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Messages - jamawani

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Pacific Northwest / Re: Astoria to Boise
« on: October 16, 2012, 02:50:32 am »
Ridden WA 14 a couple of times.  It may be better than I-84 but it isn't the best.  Traffic has been increasing steadily over the past 10 years - - plus the eastern stretch is devoid of most services.  Not to mention you have to get over the Blue Mountains, anyhoo.

Consider Estacada, Maupin, Fossil, John Day, to Ontario.  OR 224 turns into paved forest roads and tops out at Timothy Lake.  Traffic drops off considerable from Portland metro - esp on weekdays.  Via Maupin and Fossil is more remote and tougher.  Via Madras and Prineville will put you on the TransAm for more miles but with higher traffic levels.  From Unity to Vale - if you have downhill with a tailwind you might be averaging 25 mph.

Bicycle Route 66 / Re: Skeptical about Bike Route 66
« on: August 09, 2012, 03:46:02 am »
Fred -

Sorry, but I do not think this is a much better option.
The section quoted in the article is in New Mexico proposed by the New Mexico Touring Society.
(BTW, I had read and posted earlier in that article)

Other than the dogleg up to Santa Fe, it does little to alter the service road/interstate issue.
Here is a rough descriptionn from their website:

Proposed Route Segments (Described from West to East)
Segment 1: Arizona border to Gallup (including Gallup).  The route follows NM 118. 22 miles.
Segment 2: Gallup to Grants (scenic route).  The route follows NM 602 and NM 53. Includes Zuni and Ramah Navajo Indian Reservations, El Morro and El Malpais National Monuments. 97 miles.
Segment 3: Grants to the intersection of NM 6 and I-40.  The route follows NM 117, NM 124 and the shoulder of I-40. Communities include Acoma and Laguna Indian reservations. 46 miles.
Segment 4: Intersection of NM 6 and I-40 to Tijeras. The route follows I-40 (shoulder), local streets in Albuquerque and NM 333. 53 miles.
Segment 5: Tijeras to Santa Fe (including Santa Fe). The route follows NM 14 and local streets in Santa Fe. Communities include Tijeras, Madrid and Santa Fe. 56 miles.
Segment 6: Santa Fe to the intersection of I-25 and US 84. The route follows I-25 service roads, I-25 (Glorieta Pass) NM 50 and NM 63. Communities include Pecos.  Also includes Glorieta Battlefield and Pecos National Historical Park. 63 miles.
Segment 7: Intersection of I-25 and US 84 to the intersection of I-40 and US 84.  The route follows US 84. 42 miles.
Segment 8: Intersection of I-40 and US 84 to the Texas border. The route follows I-40 (shoulder) and I-40 service roads.  Communities include Santa Rosa and Tucumcari. 123 miles.

Section 1 - Fine if you like service roads - original sections of Route 66.
Section 2 - NM 602 has fairly heavy traffic (4000+), hills, rideable rumble strip shoulders, NM 53 nice.
Section 3 - More service roads and some I-40 riding.
Section 4 - Yikes!?!  Interstate and urban streets. Then Old 66 up Tijeras Canyon as service road.
Section 5 - NM 14/Turquoise Trail is lovely, but busy. (5000+) No shoulder mid section.
Section 6 - Santa Fe tricky to negotiate and expensive. Old Las Vegas Hwy very busy.  Pecos nice.
Section 7 - US 84 - good road, low traffic, shoulders. Nice bluffs northern end.
Section 8 - Back to interstate and service road riding.

Without doing a mile-by-mile, I'd say more than half of the route is
Interstate riding, service roads, high traffic, or congested.

Since Bike Route 66 is more than just a historical fantasy, but also a major southwestern connector -
It seems that a route which offers great roads, scenery, and the "feel" of a tour in 1950 would be preferable.

For example, NM 104 between Tucumcari and Las Vegas is stunningly empty -
Great mesas, state park, services on both endpoints.
Taos is very bike friendly, historic,  and fairly easy to bike into and out of.
Coyote to Cuba is lovely, quiet riding in high pine country.
Riding via Cuba and Crownpoint allows one the option to off road to visit the Chaco ruins.
And you can soak up the Route 66 kitsch in Gallup.

Hey, I like the Route 66 diner in Albuquerque, too.
But why ride with the roar of the interstate and fight city traffic - -
When you can have dinner on the Taos Plaza?

Bicycle Route 66 / Skeptical about Bike Route 66
« on: August 04, 2012, 01:49:21 pm »
I remain deeply skeptical about Bicycle Route 66.  I recognize that the idea has great appeal, but the reality on the ground is quite, quite different that the image created when listening to "You Get Your Kicks on Route 66" or browsing old 1950s B&W photos of Americana.

The major reason that reality diverges from image is that Interstate Highways have been built over much of the original right of way of Route 66 - especially in the West.  What that means for cycle tourists is that they have to ride either on an interstate shoulder with 20,000 vehicles zooming by or on a service road that offers little respite from the roar of the interstate.  Idyllic it is often not.

Furthermore, Route 66 had many routings over the years - i.e. there is not ONE Route 66.  This is true of many of the named highways of old such as the Lincoln Highway or the Dixie Highway.  Given this, I would argue that the preferred choice for the cyclist in the Southwest would be to approximate Route 66 - to experience the natural beauty, native cultures, and some of the cultural artifacts of Route 66 in a way as close as possible to that of early cross-country travellers - rather than to adhere to any fixed route.

For example, from northern New Mexico to the Grand Canyon, I believe it is far more rewarding to take a route such as Taos, Abiquiu, Cuba, Gallup, Window Rock, Second Mesa, Tuba City, Grand Canyon rather than follow service roads and interstate shoulders from Albuquerque to Flagstaff.  The former allows one to experience Taos Pueblo, the art of Georgia O'Keeffe, ancient pueblos, the kitsch of Gallup Route 66, Navajo life, the traditions of the Hopi, and finally, a rim ride along the Grand Canyon.

Just sayin', ya know?

Abiquiu Plaza

Routes / Re: Western express question (NV)
« on: July 24, 2012, 08:57:05 pm »
There is no bus service to Ely.
There may still be a single flight per day out of Vegas.
(Looks like there is.)
Make sure they are not using North Las Vegas -
Or else you will have to schlep all you stuff across Vegas.

Routes / Re: When is the best time to visit Yellowstone
« on: July 21, 2012, 01:44:09 am »
I only have 18 days left to live??
Puerto Rico for me.

18 days with or without travel?

DEP - London (dp 7:45a) to Jackson Hole (ar 2:00p) - 13+ hours
Most direct is via Chicago - United, others - early flight allows for delays and connection
Overnight in Jackson - bike shops, all services - play a little tourist/sleep

D1 - Via Jenny Lake in Grand Teton NP to Jackson Lake Lodge cabins
D2 - Via South Entrance to Grant Village
D3 - Via Old Faithful and Norris to Canyon
D4 - Day off in Canyon area
D5 - Via Hayden Valley and Lake to Pahaska Teepee
D6 - Via Wapita Valley to Cody (Irma Hotel?)
D7 - Day off Buffalo Bill Historical Center (best in West) Cody Nite Rodeo
D8 - Via Dead Indian Pass to Cooke City - stunning, tough, not as exposed as Beartooth Hwy
D9 - Via Tower and Mammoth to Gardiner
D10 - Via East River Rd to Livingston
D11 - Via Clyde Park and Wilsall to Bozeman
D12 - Day off in Bozeman, great college town
D13 - Via Hwy 84 to Ennis
D14 - Via US 287 (or Idaho if you wish) to West Yellowstone
D15 - Via Norris to Lake
D16 - Via Jackson Lake to Signal Mountain (big downhill)
D17 - Via Jenny Lake to Jackson - 1/2 day

RET - Jackson Hole to London overnight

You could return to Jackson via the Idaho side
But it isn't nearly as nice - and trafficky at times
No one has ever complained about cycling along the Tetons twice.

Routes / Re: When is the best time to visit Yellowstone
« on: July 20, 2012, 06:46:42 pm »
Neil -

I lived in Jackson years back and worked in the hospitality industry.  If you are staying in motels/cabins, be aware that it will be pricey even in June or September and you will need to make reservations well in advance - like 90+ days if possible.

Jackson Hole, Wyoming probably has more direct 1-stop connections than Billings, Montana - plus you would be immediately in paradise without having to risk an iffy shuttle for 13 people.  Jacskon has direct flights from Denver, Salt Lake, Chicago, and Dallas - - so you would have plenty of options with a London international connection.  You would be at 6200 ft rather than 3200 ft in Billings - a recoup day would be prudent not only for weariness, but for altitude.

Speaking of altitude - you can avoid altitude sickness by taking precautions before - but it's tough to knock out after.  Plenty of fluids, limited alcohol, caffeine, nicotine, if O.K. an aspirin a day, don't overdo it at first.

Prevailing winds tend to be southwesterly in the region, less so in June, more so as the summer progresses.  They are also impacted/magnified by topography.  That said, riding westbound from Cody into Yellowstone can put you in a brutal maw for 50 miles - a good part totally exposed.  Again, no guarantees with wind, but the Wapiti Canyon usually has strong westerlies.  It is a lovely ride - lovelier when you can raise your head.

Of places to stay three nighst in the park on a bike trip, Canyon is waaay better than Grant Village.  Both have a range of facilities, but the hiking is so much better around Canyon - along either rim of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, to backcountry lakes, up the Hayden Valley with all its wildlife.  There's a slightly longer, paved back route from Bozeman to Livingston - a moderately longer one thru Clyde Park.  Then there is the very quiet East River Road south of Livingston.

Unless your riders are extremely strong, I would caution you about riding the Beartooth Highway from Cooke City to Red Lodge.  Especially if you are doing this early or late - the Beartooth Plateau makes Yellowstone look tropical - plus you are exposed in near-tundra conditions for a considerable distance.  The climb is brutal and the descent is terrifying - melted rim variety.


The nice thing about starting in Jackson would be that you have an initial 50 miles of relatively flat riding, but eye-popping vistas.   A great way to get acclimated.

Routes / Re: When is the best time to visit Yellowstone
« on: July 20, 2012, 08:24:43 am »
Don't forget -
Temperature variations and altitude acclimation.
You Brits are not used to 50F swings in temp and 8000 ft.

With a solid 2 weeks of cycling time, I would also encourage a loop into Grand Teton NP.
More than likely counter-clockwise - heading back thru Togwotee and Wind River Canyon.
Or, you can fly into Great Falls and do a loop of Glacier and Yellowstone - - easily.

Billings can easily be 35C in August - and it's a wasteland of traffic and box stores.
(But the view from the airport on the Rim is stunning.)
Cycling out of and into Billings is no picnic - others cities are easier.

Considering that you will have a significant lower altitude section to start and end with -
Late June may be better then late August.  You Brits melt like buttah, eh?

PS - "Labor Day" - And Americans have no neighbours nor any appreciation of colour.

Routes / Re: When is the best time to visit Yellowstone
« on: July 20, 2012, 08:12:52 am »
Have lived in Wyo for 20+ years and biked/hiked throughout the park.  September used to be an ideal time 20 years ago, but more and more early retirees in RVs clog the park and facilities start to close in late August - - so the last time I rode the park in Sept., it was tougher to get camping. 

There is usually a early snow in the first week of Sept, then glorious weather, but there is no predicting when the first storm will hit - - and for three or four days it is darn cold and wet.  June is similarly unpredictable, but with the advantage of a wildflower bonanza late in the month.

The peak tourism months are July & Aug (ca 900,000) - followed by June & Sept (ca 600,000).
Of the 3.5 million visitors in 2011 - 3 million came  during June thru Sept.

My choice would be the last two weeks of June or the last two weeks of August.

PS - you may need a permit for your group.

Rocky Mountain / Re: When there's a line
« on: July 18, 2012, 03:45:42 pm »
(Only if there are lots of cars - not three or four)

Note the car that is immediately in front of you.
Ride to the front of the line.
Rest your bike against a cement divider.
Enjoy a shady spot while waiting your turn.

Someone may wave you ahead -
But unless they do, it is polite to wait like everyone else.

General Discussion / Re: Near miss with truck on Trans-Am
« on: July 07, 2012, 10:13:53 pm »
Jamawani has 100,000 miles of touring experience - -
Speaking of "off topic".

Routes / Re: riding ACA northern tier
« on: July 07, 2012, 01:36:06 am »
By the Mississippi River you should have some experience.
Instead of heading north to Minnesota - cross Iowa, northern Nebraska, and southern South Dakota.
Then continue across northern Wyoming to Yellowstone and up US 89 to Glacier.
From there you can reconnect with the Northern Tier or do whatever.

The Iowa DOT bike map gives you great info for county roads in the state.
Combine back roads thru Iowa City and Des Moines with paved trails up to Sioux City.
Hwy 12 is a superb route in Nebraska - Hwy 44 is good in SD until you get close to Rapid City.
The area around Rushmore is a zoo.  Other parts of the Black Hills are way nicer.

Routes / Re: riding ACA northern tier
« on: July 05, 2012, 09:08:28 pm »
Tom -

It may be a generational thing - - but you don't HAVE TO follow a designated route.
Many states have state biking maps at their state DOT websites - verying from good to poor.
More important are AADT or traffic flow maps which tell you how busy a road is.

Here's the one for South Dakota:

General Discussion / Re: Near miss with truck on Trans-Am
« on: July 04, 2012, 11:03:07 am »
Simon -

I am sorry that you had this close call, but I believe that you have interpreted the situation wrong and should rethink it.

From your video, it is clear that there is a "scissors" situation - vehicles approaching in both directions - at highway speeds on a shoulderless road.  The white pickup passed you at 0:02 and the semi passed at 0:05 - so the semi driver had just over a second after he passed the pickup to respond to you.  Not to mention that the pickup driver was way over to the right - - should have been a serious clue.

From earlier clips, it also appears that you are taking this video with a hand-held camera.  Plus most of your posts have a long music playlist - so you may have an ipod going, too.  I could not see a handlebar mirror on your bike or on the bike of the rider in front.  Do you use a mirror?

Added to this, your group appears to cycle, at times, as a cluster strung out over a half mile or so.  This makes overtaking even more difficult for vehicles.


From some of your comments - such as the condition of the showers in parks - you seem not to understand the people or the communities through which you travel.  In west Kansas, these communities are small, poor, often with an average age of more than 50 - - yet residents take the time and effort to make sure cyclists have accommodations - - using their weekends and funds to do so.


In the U.S. there are signs which say "Share the Road" - meant to alert motorists to cyclists on the road.  Still, this motto works both ways.  Although this is a dream vacation for you, for the motorists you encounter along the way, it is yet another workday - often at very low pay and great distance in rural America.

Hopefully, that is something you can gain from this experience.

Routes / Re: Pacific Coast - 1st leg via San Juans, and then?
« on: June 28, 2012, 12:07:14 pm »
I believe that they are first come - first served.
The county park at Lopez had cyclist overflow in picnic area.
Please verify yourself with Wash State Parks and San Juan County Parks.

Routes / Re: Pacific Coast - 1st leg via San Juans, and then?
« on: June 27, 2012, 12:10:39 am »
PS - If you haven't been to the San Juan Islands, remember that they are very popular.
Also, that next week is the July 4th holiday.
Cammping will be very difficult to come by.
Lodging will be horribly expensive and practically unavailable.

Of the four islands, San Juan is the busiest.
Friday Harbor used to have a hostel - but the partying goes on all night.
There is a lovely campground on the west side of the island - availability?

Orcas is the next busiest and the state park is a good distance and uphill.
The state park does have hiker/biker camping and may not be full.

Lopez is my favorite - quiet but with village services - two campgrounds.
Both the state park and county campground accommodate cyclists.
(The beachside campsites at the state park are reserved months in advance -
The county park is a little more cyclist friendly.)
The village has a grocery and great bakery/cafe.

Shaw is the most remote island served by ferry.
There are NO commercial services on the island.
The small county park is likely to be filled.


If you want to go to one of the other islands beside San Juan -
You can take the Noon ferry all the way to Anacortes and backtrack.
A little more, but you can get situated by mid afternoon.

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