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Messages - jamawani

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Routes / Re: 1st cross country bike trip
« on: July 24, 2013, 05:57:17 pm »
You really need to consider the issue of heat in September in the Mojave region.
Since you don't have a route yet, I suspect that you may not be aware of heat issues either.

If you don't need to start exactly in LA city limits - then riding east from Ventura is a good way to start.
You can follow the gradually ascending river valley to Santa Clarita -
Or you can work you way north on city routes to Santa Clarita via San Fernando.
From Santa Clarita you can follow the canyon road to Palmdale then back roads thru Lancaster.

I would suggest taking US 395 north to Bishop - then US 6 thru Tonopah to Ely and the Western Express.
That will give you the least amount of extreme desert riding combined with moderate elevation gains.
And you will have reasonable services until you get past Bishop - gets very thin in Nevada, though.

There are more direct options thru the Mojave - but in September??

Routes / Re: Mapquest Maps/Routes
« on: July 19, 2013, 12:03:49 pm »
Heck, in the West a number of these routing programs don't even keep you on public roads.  A year or two ago someone on a website insisted he could ride across the Gallatin Range according to Google or Garmin or whoever.  I said that I knew the area and knew that "road" in question was private on private land.  He questioned my experience and extolled the internet. I hope he got arrested - - which would be better than getting shot, I guess.

The moral of the story - these programs may be O.K. for suburban Chicago, but for remote areas, especially overseas, I would be very skeptical.

I-165 is in Alabama.  Do you mean I-164?
Although you don't mention where - I suspect it is at the junction of I-64.
There are paved options within a half mile of former Hwy 57.
Plus you cross I-64 without an exit - a real plus for cyclists.
I would ratchet down my threats and increase my accuracy before filing suit.

Routes / Re: Route Ideas
« on: July 12, 2013, 07:43:36 pm »
Ron -

What a great idea!

First, you have plenty of time to plan and to do the ride.  If you want to do a route that is completely laid out, fine,  But if you want to combine pieces to make your own route, that will work, too.
Second, you should consider where YOU want to start and end - rather than let a route dictate.  Generally speaking, it makes little difference in surface winds eastbound or westbound.  That said, there are a few places westbound that you might encounter stiff headwinds - the High Plains, the Columbia Gorge.   I'd say it's 55/45.
Third, a 3600-mile trip will take 10 weeks if you do 5 days at 72-miles, 5 1/2 days at 66-miles, 6 days at 60 miles.  A very doable pace with time built in to explore, take a break, or deal with the unexpected.
Fourth, consider the weather where you might be each month.  A late May start eastbound should probably be from central Calif.  Westbound would be best from the Chesapeake/Delaware.  That said, late June thru early August can be brutal in the Great Plains and the Mississippi & Ohio Valleys.  Plus in the West you have climate zones running north-south that vary greatly from desert to alpine.

I have done a half dozen x-USA traps - some years the central U.S. has been reasonable, other years it has been scorching.  A trip that stays in the northern Plains and hugs the Great Lakes is likely to have more pleasant temperatures.  If running into other cyclists is something important for y'all, then yes, the TransAm would be best.

There are lots of designated routes besides the ones listed at ACA - other cross-country routes and state-supported bike routes, too.  The nice thing about putting together your own route is that it really becomes your own.  If you wanted to start at the Capitol in Washington DC and end at the Golden Gate Bridge - - then why not?

Feel free to ask me any questions - -
best, J

General Discussion / Re: I wonder why...........
« on: July 12, 2013, 04:33:48 pm »
I tour alone because I don't like people asking me why I tour alone.

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.

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