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Messages - jamawani

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Routes / Re: Boulder, CO to New York City. Northern route suggestions?
« on: October 25, 2011, 07:47:13 pm »
Yes, you should avoid US 34 in Iowa - there is no need to take it.
There are sections with new highway and old highway - but they are only segments.
Otherwise, you are forced out on a busy highway - usually with little to no shoulder.

From Plattsmouth, you can take mostly county roads to Des Moines:
Via Henderson, Griswold, (use caution on Hwy 92) Greenfield, and Winterset.
(There's a nice paved rail trail from Cumming into Des Moines.)

From Des Moines, you can take back roads to Iowa City:
Via Monroe, Lynnville, Montezuma, and Millersburg.

Iowa City to Davenport is a little trickier - more traffic as you head east:
Little longer - via West Branch, Tipton, Maysville Rd, 110th, to Telegraph.


Iowa is very bike friendly in many ways - trails, shops, welcome - -
But its roads are not that bike friendly because there are so few shoulders.
And because most county roads are gravel - paved through roads tend to be collectors.
Still, Iowa drivers are some of the most courteous - esp. on count roads.
State, county, and town parks abound with inexpensive camping.
And the county seats often have lovely B&Bs in old victorian houses.

Routes / Re: Boulder, CO to New York City. Northern route suggestions?
« on: October 24, 2011, 10:24:58 pm »
Karin -

Congrats to you and your work for others.

Yes, you can take a more northerly route - you just have to do more homework.
State Dept of Transportation website usually have traffic volume maps -
These give you a good idea about which roads are busier or quieter.
AADT - Average Annual Daily Traffic

Rough rule of thumb for me:
Under 500 - Serene
500 to 1000 - Nice
1000 to 2000 - OK but more caution used
2000 to 4000 - Getting busy, shoulder useful
Over 4000 - Really busy, shoulder essential

If you take COLO 52 east from Boulder almost to Wiggins -
You can pick up Avenue Q (paved) to Fort Morgan rather then the I-76 service road.
From there, US 6 makes for a nice ride all the way to Lincoln (bike friendly town)
[There are more remote and scenic routes - a little longer, using more back roads]

There is a spectacular, new bike/ped bridge across the Missouri in Omaha
But getting into Omaha can be a hassle.
An easier crossing is at Plattsmouth - narrow, but refurbished surface, and 25mph.

Iowa does not have many roads with shoulders.
They have a great cycling map which shows traffic on county roads.
You can take in the Bridges of Madison County and the college town of Iowa City.
[I will be glad to provide assistance]

The nicest bridge to cross the Mississippi is at Davenport/Rock Island - Centennial Bridge.
(Gotta use the north side sidewalk - south walk is blocked.)
Then you can ride 20 or so miles along a bike trail on the river.

More later.


Routes / Re: route over Susquehanna
« on: October 23, 2011, 08:23:28 pm »
Maryland really sucks when it comes to getting across bridges.

Bikes on I-95 and US 40 are banned.
But US 1 is really narrow and dicey.

Here are links to MDOT bike maps:

You can cross the Susquehanna just over the Penna line.

Routes / Re: Trans America/Western Express - Best time to leave VA
« on: October 23, 2011, 08:13:27 pm »
You do realize that May/June is the peak of the rainy season in the central U.S.?
Also, you would have to pedal real slowly to take three months on the TA/WX.
I suspect it will take more like 10 weeks. (6 days x 65 mi - with one day off per week)
Trust me, you will be clipping the miles off in Kansas.

I've hit some pretty cool snaps in the Appalachian Mountains in May.
April can be downright cold and wet.  Probably not snowy, but bone chilling wet.
A May 1 departure will get you to Calif by about July 15.
But you will still have to use caution in the Colorado Rockies in mid-late June.

If it were me, I wouldn't leave much before May 1.

General Discussion / Re: Banff to San Francisco
« on: October 20, 2011, 09:03:47 am »
PS -
April is really ideal in the American Southwest.
Have you thought about STARTING in San Francisco -
Riding down the coast and into the deserts - which are blooming then -
Then heading north in the valley regions of the Rockies?

General Discussion / Re: Banff to San Francisco
« on: October 20, 2011, 08:44:19 am »
Ditto to Valygrl - insane and unrealistic.
Not to be mean, but April is no time to be out in the Canadian & Northern Rockies -
Unless you are prepared for brutal winter conditions.

For the route you suggested - a 60-mile day is moderate, 80 is good, 100 is serious.

Routes / Re: Western Express - Nevada & Utah
« on: October 04, 2011, 10:45:00 pm »
B.R. -

So you are saying that you will be crossing Tioga Pass in early June -
Then heading across Nevada - most likely on US 6, eh?

Here was my route - at Crazyguy
(I took the route via Rachel and Caliente from Warm Springs.)

Notice that I had to take the long way around -
Because Tioga Pass often is closed until mid June.

BTW - coming into Yosemite from the West -
Hwy 140 is WAY, WAY better than Hwy 120.

Hwy 120 east of Yosemite and US 6 in Nevada are really nice.
They are even more remote than US 50.

You can get a minimum of food & water at Benton.
Tonopah has most services.
Then there is no developed areas until Ely.

You can usually beg water at the closed motel at Montgomery Pass.
There is a rest area with water 7 miles west of Tonopah.
There is a rest area without water 30 miles east of Tonopah.
(If you hand out long enough you can beg water from someone pulling in.)
Warm Springs is an abandoned bar/pool. Begging of water possible.
The Blue Jay Highway Maintenance Station - 15 miles east of WSarm Springs has water.
There's a funky, tiny store - the man is a tough sister - at Lockes.
Bar/cafe at Currant - sometimes there is someone home in the trailer behind it for H2O.
Lund is well off the route - but does have a little store.

I rec staying in old downtown Ely at the Hotel Nevada rather than out on the strip.
Course, you can always camp in the national forest above town and ride in the next a.m.


Routes / Re: Ojo Caliente
« on: August 19, 2011, 10:42:13 pm »
Sister lives in Northern New Mexico.
Have ridden quite a number of routes.
Traffic, shoulders, and conditions can vary greatly.

I wasn't overly impressed with Ojo Caliente --
Pricey, gravel camping area geared to RVs. YMMV.

US 285 has fast moving traffic -
direct route from Albuquerque/Santa Fe to Colorado Mtns.
US 84 also quite busy south of T.A.
US 64 has moderate to light traffic over the
NM 554 very nice thru El Rito.NM 567 also nice - -
But you have to negotiate a rock slide to use the old road into Taos.
A nice out & back is NM 378 from Questa out to the Rio Grande confluence.
NM 68 is very busy.

All of these roads have lots of ups and downs - mesas and canyons.
There are a lot of possible loops that would include some dirt roads.
If you have a hybrid or mtn bike, your options are better.

General Discussion / Re: Just the Bear essentials
« on: July 09, 2011, 01:51:00 pm »
The solution -
Is to always tour with a younger, tenderer person.

General Discussion / Re: Fleece in July?
« on: July 09, 2011, 01:28:07 pm »
Mike -

You should expect low temps in Montana, Wyoming, and Colorado to be in the 40s - sometimes high 30s in August.  You could always mail the cool weather stuff via "General Delivery" to some place like Missoula that you are sure to visit and that you'll be there on a weekday (or Sat a.m.).  Then you can mail the stuff home from Pueblo.

Depending on your skin melanin, long sleeves and long pants can also be very nice in intense sun.  Also saves on the sunscreen bill and reduces the number of bugs that get stuck on your skin.  In cooler weather, three tiny things are of tremendous help - lightweight poly gloves, a lightweight earband or balaclava, and a quality pair of hiking socks (wool blend).  Yes, you should have a windbreaker, poly top, and long pants/tights - but these three small items probably account for 50% of body heat loss while riding.

Routes / Re: route 11, PA through southern Virginia
« on: June 28, 2011, 09:16:57 pm »
Even though US 11 is the old highway which parallels I-81, it is usually pretty busy and developed.  The mountains of Maryland and Virginia run in a northeast to southwest direction in a series of ridges with lovely valleys in between.  Virginia has wonderful secondary highways usually numbered in the 600s that are often empty.  Just one valley over from US 11 there may be a perfect road - - however, you should exercise caution on any roads around the DC area - especially Northern Virginia which has seen a development boom that has dumped cars onto what had been country 600 roads.  Don't overlook the Skyline Drive and Blue RIdge Parkway, either.

Routes / Re: HELP!
« on: June 25, 2011, 11:36:15 pm »

You can go thru the northeast entrance and take Hwy 296 towards Cody then northeast.

Or you could continue through the east entrance to Cody and then northeast to Laurel.
Or you could go thru the north entrance to Livingston.

Routes / Re: Big Sky Montana to Driggs Idaho
« on: June 20, 2011, 01:44:04 am »
Absolutely there are.
You can use the basic Google Maps and zoom in - then type "motel" - and locations will pop up.
Outside of Island Park, Idaho - they tend to be lodges.

A word of caution - many of these motels are closed in the off season.
During the peak season they are often booked full - plus the prices are pricey.


Routes / Re: South Idaho to Boulder,Co.
« on: June 16, 2011, 09:33:17 am »
James -

I don't get it.  I live in Wyoming and have 100,000 miles of touring experience - most of it in the American and Canadian West.  The West isn't Yorkshire.  To get from Boise to Boulder you have to cross the Continental Divide.  By definition - that implies some mountains.  Yes, there are lower places - but the most prominent is already occupied by Interstate 80 - and although legal to ride - certainly no pleasure.  I-80 is a nonstop stream of traffic - a third of which are 18-wheeler trucks.  (Lorries in British speak)

I am guessing that one reason you have not yet received any replies is that you are asking the impossible.  Either you will have to ride long stretches on I-80 - or will have to chose smaller routes which involve more climbing.  I-84 is similar, but with less traffic.  There is not a continuous service road (Old US 30) along I-84 or I-86 and when there is, it can come to a dead-end with a high fence separating you from the interstate.  Also - you don't say when you are planning to do this trip.  Southern Idaho can be brutally hot in mid-summer with little to no shade for miles.  Doable, but no cakewalk.

There are a number of pleasant possibilities that avoid most interstate sections - but do involve some moderate climbing.  Let me know more about what your plans are and I will offer suggestions.


Routes / Re: A Bridge Too Far
« on: June 13, 2011, 02:21:15 pm »
White's Ferry -
50 cents for cyclists, I think.

Access by back roads in Maryland.
Have to get on US 15 for a short stretch north of Leesville.
Leesville had really developed in the past 10 years.
What used to be back roads are now busy.

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