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Messages - tsteven4

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General Discussion / Re: North Nevada & Utah in summer
« on: June 04, 2013, 08:53:48 am »

When we were there their was a hiker biker site on Lake McDonald named Sprague Creek, I recommend it and a swim in the lake.  With a reasonably early start you shouldn't have a problem making it to the top of the pass in time.


General Discussion / Re: North Nevada & Utah in summer
« on: May 09, 2013, 08:10:55 am »

Have you considered the train from Portland to Mt Vernon?   We took this train from Seattle to Mt Vernon with our bikes last year.  If you do this I would highly recommend you make a reservation for your bicycles using the "Walk-On Bicycle Service".  With this service you do not need to disassemble or box your bicycle in any way.


General Discussion / Re: North Nevada & Utah in summer
« on: March 20, 2013, 07:50:31 pm »
Ciao Andrea,

sf, ca to pueblo co, western express, pueblo,co to yorktown, va trans am.  this will be a bit shorter, but you can hit extreme heat.  On this route in Utah in July we hit 115 degrees F = 46 degrees C.  Our strategy on the western express was to leave between 2am and 5am, and try to finish by noon or 1pm.  At times we had to carry 8 liters of water per person.  The western express is a beautiful route, but you need to be prepared to enjoy it.

you can see all the ACA routes here
western express, with waypoints here
trans am, with waypoints here


General Discussion / Re: Question: Highway Troubles?
« on: March 02, 2013, 06:17:41 pm »
Easily.  You might want to consider the adventure cycling route network.  I can think of a few places on ACA routes I have done were you had to be on the freeway for a stretch, but I would guess it is less than 1% of the distance.

Routes / Re: Traffic on the California section of the Pacific Coast Route
« on: February 18, 2013, 07:43:30 pm »
I have done variations on the PC twice, both times we did the Northern California part in early July.  It was remarkably less busy than I expected.  I would recommend high visibility clothing, specifically a visibility vest.  In 30 years of cycle touring the PC was the first time I wanted one.  The fog can really limit visibility.  We did have some issues with weekend traffic.  If you are touring on a three day weekend you might want to park it until it is over.  The Sunday of the fourth of July weekend was a particularly bad time to take 199 (off route) to Crescent City.  The ride across the Golden Gate Bridge into S.F. is about the best finish one could ask for.  You will be on a sidewalk protected from motor vehicles, but there are a lot of oblivious pedestrians and bike rental clients.  Overall it is a fantastic route, enjoy.

GPS Discussion / Re: Computer GPS vs ACA maps
« on: January 16, 2013, 08:40:06 am »
Hey newfydog,

Where was the Dakota in Lockhart Basin?  I seem to remember we got "lost" twice on one trip!

I think it is a matter of personal preference.  I prefer the minimal technology approach, paper for me.

I discovered some very nice places while I have been lost.  It is best to have a little extra gas in the tank though for the unexpected.

Routes / Re: Paris to the South of France (Mediterranean), and beyond
« on: November 26, 2012, 06:44:47 pm »
I'll second the "D" road or "white road" suggestion.  You just can't go wrong in France riding roads which are white on a Michelin 1:200000 scale.

and white roads with a green line next to them are even better.   the green indicates a tourist route, i.e. scenic.  yellow are a bit bigger than white but can be fine cycling.  red is to be avoided.

    red = International and national road network
   yellow =Interregional and less congested road network
   white = Regional or local road network

        green parallel line to road = Tourist route

Here is the last installment, Wallace to Thompson Falls.,-105.550567&sspn=6.026675,13.392334&t=h&z=11

This was a bit of a crazy way to go if you believe in straight lines, but if you believed in taking the shortest way from home to home you would stay home.  This is the day with 4 baby foxes frolicking in the road, a heard of elk, a moose, and more bald eagles than we could count.  It starts with Dobson pass, which has a big reputation as a steep climb.  For us it was just beautiful.  The road is actually closed a bit past the top due to a bit of a slide, but it was easily passable.   Thompson Pass is more of a wide open highway compared to the little forest road that is Dobson Pass.  The state park at Thompson Falls, where the maps ends, had plenty of room for us, although I guess we were lucky that the high water discouraged the normal boater and left room for us.

From here to Missoula there are two main choices, and this is the wea.  Hwy 200 or Hwy 200 to 135 to I90/frontage.  The south half of Hwy 200 goes through a reservation and we were told it would not be possible for us to stay there.  On the other hand there are lots of camping possibilities on 135 and in the I90 corridor.  We started west on 135 to check out Quinn's Hot Springs Resort with the intention of going back to 200 the next morning.  They wanted $120, so we moved on and ended up taking 135 to St. Regis and then the I90 corridor to Missoula.  It is very hard to get route information in the I90 corridor, the locals will tell you to just ride I90.  The only good advice we got, and it couldn't have been better, was from a Montana state trooper.  We ended up riding a combination of I90 and frontage roads.  The section of Old Hwy 10 that goes by Sloway campground was nice.   The Mullen Rd E is nice south from Superior while it lasts.  One particularly nice section the trooper told us about is Old Hwy 10 W near where the Fish Creek Road hits I90.  There is a bridge that is closed to vehicles but open to hikers and cyclists, so there is no traffic.  In between these bits we were on I90, though other possibilities probably exist.  We left I90 for good at Frenchtown, by then I90 is quite busy. 

We considered a much more adventurous route from 135 up Siegal Creek connecting with 9 mile road.  Much of that is dirt, and there is a big climb up Siegal creek.  Navigation skills are probably called for.

Here is another installment, Spokane to Plummer,-117.101898&sspn=0.65832,1.674042&t=m&z=11

The South Valley Chapel/East Valley Chapel section is fantastic.  I had heard people talk about the beauty of this region and I didn't understand, but riding that made me a believer.  We unfortunately missed the turn to South Chatcolet/East Chatcolet and continued straight on E. Hoxie Rd/278/58 to 95.  I imagine the Chatcolet section was very nice.  The part on 95 is grim.  The Trail of the Coeur d'Alenes intersects 95 in the north end of Plummer.  Continue into Plummer if you need supplies.

The Trail of the Coeur d'Alenes is well known and deserves its fine reputation.  The western 50 miles are especially amazing, another jewel.   The campground at Hawleys Landing in Heyburn State park has some very nice tent sites near the water.  The Trail of the Coeur d'Alenes was the carrot that made us do this NT/TA connection.  While it was a highlight, it turned out to be just one of many.

I will add another installment or two, there is another jewel yet to come.

Here are some detail on the approach to Spokane. 
You can download the kml file here:
or view it on a google map here:,-105.550567&sspn=6.026675,13.392334&t=h&z=11

North of Loon Lake we found 395 to be reasonable and enjoyable.  South of Loon Lake it is getting busy and unpleasant.  This route leaves 395 a few miles south of Loon Lake.  The riding is quite enjoyable.  There are a few short steep hills at the south end of Swenson Road.  We were told by a local cyclist the few miles on 291 can be hazardous during commuting hours, but we found it acceptable on a Sunday afternoon.  It is highly recommended to cross the river near nine mile dam as shown to get on the Spokane River Centennial Trail, which is fantastic, a real jewel.  This section ends at a dirt trail that takes you to a foot bridge that crosses the river to the Bowl and Pitcher park.  The final 100 feet of the bridge approach on the west side is quite difficult walking with a loaded touring bike, unfortunately the recent "improvements" were done without apparent consideration for cyclist.  We were less than impressed with the campground, it was expensive and crowded, but that's city living for you.   Following this section I recommend crossing the bridge to the west side again and continuing south on the Spokane River Centennial Trail.

I will post some other recommended bits on the route to Missoula as I have time.

We did a combination Northern Tier/Trans Am from Mount Vernon, WA to Boulder CO this year  We left the NT at Colville,WA, and picked up the Trans Am in Missoula, MT (Spokane, Plummer, Wallace, Thompson Falls, St. Regis).  A feature of this route is the Trail of the Coeur d'Alenes  There is also some beautiful riding in the Palouse region of WA.  We took a bit crazy route over Dobson Pass in ID to Thompson Falls and were rewarded with a liter of foxes, a herd of elk, a moose, and countless bald eagles.  I could fill out of few details of some very nice but somewhat obscure roads we found if you are interested.

On the other hand, Glacier NP is highly recommended as well and that route is well documented by the ACA.

Gear Talk / Re: Touring Bikes - Surly LHT vs Novarra Randonee
« on: November 12, 2012, 07:34:53 pm »
I would check out bruce gordon  I believe he has some 56cm Taiwanese BLTs left.  I have a Japanese BLT and my wife has a Petaluma BLT; 10,000miles is just a warmup for these puppies.  I am 5'11" and ride a 52cm BLT or a 51cm R&R ex, so the 56 might fit.  Of course he will make you a R&R in what ever size, but they are quite a bit more than the bikes you listed.

Routes / Re: Info. on Reno to Yosemite N.P.
« on: November 04, 2012, 10:03:40 am »
You can ride S Virginia/old 395 from Reno, over Ebbetts/Pacific Grade on Hwy 4, back over Sonora Pass on Hwy 108 and it will line you up for Tioga on Hwy 120.  As I recall Hwy 4 didn't have much of a shoulder approaching Calaveras Big Trees State Park.  Be aware that the west side of Sonora has a bit at a 26% grade, the east has a 23% bit.  An advantage of doing Sonora loaded is your front wheel will stay on the ground!  Sonora Pass is exceptionally beautiful.  The Carson Pass, Ebbets Pass and Monitor Pass area is home to the Death Ride.

Alternatively you could join the Sierra Cascades at Woodfords, and climb over Monitor Pass to get back to 395.  Or you could skip all these bonus climbs and just stay on 395 until Hwy 120.

If you are up for the climbing and have the time I would highly recommend the Ebbetts/Sonora variation. 

General Discussion / Re: Tales of Calamity and Woe
« on: October 31, 2012, 08:51:57 pm »
After 40 years of cycling:
1) all the ball bearings leaked out of one freewheel, fortunately some kind soul gave me a ride.
2) countless broken spokes, but none after I started riding hand build wheels from Bruce Gordon in Petaluma or Vecchio's Bicicletteria in Boulder.
3) a couple of broke chains.  no big deal if you have a chain tool.
4) lost rear rack bolt, best to carry spares and use loctite.  Weld failure on a blackburn rear rack, a u clamp from a hardware store got me going.
5) a broken seat in England, but they have pubs to help with the discomfort.
6) a broken rear axle in Crested Butte.  Don't loosen that quick release until you are at the shop and you probably will be able to ride there.
7) total failure of a Maillard Helicomatic hub in France, fortunately within hitchhiking distance of what was probably the only bike shop that still had a dusty replacement in back.
8) a broken toe clip back in the day, not a common failure mode in these times.
9) lost a screw on a cleat, lost a screw in a clipless pedal.  In Switzerland they broke apart a cleat set and sold me one cleat screw, in Lander Gannett Peak Sports donated a screw from a retired pedal.  Thanks.
10) total failure of a front brake cable stop descending Col de la Bonette on our day off, i.e. we left the panniers at camp.  Miraculously I was going slowly or else the list could have ended here.  TEST YOUR BRAKES, pull on then occasionally very hard while stopped to make sure nothing slips or vaporizes like that cable stop.  Look for frayed cables, including inside the brake lever.
11) a occasionally slipping, but not totally clutchless, Shimano LX freehub, it took from Colorado until nearly Nevada to find a replacement.  Kudos to Cedar Cycle in Cedar City UT who replaced it after hours, it was a relief to get that fixed before heading across Nevada.
12) a cracked frame racing a thunderstorm and some dirt bikes down Pearl pass.  I won, but it was the last trip for the Bridgestone MB1.
13) a broken seat rail leaving Vancouver, Canada.  This hurt, but eventually I got to a bike store in Bellingham WA.  Thanks to some Sunday truck stop mechanics at the border who donated a hose clamp the last half of that was ridden with a sort of level seat.
14) a couple of wheels trashed by the airlines, in one case the boxed bike was thrown on top of a luggage cart and slid off somewhere on the runway in Denver.  The exploded box was described by an airline employee as "opened for inspection by TSA"  HAH!

None of these was a calamity, but that cable stop failure could have been the end.

General Discussion / Re: Posting Images to Forum
« on: October 13, 2012, 01:11:20 pm »
It comes down to what Fred said
Click the Image icon, then put the URL of the image itself, not the web page, between the img and /img bracketed key words.

do this:

which will result in this:

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