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Messages - jamawani

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Routes / Re: East To West Montana
« on: December 04, 2013, 11:04:07 pm »
Why do I respond?

Routes / Re: East To West Montana
« on: December 04, 2013, 07:26:34 pm »
I live in Wyoming and have taught for years in Montana.
20 years of riding all over Montana.

I do not like riding US 2 - not very scenic and moderate-plus traffic.
I think Hwy 200 is far better - but it is remote in places.

US 89 heading north from Fairfield to Browning is a great ride.
You have stunning, open views of the Front Range and fairly light traffic.

Northwest of Great Falls, there is a service road just to the west of I-15 -
And the 4-lane stretch of MT 200 to Sun River has shoulders.

East of Great Falls is a little trickier.
I would suggest taking Hwy 81 & Hwy 80 from Lewistown to Ft Benton.
Then take Highwood Rd to just east of Great Falls and Hwy 200.
It's a little further, but scenic and historic.
At the very least, get off Hwy 200 where it meets US 89 and ride thru belt -
Then connect with Highwood Rd.
Also, avoid 10th Ave S in Great Falls.

Best - J

Photo - US 89 along Freezeout Lake

Jamawani is weary. 
Kalach has one posting.

Not the best idea.

Connecting ACA Routes / Re: starting Vancouver finishing Tucson
« on: November 26, 2013, 12:32:08 pm »
Wolly -

Have you considered south to north?
I have suggested that for years - although ACA has it north to south.

1. Still cool and rainy in north in June - plus much snow remains unmelted
2. Summer monsoon season begins in late June in south turning dirt roads into muck
3. Winds tend to be southerly - although in the mountains they are highly variable
4. You generally have the sun behind you - not in your eyes.

You could flip your initerary - fly into LA and take Amtrak to Tucson
Although El Paso is close to Antelope Wells with a lightly used road between
I would, however, caution against stealth camping on the US/Mex border.

Since it only takes about two months, max, to ride to the Canadian border -
Why not continue on thru the Canadian parks to Jasper - really spectacular.
(Unlike US national parks, Cdn parks have fireroads into the backcountry that permit bikes.)

I would guess that you would have enough time to ride on from Jasper to Prince Rupert on the coast -
Then take the ferry through the spectacular Inside Passage back to Vancouver Island -
With enough remaining time you could ride Vancouver or bus it to Vancouver airport.

Photo - Backcountry in Jasper National Park by Bicycle

Routes / Re: Transam Motels around Jeffrey City, Wy?
« on: November 17, 2013, 09:25:54 am »
In that kaleidoscope of American landscapes and historic places that the Transam aspires to be, I found Jeffrey City one of the most memorable places, a highlight.
I am glad I didn't miss it and was fascinated to read more about its history in

Actually, I wrote an article that was published before the linked article here.
My article is titled, "Home on the Range No More: Boom and Bust in Jeffrey City".
His article is titled, "Home on the Range No More: The Boom and Bust of a Wyoming Uranium Mining Town, 1957-1988".

I was a first-year grad student at the time publishing locally.
He was completing his doctorate and published in a major journal.
Make of it what you will.


Jeffrey City has continued to shrink since the early 1990s.  As Gov. Hershler hinted at 30 years ago, there was a short resurgence of uranium in the early 2000s, but I think that Fukushima has nixed it.  At the time of the creation of the TransAm route, there were more than 4000 people.  You were one of the lucky ones if you had an apartment or one of the pre-fab houses that are now concrete holes in the ground.  It is a sobering experience spending an hour walking around the townsite - something I highly suggest as a stop on a cross-country tour.

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.

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