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Messages - jamawani

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Routes / Re: El Nino impact on Sierra Cascade route this spring?
« on: March 24, 2016, 02:04:05 pm »
Ummmm -

In a normal year, the Sierra Passes don't open before Memorial Day.
Usually, Ebbett and Sonora do, but Tioga often doesn't until some time in June.
This year in California, the snow was only so-so until recently - now it's closer to normal.

The other issue is Oregon and Washington.
The Cascades have had 150% to 200% of normal snowpack.
Crater Lake Loop is likely to still be closed in early June.
Many facilities will likely still be closed before Memorial Day.

Here is a Snotel map of Western snowpack (California does not participate west of the Sierras.)

And total precipitation - (fortunately for you, there has already been significant melting)

And a pic from a few years back of Sonora Pass just north of Yosemite in late May -

PS - If there still is a big snowpack, you can do it - you just have to plan to camp at lower elevations.

Routes / Re: Great Divide Route - NFS Maps
« on: March 22, 2016, 09:36:54 am »
The Southwest Interagency maps include the Beaverhead NF as well as BLM and State Lands.
I should add, that USFS maps do not cover the Red Desert region of Wyoming.
The OP would need to get the appropriate BLM maps.

Routes / Re: Great Divide Route - NFS Maps
« on: March 21, 2016, 11:14:45 pm »
You can always use these USFS maps online -
I would save the files to a zip drive, since you are likely to be out of service zones.
They seem to have a poor server - so keep trying.

You will have to search out other sources, but you should be able to get nearly all of the maps online.
Unfortunately, this service is not provided by the USFS - except for the Pacific Region.


I do agree - using USFS maps allows you so much more flexibility.
For those maps which you cannot find online - order the NF map.
Then take a high resolution photo of overlapping sections.
Save on zip drive or in the cloud. (Zip drive is better for the GDMBR)

Gila NF
Cibola NF
Santa FE NF
Carson NF
Rio Grande NF
Gunnison NF
San Isabel NF
White River NF
Routt NF
Medicine Bow NF
Shoshone NF (S)
Bridger Teton NF
Targhee NF
Southwest Interagency (E)
Southwest Interagency (W)
Helena NF
Lolo NF
Flathead NF

Routes / Re: Washington Parks route option
« on: March 20, 2016, 10:26:37 pm »
You mean instead of Hwy 153?  Yes, I have.
I usually opt for county roads instead of state highways if possible.
There are a couple of other stretches in the Methow Valley where county roads are options instead of Hwy 20, too.

Here's the deal - they are usually a few miles more riding - but not too much in these instances.
They are narrower - without shoulders - but have a lot less traffic and slower speeds. (I think 45 mph)
If you did a routing on RideWithGPS, you'd probably find they have more ups and downs, too.

Still, I find that it is way more worth it doing the back road. Quiet and scenic.

Routes / Re: Fort Knox,KY restricted?
« on: March 20, 2016, 08:02:45 pm »
But why ??

I used to live in Louisville and would rather make out with Donald Trump than bike Dixie Highway.
You know you can cross the Ohio at Brandenburg - 2-lane bridge with fairly wide lanes.
Then take the extremely quiet Indiana Hwy 111 on the northwest side of the river up to new Albany.

Routes / Re: My route for cross country 2016, ideas?
« on: March 18, 2016, 09:10:50 am »
I am glad to see that you are riding in southwest Louisiana - Acadiana.
I would have suggested it, but it seemed that you were planning to head northwest from New Roads.

I rode that stretch in 2008 - absolutely lovely and the most wonderful folks.
St. Martinville, Abbeville, Cameron. You should be there at a perfect time for wildlife, too.
But - - be aware that Cameron has been hit by two devastating hurricanes.
A few months after Katrina hit New Orleans, Rita hit Cameron. Wiped it out.
New Orleans was bad, but no one even noticed Cameron.
Then Cameron was hit again in the fall of 2008.

Here is my journal from Crazybike -

Only the base of the bank vault is left - -

Roseate Spoonbills at the Rockefeller Wildlife Refuge - -

Hey Mike -

Riding west-to-east, late May is about as early as you would want to start.
I started one trip June 3rd and had significant snowfall in the Cascades - combined with lots of snow already there.
YMMV - but it's been a pretty snowy year in the Cascades already and it may hold on late.

If you are riding in Oregon on the TransAm, you should be a little better off than Washington.
It may be that you will need to take Santiam Pass over the Cascades.
Not to mention that mid-June can still be quite cold and snowy in Yellowstone.

Not sure as to your pace - but 400 miles a week is 5 full and 2 half days of 66 miles.
Also, are you planning to start in Astoria or further down the coast? Newport? Florence?
From Newport it would be 3 weeks to Yellowstone at 400mi/per. 3 1/2 weeks from Astoria.
If you leave May 24, you get to Yellowstone around June 15 - plenty early enough.

US 26 does not go to Lander - it goes to Riverton and Shoshoni.
US 287 goes south to Lander, then east to Muddy Gap to connect with WYO 220.

The Lander-Muddy Gap route is about 30 miles longer with some serious climbing at first.
Then it's gently downhill with a few big downhills to Casper. And it's more scenic.

Both routes are remote -
East of Lander, it's 40 miles to Sweetwater Station - with a rest stop.
Then another 20 miles to Jeffrey City - which used to have 4000 people, but now has 40.
I know Jeffrey City quite well.
Then another 23 to Muddy Gap.

From there's Independence Rock, Pathfinder Reservoir, and Alcova Reservoir.
With camping and services at the two reservoirs.There is a state rest area at Independence Rock
and you could always wild camp just east on the Oregon Trail Road on the Sweetwater River. Sweet.

You should have tailwinds with either route - but there are NO guarantees.
And if you have a headwind, there is zero cover.

There are 5 "communities" between Shoshoni and Casper. And "community" is a stretch.
BTW - Shoshoni has one of the most derelict Main Streets in Wyo.

1. Moneta - 21 mi - ghost town
2. Hiland - 41 mi - biker bar and one house
 (I'm sure you could camp out back if you asked.)
3. Waltman - 50 mi - I believe the store is now closed
4 Powder River - 62 mi - no stores, but you could ask at a house for water
 (Hell's Half Acre is nearby, but the store and campground have been closed and razed.)
5. Natrona - 72 - long-closed store and trailer

That's it.

PS - Don't random camp on the Wind River Reservation
You can camp most anywhere on BLM or USFS lands off the rez.


Mike -

I live in Wyoming and have cycled practically every mile of 2-lane pavement and a lot of dirt, too.
The cut-off for Casper is 30 miles west of Lander - using US 26.
But the 100 miles between Shoshoni and Casper is BORING and with a good deal of traffic.
(By Wyoming standards - but there is also an excellent shoulder)
((Wyoming has some of the best shoulder sin the U.S.))

If you are planning to hit the Black Hills from Casper, I would head up the service road to WYO 259.
Then connect with Midwest, Wright, and Newcastle.
WYO 387 has moderate traffic, WYO 450 is an empty road in the High Plains.

But - - -
If you are willing to do a few more miles and a chunk more climbing,
The Wind River Canyon between Shoshoni and Thermopolis is stunning.
Plus you would be heading downhill - probably with a tailwind.
The ride over the Bighorn Mountains to Buffalo isn't easy, but again stunning.
You are likely to hit peak wildflower season - miles of meadows with every color in the rainbow.
And you could hit Devils Tower and take a ride with aliens before finishing up your trip.

Just sayin'

-- Juan

Pic - Bighorns in June

General Discussion / Re: Estimating travel days to arrive on specific date
« on: February 29, 2016, 04:17:45 pm »
Ahem, ahem (clears throat)

You know - those appointed dates can act as a lead weight to your tour.
Do the best you can - and if you are late, you are late.

I did a major x-USA fundraiser back in 1988 for a non-profit with dozens of stops.
Started on the east coast with events and TV along the way.
In Spokane, WA, the chair of the local organization said, "You're a day late!"

Late July should be no problem to reach Bozeman - if you can do 60-ish miles per day.
With 1 1/2 days off per week that would be 333 miles per week - 1000 every 3 weeks.
The TransAm is 2900 miles from Virginia to West Yellowstone.
Thus - 3000 miles 9 weeks.

If you have to be there about July 26 - June and July give you 8 weeks. Plus a week in May.
So add a few days and think about May 20. Which is a Friday.
You should make sure to start on a weekday in case of bike shop or other needs.
(Some bike shops are closed Mondays - also fewer on Sunday or Tuesday)

Routes / Re: I-90 Lookout Pass - Idaho/Montana border 2016
« on: February 26, 2016, 03:08:12 pm »
The Thompson Falls route is SOOOOOOO much better than I-90 anyway.

There is a great bike/ped bridge over the falls at Thompson Falls.

And Murray, Idaho is the perfect Old West near-ghost town.

Routes / Re: TransAm Summer 2017
« on: February 24, 2016, 03:35:11 pm »
Profoundly unrealistic.

General Discussion / Re: camping on city parks
« on: February 15, 2016, 09:51:15 pm »
Preston -
I have found a general rule to be - "The smaller the town, the more likely to get permission."
If there is a KOA campground on the outskirts of a medium-sized town, they will expect you to stay there.
My favorite towns are those with a little park, a small grocery, and a cafe/bar.
Everything is right there and folks are usually really friendly.

Indy is right about the Northern Tier - but -
It can be a bear of a start for a relatively inexperienced tourer.
By the third day you are doing big climbs - up to Rainy Pass -
And, to add insult to injury, a steep drop and then up Washington Pass.
Plus there are four more passes before you reach Idaho.
It's a beautiful route, but lotza climbing right out of the gate.

I done all the legal crossings of the Cascades in Washington -
(Plus one that was - maybe - illegal. Hiked/Portaged my bike, didn't ride.)
I have a posting over at Crazyguy on the Washington passes.

Chinook Pass on Hwy 410 is, by far, the most beautiful and has the least traffic.
From the summit at Tipsoo Lake you have wildflowers and a stunning view of Mt. Rainier.
The pass doesn't open until Memorial Day and is snowed in until July 4th.
(I did did June with snowbanks and fog.) But in early August it is heavenly.

NPS Photo

There are two ways to hit Chinook Pass from the west -
1) Using Hwy 410 thru Enumclaw or 2) US 12 / Hwy 123 thru Morton
East of the pass are the magnificent American and Naches valleys with riverside camping.

As for the other passes:
Stevens Pass / US 2 - Moderately heavy traffic with little to no shoulders at times; worst choice.
Snoqualmie Pass - Can use I-90 (Why?) or unpaved John Wayne Trail and old service roads; tricky but doable.
White Pass / US 12 - Moderately low traffic, good shoulders, nice east side - but why not Chinook if you are this close?
Columbia Gorge / Hwy 14 - Moderately busy, shoulders variable, some remote stretches.


Not sure if you want to start on the actual Pacific Ocean or just on salt water. (Different strokes)
As I said earlier, the San Juan Islands are really sweet as a starting point.
You can take a pricey catamaran ferry from Seattle and back.
Or you can take an airport shuttle straight to the Wash. State Ferry docks in Anacortes.

Or you can take a shuttle out to Aberdeen and start at the Westport Lighthouse.
There are a number of routes from the coast to Chinook or White Pass.
ACA has a good portion as part of their "Washington Parks" loop -
But a route with less traffic and climbing is via Raymond, Chehalis, and Morton.

If interested - send me a private message and I'll offer you any specifics I know.

Best - J

PS - The Prism climate site at Oregon State Uni. has excellent temp/precip maps of the U.S. by month.

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