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Messages - staehpj1

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General Discussion / Re: One piece earphone while riding
« on: September 15, 2016, 08:16:31 am »
I do not often wear earbuds while riding, but will say that I have not found them to block my hearing much if the volume isn't cranked too high.  My rule of thumb is that if I can't hear the tires of passing cars well before they reach me on a low traffic road I wouldn't take the chance or would look for different ear buds.  I have worn them for many hours of trail running and always found that I could hear a faster runner approaching quietly behind me.

Most of the time I just play music in my head or even sing out loud when on tour if I want music, but there have been times when an audio book was a nice thing.  Crossing the emptiness of West Texas or Kansas I think that sometimes listening to something actually kept me more awake and alert.

People tend to have pretty strong opinions on this topic.  I do not other than to say that if it makes you oblivious to your surroundings you shouldn't do it.  If you are still alert and can hear cars approaching from behind I wouldn't consider it a bad thing.

General Discussion / Re: southern tier
« on: September 14, 2016, 04:17:23 pm »
I guess my worry is how my body will cope with riding day in and day out for so long.  In October, we are riding across North Carolina --7 days, 550 miles-- with real mountains so  I  should  get an idea what that will feel like.. My sense is that if I can do this, more will be possible
I think that if you ride sensible for you daily distances you will be fine.  Do be careful with managing your diabetes though as there are some pretty remote places where getting in trouble has higher penalties.  On the other hand in the more remote sections of the Southwest most people will stop to assist if they see someone in trouble.

I am kind of a minimalist packing as little as 12 pounds of gear for a camping and cooking trip.  So keep that in mind when reading my suggestions.

For a rain/wind jacket I usually go with a light DWR wind shirt and don't use a real rain coat.  I tend to be soaked either way, whether it is from the rain or sweat, so I just need to keep the wind chill off.  I have used a Stoic Wraith windshirt and more recently a Northface one.  They are in the 3-4 ounce range.  I didn't find either for sale just now when I did a google search though.  If I am somewhere that I expect a lot of rain I have carried a Dri Ducks emergency poncho (2.8 oz.) for in camp.

I have carried a 12 oz. down vest as a pillow, but I have grown attached to my Exped UL pillow (2 oz.) so I have not taken it the last few trips.  I do take a puffy down sweater sometimes but do not usually wear it while riding.  It is a Outdoor Research Filament Down Pullover and weighs 7.3 oz.

I really like my Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XLite Sleeping Pad.  It is super comfy, packs tiny and weighs only 12 oz.

Gear Talk / Re: Flying with synthetic luricant
« on: September 13, 2016, 07:09:11 am »
If there's a small bottle wrapped up in a ziplock bag and packed with toothpaste and deodorant, there's a good chance TSA won't notice it on X-rays and won't give you any guff about it.  Just be ready to toss it if TSA or Customs doesn't like it.
Do as Pat suggests and keep the bottle 2 ounces or less and you are unlikely to have a problem. It has worked for me.

On the other hand it is usually pretty easy to hit a bike shop in the first few days of a tour.  Barring that a hardware store or gun shop will probably have Boeshield T-9 or a walmart will have some suitable lube.

General Discussion / Re: southern tier
« on: September 12, 2016, 10:19:56 am »
I have never done anything like this before, so want as much information as possible.  I have the ACA maps and support (my daughter) for the the first 3 weeks.  Being almost 70, artificial hip and type 1 diabetic, I want to be as prepared as possible.. I am reading forums as I find them.
One other thing...  Starting in the west the route is pretty hard in the beginning.  If starting in the west, either make sure you are in good climbing shape from the start or plan to suffer getting away from the coast.

Starting in the east would have the advantage of letting you have plenty of time to ride into shape as you go if that is an advantage for you.

Routes / Re: Underground Railroad Route??
« on: September 12, 2016, 07:08:39 am »
I have not done the UGRR, but have done a good bit of touring and have looked at the route, so take this for what it is worth.

It would depend on how much cold you are willing to tolerate, how many miles you ride per day, and how short or long of notice you need at the start.  If you are doing long mileage days you might actually be able to plan based on the forecast at the time if you can go on short notice, otherwise i'd probably plan on not arriving at the end until around the end of March or the beginning of April.

Figure out how many days you will take, pick and end date and count back to pick a start date.  So if you will average around 60 mile days you can probably start around the end of February.  If you are on a slower pace you can start earlier (30 mile days would allow starting at least a month earlier).  If you are doing long days you need to start later.

Gear Talk / Re: Getting bike and gear to start of tour
« on: September 12, 2016, 06:49:10 am »
I prefer to fly with my bike when possible.  It simplifies things to not have to find my way to a place it was shipped to and arrive when they are open or to get a room.  I get a kick out of riding right out of the airport.  Getting to Astoria is an additional concern, some ride there from the airport and some use a bus or a rental car.  We rented a car and drove to Newport to start.

Before buying tickets, do take into account that airline charges for the bike can and do vary widely.  I try to fly Southwest when possible and avoid the less bike friendly airlines.  I typically go to Southwest's site if the price aggregators (Kayak, Expedia, etc.) don't show SW flights. 

I do find that for getting the bike home at the end of the tour I usually don't want to spend time boxing up the bike in a strange town, so on the way home I most often have a bike shop pack and ship it.  That has typically run $40-60 for the shop and $40-60 for the actual shipping.  The bikes shops typically get a much better deal on shipping than you will if you walk into UPS or FedEx store.

I have never traveled with a trailer though and really prefer not to so I probably never will.  Your preference for a trailer may shift the preferred method of getting it all to the start.

General Discussion / Re: southern tier
« on: September 12, 2016, 06:33:57 am »
ColoradoGuy, you did two routes across the southern part of the United States, but, in my understanding, neither route was the "Southern Tier" Route. At least in my vocabulary, "Southern Tier" specifically describes the ACA route.

I also see a lot of people use the term "TransAmerica" to describe any trip across America, but I don't subscribe to that terminology either.
I agree that the term Southern Tier or Trans America implies the ACA routes by that name.  I think it is confusing to use them as a generic term for any route across the South or across the US.  I do still use those names if i am doing mostly the ACA route even if I deviate a good bit, but not if I do an entirely different route.  That said, info from someone who rode different but similar routes can still be useful if they are in the same general geographic area.

To the OP, specifically what type of info are you looking for?  The ACA route description is a start, buying the ACA maps and perusing them will provide lots of specific info, and as has been mentioned there are tons of journals on including mine.  Those three things should pretty much cover it for most of the typical questions.

Routes / Re: Hammock Camping
« on: September 08, 2016, 11:59:39 am »
Hi, I'm in the beginning stages of a cross country trip. I plan on leaving early next June. I'm looking to go west to east and finish in Boston where I'm from. I'm leaning on a northern to mid country route. Has anyone hammock camped? Does anyone have a strong feeling one way or another between tent and hammock?

I always thought a tent was way more suitable for a coast to coast trip.  Unless you just really hate sleeping on a decent pad on the ground, I wouldn't consider a hammock.  My advice is to get a decent pad and a tent.

I have heard of a few folks that were die hard hammock users who managed, but tents are way more common on the coast to coast rides I have done.  I actually don't recall seeing anyone on the Trans America or the Southern Tier using a hammock.  I camped a lot of places where it would probably been either difficult or impossible to find a way to hang a hammock.  I suppose if you carry a pad too you could use it like a bivy when necessary, but I don't see much benefit to a hammock unless you really hate sleeping on the ground.

I did the ST with a bivy and found it OK, if a bit sweaty, when it was hot and the bugs ruled out cowboy camping.  Most folks find a bivy too confined though.

Routes / Re: Pacific Coast - Seattle to SF - Fall 2016
« on: September 04, 2016, 05:45:19 pm »
The state parks are generally all pretty nice.  I think Harris Beach was my favorite and I chose to spend a second night there.  For Oregon I found the ODOT Pacific Coast bike map to be my most used resource.  Elsewhere I used the ACA maps.  The book was interesting and I used it to get excited about the trip, but didn't bother to carry it.

On this route you likely will fall in with a group and wind up stopping in places that the group picks.  I found that to be one of the nice things about this route.  Since everyone goes N-S and typically go similar daily miles it makes it easy to make friends.  I didn't choose to ride with anyone, but did enjoy camping with the same folks most nights.  I met some really nice folks and it greatly enhanced the trip.

General Discussion / Re: Trans am route, map or gpx Garmin.
« on: August 25, 2016, 07:45:57 am »
ACA maps are great and I've used lots of them. They do however give you a sort of tunnel vision. For instance when I did the Transam I didn't realize we were within 15 miles of Wichita Kansas, a big city, until I looked at our location on a road map. State tourism places usually have free road maps for their state, see if you can pick one up as you go into a state, it'll give you the big picture. When you leave that state either bin the road map it or send it home as a souvenir
Yes I do the same in most states.  It is nice to have the state map in addition to the ACA maps.  I'll add another option for what to do with them when done with them.  I often gave them to another tourist going the other direction.

Gear Talk / Re: Fixing panniers
« on: August 21, 2016, 05:53:56 pm »
Gorilla Tape works far better than ordinary duck tape.
Gorilla tape is good stuff, but other tape can be good too.  There are a lot of grades of duct tape.  The 3M stuff that comes in colors from Lowes or Home Depot is decent stuff.  Most but not all of the silver stuff is garbage.

I think Gorilla tape or the color 3M stuff are both great for pannier repair.

Routes / Re: Why does the PC route bypass Olympic Peninsula?
« on: August 11, 2016, 07:38:22 am »
For what it is worth I started in Seattle for my ride down the coast.  I took the ferry to Bremmerton and picked up the PC route.  I found the ACA PC route in that part of Washington to be one of my least favorite sections of any AC route I had ridden.  I definitely would consider something different next time.  I loved the rest of the ride and am not sure if I will use a more coastal route there next time or just start in Astoria.  I probably will do the PC again in some modified form.

General Discussion / Re: Trans am route, map or gpx Garmin.
« on: August 08, 2016, 06:55:25 am »
Either can work.  I have done a good bit of touring with ACA maps, some with a dedicated handheld GPS, and some with my phone supplementing paper maps.  For the TA I'd use the paper maps if doing it again.  I would have the cell phone along so a quick google search would be possible, but I'd probably keep it turned off when not in use to conserve battery.

The TA route is straight forward enough that you really don't need to be constantly watching for the next turn.  One of my companions seemed to be able to remember the whole days route pretty reliably most days.  I just kept the current map in my map pouch and followed it.

I loved using GPS on a tour where where I was riding dirt roads and trails most of the time and there was little to no signage a lot of the time.  I did find keeping batteries charged to be a hassle.

Also I'd miss all the info on the back of the ACA maps.

As far as the bulk and weight of the paper maps...  I pack pretty crazy light (my most recent tours were in the 9-15 pound base gear weight) and still felt the maps were worth carrying on road tours.  I typically do mail them home as I finish with them and if you will be having any stuff sent from home along the way you could plan on having some of the maps sent to you.  If worried about the weight or bulk, you could consider taking maps enough to get you over the mountains at the end you start from and have the rest sent to you via general delivery when you hit the plains.

I am not sure where the ACA is on this, but a dedicated phone app that would allow all the features of the paper maps along with the advantages of the GPS would be the best of both worlds if you can manage the battery issues well enough.  I used an app like that on when hiking the John Muir Trail.  I carried a couple extra phone batteries and a small power wallet and left the cellular part of the phone turned off.

In the towns where can I get the water: there are public water-sources or do I have to enter for example a bar / restaurant or similar place ?
I most often fill up my bottles in convenience stores.  Usually they let me use ice from the soda fountain as well.  I typically buy something while I am there.

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