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Messages - jamawani

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General Discussion / Re: no progress with Amtrak for GAP / C&O
« on: April 10, 2014, 05:18:50 pm »
Unfortunately - it is unlikely to offer many financial incentives for Amtrak. Baggage service is a headache for any and all carriers - thus, the airlines ever-increasing fees. Add to that the post-9-11 security issues and carriers would probably prefer that passengers travel with nothing - including clothing.

As a rail supporter since the late 1970s, I have seen a steady erosion of baggage services nationwide. Since many stops outside urban corridors have, at most, one train each day in each direction, it is prohibitively expensive to staff a station. For liability reasons it is risky to have people do their own loading.  It's one thing on urban routes with raised platforms or low-level car doors to have cyclist bring their own bikes on board - - but to get a bike into a baggage car may involve too much risk.

Then there is the potential for delays - ha-ha - as if Amtrak worried about delays.
I regret that Cumberland, MD does not have better rail services.
It would make a huge difference.

Routes / Re: From east to west starting June 2014
« on: April 10, 2014, 01:53:16 pm »
And as for the West -
and I must admit as a Westerner there is no place better -
You have incredible options.

Is Denver a definite destination?
From Nebraska, US 138 to Sterling is nice but then it gets tricky.
Hwy 14 to Fort Collins has light traffic and Hwy 14 is a beautiful ride over Cameron Pass.
If you want to ride Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain N.P., be aware that it is busy in summer.

Between you and me, I wouldn't head any further south than Boulder - nice college town -
Still, Fort Collins is a nice college town, too, with lots of bike services.
If you want to head into Denver - catch a shuttle from either location.

I love accessing RMNP via Cameron Pass - the Never Summer Mountains.
There is a service road that heads along a canal in the far NW corner of the park.
(Great cross-country skiing in the winter, too)
Then you can hike into the wilderness.

Walden is on the TransAm bike route.
If you are starving for company, then it make sense to follow the TransAm for a while.
But other routes are way more interesting. They do require a few miles of hard-pack roads, though.

One is via Steamboat, Craig, Maybell, Lodore, and Rock Springs.
Sections of US 40 up to Craig have moderate traffic - but then it gets really empty.
If you can arrange it, you can raft thru the Gates of Lodore in Dinosaur National Monument.
Spectacular canyons - kinda expensive though.
The ride up to Rock Springs is empty and lovely.

The other route is north from Walden to Encampment, Wyoming -
Then taking Hwy 70 over the Sierra Madre Mtns to Baggs.
Two miles south across the Colorado border is a paved road - Little Snake Rd
Mostly paved to Hwy 430 - 15 miles of hard-pack - true paradise of the empty West.

If you take either of the options you head north from Rock Springs on US 191 to Pinedale.
(Rock Springs has great railroad history of the Union Pacific - the first transcontinental RR)
If you leave Rock Spgs early in the morning, you will see the Wind River Mtns all day.

Pinedale has some spectacular scenery nearby - means heading out and back.
The best is Green River Lakes and Squaretop Mountain. Fabulous hiking.
As beautiful as the national parks with a fraction of the tourists.
Also - continuing towards Jackson - you should head to Granite Hot Springs
West of Bondurant - hot pool at the bottom of a waterfall!!

The advantages of riding via Rock Springs and Pinedale are many -
But you also can take full advantage of Jackson Hole and the Tetons.
There is a nice bike trail alongside the park road - it is a magical ride.
Plus there are hiker/biker campsites at Jenny Lake.
Plus-plus you can store your gear and hike into backcountry sites near Leigh Lake.

Yellowstone is not to be missed but requires caution in mid-summer.
I like to ride early and late - there are hiker/biker campsites at most campgrounds.
Morning and evening have far less traffic.
There is a fairly big climb from the south entrance to Lewis Lake.
I find an evening - i.e. after 6:00 - ride pleasant and shaded.
Lewis Lake has much quieter camping than Grant Village.

The TransAm route through Yellowstone cheats you out of the best.
Take a look at the park roads and notice the "Figure 8" pattern.
I would suggest Grant Village to Lake to Canyon to Norris to Mammoth.
That way you get to ride along Yellowstone Lake - take the Gull Point Rd -
And then ride through Hayden Valley with all of its wildlife.
Norris has a nice, small campground - the geyser basin is lovely in the evening.
From Norris, you can do an out & back to Old Faithful via Madison -
Then leave the park via the north entrance after visiting Mammoth Hot Springs.

Better quit now - - what to show you?? - - the Cathedral Group in Grand Teton - -

Routes / Re: From east to west starting June 2014
« on: April 10, 2014, 11:05:51 am »
Emilien -

We got stuck heading into Brussels once and it was pretty tough - which applies to you, also - because you have so many cities on your proposed route. And cities in the U.S. are probably harder to cycle into than in Europe. The real issue with U.S. cities is often the miles of suburbs where the automobile reigns supreme. Quite often, the city itself has lovely bike routes through parks and along creeks.

Which cities on your route are definite and which ones just possibilities?
With five months you will have plenty of time to take longer, but better, routes.

I agree with the discussion about getting out of New York City - there is a ferry service to Highland, New Jersey where you can ride out to the Atlantic Ocean dunes. From the coast you can ride across Jersey to the Delaware River at Lambertville and then up the Delaware River thru NE Pennsylvania and the Finger Lakes Region.

Just want to make sure that your visa will allow you to leave the U.S. - into Canada - and re-enter in Michigan.

Detroit? Really? Getting across the Detroit River is tough - plus the city ain't no picnic. There are wonderful ferries across the St. Clair River to towns like Algonac. Similarly, Chicago is not easy to ride into from the SE, but has great bike routes from the north and then leaving to the west. You could take the ferry from Muskegon, Michigan to Milwaukee, Wisconsin and then ride south into Chicago.

It will be getting hot by the time you get into Iowa and Nebraska - and unless you have ridden in North Africa or Australia - you ain't seen hot until you bake in the Great Plains. That said - I've ridden across Nebraska many times - and your route looks like it's the Interstate/AutoRoute or the roads alongside of it. Would you like to see the Great Plains as they looked 200 years ago? Highway 92 from Arnold to Arthur is spectacular.

Here are cycling map websites for Iowa and Nebraska:

And an old photo from long ago in the Nebraska Sandhills.

Routes / Re: Sierra cascades- Section 3 -in April end
« on: April 07, 2014, 02:09:03 pm »
After a very dry winter, southern Oregon and northern Calif got dumped on during March. There is considerable snow at higher elevations with the likelihood of more snow in April. Crater Lake Road will definitely be closed as will many forest roads. Plus, you have a good possibility of ongoing inclement weather in late April in the southern Cascades.

PS - There's 66" of snow at Crater Lake Headquarters today.

Rocky Mountain / Re: Fargo, ND to Denver, CO
« on: April 03, 2014, 11:03:26 am »
No - - there won't be any direct maps, but you can route yourself.
There are some fabulous roads in the Sandhills of Nebraska - truly top notch.
I suggest traffic volume maps from the various states from their DOTs.

ND -
SD -
NE -
CO -

Nebraska also has a nice cycling map -

Diagonal roads are rare in the Great Plains -
And when they do exist, they often attract high traffic levels.

There is a core route section from Valentine, NE to Sterling, CO that you should strongly consider.
From Valentine -
NE 97 south to Tryon
NE 92 west to Arthur
NE 61 south to Ogallala
US 30 west to Big Springs
US 138 - west to Sterling

This route has extremely low traffic, small towns at intervals, and great scenery.
Be aware that early summer is far better than mid summer when it can be brutally hot.

From Sterling into Denver you can follow US 6 and service roads -
But it gets increasingly tricky as you approach Denver metro.

In the eastern Dakotas you have a range of roads to choose from -
Generally they form a grid - so you will be going south, then west.
From the traffic maps above you can select highways with low traffic.

Best - J

Routes / Re: Cross Canada Tour - looking for route advice
« on: March 30, 2014, 07:10:14 pm »
Haven't been east of Winnipeg - but have done oodles west of there and up as far as the Mackenzie River in the NWT and the Yukon. I also fondly remember the "Queen of the North" which was my favorite ferry on the Inside Passage.

That said - there is an excellent, quiet route halfway between Calgary and Edmonton - i.e. neither the TransCanada or the Yellowhead. If you are okay with riding only the northern half of the Icefields Parkway from Jasper to Sask Xing, then you head east from there via Red Deer, Castor, and Kerrobert, SK to Saskatoon. You can even deviate a little off these routes thru Panoka and Hardisty and loop south of Saskatoon for even less traffic. Granted, if you skip Red Deer and Saskatoon, you will be missing most services for quite a few miles.

Have you considered starting your trip in Bella Coola or Prince Rupert? It's about 200 miles further using the Yellowhead Highway and can be wetter - esp. in May - but with very light traffic. Hwy 20 is a bear - literally with grizzlies galore - and Heckman Hill is brutal. I haven't had the pleasure of riding up Heckman, but riding down I nearly burnt out my rims. The Bella Coola route is roughly the same distance to Jasper as from Vancouver - via Williams Lake and Clearwater. From Bella Coola to Williams Lake it is super remote, but if you are familiar with backcountry BC, then you should be fine.

Have a great trip - - J

Routes / Re: Starting Trans America West to East in July ... ?
« on: March 26, 2014, 02:24:34 pm »
Fabz is right about the day after the hurricane - the sky is usually solid blue - often for a week.
August across Kansas on the TransAm is pretty darn brutal.
I'm from Wyoming, but did grad work in Kansas - dreaded returning in mid-August.

If you are comfortable outside the lines (i.e. ACA maps) would you consider S. Dak rather then N. Dak?
From Glacier you can head south roughly on US 89 to Yellowstone (or take a longer ACA route).
Then you can ride via the Bighorn Mtns, Devils Tower, and the Black Hills eastwards.
Hwy 12 in northern Nebraska in the Niobrara country is lovely and empty.
Iowa offers all sorts of cycling options and is bike friendly.
You can pick up the NT again in Muscatine. Then head to Cleveland.

A July departure via Glacier and Cleveland to DC will give you very nice weather throughout.

The reason I say this is that the NT has lots and lots and lots of plains after Glacier.
Heading to Yellowstone and then via S Dak gives you way more variety.

Routes / Re: Starting Trans America West to East in July ... ?
« on: March 26, 2014, 09:39:22 am »
Starting from Seattle in early July is fine. Most people need no longer than 12 weeks, max. September in the east is pleasantly warm. If you are starting in Seattle - may I suggest Northern Tier to Glacier, then Glacier to Yellowstone, then TransAm?

General Discussion / Re: 2 General Questions
« on: March 25, 2014, 01:55:17 pm »
General Grant and General Lee??

A couple of things -
The timing of your trip should be excellent for opened facilities in the Pacific NW.

As for your questions about lodging -
Campgrounds are usually good about making sure you have a place as others have said -
The National Parks and many Oregon/Washington state parks also have hiker/biker campsites.
Motels along the way shouldn't be too much of a problem, but - -
Lodging near national parks - Glacier, Yellowstone - is often booked and expensive.
(Anyhoo, camping in the national parks is so nice - why do lodges there?)

I would strongly recommend Cape Disappointment at the beginning of your trip unless weather is bad.
Despite its name - it is a stunning place - with lighthouses and magnificent vistas.
If you are squeamish about cycling the Astoria Bridge - you can catch a bus across.

The riding on the Washington side of the Columbia River is sooooo much nicer.
Hwy 4 has very light traffic - US 30 is pretty darn busy - I've done both, multiple times.
Hwy 401 to Naselle follows the river for about 5 miles - fabulous if you are heading east.
Hwy 4 has a few climbs, but follows river valleys thru farming country.
Skamokawa has a lovely campground on the river where it is 4 miles wide.
Then there is the refuge road to Cathlamet.
From Cathlamet you can take the ferry back across to Oregon.
(And you will do a big "Ugghh!" after getting back on US 30.)

There really is no good way to bypass Portland on the L&C Route.
Portland is extremely bike friendly - but it is a big city, nevertheless.
Since you will be going thru St Helens - it might be worth it to stop by the marina downtown.
I have hitched a ride across a half-dozen major rivers - and who knows? - someone may take you across.
There are nice back road that swing north and east of Vancouver if you do this option.

Finally, I rode Hwy 14 on my first X-USA trip in 1987.  It has way more traffic now.
I've ridden Hwy 14 a couple of time since and have driven it, too.
Frankly, I find US 12 over White Pass and back roads in the Yakima Valley more appealing.
(Not to mention that it will be cherry season with lots of ripe cherry stands in the Yak Valley.)

Just a few suggestions.
Have a good trip!  J

Routes / Re: Western Express in July
« on: March 24, 2014, 09:23:17 pm »
A couple of things to consider:

1. Yes, you can do it, but why?
If distance/time is the prime consideration then perhaps you may have to do the WE.
But you can also save a chunk of miles by riding due west
from West Yellowstone, MT thru Stanley, ID to Ontario, OR.
For much of the Northwest, July & early Aug is the very best time of year.
Late spring or early fall is probably the best time for the WE.

2. Be aware that Nevada and California will have extreme fire risk this year.
Many of the campgrounds could be closed by mid-summer to reduce fire danger.
There will likely be fires in Calif because of the extreme drought.
Some of the WE highways could be closed requiring detours because of fire proximity.

I've done both the WE and the Western TA multiple times. (Also the Idaho connector)
Each has its own beauty and plusses/minuses.
All things being equal (which they never are) I'd do the TA in July/Aug.

General Discussion / Re: Starting the TA in mid August...
« on: March 05, 2014, 08:29:12 pm »
Mid August is better doing west to east, but if you do ride it east to west, you should be prepared for a short early cold/snowy spell in the Rockies or Wasatch any time after mid-Sept. Central California usually stays warm until mid-Oct, but you can get an early storm in the Sierras, too. Services such as campgrounds begin to close after Labor Day - depending on elevation and usage.  Many National Forest and National Park campgrounds are shut down by Oct 1 in the West along the WX.

International / Re: hello) my name is forest I am from Belarus
« on: February 23, 2014, 11:21:06 am »
Nice moves!

Hey - - when are you going to get rid of Lukashenko?
They did it in Ukraine - - now it is time for Belarus.
Lukashanko is so 1917 - - we need to move towards 2017.

Take care and have fun.


Rocky Mountain / Re: Highway 18 from St. George to Enterprise and back?
« on: February 23, 2014, 09:36:57 am »
Big, big climb out of St George.
Maybe not the best choice for first trip.
Not quite as much of a climb going thru Shviwits.

What about a circle route out of Panguitch?
North on US 89 to Circle - east to Otter Creek,
Then south along the Upper East Fork on the county road,
And finally west thru Red Canyon on the bike trail.

Total - about 100 miles - follows river valleys.
From Panguitch to Otter Creek State Park is about 40 miles.
Slightly downhill and often with tailwind to Circle.
Plus, you can take in Bryce Canyon, too.

Routes / Re: Pacific Coast Route Northbound
« on: February 14, 2014, 03:51:46 pm »
Mr. Seaton -

I was referring to the Pacific Coast of the United States.
That was what the OP asked.
Nowhere did I suggest that this was a worldwide phenomena.
But, it does seem that you do not understand climate patterns of this region.

Routes / Re: Pacific Coast Route Northbound
« on: February 13, 2014, 03:30:36 am »
Northwest winds accompany high pressure and dry weather.
Southerly winds accompany storm systems and rain.

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