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Messages - staehpj1

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General Discussion / Re: where do we sleep on the TransAm
« on: April 15, 2010, 10:25:17 am »
hey guys, i am going to be riding the TransAm starting this May. there are 4 riders and two drivers. the biggest question we all have is where we will sleep. i am also purchasing the maps for this rout. please any tips or hints would be amazing! thank you all for your wisdom!
I missed the part about 2 drivers.  I think that having a car or van involved will really limit your options some places.  It will eliminate hiker/biker sites as an option for one thing and that means you will need reservations in some places.  At least the car can go ahead and scope things out reserving a site early where needed though.

I think we would not have had the same invites to stay with hosts if we had a car along.  I also would have felt awkward asking to stay at churches and so on.  I am not sure if it is likely to be a problem when staying in town parks.

Personally, I consider a motor vehicle for support as a major detractor from the total experience.  We did have vehicle support for a few days in Virginia and it was nice, but I definitely think we would have missed out on a ton of great experiences if we had that same support for the rest of the country.  In Virginia we didn't get the same feel for the area as we did the rest of the country.  It was worth it because we had great experiences with the friends and family that helped us, but I definitely would not have wanted it for the whole tour.

Just something to consider.

General Discussion / Re: where do we sleep on the TransAm
« on: April 14, 2010, 12:37:09 pm »
Don't miss the J.C. Motel (or whatever it's called these days) in Jerrfrey City, WY.  Real swanky.  ;D
Was that a joke?

Any way in Jeffrey City the old abandoned Lions Club pavilion is not bad to camp under.  It is across the road from the diner.  Just use the bathroom and fill water bottles at the diner before they close.

On the TA we camped in town parks and stayed in churches when we could.  Both were free.  We stayed in inexpensive camp sites when possible and only stayed in KOA type places a few times.  The TA maps usually list the options, but we just improvised when off of the route or places where nothing was listed.  In the middle of the country you can generally camp in the town parks for free with no hassle.  When in doubt ask the local police if the town is big enough to have police.

Ask around if in doubt; librarians, store clerks, wait staff, police, clergy, and folks you meet are all good sources.  We never hit a town where we couldn't find a place to stay, usually for free or cheap.

If you get a room always tell them you are bicycling coast to coast and ask for a "cyclists discount"  you will usually get one if you ask.  Try it at campgrounds as well.

Oh, also stop and compare notes with cyclists going the other way.  We got some great leads on places to stay or visit that way.

All that said, I didn't get much experience in eastern Virginia because we stayed with family and friends.

Insect repellent spray and coils. Fold as fold may. No problem. Cold winter, mosquitoes retreat. I've tarped many many nights. Insects? Easy to defeat their purpose.
Different strokes, but I don't consider sprays and coils as an adequate solution.  I tend to be a bug magnet though and also would prefer to keep the amount of DEET or other repellents on my skin at a minimum.

On the other hand we met one guy who was doing fine and was about 70% of the way toward completing the TA with no tent, no tarp, and no bivy.  He was traveling really light and said he slept in the open, under picnic pavilions, and even in doorways of public buildings.

Sorry, I read it too fast.  I rode with a guy once who used a floorless tent, pyramid shaped, and put a tarp on the ground.  Bugs can get in that setup.  I misread the previous posts and thought they were about a tent that did not come all the way down, like my partner's.  You're right.  The fly need not reach the ground, as the tent provides the seal.  Mea culpa.
No problem...  I thought maybe you misunderstood.


And I would agree with it.  A couple of times, I've used a tent with even a small hole in it.  This has led to the sleepless nights of bug hell.

The bugs will find a way in if there are any breaks in the seal.  I deal with the hot, muggy problem with a tent with mest ceiling.

Not sure I follow.  What does the fly have to do with bugs getting in or not?  The inner tent's job is to keep the bugs out, the fly is to keep rain out.  You can leave the fly off entirely and remain bug free, having a gap at the bottom of the fly in no way that I can see causes bugs to get in.

I have camped a lot of nights in some of the most bug infested country with the fly left off entirely with no bug problems.

you need a fly that goes all the way to the ground.
have fun-janet
I would disagree with that one at least for most of the times and places I have toured.  I found that for us on the Trans America and other shorter trips the bigger problem we had was lack of sufficient ventilation, not lack of coverage.  Even with a tent with fairly minimal overhangs on the ends and sides that were above the ground by design we needed to use sticks to prop the sides of the fly up to allow more air to circulate under.  That was a record hot summer for much of our route that year though, so in cooler wetter weather maybe I would have felt differently, but...  While we did tough out a few storms, we spend MANY hot dry nights wishing for more movement of air.

On the TA we tended to spent a lot of nights under town park pavilion roofs so we could leave the fly off.  I miss that now that I have a single wall tent.

Routes / Re: When to Start?
« on: April 06, 2010, 07:32:38 am »
It usually makes sense to start later or start in the East.  I am not sure what conditions are this year though.

In any case have a great trip.

Routes / Re: Katy Trail and Trans Am
« on: April 02, 2010, 05:53:56 pm »
If you go to the crazy guy on a bike site and search for "TransAmerica Katy" you will get a bunch of hits for journals.

Routes / Re: Katy Trail and Trans Am
« on: April 02, 2010, 01:51:25 pm »
Different strokes, but I thought the roads AC picked were really nice and wouldn't go out of my way to hit they Katy.  That said, I should qualify by saying that I am just generally averse to bike trails in general and have not ridden the Katy Trail.

Looking at the map, it shouldn't be hard to reroute to the Katy if you choose to.  I wouldn't though.

On the eastern end it should be easy to connect to the TA at Murphysboro.  On the western end it is pretty easy to just pick secondary roads in western Missouri and Eastern Kansas.

Routes / Re: Pacific Coast or new Sierra - Cascades route?
« on: April 01, 2010, 07:10:25 am »
One other consideration, since you mention you are new to touring. The coast route is a dream for a first tour. Seems like every SP has an HB site, they aren't that far apart, and services are relatively easy to obtain. I'm not sure that there are campgrounds/state parks in the volume and spacing you see on the coast in the inland areas. When you look at other routes, you can see how sweet the coast route is. Highly recommended for a first tour. And you won't be short of company.
I agree with all that, but on the other hand...  The inland route probably has more rural small town stops where finding a place to camp in a town park, church yard, or someone's yard is usually easy.

Oh, and I'd also like to recommend another discovery which has made cycling much more interesting for me: the book Infrastructure: A Field Guide to the Industrial Landscape by Brian Hayes.

It lets you recognize and understand all the working man-made objects you pass by, basically.
The problem I have with this book and field guides in general is that I am not willing to have the extra weight along.  With the advent of the Kindle and other ebook readers maybe I will carry field guides at some point in the future.  It would be nice to have this book, a whole array for field guides, and some novels to read.  I wonder how well the illustrations would come across on a kindle though.

We found no need to need to book ahead anywhere on the Trans America.  There were places where we called ahead the same day or the day before, but that was the exception.  The Adventure Cycling maps will give pretty good details and phone numbers for potential places to stay.

My understanding is that on the Pacific coast there are hiker/biker sites most places and no need to book ahead, but I only speak from personal experience on a small part of the coast, but the Kirkendall and Spring book listed hiker biker sites at pretty frequent intervals so I wouldn't worry.

Pete, I thought you already had the air caddy.
Yes I do.  I thought you were saying there were some hard cases in the $100 range that bike shop might stock.  If there were I might use them to get our bikes home at the end of our summer tour.

The air caddy worked great when I was starting and ending the same place (with a short Amtrak leg) and it happened that I had a cooperative friend living there, but it is a bit of a hassle to knock it down to ship ahead or home so I am less inclined to use it when the beginning and end of the tour are not the same.

I am still undecided what I am doing for the Sierra Cascades trip.  There is a chance we will travel via Amtrak.  In that case it is a no-brainer that we'll take the bikes on the train.  We may ship Amtrak Express if we fly out.  Still tossing around options...

General Discussion / Re: Trans Am bag question
« on: March 24, 2010, 10:41:47 am »
On our 2007 TA, I carried one kayaking sweater and wore a rain shell over it when cold.  I wore tights some of the time and could have put rain pants over them but never did.  The rain pants and jacket were real light coated nylon ones.  In camp sometimes I wore tights under some very light weight zip off leg pants.

If I were doing it again I would probably take a 20F bag in the Rockies and something lighter east of maybe Pueblo.

Clothes I would plan to be OK in the coldest temps likely if I put everything I was carrying on.  For me that means something like the following:
  • Cycling shorts (2 pair)
  • Cycling leg warmers and/or tights (1 pr)
  • Cycling jersey short sleeved (2)
  • Cycling gloves and thin liners
  • Cycling shoes
  • Socks (3 pr tech socks)
  • Helmet
  • Sunglasses (prescription)
  • Warm shirt (Immersion Research)
  • Tee shirt (1 Under Armor Heat Gear)
  • Bike hat
  • Long pants with zip off legs
  • Belt
  • Cap (thin skull cap)
  • Rain gear (cheap non-breathable Sierra Designs from REI)
  • Sandals (Crocs)
  • Running shorts

There are some fairly good containers that can be had for $100, perhaps less than the shipping cost.
Can you recommend some specific ones?

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