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Messages - John Nettles

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Routes / Re: Shoulders / Bike Lanes on ACA Routes
« on: June 21, 2015, 03:29:07 pm »
You would need to provide a whole lot more info than lots of shoulders in order to give some reasonable recommendations.  For instance, I "assume" you are camping and prepared to cook your own food (as opposed to eating all meals in a cafe).  How far can you ride a day fully loaded.  How often will you realistically take a rest day?  Will you do rail trails with a fine gravel (screenings) surface or must it be paved).  How much traffic can you tolerate without a shoulder, i.e. 1,000 cars a day?  What time of year are you planning to ride?  What type of scenery do you like, i.e. mountains, farmland, wide open country.  Give some guidance and I (and others too I am sure) would give some suggestions.

Honestly, if you got the time, I would highly recommend you take the TransAm route (1st choice) or the NT (2nd choice) or better yet, a combination of routes (best choice).  Except for getting out of Portland greater area, you really should not have that much trouble with traffic.  Remember, THOUSANDS to TENS of THOUSANDS of riders have done these routes and there are very few fatalities.  I have done 50k+ miles of loaded touring over 35 years and the TransAm is still one of my favorite routes.  Sure you will have certain "traffic issue" areas but the routes is 4k+ miles long.

I understand your concern about traffic along the SC route.  Remember though it is trying to follow a specific pre-existing route so they were/are limited on were to go.  I too personally would not enjoy riding this section.  If you want cars to give you more space, consider installing a "safety wing" such as this one  I personally do not use one but have seen some cyclotourists who do and they swear by them.  You might need to be creative in the mounting if the packs get in the way.

If you currently are riding in the Portland on the road, you should be fine doing most ACA routes.

Best, John

Routes / Re: Shoulders / Bike Lanes on ACA Routes
« on: June 21, 2015, 01:17:44 pm »
I will let ACA give the official response as to what criteria they use to develop the routes.  My guess (and hope) is that they consider the overall picture when developing a route.  Criteria should include traffic counts, road condition (shoulder, lines of sight, etc.), services and spacing of them along the route (conv. & groceries stores, CG, hotels, etc.).  Historically, that appears to be the method they use.  However, newer routes, i.e. BR66, the traffic count is definitely out the window at times, i.e. 20k+ per day, in order to follow the predefined route. 

You should note that unless you go on the interstate or a high traffic count highway, you will not be ensured of a shoulder.  That said, almost any road with a traffic count of less than 2,000 vehicles per day is usually acceptable.  Obviously, less is better.  You may get a shoulder frequently on other types/count roads but it will not be almost guaranteed as when riding an interstate (blah riding but does have services).  Of course, you will typically have to exit the interstate near larger cities as it becomes to ride on them then.  I am pretty sure you can ride on interstates east of the Mississippi River ONLY in very limited situations.  West is typically not an issue except near larger cities or if a close by highway is readily available.  Check each state for verification.

I rode the original NT route (it has been modified a couple of times since) and it was fine.  You will always have some areas where the roads are not ideal but then you are on a 2500+ mile trip so that should be expected.  Overall, I have been very pleased on the majority of ACA routes and I have ridden about half of them.

If you have not done so already, my suggestion is for you to go check out the various journals over on and look at the pictures of the roads and see if you are content with it and make your decision.  You can search by state or route.  If you feel the need to deviate from the routes, be sure to check out each states' bicycle maps and traffic counts (typically under the states' DOT website) and make a route you are content with.

Whatever you choose, hope you have an enjoyable ride!

Routes / Re: Southern tier in the summer time
« on: June 20, 2015, 05:26:19 am »
If you drink a lot of water (1+ gallons) be sure to eat some potato chips or other salty foods often too or your electrolytes will get out of wack.  Happened to me once in deep south Texas after I drank about 2 gallons of water only and little food and it was the worst case of bonking I have had in 35 years.  Ironically, I happened to be riding on FM-666 (Devil Road).  It took about 2.5 days to fully recover.

Routes / Re: East 1/2 Transam - Late Summer - Hints?
« on: June 19, 2015, 09:20:32 pm »
Typically, city pools stay open to either until school starts (mid-August) or Labor Day.  You should be through by Labor Day.

The 30-year average temps August 1st in Ness City is 93.0 and the low is 63.9.  The averages for Eureka is 91.1 & 67.4.  Expect up to a 10 degree variance.

Note:  Missouri will be much worse than KS due to increased humidity and hills.  However, it is obviously doable.  To avoid the hills, use the Katy Trail and reconnect in Chester, IL.

I will let others give the info eastward.

Have an enjoyable ride!!

Routes / Re: noob looking to ride from VT to Acadia NP, ME
« on: June 18, 2015, 04:57:06 pm »
Welcome!  You could always head north to the Northern Tier route and turn east.  Use the and look for Things to Do, Biking, then down load the map to see what route you like.  Have a great trip!

Routes / Re: Info routes Clinton Mo to Denver Co
« on: June 15, 2015, 09:48:57 am »
Contact me privately if you want.  I have two routes that may help.  One goes from Clinton to Alexandria, KS (shorter and flatter but a tad busier BUT misses an entire section of the TA Route). The other goes from Clinton to Girard, KS where you can join up with the TA Route.


Routes / Re: Mission: Tulsa to Ashville!
« on: June 05, 2015, 12:41:14 pm »

Northern AR has only a few paved through roads (don't end in grave) which are typically the highways which are pretty busy and somewhat narrow.  AR has a "bike suitability map" online you can search for to make your own decision.  Personally, I would not ride across AR on US-62 so if you are up to a lot of meandering and with limited services, then northern AR would be fine.  Otherwise, you could go from near Ft. Smith to at least to the east side of Little Rock and then continue east to Memphis or go NE up toward the corner of the state (your original route).  Consider where you want to cross the Mississippi as there are not a ton of crossings.

If you want a route from Tulsa to Memphis via Central AR (first half is very hilly), contact me privately. 

Routes / Re: Mission: Tulsa to Ashville!
« on: June 03, 2015, 09:58:52 pm »

I live in Tulsa and would be happy to help you out of Tulsa.  I would strongly suggest you look at the Arkansas Bike Suitability map and see if you want to ride northern Arkansas.  If you do, I highly recommend you not ride west of Fayetteville to Harrison during a weekend as the traffic is worse.

If you do a central AR route across AR (Ft. Smith area to Memphis) I can help you with a route.

Both AR & OK have lots of semi-narrow highways with no shoulders.  AR makes it worse with lots of curves and hills.  Beautiful state to ride through though.

If you want help, contact me privately.

Best wishes!

Connecting ACA Routes / Re: UGRR to Great Allegheny Passage
« on: June 01, 2015, 09:01:25 am »
I don't quite get what you mean.  The UGRR Pittsburg SPUR (not the regular route) ends in Pittsburgh where the GAP begins (Point State Park).  If you mean connecting from somewhere else on the UGRR, please provide where on the UGRR you would like to connect, i.e. Milford, OH, as that is a whole different answer.

Happy Trails!

Routes / Re: Kansas City to ACA Lewis and Clark Route?
« on: May 30, 2015, 09:04:09 am »
If you have not already bought your ticket, one easy way to deal with traveling through larger cities is to ride early Sunday so you exit the city limits by 10:00am.  Hardly any traffic typically.

Google does show several bike lanes (you clicked on Bicycling in the Getting Around box below the search box, correct).  There is a bike path under the I-70 bridge and then it shows a "cycling friendly" road is Parallel Parkway on the NW side (KS side).  Go west to say 91st street and then north toward Levenworth and Atchison.  NOTE: I am not from KC area and am only using Google Maps for the about info.

Hope you have a good ride!  John

GPS Discussion / Re: BR66 GPS Data ??
« on: May 20, 2015, 01:22:00 pm »

Thank you for the reply. Yes, I did read the FAQ section prior to my post.  While you did not address it, based on your answer I assume ACA will not be offering the service points and/or the way points in the future, especially not as a benefit to members as in the past.

For what it is worth, I can understand why ACA would charge for the data IF they are not a member and/or if they have not purchased the corresponding maps since I am sure there have been at least a few cyclists who have just downloaded the info and not purchased the corresponding maps.

I have been a member since BikeCentennial published the magazine on newspaper stock.  While ACA has grown dramatically since the 70s, the core values/mission seem to be slowly but steadily evolving away from its founding roots.  Inevitable I suppose but it doesn't mean I gotta like it  :).  I will still support ACA, namely since they are the only group involved in route development, but wish ACA would keep to its original core mission a little more.

Thanks for considering the feedback Jennifer and thanks for all you and the Mapping Staff do!


GPS Discussion / Re: BR66 GPS Data ??
« on: May 19, 2015, 11:32:25 pm »
Honestly, it is probably because I am getting to be old fogie and originally learned how to use Waypoints to do routes way back when.  For some reason, I have a really tough time wrapping my head around tracks as routeable info, i.e. gives directions.  Overall though I strongly do not like to do direct routing on the GPS but prefer follow the road.

I figured that about the service points but just wanted them for free.  I can somewhat understand charging for the waypoints/track points, but the service points are much more fluid than the paper maps so they should be included.  Perhaps if they did not charge if you bought the paper maps.  It seems ACA is getting like the airlines where they are starting to charge extra for things that used to be included in the membership price.

GPS Discussion / Re: BR66 GPS Data ??
« on: May 19, 2015, 08:48:15 pm »

I see that we are now required to purchase the data for the BR66.  Will all routes eventually be converted to a profit center like the BR66?  Is this no longer a benefit of membership I take it?  Will the routes and/or service points be made available?  I personally do not like tracks and prefer waypoints and service points.

Thanks, John

Routes / Re: Texarkana to Las Cruces
« on: May 14, 2015, 09:50:55 pm »
If you are talking about the Almagordo to Las Cruces stretch, that is less than 70 miles so you "should" be able to do that, especially if you are credit card touring.  I would study the weather almanac for the wind history during the time you are expected to be there to get an idea as to the wind direction and speed.

Best wishes, John

Routes / Re: Texarkana to Las Cruces
« on: May 13, 2015, 08:53:11 pm »
Can't speak about the early sections.  If you want scenery, from Plains, a slightly better route would be to take US-380 to Capitan (home of the original Smokey the Bear), then south on NM-48 to Ruidoso.  Then Carrizo Canyon & White Mountain Roads to  US-70.  South on NM-244 to Cloudcroft then downhill to Almogordo.

US-70 from Alamogordo to Las Cruces is fine.  There are NO services along US-70 here except water at White Sands.  If possible, camp at White Sands (have to trek 100 feet?? off the road and have permission).  Wind can be your best friend or enemy here.

You didn't say when you are traveling but Cloudcroft gets quite cold at night.  Be sure to check weather averages for the time of year you plan to go, especially if you plan to camp near Cloudcroft.

Best wishes, John

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