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Messages - jamawani

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General Discussion / Re: Heading West in May, Advice Appreciated!
« on: December 10, 2013, 01:07:12 am »
Way, way back in 1987 - I finished school in May and worked all summer to save up for my first cross-country bike trip.  Needless to say, Mom wasn't thrilled at the prospect.  In fact, she said "I forbid it!"  I responded that I wasn't asking her permission.  Dad intervened to prevent WW III.  So, I hear you.

Technology is such that you can be far more in contact than 25 years ago.  But you should still consider having a fairly fixed itinerary rather than just wandering here and there.  At least for your Mom's sake.

Not sure when during that 5 months you intend to do your riding.  I'm also guessing that you need to do it on the cheap.  But you should allow yourself sufficient funds so that you are not a total hobo - - again, for your Mom's sake.  So will you be needing to work for a while to save up moolah?

Also, 1 month is way different than 2 months.  If you are thinking closer to two months, why not ride across the entire U.S.?  I mean, it's only about a week's riding from DC to Indy at the pace you suggest.  Although, I would temper it the first few days so as not to burn out early.  The reason they call it the Tidal Basin is because salt water comes up the Potomac that far.

Depending on the time of year, your choice in the West may vary.  I would strongly argue against anything in the Southwest as temperatures are brutal in mid-summer.  Even further north, there is a lot of desert terrain between the Rockies and the Sierras & Cascades.

If you want to meet up and ride with others, then I suggest using one of the Adventure Cycling routes.  If you want more solo time, then you can pick just about any route you want - - provided that you do a little planning.  Boulder is pretty urban - tough to ride into and out of, but not impossible.  If you are planning on visiting friends - consider cycling to a nearby location and arranging a pick-up.  Fort Collins is one possibility.  The Poudre River Canyon west of Fort Collins on Hwy 14 is a sweet ride.  Then again, you may want to ride Trail Creek Road in Rocky Mountain National Park - but be aware that you will be dealing with a good deal of traffic.

Winging it is fine in principle - but if you find yourself on a busy road with zero shoulders as night is falling and you are 20 miles from anything - then winging loses its appeal.  Again - and your Mom will appreciate it - having a plan will let you choose lower traffic roads and actually enjoy the ride more.  Plus, you can always vary your plans.  But, I would take with a grain of salt any route suggestions you get from the bubbas at the local bar.

Most states have bike route guides on line which vary from excellent to so-so to poor.  Most states also have traffic volume maps which indicate AADT (Average Annual Daily Traffic).  I'll give you links to Nebraska's - - I prefer riding across Nebraska rather than Kansas.  A bit cooler and more varied topography.

The color coding makes it really easy to spot the lower traffic roads - plus they show shoulder widths.  Rarely, will light traffic roads have shoulders, but you don't need them.  High traffic roads with wide shoulders are doable, just not very serene.  I use a more stringent breakdown for traffic numbers than this map.

Under 500 - Super
500-1000 - Nice
1000-2000 - O.K. but more caution needed
2000-4000 - Tricky, shoulders really helpful
Over 4000 - Busy and shoulder almost essential

You can get the exact traffic count info here:

As you can see, Hwy 92 in west-central Nebraska has almost no traffic and unplowed, rolling prairies.
Bests the heck out of hundreds of miles of pancake, dry fields in west Kansas.  IMO

As for overnights, camping gives you way more flexibility.  Often times lodging will not be available in places within reasonable mileage intervals - for ex. you may have the choice of doing 50 miles or 150.  And camping will let you enjoy the West more - - not to mention that you can camp for free on most federal lands in the West provided you are 1/4 mile from developed sites.

Hope this helps.

Routes / Re: frontage road from billings to livingston
« on: December 09, 2013, 01:26:50 pm »

First off, you don't seem to be making any sense - coming from Red Lodge - then heading west unless you are doing some kind of loop.  In which case, why ride along I-90??

Second, Old US 10 has been cut off in a number of places - so even where there seems to be a service road alongside I-90, it dead ends and you have to climb over a barbed wire fence and, maybe, dash across the interstate to get to the shoulder to ride on for a while.

If you are doing a loop, I would suggest heading up to US 12, then down thru Wilsall.

General Discussion / Re: Need advice for my trip this summer
« on: December 06, 2013, 08:02:25 pm »
Let's see here -
One person has more than 1000 posts on a whole range of subjects over 10 years -
And another has 14 posts and almost no experience.

Who's calling the other what??

Routes / Re: East To West Montana
« on: December 04, 2013, 11:04:07 pm »
Why do I respond?

Routes / Re: East To West Montana
« on: December 04, 2013, 07:26:34 pm »
I live in Wyoming and have taught for years in Montana.
20 years of riding all over Montana.

I do not like riding US 2 - not very scenic and moderate-plus traffic.
I think Hwy 200 is far better - but it is remote in places.

US 89 heading north from Fairfield to Browning is a great ride.
You have stunning, open views of the Front Range and fairly light traffic.

Northwest of Great Falls, there is a service road just to the west of I-15 -
And the 4-lane stretch of MT 200 to Sun River has shoulders.

East of Great Falls is a little trickier.
I would suggest taking Hwy 81 & Hwy 80 from Lewistown to Ft Benton.
Then take Highwood Rd to just east of Great Falls and Hwy 200.
It's a little further, but scenic and historic.
At the very least, get off Hwy 200 where it meets US 89 and ride thru belt -
Then connect with Highwood Rd.
Also, avoid 10th Ave S in Great Falls.

Best - J

Photo - US 89 along Freezeout Lake

Jamawani is weary. 
Kalach has one posting.

Not the best idea.

Connecting ACA Routes / Re: starting Vancouver finishing Tucson
« on: November 26, 2013, 12:32:08 pm »
Wolly -

Have you considered south to north?
I have suggested that for years - although ACA has it north to south.

1. Still cool and rainy in north in June - plus much snow remains unmelted
2. Summer monsoon season begins in late June in south turning dirt roads into muck
3. Winds tend to be southerly - although in the mountains they are highly variable
4. You generally have the sun behind you - not in your eyes.

You could flip your initerary - fly into LA and take Amtrak to Tucson
Although El Paso is close to Antelope Wells with a lightly used road between
I would, however, caution against stealth camping on the US/Mex border.

Since it only takes about two months, max, to ride to the Canadian border -
Why not continue on thru the Canadian parks to Jasper - really spectacular.
(Unlike US national parks, Cdn parks have fireroads into the backcountry that permit bikes.)

I would guess that you would have enough time to ride on from Jasper to Prince Rupert on the coast -
Then take the ferry through the spectacular Inside Passage back to Vancouver Island -
With enough remaining time you could ride Vancouver or bus it to Vancouver airport.

Photo - Backcountry in Jasper National Park by Bicycle

Routes / Re: Transam Motels around Jeffrey City, Wy?
« on: November 17, 2013, 09:25:54 am »
In that kaleidoscope of American landscapes and historic places that the Transam aspires to be, I found Jeffrey City one of the most memorable places, a highlight.
I am glad I didn't miss it and was fascinated to read more about its history in

Actually, I wrote an article that was published before the linked article here.
My article is titled, "Home on the Range No More: Boom and Bust in Jeffrey City".
His article is titled, "Home on the Range No More: The Boom and Bust of a Wyoming Uranium Mining Town, 1957-1988".

I was a first-year grad student at the time publishing locally.
He was completing his doctorate and published in a major journal.
Make of it what you will.


Jeffrey City has continued to shrink since the early 1990s.  As Gov. Hershler hinted at 30 years ago, there was a short resurgence of uranium in the early 2000s, but I think that Fukushima has nixed it.  At the time of the creation of the TransAm route, there were more than 4000 people.  You were one of the lucky ones if you had an apartment or one of the pre-fab houses that are now concrete holes in the ground.  It is a sobering experience spending an hour walking around the townsite - something I highly suggest as a stop on a cross-country tour.

Routes / Re: Yellowstone to Rapid City, SD
« on: November 14, 2013, 10:56:39 pm »
Lite -

Not exactly.
I live in the region and have ridden all roads in question.
But the OP offers so little info to go on that I am reluctant to share.
In fact, didn't he/she mention the term "share"?


General Discussion / Re: Advice or Feedback for Pacific Highway Cycle 2014
« on: November 07, 2013, 11:04:56 pm »
I do notice that you say May & June - which is a little early for the weather.
I also expect that you will be riding north-to-south - with the ocean to your side and with a tailwind.

The Pacific Northwest climate pattern is one of cloudy wet winters (think the Hebrides)
And sunny warm summers (think northern Spain, not Scotland).
In northern California, the wet season may end in April and not start until November.
But the further north you go, the earlier it starts and the longer it lasts.

If you tour the Olympic Peninsula - Forks get 5.5 inches (14 cm) or rain in May.
By comparison, that's an entire spring's rainfall for Edinburgh.
Certainly not the Mojave Desert of your last tour - plus you'll be soloing.

Some years, the wet season last well into June.
The past June was average, June of 2012 was cold and wet, June of 2011 was warm and dry.
Go figure!  But May is early regardless.

PS - If you are still addicted to cycling when you get to Southern California,
consider checking into the Betty Ford Clinic, where there is a separate wing for hopeless cycling addicts.

General Discussion / Re: Hosting - WarmShowers
« on: November 07, 2013, 11:27:07 am »
I need to present a different viewpoint.  I stopped hosting WarmShowers after I had a difficult interaction with its founder/director.  I had been hosting for a number of years - usually I check the person's background.  There was a person who had recently pled to reduced charges after a fraternity hazing that was nothing less than sexual assault.  The person bike touring was not just a member of the fraternity, but the supervisor of the pledge class.  The news was published by the university involved and the charges and pleas were readily available in major news outlets.  When I contacted the WarmShowers director, he indicated, I believe, that he did not operate a vetting agency.

As a survivor of a violent assault, I do not wish to have someone like this in my home.  There may be numerous people who have had convictions for violent crimes out there - some may have even stayed at my place.  Many may have acknowledged their wrong and made amends.  But the core issue of safety seemed to have been brushed off by WarmShowers.  All the organization needed to have done was to have contacted the person in question and asked whether or not the charges and convictions were valid.  And, if so, to have asked him to remove his name.

Yes, the vast majority of bicycle tourers are great people - - but it only takes one.  The internet is a great tool, but as with Craigslist - it can attract sociopaths.  I consider myself a generous host - shower, dinner, laundry, and lots of local info if desired.  I have rescued dozens of stranded cyclists in the mountains - snow, wind, cold, breakdowns.  But this incident with WarmShowers underlined the need to use prudence.

And, ultimately, I do not feel that WarmShowers does.

Routes / Re: TransAm Problems
« on: October 30, 2013, 07:04:47 pm »
As the deputy said in a VERY rural county in southern Alabama about the packs of mongrel dogs -
"Jes shoot 'em."

I have toured in nearly every state in the U.S. and province in Canada.
I can assure you that there is a correlation between how far south you are and how many dogs you have to deal with.

I ridden cross-country 6 times and bunches of other multi-thousands mile trips mostly in the West.
I prefer the rural West for the reasons you give - easier riding, simple and nice and free camping.
I've never taken the TransAm all the way, but have covered most parts of it over the years.

There's no reason you can't do your own routing - it just takes a little more effort and planning.
The ACA maps for the TransAm and other routes are very helpful -
Plus you'll bump into more riders and have more services if you stay on route.

The Midwest should be O.K. temperature-wise in late May with far fewer dogs and coal trucks.
I think riding across Nebraska is more scenic and cooler than Kansas by 5 or more degrees.
(You'll have winds no matter where you are in the Great Plains - they are, after all, the plains.)

If you are riding via Nebraska, you might consider riding over two gorgeous mountain ranges in Wyoming.
From Laramie you can head west and have the jaw-dropping vistas at the top of the Snowy Range.
Then continue on from Riverside over the Sierra Madre to Baggs on a magically empty road.
(Or from Riverside you can join up with the TransAm route via Rawlins.)

Do I have a pic of Medicine Bow Peak in the Snowy Range??

I see that you are new and that you are from Australia, but you offer very little info about yourselves.
Starting the Northern Tier route in Maine in mid-April isn't exactly a great idea.
If you were from Russia, Canada, even the South Island - then maybe.
The average High and Low are 10/0 C in the lower elevations - colder in the mountains.
There is a good chance of snow - plus cold rain every third day.
Not to mention that most facilities do no open until mid May or later.

In the Australian bush, if you get soaked in a storm, you can dry out quickly the next day.
Not so if you have a week of steady, cold drizzle in northern New England.
Even if it is "doable" you are likely to be miserable.
Granted, you might hit a warm, dry spell just perfectly - but not likely.
I would strongly recommend starting significantly further south in mid-April -
Then work your way diagonally north.

As for free camping -
On almost all National Forest (USFS) and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) lands -
You can camp for free for up to 14 days as long as you are 1/4 to 1/2 mile from developed sites. (varies)
These are federal lands comparable to Crown Lands in Australia.  Fire restrictions are likely to apply.
Random camping is NOT permitted in most National Parks (NPS) -
Although many offer free backcountry camping by permit, sometimes only a short distance from the road.
National Wildlife Areas and Refuges rarely offer any camping at all and huge fines for those who do.

State and local agencies offer fewer free camping options.
Some state forests offer free camping - also some state wildlife areas do.
Montana used to offer extensive free camping at Fishing Access Sites - but these have been reduced.
(I'm guessing cost and vandalism - plus liability issues.  It's a modern world.)
Usually state sites a re small and require advance knowledge/research -
But some of them are quite lovely and out-of-the-way.

Here's a link to Montana's state sites -

Yellowstone River, Miles City

Routes / Re: Best way to build a route from scratch?
« on: October 27, 2013, 01:03:39 am »
Actually, there is an outstanding PAVED bicycle path ~ 150 miles long from Anniston, Alabama into the Atlanta 'burb of Smyrna. Google Chief Ladiga Trail (Alabama) & Silver Comet Trail (Georgia).

True, but it only gets you to Smyrna.
If one is going elsewhere in Atlanta there will be a lot of urban riding.
And then there's the minor issue of getting out.
(I've gotten into many situations where getting out was harder.)

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