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Messages - cheesehawk

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1
Routes / Re: Washington, DC to Madison, WI
« on: March 16, 2014, 05:10:20 pm »
I'm looking at these same basic points as the first leg of my transcon for May 2015. I'm looking at the C&O and GAP trails to Buena Vista PA, and then following a set of highways and bike paths west from there to Wierton WV via  Thompsonville/Midway/Burgettstown PA. From Wierton WV crossing into Ohio and heading from Steubenville to Bowerton, about 50% on bike path. I have not worked out the route much beyond that, except that I generally want to head to the famous Northern Tier bike overnight in Monroeville , IN, and from there make our way up to the Dunes National Lakeshore. Active Trans in Chicago sells a Chicagoland bike map here http://www.activetrans.org/shop. From Chicago I'll either head north and take the rail trail from Waukesha to Cottage Grove, or head northwest on back roads more directly towards Madison. Bike Federation of Wisconsin sells bike maps here http://wisconsinbikefed.org/merchandise. You will want the Southern map. I don't care for the color-coding on the new versions of the maps, and they do not show many smaller roads (which all tend to be paved in WI) but if you are not familiar with cycling routes in the area you can do much worse than following the Bike Fed routes.

If you've got any suggestions or tips let me know. I'd love to see your completed route.

 

2
Routes / Re: NT or L&C Going West from Missoula?
« on: March 12, 2014, 10:33:10 pm »
I think I'm going to take the TransAm across Oregon instead of the NT or L&C. I appreciate all of the input. My reasoning is I'd like to "save" the NT from Washington to Glacier for a future trip. I'd still be interested in looking at options through the Sawtooth connecting through to the NT from Yellowstone if anyone has any suggestions.

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Routes / Re: Portland Maine to Portland Oregon
« on: March 05, 2014, 05:13:30 pm »
If you are going to Chicago you could consider deviating from the NT route by taking the rail-trails through Wisconsin. Active trans sells a Chicago cycling map here: http://www.activetrans.org/shop

If you are going to downtown Chicago you could take the Lakeshore path towards Milwaukee. There is a lengthy trail running from Waukesha (just west of Milwaukee), WI to Cottage Grove, WI (just east of Madison). If you are heading to the western suburubs of Chicago then you could make your way towards the Jane Adams Trial, which joins up with the Badger State Trail in Wisconsin, and takes you into Madison. These are generally crushed limestone trails, unless you are near a major urban area, then they are paved.

Heading out of Madison I know a back-roads route to Devil's Lake State Park, and from there it is a short ride to pick up a network of trails that will take to La Crosse, where you could rejoin the Northern Tier route. There are also more miles of bike paths on the Wisconsin side of the Missippi (again, generally crushed limestone), so you could continue north and rejoin the NT route at a later point if you chose. Options would be the bridge at Winona, MN, or you could stay on the east side of the Missippi and rejoin the route just north of Red Wing, MN.

Madison has a large Farmer's Market on the Capitol square every Saturday morning, and smaller markets elsewhere in the city on Wednesdays, Sundays and Saturdays. There are many organic suppliers and farms, and I believe some of them are within an easy ride of the route I've described above. I'd have to do more specific research. There is also a local/organic specialty grocery store in tiny Paoli, which is near the Badger State trail a few miles south of Madison.

I'm an advocate for Wisconsin cycling, obviously. Compared to Illinois and Iowa you will generally find a lot more trees, hills and bike trails. I grew up in Iowa, so I'm only biased against Illinois.  ;D The scenery in western Wisconsin near La Crosse is truly stunning.

4
Routes / Re: NT or L&C Going West from Missoula?
« on: March 05, 2014, 04:54:34 pm »
We liked the TA in that section.

Thanks! Opinions will vary, and I'm glad to hear positive opinions.

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Routes / Re: NT or L&C Going West from Missoula?
« on: March 05, 2014, 02:27:54 pm »
Just keep in mind that picking up the Northern Tier that way will ultimately send you over four mountain passes in a row in WA.

Another option is to simply stay on the Trans Am to the coast. I fond some of eastern and central OR somewhat borning (and hot and dry even in early September)

Thanks for the response Indy. I think my sister will be joining me for the last 1/3 of the ride, and the four passes on the NT route might result in me being pushed in front of a logging truck. I think I subconsciously overlooked the Trans Am because I assumed it would be worse, and I also assumed that central Oregon would be dry and boring. It probalby makes more sense to take the TransAm, especially since I hope to go back and do the NT from at least the coast to Glacier one day.

If anyone else wants to chime in I'd love to hear it. I seem to recall Jamawani/John Egan may have mentioned that he had an alternate route through the Sawtooth mountains, but I don't recall reading it anywhere. Looking at the West, I think I'm reconciled to the notion that it is not the mid-west or South, and I may have to carry at least a minimal amount of cooking gear and food at times.

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Routes / NT or L&C Going West from Missoula?
« on: March 03, 2014, 02:30:03 pm »
I'm starting route planning for May 2015 - my first "Big Crossing." Rough outline - DC to Pittsburgh via C&O and GAP. Pittsburgh to Madison WI (home) via Lake Michigan shore. Madison to Yankton SD via parents' home in Iowa. Yankton to Pine Ridge Ind. Res./Black Hills via 12/northern NE. From the Black Hills over the Big Horns to Cody/YSNP. I've been to Glacier, so I'm basically swapping the Big Horns for Glacier in terms of scenic value. Not the same, but I hope to see the Big Horns when the flowers are in bloom (third week of June). I'd rather save Going-To-the-Sun-Road for an east-bound trip.

I'm still trying to conceptualize the final stage - YSNP to finish. I'm thinking of taking the TA to Missoula, then either L&C to Seaside Oregon OR Hwy 200 to Sandpoint ID to hook up with the NT. So basically it is NT v. L&C between Missoula MT and the Pacific. Any thoughts? Other options I should consider? I'll probably hit Yellowstone sometime around the 4th of July, if it matters.

7
General Discussion / Re: North Nevada & Utah in summer
« on: February 20, 2014, 04:47:27 pm »
Andrea -

I'm from Buffalo, Wyoming and have some strip maps I made a few years ago crossing northern Wyoming.  The Bighorn Mountains are nothing to laugh at - big climbs - esp. from the West, 2000m. 

I also have route guides for crossing Idaho through the Sawtooth Mountains.  As for the Great Plains - if you ride through the Black Hills of South Dakota you will be surprised how lovely they are - plus by late July they are MUCH cooler.  You may want to do a sunrise ride thru Badlands N.P. - but remember as you get out on the Great Plains it will be HOT!!  40C or more.  Best to ride super early - from sunrise to 11am - then quit.  There is a fabulous route - Nebraska Hwy 12 - that runs right on the NE/SD border and has very little traffic.



Hi Jamawani,

I've been searching old posts for route information. I'm heading West from Virginia to Madison, WI, and then more or less due west from there (home) to Yankton SD. I think this is where you might be able to help me.

I'm thinking about taking 12 or the Cowboy Trail across northern Nebraska, and then cutting north at Valentaine to the Badlands, and then west to Rapid City/the Black Hills.

From the Rapid City I'd like to head South on the trail with a detour for Mt. Rushmore, and from there I would like to make my way to Yellowstone/Grand Teton. I was thinking about skipping the Big Horns and making for Douglas, Casper and Jeffrey City, there joining up with the TransAmerica Trail to Yellowstone/Grand Teton. My concern is that there appear to be few towns or services between the Black Hills and Jeffrey City, with a huge stretch after Casper with much of nothing. Am I picturing this correctly? Is there a better route from the Black Hills to Yellowstone?

I'll likely be solo after the Badlands, if that makes any difference. I'll probably arrive in the Badlands around the third week of June, 2015. I'll most likely be on a recumbent. I tend to tour loaded, but I don't tend to carry my own cooking gear, preferring to stop at cafes etc., especially where I'm solo.

Thanks for any advice.

8
General Discussion / Re: Hosting - WarmShowers
« on: November 07, 2013, 02:19:24 pm »
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.

Having a wife and two teenaged daugthers at home, this is why I do ask for 48 hrs. notice. In the first instance, I had two Argentine guys. There would have been no effective background check that I could have performed. In the second, it was two Americans, which I could have effectively checked if I would have had more time. We also hosted a woman I met through CGOAB. She was very concerned about this issue too, since she was cycling cross-country solo.

I think we have to feel like we are able to set our own boundaries, and to have those boundaries respected. If your boundaries do not fit with WS, then you made the right choice for you.

For myself, when acting as a WS guest, I do plan out my routes pretty carefully and pretty far in advance. I have varied a bit, but I've also never had an expectation that I would go from WS host to WS host. I built a few days in between my two WS hosts on my last trip, and that seemed to work pretty well. We actually ended up shortening the route a bit in-between to accomodate my daughter's limitations, but we could have just as easily exapanded it by adding side trips.  Maybe when I get around to doing a solo trip that is longer than 10 days I will feel like this is not practical, but for now, planning is a necessity and it works well for me.

9
General Discussion / Re: Hosting - WarmShowers
« on: November 06, 2013, 09:45:40 pm »
We've hosted 4 cyclists through Warm Showers and stayed in two homes through Warm Showers. We've had other contacts that found other places to stay (closer to downtown, where the fun is). One of the parameters we asked for was 48 hours notice. No one has ever complied with that request, so maybe it is unrealistic.  :'( I really enjoyed both visits though. There is nothing that is much fun as chatting with people who share an interest. And really, cyclists are pretty easy to host - at the end of a long day most of us are just hungry and tired. A little conversation, a passable meal and beer or a glass of wine, and we are all pretty happy. :D

10
General Discussion / Re: Day Jobs?
« on: November 06, 2013, 09:28:54 pm »
Tim signed a book for me at the Hilly Hundred a few years back. I bounced him an e-mail last year picking his brain a little. The idea of touring three months a year for the rest of my life really appeals to me. Beyond that, I think I need something else.

11
General Discussion / Re: Newbie, just signed up for the TransAm tour!
« on: November 06, 2013, 02:09:26 pm »

On our NT tour, we had a drop-dead finish date. ACA provided a very rough, suggested itinerary that included rest days in towns with relatively good services and/or interesting things to do. The rest days also corresponded to days when post offices would be open so people could plan general delivery mail. We would plan out weekly schedules keeping in mind the drop dead finish date, terrain, etc.


Are they all this way, or do they vary based upon (length/ride leader/group)?

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General Discussion / Re: Day Jobs?
« on: November 06, 2013, 02:04:38 pm »
I was thinking about getting into a bicycling related industry where they may encourage you to take trips like this.  Is there anybody here that work for such industry or company that can provide some insight? 
~Johnny

I don't, but my brother worked for Trek for years. Unfortunately, I would NOT assume that being in the bicycle industry would lead to long tours.

I'm in the same boat as you. I've been at my current job for four years and just broached the topic of unpaid leave with my current boss (I'm in government) as a way to free up money in his budget. I don't know if it will work. The other strategy I've considered is setting my career on a path where I would be in positions that are viewed as short-term, creating the opportunity for breaks of a few months in between. I MIGHT be able to make this work for me, but for most people it is probably too risky.

As paddleboy suggests, it is all about your life situation. As you alluded to though, if you are willing and able to cut your expenses (or if you are lucky enough to have accumulated the assets) the amount of risk you can tolerate goes up appreciably. There are many who choose to live with less.

Good luck.

13
Let me throw out two more questions.

1) I'm biking and see a snake streched across my lane. Do I just sit there and wait for it to get tired of sunbathing, or do I do anything to encourage movement (e.g. roll a rock), or do I pass it on the non-biting end, or none of the above?

2) I'm in camp and  I hear the buzz. I look down and see a coiled snake three feet away. Do I freeze until it backs away, or do I leap backwards as quick as I can, or none of the above?

14
Thanks for the solid reply! So much of the advice on this topic is directed at hikers or campers. Also, so many people say, "just use common sense" and stop there. Common sense works better with a little information. BTW I was joking about the pistol, but it's interesting that you said to save it for the campground. When I did the UGRR a few years ago I rode past/over numerous dead snakes, but only saw a few live ones. None were poisonous, all were moving away from me as fast as they could. I take it from the "mad" comment and the comments about seeking warmth and "invading" my campsite that I can assume that at least some rattlesnakes in your area will not be looking to just flee.

15
Hate to be a wimpy mid-westerner, but I'd appreciate a little education on the snake issue.

1) If I'm riding in your area between November and March, are they hibernating?
2) I'm likely to see them on the road when the temperature is over/under X?
3) I see a snake on or beside the road that is not moving. There is a car coming in my lane behind me. Do I: (a) hold my line and ride as fast as I can, either it is dead or it won't realize I'm there until I'm gone; (b) stop my bike, wait for the car to pass, and then ride as far away from the snake as safely possible; or (c) carry a pistol loaded with snake shot.
4) I'm camping at night in your area. I should always do X and I should never do Y.

Thanks for playing along with me.  ;D

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