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Messages - staehpj1

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Gear Talk / Re: Packing a DSLR?
« on: July 17, 2014, 10:25:47 am »
A handlebar bag with a bit of cushioning under the camera.  An article of clothing does the trick for the padding.  My DSLR did fine that way on the Trans America.

I decided it was just too much camera to carry and went to a 4:3 Olympus Pen EPL1.  It is much lighter, the lens selection is fine, and it takes great pictures.

That said my phone takes such good pictures that it is all I usually take camera wise.  I find that other than missing longer lenses once in a while the phone is fine.

Routes / Re: TransAmerica Trail: Headed East, looking for Partners
« on: July 11, 2014, 06:18:31 pm »
I think you are about ten days behind where we were on this date the year we did the TA.  We met people going the same direction fairly often at the camp sites, less so on the road.  I think we met more folks a bit further on than where you are now, so there may be hope it will pick up.

Routes / Re: Idaho - Trans Am
« on: July 11, 2014, 01:30:16 pm »
I am pretty traffic tolerant, but I don't remember Idaho as being anything but delightful other than the heat we hit when we were there (it was over 100 F for us some of the time).

As far as the roads, they definitely did not stand out in a negative way.  Traffic was lighter than many other places on the TA.  I remember Wyoming and Montana as both being worse than Idaho in that regard and they were OK IMO.

General Discussion / Re: Cardboard Box for Bike as Checked Baggage
« on: July 10, 2014, 10:15:23 am »
But even with a 99-pound limit, it might still be advisable to pack your gear separately. That's because the TSA will almost certainly open your bike box to inspect it (since it doesn't fit in the scanner). When I pack only the bike and nothing else in the box, the TSA can inspect it without pulling the bike out of the box. They just open the top and look in.

Good point.  At my local airport (BWI) they seem to open the bike box every time.  When I have flown home from other cities they more often have not.  The TSA has been pretty brutal in their handling of my stuff.   They opened the little tool bag under my saddle, dumped the loose contents in the bottom of the box and ripped the stiff plastic lining out of the bag.  On the same trip they broke off one of the cable adjusters in the braze on.

Funny thing is that the only times in recent memory that they didn't open the bike at BWI were the times that I had all of my gear packed with the bike.  Both times it was in a soft case rather than a box.  Not sure why they didn't open it these times.  Maybe my soft case fits in the xray machine?  If so there may be an advantage to taking off both wheels and packing in a smaller box, bag, or case.

General Discussion / Re: Cardboard Box for Bike as Checked Baggage
« on: July 10, 2014, 06:27:36 am »
Just curious! How much did your bike and box weigh. My surly is pushing 50# and will be getting ready to head to San Diego to start Southern Tier in September. Looking for options to get it and my gear to there from Iowa.
Be careful, going over 50 lbs may be a show stopper.  Is that with just the bike in the box?  It must be a very heavy bike and/or box.  Worst case put the saddle, pedals, and whatever in another box.  Taking some gear as a carry on might help as well.

I have managed to get my bike and all gear in just a bike bag and still (barely) come in at under 50 lbs.  With just a few pounds in a small carry on (actually small enough to be a "personal item") it was easily under 50 lbs.  Coincidentally that was for my Southern Tier tour.  Granted that was a lighter bike and ultralight gear, but with two checked bags it should be pretty easy for even a heavy bike and pretty heavy gear.

If you can't manage with two checked bags, I'd think long and hard about your packing choices.

Connecting ACA Routes / Re: N tier to Seattle to Coast route?
« on: July 09, 2014, 11:08:53 am »
Depending on where you want to go in Seattle you can continue to the end of the Northern Tier in Anacortes. Then use the Pacific Coast Route to go south. In Bremerton there is a spur to reach the Seattle-Bremerton ferry. You can take the ferry across which brings you into downtown Seattle.

The ferry was a nice ride.  Good views if it isn't fogged in.

GPS Discussion / Re: FrontPack: new mobile app for cycle touring
« on: July 09, 2014, 09:11:02 am »
A smartphone cannot [yet] replace the need for dedicated GPS device but it puts everything in one place and I always have it with me.
Really?  I'd be curious what needed functions a dedicated GPS has that a smart phone can't provide.  I never considered any form of GPS a necessity, but smartphones seem to supply the functions I want in a GPS.  I own a handheld GPS and typically leave it home when bike touring and when backpacking.

I'll check out your app.

Routes / Re: West from Missoula : TransAm or Lewis & Clark?
« on: July 08, 2014, 01:44:39 pm »
Of those two I have only done the TA and was going the other direction at that, so I can't compare.  I will say that section of the TA was a nice ride.

Gear Talk / Re: Why not use my [insert bike here] on GDMBR?
« on: July 08, 2014, 01:00:23 pm »
On the Walmart bike "thing"...

I know of a few instances of folks successfully riding bikes of that caliber on long tours.  One even had bought not only the bike but camping gear of a similar quality, not sure it it was actually from walmart though.  He had travelled from Japan and bought the gear here with the intent of disposing of it after the tour.  He was road touring though.

I also used to know a guy who rode crazy hard and technical single track on a bike that was not only of that kind of poor quality, but it was also ancient.  I never understood how he managed it, but he did.

So, while I wouldn't recommend riding the GDMBR on a walmart bike, I don't doubt it is possible and wouldn't be too shocked if someone had done it.

Gear Talk / Re: From the road: least used gear, most appreciated gear
« on: July 04, 2014, 05:59:18 pm »
Something I really appreciate is my woolen cap and my gloves for chilly mornings. However, during summertime on the trans am you would never need that.
Not necessarily true.  In the Rockies you can get a short cold snap or even snow in any month of the year.  We did the TA an especially hot year and still had a few cold mornings and a freezing afternoon/evening once as well.  I took my light gloves and cap and used them in the Cascades and Rockies.

General Discussion / Re: Frame building
« on: July 04, 2014, 11:32:08 am »
I build my own frames ( fillet brazed steel) and am going to build my first touring frame, i'm looking for ideas for tube sets that other builders like to use, this is a small frame ( i'm 5'6" 125 lbs) thanks

My experience with frame building is limited to one a long time ago, so don't put too much faith in my comments.  Consider them as food for thought.

Given how light you are and the fact that it will be a small frame, I would be inclined to build pretty light unless you pack especially heavy.  If you carry a reasonable load of 30 pounds or less you will still be loaded lighter than most riders with no gear at all.  Even if you packed 50 pounds of gear you would still be more lightly loaded than a lot of unladen riders.

Personally, I'd build light and pack light.  If you want to use longer chain stays and more relaxed angles then go for it, but at your weight I'd tour on something closer to a road race bike than a touring bike, but that is just my preference.  Actually I do that even though I am 70 pounds heavier than you.

Gear Talk / Re: From the road: least used gear, most appreciated gear
« on: July 04, 2014, 06:07:22 am »
I actually have a Pak-Lite, it is a little cap you put on a rectangular 9v battery... it is miniscule and does 600 hours on low... amazing functionality. I think it may be the ultimate in light and functional.
Interesting.  I can see where it might work well for some.

It isn't particularly small or light when you include the battery, so unless you need that kind of battery life it might be over kill.  My little eGear Pico claims 17 hours of battery life and that is enough for me to tour a very long time since I typically use it only a few seconds at a time.  The same batteries lasted me for a coast to coast trip, a week long tour, and a couple week of backpacking.

Those who use their lights a lot will probably not like the Pico because of limited battery life (17 hours).  For them the 600 hours of the Pak Lite may be just the ticket.  It would allow long hours or reading in the tent.

Me, I could probably cross the country 20 or more times on 600 hours of battery so I see no reason to carry a 1.6 ounce battery.  For me, the Pico seems to be just about the right battery life (17 hours), weight (0.2 oz including batteries), price ($10), and convenience (it is on a cord around my neck).

I really like having it on a lanyard.  When I used a headlamp it was never handy when I needed it, so usually I just did without.  With the Pico I have that 5-10 seconds of light  that I need right at my fingertips.  With other lights I have used, when I need 5-10 seconds of light I'd need to spend 2-3 minutes finding the light, so I usually didn't bother.

Gear Talk / Re: From the road: least used gear, most appreciated gear
« on: July 03, 2014, 05:55:31 pm »
::).  After 2 weeks on the transamerica, our least used items are headlamps, collapsible kitchen sink, book/kindle.

That matches my experience with those items as well, except I never carried a collapsible kitchen sink.  My solution for the headlamp was to substitute a 0.2 ounce light (eGear Pico light) that I wear on a lanyard around my neck with a couple other items.

I skip the book/kindle and if I have time to read listen to an audio book on my phone.

Routes / Re: Bicycle Tour
« on: July 01, 2014, 04:28:34 pm »
Not sure how best to get from Provo, but you could probably join the Trans America somewhere east or north of there.  The TA is a nice and well established route and would have the advantage of having resources that are well scoped out and also you would probably meet a few folks riding the TA, most days depending on when you go.

If you go to Missoula you could wait to scope out the rest of the route until after seeing the maps for the various options.  I am pretty sure Adventure Cycling staff would help you with that while you were there.

For the Oregon portion of the coast I recommend picking up the Oregon DOT bike map for the coast.  The bike shops there usually have them for free, but if you go to the ODOT website they will mail you one.   You can also download a pdf of the map.   BTW, the Oregon section is one of my favorite routes.

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.

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