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Messages - jamawani

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256
Routes / Re: Help with route in WY
« on: December 31, 2011, 05:28:47 pm »
I have lived in Wyoming more than 20 years and have biked nearly every paved, non-Interstate mile of pavement in the state.  I would urge you not to ride from Cheyenne to Rawlins, but rather to ride from Scottsbluff through Casper.  In the Panhandle, Hwy 92 generally has far less traffic than US 26.  Hwy 29 in far western Neb is a lovely, empty road - then connecting with US 20 heading west.  I prefer that to using US 26 thru Torrington to the service roads paralleling I-25.  From Orin Jct to Douglas there is a parallel paved service road - then Hwys 93 & 95 keep you from having to ride on I-25.  US 20/26 heads west to Shoshoni - great milkshakes at Yellowstone Drug - and Riverton and you can then continue on over Togwatee Pass along the TA.

Be aware that, heading west, you will encounter significant headwinds which are almost always worst in the afternoon.  If you are doing a loop with a return trip, I would suggest the section thru Sylvan Pass to Cody - Wapiti Canyon along US 14/16.  If you have your cycling legs by then, I might suggest continuing over the Bighorn Mountains - fabulous wildflowers - to Buffalo and then via Kaycee and Wright to Newcastle - then through the southern Black Hills to Hwy 2 and to Crawford, Nebraska. 
Hwy 2 in far northwestern Neb is empty and magical.

257
Routes / Re: Western Express - NV - early June
« on: December 30, 2011, 01:04:07 pm »
STRONGLY suggest that you do not use US 6 east of Spanish Fork, Utah.
This road has high traffic, high speeds, blind curves, and heavy truck traffic.
It is considered one of the most dangerous roads in Utah.
In addition, there is almost always construction going on - plus poor shoulders in many places.

There is a scenic, low-traffic option that does involve more climbing.
From Delta take Hwy 132 to Nephi and Moroni. (Mod traffic east of Nephi)
Take Hwy 116 to Mount Pleasant, then US 89 north to Fairview.
Hwy 31 climbs the Wasatch Front, then Hwy 264 goes to Scofield.
(Very scenic, high country area)
Hwy 96 takes you to US 6 at Colton.

There is a seasonal store in Scofield and a historic general store at Colton.
Plus, there is a cutoff road between Colton and US 191 - Emma Park/Kyune Rd.
Also, there are nice back roads between Duquesne, Vernal, and Dinosaur.

J

258
Routes / Re: Is the NT a traffic nightmare?
« on: December 26, 2011, 10:23:39 am »
Although I have ridden cross-country more than a half dozen times, I have never done a complete ACA route.  I don't mind doing parts of them - but I feel no obligation to stick to any predesignated route.  I've done parts of the TA and did the much of the western section of the NT in 2006.

To answer your questions in the order listed:
1. The Hwy 20 causeway is busy but there is a separated bike lane on the bridge and a wide shoulder elsewhere.  Remember, there is a great bike trail that goes across the bay from Anacortes.  Also, you should really consider heading out to one of the San Juan islands as a delicious extra - I'm guessing the start of your trip.
2. Hwy 200 near Sandpoint is busy with very little shoulder.  I rode it on my frist cross-country trip in 1987 and the difference is night and day.  Still, Sandpoint has turned into a recreation-based community and most drivers are used to cyclists.  Perhaps avoid the busiest commute times.
3. Logging trucks - not that frequent - don't listen to music while riding - you can hear them coming a mile away.  But do given them plenty of room - they do move quickly .
4. US 93 north of Whitefish sucks - narrow, no shoulders, busy.  There is a paved alterate - Fisher Creek & Wolf Prairie Roads - that have very low traffic and bypass Eureka thru the tiny community of Trego, but they still put you out on US 93.  Or you can take Fisher Creek Rd down to US 2 - but US 2 has some of the same traffic and shoulderless issues that US 93 does.  There is a fairly directly line unpaved road over the divide from Fisher Creek to Star Meadow Road via Twin Bridges Rd to Spencer Lake - - but still you have a short, bad stretch of US 93.  I am amazed that US 93 has no shoulder right up to the edge of Whitefish - considering that Whitefish is such a recreation-based community - but Montana is the poorest state in the West.  Also - in addition to a lack of shoulder, US 93's pavement is broken at the edge forcing you further into traffic.  I have ridden 100,000+ miles and this is one of the worst mapped stretches - but as you can see, there are no alternates.
5&6. Going to the Sun Road is not to be missed.  It is one of the finest rides in North America.  Headin west to east the park has limitations on cyclists.  The stretch from Apgar to Lake MacDonald Lodge is closed from 11a to 4p as is the uphill stretch from the bottom to Logan Pass.  Leave early and enjoy the view with light traffic.  I prefer camping at Avalanche rather than Sprague Creek - the former is quiet and gives you a head-start on the climb.  The latter has close access to facilities at the lodge, but is right next to the road and has road sounds all night.  One option you can consider - if you are not morally opposed - is to take all your gear up to the top on the free bus and put it in the lockers there - then ride up with a nearly bare bike.  If you give yourself 3 hours for the climb you will have plenty of time.  Then you should plan on spending a few hours up top hiking - if the weather is good.  And it is unforgettable - the Highline Trail has eye-popping views and sheer walls.
7. US 2 does have heavier than ideal traffic - it has been widened in most of eastern Montana - but there are a few stretches where there is no shoulder and fairly heavy traffic - like east of Havre. I suggest taking US 89 southeast from Glacier to Great Falls - then US 87 and Hwys 80 & 81 to Hwy 200 across eastern Montana - mostly the L&C routing - but staying on Hwy 200 the entire way and NOT heading into Williston, ND.
7A. I would ABSOLUTELY avoid Williston.  There is a huge oil and gas development going on there with industrial traffic and rowdy, impatient, possibly drunk, over-paid young guys in profusion.  Cheesy motel rooms go for $200 a night if you can find one.  I would stay on Hwy 200 to Washburn which has great Lewis and Clark and Mandan historic sites.  There will be places on Hwy 200 in western ND that have moderate and moderate-plus traffic - but it is generally better than US 2.  Hwy 1804 was named for the year Lewis & Clark went up river as a scenic road and was never designed for industrial traffic.  I would avoid it.

If you are willing to make small alterations to the route - and ACA is working on publishing a North Dakota alternate right now - then you will have no problem.

J

259
Yes.

260
Routes / Re: Lewis & Clark
« on: December 20, 2011, 02:45:01 am »
John -

From Sydney, MT - MT 23 becomes ND 68.
The first dirt segment begins when ND 68 turns north.
I would advise you to check with TRNP staff to see
if it is still legit to use this gate.
NPS is increasingly iffy with such things.

261
Routes / Re: Lewis & Clark
« on: December 19, 2011, 11:49:25 pm »
The "backdoor" of Theodore Roosevelt N.P. (North Unit) is a great option if you are willing to do 10 miles of dirt roads.  (From ND 68 eastbound stay straight onto county road 7 miles; turn right/south 4 miles on paved county road; then left 3 miles with zigs to park) It's easier to find heading east to west than vice versa.  Also the gate is usually locked - which means lifting your bike over - usually easier to remove panniers, first.  Most importantly, you better have a map and know your directions - esp. in hot or cold weather.

262
Routes / Re: Lewis & Clark
« on: December 16, 2011, 07:23:51 pm »
And a 2010 North Dakota traffic count map.

http://www.dot.nd.gov/road-map/pdf/traffic/trafficstate_2010.pdf

263
Routes / Re: Lewis & Clark
« on: December 16, 2011, 07:02:41 pm »
There is a MAJOR oil and gas play going on in the Williston Basin based on reserves in the Bakken geologic formation.  Gophers driving stuff to camps in pick-ups are making $25 an hour.  Skilled workers are making $50 an hour and more.  Big money everywhere - drugs, hookers, you name it.  Motels easily go for $200 a night - if you can find one.  Campgrounds are filled with semi-permanent workers.  Roads are clogged with trucks in a hurry to get to various job sites. Not ideal.

Also, Minot got hit bad by flooding last year and lacks housing, some businesses, and overall services.

The boom is centered in Williston - but stretches over much of western North Dakota and easternmost Montana.  People are commuting from as far away as Bismarck and sleeping in man camps.  (The name says it all.)

I've always disagreed with the Northern Tier route in North Dakota anyway.  It should have been vis Hwy 200 through the Knife River Indian Villages and Mandan Villages historic sites - crossing the Missouri at Washburn.  There will be some traffic on Hwy 200 related to the energy boom - just not as much as around Williston.  The only other alternative (Not using I-94) is way south on US 12 crossing th Missouri at Mobridge, SD.

Here's a map of drilling activity:
http://seekingalpha.com/instablog/1084056-richard-worley/242743-strong-production-growth-of-bakken-shale-plays

264
General Discussion / Re: Cross Country with a 13 year old boy
« on: December 05, 2011, 09:25:21 am »
I looked at your website pic.
I see you are both redheads - so am I.
That means extra precautions - clothing and sunscreen.

Can you do the trip unsupported? Of course.
Should you consider the ST?  Probably not.
The Western Express also has some long, remote stretches.

I'm guessing you have early June to late August.
12 weeks max. Biking and travel time.
60 miles per day - starting more slowly.
Plus one day off per week - for fun or to chill.
That adds up to about 4200 miles.
So you could do the traditional TransAm.

The advantages of the TransAm are excellent maps and meeting others.
I would suggest an east to west ride starting in early June.
Still using mostly Adventure Cycling routes -
You could do a Combo Northern Tier & TransAm -
Maybe cutting across Iowa and Nebraska to the Grand Tetons.

I think camping would be an important part of the fun.
But you should allow yourself funds for motels, as needed.
You meet a lot more people camping -
Plus the grandmas and grampas in RVs -
Will take good care of you.

Have fun! - - J

265
Routes / Re: Late start to ST
« on: December 04, 2011, 06:46:02 pm »
Check out info at the Western Regional Climate Center:

http://www.wrcc.dri.edu/Climsum.html

The Mojave is 10 or more degrees cooler than the Imperial Valley.
The Colorado Plateau is 20 or more degrees cooler than the Sonoran.

Click on the states and compare Barstow with Imperial.
(Yes, Needles is almost as hot as Yuma or Blythe.)
But once you climb - Kingman is 10+ degrees cooler than Salome -
And Flagstaff is 20+ cooler than Phoenix.

If you are planning on motelling it mostly, then is is relatively easy to do your own route.
Once you are out of the desert Southwest, most county seats have a motel in Kansas, Missouri, etc.

PS - This guy did the Southern Tier with his son.
Same dates - - same timeframe.
He didn't drop dead - but it was 110 in the desert -
And he got really sick towards the end.

http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/?o=1&doc_id=1589&v=A8#38386

266
Routes / Re: Late start to ST
« on: December 04, 2011, 12:25:55 pm »
PS - Camping or motels?

If you motel it, you carry less weight -
But motels are not conveniently located in remote areas.

267
Routes / Re: Late start to ST
« on: December 04, 2011, 11:39:18 am »
I don't think it is a great idea.
I've ridden the Southern Tier in late winter.
I wouldn't want to consider it in mid summer.

Since it's your first post there's not much to go on.
Here's what I am guessing:
You want to ride cross-country - -
But you only have 45 days to do it.
And it has to be in the May 20 to July 4 window.
Plus you are not familiar with desert Southwest conditions.

Now, that is not an ideal combination if you step back.
Yes, you could probably get through it.
But is that what you want - simply to get through it?

Heading west to east on the ST -
You are in the Imperial and Sonoran Deserts by Day 2.
Plus June is the hottest month in much of the Southwest.
Then you add highest temps and humidities of the Southeast.
It borders on the danerous - plus you leave yourself no leeway.

I agree with my colleague that the TransAm/Western Express combo is better.
A fast westbound trip starting in Yorktown would be in good weather, mostly.
YMMV - weather normals are long-term averages.
But the TA/WE is 3800 miles vs the ST at 3000. (Let's say 43 days.)
That's the difference between 70 miles/day and 88 miles/day.
(Frankly, 70 mpd on the ST in summer will be pushing it.)

I see a number of possible options.
First, you could add a week and do the TA/WE fast, but reasonably.
Second, you could map your own more direct route - say LAX to DC.
That would be perhaps only 3200 miles.
(See Tzuo Han Law's route - http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/?o=1&doc_id=2405&v=2LH)

I helped him with his route - he got up to 100 miles per day.
It includes an easy start with gradual climbs out of Ventura.
Then involves stretches of Historic Route 66 and the Grand Canyon.
You pick up the TransAm in Colorado and stay on it until SW Virginia.
Then take the Blue Ridge Parkway / Skyline Drive towards DC.

But the Southern Tier for those dates?
There's better riding out there.

268
Routes / Re: Great Parks Questions
« on: November 27, 2011, 11:01:18 pm »
A) The Icefields Parkway is open year-round - but there are often winter closures.
My best guesstimate is May 15th for the earliest departure.
Bear in mind that the limiting factor may well be lodging opening dates.

B) It is possible to do the route without camping.
The are fabulous hostels the lenght of the Canadian Parks -
but they are partially closed in winter/spring and may have full closures.
Check Hosteling Alberta's website.  Many are primitive - but wonderful.
Lodges midway along the parkway will not be open in the off seasons.

C) Remember, VIA Rail is struggling.
The train to Jasper only runs three days per week.
Make sure to check the specific date for availability.
The Jasper train station is very bike friendly.  Bike shops nearby.
Also - the hostel for Jasper is way out of town.
Many town residents offer inexpensive home lodging.
Check with the Parks Visitor Centre.

D) From Whitefish - you can take Amtrak back to Seattle/Vancouver.

269
Routes / Re: Milwaukee, WI to Jasper NP
« on: November 25, 2011, 03:32:33 pm »
Lindsey -

I live in Miles City on the Yellowstone River -
I've also toured oodles of miles in the West.
You know - the southern option for the L&C ain't that great.
The problem is that the old highway has been severed in lots of places.
What that means is that you have to ride on I-90 in numerous places - yuch.
Other places the road is pretty close to the interstate or the mainline RR tracks.

If you want to smell the roses in eastern Montana - take the norther option.
From Williston continue to Sidney, MT then hop on Hwy 200 all the way to Lewistown.
Fort Benton is really a great place on the Upper Missouri.
Great Falls has miles of riverfront paved trails.

From Great Falls it's a pretty straight shot to Missoula on Hwy 200.
Or you can take the Recreation Road along the Missouri to Wolf Creek -
Then zig back to Hwy 200 via Old Hwy 434.

Make sure to take in Fort Union at the mouth of the Yellowstone near Williston.

Jama

270
Connecting ACA Routes / Re: Connecting Transam and L&C
« on: November 20, 2011, 11:34:03 pm »
If you start on the Northern Tier - remember not to start too early.
The North Cascades Highway can be closed well into May.
And Going to the Sun Road in Glacier rarely opens before mid June.
Thus, Memorial Day is about as early as you would want to start.

That said - your proposed route in the Western U.S. is really the best.
There are a couplr of options connecting Glacier to Yellowstone.
I suggest US 89 on the east side of the Rockies rather than the AC route to the west.
Why? Views, lower traffic, plus you definitely want to ride Going to the Sun Road.
US 89 thru Great Falls (nice Riverfront Trail) is sweet.
There is a back road into Livingston north of the Yellowstone River.
Plus the Eastside Road south of Livingston is way, way better than US 89.

From Fishing Bridge in Yellowstone N.P. - take the East Entrance over Sylvan Pass.
Then follow US 14/16/20 to Cody - all services.  Stay on US 14/16/20 to Greybull.
From Greybull you can either take US 14 over the Bighorns to Sheridan -
Or you can go via Tensleep and take US 16 over the mountains to Buffalo.
Whichever way you go you should continue on US 14/16 via Clearmont to Gillette.

The Bighorns have the most beautiful wildflowers in the West.
Plan to stay on top - although it might be chilly.
Also plan for some killer climbs and white-knuckle descents.

From Gillette, take the back road (Wyo 51) to Moorcroft -
Then Take US 14 to Wyo 24 to Devil's Tower.
Stay on Wyo 24 becoming SD 34 to Belle Fourche.
Then take the back road to Spearfish and follow Spearfish Canyon into the Black Hills.

You should consider riding part of the Mickelson Trail in the Black Hills -
Nice, plus the highways have a lot of cars.
Rapid City is busy - but you'll probably want to be on SD 44 to the Badlands.
The western extension of the Badlands Loop is unpaved hardpack.
(I really, really wouldn't ride I-90 from Rapid - bleah!)

From Interior, continue on SD 44 thru Wamblee to White River (camping at fairgrounds).
There are a number of ways to cut down into northern Nebraska.
Neb 12 is a really fine ride along the Niobrara and Missouri Rivers.
And that takes you to Sioux City - - - Sue.  (Which is on the L&C)

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