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Messages - staehpj1

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1591
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".

1592
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.

1593
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.

1594
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.

1595
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.

1596
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

1597
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.

1598
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?

1599
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.

1600
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. 

1601
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.

1602
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.

1603
Gear Talk / Re: Tie down straps
« on: November 05, 2009, 06:52:17 am »
On tour there is pretty much zero chance for me to misplace them because they are always buckled to the rack.  At home between trips they do tend to get lost in the bottom of gear tubs, drawers, or bags.

1604
Connecting ACA Routes / Re: Southern Tier to Trans Am via Santa Fe Trail
« on: November 04, 2009, 05:56:13 pm »
ACA should look at adding the Santa Fe Trail to it's list of routes. Lots of history. Good towns along the way.
I agree.  I rode the same route on the section between Santa Fe and Dodge City this spring, but I was going the opposite way.  It was very nice.   I started a bit west of Kansas City and finished in Santa Fe.  The route has the advantage of rail service between the two cities.  Actually the service was from Lamy, but there is a train from SF to Lamy.  I didn't use the train from SF to Lamy choosing to ride my bike, but the train ride from Lamy to KC was very pretty.

A good friend planned the route and wound up injured so I did the ride alone.  Actually he had a different route in mind for the part on I-25, but I chose to ride I-25.

1605
Gear Talk / Re: Tie down straps
« on: November 02, 2009, 08:04:00 am »
Personally I like straps better than bungees.  I use the cheap (maybe 3 or 4 bucks a pair) 3/4" ones that you can find just about anywhere they sell camping stuff.  I do find that I break a buckle once in a while so I usually carry a spare.
Something like these:

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