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Messages - jamawani

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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.)

Routes / Re: Best way to build a route from scratch?
« on: October 26, 2013, 12:55:48 pm »
Nearly all state transportation departments have AADT maps.
AADT - Average annual daily traffic
These indicate which roads are busy and which have little traffic.
(Sometimes it is in spreadsheet form which means using another map and going back and forth)

Here is one of the better maps - Kansas

It's color coded with actual AADT numbers so you can see at a glance the low-traffic highways.
Low-traffic roads rarely have shoulders, shoulders imply higher traffic.
But many roads with high traffic have little to no shoulder - which really sucks on a bicycle.
Some folks want to maximize low traffic, others want shoulders.

There are very few low-traffic roads in Arizona - not to mention the heat in summer.
You may want to consider a more northerly tack in mid-summer.
And why do you have to bike into Atlanta??  Urban riding can be the pits.
It's possible to have friends meet you - in north Georgia or southern Tenn.

I have found that appointments here and there can really put a bind on a bike tour.
Either crunching to get somewhere by a certain date or riding roads that are nasty.
Your choice.

Routes / Re: Ride across Nebraska route advice
« on: October 24, 2013, 01:13:46 pm »
I've ridden across Nebraska many times - 1st time on Hwy 2.
US 26 / US 30 ain't exactly the most scenic -
But you want to retrace a specific route which, not surprisingly,
became a major transportation corridor - trail/railroad/highway/interstate.

The section between Kearney and Marysville can be very pleasant -
Provided you stay off the US highways as much as possible.
In Nebraska Hwy 74, Hwy 4, and Hwy 8 are all quite nice with low traffic.
North-south highways have more traffic than east-west ones - esp. US 81 and US 77.

Diagonal roads in the Great Plains are very rare.
You will have to zig and zag to follow the actual Pony Express route.
There is a short section of unpaved road between Powell and Fairbury
Which follows the Little Blue River - then Hwy 8 goes on to Rock Creek Station.

Old Highway 36 in eastern Kansas is great for cycling -
But the stretch between Marysville and Hiawatha has pretty heavy traffic.
Most of it has wide shoulders, but about 20% does not - narrow & gravel.
Plus the the topography is rolling with limited sight lines.

Traffic map for NE:

Traffic map for KS:

Fun image from Google in southern Nebraska:

Are you an American citizen?
Have you left and then reentered the United States?

If you are an American citizen and have not left the country,
Then Homeland Security has no right to detain you and/or ask questions.
It is clearly a violation of the 4th Amendment.

Although the Martinez-Fuerte decision in 1976 permitted such stops,
the context was within a limited range.
Since 2001, the number of checkpoints and information asked has grown dramatically.

Based on the Martinez-Fuentes decision -
At the very most, all you have to say is that you are an American citizen
And that you have not been outside of the United States.
Any other questions are illegal.

You do not have to tell them where you are going.
You do not have to tell them what you have in your panniers.
You do not have to tell them anything about your finances.
Anything above the Martinez-Fuentes minimum requires a warrant.

Our basic constitutional protections are being eroded at an alarming rate.
I have nothing to hide and do not bear any ill feeling to these officers,
But I cannot countenance internal checkpoints of U.S. citizens.

Routes / Re: Biking to District of Columbia, from Chicago, IL
« on: October 17, 2013, 12:19:09 am »
You don't provide much info about yourself.
How much touring experience do you have?
What kind of bike would you be riding?
Would you be willing to do unpaved rail trail segments with zero traffic?
Finally, what time of year?  Makes a difference.

Routes / Re: On tour, jumping to Pacific coast by Amtrak
« on: October 15, 2013, 04:50:05 pm »
It's mid October and you are talking about this year - right?
I would suggest no further north and San Francisco.
There has already been one wet spell with indian summer right now.
Soon, the northern coast will be socked in for the winter.

The Big Sur coast usually stays nice until late Oct and often into Nov.
Why not cycle between Monterrey and Morro Bay -
Then head inland to the desert parks - if they are open by then.
If the national parks are closed - Anza Borrego State Park is a good option.

That should keep you warm into December.

General Discussion / Camping at Cape Meares
« on: October 12, 2013, 01:11:54 pm »
Jogging my memory here.  If I remember correctly, there used to be a hiker/biker campsite at Cape Meares State Park.  What made it so exceptional was that there was no other camping except for hikers and cyclists.  One of the picnic table spots served double duty.  Do any other old-timers remember when you could still camp at Cape Meares?  I'm going to say 25 years ago or more.

I think the idea was great - that you had an incredible, scenic location without being chock-a-block against a giant RV.  There were already bathrooms there.  Still, I suppose that if the park was unstaffed at night there were probably issues of liability and resource protection.  Sigh.

General Discussion / Re: Natchez trace open?
« on: October 01, 2013, 08:29:26 pm »
All but about 25 of the 160 employees of the Natchez Trace Parkway, also under the National Parks Service umbrella, would be furloughed if the government shuts down, said acting Superintendent Dale Wilkerson.

“Obviously, we’re all still hopeful we will avert a shutdown, but in the event it does, all national parks will be closed and that includes the Natchez Trace Parkway,” he said.

Routes / Re: Route from MS river (Hickman, KY -Ferry) to Albuquerque, NM
« on: September 18, 2013, 11:20:00 am »
Just so happens that today's winds illustrate the above.
Granted that on any one day they can vary considerably.
But it is interesting that - right now - winds are almost exactly as stated.

Streaming wind map site -

PS - Plus there is the basic diurnal trend of an easterly component in the predawn and early morning due to heating from sunrise to the east and a westerly component in the afternoon and evening during to heating.  Thus, a region with overall prevailing southerlies will still tend to have southwesterlies during much of the day - especially the afternoon -  and southeasterly at night and very early morning.

Routes / Re: Route from MS river (Hickman, KY -Ferry) to Albuquerque, NM
« on: September 18, 2013, 11:03:58 am »
I've lived in Kansas and Wyoming and have biked the Great Plains from the Dakotas to Texas.

While what some others here have said about winds in generally true, it lacks in the specifics.  First, yes, winds in the Plains are generally either northerly or southerly, but they do vary by season and location.  Second, winds are lighter in the eastern plains - where there is a bit more tree cover - and stronger the further west you go - where trees become exceedingly rare.  Third, southerly winds predominate in the summer with a switchover to northerly during the fall.  Fourth, winds are slightly southeasterly in the eastern plains but become more pronounced southwesterly in the western plains.

If you want to check out wind roses, the most appropriate for your proposed trip are those from Amarillo, TX and Dodge City, KS.  Or course, these are only two stations - - winds vary, even in the Plains, according to local topography.  Note that Amarillo has a clear southwesterly vector in Sept, Oct & Nov.  The westerly component comes a bit later in Dodge City.

Having also driven frequently between Wyoming and northern New Mexico, I can attest that frequent, strong southwesterly winds are common in the stretch of I-25 between Santa Fe and Raton.  In dozens of trips, I can easily remember either bucking the wind southbound or sailing on it northbound - - driving - - in all seasons.  I would have hated life on a bicycle heading southwest.

Now, I am just one person, but I believe that if you were to ask people living in the High Plains - such as in Clayton, NM or Guymon, OK or La Junta, CO or Pampa, TX - you would find general agreement on southwesterly winds.

In sum, in the part of your proposed trip with the strongest winds and least cover, in the autumn the prevailing direction is southwesterly.  YMMV.

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