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Messages - staehpj1

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Routes / Re: Jeffrey city WY and Mrs happy
« on: September 08, 2009, 04:12:19 pm »
I figure you are lucky that there is a motel of any sort open in Jeffrey City.  It is pretty much a ghost town.  Tumble weeds and antelope were more numerous on the main street than vehicles.  That said I didn't stay there so I don't know how bad it was.

We camped in the (pretty much abandoned) Lions Club pavilion.  It was OK with me.

General Discussion / Re: Camping on Blue Ridge Parkway?
« on: September 08, 2009, 04:02:52 pm »
Personally I would advise against doing that tour on trikes with a dog in tow unless you really like to suffer.  It might be do-able for some, but I would expect it to be pretty tough.  The climbs in the Appalachians were the hardest part of our coast to coast tour (on the TA) and we were carrying a lot less.  No way I would want to do it with a dog and a 20 pound trailer.

On the BRP the camping spots are far apart unless you leave the parkway.  The problem is that leaving the parkway usually means a monster climb to get back up to the parkway.  Stealth camping is frowned upon and the rangers will bust you in a heart beat if they catch you.

I will probably do the BRP at some point but will travel very light if I do.

If you really want to do it look into places where there is private property close to the parkway.  There are places where the parkway boundary is close to the top.

Personally I don't like to stealth camp when I can avoid it am likely to avoid trips where it is necessary.  I have often stealth camped when canoe camping, but have not needed to yet when bike touring.

Routes / Re: Riding across America
« on: September 03, 2009, 06:57:29 am »
Thanks Fred - I'm new to this. I'm going to use one of the organized/supported ride companies and they seem to take either the northerly route (in early summer) or the southerly route (in fall). Because of work, time is an issue for me, so think I currently favor the southern route, which TrekTravel does in 4o days. Was hoping that someone may have done both and had comments or a preference to offer.
Just a few thoughts...

Everyone wants something different from a tour, so your preferences may be entirely different than mine, but bringing a support vehicle into the equation is a huge negative for me.  We did the Trans America in 2007 and found that the lack of car support made for a trip where we had more of an adventure, met more other riders, and met more local folks.  We were able to stay in hiker biker sites, were more likely to be invited to stay with local folks, and generally interacted more with people along the way.

Part of what the tour was about was the fact that we were riding across the country and not dependent on car/van support.

We did have a few days in Virginia where we stayed with family and friends and were picked up where we stopped for the day and dropped back there to start the next morning.  It was a nice change of pace and we enjoyed the great hospitality of family and friends.  That said we got the least feel for what the people and places on that part of the tour were really like.  I would do it the same way again for that minor portion of the trip, but there is no way I would want to have done the whole trip that way.

BTW, I really liked the Trans America route a lot.  I will probably do the Southern Tier and a Northern Tier at some point, but if I were only going to do one it would be the TA.

Personally if I was in the situation where I couldn't get enough time off, I would consider doing half one year and half the next.  I met a few folks doing that when we were on the TA.  In my case I just took enough time to do the whole thing in one year.  That meant that I had to take some leave without pay.  I was willing to quit my job if necessary, but they were supportive and said I definitely would have a job when I got back.  Strangely it seemed to actually have helped my career.  They must have missed me while I was gone.

Another option if you have limited time is to do the Pacific Coast north to south.

General Discussion / Re: Tips on keeping a touring group together
« on: September 02, 2009, 07:43:59 pm »
We would agree to go our own speed and meet at the PO in the next town.
I am not sure why you would tour with someone unless you were going to ride with them.  Care to elaborate on the advantages?  Do you just camp the same place with them?  Share cooking?  Something else?

General Discussion / Re: Tips on keeping a touring group together
« on: September 01, 2009, 06:33:03 pm »
About the only advice you can rely on is to pick your companions VERY carefully.  Even otherwise lifelong friends can be very incompatible after days or weeks of close confinement with each other.
I agree that it can be tough.  We met lots of folks on the TA who had split off after not getting along.

The three of us did OK with only minor tension from time to time.  I think it is only likely to work well if the group really likes each other or is very committed to making it work.

General Discussion / Re: ACA Maps are Way Small.
« on: September 01, 2009, 06:27:53 pm »
In the meantime, have begun reading the GPS forum.  OMG.  Daunting. 
I found the GPS to be more weight and hassle than it is worth to me on tour, at least when using AC maps.  That is kind of strange because I never run without a gps and I usually use one when hiking, kayaking, or sailing.  I figured it was a no brainer that I would like it for touring as well, but sent it home after 4 days on the Trans America.  With the AC maps I just didn't feel the need for the GPS.

Of course YMMV.

Gear Talk / Re: Bicycle Head Light ?
« on: September 01, 2009, 06:19:40 pm »
May I ask some dumb questions?  Do you put the headlamp over the helmet?  It doesn't stretch the headlamp elastic too much?  Does the headlamp unit stay in place?  One would think it would slip up and off.  Does the little visor thingy on the helmet interfere with the angle of the beam?  Thanks for your thoughts ~~

Basically I don't.  I put it on my head and then put the helmet on.  I guess it may depend on how low your helmet fits on your head, but it works fine for me.

General Discussion / Re: ACA Maps are Way Small.
« on: August 30, 2009, 04:11:29 pm »
I found them to be a bit difficult when wearing sunglasses with only my distance prescription, but managed OK... barely.  I'd have to stop from time to time when in doubt especially if the light was dim.  Much of the time turns are few and far between.  At times when we were in a town with a lot of turns I put on my bifocals.

I since then bought a pair of Project Rudy sunglasses with Transitions lenses and my bifocal prescription.  They set the bifocal prescription extra low so it is out of the way.  They are great for running and riding.  I bought them on line from SportRX and they were very helpful.  They cost a bundle, but have been worth it.

Routes / Re: camping on the pacific coast route
« on: August 28, 2009, 06:54:18 pm »
"Absurd pitching fees"?

Oregon hiker/biker sites were $4 per person when I last checked.  Cheap in California too.  No way that a shower isn't worth $4 at the end of the day, plus you get to hang out with other bike tourists.

General Discussion / Re: Why SPD pedals?
« on: August 12, 2009, 02:13:38 pm »
Yes, Litespeed good bike shoes seem to hold up really well.  My Sidis also seem to last forever.  That is nice compared to running shoes that seem to need to be replaced all the time.  It makes it much less painful for me, somewhat of a tightwad, to spring for more expensive shoes.

I find SPDs to be a good choice.  The fact that they are pretty universally available and work well is a plus.  It seems like if you are likely to want to ride someone else's bike or take a spinning class your cleats are more likely to work if they are SPD than if they were anything else.  Also if you need a replacement pedal or cleat when on tour they will be the easiest to find of the clip less choices.

Gear Talk / Re: panniers
« on: August 10, 2009, 11:20:31 am »
any help on arkel panniers are they worth the money?   :)
I tried to respond yesterday, but I see my post isn't here so I'll try again.

The Arkels are well made, durable, have lots of pockets, are heavy, and are expensive.  If that set of features suits you buy them.

Personally, I like one big waterproof compartment and no pockets.  I value light weight, and prefer a low price.  The Nashbar or Performance Waterproof ones meet my requirements nicely and have held up well for me at a fraction of the cost.

That said any choice will be a compromise and you need to figure out what works for you.

General Discussion / Re: older riders
« on: August 08, 2009, 09:14:06 am »
I started touring at 55 with a coast to coast ride.  I am now 58 and expect to do longish tours for a many years to come. My preference would be to take 6-12 weeks at a time and be home a while before heading out again.  It would be nice to be able to keep working but be able to take a long trip (2-3 months) once a year or so and maybe some short ones (two weeks or so) in between.  If I can't work out a schedule that is flexible enough to do that I plan to retire in 4 years.  Some of my future trips may be backpacking or motorcycle touring but bike touring is usually my first choice.

Routes / Re: Best route from Providence RI to Key West FL this October
« on: August 05, 2009, 08:10:10 am »
I have the maps from Adventure Cycle but they stray west more than I would like.  Is there a good way to follow the coast more.  would a bike gps work?  thanks Tom
For what it is worth I have not found a GPS to be all that useful for bike touring despite the fact that I am an avid GPS user in other activities like sailing, kayaking, and hiking.  I find that plain old paper maps work better for me especially if using the AC maps.  YMMV

Riding Aug 10 -15,16  i will be riding the atlantic coast route from phila to obx.  I am looking for anyone who may be open to letting me set up a tent in their yard for the night and possibly letting me take a shower in their home. This will be my first tour and i am a little unsure about just setting up a tent anywhere or on the side of a road. If you are willing please e-mail me and then we can exchange phone numbers. Thank you Andrew 
What is your approximate planned route?

Maybe the folks who maintain the route will have a better answer, but my impression is that the length of the TA has nothing to do with "avoiding obstacles like particularly unsupported areas or difficult passes".  It seems if anything to avoid large towns and keep you in the boonies most of the time.  It also seemed at times to intentionally do more climbing than absolutely necessary.  That said, I found it to be a great route.

Seven weeks is tight but still doable and you could cut mileage in a number of places along the way.

I really liked the TA, but if you want a shorter more direct route you can always:
  • Plan your own route.
  • Do the Southern Tier.
  • Follow one of the fast crossing routes used by races (like RAAM) or tour companies who specialize in fast crossings

Personally I think you are missing out if you focus on too much on "the ultimate goal of crossing the country" at the expense of seeing the sights and meeting the people, but different strokes.

Another option might be to do half of the TA this year and half next.

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