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Messages - jamawani

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61
Routes / Re: Pacific Coast Route Northbound
« on: February 13, 2014, 03:30:36 am »
Northwest winds accompany high pressure and dry weather.
Southerly winds accompany storm systems and rain.

62
With rare exceptions, mid-June is the best time for riding in the Rockies. That's why one-week supported rides such as Ride The Rockies and Bicycle Tour of Colorado always pick mid-June. Your best weather in the Rockies is usually in June. Once you get into July and August, thunderstorms start posing more of a problem.

I must disagree, John.  But I'll let you speak to the issue.
Here's what you said about riding Going to the Sun Road on June 24:

"For the three miles on either side of the pass, visibility dropped to near zero,
and the cycling between the 15-foot walls of snow was downright dangerous."

Ride the Rockies has considerable logistics support - plus prearranged camping and chow lines that can be moved indoors to school gyms or churches if necessary. Self-contained touring folks don't have that luxury.

In the Northern Rockies and, to a degree, the Colorado Rockies, the last big snow often occurs in early to mid June. Sure. It's gloppy and wet. And often it doesn't stick long to the roads. But for a couple of days it can be pretty nasty. (Even had a July 4th snowstorm in Jackson, WY.)

Plus, there's the issue of snow that is already on the ground and the dates when facilities open.  At higher elevations, snow begins accumulating in October and piles up all winter. Real melting doesn't start until May.  Campground do usually open by Memorial Day in Colorado, but in Wyoming and Montana often do not open to late June - - such as Grant Village in Yellowstone.

In 2010, I was doing census work over the summer after school got out.  Here are two pictures from June 20th.  The first is from town - 5000 feet.  The second is where I am snowshoeing in to verify that summer houses are not permanent residences - 8000 feet.  Big difference!

PS - Yes, I got paid to go snowshoeing on a glorious day.

63
May can be snowy, June can be snowy.
What's more, many facilities in the Rockies do not open until mid/late June.
Even if snow is not coming down, it takes a while for 20 feet of snow to melt.

If your dates are somewhat fixed - why not plan your route accordingly?
(Provided, of course, you have not already gone off and bought tickets.)
Late May is glorious weather in California - before it bakes.
The waterfalls in Yosemite are at their peak. This year will probably be less.

Then ride across Nevada to southern Utah and its magnificent parks.
Take in the Grand Canyon and do some hiking.
Then visit ancient Puebloan ruins in New Mexico -
Ending up in the Colorado Rockies when the wildflowers are at their peak.

What was it about the mountain and Mohammed?

64
Routes / Re: Best route from Vallejo to San Francisco
« on: February 10, 2014, 02:32:36 pm »
Actually, there is a very nice way to get to the coast north of San Francisco and come across the Golden Gate Bridge.  I understand your reasons for doing so.

When you get to Davis on the Western Express, continue on only as far as Winters, then take Hwy 128 over the ridge to the Napa Valley (famous for its vineyards) and Silverado Trail south to Napa.  From Napa there are a series of back roads to Petaluma that let you avoid most of Hwy 121 and Hwy 116 - Old Sonoma, Hwy 121, Napa, 5th, Watmaugh, Arnold, Hwy 116, Adobe, Washington.  From Petaluma, take Point Reyes Road to Hwy 1 on the coast.  Point Reyes has some spectacular backcountry campsites on the coast, but they require reservations, I believe.  Weekends might be tough, but a weekday night may be possible, even just a day before.  Point Reyes is off the main route; however, there is also a backcountry campsite right on the cliff at Golden Gate just north of San Francisco.

Anyhoo - you can then follow Hwy 1, the Pacific Coast Bike Route, south to the Golden Gate Bridge - remembering to get off the main highway in Sausalito and follow city streets and trails.  It is generally well marked - or you can get the map section from ACA.

Have a great trip - J

PS - You do know that Nevada is empty and will be hot by late July or August, non?  If you have toured in Morocco or Algeria, you may have encountered something similar - except that there are way more people and villages in North Africa.  Vide.  Leer.

http://www.nps.gov/pore/planyourvisit/camping.htm

65
The first map entails crossing two divides - the second one, Trail Creek, on dirt.
The first one isn't too bad, but the second may be a push - esp. at 5000-6000 ft.
The Livingston start would be a much more gradual approach.
You are likely to have southerly winds with either.

66
Whit -

You do know that US 191 from Bozeman to West Yellowstone has high traffic levels - especially in summer - and that there is often little to no shoulder.  The Gallatin River Canyon is lovely, but the riding can be trying.

A much, much quieter ride into Yellowstone is the East River Road south of Livingston.  It goes by MT 540 and then becomes a county road - from good pavement to poor pavement.  The southern stretch has almost zero cars.  If you wish, you can then backtrack over the US 89 bridge and take the Yellowstone Trail on the west bank up to Gardiner and the historic Yellowstone NP entrance gate.  Rough.

Not sure where you are from, but if you are from east or west coast, south or Midwest, you should be aware of altitude and remoteness.  Your plans start off with a bang and can be disappointing to the uninitiated.  Most people are not severely affected by altitude sickness, but it can stop others in their tracks.  It is supposedly like a bad case of the flu - you simply have to stop.  So give your group time to acclimate.

Pic - Yellowstone River South of Livingston

67
Routes / Re: Grand Canyon Connector in mid March
« on: January 18, 2014, 07:23:51 pm »
Flagstaff - March

Avg Hi - 50
Avg Lo - 22
Avg Snow - 18 inches

69
In general, it's best to avoid US Highways - esp. in the East.
US 58 is mostly 4-lane with fairly heavy traffic.

North Carolina publishes bike map sets that are map-case sized.
You could use the North Line Trace (G) then Ports of Call(D)
I would argue against any route thru the Raleigh Durham area

http://www.ncdot.gov/travel/mappubs/bikemaps/

You could cut off the northeastern corner of NC between the two routes -
But places like Merchants Millpond and Edenton are really nice.

70
Routes / Re: Susquehanna Info?
« on: December 15, 2013, 09:19:39 pm »
Have you considered the Eastern Shore?

You would miss Baltimore and Washington entirely and have beautiful countryside.
Maryland puts out a cycling map - online and paper.
http://www.mdot.maryland.gov/Office_of_Planning_and_Capital_Programming/Bicycle/Bicycle_Maps.html

From Crisfield you can take a passenger ferry to either Smith island or Tangier Island -
Then connect to another passenger ferry to the Northern Neck of Virginia.
Staying overnight at one of the island guest houses would be like dessert.
Then you could ride the Northern Neck to Fredericksburg.
From Fredericksburg you can catch Amtrak back to NYC and Upstate.

If you decide to do the Eastern Shore, you should be on the east side of the Susq -
Before you reach Maryland since there only one legal bridge in MD - and it's yucky.
You want to avoid US 301 - even avoid Hwy 213 when possible -
But you do have to used Hwy 213 to cross some inlets and rivers.

The biggest challenge is crossing the Delaware & Chesapeake Canal.
Personally, I'd catch a ride either on the bridge -
Or from the dock on the north side to the dock on the south side.
(Boaters have helped me out many times crossing water bodies.)

If you are willing to hitch across water -
Then heading down Elks Neck to Rogue's Harbor is a possibility.

Although the Eastern Shore is busier than it used to be -
It is still a lovely place - far removed from the urban scene.
(Holiday weekends can be crazy, however.)

71
General Discussion / Re: Grand Canyon
« on: December 14, 2013, 01:07:38 pm »
Yes, the South Rim is open all year, but the Colorado Plateau can still be quite cold and snowy.
Trails into the canyon are often icy because they receive little sunlight.
Also, GCNP has numerous restrictions on pets.

Check out Flagstaff's average weather -
http://www.wrcc.dri.edu/cgi-bin/cliMAIN.pl?az3010

72
Gear Talk / Re: Can we survive the Transamerica with no cyclocomputer?
« on: December 12, 2013, 11:08:35 am »
No, there is no chance you can survive without one.
You might make a wrong turn and freeze to death in the Yukon.
Or another mistake and end up burned to a crisp in the Sahara.
Cross-country travel by bicycle was impossible until the invention of the cyclocomputer.

PS - Back in the 1970s, the only way people could tell how high they were - -
was by seeing how much pot they had left in the baggie.

73
General Discussion / Re: Heading West in May, Advice Appreciated!
« on: December 10, 2013, 04:04:46 pm »
PS -

The shortest distance between two points may be a straight line -
But it is rarely the most enjoyable when you are cycling.

Consider a large 'S' -
A diagonal line between tips may be half as long -
But it will also have most of the trucks and people in a hurry.
In fact, the wandering road, by definition, will not have the drivers in a hurry.

Give yourself permission for some zigs and zags - and you will have a much better trip.

74
General Discussion / Re: Heading West in May, Advice Appreciated!
« on: December 10, 2013, 03:55:27 pm »
Must agree - CrazyGuyonaBike is da best.

http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/?o=1&doc_id=1168&v=sL

75
General Discussion / Re: Heading West in May, Advice Appreciated!
« on: December 10, 2013, 01:07:12 am »
Way, way back in 1987 - I finished school in May and worked all summer to save up for my first cross-country bike trip.  Needless to say, Mom wasn't thrilled at the prospect.  In fact, she said "I forbid it!"  I responded that I wasn't asking her permission.  Dad intervened to prevent WW III.  So, I hear you.

Technology is such that you can be far more in contact than 25 years ago.  But you should still consider having a fairly fixed itinerary rather than just wandering here and there.  At least for your Mom's sake.

Not sure when during that 5 months you intend to do your riding.  I'm also guessing that you need to do it on the cheap.  But you should allow yourself sufficient funds so that you are not a total hobo - - again, for your Mom's sake.  So will you be needing to work for a while to save up moolah?

Also, 1 month is way different than 2 months.  If you are thinking closer to two months, why not ride across the entire U.S.?  I mean, it's only about a week's riding from DC to Indy at the pace you suggest.  Although, I would temper it the first few days so as not to burn out early.  The reason they call it the Tidal Basin is because salt water comes up the Potomac that far.

Depending on the time of year, your choice in the West may vary.  I would strongly argue against anything in the Southwest as temperatures are brutal in mid-summer.  Even further north, there is a lot of desert terrain between the Rockies and the Sierras & Cascades.

If you want to meet up and ride with others, then I suggest using one of the Adventure Cycling routes.  If you want more solo time, then you can pick just about any route you want - - provided that you do a little planning.  Boulder is pretty urban - tough to ride into and out of, but not impossible.  If you are planning on visiting friends - consider cycling to a nearby location and arranging a pick-up.  Fort Collins is one possibility.  The Poudre River Canyon west of Fort Collins on Hwy 14 is a sweet ride.  Then again, you may want to ride Trail Creek Road in Rocky Mountain National Park - but be aware that you will be dealing with a good deal of traffic.

Winging it is fine in principle - but if you find yourself on a busy road with zero shoulders as night is falling and you are 20 miles from anything - then winging loses its appeal.  Again - and your Mom will appreciate it - having a plan will let you choose lower traffic roads and actually enjoy the ride more.  Plus, you can always vary your plans.  But, I would take with a grain of salt any route suggestions you get from the bubbas at the local bar.

Most states have bike route guides on line which vary from excellent to so-so to poor.  Most states also have traffic volume maps which indicate AADT (Average Annual Daily Traffic).  I'll give you links to Nebraska's - - I prefer riding across Nebraska rather than Kansas.  A bit cooler and more varied topography.

http://www.transportation.nebraska.gov/docs/bicycle-guide-current-2.pdf

The color coding makes it really easy to spot the lower traffic roads - plus they show shoulder widths.  Rarely, will light traffic roads have shoulders, but you don't need them.  High traffic roads with wide shoulders are doable, just not very serene.  I use a more stringent breakdown for traffic numbers than this map.

Under 500 - Super
500-1000 - Nice
1000-2000 - O.K. but more caution needed
2000-4000 - Tricky, shoulders really helpful
Over 4000 - Busy and shoulder almost essential

You can get the exact traffic count info here:

http://www.transportation.nebraska.gov/maps/Statewide%20Traffic%20Flow%20Maps/2012-Statewide-Traffic-Flow-Map.pdf

As you can see, Hwy 92 in west-central Nebraska has almost no traffic and unplowed, rolling prairies.
Bests the heck out of hundreds of miles of pancake, dry fields in west Kansas.  IMO

As for overnights, camping gives you way more flexibility.  Often times lodging will not be available in places within reasonable mileage intervals - for ex. you may have the choice of doing 50 miles or 150.  And camping will let you enjoy the West more - - not to mention that you can camp for free on most federal lands in the West provided you are 1/4 mile from developed sites.

Hope this helps.

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