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Messages - staehpj1

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1
Gear Talk / Re: How to pack my sleeping bag
« on: February 05, 2016, 11:14:15 am »
The point about individual cold tolerance is well taken but most people are better served with a sleeping bag a bit too warm than a bit too cold.

On the other hand I think one reason people get cold is that they use too warm of a bag zipped all the way up too early in the night.  They sweat and then get cold as the temperature drops through the night.  The warmer bag can work, but you need to take a little more care in regulating it as the temperature drops.  I find I am a lot more comfortable if I have just enough bag.

My strategy is to be comfy in my bag in normal overnight temperatures and OK with all my warm clothing items either worn or draped over me for a record low.  I have rarely not seen frost at least some point during any of my long trips or backpacking trips and the odd colder night is not all that rare, but my Phantom 45 (EN 40) has worked out extremely well for me.

2
Gear Talk / Re: How to pack my sleeping bag
« on: February 04, 2016, 06:00:18 pm »
In my experience, a 20 degree sleeping bag is overkill.
No, a true 20 bag is not overkill even in the summer unless you are staying in the deep south and at low altitude.  I've experienced low 30's temperatures in mid-June in Ohio and high altitude can  produce low temperatures any time of year.

However, there are 20 degree bags and 20 degree bags with expensive ones being a lot lighter and easier to compress than cheap ones.
A lot depends on the bag, the rider, and how the bag is used.  The TA, the ST (winter), half of the SC, and a bunch of other routes with my 40 F bag.  I have also done some high altitude backpacking with it  I have used it comfortably down to the mid to upper teens F with a layer or two of clothing.  Others who camped right next to me were cold in much warmer bags at times I was comfy.  My point is that blanket statements don't work.  So saying something is or isn't overkill would need to take in a few of the specifics of the bag and the person using it.

3
Gear Talk / Re: How to pack my sleeping bag
« on: February 04, 2016, 07:32:29 am »
My bag is rated for 20degrees.  I did a forum search for recommendations on temp rating of bag for the transAm and that seemed to be the consensus so I ordered that rating

A few factors come into play on that choice:
1. Bags are very often not rated honestly.  When comparing, using the EN ratings is the way to go if the manufacturer gives them.
2. Users vary widely on how warm they sleep.
3. Supplementing with clothing can allow for comfort in lower temperatures.
4. Being in a tent or a bivy make the bag warmer.

I will say that for me your bag would be way more bag than I'd want on the TA.  I did the TA with a real cheap bag nominally rated at 32 F and was fine.

I did the ST with a good down 40 F (EN rating) bag (Mountain Hardwear Phantom 45) and was fine down to the 18 F low of the trip with tights, a warm pile sweater, and thick socks inside my bivy.  My bag weighs 1 pound 1 ounce and packs a little bigger than a large water bottle.  I love that bag and found it well worth the $280 I paid for it.  I apparently put out heat like a furnace though.

4
ask the locals  (although they rarely know anything about their own area!)
That reminds me...  It is kind of amazing how often local folks have no idea of distances.  Ditto for elevation changes and whether on not there is a ride-able shoulder.

Big rig truckers and farmers on the other hand seem to provide accurate and detailed info.

Local, "It is exactly 20 miles and flat the whole way".

Trucker describing the same road, "Don't hold me to this, but it is about 27.3 miles.  It is flat for the first 10 miles or so, ten rolls for a while and finishes with a two mile climb."  They might even add, "There is a swimming hole about 12.5 miles out at the red river."

Typically the trucker will be spot on down to the tenth of a mile.

5
I have generally found the AC routes to be so easy to follow that I leave my dedicated GPS home.  I do sometimes use my smart phone for directions to a particular stop, service, or attraction.

I have used an etrex for an on/off road tour and it worked out well.  Personally though I found it a lot more trouble to program in the route, deal with batteries, and so on than it is worth on most routes especially if you will be on the road only.

6
General Discussion / Re: Careful where you buy stuff
« on: January 31, 2016, 08:00:48 am »
I usually just get a room or stay with a host when in high risk cities and use a little 5 ounce cable lock the rest of the time.  If I need to shop I take my bike in with me.  At one point I considered buying a heavy duty chain or U Lock, but when I saw the weights I balked.  Even the mini U Lock in the Fahgettaboudit model was 4.3 pounds and some of the chain/lock combos were over 8 pounds  The Palmy aluminum was 0.8 pounds, but is probably as easy to cut or jack open as my 5 ounce cable lock.

7
General Discussion / Re: camping on city parks
« on: January 28, 2016, 04:35:34 pm »
Is it always necessary to do this ?
No it isn't always necessary.  I think there were a couple times that we did and way more where we didn't. More often the town parks were in small enough towns that there were no police to ask even if we had wanted to.  I think we did ask a few times, but mostly only where the AC map specifically said to do so.

In small town parks not listed on an AC map, I sometimes ask someone "Do you think anyone will bother me if I stay in my tent overnight in that park".  That might be a clerk in the general store or who ever I happened to meet any way.

In bigger towns or nearer the coasts I always asked if I didn't know it was OK.  Sometimes I ask at the firehouse, police station, or courthouse.  In a really big park I ask the park staff or park manager.  You can almost always find something if you ask around.  I have asked at churches or asked librarians.  Sometimes they would make a few calls and I'd have a place on someones lawn or on a churches property.  Sometimes I'd even get an invite to stay with someones family.

8
Gear Talk / Re: 2016 Cannondale Touring Bikes
« on: January 27, 2016, 09:34:38 am »
I actually like doubles just for touring, but none of the road doubles offer a small enough inner ring IMO.  I have gotten around this on older bikes by using a triple with the outer ring removed.  A MTB double would be another option.  The road FD should shift it fine with a bit of fiddling to get the adjustment right, assuming the FD can be moved low enough on the seat tube for the smaller rings

9
Gear Talk / Re: 2016 Cannondale Touring Bikes
« on: January 27, 2016, 07:43:43 am »
I have not actually seen one of the 2016 ones, but have looked over the specs.  I will say that the previous touring models were pretty nice.  I don't personally care for all of the choices they made on these bikes though.  On a touring bike Id rather have seen a smaller ring available on the crank (it doesn't look like it will take a smaller on on that crank).  DT spokes are great and it wouldn't really worry me but, I'd rather have seen them go with double butted spokes.  Oh, and I'd definitely not have chosen the Marathon Plus tires.  All of that may suit you better than it does me though.

Also I kind of wonder why a loaded touring bike for credit card touring?  Not sure how much you plan to carry, but I'd think the bike was overkill for lighter loads I'd expect for credit card touring.  Just me but once I got the weight down to even lightweight camping and cooking I started riding a sportier bike and left the loaded touring bike at home.  For me that happened at 20 pounds of gear and under, which to me at least would seem to be more than would be needed for credit card touring.  Then again some folks like to carry a lot more than I would.

10
IMHO, Yosemite is striking, but after two days in the valley and perhaps a day going over the pass, I would think you'd have seen it all.  (Unless you're taking lots of pictures, and want to capture five different features/angles each at sunset or sunrise.)

I almost never stop for an extra day anywhere, but stayed a week in Yosemite doing various side hikes as well as seeing some of the exhibits in the valley.  I thought it was well worth the time.

Yellowstone has a day or two of geothermal features, but the north and northeast quadrants are much more scenic than the southwest leg the TransAm takes you on.  You'll be so close to the Tetons it'd be a shame to miss that.  A week's sightseeing in Yellowstone and the Tetons seems reasonable, with short day hikes and different scenery every day.  The tough part is getting out of there; the Jackson airport is perhaps the best choice up to Bozeman or Billings to catch a bus a distant second choice.

We were pretty satisfied with a hour hike here and there while riding through Yellowstone so were were only two nights there.  To be fair, we didn't do the parts the TA doesn't go through.  We also didn't do the Tetons spur.  You get a pretty good look at the Tetons on the TA main route.  I have since driven the spur in the car.  It was very pretty but didn't make me think we made a mistake by skipping the spur, in part because I am not inclined to do out and back detours and in part because there were similar (but less sweeping) views from the TA.

11
I have not done the northern portion of the Sierra Cascades route, but did do the southern part.  Having done the TA I have also ridden through Yellowstone.  I found I enjoyed Yosemite more than Yellowstone.  I found Yosemite worth taking a week to do hikes and tourist stuff.  Yellowstone was nice, the geothermal features were interesting, and the wildlife viewing was interesting, but if I had to choose between them Yosemite would win out.

As far as how much time to allow, the SC route is exceedingly difficult; you will need to be in good form and will likely need to allow more time than you would on almost any other tours.  That said it is exceedingly beautiful and worth the effort.

There is amtrak service to Yosemite from San Francisco (part bus part train).

There is also bus service using Greyhound and YARTS buses.

http://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/publictransportation.htm

12
Routes / Re: Transamerica: West to East, are the passes open in May?
« on: January 25, 2016, 10:20:50 am »
To reply to staehpj1 - from the Oregon Department of Transportation website regarding McKenzie Pass.
Thanks.  I looked and found it there since you mentioned it.  I will add that when they said that the road was scheduled to open June 20th, they also said "weather permitting".  To me that makes it sound like it won't be any earlier, but might be later depending on the amount of snow in late winter and spring.

Of course it typically is open to bicycles a bit ahead of the official opening.

13
Routes / Re: Transamerica: West to East, are the passes open in May?
« on: January 22, 2016, 11:52:46 am »
McKenzie Pass is currently expected to be open to traffic the third Monday in June.
I am curious where that date came from.  It would seem to be hard to predict accurately with the rest of the Winter and Spring still ahead of us.  I'd agree that is a fairly likely opening date, but wouldn't count on it being at all accurate though.

14
Routes / Re: Transamerica: West to East, are the passes open in May?
« on: January 22, 2016, 08:26:01 am »
In recent years it has been rare for McKenzie pass to open before June, and early July isn't unusual.  It typically can be ridden a week or two before it opens for cars.  Santiam pass is an alternate to McKenzie and is plowed all year, but I'd hate to miss McKenzie.  Being an El Nino year I'd expect late openings.

The year I rode the TA (2007), we started June 11th and it was fine, but I figured we were on the early side.  If it were me I'd try to start later or to start in the East.

http://www.oregon.gov/ODOT/HWY/REGION4/pages/mckenziehighwayclosure.aspx

15
I have had company on both my coast to coast tours, but have done a few 1000 mile or longer tours solo and loneliness wasn't a problem.  I generally wind up meeting either other tourists or local folks pretty often, so getting lonely doesn't really become a problem for me.  Not everyone is as adaptable to that kind of trip either because they need more human contact or because they are too shy to meet and have decent conversation with enough folks along the way.

I found that when travelling with my daughter and her college room mate we were well received and met lots of folks since we seemed to be a very non threatening family group.  When the group was two men I found that we had less interaction with the local folks.  So being alone can sometimes facilitate more rubbing elbows with the locals.

In general I find that if I am open and friendly the local folks respond with openness, friendliness, and generosity.

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