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Messages - staehpj1

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Routes / Re: Elevation chart for Atlantic Coast route?
« on: February 14, 2010, 12:32:54 pm »
I agree with dubovsmj.  Additionally an elevation chart for the route will probably be misleading unless it is broken down into very short sections.  The short repetitive climbs tend to get lost in an elevation chart of any length.

Gear Talk / Re: Rectangular vs mummy sleeping bag
« on: February 11, 2010, 04:46:47 pm »
The weight difference would be quite a bit.  Enough that I personally wouldn't even consider a rectangular bag.  You know better what you are willing to carry though.

General Discussion / Re: Best Cell phone coverage across US???
« on: February 10, 2010, 09:07:31 am »

No one offers complete coverage everywhere, and so you are best to ignore the commercials.  Every region has local cell phone operators that give equal or better coverage than the national mega-telecom companies.
It is true that no one offers complete coverage everywhere, but one carrier (Verizon) is head and shoulders above the rest for everywhere I have toured or done other rural travel in flyover land.  As far as "local cell phone operators that give equal or better coverage than the national mega-telecom companies", I have my doubt that they generally exist in much of the US.  On the Trans America when we didn't have a Verizon signal we generally didn't have a signal at all.  The one exception I noticed was the Riggins Idaho area and the carrier there was another one of "the national mega-telecom companies" (AT&T).

My highest recommendation is this:  bring the cell phone you already have, as it will work for 911 calls anywhere.  For all non-emergency calls, just ask a local.  99 times out of 100, people have been helpful and let me use their phone.
That or just use a carrier that offers decent coverage so you will seldom if ever need to ask someone to use their phone.  I can't see myself asking to use someone's phone in a non emergency situation.  I'd rather use the carrier that has the best coverage and call home only when I have a signal.

I never considered the ability to call 911 as a huge priority and if my phone didn't offer decent coverage for regular calls I'd leave it home.  Maybe that is because I grew up and lived the majority of my life before cell phones or 911 existed.  It might also be partly because a substantial portion of many of my trips were in places with no signal much of the time.  Also even in the most remote parts of the US I usually see a car go by every 20 or 30 minutes.  For an emergency call, I'd have no hesitation about flagging down a car.

Off road touring, I can see 911 being more useful, but most of the back country travel I have done there was no cellular signal most of the time any way.

General Discussion / Re: maximum weight 2
« on: February 09, 2010, 05:40:13 pm »
thanx for the replies but what i mean is what can the tires and or frame support for weight including my 160 pound body
At 160 pounds I can't see it being an issue unless you want to take an awful lot of stuff or ride a low spoke count performance road bike.  I can't give specific numbers for various bikes though.

Routes / Re: New Sierra Cascade Route
« on: February 09, 2010, 03:07:47 pm »
I checked as promised and...  I couldn't find a number for total elevation gain anywhere in any of the info that I have.

Routes / Re: New Sierra Cascade Route
« on: February 09, 2010, 09:53:41 am »
So exciting to see the over view map!  Anyone know how much climbing?  The GDR has something like 200,000 ft of climbing.  Is this similar?  Did they solve the problems of dangerous logging truck areas?  I was actually hoping some dirt workaround would have been found for that.  Any more info?  Thanks kathy
I too was excited to see the map and can't wait for more details and the actual maps.

I don't know if the Bil Paul book gives a total or not, but I will try to remember to check tonight.  It does have elevation profiles for each section and they don't look horrible.  Plenty of climbing as expected, but it looks like long not so steep grades typical of roads in the West.  That is not based on personal experience with this route, but only from a bit of perusing the book, so don't take it as reliable info.  That said comparing the profiles with those on the TA (which I did ride) makes me think the route is pretty do-able.

Gear Talk / Re: Tires when riding from San Diego to Phoenix
« on: February 09, 2010, 07:07:45 am »
My experience with the Bontrager Hardcases was not positive, but San Diego to Phoenix is a short trip.

I found the Hardcases barely OK.  They seemed to get kind of soft and sticky after riding in 100+ heat for a week or so and once that happened they seemed to flat more often.

That said I don't get too excited about flat prevention other than watching where I pull off the pavement in goat head thorn country and watching what I run over elsewhere.  When it comes to slime tubes, thorn proof tubes, and mr tuffy strips I don't use any of them.  I prefer light weight tubes.

I just use a tire that is reasonably flat resistant (Ultra Gatorskins) and don't mind fixing a flat once in a while.  It beats having a couple extra pounds of rotating mass and a dead feeling ride in my opinion.

General Discussion / Re: Wireless internet on the TransAm?
« on: February 06, 2010, 08:32:19 am »
When I was doing the Western Express in 06, I found that service was available near the interstates such as I-70, but in many places out in the west, I lost service if I was more than 5-10 miles off the main hwy.
Are you talking about WiFi or cellular?  It sounds like cellular.   FWIW, my experience is that for cellular, Verizon is the hands down winner, but there will still probably be days where you (the OP) have no signal.

BTW:  Leaving our phones on when the signal was weak or non existent killed the battery fast.  It is best to turn them on only when making a call.

General Discussion / Re: TRANSAMERICA should start on the Atlantic!
« on: February 04, 2010, 11:08:35 am »
For that section we started with a ferry ride on the free Jamestown Scotland Ferry, and rode the nice rural Virginia roads until we got to Portsmouth. Some of the ride through Portsmouth was kind of seedy, but OK.

We rode the Elizabeth River Ferry across to Norfolk and proceeded through downtown Norfolk toward Virginia Beach. It was getting dark by then. Traffic was heavy, but if we were not heading for one of my companion's homes we could have skirted the busy areas by going further south.

In the morning we rode to Sandbridge on a lovely route that went to the south of the developed areas.  There isn't much at sand Bridge though.

Actually we did all that at a later date though.

General Discussion / Re: Florida
« on: February 02, 2010, 11:21:33 am »

G-D: Grateful Dead?  Right On! ;D
You guys are wasting my precious minutes :)

Gear Talk / Re: What is the best new or used $400 road bike?
« on: January 31, 2010, 10:26:53 am »
Looking at some of the steeds on, you can get a workable whip in your price range.  Some of the touring bikes sold at BD even rate favorably in some of the stories on Crazy Guy on a Bike.
If you can dig a bit deeper in your pocket than your $400 figure, I would go for something new in the $600-1100 or so range.  There are a number of nice touring bikes in that range and I think the bang for the buck is very good.

Three of us rode Windsor Tourists ($599) from BD on the Trans America and a lot of subsequent riding (both touring and commuting) and are quite happy with them.  Another option might be the Novara Randonnee from REI.   It is out of stock right now, but I am sure they will have them in again soon.

Gear Talk / Re: Big Agnes vs Theramrest
« on: January 30, 2010, 10:34:22 am »
I tried a neoair at the local REI/ I liked the size, weight, and comfort, but found it to be very noisy -- it sort of crackled as I moved about on it. Have you noticed this? Does it quiet down with use?
I hadn't really noticed that.  I am told I sleep like the dead though and don't move around much.

Also I tend to tune out noise.  Lots of places where folks said they didn't sleep well because of trains or traffic noise I didn't even notice the noise, so I may be the wrong one to ask.

Routes / Re: X-Country Route w/ the Easiest Grades
« on: January 30, 2010, 10:29:00 am »
Probably the Southern Tier or some variation of it.

Gear Talk / Re: Big Agnes vs Theramrest
« on: January 29, 2010, 06:48:43 pm »
I have both types of pads.  The plus for the thermarest is speed & convenience.  The BA is cushier but if I'm on a trip where I'm packing up every day I get tired of inflating and deflating.  If I'm going on a long tour and moving on every day I take the thermarest.  If I'm going to be camped in one place for awhile I take the BA.
I have hear a few people who say this so I guess maybe I am in the minority on this one, but...  I don't get it.

I have the medium sized NeoAir (same thickness as the Big Agnes) and it takes 15 breaths to fill it.  It takes maybe a minute, two minutes tops.  Really not a big deal especially since the Prolite 4 takes a few breaths even though it is self inflating.  The added ease of rolling it up makes up for any extra effort in inflating for me.

To me there are only two downsides to the NeoAir.  The first is cost, which is pretty high.  The second is that the R value is a bit too low for winter camping.

General Discussion / Re: Water Filters
« on: January 29, 2010, 05:01:31 pm »
My wife and I are riding the Trans Am route this summer and are wondering if a water filter is essential. We are planning to start each day with 6 qts. of water between us.  We will refill whenever we encounter civilization. Thanks for your input.

On the TA I wouldn't carry a filter if I were doing it again.  I did carry one and used it once in a while, but sent it home fairly early in the trip.

Different days will require different amounts of water.  Look ahead at the maps and plan accordingly.  I have used a platypus 2 liters+ water bag, but really it probably makes sense to just recycle sports drink or soft drink bottles for the sections where you need to carry a little extra water.

I think the longest we went between water stops on the TA was 80 miles but most places it was much less.

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