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Messages - staehpj1

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46
Routes / Re: Southern tier in the summer time
« on: May 29, 2015, 07:40:35 am »
Whatever you choose to do, have a great trip.

BTW, just to temper my negative comments about the ST, I will add that I know a guy who has done the NT, TA, and ST and thought the ST was best.  He did say that he thought February was the time to do it though.

47
Routes / Re: Southern tier in the summer time
« on: May 29, 2015, 06:42:34 am »
I could tolerate it too, but would find it unpleasant.  The ST just doesn't have that much going for it that I would be willing to put up with the heat.  The scenery is pretty blah most of the time with a pretty view only pretty rarely.

It does have a few things going for it, besides being good for a winter tour.  It is the shortest and flattest coast to coast ride if that is a plus for you.  There is a nice variety of foods along the way (Mexican, Cajun, Barbecue, Seafood) and a lot of interesting people.

That said, I would rate the TA as a much better ride scenery wise and suspect the NT or some route strung together using other ACA routes would be as well.  There is nothing on the ST that compares to the beauty of the better sections of the TA at least to my eye.  I mostly remember the scenery west of Del Rio as day after day of drab brown land with no water and not much to distinguish one view from the next.  There were fairly nice views from the very limited number of passes, but they were a tiny portion of the ride and mostly not all that spectacular.

So, bottom line, I'd highly recommend considering doing the TA or the NT, maybe using some other options like the L&C if you want.  On the other hand, if you love 100 F heat and drab brown land you may love the ST in Summer.  Apparently some folks do.

48
Routes / Re: Southern tier in the summer time
« on: May 28, 2015, 07:55:28 pm »
I did the ST starting in February and wouldn't even consider doing the ST in Summer myself.  If you like hot weather you might be happy doing it in Summer, but it sounds pretty awful to me.  Personally the only reason I did the ST was because it was something I could do in the Winter.  I found the scenery kind of boring the large majority of the way.  The food and the people helped make up for the scenery though.

The TA was hot enough in Summer.

49
General Discussion / Re: Flying With Touring Gear
« on: May 26, 2015, 10:49:37 am »
BTW...If you will be brining a stove you might consider shipping it in the bike box because of residue. My stove and empty fuel bottle fit easily inside my bike box.

Another option is a home made pop can stove.  I have never had one get taken even when I took it in my carry on by mistake and they swabbed everything in my bag, but you could take a brand new one since they are essentially free.  Also in a pinch you could make one on site.  I have found that alcohol is easier to find when on tour than gas cartridges too.  I typically use yellow Heet.

50
Gear Talk / Re: Flashlights for bike are needed
« on: May 26, 2015, 10:43:18 am »
Other than a blinkie for the bike my only light on most trips is a tiny .25 ounce eGear Pico that I wear on a cord around my neck.  I don't use it all that much and when I do it is typically for a few seconds at a time.  So the battery lasts me for a full coast to coast trip and more.

Having a light fail on tour isn't that big of a hardship since you will be able to pick something up in just about any store and doing without for a night is not a big deal.  I recommend something smallish and fairly inexpensive.  I think folks get pretty carried away with high dollar fancy tactical lights.  Sometimes good enough is good enough.

A headlamp with an elastic headband works well if you use a light a lot in camp.

51
General Discussion / Re: Flying With Touring Gear
« on: May 26, 2015, 07:42:47 am »
I always take the bike and gear as checked luggage on the way to a tour.   I have sometimes used a cheap duffel, but a used thrift store suitcase is my preferred choice when carrying enough to need it.  I generally find them for $6-7 at Goodwill and then discard them at the airport.  Be sure to ask where you can leave it and leave it open so it is obvious it is empty to avoid creating a bomb scare.

I have also used cardboard boxes, but the airlines usually specifically do not accept responsibility for damage to stuff in cardboard boxes.

Recently I have been packing much lighter and find that I can fit my bike and all my gear in a soft case and still keep it under 50 pounds, especially if I have a few pounds of my gear in a carry on.

Theft by the baggage handlers?  That seems like a VERY long shot to me.  A bit of used clothing and some used camping gear doesn't sound that tempting to a theif.  I personally wouldn't even consider that as a risk.  Loss can occur, but that is true of just about any method of shipping and the risk isn't that high IME.

52
General Discussion / Re: Baton Rouge to Miami
« on: May 25, 2015, 07:10:48 am »
I'd expect decent weather there that time of year, but it can vary.  Weatherspark.com is a good resource for getting a loot at historic weather data for a given area.  Just pick a number of locations along the route to look at.

We are in Tallahassee.  If you need any assistance or a place to stay when you are there, email me at pete.staehling@gmail.com.

53
Gear Talk / Re: Single pair of shoes, or bike AND walking shoes?
« on: May 22, 2015, 08:30:18 am »
I have done pretty much the full range of shoe options for SPD pedals.  I find that the best solution for me varies with the tour.
  • Just MTB shoes works fine for me if I will be hiking no more than a few miles at a time and the surface isn't bad.
  • MTB shoes and Crocs isn't bad either.  Crocs are pretty light and I find the bulk a non-issue since I just hang them on the outside of one of the panniers or bags.  I don't mind hiking longer distances with them if the difficulty of the terrain isn't too bad.
  • If I will be doing a lot of hiking including longer hikes and difficult terrain I really like to have a pair of trail runners along.  Like the Crocs I hang thme on the outside of the luggage so bulk isn't an issue.

Since I am pretty weight conscious I go with the lightest option that I think will work.  On a long tour I may switch up along the way.  For example I have bough some light trail runners when I stopped for a week of hiking in Yosemite and on another long tour bought a pair of cheap Crocs knock offs.  I also have sent shoes home by US Mail.

54
Gear Talk / Re: Touring without fenders - big mistake?
« on: May 19, 2015, 09:32:12 pm »
I have used them in the past but have done a number of long tours without and didn't miss them.   Even in the PNC on the coast I didn't miss them.

55
Gear Talk / Re: How heavy is your touring bike (unloaded)?
« on: May 19, 2015, 06:24:19 am »
I have used different bikes depending on tour.  For heavier touring the bike weighed about 30 pounds.  As I packed lighter and lighter I used lighter bikes.  My last road tour the bike was 24 pounds including blinkie light, tool kit, pump, rack, handlebar bag bracket, and bottles and cages.  I could see myself going lighter yet for an ultralight load (camping with 8-14 pounds of UL camping and cooking gear and clothing).

56
General Discussion / Re: Should I pack an Air Pillow
« on: May 14, 2015, 07:57:25 pm »
Even when I go really light I still carry a pillow.   At sub-10 pounds the pillow is still on the list.   I didn't find that the sea to summit one worked for me.   The Exped feels far more comfortable to me.

57
Gear Talk / Re: Tubeless?
« on: May 09, 2015, 11:17:08 am »
Basically, too much weight at too low of a pressure.  Higher pressure will blow the tire off the rim.
That doesn't make sense to me, but maybe I am missing something.  How much weight and how much pressure are you thinking of using with what sized tire?  I don't see wanting or needing to run enough pressure to "blow the tire off the rim".  At the lower pressure end of the scale I don't see going low enough for burping to be a problem.

Just trying to understand...

58
I have used a wide range of options including:
  • waterproof
  • non waterproof lined with a trash bag
  • non waterproof with covers
  • non waterproof with ziplock bags inside
  • dry sacks strapped in the rack instead of panniers (I have only done this with very minimal loads)

They all worked well.  My personal preference is for waterproof if using panniers, but these days I have been going ultralight with no panniers most trips.

BTW, part of what I like about the waterproofs is that I prefer one big compartment and no pockets.

BTW, I have found inexpensive Nashbar or Performance waterproofs plenty adequate for my usage.

59
Routes / Re: Tran-american bike tour
« on: May 05, 2015, 08:16:01 am »
For east bound I voted rear tire Pacific, front tire Atlantic, but personally I wouldn't bother with the ritual again.  We dragged our loaded bikes across 200 yards of sand and then spent a lot of time with the drive train crunching and grinding until we got to a place where we could rinse them off.  My first thought was that we should have taken the gear off and carried them to the water and back.  My second thought was that we shouldn't have bothered.  At the finish of the tour it was really easy so we did the dip, but I skipped the ritual on my next coast to coast tour.

60
Overnight costs.  Europe is 1/4 or 1/3 the cost of USA.  The US is unbelievably expensive for housing.

I have not toured in Europe, but have toured pretty extensively in the US.  Going coast to coast on the Trans America I averaged less than $5 a night that was almost all camping and more than half of it was free.  I did no stealth camping but did stay for free in plain sight a lot.

On the Southern Tier I got rooms a bit more often, but they were usually pretty reasonable and I camped for free a large percentage of the time, again no stealth required.

On the Pacific Coast I averaged under $10 per night mostly camping.

Other places were similarly inexpensive.

I think camping may be more expensive in the east though, but I don't tend to tour there other than as the end of a coast to coast tour.

When it comes to rooms, cost can vary really widely, but there are lots of inexpensive places to stay.  Just avoid staying in the expensive ones.  When I do get a room I shoot for the $30-60 ones and especially ones that have a free hot breakfast.  I like the ones that have a waffle iron :)

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