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Messages - johnsondasw

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Routes / Re: Plummer ID to Ellensburg, WA
« on: December 06, 2015, 12:40:03 am »
Thanks so much for this helpful information, jamawani! 

 (We think we can get a ride across the bridge at Vantage.)
Not sure why you think this. Do you have someone who has agreed to meet you there and take you, bike, and gear, etc across? Or are you hoping to hitch across somehow?  I have ridden across it west to east in 1991.  We had 4 guys and did it in the AM before there was much traffic. It can be done, but you have to have a mirror, be very visible and somewhat lucky.  I wouldn't do it with kids.

Gear Talk / Re: Touring without fenders - big mistake?
« on: May 20, 2015, 01:20:25 am »
Never used them and don't plan to.  I know I get wetter without them, but that's ok. 

Pacific Northwest / Re: Good routes from Bremerton to Astoria?
« on: May 18, 2015, 01:33:07 pm »
I have ridden all these roads over the past 30+ years.  I would take HWY 3 from Bremerton to Shelton, then be sure to take the little country road up through Matlock.  This is the gem of the route, and it is paved.  There will be little traffic and lots of woods and local character. Then go through Aberdeen and out to Grayland, as others have mentioned.  From there, Raymond, South Bend, Naselle and across the Astoria bridge.  I rode the bridge in the almost dark, in the rain, and did not find it so harrowing. It is the only place I've ever seen a road-kill starfish, though.  I would have a mirror, of course, but I always have one no matter where I'm riding. This is all a great ride, and I've never felt any real danger on any of it.  Have fun, and don't miss Matlock!

Routes / Re: Touring From Seattle Beginning Early In May
« on: May 04, 2015, 02:05:19 pm »
Also, the I-90 bridge over the Columbia at Vantage is super dangerous.
No shoulder - zero - and pretty heavy traffic.
There is no old highway bridge option.
The Milwaukee Railroad bridge downstream remains closed, too.

This is unfortunate because the old highway from Ellensburg to Vantage is super.
And the back roads on the east side of the river are also excellent for touring.
This is true about the bridge at Vantage.  I rode over it in June of 1991 fairly early in the morning.  There were 4 of us and we all waved out left arm vigorously as we rode.  I heard of one person who hitchhiked over it by waiting on the freeway entrance for a pickup and when one stopped they threw the bike in the back and took the ride over the bridge and then got back on the bike and rode on!
Jamawani is right, the old road from Ellensburg to Vantage is cool, as are the old roads from Ellensburg to Cle Elum and you can also ride nice old bucolic roads west from Cle Elum for another 10 miles or so.

Again, I would be reluctant, to say the least, to ride this area into the west wind.  I have seen people literally cry in frustration in the summer gales!

Yes, there are lots of services in the area.  In addition to little corner stores there are real towns like Hoquiam, Aberdeen, Raymond. The northern part of the area, from Forks to Hoquiam, does not have major towns, but I rode it in 2004 and we were able to resupply with minimart type stores.  I have ridden all of this area and did not lack for places to get food/drink, etc.  There may be a stretch of 40 or so miles w/o services, but that's easily prepared  for.  BTW, it is a great riding area if you hit the weather right. I would prefer the loop out through Grayland on 105 rather than staying on 101. Enjoy!

Routes / Re: Touring From Seattle Beginning Early In May
« on: April 22, 2015, 12:55:59 am »

Is it feasible to bike comfortably in the vicinity of the I-90 corridor from Ellensburg to Seattle if I were to shorten the eastern loop?

Thanks for your suggestions.
I live along I-90 in the Kittitas Valley west of Ellensburg.  Because of construction, you cannot road bike over Snoqualmie Pass, but can ride the unpaved John Wayne trail as mentioned by others. There are rough sections on this unpaved converted RR route but it can be done with a road bike with beefy tires. The tunnel on the JWT at the pass is closed, but in that area you can take paved options on I-90 and/or alterrnate frontage roads. Another consideration--travelling west in the Kittitas Valley all the way from the Vantage area to the Easton area there are HORRIBLE headwinds 80% of the time. It is not uncommon in spring and summer to have steady winds of 25 mph with gusts 30-40 mph.  Just look at all the windmills around you.  I know.  I've been here 40 years and do most of my road biking elsewhere or early in the day before the winds come up or in the few somewhat protected parts of the county.

Routes / Re: Seattle to Boise
« on: April 01, 2015, 12:13:51 am »
I rode the section between La Grande and Pendleton in 2002.  There were some great frontage and side roads in the Meacham area that meandered along for miles, but basically followed the freeway.  They provided bucolic, scenic, traffic-free and quiet riding for a few hours.

Gear Talk / Re: What tires?
« on: March 22, 2015, 01:42:51 pm »
I like Continental 4000's 700x23c.  I know those are smaller than many recommend, but I tour only on pavement and have had great performance form them.  Everyone has their favorites--go with what you like.

This looks like a winner!  Keep us informed on this site.

General Discussion / Re: Newbie/Introduction
« on: February 11, 2015, 12:27:42 am »
Welcome!  You can find pretty much anything you'll ever need to know here.

General Discussion / Re: How picky are you?
« on: February 05, 2015, 03:05:15 pm »
I can fix the small stuff but I'm not much of a mechanic and since I have Campy stuff it's pretty unlikely a rural bike shop will have replacement parts for me.

I had a bike with Campy and broke a shifter on the first day of a 3 week tour on the Pacific coast.  No one, and I mean no one on the whole coast had Campy parts.  Eventually, I had to get a rebuild kit sent ahead and my bike mechanic partner fixed it (broken spring deal) after 2/3 of the trip.  In the meantime, I had to often hold the shift lever in place while grinding hard uphills to keep it from jumping out of gear.  Every shop had Shimano. After that experience, I will never tour with Campy again! 

Routes / Re: TransAmerica then Pacific Coast Summer 2015 (First Tour)
« on: February 04, 2015, 02:15:58 pm »
Upon reading my previous post, I thought I better add the caveat that you don't "take the lane" on high speed highways!  You do it in traffic on slower roads when it's not safe to try to ride on the right part of the lane.  There may be no shoulder, there may be junk in the riding area, etc.  Always check the mirror before moving left into the lane, and regularly while riding out in the lane.  All common sense stuff, but there's a lot going on when riding in traffic, and experience is the key.  I wish I had learned by riding with and experienced rider and avoided a few (non-severe) accidents and bent bike parts.

Routes / Re: TransAmerica then Pacific Coast Summer 2015 (First Tour)
« on: February 04, 2015, 01:47:29 pm »
I did the Pacific Coast from late June to mid-July.  There was considerable traffic in places, but no real problems. Of course I have over 50 years riding in all kinds of conditions and am used to traffic.  I would suggest you get some experience riding in traffic and get a mirror and know how to use it.  One of the most essential skills is knowing when to take to lane so cars can't pass you.  I know this is counter-intuitive, but you have a right to the road and to slow down the traffic if you feel like it's safer than scrunching over farther and farther to the right until you are pushed off the road.  There were a few places in Calif where I did this. Riding in traffic takes experience, as does riding highways, both of which you'll do on this ride.

In general. I would also suggest some 2-3 day trial tours in the spring before your trip.  You'll learn a lot about your equipment and  your physical condition for riding.  Make sure your bike fits right.  I paid $150 for a bike fit after I had quit riding for over a year due to aches and pains.  Now I've been back, riding as hard as ever (for my age-66) without any significant physical issues for three years. 

Anyway, go for it!  You'll love this adventure of a lifetime.  The cool thing is that with bike touring, you can have the adventure of a lifetime over and over and over........

General Discussion / Re: How picky are you?
« on: January 27, 2015, 02:51:46 pm »

Truth be told, I do very little maintenance on tour.

Same here.  I also do very little maintenance while not on tour.  Boschield for the chain when it "feels/sounds" a little dry, minor adjustments for brakes and gearing only as needed, and change the chain (with a cheap, i.e. $25-$35 one) approx every 2000 miles.  the exception to this is when things get dirty in the winter.  I ride where there is sand and dirt put down for winter traction, so after a wet winter ride I hose things down with nonpressurized water and relube.  I also clean the rollers on the derailleur and soft brush all around after wet and dirty rides. I find minimum maintenance gets just as good results as my old style which was much more continuous and obsessive cleaning.   

Routes / Re: Canada to Mexico through California
« on: January 02, 2015, 01:55:05 pm »
Wow! I hope you're in great shape.  Your mileages and elevation gains sound gnarly hard to me.  10,000 feet and over 100 miles in a day, combined with many other what I would consider very hard days.....  I did the Pacifiic Coast route when 56 years old, unsupported, hauling a Burley trailer.  We averaged 72 miles per day.  I was in good shape and had had 25 years of touring. Still, for me, I felt after the tour that I would have enjoyed it more at a 60 mpd average.  But that's me, and your crew may consist of much stronger riders.

I'm sure you will have a great time and hope you enjoy your trip through some of the world's best riding. All the best.

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