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Messages - staehpj1

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1441
General Discussion / Re: Getting back to where you started
« on: December 01, 2009, 12:53:00 pm »
If there is more than one person to share the driving and cost, a car becomes a pretty reasonable option.  It is less so for one person, especially given the long drive.  It has worked well for me when traveling with two companions.

Taking a train might also be an option.  Amtrak worked out very well for a leg of my spring tour.  Be careful to verify that they will load and unload baggage at both ends or each leg done by rail.  I liked that they were willing to switch the dates of my ticket with no fuss or fees, even at very short notice.  They supplied a huge box for a small fee.  It was so big that I only had to take off the pedals and turn the handlebar.  I didn't even need to remove racks or lower the seat.  It was all really convenient and I had no complaints at all.  That said I have only done it once.

1442
Bikecentennial / Re: Wish I was there
« on: December 01, 2009, 07:56:11 am »
The original 1976 route did not go through Lexington, KY - it has always gone through Berea. I looked at the trip offerings from 76 in the archives here at the ACA office and the trip I think GAmado is referring to was from St. Genevieve, MO to Berea, KY. Carbondale and Lexington were the 2 closest largest cities to those towns.

There are some maps here in Missoula but I don't know of anything online that shows the original 76 route. Amazingly, for its length, we have changed less than 150 miles of the route. There are short sections in VA, KY, IL. MO and KS that have been re-routed. The 2 biggest adjustments have been in CO and OR. In CO the route between Walden and Kremmling was changed, and in OR there is a new route between Eugene and Florence (which was always the shortcut to get to the coast) though the route officially began/begins in Astoria.
Interesting, thanks.  I would have guessed that it had changed more.

1443
General Discussion / Re: Advice for a cross-country trip
« on: December 01, 2009, 07:47:37 am »
That isn't much time for a Trans America, especially since you "are planning a few stops along the way".  If I had only a month and a half, I'd be inclined to shorten the route.  Better yet allow more time.  The thing is that places to camp or get food and water are not ideally spaced to allow optimum daily mileage so you will have to do some really long days to make up for days where you had to go short mileage.

We took 73 days.  Granted two of us started with pretty much no mileage under our belts so we did short mileage for a while, but I still would find a deadline of a month and a half a bit uncomfortable.

I would probably do it in about two months (~80 miles per day) if doing it again, but would prefer to have at least a week and maybe two more than that available so I don't feel like I am up against a deadline.  I like to allow a generous cushion in the available time and then finish ahead of time.  That requires flexible travel scheduling at the end of the trip though which may be tough to arrange.

Then again I am 58 years old and a mediocre athlete, so YMMV.

1444
General Discussion / Re: Keeping Clean
« on: November 30, 2009, 09:02:17 am »
I don't pack underwear when touring.  I take two pairs of bike shorts and two jerseys and wash them daily if it is convenient, but I really could get by with one set since they wring out well, dry fairly quickly, and I don't mind putting them on damp since they are usually wet from sweat pretty quickly any way.

Also...  If I have to go a few days without showering or washing clothes it isn't the end of the world.  Daily bathing and daily changing of clothes is a relatively recent cultural development and is not a necessity.  Cowboys used to go all winter in the same clothes and were on horseback all day.  I get a shower every day when I can, but don't freak when I can't.  Some times on the TA we went several days without and didn't contract dreaded diseases, get huge saddle sores, or spontaneously burst into flames.   Also I have found that in places where you might have to go a few days without a shower, people tend to be way less prissy about such things, so offense is generally not taken by folks you meet if you are a bit "fragrant".

1445
Bikecentennial / Re: Wish I was there
« on: November 25, 2009, 07:39:13 am »
I'm proud to say I was there--for the Carbondale, IL to Lexington, KY portion.  I'm looking forward to watching this forum topic and plan to post some of my slides (remember them) to the flicker portion.  I hope to run across some of my fellow tourers from way back in '76.  I now wish I had kept contact with some of them. 


Did the route originally go through Lexington?  When we did the TA in 2007 we went through farther south in Berea.  Is there a map available anywhere that shows the original Bikecentennial route?  I would be curious how it differed from the current TA.

1446
Routes / Re: Skyline Drive/Blue Ridge Parkway
« on: November 25, 2009, 07:32:22 am »
Hi everyone! I'm asking for advise on the subject.
My plan is to drive sometime in May 2010 from home (Valrico, FL) to North Carolina, close to the southern end of the Blue Ridge (Cherokee, Bryson City). Park my suv, rent a car and drive from there to Front Royal. I have and read Charlie Skinner guide on both highways. I'm looking for advise on a couple of areas:

Secure long term parking close to the southern end of the Blue Ridge.

Transportation between the southern end and Front Royal, othern than rental car.

Any other advise that might make this trip more enjoable.


Miguel
Folks have used one way car rentals.  It might be worth looking into that.

The big drawback to the BRP is the general scarcity of services on the parkway and the steep climbs back up if you leave the parkway to get to lodging or whatever.  As a result I suggest you plan carefully.  The actual riding on the parkway is wonderful, but I wish there were more frequent camping or lodging options without having to leave the parkway.  Skyline Drive has more frequent services and is also great riding.

1447
General Discussion / Re: Oregon to Los Angeles and Gear Questions
« on: November 25, 2009, 07:14:48 am »
I am dying to go to Oregon, is it beautiful?
It was our favorite state on the Trans America with very good and varied scenery, good roads, generally great touring.

1448
Routes / Re: Advice for first tour.
« on: November 22, 2009, 05:57:24 pm »
I was reading advice for first-time, long distance bicycle tourists. You might want to consider a route less strenuous than the NT or the TA, and that leaves out the PCBR.
FWIW, myself and two companions did the TA as a first tour.  We all had a lot of outdoor experience, but one was not a cyclist, one had not ridden in a year, and one had been riding a lot.  The two who were not in riding shape got in a few 30 mile rides before the tour, but didn't really have time to train since they were finishing up their senior year of college.  All were in in the groove 10 days to two weeks into the tour.  That said we all were already well familiar with all of the camping and cooking skills which helped.

Motivation is the biggest factor in whether you will be successful and enjoy the trip.

1449
Routes / Re: Which Direction TransAm Best -E to W or W to E?
« on: November 18, 2009, 10:19:51 am »
Staehpj1  great map showing the wind directions for July are similar maps available somewhere as would like one for April/May -
I lost track of the source and it was sporadically available to start with.  July was the only one I kept a copy of.  I will say that January was pretty much the opposite.  Months in between were transitional between the two.  June and August were close to July I think.  Same for May and September, but maybe more variable.  April and October I don't know I suspect that are more of a crap shoot.

This is all from my often faulty memory though.

There is local data with wind roses available.  It provides more detail, but it requires more effort to use since each one is for a specific month and one specific location.  A starting point for that might be http://www.wcc.nrcs.usda.gov/climate/windrose.html

1450
Routes / Re: Which Direction TransAm Best -E to W or W to E?
« on: November 18, 2009, 06:56:13 am »
I'm assuming you mean that the eastern hills and mountains have steeper inclines, because they sure aren't as high as the western mountains, correct? 
There are long grades in the Rockies, but they are not too often greater than 6% and I don't think we saw anything over 8%.  In the Appalachians we saw close to 20% and as John said they come one after another.  I personally was surprised that the Rockies were much easier than I imagined and the Appalachians were harder that the Rockies and harder than I would have guessed.   This despite the fact that were were pretty road hardened by the time we got to the Appalachians.

Don't get me wrong both are doable, just be sure you have low gearing in the Appalachians.

1451
Routes / Re: Which Direction TransAm Best -E to W or W to E?
« on: November 17, 2009, 05:39:51 pm »
Johns reasons are all good ones.  The bottom line is that it can be great either way.   We had fun going W-E and I don't regret it at all, it was a great trip.  I think you have the best shot at good weather and favorable winds E-W, but there are many reasons for either choice. If you have a preference based on more aesthetic reasons, I would go with that preference.

Which ever way you decide, have a great trip.

John, did they credit any particular factor in the statistic about higher success rate going E-W?

1452
Routes / Re: Which Direction TransAm Best -E to W or W to E?
« on: November 17, 2009, 12:11:21 pm »
Forget about prevailing westerlies.  The surface winds in the middle of the country will most likely be out of the Southeast by June.  In July we had a headwind the entire way across eastern Colorado and Kansas (the portion of the trip where winds mattered the most because they are open plains).  Look at these graphics to see what i mean.



If going again. I'd be inclined to go east to west if starting in April, May, or June.  That way you avoid some of the heat and humidity in the East and also avoid possible snow in the Rockies.  The later you go the more sense a start in the west makes.

The factors that made a start in the west best for us were
  • The worst climbs are in Virginia.  Strange but true.  There are long climbs in the West, but they are all fairly gradual.  Not only that but Virginia has more total elevation change than any other state on the route.  Since two of us had not had time to train before the trip we wanted to put off the steep climbs.  This made training as we went much more palatable.
  • We liked the idea of having air travel out of the way up front.
  • We liked the idea that it would be harder to back out and quit after a week.
  • It was awesome that family could meet us at the finish, throw us a big picnic, and drive us home.

1453
Gear Talk / Re: Camera Thoughts
« on: November 07, 2009, 09:17:55 am »
So I'm wondering if anyone out there takes along an SLR/DSLR when they tour. I'm leaving in a couple weeks and would love it if I can figure out how to bring my slightly cumbersome Canon 5D with me. I know I'd get some great shots with it, but I'm not sure how to carry it along. Am I better off just bringing a point and shoot? Any touring photographers out there have any thoughts? Whats the best way to pack it, or should I just leave it home? Been going back and forth with the idea. Thanks.

I have gone both routes and find that that for me the DSLR is nice but probably not worth the extra weight.  My little Nikon s550 take great pictures, uses memory chips that can work in my Blackberry or my 8 ounce internet tablet (Nokia N800) so I can upload pics to a web site and still carry a minimum of gear.  I do miss the availability of lenses (which I really don't want to carry any way) and my DSLR has much better low light performance, but the difference in weight just isn't worth it unless the trip is primarily a photography trip.

For me weight is one of the primary factors in all gear choices, but it is still a judgment call. 

1454
Connecting ACA Routes / Re: Southern Tier to Trans Am via Santa Fe Trail
« on: November 05, 2009, 06:47:14 pm »
staehpj1,

Thanks for the further route information. I will include it with our file.

.Jennifer.
If AC decides to do anything with that route I would be happy to share any other info I may have.  Jerry is planning to do some variation of the trip in the Spring and I may join him.  We could possibly collect info about the towns we pass through if that would be helpful.

1455
Connecting ACA Routes / Re: Southern Tier to Trans Am via Santa Fe Trail
« on: November 05, 2009, 01:43:33 pm »
I have a journal of the trip at:
http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/StaehlingSantaFe2009

This is a link to his original planned route:
http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/page/?o=RrzKj&page_id=106425&v=75

This is a link to my actual route:
http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/page/?o=RrzKj&page_id=112388&v=M

FWIW I found I-25 to be delightful even though it is interstate, but for those who wish to avoid it there is a frontage road much of the way that is most often far enough from the highway to feel remote at least some of the time.  One minor issue with the frontage road... On the portion where I rode the frontage road it was on the opposite side of I-25 at the rest stops making it impossible to use them.  As a result potential rest stops were infrequent in that section.

The route Jerry planned for that section is fairly remote and not loaded with services  There was a place to get water at Mosquero, I think.

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