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Messages - jamawani

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Gear Talk / Re: Getting bike and gear to start of tour
« on: September 12, 2016, 08:43:47 am »
PS - If you have the time, Amtrak makes taking the bike and gear easy and inexpensive.
From Mass, you would take the Lakeshore Ltd and connect to the Empire Builder to Portland.
Then you would catch the evening bus right from Union Station to Astoria.
Amtrak bike boxes are huge - just remove pedals and turn the handlebars.
You get two checked bags and two (two+) carry-ons for free.

It does take a while, though - 3 days - with layover time in Chicago and Portland.
I hopped on the train in NYC at the end of my x-usa trip this summer and rode to Seattle.
Coach seats are 2X airplane seats - but if you can swing $$ for a sleeper, all the better.
Just another idea.

Gear Talk / Re: Getting bike and gear to start of tour
« on: September 11, 2016, 06:02:07 pm »
Craig -

This has been covered many times - here and on other websites like BikeForums and CrazyGuy.
If you are flying, there is a twice-daily bus from Portland to Astoria.
Bike, Bob, and all your gear will cost a fortune on the plane.
I would suggest business-to-business shipping - which is cheaper than personal with both FedEx and UPS.
There's a good bike shop in Astoria - ship your bike and pay for assembly.
You can either ask to ship your gear to the shop or book a motel and ask to ship there.
If you fly in to PDX at midday and take the evening bus, you can motel it -
then pick up your bike and get set up at a leisurely pace the next day.
Give yourself sufficient time to get started without going nutz.

Best - J

General Discussion / Re: southern tier
« on: September 07, 2016, 03:11:41 pm »
Do a search here by route -

Also - - go to
There are probably a couple of hundred journals posted there on just the Southern Tier will all kinds of info.

There's also Bike Forums which has a touring section - more technical than routing and planning.

General Discussion / Re: What to do with a bike box?
« on: August 29, 2016, 01:39:22 pm »
I cut my box down into a giant semi-circle on both sides - -
And went as a taco at a costume party at a Mexican restaurant.
I won the prize.

Classifieds / Re: FS: Set of 4 Red Arkel Panniers
« on: August 28, 2016, 09:22:11 pm »
I would be interested, please.
Would you pm me or email jamawani(at)gmail(dot)com

Routes / Re: Weather concerns for fall cross country?
« on: August 26, 2016, 01:51:48 pm »
Yikes - I must be showing my age -
"Allegheny Crossing" goes to GAP on Google -
But it is probably a term from 25 years ago.

Routes / Re: Weather concerns for fall cross country?
« on: August 26, 2016, 01:10:20 pm »
Mary -

My first cross-country trip was in the fall of 1987 - and I have done many more since then.
You don't mention a few important points:
1. When in the fall - and at what pace?
2. How much touring experience do you have?
3. How often do you plan to stay in motels - which may become more necessary towards the end?

There are excellent monthly temp/precip maps from Prism:

If you look at October highs and lows, you will see that the West cools much faster than the East.
For that and other reasons, I suggest a West to East routing.
I live in Wyoming and we have already had our first high country snows.
September is lovely, but variable, October can have full-scale blizzards.

Although summer winds tent to be only slightly favorable to eastbound riders, falls winds trend more northwesterly.
That means if you ride west, you will encounter more headwinds. Days of headwinds can be demoralizing.

If you do want to ride E-W, I would suggest heading southwest from Chicago - perhaps via Bike Route 66.
Northern New Mexico and Arizona will be more temperate - and you would end in L.A.

W-E you could do your route in the opposite direction - Starting with the Western Express.
The Western Express is stunning, but a tough ride for an inexperienced rider.

Another, easier, option for a W-E ride is starting in Oregon and riding diagonally.
I might suggest the Lewis & Clark to Missoula, Trans-Am into Wyoming -
Then across Nebraska and Iowa to Chicago.


For any of these rides, I would start as early in September as possible - and it is late August now.
It will probably take, at least, 70 days - putting you on the west coast in early/mid November.
And remember - the days get shorter pretty fast. By November you don't have much riding time.

If you are heading out of DC to get to the west coast - i.e. as transportation -
I would suggest the C&O Trail and ACA to Pittsburgh -
Then you can take the Old Lincoln Highway across Ohio and Indiana.
Unless you need to go into the city, I would take rail trails from Hobart to Joliet.
Then you can ride Bike Route 66 all the way to Barstow California.
If you want to ride up to the Bay Area - I would do Walker Pass on Hwy 178, not Tehachapi.
Then you can ride up the Central Valley either in the Sierra Foothills, the Valley, or the Coast.

Food Talk / Re: to cook or not to cook?
« on: August 18, 2016, 05:39:12 pm »
I have 30 years touring experience - trips as long as 5000 miles.
When I ride with others I cook - when I ride solo I do not.

You hit on two important concerns - the extra stuff to carry and the time.
When you are with others you can share the weight and the cooking is social.

I find that I am perfectly okay eating sandwiches - and I like PB&J anyhoo.
Plus, a meal a day at a cafe keeps me from becoming a recluse.
Local cafes for b'fast or Subways for lunch, rarely dinner.

It costs more to solo tour - esp. camping fees, motels.
I consider the extra food cost part of solo touring, as well.

Routes / Re: Cycling from Utah to ACA HQ
« on: August 17, 2016, 09:28:14 am »
CS -

You don't offer much info on what you want to do or how you tour.
Are you willing to do some dirt or do you need all pavement?
(That is more applicable in the west than the east - but it may impact route choice.)
Also, will you be camping or do you need motels every night or a mix?
(Again, in the west it can be tricky getting motels in remote locations.)
Also, how direct of a route do you want? How much time do you have and what is your daily mileage?
Are you thinking about wandering via Yellowstone or do you want a straight shot?

Thinking backwards from Missoula:

The ACA TransAm Route links Lost Trail Pass on the Idaho border to Missoula.
If you look at an Idaho map you will see three diagonal roads south of Lost Trail Pass.
Hwy 28, County roads from May to Howe, & US 93.  All of them are fairly remote.

US 93 is shortest, but has no services for miles and is narrow with moderate traffic in places.
The country roads include dirt stretches and are extremely remote - only for experienced tourers.
Hwy 28 has low traffic and country stores at crossroad hamlets. And is very scenic.

But there is a "But" - Why is there always a "But"?
Connecting from the south is way easier via US 93 than Hwy 28.
The US 93 connector is via US 26 from Arco to Blackfoot.
Taber Road, thru the almost ghost town of Atomic City, is almost carless with varying pavement.
The Hwy 28 connector is via county roads from Hwy 33 to Idaho Falls, US 91.
This entails busier roads with a good deal of local traffic.

Yet another possibility is to combine the best of both - -
Hwy 28 from Salmon to Hwy 22 then south on Hwy 22 thru Howe to US 26.
A bad fire a few years ago destroyed what was left of local businesses in Howe.

From Blackfoot you might take US 91 and Hi-Line Road to Pocatello -
Then follow Old Hwy 91 to Virginia and Westside Road to Dayton and Weston.
(Remember - - I am going backwards from Missoula south.)
This gets you to the Utah border near Logan.

Here is the link to Idaho DOT traffic counts:
(Click on the traffic count location for multi-year data.)
Under 1000 - good; Under 500 - Super
1000-2000 - okay; Over 2000 - Tricky without a shoulder
Over 4000 - Dangerous without shoulder

General Discussion / Re: Finishing ride in NYC, looking for a route
« on: August 11, 2016, 11:08:18 pm »
Yes - Google the Henry Hudson bike trail in northern New Jersey.
It leads out to Highlands which is a bridge away from the Atlantic.
Then, just north of the bridge is the Sandy Hook Recreation Area.
There is relatively inexpensive ($30 for NYC area) camping - walk-in only.
Reservations are available if you know your dates for sure.
Same day is possible on early weekdays.

Thren you can take the SeaStreak ferry directly to Manhattan from Highlands.
Or you can backtrack and catch NJ Transit to Newark airport or Manhattan.

Routes / Re: Wintertime Pacific coast OR Sierra C?
« on: July 04, 2016, 05:14:45 pm »

Are you timing this trip correctly?
Most people who live in Oregon and N. Cal would answer your question, "Neither."

If you are actually arriving on the U.S. border in November -
Many sections of the Sierra Cascades will be closed by snow.
The Pacific Coast route will be extremely wet - especially in Wash. & Oregon -
Plus, the prevailing wind becomes southwest - i.e. headwinds.
Nothing like a soaking wet ride at 46F (8C) with headwinds to make you happy.

November is chilly with some early snow, but pretty dry overall in the High Plains.
There are no satisfactory November routes - the the High Plains are probably best.
Plus - - the days are extremely short.

You should plan to start the Dalton Hwy in June - not September.

Routes / Re: Mountain Home, Idaho to Bend and TransAmerica?????
« on: June 28, 2016, 07:48:02 am »
1) The Oregon Part -
In Oregon you have two choices - US 20 or US 26
a) Taking US 26 you connect up with the TransAm at Austin Junction.
There are stores at Willowcreek, Unity, and Austine Jct, and water at Brogan Park.
The is also a huge climb west of Brogan.
Pleasant, scenic, very light traffic.
b) Taking US 20 is more direct, but less scenic - esp. west of Burns.
You have three moderate passes between Vale and Burns - and a long downhill into Bend.
There are services at Juntura, Drewsey, Burns, Riley, and Brothers.
There is also a wonderful natural spring on the side of the road between Vale and Juntura.
The eastern section following the Malheur River is scenic - the western section, blah.
Only light to moderate traffic until you get near Bend.
I've done both -  prefer A.

2) The Idaho Part -
Two choices also, I-84 and service roads to Ontario or Highway 78 thru Grand View and Murphy.
a) The interstate section is doable and safe on the shoulder, but with the constant roar of traffic.
There are paved service roads for part of the way to Boise, but you have to get on I-84 for much of it.
There is a lovely bike trail system in Boise along the river and then busy streets to Nampa.
Then you can get onto US 26 into Oregon.
b) Some good friends did the Hwy 78 route and like it - but it can be very hot.
From Mountain Home head southwest on Hwy 67/167 to Grand View - not Grand, no View.
There are very limited services along this route - in Grand View, Murphy, and Givens Hot Springs.
At Marsing you can connect with Hwy 55, US 95, Hwy 19, and OR Hwy 201.
This route has very little traffic except Hwy 67 to the base and Hwy 55/US 95.
If the weather is not too hot, I would do B.

Best of luck.
I did

Connecting ACA Routes / Re: Walden, CO to Boulder, CO
« on: June 26, 2016, 10:37:26 am »
Highway 14 through the Poudre River Canyon has the least traffic of the trans-mountain routes and is spectacular.
You do have to thread your way down the Front Range - but much of it can be trails or wide shouldered roads - as John says above.

If you take Highway 14, you can also access the Never Summer Mountains via the Michigan Ditch Service Road just west of Cameron Pass.
(Although dirt, since it follows an irrigation canal, it is nearly level.)
Stunning country and a fraction of the numbers at Rocky Mountain N.P.

Routes / Re: Northern Tier - N. Dakota
« on: June 25, 2016, 02:08:52 pm »
I think Highway 200 is a much nicer crossing of North Dakota.

From Sidney, Montana, you can take Hwy 23/68 to a back entrance of Theodore Roosevelt N.P.
(It involves about 8 miles of unpaved riding)
Then US 85/ Hwy 200 south which has much less traffic because of the drop in oil & gas development and with shoulders.
Then Hwy 200 straight east across the state. This road has fairly low traffic counts and county seats and services scattered along the way.
(The Hwy 1806 option above Halliday is quieter, still.)
It also traverses two of the finest historic/park locations in North Dakota - TRNP and the Mandan-Hidatsa villages.
I believe the latter to be one of the most important sites in the northern Great Plains.
There's Knife River NHS with visible lodge rings and a recreated earth lodge -
And there is the Fort Mandan site near Washburn.

Here's the ND DOT 2014 Traffic Count Map -

Note - Oil & gas traffic in western ND has dropped by about half.

General Discussion / Re: Getting the bike to Banff for the GDR?
« on: June 12, 2016, 04:38:20 pm »
My vote - - German Democratic Republic

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