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Messages - John Nettles

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Routes / Re: USA Corner to Corner
« on: December 17, 2012, 08:56:46 am »
If you hit Kansas between early-May and mid-June, you could have some fairly violent storms (50+mph winds, 1.5+" hail, tornados, etc.), not like the gentle rains the NW & NE have.  That said, just pay attention to what the locals says.  If it is going to be had, they will assist.  Listen to a local radio station or ask a farmer.  If sky is a pale green, take cover as hail is in the immediate area.

As far as your mileage goes, it is fairly high.  I have crossed the country 5 times plus tons of other tours.  For me personally, I have found anything over 65 miles per day (overall average, not riding average) makes for "all riding, no play" and drops the enjoyment factor noticeably.  If you have not done tours with that high of mileage, the extra 10-15 miles per day (AVERAGE) really add to the riding days mileage.

You also mention you wanted to be done in 80 days @ 60mpd, or 4,800 miles.  Isn't your route closer to 5,500 miles or 69mpd?

Overall, start as early in the spring as you can tolerate and enjoy a pace so if you want to stop and/or not do high mileage you can.  After all, you are retired so enjoy the time. :D

I think IRC's idea of doing the San Juan Islands from Vancouver is an excellent one.  They are great for biking, mostly car free, and very pretty.  You could always go the Lake Erie Connector (Canada side of Lake Erie) if time is short.

Ah choices, choices, what are you to do?

Routes / Re: Swede going solo from Miami to New Orleans, route suggestion?
« on: November 21, 2012, 03:04:51 pm »
Opps, I was typing my reply while you added the 3 weeks.  Sorry.

Routes / Re: Swede going solo from Miami to New Orleans, route suggestion?
« on: November 21, 2012, 03:03:57 pm »
If you want a route that goes along the coast beginning near the panhandle of Florida, send me a private email and I can send you a cue sheet and some GPS coordinates.

I rode the route from Wauchula (on the ACA Florida Connector route) which is near Tampa to Pensacola and some friends continued onto Baton Rouge to reconnect with the ACA route.

The difference is that there is more traffic (not unbearable), and more beaches.  Due to my preference of staying on lower traffic roads when possible, there are more turns probably than the ST route.  You also get more services but the services are probably more expensive due to being near the beach.

Also, if time/money permit, I would HIGHLY encourage riding on the Florida Keys.  Again, more traffic but it is nice.

If yonovice a noive cyclotourist with limited experience riding in  traffic, these routes may not be the best for you.  They are not bad at all but if you prefer seeing only a few cars every hour, these are not the routes.

Whatever you choose, enjoy the ride.

I agree with PDLamb to take the Northern Tier to Glacier NP in Montana, then down to Missoula.  I have ridden the PC, TransAm, and NT.

The PC in Washington is so so as far as scenery goes.  I really like both Washington State (NT), and Oregon (both PC & TransAm).  Another option is to ride to Astoria via PC or Portland (via Sierra Cascade) and the ride the Lewis & Clark section along the Columbia River and join the TransAm in Kooskia, ID.  Idaho is another pretty state. I have not ridden the SC or L&C sections so can not comment on that option but would think the SC would be nicer than Washington's portion of the PC.

Routes / Re: Pueblo to Yorktown only- best months?
« on: October 29, 2012, 09:51:40 pm »
Late April thru early June is prime tornado season in Kansas.  While the chances of you actually being in a tornado are small, the chances you could be in a wide-spread severe storm with 1+ inch hail is definitely there.

If you are good at reading the weather, are willing to listen to the locals, and willing to ride or not ride accordingly (not chicken out just due to the "chance" of severe storm), you should be fine.  However, do not blow off the warnings and be familiar with the county you are in and listen to the radio and locals.  Be especiallobservantnt for the weather overnight if hail is included as your tent will not protect you from 1+" hail.

Once you get to central Missouri, the tornadic weather lessens (but does not go away completely).  I would think the starting on or after May 1st would be pretty nice if you are eastbound.

In all seriousness, enjoy the ride!

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!

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