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Messages - roadrunner

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Routes / First Bike Trip
« on: May 08, 2007, 03:23:38 am »
There are long stretches through the Navaho reservation with no services (or anything else but scenery), so bring lots of water, snacks, and sunscreen.  Getting to Desert View at the Grand Canyon from Cameron is 30 miles of stiff climbing, so stock up at Cameron.

Arizon has been getting hammered recently with strong westerly wind, therefore, be prepared for the possibility of headwinds (and pray they don't appear) when you approach Aguila.

Enjoy the screaming decent down Yarnell Hill just south of Yarnell, AZ.

Routes / Riding the Mogollon Rim?
« on: May 08, 2007, 03:02:49 am »
The road you're considering is very scenic, offering some spectacular views from the "Rim" and ridable with reasonably wide tires.  I suggest at least 35 mm or 1-1/2 inch.  Google "General Crook Trail" to find several websites that describe the area, road, and adjacent hiking trails.  There are several Forest Service campgrounds near the road in the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest.  Some of the campgrounds have water.  Approaching the road from the east, the small communities of Heber and Overgaard would provide grub for camping.  The Rim area all along Highway 260 from NM and HIghway 87 to Flagstaff passes through Ponderosa Pine forest and offers great riding with little traffic.

Routes / DC to Central Ohio
« on: May 04, 2006, 01:12:28 am »
I've been out of town and off the net for a while, so this response is a bit late.  I hope you're still checking the forum.

If you get in some riding before summer to get your butt and legs in shape, a ride from D.C. to central Ohio is very doable.  Most of it (from D.C. to the Ohio border) can be done by riding canal trails and rail trails that avoid both hills and traffic.  I'll be taking the following route this fall on a tour from Annapolis to the Mississippi:  The C&O Canal trail from D.C. to Cumberland, MD (187 miles).  Ride, shuttle or scenic train from Cumberland to Frostburg, PA (16 miles). The Greater Allegheny Passage rail trails from Frostburg to McKeesport, PA (119 miles).  The Montour Trail (rail trail)from McKeesport to McDonald, PA (30 miles bypasses Pittsburgh).  The Panhandle Trail (rail trail)from McDonald to Weirton, WV on the WV-OH border (18 miles).  The remainder of the route to your destination would be on roads; hilly in eastern OH and flattening out as you go west.

The trails not only avoid hills and traffic, the C&O and Allegheny Passage are very scenic. All the trails have websites.

Routes / Snow really?
« on: December 08, 2004, 04:36:46 am »
Here's some information on Arizona winter weather, from a resident.  The temperatures vary with elevation (lower elevations have warmer temperatures), and there is generally about a 35° difference between the daily high and low temperatures.  The average high/low temperatures in December and January for Tucson (elevation 2,400'): 65/39 and 64/38; for Phoenox (elevation 1,100')f: 67/42 and 66/41.  February is a bit warmer than January.  Of course, the actual temperatures will vary; a few days ago they were about 10° below normal.  Camping would be quite chilly, but daytime temperatures are fine for riding.

The previous advice to avoid the higher elevations in New Mexico by dropping south to I-10 at Lordsburg (and continuing on it to El Paso) is wise.  Riding on the interstate is okay when there are no alternate roads.

General Discussion / Desert travel
« on: December 22, 2007, 12:40:03 am »
Here are some things I've learned from riding in Arizona desert areas:
Take more water than you think you'll need.  Hauling a little more weight beats running out too soon.
Using a Camelback for water is highly recommended -- they hold a lot, make frequent sipping easy, and keep water much cooler longer than any bottle.
Use high SPF sunscreen and re-apply after a few hours.
Take a wide brim hat for off-bike breaks.
Colored synthetic fabrics provide much more sun protection than cotton, especially white cotton which equals about SPF5.
Take some high energy food I take Fig Newtons or peanut butter & bagels, others use energy bars.
Start riding about sunrise (which is early in the summer) to beat the hottest part of the day.  I don't ride at night, except on rare roads with virtually no traffic.
Headsweats or other do-rags keep sweat from running into one's eyes.
Have the tools, parts, and knowledge to fix problems llikely to occur (flats, lost bolts, etc.).
Riding in deserts isn't something to be dreaded; most provide beautiful scenery and relative isolation.  Just be prepared for the conditions

General Discussion / Is there a good all-in-one clothes/body wash?
« on: November 06, 2007, 06:24:45 pm »
I take a simple approach for carrying soap for body, shampoo, laundry, and dishes -- I fill a small (2 oz.) squeeze bottle with whatever liquid dish soap my wife has under the kitchen sink.  It works well for me for all purposes.  It that runs out, I refill the bottle with liquid hand soap in a restaurant/convience store restroom.  Perhaps being bald makes me less picky about shampoo.

General Discussion / Transam rt or Northern tier ?
« on: September 27, 2007, 12:42:30 am »
Hi Fred,

I rode the C&O Canal Trail and GAP to Pittsburgh last fall as part of a Chesapeke Bay to Mississippi River tour -- they are great trails.  If you'll be looking to avoid riding through Pittsburgh, the Montour Rail Trail runs from near the end of the GAP, through suburbs south and west of the city, and ends at the airport. There is a website for the Montour Trail.

We rode the Panhandle Trail west from the Montour Trail to Weirton, WV, then took roads across Ohio.  Going north from Pittsburgh to flatter terrain could be a better route -- the first couple of days in eastern Ohio west of Pittsburgh were very hilly.

Have a good time planning -- I find it half the fun of doing a ride.

General Discussion / Problem companion
« on: November 06, 2007, 06:52:19 pm »
I've been fortunate obtaining companions for two tours through the "Companions Wanted" column.  About the only topics we discussed prior to the tours were the routes, daily milage, camping vs. motels,  sources of meals and gear we were planning to take.  In case the partnering didn't work out, I carried the gear I'd need to continue solo if we decided to split up.
More detailed discussions prior to starting off could certainly be beneficial.

General Discussion / German doesnt know where to go... Recommendations?
« on: October 22, 2007, 08:08:17 pm »

Maybe you'll check on this entry to see if there is anything new.  Congratulations on completing your tour.  I hoped you would post a journal of your ride on the Adventure Cycling website, so was excited to see your entry in the ride resistry.  However, I cannot open the link to your journal.  I would very much like to read it and learn how your experiences compared to mine when I rode much of your route.  If possible, would you e-mail the journal to me at  Thanks

Hi Jan,

Welcome to the U.S. I hope you are enjoying Chicago.  The city has many miles of bike paths you could ride to prepare for your September tour.

Your planned tour route from Glacier Park to Salt Lake City will be a wonderful tour.  I don't think you could pick a more scenic route.  I bicycled almost the same route (from Missula, Montana, to Salt Lake City in 1996 with two friends).  We followed Adventure Cycling's TransAmerica route from Missoula, southeast to Yellowstone and Grand Teton parks.  Sections 4 and 5 of Adventure Cycling's TransAmerica Bicycle Trail maps show that route and provide much useful information.  From Grand Teton park, we generally followed highway US-89 to Salt Lake City.  We averaged about 55 miles a day, taking 17 days for the tour, including some short-distance days for sight-seeing.

The route between Missoula and Dillon, Montana, includes about 4 mountain passes with long, but not extremely-steep, climbs, followed by many miles of downhill coasting.   There are no significant mountains past Dillon.  The entire route has spectacular scenery -- the beautiful Bitterroot Valley south of Missoula,  "Big Sky" country en route to Yellowstone, the wonders of Yellowstone Park and grandure of the Teton Mountains, and wide open spaces in Utah.

The entire route has little traffic, even Yellowstone Park, since you will be there after the summer tourist season.  Weather-wise, daytime temperatures should be pleasant and evenings cool, with frost likely.  Be prepared for both warm and chilly riding weather.  You can get average daily high and low temperatures by month for towns along the route from  

I have a journal (pre-internet, typed) of our tour which I could mail you if you're interested.  Just let me know your mailing address.

If you do the tour, you will have a wonderful ride and see parts of the U.S. much different from Chicago and Illinois.

Yes, Jan, Route 89 is a paved highway.  It really isn't a mountain route.  Most of the terrain along the route is rolling. Where there is climbing, it is generally long, gradual grades, rather than steep mountain climbing.  The highest climb I recall is getting to the Grand Canyon.



A route which provides spectacular scenery, little traffic, few tourists, and good weather in September is highway US-89 from Yellowstone National Park to Flagstaff, Arizona.  The route passes through or near Yellowstone, Grand Teaton, Bryce Canyon, Zion, and Grand Canyon National Parks and many other scenic areas.

The only large city on the route is Salt Lake City, Utah, otherwise most of the route is through fairly remote areas and small towns.  It would give you a real feel for the western U.S.

The north end of Route 89 is at the Canadian border near Waterton-Glacier Park and Glacier National Park, however it's a long way from there to Yellowstone.  You could fly into Bozeman, Montana, to begin at Yellowstone.  

September is the ideal time to ride in most of the U.S., including Route 89.  Nights would likely be chilly in Yellowstone and Teaton parks, but the weather is normally mild further south.  Traffic and park visitation is light in September, because schools are in session.

I've cylced the route and enjoyed it greatly.  The April 2007 issue of National Geographic Adventure magazine has an article on driving Route 89, which describes the road and places along it.  The article is available on the magazine's website.

If you'd want to ride futher, you could continue to Phoenix or Tucson, Arizona.  The Mexican border is about 100 km south of Tucson.

General Discussion / Which way is the wind blowing?
« on: March 27, 2006, 12:03:58 am »
For some reason,clicking on the link to windroses in the previous message results in an error message page.  Typing "windrose" in the search keyword block on that page will provide a page with a link to the windroses.

General Discussion / Which way is the wind blowing?
« on: March 26, 2006, 11:57:10 pm »
Windroses are graphical plots of average wind direction and velocity at specified locations.  The plots show the percent of time winds are from each direction and also the wind speed by percent of time.  The following website,, provides windroses for sites in every state by month.

General Discussion / Where are you touring to 2006
« on: January 09, 2006, 10:42:58 pm »
A modification of the America Discovery Trail between Annapolis, Maryland, and the Mississippi River, following the C&O Canal and Greater Allegheny Passage from Washington, D.C. to Pittsburgh, then across Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois (also on canal paths).  Almost 600 miles of the total 1,100 miles will be on canal paths or rail trails.

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