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Messages - staehpj1

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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.

Connecting ACA Routes / Re: Colorado Detours Along TransAm Route
« on: July 29, 2009, 02:56:07 pm »
Thanks for the info.  I probably won't hit all of those spots, if any, but was curious as to what it would entail.  Maybe I'll see if my friends want to come visit me instead of the other way around.
Depending on how far off route they are... Maybe they could pick you up for a visit and drop you back on route right where they picked you up.  We did a bit of that in Virginia and it worked out well.

Routes / Re: TransAmerica alternate bypassing Missoula
« on: July 28, 2009, 06:58:33 pm »
The author said Idaho was the most scenic state.  

That wasn't my observation, but I didn't ride that specific route.

General Discussion / Re: Cycling in thunderstorms
« on: July 25, 2009, 06:08:09 pm »
I'd say that if we didn't ride when thunderstorms were forecast on our 2007 TransAmerica we might still be there waiting in camp.  Same way on my Kansas City to Santa Fe this year, thunderstorms almost every evening.

We were usually lucky to have shelter available when the storms rolled over us, but not always.  It was pretty scary when we were on top of a mesa with no shelter anywhere for miles with lightning all around and not so much as a ditch to hide in.

My companions both said they felt a shock from seatpost to thigh.  They rode like crazy for lower ground.

General Discussion / Re: Prep for my first trip
« on: July 24, 2009, 07:01:48 am »
Take a train, plane, rental car, or bus back.  Possibly take the bike as baggage or ship it.  Personally I kind of like to get the transportation out of the way up front when possible by ending the trip at or near home.

General Discussion / Re: Ketchum Idaho to Missoula Mt
« on: July 21, 2009, 07:30:41 am »
Does anyone have any information on touring from Ketchum Idaho to Missoula Mt?  Anything would be helpful!

The route you probably would use in Montana is along the TransAmerica.  I rode that and it was pretty nice riding for the most part.  You can check my journal for some pictures and spotty notes at:
Also there are many other TA journals on the crazy guy site that would cover that same section.

I can't address the part in Idaho.

General Discussion / Re: Motel/hotel discount
« on: July 20, 2009, 02:54:56 pm »
On recent tour I used hotels & motels, had I been a member of AAA I could have got a discount - just wondered if anyone has ideas on how to get discounts as coming from UK and not member of AAA I had to resort to fantasy reasons ie senior (actually thats not not a fantasy) being a member of SOLMOB (Silly old man on a bike) even when I explained what it meant and that I was the only member having made it up I did get some discounts.  One time a receptioonist said it didn't matter as long as I was a member!  and being a veteran but not from a USA conflict - we have plenty of our own. 

Seriously does anyone know if we get discounts beinga member of ACA?  If not maybe they could take it up.
We often got discounts on campsites and while we didn't stay in motels much the one time we did they gave us one.  We did this just by saying that we were riding bicycles coast to coast and asking if they had a cyclists discount.  Even if they didn't have a policy that said they did, they usually offered one anyway.

Gear Talk / Re: Head Lamps at Campsite ~~ Annoying?
« on: July 18, 2009, 10:13:06 am »
A headlamp can be directed down just as easily as a flashlight can be pointed down.  The problem isn't that they had headlamps, but they they were rude and/or clueless.  They probably would have been just as bad with a hand held flashlight.

Routes / Re: TransAm shortcut
« on: July 17, 2009, 04:54:51 pm »
1. What will I miss if I choose to do this route apart from ice cream in Missoula and Yellowstone.
2. Would it be a big mistake to take this route because its not very pleasant for example? If the published route is ALOT nicer than this route then I'd rather do the extra 400miles and run the risk of not getting to the other coast, a pleasant journey is much more important than the final destination.
1. There was a lot of good stuff on the section you would be missing.  I personally would not want to miss Yellowstone or the Tetons.  I would also hate to miss Togwatee Pass  We enjoyed lots of other places too.
2. I don't really know your proposed route so I won't speculate on how it compares.

I will say that 70 days isn't an unreasonable amount of time to finish.  We took 73 and we started off real easy in the beginning since my companions had no opportunity to train before the tour and neither had been riding at all until just before the tour.  They trained as they went and got in shape pretty quickly, but still it cost us at least a few days.  I prefer to allow some extra time so as not to be against a deadline, but 70 days is very do-able.

Starting in Florence helps a bit.

Routes / Re: Chesapeake Bay
« on: July 16, 2009, 06:58:14 am »
i was thinking about the 'upper' chesapeake.  there is a map i've seen that is about 335 miles.  but the roads aren't really mapped out.  thanks for your help.
Start by getting a copy of the free Maryland Bicycle map.

I don't know a preplanned route around the upper bay but I can probably help with the western shore part if you have specific questions.  There are a lot of choices to make.  To start with figure out how you will cross the bay bridge and where you will cross the Susquehanna (Rt 40, Rt 1 at Conowingo dam, or Rt 372 near Holtwood).

General Discussion / Re: Touring Nutrition
« on: July 15, 2009, 09:35:11 am »
It is amazing how your body exactly tells you what you need if you only listen. so perhaps you shouldnt worry about the balance of carbohydrates, fat or protein but just listen to your gravings.
I found that on a long tour my body craves what it needs.  I just need to listen to it.  Sometimes it takes a few weeks for things to sort out though.  I lost weight for 2-3 weeks before my body adjusted on my longest tour.

Routes / Re: Chesapeake Bay
« on: July 14, 2009, 11:24:03 am »
It is 500+ miles if you go around the whole bay.  That seems like a lot for a long weekend.  If you have a general idea of a route I might be able to help with parts of it.

Gear Talk / Re: Bicycle Head Light ?
« on: July 14, 2009, 07:19:45 am »
I just use a backpacking headlamp and a cheap blinkie on the back.  It seems adequate to me for use on tour.

Bikecentennial / Re: Wish I was there
« on: July 07, 2009, 11:44:25 am »
I hope some folks post their experiences.  I wanted to go, but it didn't work out.  I finally rode the route (now the Trans America) in 2007 with my daughter and a friend.

Gear Talk / Re: Brakes dont work with fenders
« on: July 02, 2009, 02:51:46 pm »
I have Cantilever low profile brakes on a 26in mountain bike. My brakes doent work with my fenders. I really want to keep my fenders and tried new brakes and it still wont fit. I really need some help I have to go out tonight.
What is the problem?  Lots of bikes have low profile cantis and fenders, is it a clearance thing or what?  Can you post a picture?

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