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Messages - tsteven4

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General Discussion / Re: Fleece in July?
« on: July 09, 2011, 01:07:06 pm »
Go for it!  The hee bee gee bees will be gone once you are on the road.  I don't think much about the gear anymore, but I usually get worked up about some minor perceived injury before the trip.  Once I am rolling I don't even think about it anymore.  Part of the joy of bicycle touring is realizing that all that $hit doesn't matter.  I think you will be fine based on your experience, but since you asked

My records for JULY cycle touring in the USA are 26 degrees F near Chemult, OR, and 115 degrees F at Hite, UT.  I stop short of fleece, but I would recommend light weight long underwear (top+bottom).  I also bring a heavier weight shirt.  On the coast I find I ride in my leg warmers and long sleeve riding jersey a lot.  The long sleeve riding jersey and the heavier weight shirt are a bit redundant, but whatever I ride in stinks and I like to have an alternative for passive activities.  In the mountains I like to be prepared for 30 degree F summer mornings.  Although not as extreme, it also can be surprisingly cold on the coast in the fog.

Here is a list I work from when packing.  I don't necessarily take every item on every trip.
1   T shirt
1   Nylon long pants
1   Wallet (money, credit cards, id)
1   short sleeve riding jersey
1      long sleeve riding jersey
2   Riding shorts
1   Nylon shorts (camp, swim)
1   Leg warmers
1   Light polypro top (or lightweight smartwool)
2   Bike socks
1   Polypro balaclava (or smartwool)
1   Polypro gloves
1   Sun hat
1   Thick polypro shirt
1   Polypro long underwear bottom (or lightweight smartwool)
1   Small Towel
1   Flip flops or crocs
1   Bike shoes
1   rain coat
1   rain pants
1   Helmet
1   Bike gloves
1   Headband
   Passport (international travel)
   Passport wallet (international travel)
1   Waterproof socks (very nice in wet places like Russia, I would not bring these in the USA)
   Mosquito repellent
   Sun screen 50
   Sun screen 15
   Aloe vera gel (for sunburn or chapped skin)
   Chap stick w sunscreen
   Aspirin (anti inflammatory)
   Hand wipes
   Sewing kit
   Tooth brush, paste
   Body Soap
   Gauze pads
   Adhesive tape
   Prepackaged sterile scrub brush
   Sleeping bag and stuff sack
   Tent w/o ground cloth, w/ poles, stakes, fly, stuff sack
   Blue foam pad
   Straps to tie tent, sleeping bag pad to rack
   Rear bike light
   Front bike light
   Patch kit and tire levers
   Spare tube
   Chain lube
   Spare spokes w nipples
3   Bike bottles
   Ink pen, also good for marking holes in tubes
   Bike tools (allen wrenches, open end wrenches, small screw driver, short combo headset/pedal wrench, spoke wrench, adjustable wrench, chain tool)
   Spare bolts, nuts, master link, kevlar spokes
   Lock tite
   Bike lock and key on loop to put around neck
   Swiss army Knife (corkscrew, bottle opener, can opener, blade)
   Pot w lid
   Water purifier w/  fresh chlorine drops
   Rope to hang food or use as clothes line
   Garbage bags to keep stuff dry
   Zip lock bags
   Stove w/ lighters
   Pot pliers
≤4   1L Collapsible water bottles (depends on climate, camping facilities)
   Camelback (desert only)
   Power bars or other anti-bonk food
   Dish soap
   Dish scrubby

FYI you can just plug a URL to a KML file (like you supplied) into Google Maps without installing Google Earth, which is nice

Plugging the URL into google maps doesn't work as well as you might hope.  Most of the adventure cycling KML files I generate exceed the limits for google maps, so you get a partially functional version in google maps (without a warning that lots of data has been omitted).  You will not see all the routes on the left pane of google maps, and for the routes you see you will not see all the waypoint and route information.  On the map pane you will also be missing some of the routes and corresponding information.

So unfortunately I think you will be much better off installing Google Earth on your computer and looking at the KML files that way.

And to make studying the maps easier see (you need google earth),
or select other viewing options at

General Discussion / Re: Just the Bear essentials
« on: July 07, 2011, 07:53:48 pm »
Be aware that much of the California section is shoulder-less two-lane road with lots of turns and a good amount of truck traffic (55 mph).  Can be done but it won't be relaxing by any means.  I wouldn't want to try it myself.

I couldn't agree more.  We rode from Grants Pass to Crescent City on 199 last year.  The California section was by far the most dangerous road we traveled between Portland, OR and LA.  I nearly ended up squished between the flatbed trailer of a semi rig and a rock wall next to the road.  It was so close I felt I had to pull my elbows in.  This involved a professional truck driver who made a very poor decision to pass on a corner with oncoming traffic.  But if you live through that Jedediah Smith Redwood State Park is very very nice.

Our experience matched the ACA map between Lander and Rawlins - small store at sweetwater, bar with food and camping at the lions club park in jeffrey city.  the lions club park is a cement pad with tables, shelter from the wind from two directions, shade and plenty of tumbleweeds (free, apparently unmaintained).   It was quite cold mid summer when we were there (2004).  We got water on the other side of the street near some apparently abandoned  barracks.  There might have been a motel open in jeffrey city, it looked questionable.   When we were there jeffrey city appeared to be barely hanging on, I believe the mining had fallen on hard times.  There was a restaurant between jeffrey city and rawlins, but we were going S to N and didn't stop there.  You can gander at the map and waypoints here  I don't recall any problematic road conditions between Boulder and Bozeman, other than construction in Yellowstone and lots of broken glass on the road near Lander.  There is a stretch on I80 east of rawlins, but the shoulder is very wide. 

By the way there was very nice hiker biker camping at Jenny Lake in the Tetons.  This is a smaller sought after campground, the nicest we stayed in in the Tetons Yellowstone area.  Personally I can't imagine not camping in the West so you may need to listen to somebody else on the accommodation recommendations.

I haven't been to Idaho from Yellowstone, but from Yellowstone N on the great parks route to Jasper is fantastic, especially Glacier/Waterton/Banff/Jasper NPs.  We deviated somewhat and went through West Yellowstone/Ennis/Bozeman/Helena/Lincoln.  Don't miss the Going to the Sun road (i.e. Logan Pass) in Glacier if you head that way.

Routes / Re: Gt Divide Snow
« on: June 11, 2011, 09:12:25 am »
maps showing the snow depth at observing stations (updated daily):  (looking good!)

google earth snow information (updated daily):
These graphically show SWE = snow water equivalent as a percentage of normal, but if you click on a station you can get the snow depth.  Sometimes it will say "Snow Depth: -99.9 inches", but if you click the "Site Info" link the data may be available.  The "Site Info" will also let you see the data for the last 7 days, so you can see how fast the depth is changing.
You can overlay the great divide route with this link:

Rocky Mountain / Re: Bosie to Salt Lake City (Heber UT) route help
« on: May 14, 2011, 09:42:01 am »
Not sure if you really want to go to Boise and SLC, but if this isn't a requirement you could take the Lewis & Clark route from Portland OR to Lolo MT, and the Great Parks Route to Allenspark, CO, nearly door to door on AC routes.  Online maps and google earth files are available here:

Routes / Re: Pac Coast: CA Park Closures Slated for later 2011
« on: May 14, 2011, 09:01:07 am »
Other pacific coast route parks on the closure list include Del Norte Coast Redwoods SP near Crescent City, Standish-Hickey SRA near Leggett, Russian Gulch SP near Mendocino, McGrath SB near Ventura.

Gear Talk / Re: Rain Covers AND Plastic Bags
« on: May 04, 2011, 08:17:18 pm »
But after a few days, the plastic bags get holes in them

Not my experience, my plastic bags have survived 4 month trips hole free.  I use thick garbage bags from the hardware store.  I double them, but I am paranoid.  Sometimes I get my paranoia under control and use a thinner inner bag.   I twist the top of the inner bag and tuck it in, and the twist the top of the outer bag and tuck it in.  Both are bags are inside the pannier.  I do leave my tools, which are in a nylon zip bag, underneath the plastic bags at the bottom of a pannier.  I do believe the tools could wear a whole in a plastic bag if they were inside one.  My experience is that this will stand up to torrential and sustained rain.  However, the bags do consume a bit of room.  And it is a pain to get in and out.

My wish for you is that whatever system you decide on goes untested on the road, let the sun shine!

Routes / Re: Paris to Prague to
« on: May 02, 2011, 08:09:58 pm »
Eurovelo  has a lot of routes, many of which are being developed.  See and

From personal experience it is very easy to wing it buying maps as you go and putting together the route as it happens.   I would tend to pick the smaller roads, which you may not consider "highways", because I think they are more enjoyable.  Most European maps have color coded roads indicating the the nature of the road.  For example on the Michelin maps in France the little roads are white (my favorite), one step up is yellow, and another step above that is red (which you may want to avoid).  See

The Passau to Wien (Vienna) bike route along the Donau (Danube) is a kick. 

General Discussion / Re: Shakedown Trip, still concerned
« on: April 28, 2011, 07:52:30 pm »

You should be concerned if you are attempting the WE in the summer!  I have posted in this forum about our experiences.  My recommendation would be to emulate the local population: "Almost all desert animals are smart enough to stay out of the sun during the hottest part of the day."  We got in a lot of miles before sunrise, this strategy worked very well.  It is a great route, but not for the unprepared.


Gear Talk / Re: Ground Cloth Recommends
« on: April 21, 2011, 07:56:50 am »
Like staehpj1 I also have gone from plastic sheeting to nothing.  With a waterproof sheet you must be very careful about the edges sticking out from under the tent.  Any rain running off the tent that lands on top of the sheet can run under the tent and create a pool for you to lie in.  I also don't believe that using a sheet under the tent extends the tents life.  The wear issues with the many tents I have owned are i) the coating on the fly fails which leads to water getting into the tent from above ii) the zipper on the door/net fails which can lead to water and mosquitoes getting in the tent.

I have one bike with 8 speed barcons and lx RD-M567.  no issues, high miles.
My wifes bike has 9 speed barcons and lx RD-M570.   This worked for many years fine, then it got sluggish on shifts from larger to smaller cogs, especially to the smallest cog from its neighbor, when the spring couldn't get the job done.  It would get to the point that it took a very long time to make the shift to the smallest cog.  The cable would be slack, the limit screw was properly set and not limiting the real derailleur.  Many minutes after attempting this shift it would sometimes drop in.  Cleaning and lubing the derailleur pivots helped for a while, but eventually this did not restore satisfactory performance.  Note that I wouldn't expect the friction shifting mode to help this situation at all.  Friction shifting would not strengthen the spring or reduce the friction it needs to overcome.  Replaced with xt shadow rd-m772.  no issues, but the cable routing goes a bit wide leaving the derailleur and may touch your panniers.  moderate miles on the 772.
I have another bike with 9 speed barcons and xt RD-M750.  no issues, but I haven't had this bike long and it has low miles.

Rocky Mountain / Re: Fry Canyon Lodge
« on: January 23, 2011, 04:37:17 pm »
In 2003 we camped in a dirt parking lot in Hite.  ONE HUNDRED FIFTEEN DEGREES.  It was not reasonable to get to Lake Powell as the water was very low that year and it would have involved tramping through a lot of mud.  The park service had an outdoor shower at the rest room.  We took showers every 15 minutes in a tee shirt to help with the heat.  There was an air conditioned store.  I think the rented some bungalows as well.  We might have stayed at Fry Canyon lodge, but we called ahead and they were going to be closed when we went by.

At times we carried two gallons of water each.  Most cyclist we saw ran out of water on the section between Milford, UT and Baker NV.  We left Milford at 3am at made it to the Border Inn on Hwy 50 (off route) at about 1pm.  Two gallons each was sufficient for us given the early start.  We had called ahead to Baker and the accommodations were all booked so we went to the Border Inn.  Never having seen the accommodations in Baker I have to believe they are a better choice than the Border Inn, but the Border Inn did have food and lodging.

I would highly recommend you strive to be self sufficient.  There are few if any opportunities for water between towns for many sections.  Other cyclist told us they spent many hours besides the side of the road trying to get someone to stop when they ran out of water.  People seem to be afraid to stop on some of the lonely sections such as the one  between Baker and Milford, and there is very little traffic, I seem to remember one car an hour.  Our strategy of starting early (rolling between 3-5am) and arriving around noon worked well.  The sun rises are spectacular.  Carry lots of water anyway, although you will use less when you ride in the cooler parts of the day/night.  Of course another strategy would be not to ride in July (or August)!

Be aware of the possibility rattlesnakes on the shoulder or road.  They can be difficult to spot off the road in the dirt and brush, at times you may want to just pee in the road.

Routes / Re: CO Routes 145, 50, & 160 - Safety?
« on: January 13, 2011, 02:01:29 pm »
145, placerville to cortez, loved it, quite scenic
160, cortez to del norte, liked it, quite a bit more traffic at times.  mesa verde is a worthwhile detour, yes it is uphill to the CG, and a bit of a ride from the CG to the ruins, count on a day for a loop to the ruins from and back to the CG.
50, poncha spring to montrose, liked it, can have strong winds blowing from the West around Blue Mesa Reservoir.
Ok, I at least like about everything!

I don't recall any of these inciting much fear, other than a section with CDOT dump trucks roaring by at 50mph on the gravel when we couldn't keep up with the pace vehicle in a construction zone.

550 from durango to ridgeway is a worthy alternative to 145.

If you don't mind some 4wd road you can get from silverton over cinnamon pass to lake city (not for the faint of heart, count on some pushing), then take 149 N.  See which also covers some of 160, 550, 145.

From Blue Mesa Reservoir you can take 92 NW, 133 NE, 82 SE through Aspen over Independence Pass, 24 N, 91N to I70, bike path E to 6 over Loveland Pass, I70 corridor E mostly on frontage roads.  Yes, I am not one for straight lines.  Don't know how you would get through Denver if you are heading east though.  If you want to go north from around Idaho Springs watch out for Black Hawk, where cycling is against the law!

Lovely riding in western Colorado, I would highly recommend it.  Be prepared for cold mornings (~40 but could be a bit colder) in the mountains in summer.

There is a CDOT map with shoulder ratings and traffic volumes,  For a hard copy of the Colorado Scenic Byways & Bicycle Map, send your name and mailing address to

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