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Messages - staehpj1

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Routes / Re: Biking for Local Food
« on: March 02, 2010, 08:19:32 am »
Good luck with that.  We found that fresh produce sources were few and far between much of the time on the TA.  Many places you pass through only small towns for considerable distances.  In the little general stores fresh produce was extremely limited and generally not fresh at all.

I would rather make do with what is fairly readily available than carry a lot of food.  My advice is just enjoy what you find and consider it a bonus when you manage to get decent produce, local or otherwise.

The places on the TA where we saw a produce stand or someone selling produce off their tailgate we definitely took advantage of it, but they were few and far between.

General Discussion / Re: Passing other tourist riders
« on: March 01, 2010, 05:06:57 pm »
I also enjoy talking to the Harley riders - especially camping near them, guaranteed to entertain.
We found that generally the motorcyclists we met treated us as kindred spirits.  Quite a few times they shared cold water when we were out in the middle of nowhere.  We camped at a place where there was some kind of Harley rider get together in Jackson Hot Springs.  They were very friendly and we enjoyed meeting them.

In the rural West when passing on the road more often than not they waved.

Routes / Re: C&O canal to Pittsburgh via cumberland MD.
« on: February 28, 2010, 04:18:24 pm »
There are 4 of us planning a 7 day ride ( late May early June) and I am looking for any / all information from any one who has completed this MT bike ride.  We are avid roadies from AZ ( youngest 62 and oldest 71) so the 50+- miles per day will not be a problem, but we know little about the area and we are planing to be self contained and stay in Motels/ B7B each night.
Not to put too fine of a point on it but the C&O ends in Cumberland, so if going from Cumberland to Pittsburgh it is actually the Great Allegheny Passage you will be using.  So when looking for info look for GAP or great Allegheny Passage.  I have done the C&O but not the GAP so I can't help much.

General Discussion / Re: My Idea
« on: February 28, 2010, 10:38:44 am »
What do you want this trip to be?  What I would recommend is dependent on that.  For you, is it about a fast crossing, enjoying the scenery, meeting the people, something else?

Assuming a fast crossing isn't your primary goal, the Trans America route is awesome.  We met mostly friendly, kind, and generous people and saw lots of beautiful scenery.  The state parks are generally cheap and very nice most places.  In many places you will be able to camp for free in town parks, church yards, and other similar locations.  If you use the AC maps they will have lots of free places to stay listed and in most small towns just asking around will turn up others.  We only resorted to expensive campgrounds a couple times staying for free at least half the time.

On the TA you will meet other tourists and will be able to camp or ride with them some of the time if you want to.

Interestingly, we found that if you are an experienced camper and use an AC route, not much planning is required.  Get your gear together, get the maps, find your way to the starting point and start riding.  If you are not an experienced camper then some time spend figuring out what gear you need and how to use it is needed.

I would suggest reading some journals on the Crazy Guy on a Bike site  (  I think our 2007 Trans America journal ( is a good one for someone planning their first long distance tour to read since it is the story of three first timers.

Good luck on your trip.

General Discussion / Re: Passing other tourist riders
« on: February 28, 2010, 10:18:53 am »
Oh BTW...  I forgot to mention that talking to cyclists going the opposite direction is a great way to get or share info about the road ahead.  There were a few hosts and lots of must see stuff that we might not have known about had we not compared notes with folks going the other way.  There were also some hints about how to best cope with difficulties ahead.

Routes / Re: Direction and departure month on Southern Tier in winter
« on: February 27, 2010, 07:58:07 pm »
Please advise with your experience on using the ST in winter.  I am trying to decide which direction to go and what month is best to begin.  We can leave as early as Dec and plan to take about 3 months, but want to be finished by end of April. I don't mind some days of head wind, but don't want to fight it every day.  Also prefer not to freeze; we plan to camp when we can't find warmshowers or couchsurfing hosts.   Thanks!
One thing to remember... Daylight hours are shortest December 21 or so.  Daylight hours are much longer in late winter.  I have not done the ST, but an acquaintance who has said February is the best departure time.  I forget which direction he preferred.  I think it was W-E, but I am not sure.

Routes / Re: Is May 1 Too Early For W-E Transamerica Route Departure?
« on: February 27, 2010, 07:51:27 pm »
It is pretty early.   McKenzie pass is not open yet then most years.  That said you can use Santiam pass if McKenzie is closed.  Chances of cold and snow will be greatly increased with a start that early though.

Personally, I'd probably start in the east if starting then.  You would miss the worst heat and humidity in the southeast and the cold and snow in the Cascades and Rockies.

Prevailing winds on the TA are actually probably better for an E - W TA.  See the maps I posted in a previous thread at:

Where the wind matters most on the TA is in Eastern Colorado and Kansas and the TA goes SE there.  The prevailing summer winds are out of the SE there.

That said there are many factors and I wouldn't necessarily make the winds be the over-riding factor.

General Discussion / Re: Passing other tourist riders
« on: February 27, 2010, 01:57:02 pm »
May be a silly question but you know how things go through your head shortly before you leave on tour.
The big boss (wife) and I will start the Southern Tier in the next week.  We've read many journals about people seeing other riders along the routes that they travel and we were wondering, when seeing someone going the same direction as you it's easy to say hi or even talk,  but what is (for lack of a better term) protocol when seeing a rider going the opposite way.  I'm sure one doesn't stop and talk with every rider you see,  so how do you know when to stop and talk without interrupting their day.  Or can you just tell. TIA
I tend to pull off to the side and see if they stop to talk.  I think my body language makes it clear that I welcome the opportunity to chat, but I don't flag them down or anything.  If they do stop, great, if not that is fine too.  On the TA the majority of the time we talked at least a few minutes with almost all of the folks going the other way.  On other tours I haven't met many riders.

Routes / Re: New Sierra Cascade Route
« on: February 26, 2010, 04:31:09 pm »
I look forward to reading what others have to say about their experiences!
Yeah me too.  I guess we will find out how it goes in June.

Routes / Re: Sierra Cascade Route
« on: February 25, 2010, 02:36:30 pm »

Do you know if a way point file will be available to complement the maps for this route when the maps are released?  I am really looking forward to the sale of these maps.  Our plans for this trip are starting to gel and I am chomping at the bit to see the maps and text comments on them.

Routes / Re: New Sierra Cascade Route
« on: February 25, 2010, 02:29:59 pm »
You have to make an account with them before you can see the map.  That is a bummer about the logging trucks.  I live and ride a couple hundred miles west of that area and the logging trucks are awesome.  They're the most courteous people on the road.  I can't wait to do this route, or at least part of it.  I can't start until early November next fall. 


I have generally found logging truck drivers to be competent professionals on the roads I have shared with them and have always much preferred them to rental motor homes.  Some times logging trucks passed close, but at least I trusted them to know how close they were passing.  Rental motor homes on the other hand were often driven by folks without a clue.  That said I have not ridden the road in question and for what it is worth have heard widely varying opinions on it.  The have ranged from MrBent's "horrific" to a friends who grew up there's comment that "Its OK, but yeah there are logging trucks".   Our plan thus far is to follow the route unless we get there and find it unbearable.

Routes / Re: southern tier map for friends and family
« on: February 24, 2010, 10:42:36 am »
Yes the ACA version is good if you keep to their routes but I like to make side trips or connectors so a more detailed map would be good.

Thanks anyway.
Most wall maps that show the entire us don't show too much detail, so in any case you will be doing a bit of guessing at the exact point to put the dot or stick a pin.  That said some of the wall maps do show a lot more towns than the AC overview map.

OTOH since the OP was specifically referring to the ST the AC map sounds perfect to me.

Routes / Re: southern tier map for friends and family
« on: February 24, 2010, 09:47:24 am »
Though it sounds like this might not be detailed enough on it's own for following you on your ride, you could start with the network map we have available as a pdf (at no cost!) on the Routes & Mapping page.

Click on Map of All ACA Routes, first line after Adventure Cycling Maps in the upper right of the page.

For what it is worth that scales up nicely if you have access to a large plotter or know someone who does.  As Jennifer says the detail isn't there wrt smaller towns and other features, but it is a very nice looking map.  Kinkos could print you one 48" x 36" or whatever for probably under $50.

Routes / Re: southern tier map for friends and family
« on: February 23, 2010, 07:25:49 pm »
If you got your amateur radio license before you left you could equip your bike with APRS and your family could log on their computer and follow your progress in real time.
Or maybe go with the Spot device.  Another thing to carry and more expensive than I will go for due to the subscription cost, but still pretty cool.

Routes / Re: southern tier map for friends and family
« on: February 23, 2010, 03:01:11 pm »
I've had a couple of requests for a map of the southern tier route - one that folks back home can hang on the wall and plot my progress as I ride.  Is there something like that already created? 
Check out for one option.

If someone is willing to do it a big paper map of the US is pretty cool way to do this and it makes a great keepsake after the trip.  Mine from the TA is on my wall next to my computer and I have been adding trips as i take then.  It is really cool to look at the map and reminisce.  It isn't too hard to look up the town names on google maps to figure out roughly where to mark the stops.  I use little sticky dots in various colors a different color for each tour.

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