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Messages - cheesehawk

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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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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)?

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? 

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.

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?

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.

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

General Discussion / Re: Rain gear on self contained long distance touring?
« on: September 23, 2011, 12:37:05 pm »
Geography may play a role in this. I remember when I was a kid my cousin came "home" to Iowa after his family moved to Colorado. We got caught out in a rainstrom. He just sat back and enjoyed it, "Warm rain is so awesome. The rain is always cold in Colorado."

Routes / Re: Underground Railroad - North to South?
« on: June 09, 2011, 10:52:03 am »
I biked from North to South in April. I entered the UGRR route at Grand Rivers, KY, and ended at Mobile, AL. If you check for wind roses for various portions of the route you can get an idea of what to expect from the wind. What I found was that I exptected to have a headwind about 2/3 out of the South/South-West/South-East in the spring. That is pretty much what I got. Particularly as you ride across TN/MS/AL portion of the route, you are basically heading South the vast majority of the time.

Since you are going in the fall the wind pattern may very well be reversed. Since you are doing the whole route, and not just the Southern 1/3 like I did, the net effect of the wind may balance out a bit more. So I don't think that there is any real reason for you not to go N-S. In the  early fall, it makes perfect sense to me to start where its cooler in the North, and arrive in the South when the worst of the heat has faded a bit.

As for the historical aspect, I would not lose much sleep over it. One rider I ran into had spent a lot of time researching the issue before depature. Apparently over 90% of those who successfully made it to freedom started in border states like KY. Hardly anyone made it out of the Deep South. So to a large extent the route should be viewed more as a symbolic gesture than any recreation of history. In any case, you will find very few to zero historical sites related to the UGRR itself once you leave the Ohio River at Smithland, KY. From there on, most of the historical sites you encounter will be Civil War history, because the Union armies worked their way South pretty much along the UGRR route from Paducah, KY to Corinth, MS. So there is more history moving South in that part of the route than North, if you will.

Temporary ACA Route Road Closures / UGRR Section 2 - Flooding
« on: May 17, 2011, 11:04:47 am »
I received e-mails from a NB rider I met while on the UGRR. He gave up on cycling between Grand Rivers, KY and Cincinnati, OH due to flooding in KY and IN. Attached is a link to the KY DOT site. If you look on the right you will see a road closures map. You can zoom in on the map to see specific roads that are closed due to flooding. I could not find a similar map for Indiana.

Routes / Re: Tornadoes and the UGRR?
« on: May 17, 2011, 10:54:54 am »
I rode the route SB from Grand Rivers KY to Mobile, finishing up around April 19th. There was some tornado damage at that time near Linden, AL. You can check out my CGOAB journal if you like for details. It had zero impact on my ability to ride the route. I've also casually followed the extensive tornado damage in AL since my return. I do not believe that you are likely to encounter additional damage on the route in AL.

I received e-mails from a NB rider who indicated that there was re-routing due to flooding on the KY/IN portion of the route. I asked him to post where the moderator indicated yesterday, but I have not seen anything. In any case, his information would now be more than a week old, and probably closer to two weeks. You're going to want current informtion. I'll post a link there in a few minutes to the KY DOT site.

I would go ahead with your trip as planned, especially if you were bringing camping gear anyway. I was too shy about asking people if I could camp out in AL. The more I've talked to people, the more I think I made a mistake. Gas stations/stores are good places to ask. I really can't say enough good things about people in AL generally.

-Mark Herman

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