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Messages - staehpj1

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Yeah they call it poste restante a lot of places, but I think it works in most countries.  Check out:

Forgot to mention...
Be sure to pick a place you will be when the post office is open.  If that fails you can stop at any post office and ask to have it forwarded down the road further.  You can do this more than once and there is no additional charge.  It helps to pick a town big enough to have a "real" post office rather than one in a general store or whatever, but only one so there is not confusion as to which PO it is at.

This all works quite well and as I said the forwarding can be handy either if you are not yet ready for the package when you hit town or the PO is closed and you choose not to wait.  If you don't forward it or pick it up it will go to the return address after 30 days.

From the USPS:
General Delivery
Get your mail even if you’re on the road, new to town, or between permanent addresses. Mail addressed to you at General Delivery will be held at the area’s main Post Office™ for up to 30 days. All you have to do is pick it up.
General Delivery is a great choice if you don’t have a permanent address. People can send you mail by using the town name and ZIP Code™, like this...
ANYTOWN NY 12345-9999
In medium to large cities with multiple ZIP Codes, you’ll want to make sure senders use the ZIP Code for the area’s main Post Office. The ZIP+4® extension 9999 indicates general delivery.
To find the main Post Office in an area, speak to any Post Office associate or call 1-800-ASK-USPS® (1-800-275-8777).

General Discussion / Re: First Bike Tour
« on: March 20, 2014, 02:05:15 pm »
Just get some saddle time in.  You can go with no training at all, but being used to doing longish time on the saddle will help a lot.  Whether you train or not you will be in the groove after about 10 days, or two weeks at most, so train as much or as little as you want so long as you at least have your bottom fairly well conditioned to the saddle.  The longer the tour, up to a point, the less important training is because you have time to take it easy and build daily mileage as you go.

As far as the short shakedown tours...  I never found them necessary, but I have done a good bit of backpacking and canoe camping for many years before my first tour so the camping part was second nature.  If you do not have a lot of camping experience not including car camping, then some shakedown tours are probably highly recommended.

My first tour was the Trans America and my shortest tours were 9 days or so.  I have never done a shakedown tour and never regretted it.

In any case I recommend taking it a little easy the first week of the tour if in doubt at all.  I say a good rule is to never ride so far in a day that you are not ready to ride the next day, especially in the first week or so.  I try to avoid needing days spent trying to recover and save my rest days if any for doing something fun like whitewater rafting, hiking, or doing tourist stuff.

General Discussion / Re: TA in May..looking for company
« on: March 20, 2014, 02:35:42 am »
You will meet people on the way.

Mid May sounds a little early for W-E to me.  It varies year to year, but we went early June and that was borderline too early iMO.  If you have the option I'd either go later or go E-W, in which case you could even go a bit earlier.  I think you would be likely to have better weather with one of those choices.

General Discussion / Re: Miles Per Day
« on: March 19, 2014, 02:39:35 am »
I find it best to have an open ended schedule if at all possible.  That said I find I generally have averaged 60-80 miles per day including any days off, but terrain and folks tolerance for long mileage vary pretty widely.  Given the location of your tour the higher end of your range should be possible.

General Discussion / Re: Cell coverage - phone type?
« on: March 16, 2014, 08:00:31 am »
For coverage, Verizon would definitely be my first choice, but AT&T wasn't too bad when I used a work supplied phone on a long tour.  I would skip Sprint based on my observations from my Sprint work phone, coverage was very poor outside of urban areas.

Where and when are you checking for your car rental? I just did a quick search on Hertz for a one-way rental from IAD/Dulles to Williamsburg (April 4-5), and it was $200 total for a 24-hour rental, one-way. And that's without any "coupons" or discount codes applied. That's not too bad.

Were you looking from Dulles or another airport?

I have found that if I walk up to the counter and try to book a car one way it doesn't go well.  Similarly if I call a particular location it is generally a problem.  They seem to always either have no cars that they can let go one way or have a big surcharge.

If I go online and book I have never had a problem.  I have typically just used the search on Southwest airlines web page to find prices.  I also typically have gone airport to airport and suspect that helps avoid fees, I am not sure about that though.  I have done this a lot and never had a problem getting slapped with a one way fee.  On the other hand I have almost always had a problem when walking up to the counter or calling.

There are lots of advantages to using a car.  You can go when you want.  With other methods you can miss your bus, train, or whatever.  With a car you can stop to eat or to see an attraction along the way.  You don't have your bike jammed in a baggage compartment by a stranger who doesn't care about your bike.

Routes / Re: Southern Tier starting in April
« on: March 13, 2014, 04:05:44 am »
+1 to Patrick's comments.

I will add that you are unlikely to have trouble with snakes or scorpions even without a tent or bivy with netting, but netting is a must on the gulf coast.  The mosquitoes will eat you alive in Louisiana without it.

I have generally found that I avoid the surcharge if I book the car online and book it airport to airport.

General Discussion / Re: Starting the TA in mid August...
« on: March 08, 2014, 12:48:51 pm »
Now, is the sun in your eyes THAT much of a problem going w to e?

My two coast to coast tours have both been W to E and I have not found it to be that big of a deal.  I am an early riser and early morning rider too.

General Discussion / Re: ACA maps and crummy areas in big cities?
« on: March 07, 2014, 07:53:21 am »
The only place anyone ever tired to steal anything (my MSR Dragon Fly) from me during a tour was in DuBois, WY on the TA route.

Funny, that is one of two places I had something stolen.  Outside the grocery someone took my Crocs, probably for the nice locking carabiner they were hanging on.  The other theft was a nice pump nicked outside a walmart in a similarly small town.  In both cases they were items in plain sight outside of the bags on top of the rear rack and easy to grab without opening anything.  Probably a bad idea to leave anything there, too tempting.

General Discussion / Re: Starting the TA in mid August...
« on: March 07, 2014, 02:57:25 am »
You will not have any problems if you ride +150 mi/day :-)

How long you plan to take is a fairly big factor in how this start time is likely to work out for you.  Assuming 10 weeks plus or minus a week or maybe two, I'd either start in the west or go earlier.

BTW:  This may or may not apply, but...  All other things being equal I like to start on the opposite coast from where I live to get the air travel out of the way up front.  That makes it easier to be flexible with your end date.  Having to hit a particular day for a return flight is a pain.  Better to have a flexible schedule.  Weather might well trump this preference though.

Routes / Re: NT or L&C Going West from Missoula?
« on: March 05, 2014, 02:31:59 pm »
We liked the TA in that section, but have not done the other options that you mention so I can't compare.

The answer varies with the location.  In general I have been offered use of a bathroom, but if not I usually do not ask.  If in town there is usually a gas station, convenience store, or fast food restaurant with a bathroom nearby.

Not to get to graphic, but the various uses of the restroom are handled as follows:
  • Urination - If there is no obvious answer I just improvise.  Finding an unobtrusive spot is not usually a problem.  If you find it unacceptable to go on the ground where you are you could use a bottle and dispose of it later in a suitable location, but I have never felt the need to bother with that.
  • Defecation - I usually need to do this after I am on the road so it seldom a problem for me during  impromptu camping.  The majority of the time I find indoor facilities in the morning.
  • Washing up - If there is a shower or sink available I use them, but a quick wipe down with a damp cloth suffices when they are not.
  • Teeth - I can get by with a few ounces of water to rinse after brushing.

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