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Messages - John Nettles

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Routes / Re: Jacksonville FL to New Orleans...
« on: January 31, 2015, 09:19:59 pm »
90 is the way to go. I would use the Mobile bay ferry west of Pensacola. I strongly advise against trying 90 going west out of New Orleans.
I agree.  When I did it this past October, I took the parallel parish (county) roads though they tended to be longer as they followed the rivers.  I was only on US-90 for a couple of miles total between Luling (bike path to Luling) and New Iberia.  When I was I had a full lane shoulder. 

Classifieds / Re: Looking for a used Garmin for my trike
« on: January 30, 2015, 01:02:20 am »
If you plan on using maps to design your own routes, when you buy a used unit, be sure to get the maps too.  Garmin ties all the mapping software to the unit it was originally loaded onto.  In other words, if you do not get the maps that are "joined" to the unit, you will have to pay $100 for a new mapping set.

If you are computer handy, you can also get free to low-cost public software maps but I am not handy so know little about them.

An older Garmin Vista HCx is a good starter unit.

Welcome to touring!

Routes / Re: Trans american--western express
« on: January 29, 2015, 08:40:33 am »
All depends on when you arrive in Colorado.  Are you starting the trip in March or arriving in Colorado in March?  I would not show up before June 1st at the very earliest.  That said, I think all the passes on the Colorado portion are kept open year round (may close for a day or two following a snow storm) so it is doable.  However, the roads are narrower due to the snow banks and I would definitely not recommend it.

Additionally, if you can wait until early Summer (mid-June) the weather is a lot nicer.

Have a good ride!

Routes / Re: Jacksonville FL to New Orleans...
« on: January 28, 2015, 04:08:11 pm »
I'm late to the discussion but I rode from Key West to Galveston last year mainly along the coast.  It was nice.  However, there is a lot more traffic (except when taking the county roads).  I only used US-90 from between Ocean Springs and New Orleans with short sections here and there in other places.  You could then hug the coast until you get to Perry, FL then FL-20 to High Springs where, I think, the ACA ST intersects.

The pros are much better scenery (road between Pensacola and Navarre is one of the best around), all the seafood you can eat (I got sick of eating shrimp and fish everyday), more services.

Cons are heavy traffic from Ocean Springs west to New Orleans; from near Top Sail SP in Florida to Navarre, around Panama Beach (do NOT cross the FL-30 bridge from Panama City to Tyndall AFB on a Friday at quitting time (one of my worst experiences ever); little stronger wind, slightly cooler.

Overall, I would do again, especially east of Grand Bay if you do not want to go to New Orleans.

Have a good trip!


Routes / Re: roads in south carolina
« on: January 25, 2015, 10:59:29 pm »

Hop on over to and review some of the journals for the Atlantic Coast Route using this link  Or you can do a search on a larger town ON THE ROUTE near you to narrow down further.  If the others had the same problem, you might need to deviate.  However, if not, you "should" be fine.  Honestly, it is the trailer that will cause more aggrivation but that is bigger so maybe the drivers will give you more room.

Hope this helps, John

Routes / Re: roads in south carolina
« on: January 24, 2015, 05:55:08 pm »
While I am not familiar with SC (last rode in it almost 20 years ago), I am a bit confused as to what route you are talking about.  Are you talking about the ACA AC route or the state of SC's mapped routes.  If the latter, which ones?  Perhaps I may not be the only one a bit confused.  While it is probably too early in the year, the Blue Ridge Parkway would mostly cure the traffic problems if heading north.

Routes / Re: US Route 83
« on: December 28, 2014, 07:26:21 pm »
If you are set on following US-83 closely, you really do not need a cue sheet as there are few if any "detours".

Any town over 1,500 will definitely have a grocery store.  Between 500 and 1,500, you might or might not have one.  Less than 500.  Probably not.  Should hit a combo convenience/pizza/sandwich store (with limited groceries) in almost every town with at least 500.

Occasionally you will see them elsewhere.  The Plains have great people with great hospitality.  Camping in the city park should not be an issue until you get down to Oklahoma and Texas as long as your are respectful.  Showers at the local pool (between Memorial and school starting) typically in or near the city park.

 Be sure to look ahead a few days to ensure you are passing through a big enough town to resupply.  Carry an extra meal or two in your packs.  You will be fine.

Routes / Re: Miami to Bakersfield, want'n to stay out of Texas
« on: December 14, 2014, 02:06:29 am »
Short answer is yes.  I have toured both in Texas and Oklahoma and both are fine to tour in.  If anything, I have found the opposite to be true in that small town police are helpful.

Routes / Re: HWY 75 - Alligator Alley
« on: December 09, 2014, 04:38:27 pm »
You might consider taking the ferry from either Fort Myers Beach or Marco Island directly to Key West then riding back up the Keys.  I rode US-41 years ago and while OK, I would not do again.  I did the ferry (but reverse) and enjoyed it.  Bikes are easily done on the ferry.  Hope you enjoy the ride!

Routes / Re: US Route 83
« on: November 29, 2014, 12:58:23 pm »

Your P.S. makes me believe you won't be employed by the Great Plains tourism bureau :).  I know you truly do love the Great Plains but dang you made it sound like a ride through hell.  I'm still chuckling.

Routes / Re: US Route 83
« on: November 29, 2014, 10:39:19 am »
Last week, I DROVE US-83 between Carrizo Springs and Laredo.  It was Monday afternoon.  Traffic was really heavy.  While there was a 3' shoulder, it was just too much truck traffic and cars trying to pass for me to want to tour on it.  Traffic was almost continuous.  So that you know, I have toured extensively for 35 years and am not easily frightened.  All that said, it is ridable, just certainly not enjoyable or overly safe.  Sorry for the non-glorious ending to your tour.

As a side note, why go North to South when the winds definitely tend to be S-N?  I did a tour from Brownsville to Winnipeg several years ago and had many more tailwind days than headwind days.  Plus if you start in early to mid May, you might be able to time it so you have consistently decent temperatures as you ride north.  Just a thought.

Like the cue sheet :)

Routes / Re: Southern Tier, highway 78 Glamis to Palo Verde, Ca
« on: November 21, 2014, 10:59:01 am »

Gotta admit, I have toured the TA, PC, NT, AC, ST, GPN, LEC, and several other 30+ days tours in my 35 years and 50+k miles of loaded touring and have never seen a repeated "coordinated" effort.  I am not saying these repeated occurrences did not occur to you (only you and the "criminals" were present) but perhaps you should re-evaluate the effort it would take to do this.  And I do agree that it happens occasionally by happenstance to ME.

Heck, if I were driving and to time it so I pass another car when a cyclist (who is not participating in this effort AND is crossing an expansion joint at the precise time) is in the between us AND to make it happen hundreds of times strains credibility.  Please note I am NOT saying this does not happen but in all my tours, I have it happen once or less per week of touring and never the same trucks over and over.  Disclaimer:  I do not track when I cross expansion joints but will unfortunately probably begin doing so.

What gets me is how the EVIL dogs out there ALWAYS attack in pairs (one on each side) and ALWAYS on the uphills, in the rain, against the wind, while crossing expansion joints.

Let's go ride and find some dogs and truckers!  Back to the original thread now.

Routes / Re: Best Recommended Routes
« on: October 29, 2014, 07:29:44 pm »
I am not overly familiar with the "snow dates" of the northwestern states so will let others give the dates.  From there, if you add up the various segments (each route has a break down of each segment) between Tampa and say Washington and take that number and divide by 55 (to cover the extra rest days in the NPs), you will get the numbers of days minimum you will have to start.

For instance, say the snow date is September 10th on average.  You would probably want to be out of the Washington mountains by September 1st in case of snow (or be prepared to hunker down in a good tent or motel until it warms back up).  Then say it takes 150 days to get from Tampa to Washington.  That would mean you would need to start approximately April 1st.  However, you then need to balance that out with arriving too early in Canon City, CO (case of the Colorado Rockies).  Not before June 1st for sure, probably more like June 15th.  You will definitely have snow at the passes but they should not be blocked.  It WILL be cold at night.

One thing to consider also is to reverse your route and/or starting from different locations, i.e. start from San Diego, May 15th and go clockwise.  You will just need to play with your speed, route, and weather (can you tolerate 30 degree nights?? to get something you can live with.

Happy Trails.

Routes / Re: Best Recommended Routes
« on: October 29, 2014, 03:49:01 pm »
Since it appears this might be your first tour, I would suggest taking the ACA routes.  You can take the Florida Connector to the Atlantic Coast to the TransAm.  Hang a left and go to Missoula.  Connect to the Great Parks North to Glacier National Park then onto the Northern Tier to Anacortes.  If you have time, do a tour around the San Juan islands.  Do the Pacific Coast or the Sierra Cascades (tougher) to where you connect with the Western Express (not going to San Diego).  Connect up with the Grand Canyon Connector (be sure to see Zion & Bryce NPs while in the area) to the Southern Tier.  Once you get to Pensacola, stay near the coast (off the Southern Tier) using Florida's many rail trails when available back to Tampa. 

One thing to seriously look into is the timing.  You are going quite far between Tampa and Seattle and then looping back and you want to be sure you do not get stuck in winter weather somewhere.  You did not say how many miles a day you would do (50-55 miles per day on AVERAGE is reasonable) so difficult to gauge your start date based on late fall weather.  You will need to get a good idea as to your starting date so you are not snowed on in Washington.  Be sure to buffer about 2 weeks in case of a early winter storm.

Enjoy the ride!


Routes / Re: contemplating riding TransAm in many questions!
« on: September 29, 2014, 12:07:30 am »
Search the forums for the large number of answers related to E-W vs W-E (short answer, both are acceptable).  You can ship the bike to the start and you bus, rent car, or ride to get there.  Same thing at the end.

Always have some backup emergency food as small town America is slowly dying off unfortunately and therefore the grocery that was open last month may have finally closed.  The ACA maps are good and show the services and the addendum are kept fairly up to date.

Yes, you will meet other riders going your direction but it will probably only be for a few days before one of you takes a break or keeps going.  It will happen but not every day.

Two to three bottles is most common.  You are in Kansas and you know what summers can be like.  You can plug in several places along the way (cafes, CGs, CS, etc.) but consider getting a "power pack" (external battery).  Also, just keep it turn off and check it periodically 4-5 times a day and the battery will last a lot longer.

Remember, tens of thousands have done this over the history of the route so if tens of thousands could do it, chances are you can too.  On the plus side, we don't have to educate you/reduce your stress about tornadoes  :D.

Go over to and review the vast bank of journals on the TransAm.  Almost any question you have will be answered after reading a few of them.

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