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Messages - staehpj1

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General Discussion / Re: atlantic coast?
« on: December 13, 2009, 05:45:07 pm »
hi all. i plan to ride a southern portion of the atlantic coast route during either january or february. i was wondering if anyone had an idea of how north is too north to begin...will north or south carolina be too cold to ride during this time? thanks for the help!


It very much depends on both your tolerance for the cold and the luck of the draw weather-wise, but personally, I would chance starting or finishing as far north as Southern Virginia.

If you are going N-S you might consider picking your starting point based on the weather patterns at that time.  If you are going S-N you could alter your finisihng point based on current conditions at the time.

Routes / Re: TransAm starting in mid Aug?
« on: December 13, 2009, 11:19:32 am »
I agree that W-E makes much more sense if going that time of year.  November in the Rockies and Cascades sounds like a very bad idea.

General Discussion / Re: Advice for a cross-country trip
« on: December 10, 2009, 07:21:16 am »
My advice is do western express and trans am. I did 2 summers ago and had a great time. but layover each 7-10 days  one day! It's more fun to visit places and meet people than just ride. I really enjoyed all my layovers. I averaged 70 miles a day, which can be a 8-10 hr day total.
Different strokes, but I personally have found that I prefer to take no full off days.  I'd rather take short mileage days when I need a break or want to do something.  I consider them half days.  I only take a full day if I need to do something fun, like whitewater rafting or something, and even then prefer to ride a short ways.  The key for me is to not push so hard that I need a day off the next day.  I did stay in a motel for two nights once, but I was too sick to get out of bed let alone ride.

I really try to never stay the same place twice.  Even the day we went whitewater rafting we went 8 miles down the road to camp.  So I have never actually camped the same place two nights in a row when on tour.

General Discussion / Re: My first x-country!
« on: December 07, 2009, 10:53:04 am »
If you follow the Trans Am route, ride Yellowstone early as the map suggests.  The traffic can be horrible.  And when I was there 9 years ago, there were no shoulders on some busy roads, including the road between Yellowstone and Teetons.  Hope they have improved things since then.

I think day of the week may matter too, but we didn't find the traffic all that bad.  We entered the park late in the day on Sunday and I suspect that most of the weekenders had left.  Folks who were there on Saturday said it was pretty bad.

There is a good chance you will have to stop in Jeffrey City, WY.  Somewhere at this forum a traveller who stayed at the motel in town had mushrooms growing in his carpet.

If you are camping you can stay in the old abandoned Lion's Club Pavilion in Jeffrey City.  A nice roof and flat concrete surface with tables is all it has, but the restaurant across the street has rest rooms and water and they will point out the pavilion.   The town is nearly a ghost town, so I'd say give the restaurant some business.  We bought drinks there and bought breakfast in the morning, but cooked our own dinner.

BTW just buying the AC maps and figuring it out as you go worked very well for us.  I'd say to be familiar with your gear, pack carefully, and pick an appropriate departure time, but once on the road pre-planning is pretty unnecessary especially with the AC maps.

Gear Talk / Re: loose spokes
« on: December 03, 2009, 02:10:06 pm »
I think it was the 2007 Fuji that had known spoke breakage issues and I think they were replacing wheels under warranty.  Probably too late for that though, but it wouldn't hurt to ask.

Are you planning to tour with the bike?  At 270# you are well beyond what that wheel was intended for even before adding touring stuff.  I'd sell it and get a good 36 spoke wheel built for loaded touring.

Interstate highways, however, aren't much fun to ride on in my opinion and the shoulder sometimes has a lot of debris. A compromise perhaps is to stick with US highways, which have less traffic than interstates but often still have good shoulders.
My experience is that they vary widely in this regard.  I did a section of I-80 in Wyoming and it was not especially pleasant, but OK.  There was a good bit of sharp debris and the scenery was so so.  The traffic was kind of heavy and the resulting noise was less than optimum.

I did a good chunk of I-25 in NE New Mexico and it was actually very nice riding, either on the interstate or on the access road.  Good surface combined with a clean shoulder, light traffic, and excellent scenery made it quite nice.

General Discussion / Re: Bicycle Touring with Dogs
« on: December 03, 2009, 11:57:07 am »
Also, I forgot to mention...  You said puppy and I figured that I should point out that most veterinarians say to wait until the dog is grown before running with them.  I would imagine this would be even more so at the faster pace of a bicycle.  It seems running sustained for any distance longer than typical puppy play is bad for their growing bones.  I think the recommendations range from waiting until they are between 9 months and two years depending on the breed and who you ask.

Also be very careful in hot weather to monitor them closely for signs of overheating.  Their tongue hanging out of the side of their mouth should result in some water and a break if not stopping for the day.  Also they should have the ability to drink frequently even if it isn't terribly hot.

Dogs are so happy to be along and want so badly to please that they will do way too much, so you have to look out for them.

General Discussion / Re: Bicycle Touring with Dogs
« on: December 03, 2009, 08:38:33 am »
You will find a lot of info in the journals and probably the message board at

Personally I don't think dogs and bike touring mix all that well, at least for me.  I love my dog and she is the best trail running partner I could ask for, but I don't think it is reasonable to expect her to keep up with me on a bike especially if the weather is hot and I refuse to carry a lot of extra weight on the bike.  My gear weighs enough without a dog and trailer added.  Touring is so much more pleasant when the load is kept below 30 pounds of gear and panniers.

That said, I have entertained the notion of taking her journey running.  Journey running is kind of like bike touring, but rather than ride you run.  My gear would be carried in a baby jogger and she would be able to keep up at an easy trot.

Connecting ACA Routes / Re: Washington DC to San Diego CA
« on: December 02, 2009, 07:56:12 am »
I would recommend going on the Southern Tier in the middle of the summer.  It is hot and humid in the south and can be very hot and dry in the west.
Note: I assume you meant, "I would not recommend going on the Southern Tier in the middle of the summer."

The TA is very nice.  I highly recommend it.

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.

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.

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.

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".

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.

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.

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.

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