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Messages - roadrunner

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Gear Talk / touring shoes
« on: November 23, 2005, 02:19:04 am »
I like to keep my gear simple, light, and comfortable when touring.  The combination I've settled on for footwear/pedals is a pair of tennis or running shoes with relatively hard soles and Power Grip pedal straps.  I take along a pair of regular Teva sandals for off-bike wear, showers, and river swimming and find them fine for riding up to about 25 miles on layover days.  Power Grips provide a very secure attachment to the pedals with virtually any shoe.

I've tried several "touring" shoes, including Shimanos, but haven't found any really confortable for extensive walking, especilly after several day's riding.

I prefer wool sweatshocks for touring.  They provide much more cushioning than nylon socks, dry faster than cotton, are warmer (particularly when wet), and keep one's feet warm when the sleeping bag isn't quite up to the night's chill.

These items have worked well for me on self-contained tours up to 2,500 miles.  I'll never make it as a bike catalog model, but my feet are happy.

Gear Talk / Bianchi? Trek? Bruce Gordon?
« on: November 23, 2005, 01:54:17 am »
I purchased a Bruce Gordon BLT in 1996, have used it on many self-contrained tours, both with his racks and paniers and a BOB trailer, and am completely satisfied with it.  It has been completely reliable; the only components I've replaced have been chains and cassettes.  The gearing is good for any terrain and load, which can't be said for many "touring bikes."  It also serves as my "road bike" and errand runner.  It's heavier than a go-fast road bike, but I don't worry about riding through potholes and on gravel roads.

Gear Talk / BOB skewers--do they break?
« on: April 27, 2005, 02:39:59 am »
I've toured several thousand miles with a BoB, including 850 miles this month along the Chisholm Trail route, and never had a problem with the skewer.  I did lose a connecting pin on one trip, so now carry a couple of spares duct-taped on the BoB.

Gear Talk / CamelPak bladder size and color
« on: March 09, 2005, 02:42:40 am »
Whoops, didn't answer your last question.  The "construction model" Camelback fits and rides fine; it doesn't interfer with my helmet or restrict any body parts.

Gear Talk / CamelPak bladder size and color
« on: March 09, 2005, 02:39:36 am »
I use the blaze orange color "construction" model Camelback for summer riding in Arizona and when touring and am very happy with it.  I'm a firm believer in being as visible as possible and think a brightly-colored Camelback makes a lot more sense than the usual dark-colored ones. The 70 oz capacity has always been adequate for me; if not for a full day's riding, it's enough to get to somewhere to refill.  If I think more water might be needed, I add a waterbottle or two.  I prefer that to carrying more on my back.  The construction model Camelbacks aren't as comfortable looking -- no padded shoulder straps, but that's no problem.  My only complaint about the blaze orange model is that over time, the strong Arizona sun fades the color so it isn't as bright.  I tried painting it with blaze orange paint; that brightened it up, but then the paint faded also.  I ended up buying a new blaze orange one.

Gear Talk / Brakes for Touring
« on: December 08, 2004, 04:52:57 am »
I've never ridden with disc brakes, so can't comment on them.  I replaced the original cantilever brakes on my BLT with linear pull brakes and am very pleased with the results.  The linear pull brakes are a very large improvement in stopping power, especially when riding with a loaded trailer.  They are also easy to adjust and trouble-free -- no worries about 'dinging a disc.

Routes / North to Alburquerque NM
« on: November 24, 2008, 11:25:18 pm »
I rode from Scorro to Albuquerque a few years ago on a tour following the El Camino Real route.  The state and county highways that generally parallel I-25 provide nice low-traffic riding through many small towns and historic Indian pueblos. There are many opportunities for good Mexican food, and you'll be posed the official New Mexico question: "Red or Green?" (What type of chili sauce do you want? It's served with practically everything.)  Riding on the interstate is permitted.  Albuquerque has a bike trail that follows the Rio Grande.

I haven't ridden between I-25 and Reserve, so can't provde any insight on that route.

Routes / Midwest Routes
« on: February 13, 2008, 11:41:58 pm »
Iowa has hundreds of miles of bike trails which are shown on the Transportation Map for Bicyclists mentioned by DU.  Several of the trails are incorporated into the portion of the America Discovery Trail (a cross-US trail) that crosses Iowa.  The ADT would make for a good tour or part of one.  The ADT website provides a description of what's along the trail in each state.

Routes / Yuma to Gila Bend,AZ
« on: February 02, 2008, 04:29:13 pm »
The following thoughts are based on roads I've biked and driven in SW Arizona.
I'd ride US-95 east out of Yuma to the secondary highway that goes through Dome, Wellton, and Tacna, to Mohawk.  At Mohawk, check if there is a paved road on the south side of I-8 to Dateland.  If not, ride I-10 the 13 miles to Dateland (the terrain is very flat, and the shoulder is wide).  From Dateland to Gila Bend there's a paved road (not on the map) on the south side of the interstate which I've ridden and recall goes virtually all the way to Gila Bend.  The paved road from Dateland to Sentinel that goes north of I-10 through Hyder adds about 15 miles.  I haven't ridden the dirt road west of Hyder.
AZ-85 from Gila Bend to Organ Pipe carries a lot of RV traffic, expecially south of Why.
An alternative route from Joshua Tree to Organ Pipe that passes through more scenic areas in Arizona would be CA-62 to Parker, AZ-72 to Hope, US-60 to Solaome, secondary highways to I-10 Exit 81, Wintersburg, and Arlington to Old Highway 85 that parallels the Gila River to Gila Bend.
All of the routes are through desert country, and many of the towns are just names on the map, so take plenty of water and sufficient food to make up for planned food stops that may not exist.

Routes / Big Sur - Mogollon Rim - Fredonyer Pass
« on: February 02, 2008, 11:39:56 pm »

Quite a trip you've got planned.  I replied to your 2/2/07 inquiry before seeing this one, so I'll pass on some more thoughts.  I live in southeast Arizona and have ridden or driven the roads I'll mention.

There are no good routes eastwardly from Organ Pipe NM.  AZ-86 has heavy traffic, with many RVs.  I wouldn't ride on it east of east of Three Points.  Unless you have a particular reason to go to Organ Pipe (such as to reach the Mexico border) I would skip it.  The terrain and vegetation (except for the Organ Pipe Cactus) are the same as much of SW Arizona.  Also, I'd advise against steath camping anywhere south of I-8 or Tucson, because of extensive traffic of drug smugglers and illegal aliens.

If Organ Pipe is one of your objectives, here's the route I'd take from there to get to the Mogollon Rim: AZ-85 to Gila Bend, Maricopa Road (paved) through Maricopa to Casa Grande, secondary roads to Florence, AZ-79 to AZ-77 (I've ridden all those), and AZ-77 to Globe.  That roundabout route avoids the steep climb, very heavy traffic, and tunnel on narrow US-60 between Florence Junction and Globe.  I can't imagine why that route is on the Southern Tier.

There are two routes to the Rim from Globe -- (1) AZ-77 to Show Low and (2) AZ-88, AZ-188, and AZ-87 to Payson (which I've ridden).  AZ-77 is 87 miles of essentially no civilization, except a store at the bottom of the Salt River Canyon, a steep 2,000 foot down-and-up mini-Grand Canyon about midway.  That would test your "any hill is okay" statement.  You can Google the canyon for a description.

The other route, past Roosevelt Lake, has much less climbing and scattered points of civilization.

The gravel road along the Rim, all in pine forest, between Strawberry and Forest Lakes has a few National Forest campgrounds, some of which have drinking water.

It's a long way from the Petrified Forest/Painted Desert to the Grand Canyon.  The Navaho Reservation contains vast distances between anything but very scattered dwellings and trading posts.  Most of the places named on the map have little or nothing.  Getting to the Grand Canyon from Cameron is a 32-mile, 3,000 foot climb.  For a less grueling and more scenic route, I suggest you consider skipping the Petrified Forest and Painted Desert and riding from the Rim to Flagstaff, via Mormon Lake, then take US-180 and AZ-64 to the canyon.  The time saved would enable you to take in Zion and Bryce Canyon NPs (both spectacular) in Utah enroute to Cedar City (and make the ride to Cameron downhill).  Getting to Kanab from Cameron is about 170 miles of desert on US-89, with services only at Page, or about the same distance and 4,000 feet of climbing to Jacob Lake, followed by a great downhill.

Once in Utah, US-89 is a great riding road all the way to Provo.  

I've gone on way too long.  If you've got any questions, e-mail me.

Routes / Seattle to Grand Canyon Route
« on: January 09, 2008, 12:14:04 am »
Hi Deborah.  I've ridden portions of the route you outlined and can offer a few observations.  On an Oregon Trail tour, most of the route between Burley, ID, and Portland, OR, was on I-84 (which closely follows the Oregon Trail), except for occasional US or state highways that are near the interstate.  They include LaGrande to Baker City, OR; Ontario to Nyssa, OR, to Payma to Boise, ID.; and Gooding to Burley, ID.  There simply aren't many alternative roads.

From Brigham City, UT, to Salt Lake City, a highway, maybe US-89, east and parallel to I-15, has fairly heavy traffic.  UT-68 and US-89 from Salt Lake City to Provo is mostly through built up areas.  To go to the Grand Canyon from Salt Lake City, I highly recommend US-89 and Alt US-89.  They are 2-lane roads with light traffic running through scenic countryside with occasional small towns.  (Springfield to Fairview was the only exception, with nearly 50-miles with little civilization along the road.)  Much of the route follows broad valleys, with little climbing.  Campgrounds and motels are available.  Bryce Canyon and Zion national parks, both spectacular, are within 20 miles of US-89.  Alt US-89 goes from Kanab, UT, to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon.  Getting from the North Rim to the South Rim is almost 200 miles of mostly empty desert with a long coast down from Jacob Lake and some stiff climbs out of the Colorado River valley and up to the South Rim from Cameron, AZ.

Routes / Katy Trail, C&O/GAP or Natchez Trace
« on: December 20, 2007, 11:46:50 pm »
I've ridden all three routes you're considering.  DavePM gives a good overview of the Katy and Natchez Trace.  I found the C&O/GAP route the most appealing of the three.  In addition to the longer ride, there are many interesting and historic points of interest along the way -- D.C. monuments, C&O history, Civil War sites, and nice scenery. Towns are convienently spaced for lodging and food.  The only downside to the C&O is that much of the surface is plain dirt.  When wet it is passable but messy.  I recommend starting in D.C.; going west, all but the initial part of the GAP is downhill.
I had to travel to the area, so flew into the Baltimore airport, rode a rail-trail to Annapolis, visited the Naval Academy, then rode back roads and a rail-trail to D.C.  The Pittsburgh end of the GAP is near east end of the Montour Rail-Trail, which circles south and east of the metro area to the Pittsburgh airport.

Routes / Tuscon to Santa Fe
« on: October 05, 2007, 01:12:55 am »
Here's a suggested route if you've got time for an indirect ride.  Any route heading northeast from Tucson towards Santa Fe will involve serious mountains and, in November, cold temperatures.  From Hatch, NM to Albuquerque (and on to Santa Fe) roads stay in the Rio Grande valley.  That was the route of El Camino Real, so makes for an interesting historic tour.  It is virtually all on secondary roads paralleling the Rio Grande, with towns, including several pueblos, at about 25-mile intervals.  I rode from Las Cruces to near Santa Fe in 2004.
The shortest way to Hatch from Tucson is I-10, which avoids mountains, but would involve about 200 miles of less-than-enjoyable interstate riding.  I'd go via Sierra Vista (my hometown); Bisbee; and Douglas, AZ, to Rodeo, NM, pick up I-10 between Lordsburg and Deming, then to Hatch.  The highways weave between mountain ranges, and the weather on that route should be great in November.  My wife and I would put you up for the night here.  If that routing sounds interesting, e-mail me with any questions.  I've got a journal of the El Camino Real tour I could send you.

Routes / Oregon Trail - Extended 8-)
« on: August 15, 2007, 01:14:15 am »
I rode the Oregon Trail route from Kansas City to Portland in 2001 as a self-supported tour with one buddy.  It's a great tour for scenery and the many historic sites along the route.  I'd be happy to e-mail you my journal if you pass on an e-mail address.

A terrific reference for the history of the trail and following the route as closely as can be done on public roads is the Falcon Guide book "Traveling the Oregon Trail" by Julie Fanselow.  The book is intended for motorists, but works as well for cyclists.  My copy was copywrited in 1997.  The book has listings by state of lodging, camping opportunities, and restaurants along the route.  I'm sure the book is available on Amazon.

We rode the route on roads, except for crossing South Pass.  The original trail is still present as a rough 4WD track over "Rocky Ridge," considered the roughest part of the entire trail by the original travelers.

You should check average weather conditions on if you're planning to travel in November.  I'm sure it must get very chilly in the higher elevations.  Several Mormon handcart companies were stranded in Wyoming by winter storms, with disasterous results.

Routes / Michigan's Upper Peninsula
« on: May 24, 2007, 02:33:26 am »
After living there for 17 years (before getting enough practice shoveling snow and moving to Arizona), I highly recommend the Keweenaw Peninsula as the best riding in the U.P.  The Keweenaw offers low-traffic roads, small towns, scenic Lake Superior shorelines, forests, wildlife, and historic sites.  The peninsula is about 100 miles long, with the adjoining towns of Houghton and Hancock in the center.  Those towns are at the intersection of a figure-8 route route that encompasses the peninsula.  A suggested route from Houghton-Hancock (there's a nice campground in Hancock) is west along Portage Lake to McClain State Park, north through Calumet, Eagle River, and Eagle Harbor to Copper Harbor (Fort Wilkins State Park), then through Lac la Belle, Gay, Lake Linden and back to Hancock.  The souther half of the figure 8 is from Houghton to Baraga (Baraga State Park), west on M-38 to M-26 to Twin Lakes State Park, and on to Houghton.  That entire route is paved.  With mountain bikes, much of route can be done on railtrails, and one can continue past Copper Harbor on logging roads to the tip of the peninsula (wild camping available) and on to Lac La Belle.
Bicycling Magazine's 10th Anniversary issue rated the Keweenaw as one of the 10 best riding areas in the U.S.
The best time to tour is August or early September.  Before then, the bugs can be hungry.  Snow can come by late September.  There are websites for the Keweenaw.

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