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Messages - staehpj1

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Routes / Re: Direction and departure month on Southern Tier in winter
« on: February 27, 2010, 07:58:07 pm »
Please advise with your experience on using the ST in winter.  I am trying to decide which direction to go and what month is best to begin.  We can leave as early as Dec and plan to take about 3 months, but want to be finished by end of April. I don't mind some days of head wind, but don't want to fight it every day.  Also prefer not to freeze; we plan to camp when we can't find warmshowers or couchsurfing hosts.   Thanks!
One thing to remember... Daylight hours are shortest December 21 or so.  Daylight hours are much longer in late winter.  I have not done the ST, but an acquaintance who has said February is the best departure time.  I forget which direction he preferred.  I think it was W-E, but I am not sure.

Routes / Re: Is May 1 Too Early For W-E Transamerica Route Departure?
« on: February 27, 2010, 07:51:27 pm »
It is pretty early.   McKenzie pass is not open yet then most years.  That said you can use Santiam pass if McKenzie is closed.  Chances of cold and snow will be greatly increased with a start that early though.

Personally, I'd probably start in the east if starting then.  You would miss the worst heat and humidity in the southeast and the cold and snow in the Cascades and Rockies.

Prevailing winds on the TA are actually probably better for an E - W TA.  See the maps I posted in a previous thread at:

Where the wind matters most on the TA is in Eastern Colorado and Kansas and the TA goes SE there.  The prevailing summer winds are out of the SE there.

That said there are many factors and I wouldn't necessarily make the winds be the over-riding factor.

General Discussion / Re: Passing other tourist riders
« on: February 27, 2010, 01:57:02 pm »
May be a silly question but you know how things go through your head shortly before you leave on tour.
The big boss (wife) and I will start the Southern Tier in the next week.  We've read many journals about people seeing other riders along the routes that they travel and we were wondering, when seeing someone going the same direction as you it's easy to say hi or even talk,  but what is (for lack of a better term) protocol when seeing a rider going the opposite way.  I'm sure one doesn't stop and talk with every rider you see,  so how do you know when to stop and talk without interrupting their day.  Or can you just tell. TIA
I tend to pull off to the side and see if they stop to talk.  I think my body language makes it clear that I welcome the opportunity to chat, but I don't flag them down or anything.  If they do stop, great, if not that is fine too.  On the TA the majority of the time we talked at least a few minutes with almost all of the folks going the other way.  On other tours I haven't met many riders.

Routes / Re: New Sierra Cascade Route
« on: February 26, 2010, 04:31:09 pm »
I look forward to reading what others have to say about their experiences!
Yeah me too.  I guess we will find out how it goes in June.

Routes / Re: Sierra Cascade Route
« on: February 25, 2010, 02:36:30 pm »

Do you know if a way point file will be available to complement the maps for this route when the maps are released?  I am really looking forward to the sale of these maps.  Our plans for this trip are starting to gel and I am chomping at the bit to see the maps and text comments on them.

Routes / Re: New Sierra Cascade Route
« on: February 25, 2010, 02:29:59 pm »
You have to make an account with them before you can see the map.  That is a bummer about the logging trucks.  I live and ride a couple hundred miles west of that area and the logging trucks are awesome.  They're the most courteous people on the road.  I can't wait to do this route, or at least part of it.  I can't start until early November next fall. 


I have generally found logging truck drivers to be competent professionals on the roads I have shared with them and have always much preferred them to rental motor homes.  Some times logging trucks passed close, but at least I trusted them to know how close they were passing.  Rental motor homes on the other hand were often driven by folks without a clue.  That said I have not ridden the road in question and for what it is worth have heard widely varying opinions on it.  The have ranged from MrBent's "horrific" to a friends who grew up there's comment that "Its OK, but yeah there are logging trucks".   Our plan thus far is to follow the route unless we get there and find it unbearable.

Routes / Re: southern tier map for friends and family
« on: February 24, 2010, 10:42:36 am »
Yes the ACA version is good if you keep to their routes but I like to make side trips or connectors so a more detailed map would be good.

Thanks anyway.
Most wall maps that show the entire us don't show too much detail, so in any case you will be doing a bit of guessing at the exact point to put the dot or stick a pin.  That said some of the wall maps do show a lot more towns than the AC overview map.

OTOH since the OP was specifically referring to the ST the AC map sounds perfect to me.

Routes / Re: southern tier map for friends and family
« on: February 24, 2010, 09:47:24 am »
Though it sounds like this might not be detailed enough on it's own for following you on your ride, you could start with the network map we have available as a pdf (at no cost!) on the Routes & Mapping page.

Click on Map of All ACA Routes, first line after Adventure Cycling Maps in the upper right of the page.

For what it is worth that scales up nicely if you have access to a large plotter or know someone who does.  As Jennifer says the detail isn't there wrt smaller towns and other features, but it is a very nice looking map.  Kinkos could print you one 48" x 36" or whatever for probably under $50.

Routes / Re: southern tier map for friends and family
« on: February 23, 2010, 07:25:49 pm »
If you got your amateur radio license before you left you could equip your bike with APRS and your family could log on their computer and follow your progress in real time.
Or maybe go with the Spot device.  Another thing to carry and more expensive than I will go for due to the subscription cost, but still pretty cool.

Routes / Re: southern tier map for friends and family
« on: February 23, 2010, 03:01:11 pm »
I've had a couple of requests for a map of the southern tier route - one that folks back home can hang on the wall and plot my progress as I ride.  Is there something like that already created? 
Check out for one option.

If someone is willing to do it a big paper map of the US is pretty cool way to do this and it makes a great keepsake after the trip.  Mine from the TA is on my wall next to my computer and I have been adding trips as i take then.  It is really cool to look at the map and reminisce.  It isn't too hard to look up the town names on google maps to figure out roughly where to mark the stops.  I use little sticky dots in various colors a different color for each tour.

Gear Talk / Re: suspension seat post...
« on: February 20, 2010, 04:35:41 pm »
staehpj1 has a good point about the non-obvious.  The back cannot handle much of a bump without injury if you're sitting up.  There's just no flexibility that way, and the forces go through the roof, threatening to herniate discs and so on.  The flexibility gained by putting it more horizontal and suspending it from the ends allows it to take the bumps without damage.
That has been my experience, but...  While a bolt upright position is probably the worst thing for most folks backs, I should probably add that it makes sense to not force yourself too quickly into a low bar position.  It is better to ease into it lowering the bars little by little over a period of weeks or months.  Initially it might take a bit for the back to adjust to it.  In the long run it will be better for most though.

Routes / Re: New Sierra Cascade Route
« on: February 20, 2010, 04:22:38 pm »
Scott, I am curious how bad the "nasty section of 89" actually is compared to say other Adventure Cycling routes.  I suspect I am more traffic tolerant than most, but in general I had no big complaints with AC's choices on the Trans America and if anything, I second guessed the places where they went out of the way to get off the beaten path.

I know that on the TA I didn't mind most of the sections that folks complained about traffic wise.  I think maybe we were lucky to ride the worst sections on days of the week and times of day that were better than average, but I really didn't mind the sections with logging or coal trucks.  I guess that the rental motor homes concerned me more than anything, but I still found Yellowstone's traffic in the acceptable range.

Can you comment on what I might expect on 89 compared to roads on the TA?

Gear Talk / Re: suspension seat post...
« on: February 20, 2010, 11:04:59 am »
I used to have serious back problems, bad enough that surgery was advised by some doctors.  I've been through multiple courses of steroid therapy, physical therapy, and epidural steroid injections.  The latter combined with finally figuring out the right exercises for me finally did the trick.  I have since been able to ride, run, and trail run without back pain.

WRT to riding without back pain I find that for me the following works:
  • Avoid a sit up and beg posture favored by many tourists.  Riding in a relaxed fashion with most of your weight carried by your legs, and with bars well below the saddle.  Elbows should be well bent and not much weight should be on the hands.  The arms shoulders and even hands should be loose and relaxed.
  • That will require that you maintain good core fitness and work toward a form that is fluid and relaxed.
  • For me this means bars 4-5" below the saddle.
  • I do whatever it takes to sleep well and comfortably.  Waking up all stiff and sore in a bad start for the day.  That means carrying a decent sleeping pad and changing position at intervals during the night.
  • At the slightest hint of back pain during the day I do my stretches.

I am convinced that sitting bolt upright on the bike is absolutely the worst thing, at least for me.  The jolts and bumps go right up the spine.  I find that mimicking the form of racers rather than the form of most tourists to be far more comfortable once it is mastered.  If you decide to try that approach... Ease into it, as it takes come conditioning and practice to master.

General Discussion / Re: Thank you! ("sleep" poll)
« on: February 20, 2010, 10:35:36 am »
I am surprised no one has yet said they sleep better on tour.  I almost did, but I generally sleep well where ever I am.  Ideally I would have said yes to three of the possible answers:
  • During a bike trip
  • I can sleep most anywhere
  • I need a lot of sleep

On the eating portion of the OP's comments.  I eat dinner early in the evening and don't eat huge meals at all.  I nibble constantly through the day though and find that works well for me.

Routes / Re: New Sierra Cascade Route
« on: February 17, 2010, 01:06:52 pm »
Good book, but...  It was written 20 years ago, so I would be careful about relying on the info being up to date.

Also it should be noted that Bil Paul (the author of the book) was the person who did the legwork for AC for this route.  Check out:
for more details about that.

Also my tour journal for my upcoming trip has some more info and a few links that just might be useful.  That can be found at:

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