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Messages - staehpj1

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General Discussion / Re: ocean in florence oregon
« on: September 15, 2009, 07:22:12 am »
Another option is to just start farther up the coast.  We compromised and started in Newport and rode to Florence to join the TA there.  It is worth seeing a bit of the coast unless it is old hat to you.

Routes / Re: Cross-country tour: Newest vs. Long Haul Trucker
« on: September 12, 2009, 04:48:02 pm »
I believe the Windsor Tourist above comes from BikesDirect, doesn't it?
Yes.  Some of their marketing leaves a bad taste, but I was involved in four very satisfactory bike purchases from them.  These included three Windsor Tourists, one for each of my group on the TA, and later a road bike (SprinTour) for me.  All of them were ordered by me and shipped to my house.  The only glitch was that one of them came in the wrong color.  They were happy to swap it for the correct one with the shipping being at their expense.  It is a little weird that they do all their transactions and correspondence either by web or email and don't take phone calls, but they have been very responsive to all emails I have sent them.  After 4 very satisfactory purchases I would not hesitate to deal with them again.

As far as the bikes themselves go, we have been very satisfied with them.  We all did 4200+ miles on the TransAmerica and all of us have put lots of subsequent miles on them.  They have stood up well to touring and in my daughters case to daily commuting.  The road bike has also been very good to me.

Routes / Re: Biking across America this fall: doable?
« on: September 12, 2009, 11:21:50 am »
Thanks for all the advice and encouragement! I've decided to do the Southern Tier. Not quite as appealing as TransAmerica to me, but I think I'll still love it. I think the Southern Tier will be much more enjoyable at this time of year.
A good choice given when you are going.  Have a great trip.

Routes / Re: Cross-country tour: Newest vs. Long Haul Trucker
« on: September 12, 2009, 11:20:22 am »
The Newest doesn't look like a good choice to me.  Any of the following (in no particular order) would be better:
  • Fuji Touring
  • Cannondale Touring 2
  • REI Randoneer
  • REI Safari
  • Windsor Touring
  • LHT
  • Trek 520
  • Jamis Aurora
  • A bunch of others that I am probably forgetting

General Discussion / Re: Camping on Blue Ridge Parkway?
« on: September 10, 2009, 08:11:18 am »
I hear you, Steaph.  We are experienced touring with doggie, but the amount of climbing on this route is giving me pause (paws?).  Our style of touring means doggie walks up any hill/grade of significance, and we scale back our mileage when the grades get big.

I am curious how having the dog walk hills works out for you.  Do you use a leash or is your dog just sufficiently trained to be safe off leash?  Off leash may be a problem in some areas and I expect it would on the BRP.  Maybe if you are used to having him (or her) walk and scaling back the mileage you might be able to manage the BRP.  It might be tough to do the BRP without doing longs days unless you either leave the parkway and descend or find places to stealth camp close to the parkway but still near the top.

Personally, while I love my dog, I prefer to leave her home when on bike tours.  I have kicked around the notion of taking her on a running tour (journey running carrying my stuff in a baby jogger).  I doubt that I will do it because she isn't that happy road running more than a couple miles.  She does love to trail run or hike with me though.

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.

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