sunrise, light but no blinding sun, and ride like hell.
2. Ask or pay someone at the motel/store/campground to shuttle you across.
3. Hitch a boat ride to the Old Vantage Highway landing on the other side.

If you can do #3 it is super worth it. Esp. if you camp in Vantage, you have time to arrange #3.
The old road on the east side heads up Frenchman Coulee - stunning, sheer cliffs.
Then the south service road to George, Hwy 281 to Quincy, and Hwy 28 to Wenatchee.

Next up - when you get to Chelan, do consider taking the Lady of the Lake up to Stehekin.
You can take your bike with you and ride deep into the rugged country of the North Cascades.
By the time you hit the Methow Valley, it should be green and lovely - despite last year's fires.
And Hwy 20 over the North Cascades should be long open with all campgrounds open, too.


Just a few suggestions.
Have a great trip.

The Three Sisters - near Bend, Oregon

Routes / Re: El Nino impact on Sierra Cascade route this spring?
« on: March 24, 2016, 02:04:05 pm »
Ummmm -

In a normal year, the Sierra Passes don't open before Memorial Day.
Usually, Ebbett and Sonora do, but Tioga often doesn't until some time in June.
This year in California, the snow was only so-so until recently - now it's closer to normal.

The other issue is Oregon and Washington.
The Cascades have had 150% to 200% of normal snowpack.
Crater Lake Loop is likely to still be closed in early June.
Many facilities will likely still be closed before Memorial Day.

Here is a Snotel map of Western snowpack (California does not participate west of the Sierras.)

And total precipitation - (fortunately for you, there has already been significant melting)

And a pic from a few years back of Sonora Pass just north of Yosemite in late May -

PS - If there still is a big snowpack, you can do it - you just have to plan to camp at lower elevations.

Routes / Re: Great Divide Route - NFS Maps
« on: March 22, 2016, 09:36:54 am »
The Southwest Interagency maps include the Beaverhead NF as well as BLM and State Lands.
I should add, that USFS maps do not cover the Red Desert region of Wyoming.
The OP would need to get the appropriate BLM maps.

Routes / Re: Great Divide Route - NFS Maps
« on: March 21, 2016, 11:14:45 pm »
You can always use these USFS maps online -
I would save the files to a zip drive, since you are likely to be out of service zones.
They seem to have a poor server - so keep trying.

You will have to search out other sources, but you should be able to get nearly all of the maps online.
Unfortunately, this service is not provided by the USFS - except for the Pacific Region.


I do agree - using USFS maps allows you so much more flexibility.
For those maps which you cannot find online - order the NF map.
Then take a high resolution photo of overlapping sections.
Save on zip drive or in the cloud. (Zip drive is better for the GDMBR)

Gila NF
Cibola NF
Santa FE NF
Carson NF
Rio Grande NF
Gunnison NF
San Isabel NF
White River NF
Routt NF
Medicine Bow NF
Shoshone NF (S)
Bridger Teton NF
Targhee NF
Southwest Interagency (E)
Southwest Interagency (W)
Helena NF
Lolo NF
Flathead NF

Routes / Re: Washington Parks route option
« on: March 20, 2016, 10:26:37 pm »
You mean instead of Hwy 153?  Yes, I have.
I usually opt for county roads instead of state highways if possible.
There are a couple of other stretches in the Methow Valley where county roads are options instead of Hwy 20, too.

Here's the deal - they are usually a few miles more riding - but not too much in these instances.
They are narrower - without shoulders - but have a lot less traffic and slower speeds. (I think 45 mph)
If you did a routing on RideWithGPS, you'd probably find they have more ups and downs, too.

Still, I find that it is way more worth it doing the back road. Quiet and scenic.

Routes / Re: Fort Knox,KY restricted?
« on: March 20, 2016, 08:02:45 pm »
But why ??

I used to live in Louisville and would rather make out with Donald Trump than bike Dixie Highway.
You know you can cross the Ohio at Brandenburg - 2-lane bridge with fairly wide lanes.
Then take the extremely quiet Indiana Hwy 111 on the northwest side of the river up to new Albany.

Routes / Re: My route for cross country 2016, ideas?
« on: March 18, 2016, 09:10:50 am »
I am glad to see that you are riding in southwest Louisiana - Acadiana.
I would have suggested it, but it seemed that you were planning to head northwest from New Roads.

I rode that stretch in 2008 - absolutely lovely and the most wonderful folks.
St. Martinville, Abbeville, Cameron. You should be there at a perfect time for wildlife, too.
But - - be aware that Cameron has been hit by two devastating hurricanes.
A few months after Katrina hit New Orleans, Rita hit Cameron. Wiped it out.
New Orleans was bad, but no one even noticed Cameron.
Then Cameron was hit again in the fall of 2008.

Here is my journal from Crazybike -

Only the base of the bank vault is left - -

Roseate Spoonbills at the Rockefeller Wildlife Refuge - -

Hey Mike -

Riding west-to-east, late May is about as early as you would want to start.
I started one trip June 3rd and had significant snowfall in the Cascades - combined with lots of snow already there.
YMMV - but it's been a pretty snowy year in the Cascades already and it may hold on late.

If you are riding in Oregon on the TransAm, you should be a little better off than Washington.
It may be that you will need to take Santiam Pass over the Cascades.
Not to mention that mid-June can still be quite cold and snowy in Yellowstone.

Not sure as to your pace - but 400 miles a week is 5 full and 2 half days of 66 miles.
Also, are you planning to start in Astoria or further down the coast? Newport? Florence?
From Newport it would be 3 weeks to Yellowstone at 400mi/per. 3 1/2 weeks from Astoria.
If you leave May 24, you get to Yellowstone around June 15 - plenty early enough.

US 26 does not go to Lander - it goes to Riverton and Shoshoni.
US 287 goes south to Lander, then east to Muddy Gap to connect with WYO 220.

The Lander-Muddy Gap route is about 30 miles longer with some serious climbing at first.
Then it's gently downhill with a few big downhills to Casper. And it's more scenic.

Both routes are remote -
East of Lander, it's 40 miles to Sweetwater Station - with a rest stop.
Then another 20 miles to Jeffrey City - which used to have 4000 people, but now has 40.
I know Jeffrey City quite well.
Then another 23 to Muddy Gap.

From there's Independence Rock, Pathfinder Reservoir, and Alcova Reservoir.
With camping and services at the two reservoirs.There is a state rest area at Independence Rock
and you could always wild camp just east on the Oregon Trail Road on the Sweetwater River. Sweet.

You should have tailwinds with either route - but there are NO guarantees.
And if you have a headwind, there is zero cover.

There are 5 "communities" between Shoshoni and Casper. And "community" is a stretch.
BTW - Shoshoni has one of the most derelict Main Streets in Wyo.

1. Moneta - 21 mi - ghost town
2. Hiland - 41 mi - biker bar and one house
 (I'm sure you could camp out back if you asked.)
3. Waltman - 50 mi - I believe the store is now closed
4 Powder River - 62 mi - no stores, but you could ask at a house for water
 (Hell's Half Acre is nearby, but the store and campground have been closed and razed.)
5. Natrona - 72 - long-closed store and trailer

That's it.

PS - Don't random camp on the Wind River Reservation
You can camp most anywhere on BLM or USFS lands off the rez.


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