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Messages - jamawani

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You know what they say about Havre - - you can have 'er.
(Poor Havre - frigid in the winter and blistering in the summer.)

Anyhoo - I teach in Montana and live in Wyoming so I know the area well.
US 89 is a superlative ride between Belt (east of Great Falls) and Yellowstone.
I would take US 87 south from Havre to Fort Benton -
Then take Route 228 thru Highwood to Belt - paved all the way now.

There is a back road into Livingston north of the Yellowstone River so you don't have to get on I-90.
Also, you can ride on the east side, Route 540, instead of using the busy US 89 south of Livingston.
Pavement gets a little rough south of Pray, but there are almost no cars.

General Discussion / Re: To Go Home or Not...That is the Question?
« on: June 18, 2013, 11:49:32 pm »
JRII - Different strokes for different folks -
But I feel that it is tough breaking the pattern of touring by making visits to family/friends.
You end up going places in cars, sleeping in beds, dealing with folks without a clue about touring.
(I also cannot tell if you are a little burned out or not.)

One way to compromise is to have family meet you at a state park nearby.
If need be, rent a cabin overnight - or just do a day visit - with you camping.

That way they can bring all kinds of goodies but you stay in the groove.

Happy trails!

Routes / Re: Eastbound from Washington/Oregon
« on: June 18, 2013, 11:45:20 pm »
Going to the Sun Road is one of the finest rides in the world.
Yes, it involves climbing, but the road was engineered with a constant 8% grade on purpose.
Way easier than the climb to Rainy Pass.

And yes, there are time limitations for cyclists - along Lake MacDonald and on the ascent.
It's 21 miles from the lodge to the pass - 10 miles gentle and 11 climbing.
You could make it in 3 hours at a steady pace, 3 1/2 hours banana breaks, 4 hours easy.
Not to mention that the uphill climb has jaw-dropping, right-on-the-edge views.
It does mean leaving early - or you can hike up to Avalanche Lake - and ride up after 4.
It doesn't get dark until 10 in late June.

Or you can have the shuttle drive take you panniers up to Logan Pass
or even across if you lodge on the east side, as well.
Then you can zoom up with less weight.
(The driver can leave your bags in bear boxes on top if you are comfortable with that.)

You'll be missing the numero uno section if you skip Going to the Sun.
Just sayin'.

Routes / Re: Eastbound from Washington/Oregon
« on: June 18, 2013, 03:07:01 pm »
Logan Pass opens this Friday - weather permitting.

Routes / Re: Please advise: is Sept to late for Portland to Missoula?
« on: June 17, 2013, 05:36:23 pm »
You could get an early storm, but it will likely be rain everywhere except Lolo Pass.
I've ridden eastbound in early Sept and it was blistering.
Westbound in later Sept and I got a few drizzly days near the coast.
Should be very pleasant - although the days are only about 12 hours and shortening.

PRISM climate norms from Oregon State -

General Discussion / Re: Pronounciation...
« on: June 14, 2013, 06:22:23 pm »
"Saddlebags" is easier to pronounce.
And for non-cyclists - - easier to understand.

Routes / Re: Planning trip from NY to Ca
« on: June 13, 2013, 12:16:30 pm »
You are kidding, right?

General Discussion / Re: riding and camping in thunderstorms
« on: June 12, 2013, 10:28:22 pm »
Prayer and a fast sprint??

I've toured for years and have encountered many storms.
Also, because I have done the majority of my touring in the West in later years -
I have often been in open terrain far from any shelter.

So waddya do?
Instead of any footprint for my tent, I use a small 5x7 tarp with grommets.
It's readily accessible on the back rack - with two bungees and a fence line - a quick lean-to.
Most highways are fenced - so you use the top fence line for the bungees.
If you have time you can stake down the two bottom corners -
Otherwise hold one and use bike for other in a 2-minute case.

I've been caught out in hail a few times and it ain't fun.
Your helmet is essential for protection - heavy hail is dangerous.
Quickest, safest thing is to pull out your sleeping pad and cover yourself.

Both of these situations do not involve something like tornados.
(Although in the West you can have some darn high winds.)
I've ridden out many a storm in a culvert.
There are a lot more than you think if you are just a car user.
They may be a little groaty - but hey.
Barring that, flatten yourself in a low area - again use your sleeping pad for protection.

Storm in Thunder Basin, Wyoming
(The nice thing abour Western storms is that you can see 'em coming for miles.)

General Discussion / Re: 6 weeks from Vancouver - which route?
« on: June 08, 2013, 02:44:33 pm »
Late July and August are ideal times to tour in British Columbia and Alberta.
You could ride north on Vancouver Island, take the ferry to Prince Rupert,
Then do a large loop to Jasper, Banff, and down to Glacier NP in Montana.
This would include both the spectacular Icefields Parkway and Going to the Sun Road.
Then you could take Amtrak back to Seattle & Vancouver.  (If you are flying out of Vancouver, too)

If you work your way backwards in this journal, you can trace the route exactly.
You would start by taking BC Ferries over to Nanaimo - lovely way to begin a big trip.
The southern half of Vancover Island has plenty of services - northern of Campbell River they get slim.
The day ferry thru the Inside Passage is fabulous - nice hostel in Prince Rupert - but make reservations.

The ride along the Skeena River is primieval - such a powerful river ringed by huge mountains.
Make sure to take in First Nations cultures - especially just off the route in Hazleton - Ksan village.
The stretch of Hwy 16 between Houston and Prince George is pretty uneventful - rolling - fast riding.
It does get pretty empty between Purden Lake and McBride - but then you hit the Rockies.

Do not - I repeat do not - skip Mount Robson Provincial Park.
You can cycle in to a backcountry campsite on Kinney Lake - awesome.
Then its off to Jasper - lovely town - and the Icefields Parkway.
Take your time - you will have plenty of time for this loop.
So spend an extra day here and there and do some hiking.
There are a number of fire roads that you can use to access backcountry sites.

From Canmore, ride down to Kananaskis and over Highwood Pass.
Then its down to Pincher Creek and Waterton Lakes.
Finally you can cross into the U.S. and Glciaer Park.
Many Glacier is the best area for hiking - unbelievably beautiful.

For dessert - you have Going to the Sun Road - one of the best rides in the world.
You have plenty of time to get to Whitefish and catch Amtrak back.
Or, if you are ahead of things you can ride the Northern Tier all or part way to Anacortes.

Other than Whitefish, the only other baggage station is Spokane.

Feel free to ask me any questions if you are interested in this.


Great Lakes / Re: Touring within Ohio, State Park campground policy
« on: June 05, 2013, 07:39:37 pm »
Better yet - Hiker/Biker camping in Ohio state parks.

Pacific Northwest / Re: Kelso/Longview to Astoria
« on: June 04, 2013, 08:43:24 pm »
I know you are not planning on more time but - - Steamboat Slough Rd is da best.

The back road thru the Julia Butler Hansen Wildlife Refuge from Cathlamet to Skamokawa -
Is almost never taken - even by those who ride Hwy 4 thru Grays Valley.
It has almost no traffic - and some of the finest expansive views of the Lower Columbia.
Plus there's the fabulous Vista Park with camping at Skamokawa.

It would take massive rain and killer headwinds to make this stretch anything less than great.

Pacific Northwest / Re: Kelso/Longview to Astoria
« on: June 04, 2013, 12:52:39 am »
I have ridden both sides of the river - plus used the Longview Bridge and Puget Island Ferry.
Generally, US 30 has wide shoulders but lots of traffic.  Hwy 4 is narrower, but far less traffic and scenic.
The Longview Bridge sucks - I've heard that they have tried to inmprove it - but how?
It's old, pretty narrow, way high above the river and lots of industrial traffic - super scary.
The Puget Island Ferry is a delight - and Cathlamet town, esp. the riverfront, is charming.
The really nice riding is Hwy 4 thru Skamokawa and Grays River - but it is much longer.
Plus, Astoria bridge is not for the uninitiated - its length and the high span require confidence.

Bicycle Route 66 / Re: Welcome to Bicycle Route 66!
« on: May 14, 2013, 12:07:07 pm »
Jennifer -

There are no unpaved sections on the stretch I outlined.  I've ridden it.
You can ride all the way from the Grand Canyon thru Window Rock to Abiquiu.
All pavement, low traffic.  Services comparable to the Western Express.

The unpaved part is a zag to Chaco Canyon NHP.  Well worth it.
This park includes some of the oldest and most extensive ancient Puebloan ruins.
Speaking of history.  And I do teach college history.

The fact is - Route 66 in Arizona and New Mexico has largely disappeared under I-40 since the 1970s.
Yes, there is the fabulous section thru Peach Springs.  But between Flagstaff and Albuquerque it is questionable.
In many places the old road from the 1930s is a streak in the desert.
Where there are maintained sections, they often dead-end at a fence on the interstate.
And when there is a usable service road, it can be right next to 20,000 vehicles on I-40.

Nearly everyone who has tried to ride Route 66 has complained about this section.
If you reroute a little bit - i.e. onto Townsend Winona Rd - you are already "off route".
And if you are riding on I-40, you are certainly not riding on historic Route 66.

Although I am not absolutely against riding on an interstate - it defeats the purpose of touring IMO.
I won't detour 100 miles to avoid 5 miles of interstate riding where it's the only option - -
But to plan a route that includes considerable mileage of interstate and service road riding is less than ideal.

General Discussion / Re: North Nevada & Utah in summer
« on: May 06, 2013, 07:58:07 pm »
Andrea -

I'm from Buffalo, Wyoming and have some strip maps I made a few years ago crossing northern Wyoming.  The Bighorn Mountains are nothing to laugh at - big climbs - esp. from the West, 2000m.  I am planning to be gone - but some family member should be there at my house in Buffalo - big house on a hill with mountain views - if you need a place to relax and do laundry.

I also have route guides for crossing Idaho through the Sawtooth Mountains.  I know you only have about 60 days with stops - so saving 4 or 5 days with a more direct route may be helpful.  Plus, the Payette River has hot springs and the Sawtooths are stunning.  Not to mention that it puts you on a course to see both the Grand Tetons and Yellowstone without backtracking.

As for the Great Plains - if you ride through the Black Hills of South Dakota you will be surprised how lovely they are - plus by late July they are MUCH cooler.  You may want to do a sunrise ride thru Badlands N.P. - but remember as you get out on the Great Plains it will be HOT!!  40C or more.  Best to ride super early - from sunrise to 11am - then quit.  There is a fabulous route - Nebraska Hwy 12 - that runs right on the NE/SD border and has very little traffic.

Your choice of the Oregon state is much better for the time of year and your plans.

Bicycle Route 66 / Re: Welcome to Bicycle Route 66!
« on: May 06, 2013, 12:12:26 pm »
It is regrettable that the need to follow an exact routing
takes precedence over the quality of the cycling experience, itself.

In the case of northeast and northwest New Mexico -
One can ride from the Grand Canyon via Cameron, Tuba City, and Second Mesa,
To Window Rock and Crownpoint with variation from there either to Abq or Santa Fe.
All paved with short dirt segments to nearby sites such as the spectacular Chaco Canyon ruins.

Taking such an alternative will give the cyclist the "feel" of a trip in the 1930s -
Even though the exact routing is slightly different.

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