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Messages - staehpj1

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Gear Talk / Re: Recommended Temperature Rating for Sleeping Bag on TransAm
« on: September 12, 2015, 08:37:47 am »
That sounds like a plan.  Let us know how it works out for you.

Gear Talk / Re: Recommended Temperature Rating for Sleeping Bag on TransAm
« on: September 12, 2015, 08:07:34 am »
It is an interesting design with no zippers using what looks like a quilt to cover an opening on the front of the bag.

It looks like an interesting design, but I am not sure it would work very well for me.  I find that in order to manage a wide range of conditions I need to be able to have a lot of incremental steps between sleeping on top of the bag and being in the bag with the hood drawn up to just a small hole to breath through.  Those steps go something like:
  • sleeping on top of the bag
  • draping the zipped open bag loosely over with limbs or even most of my body hanging out as needed
  • draping the bag more completely over whole body
  • getting in bag, but leaving it zipped open
  • partially zipping up the bag
  • fully zipping it up
  • putting on the hood
  • drawing the hood tight
It isn't clear to me if/how well your bag works at accomplishing those steps.  If you jump to too warm of a step early in the night you will sweat and then if it gets colder later you will be wet and cold.  Also I think the lack of being able to draw the hood tight would limit the lowest temperature comfort for me.  I wonder how well sticking feet and arms out works in warmer conditions as compared to being able to have the bag off of one side or having a leg out to adjust.  Also I have found that with a conventional bag I don't like to have the sleeping pad attached because I prefer that the bag roll with me and the pad sty where it is.  With your bag I guess that you roll inside the stationary bag.

It may work great, but I would be a little skeptical of that setup myself.  I wouldn't mind trying one out but at that price I'd only buy it from somewhere like REI that would let me return it for up to a year if I decide I don't like it.

Routes / Re: Southern Tier Shortcuts
« on: September 03, 2015, 01:18:42 pm »
But, even with bypassing the large towns there is still a Walmart every couple of days, gas stations, hotels, etc. My biggest concern with the route deviation is by bypassing the large cities you'll miss the bike shops.

You can always alter the route when/if you need a bike shop, worst case hitching a ride to one if necessary.

Routes / Re: Late summer route options Colorado to West
« on: September 02, 2015, 08:02:33 am »
If it was my trip I think I'd base the choice on personal preference and where the smoke wouldn't be too bad and not worry too much about the snow.  I'd try to make fairly good time and be prepared to possibly take a day or two off to wait for snow to melt.

I don't know what the smoke situation is likely to be at the times you would be passing through the various areas, maybe someone else can comment on that.

When/where it is likely to be cold, I'd try to avoid camping at higher elevations, staying partway down the mountain.

I hate hot weather and had plenty of it on my TA.  I think that fall on the TA would actually be nicer than a hot Summer tour there.

McKenzie Pass was mentioned...  I agree that it is likely to be open unless there is an especially early closing this year, but if it were to close Santiam Pass is plowed year round and would be a fall back option.

General Discussion / Re: ACA Maps vs. Google Maps - Southern Tier
« on: September 01, 2015, 07:42:09 am »
Thanks for the insight! The trip is being postponed (my wife's job was downsized) but will hopefully happen this spring.

Sorry to hear that.  OTOH, late winter or early spring are probably a better time for that route any way.  For one thing the days will be a lot longer.  I went in Feb-Mar and thought it was perfect, but I like cooler weather than most so a few weeks later may better suit some folks.

I'll just add that not everyone sings the praises of wool even if it is Merino.   I have not found that it works all that well for me.  The no stink claim has not proven to be true for me and in fact when I used Merino on tour it was the stinkiest garment I had along.  I find it soaks up more moisture and takes forever to dry if it ever does in humid weather.  Also I find the synthetics more comfortable.

Of the synthetic fabric items that I own a few tend to get that nasty funk, but the majority do not.  The ones that do stay home.

I am sure that Merino works fine for some folks, but it didn't impress me.  I wouldn't choose it even if it were the same price, but when tees are $60 and up...

I have had good luck using an abrasive cutoff wheel on a dremel to cut a slot and then remove the screw with a screw driver.   I have done this successfully quite a few times.

General Discussion / Re: Where next, US?
« on: August 30, 2015, 09:39:39 am »
Afraid the days are long gone when I could or would tour on $50 a day so I can't give advice on accommodation but the scenery is great.
It sounds like the $50 per day is for two people, so really $25 per day per person.  Still, I'd think it should be doable if camping and reasonably frugal.

General Discussion / Re: ACA Maps vs. Google Maps - Southern Tier
« on: August 30, 2015, 09:30:00 am »
Good point stae. Bike paths around the PNW where I live are usually pretty good in my experience. I met some grim ones in MA but perhaps my view was jaundiced by the crappy weather. There was one on the TA, I can't remember where, that was about 100 yards long and finished in a field, literally a complete waste of time.
Yeah, having lived in the Mid Atlantic US for most of my life I found the bikes friendliness of the PNW pretty awesome.  Nice bike lanes, traffic lights that were bike aware, and street sweepers that actually cleaned bike lanes blew our minds because we had never seen anything like that before.

I recall a bike path on the TA near Alma Colorado that was on a long downhill and had the seams all kicked up 3-4" making it terrible to ride.  We quickly decided to leave the bike path and ride the road.

General Discussion / Re: Tips for giving away books while touring?
« on: August 30, 2015, 09:21:27 am »
I have seen a lot of little impromptu "leave a book take a book racks" in little general stores, campgrounds, and other places.  I used to use them, but I actually tend to read less on tour than when at home.  When I do read on tour these days it is most likely by listening to audio books on my phone.  If not audio then I am more likely to take my Kindle than paper books.

I wish RestlessSpinster luck.  It sounds like a worthwhile project, but to be honest, having done a couple cross country tours, I don't think that cycling cross country is a great venue for this.  Maybe you would be better off to pick a route that targets the sort of locations you want to help rather than go cross country.  The bike tour - book tour thing just seems like a forced fit.

Since you are in Seattle, as a reality check it wouldn't hurt to try riding east across Eastern Washington or Eastern Oregon for a trial run.  Maybe you will find out that I am wrong, but I kind of doubt it.

General Discussion / Re: ACA Maps vs. Google Maps - Southern Tier
« on: August 30, 2015, 09:01:16 am »
When they first came out they had a tendency to miss out bike paths

I chuckled a bit at that.  I guess our preferences differ.  My biggest complaint with Google Maps bike directions was that they went out of their way to put you on bike paths when a nice short regular road route was available.

If using Google Maps I tend to look at bike directions, regular car directions, and car (avoid highways) directions and then pick one or mix and match.

I have found that the quality of bike paths varies widely.  In places they can be very nice, but they can also be indirect and have poor surfaces.  In a few bike friendly cities they can be nice and the ones near Breckenridge were pretty nice. That said I more often avoid them than seek them out.

General Discussion / Re: ACA Maps vs. Google Maps - Southern Tier
« on: August 30, 2015, 07:45:33 am »
I did the ST using ACA ST maps, but deviated from them where it made sense to me.  I found that I reduced the distance a good bit and didn't feel like I missed much.  Oddly enough I met as many or more other riders when I was off of the ACA route as when I was on it.

Personally in the West, I don't mind riding the interstate more than the ACA suggested.  For as far as it goes I'd be inclined to ride US 90 much of the way.  I made most of the route decisions on the road as I went and would do the same again.

You will find that the ST is a good route for knocking out long mileage days, so 5 weeks isn't a slam dunk, but is possible.  I went W-E and stopped in Pensacola, but if I had gone all the way to St Augustine, it would have taken me 5-1/2 weeks or just a bit less. To calibrate that, I was 61 and not especially that fit starting out.  I do tend to like to do long days and not take rest days though.  I think that if I started out in real good riding for and wanted to I could finish in 5 weeks using mostly the ACA ST.

I went in Feb.-Mar. so the daylight hours were longer for me.  Personally I think that is a better time to go if your schedule is flexible.  I also went W-E.  I think the W-E direction makes sense if you think you may run out of time because it is pretty easy to cut the route shorter without missing much.  Also if you make it to the gulf, it is a coast to coast trip even if you stop there.  That worked out well for me because I have a daughter on the Florida pan handle, so it was nice to finish there.

BTW, I am now living in Tallahassee, so if you need a place to spend a night there look me up.

Smoke can really cause havoc for a tour.  I have had some trips ruined and trips rethought.

I hope you can find a smoke free route.  Maybe hop on a bus or rent a car and go somewhere with no smoke?  Pacific Coast maybe?

You may spend more time sleeping on top of it, for padding, than in it for warmth.

Yep that is very likely.  Still even one cold night might justify taking a bag warm enough for the coldest night.

In the mountains temperatures can be crazy variable.  I think we saw 110 F and 32 F in the same 48 hour period on the Sierra Cascades route.

On my TA it was mostly very hot, but there were a few moderately cold nights (32 F maybe).  We left a little earlier in the season than the OP is planning, but still in the mountains some pretty variable weather can happen.

On the bags, would it be overkill to have a 32 degree bag for the high elevations in the West and then ship it home once into ... Kansas? We will have friends sending us re-supply items via General Delivery as we go along, so I am thinking a swap to a "lighter" bag could be accomplished.

Does your 32 F bag have an EN rating?  The manufacturers ratings can be really optimistic if they don't do EN testing.  I'd say that given your time table you ought to plan on maybe having a few nights that might hit an actual low of 32 F.

On the mail drops...  I always found that I used the mail much more for sending home stuff that I thought I needed and found that I didn't, but yeah mail drops work.

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