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Messages - John Nettles

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Routes / Re: Ronald Reagan Airport to C&O Canal route
« on: October 03, 2012, 02:09:58 pm »
I can't help with a hotel, other than to say there are several in the airport region. There is a bike path immediately outside of the airport that connects to the C&O.  Just look at Google Maps and select bicycling in the upper right section of the maps.  That said, several of the paths are actually on very wide sidewalks.

Routes / Re: Route from California to Canada - WIND DIRECTION?!
« on: September 26, 2012, 02:46:49 pm »
You can rent a Toyota RAV4 from San Diego to Salt Lake City for about $150/day (based on weekend).  Ride from SLC to Jackson, WY and see Tetons and Yellowstone before heading to Canada.

You can rent same car from San Diego to Bellingham, WA (between Seattle and Vancouver) for about $175/day.

Same car to Jackson, WY or Whitefish, MT (near Glacier NP) is a horrible $275/day.

You can get to any of the above locations in 2 or 3 days of driving.  Figure $4.50/gallon gas at 22mpg to play it safe.

A fare and # of transfers by bus (Greyhound) to SLC $90/2 Jackson $100/4, Whitefish $109/5, Bellingham $109/4, and Jasper $119/5.  Bike fees (maybe $20 each) are extra.  If traveling out of Los Angeles,transfer tranfer required.

Airfare to SLC is $109*; Spokane $248*; Jackson $500; Missoula, MT $225; Edmonton$180; Calgary $160 ($190 NS). Bags and bikes are extra $20-$50 each). * = first 2 bags free.

You could do a combo of things.  For instance, say you want to see the Grand Canyon on your way north to Jackson.  You could rent a car for two days to SLC.  Then take a no-transfer bus (Mountain States Express (MSE) NOT Greyhound) for $70 (up to 3 pieces of "luggage or bikes) to Jackson.  This would cost about $300 for car and $70 per person for the bus.  If you wanted least amount of transfers would be to take a bus from Los Angeles to SLC then trantotalingSE totalling 3 transfers.

Finally, if you could start in latter part of June, I would think that you could start in Edmonton and work your way south without danger of snow.

Routes / Re: Route from California to Canada - WIND DIRECTION?!
« on: September 26, 2012, 09:51:34 am »
I have no experience with the Sierra Cascades (SC), but do have a rhetorical question.  Why not just book the flight say into Vancouver or Seattle and head south?  Assuming your preferred route is the Pacific Coast (PC) and not the SC, unless you are continuing on with your journey when you reach Canada, i.e. Banff to Jasper and flying back to Germany from Edmonton the benefits of going south to north are not as strong.

No matter which route you choose, enjoy the ride!

BTW, I did the PC south to north many moons ago and can verify it is not the preferred way to go.  However, it is doable.

Routes / Re: trans America route advice
« on: September 18, 2012, 09:43:38 am »
You don't say when the wedding is but in mid-October, the temperatures average in the upper 80s which is quite doable.  The "lack of civilization" can be a plus if you are wanting to do some stealth camping.  Finally, the route is relatively close (day or two ride max) to "bail out" locations of the bus and train.

The Western Express temps would be quite nice during the day but could easily get into the 30s at night.  Additionally, you would have to get on the Sanywayay after Phoenix due to snow in Colorado.  Yes you could ride in it, but probably not the best way to do your first tour.

Both routes are nice, adequate availability of services (carry sufficient water!), and well used.  You would probahavehvae a better chance of meeting other cyclists on the ST.

Have a great ride!

Routes / Re: Bike Route
« on: September 15, 2012, 10:24:56 am »
Are you worried about the Colorado or Texas portion being safe?  Where are you going to end/start in Colorado?  At what point in Texas do you consider it safe (you imply you feel it is safe by saying "until it is safer to ride again.")?  Colorado does not have too many paved county roads in the south but the traffic counts are pretty low on the highways.  Give more info and maybe help can be provided.

If you want to hit the route at Eureka, KS, I have a route I can get you my route when I rode from Mexico to Canada.  You would join my route just east of DFW in Farmersville and head north.  The route is mainly on county roads and lower traffic count highways.  If you would like it email me at john ( at ) nettlesfamily dot-thing com.  Sorry for email but ACA seems to get hacked a lot.

Routes / Re: Linking TransAm (W>E) to Katy Trail back to TransAm
« on: August 21, 2012, 09:58:13 pm »
I have two "west side" routes.  Both connect on the eastern side in Clinton, MO at the western terminus of the Katy Trail.  One departs the TA in Rush Center, KS and the other Girard, KS.  Both are the end of a map section.  If you want, contact me privately and I can send you a cue sheet for either or both.


Routes / Re: Tour Divide 2013
« on: August 21, 2012, 10:18:56 am »
If you can do it in 16 days, I say go for it.  Try to look up and see the scenery occasionally  ;D

Routes / Re: Great Divide Route Conditions
« on: August 19, 2012, 10:29:14 pm »
I plan on doing the southern half north bound next May & June.  I will depart San Diego in early to mid May as a "get in shape" tour before starting the GD in Silver City, NM.  I am like you in that I don't want technical stuff or too much punishment for going off pavement, just great scenery.

Go to and look at the journals for the Great Divide.  Most have lots of pictures to show you.  The vast majority of the GD is on gravel or graded dirt roads forest service or county roads.  However, some is single track.  Occasionally you will have to push a bike due to steepness or roughness but I would guess that is less than 5%.  About 10-15% is on pavement.

Note that if you go early in the summer, you may encounter snow drifts, rough roads that need to be graded from winter damage, higher water in  creek crossings and/or fallen trees causing you to have to unload your bike to get over/around it.  If you go later in the year, a lot more washboard, drier conditions (harder to find water), hotter, etc. but most of the above early problems will have been resolved.  Pick your poison.  I prefer wildflowers and a little cooler temps over dryness and heat.  Plus the bears aren't as hungry supposedly  ;D early in the summer if you stay away from their cubs.

Hope you enjoy the Divide!

Routes / Re: Need Route and info from Georgia to San Diego
« on: August 17, 2012, 10:00:54 am »

Interesting.  Was it because of the rumble strips forcing you into the lane or high  traffic counts (or both)?  Can you explain anymore?  I plan to ride this next late May (oh the heat!) on my way to Silver City to do a northbound great divide.


Routes / Re: Tour Divide 2013
« on: August 16, 2012, 10:50:18 am »
Welcome to the cyclotouring world!  My comment has to do with your anticipated daily mileage while riding the GD.  Doing an average of 100-120 miles per day is exceedingly difficult, i.e. on the range of the top Tour Divide Racers.  That amount is a significantly difficult goal.  You will have to ride about 15-20 hours per day.

Are you sure this is what you want to do?  If so, and you are capable of it, great and I wish you a have a wonderful time.  If not, you may want to reevaluate your daily mileage goal.  Remember, a rough rule of thumb is you will ride about 65% on gravel of what you would do on pavement.  If it is muddy, it can drop much more.  Remember, the majority of people doing the GD do less than 50 miles per day.

Your training schedule is a good start.  Adding weight and/or packs to get the full effect.  If you can do a three-mini tourtour averaging 120 miles on gravel 90% of the time, you should be good to go.  Otherwise you might be pushing it.

No matter what you do, I wish you an enjoyable trip!

Routes / Re: transamerica Missoula MT to Bend OR
« on: June 07, 2012, 10:22:32 am »
The vast majority of each ACA route is on roads.  Occasionally, a dedicated separate biking trail is utilized, i.e. the Katy Trail as part of the Lewis & Clark route.  However, that is indeed the exception.

That said, most of the roads are on low-traffic roads and usually have decent shoulders.  The portion you are considering has been used since 1976 by tens of thousands of cyclists over the years so the motorists are accustomed to seeing cyclists on the road.  ACA usually gives a heads up in the narrative if you are to expect increased traffic.

The Lochsa River portion of the route you are considering has been one of my all-time favorite sections almost 35 years of touring.

First, I am unfamiliar with the route you are suggesting.  However, if you have a GPS and Google Maps before the ride, you can still map your route.

Go to Google Maps, get to the area you are talking about.  Find the road you know exists such as main highway, town, etc.  Switch to satellite view, and follow the road.  If you come to an intersection or junction, zoom the map in and right click the map specifically where the intersection is (the tip of the cursor arrow is the actual point) and then click on "What's here".  This will give you the GPS coordinates of the point where you clicked "What's here".

Transfer that to your GPS map and repeat.  It is a somewhat slow and tedious way, but it is easy to do and reliable.   Frequently, in heavily forested roads, I have to redo the route several times so that I can get a route that goes through to where I am going.  I develop my off-road maps this way if decent maps do not exist and it works pretty good, but slow.  I usually get a little "waypoint happy" and get lots of points to confirm my direction after the intersection, in case a road is closed, a junction was made after the satellite passed by, etc.

The biggest caveat is that while a "road" shows up on the satellite, the condition of the road or if it is actually permitted to be traveled on is unknown.

Finally, if you call the local forest office, they may have a current Motor Vehicle Use Map which would show the roads and trails.  I usually do this first if the roads are difficult to see from the satellite.  However, at  quick glance, Ashland Loop road and Siskiyou road seem to connect down to the California border where tons of unmarked roads exist that lead to near Hamilton.

Have a great trip!

Routes / Re: Route from Winnipeg Canada to Northern Tier
« on: May 17, 2012, 10:40:11 am »
I rode from Mexico to Winnipeg back in 2009.  I rode through Fargo on my way north.

To reverse my route, get to PR-100 & MB-200 and head south.  Do not take 75 as it is pretty busy and has no paved shoulder.  There is a CS in St. Adolphe. At junction of 200 & 305 (near St. Agathe, restaurant), continue south on 200 (begin 8.5 miles of decent gravel) all the way to border crossing just west of Emerson.  Dominion City has a grocery store, Emerson has a restaurant.

Cross border, ride on I-29 (great wide shoulder, legal, low traffic, and it is the only way) to Pembina, ND (very large CS).  Go east on ND-59 which becomes MN-171.  Bridge with HUGE tire grabbing expansion joints at border.  Be careful!

Take MN-171 to US-75 and turn south.  Hallock has a GS, R, CS, nice city CG.  Due to a massive tailwind, I rode from Hallock to Winnipeg in one day, a Sunday.  There may be more stuff open on other days, but a lot of places seemed closed on Sunday.  I couldn’t tell if this was a Sunday only thing or a permanent thing since some towns (especially in Canada) had a store out of a non-descript metal building.  I did not notice any legal CGs north of Hallock until Winnipeg.  I would definitely carry at least an emergency ration or two just in case everything is closed.

Kennedy has a CS.  Stephen has a GS that accuses you of stealing their money bags.   Argyle has a CS.  Warren has a CS, R, GS, & CG.

Head west on MN-1 to Alvarado (tiny gas station with very limited stale products) and head south on MN-220 into East  Forks, MN services and a GREAT CG).  Cross river into ND on a bike path accessed on east side at Demers Ave & river.  When you get to Washington Ave., turn south onto Washington which merges with CR-17 and CR-81.  Thompson (off route) has a CS and allows I think allows camping if you call the sheriff.  Reynolds (off route) has a restaurant I was told.  Buxton has a small CS in the Cenex.

Hillsboro has a GS, CS, R, hotel, overpriced CG.  Grandin has a CS & R on the west side of the interstate.  I don’t think Gardner had any services (sorry, can’t remember). Argusville has a bar/restaurant but is not that good.  Harwood didn’t seem to have any services.

Take CR-20/40th Ave. north of Fargo to the east to University Drive and turn south to 12th Ave. in Fargo.

One strong word of caution is that the wind is really strong out there.  I had either great tailwinds or horrible headwinds.  My mileage would go from 35-40 one day and be exhausted to over a hundred miles and had extra energy.

Routes / Re: Route Advise Needed: Across Idaho
« on: May 04, 2012, 10:27:44 am »
While I have not ridden the somewhat rough rail trail, supposedly it does go to West Yellowstone.  Looking at the satellite view on Google, you can see the "trail" roughly parallels NF-478/South Fork Road, a gravel road.  The trail has several soft sandy areas (due to ATVs) which make riding difficult on a mountain bike so a road bike would probably be extremely difficult to impossible to ride.  In addition, the trail might have some bridges missing  >:( forcing a turn around.  If you do not mind gravel roads, then NF-478 would work.  It eventually connects with the trail but again the trail might not be as easy as a gravel road.  Note that this route is slower than the paved route.

For a paved alternative, you might consider taking the ID-47/Mesa Falls Scenic Byway (all paved) south of Island Park, ID to Warm River to Ashton.  Another alternative is to take Big Springs Loop/Fish Creek Road/NF-82 north and east of Island Park to Warm River but 17 miles of it are gravel.  Obviously, you could stick on US-20 also.

While you did not ask for this, I will suggest to you anyway  ;D.  From Yellowstone Park, you really should dip down to Grand Teton NP and Jackson, WY.  The Tetons are fantastic!  Be sure to take Teton Park Road via Jenny Lake to Moose.  Then from Moose, take US-191 south to Sagebrush Rd. and then Spring Gulch Rd. into Jackson.  Take obligatory photo of antlers then take WY-22/ID-33 to Victor, Driggs, Tetonia, and into Rexburg.  Lots of great scenery.

Lastly, if you want to head south from West Thumb in Yellowstone, you can take the gravel Flagg Ranch-Ashton road to Ashton.  It is the ACA Great Divide route.

Decisions, Decisions.  Almost as much fun as actually riding the route.

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