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Messages - staehpj1

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Routes / Re: Bicycle Tour
« on: July 01, 2014, 03:28:50 pm »
I'll be traveling to Montana Headquarters first because I always wanted to see the kind people there.

Do you mean you will be starting there?  If not where will you be starting your tour?

I have looked at different maps from ACA but I can't seem to find the rights once and there is always the option of using Google Maps and I could buy myself a bike gps unit.

There are a number of options to get from Missoula to the coast.  Pick the one that best suits you plans  I'd recommend the Pacific Coast route south from there.

I recommend really looking at the specs before buying a bike gps.  The batteries are usually internal and don't last all that long.  I have had better luck using a handheld model that you can change batteries in.

Using a smartphone is another option.  You can carry spare phone batteries and/or a "power wallet".  I recommend turning the phone part of the smartphone off except when actually making a call.  If you use map software  for your phone that lets you pre download the maps you need you can run in airplane mode saving battery life.  Phone batteries die really fast when there is no signal and they are searching for one.

General Discussion / Re: Fighting off boredom?
« on: June 30, 2014, 01:43:21 pm »
"what do you guys do during downtime / relaxation time"
I generally find there is precious little downtime and it is best spent doing nothing much when that is possible.  There never seems to be enough downtime for it to be a problem.  I usually don't even much/any find time to read unless I do it by listening to audio books while riding.

I stop a lot to take pictures, talk to people, look around and move a few turtles off the road. My day is pretty much consumed by the time I get up, eat breakfast, talk to my camp neighbors, break camp, ride for 6 hours or more, stop for food and water, talk to locals and fellow riders, visit some interesting sites along the way, get lost a time or two, recharge my phone, find some place to camp, get clean, set up camp, eat dinner, go for a swim in the lake, do a bit of laundry, write in my journal, talk to my camp neighbors, explore the area, clean my water bottles, review the maps for the next day, pump up my tires, lube my chain, read a little and brush my teeth.

John's list above demonstrates why there is so little downtime to worry about what to do with, so I won't bother to post my own list.  It is hard to find enough time to even do those things.

General Discussion / Re: Washington Hiker/Biker Campsites?
« on: June 30, 2014, 09:47:32 am »
I only was in that situation once there, but yes they squeezed me in next to the bathrooms.
That wouldn't be any worse than some of the "normal" hiker/biker sites in Southern California!  ;D

It wasn't bad at all really.  I was happy to have a spot.

Routes / Re: East to West or West to East
« on: June 30, 2014, 08:30:02 am »
That is true and I suspect that many folks get a very wrong impression as a result.

The sensible thing is to not base your impression of the winds by what you feel when riding.  Either use flags, banners, and maybe foliage as an indicator or check the direction with a moistened finger when stopped.

General Discussion / Re: Washington Hiker/Biker Campsites?
« on: June 30, 2014, 06:17:03 am »
I only was in that situation once there, but yes they squeezed me in next to the bathrooms.

Routes / Re: East to West or West to East
« on: June 28, 2014, 04:39:02 pm »
As I said, for a coast to coast trip I wouldn't base the direction of travel on the wind, but if I did I would go E-W on the TA since the TA runs NE-SE across the plains and the July winds there tend to come out of the SE.  My experience there seemed to agree with the map I attached.  For the NT it looks like a wash.  I wouldn't do the ST in summer but it looks like the winds there would favor E-W travel at that time.

Routes / Re: East to West or West to East
« on: June 28, 2014, 06:42:51 am »
There are lots of reasons to pick a direction of travel and wind would be way down on my list of factors for a coast to coast ride.  It depends on your route, when you plan to go, and where you live, but here are a few factors that you might want to consider.  I list them in order of importance to me.

  • I personally much prefer to start out on the opposite coast from where I live.  If you live near one end or the other of the trip starting at the other end allows you to plan air travel in advance at a time you can predict.  It is easy to say when you will start, and not so easy to say when you will finish.  It also helps to get and keep you committed to the ride better IMO.
  • Starting date will affect which direction will yield better weather.  Generally for a summer tour if you go early in the season, start in the east, later in the season start in the west.  You can avoid the heat and humidity in the east and snow in the west that way.
  • It depends on the terrain for your specific route, but on the TA we found the Appalachians to be the hardest part and wanted to do them after we were well road hardened.
  • Depending on whether you rise really early and get on the road at the crack of dawn or ride past sunset which way the sun is in your eyes might be a factor.

General Discussion / Re: general advice on making a tour happen
« on: June 27, 2014, 02:03:27 pm »
Reading too much will be likely to make you think you need a lot of stuff that is definitely not necessary.

For me, it was just the opposite. The more I read, the more I saw how much trouble people had early in their tours with overloaded bikes and how much stuff they mailed home. So all that reading convinced me of several things: (1) Don't send stuff home--leave it home in the first place, (2) Take stuff you will actually need, not stuff you think you might need, (3) Do at least some riding close to home with exactly the same gear you will be touring with.

You have a point.  My advice may be bad if it leads someone to not pare their list down.  What I was trying to help avoid was reading other folks lists and saying, "that's a good idea, I'll add that and that and that..."

General Discussion / Re: general advice on making a tour happen
« on: June 27, 2014, 06:37:33 am »
So my advice is: Don't read anymore and just hit the road.

There is definitely something to that.  On the other hand some reading will give you an idea what others are doing.  That reading might be reading here , on bike forums, and reading some journals.  Bear in mind that because others think something is the way to go doesn't mean it is the right answer for you.  This is especially true if you have some experience with packing for some other self supported form of travel like backpacking.

My advice is to pack light, taking only what you need, but don't get too wrapped up in the bike and gear choices.  Reading too much will be likely to make you think you need a lot of stuff that is definitely not necessary and get you too fixated on specific brands and models of stuff that may not even suit you and your touring style.  Read packing lists more with seeing what folks can do without in mind than with what added items they carry that you can do without. After you figure out what to carry, pick a bike and baggage system that suits your packing style, but don't get too wrapped up in that.  Packing the right stuff (and leaving stuff you don't need home) is a lot more important that building up the ultimate touring bike.

For learning what works for you as far as the actual touring...  The best way to learn that is to get out and tour.  Using an AC map for a well developed route like the TA, NT, or ST, especially in the beginning is a pretty good kick start.

Food Talk / Re: Food by Mail
« on: June 22, 2014, 07:44:45 am »
In short - I need more training :o
I have to wonder how it would have gone if you had taken an easier pace for the first 7-10 days and built the pace from there.  It might have allowed you to train as you go and possibly allowed a better average pace over the long run than you planned.  That approach can work well for a tour, so maybe it would for a race as well.

I am sure it was a learning experience and you will have a better idea of what to expect next time if it didn't kill you desire for this type of race.

Routes / Re: Yellowstone Camping
« on: June 17, 2014, 04:33:39 pm »
They did when we passed through, but it has been a few years ago.

If you are riding the TA talk to the riders going the other way.  They will have just been there.  That usually is the freshest and most reliable source of info on things like that.  Worst case call ahead and ask.

For the Oregon portion I highly recommend the map that ODOT gives away for the coast.  You can probably order it online.  A search should turn it up.  Barring that the bikes shops on the coast tended to have the free ODOT maps when I was there.

AC maps are great and I typically use them when I can, but for that portion of the route the ODOT map was better IMO.  For looking at while riding I definitely preferred it.  I did still use the AC map as a reference for services at times, but if I had to pick one this is a case where the AC map would lose out.

General Discussion / Re: Cardboard Box for Bike as Checked Baggage
« on: June 15, 2014, 06:36:06 pm »
Another thing which I hadn't considered is that a smaller box would be easier to fit in a hotel shuttle, while a bigger box would might be too big and force me into riding to the hotel straight from the airport.
Sounds like you got it covered.  I will say that I get a kick out of riding out of the airport and kind of consider it a plus.  Just me though.

General Discussion / Re: Cardboard Box for Bike as Checked Baggage
« on: June 15, 2014, 12:27:53 pm »
it is nice to not have to deal with getting a huge box to the airport

But if the airline box is indeed available at check in* (maybe, maybe not), you never have to lug it around. Your loaded bike serves as a luggage cart all the way to baggage check at which point the airline takes it off your hands.

Have you had good luck with that in recent years?  I pretty much gave up on airline supplied boxes after the last time I used one in 2007.   I guess it depends on the airline and the airport but I have not had an airline I was flying with have one available any of the times I checked until I gave up and quit asking.

I usually fly Southwest and I don't think they offer boxes anymore if they ever did.

I generally prefer to have time to carefully pack a bike at home before a tour.  For the trip home I am happy to just have a bike shop box it and ship it for me.  Shipping and packing are usually about $100 combined and I am generally happy to be shed of the bike at the end of the tour and not have to deal with it again until a few days later at home.

I guess there are quite a few different reasonable approaches.

General Discussion / Re: Cardboard Box for Bike as Checked Baggage
« on: June 15, 2014, 07:53:18 am »
It probably depends on the airline, but for some of the airlines I have seen language that says they don't carry anything over 80" and somewhere else on the same site say that bikes were excluded from that 80" restriction.

I have never had a problem or had them measure the box, but I do try to keep the box as small as I reasonably can.  I figure "why ask for trouble" by using a really big box like the Amtrak box.  I typically use a box like the bike came in.  The exception would be an airline supplied box; they can hardly complain about a box they supplied.

An extra 15-20 minutes at the airport putting the wheels and racks back on really isn't a big hardship and it is nice to not have to deal with getting a huge box to the airport.

Also I wonder if a larger harder to handle box might get rougher treatment.

One other thing to think about would be shipping to and flying to Bellingham or Seattle.  It is not all that far from Vancouver.  Bellingham to Vancouver would be a fairly easy one day ride.  Seattle would probably be two longer days.

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