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Messages - Bicycle Rider

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46
General Discussion / Forum keeps forgetting my password.
« on: August 01, 2011, 02:36:53 pm »
I have had to use the "forgot your password" option twice today, and I typed in the exact same password both times, succesfully. Since I didn't get a "password already in use" notice and the password is being entered by Windows I know it isn't my error. Is anyone else getting this?

47
Routes / Re: Need help planning route through "the land of cotton".
« on: August 01, 2011, 02:01:29 pm »
Columbia SC to Dallas TX is a tough one. The most direct route is right across northern Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, southern Arkansas and eastern Texas. Lots of bad roads and bad food (but plenty of nice, courteous people). The main roads in this area tend to have no shoulders, gravel shoulders or small shoulders full of rumble strips. Back roads would be much less trafficked but require a lot of careful planning and good maps. You would also have to skirt the huge Atlanta area if, like me, you avoid major cities.

IOW, you're saying the rest of The South is just like the Carolinas? ;D   Here's what I've learned in the past ten years:

  • There are two types of pavement (if you don't count "crush and run" as pavement, that is): Asphalt and "chip and tar", which is basically gravel laid on top of tar which holds it together. I'm on an expedition type touring bike; long wheelbase, triple cranks, real low gears and touring tires. So these are usable, if not preferable.
  • "...no shoulders, gravel shoulders or small shoulders full of rumble strips" is irrelevant, because the drivers all go around you. And I mean really around you, into opposing lanes if necessary, or wait until it's blatantly obviously safe to do so. All without horns. Probably because there are no shoulders. Roads with shoulders they tend to just whiz by, just like in the cities.
  • Smaller "cities", meaning those with populations less than 100,000 are pretty much the same, and make pleasant POIs/stopping points.
  • There are a lot of state highways which most city dwellers would probably consider "back roads", and are very pleasant to ride, as long as traffic isn't too heavy (see previous item on shoulders).
  • The quality of the food is a matter of personal taste. And fast food is everywhere  ;)

These "back roads" would be my preferred route, actually. I would prefer avoiding really large cities (like Atlanta) whenever possible, as long as there are places to resupply and sleep. Camping is preferred, but I would like to use a motel at least once and a while. National Forest campgrounds are probably my best bet if the Carolinas are any indication, as I'm on a bicycle carrying a tent, not one of those Rolling Waldorf Astorias the "posers" in these parts call "campers".
 

If you could make your way to just south of Nashville you could ride the Natchez Trace (A ride on my to-do list) to Natchez MS. This would be a somewhat zigzag route but would make about 1/3 of your trip to Dallas very pleasant. I believe the Southern Tier goes through or near Natchez.

A little trick I often use is to follow highways that parallel interstates. They are usually lightly trafficked and have plenty of services.

Where is the Natches Trace (it's not a mountain bike trail is it)? I don't see anything on the ACA route diagrams in the South except the Underground Railroad Route, which is north/south. Naturally, I don't expect any one person to know how to get all the way across, which is why I am asking so early. But a bunch of pieces that can be linked together (or at least warnings of routes to be avoided) maybe I can put together into something enjoyable. As I noted earlier, I have the entire US available down to a scale of 1 inch = 500 feet. But no details about the "roads" themselves.

Edit: I found the natchez trail, and at first glance it does look good all the way from Nashville area to the Jackson mississippi area, which is directly east of dallas/FW area. So I have a feasable route to the middle of Mississippi, at least.

48
Routes / Need help planning route through "the land of cotton".
« on: July 28, 2011, 11:20:27 am »
This is my first post here, so please excuse me if I inadvertently step on any "A.C.A. Forum specific" rules of etiquette. :-[

I am in the primary stages of planning a double cross country bike trip. It will be a combination of camp & motel, all self contained (I will post in the companions wanted section when I have a planned route). My intention is to start in late February or early March 2013, (Mayan calenders permitting ;) ). The itinerary so far is as follows: I want to start from my home just north of Columbia, SC, travel along "a southern route" so I can make a stop at my daughter's house just north on Dallas TX. I will be ending my western leg at my brother's house in L.A. From there I will ride north up to Paso Robles in time for the Great Western Bicycle Rally (Memorial Day weekend), then back home accessing the "Classic" Trans America trail via the Western Express route. The second half is easy, as the routes are almost completely mapped already. It is the Southern outbound route however that is causing me problems.

Originally I figured the Southern Tier would be the way out, however upon looking at it I see it goes completely out of my way. It is way too far south, also the Classic route is too far north. In fact if it weren't for the Underground Railroad route the entire Southeast would be barren of A.C.A. routes. It is almost as if A.C.A. is purposely trying to avoid this entire part of the country, preferring to go around rather than through it. Now back in 1982 I drove from San Diego to Dallas via U.S. 380, which was a nice quiet road, but rather barren as far as places to stay. At least on a bicycle, and of course that was almost thirty years ago. goodness knows what it is like now.

So, after my long overly winded explanation, here is my question: Does anyone know of a safe, scenic, self-contained-bicycle-tourist-friendly route through the center of the Dixie states? Mapping programs (I have DeLorme's TopoUSA 8.0 on my computer) show where roads go, but really nothing about them. I have browsed this forum all the way back to January this year and found nothing relevant to my needs.

Please help. ??? :'(

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