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Messages - John Nettles

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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

Routes / Re: Cross-US Trail-Based Route - Feedback Please!
« on: April 17, 2015, 12:18:26 pm »
Sounds like a great family trip!  A possible thought (not a suggestion but maybe something to look into) is to finish the Katy Trail in Clinton, take county roads over to Osowatomie, KS, and do the trail to Council Grove, KS then north to Norfolk, NE via county roads and some rail trails.  The New Franklin to IA border will be somewhat hilly but it would be shorter overall.

You do know the Cowboy Trail basically parallels US-20 in Nebraska, correct?

I would suggest the McKelson rail trail in South Dakota and take some time around the Black Hills.  Really nice.

Whatever route you choose, wishing you have a great time!

Routes / Re: Los Angeles to Hilton Head, SC
« on: April 06, 2015, 08:51:52 am »
You might be able to ride I-40 in western OK but since Route 66 parallels it, I personally would not.  All the benefits of being near an interstate without most of the traffic.

Several years ago, I asked Vicksburg if I can ride across the old Highway 80 bridge (also a RR bridge).  They said that while not open except for special occasions, occasionally they open it or will take riders across the river in a truck.  Try giving them a call perhaps to see if it is now open as a pedestrian bridge.

Otherwise, as you probably know, the only other option to cross the Mississippi River are the brand new bridge near Greenville, MS, or ride as far south as New Roads, LA to cross if Natchez does not appeal to you.

Hope you have a good ride!

Routes / Re: Great Divide MTB Route options?
« on: April 03, 2015, 12:16:55 pm »
My only concern for you would be that since you most likely would go slower due to the climbs, you would potentially need to carry significantly more food and/or water than a DF bike in places thus slowing you down even more.

I have all kinds of bikes (including an ICE Adventure trike and a HPV Streetmachine recumbent bike) but would be reluctant to use a trike on the GD solely due to the slow speed due to so very much climbing.  Other than speed, trikes are great!

However, whatever you choose to do, enjoy the ride!

As others have suggested, take a look at CrazyGuyonaBike and review the journals.  You very well may find something. 

Maybe I do not understand question since ACA already has routes that do exactly what you want.  They are the North Lakes Route, Sections 1 & 2.

If you want a shorter route and/or prefer a different route, go to Wisconsin's Bicycle Map make your own.  Wisconsin's Bicycle Maps are some of the best.  Pick the criteria that is best for your needs and make the route.

Routes / Re: USGS maps for touring anybody?
« on: March 29, 2015, 11:02:37 am »
Your assumptions are correct.  The USGS maps are very detailed thus you would need to have a lot of maps.  A better, less expensive, choice is to buy used ACA maps.  The maps, while a tad pricey, are very good if you plan to stay on the ACA route as they are cyclotourist specific, i.e. lists campgrounds, groceries, motels, bike shops, etc..  eBay (at least in the US) frequently has used maps as does CrazyGuyOnABike's classifieds.

Another alternative is to buy new maps and then sell them.  Your net cost would be about 1/2 after you sell them.

Finally, you could always just use state maps and determine your own route but that may not be the best solution if you friend has never cycled in the US before.

EDIT:  I just realized you are fairly knowledgeable about ACA (based on your posts) so sorry about the basic info on the maps. At least the info is good for beginners.

Routes / Re: Need additional Rider or Riders ASAP.
« on: March 24, 2015, 01:39:55 pm »
Lars, I should mention that while I mentioned the TransAm, the info is the same regardless of the route.  I have done the AC also so was not putting down the AC but strongly prefer the TransAm and feel the TA would arguably be a better route for a first timer.

Sorry if I caused some confusion.  John

Routes / Re: Need additional Rider or Riders ASAP.
« on: March 24, 2015, 10:37:59 am »

I can empathize.  My first "long" trip was only a month but I was 15 and my parents made (rightfully) me go with an older person.  Since I wasn't murdered, robbed, and/or raped, my parents let me go on bigger trips.

When I was 17 and the summer before my Senior year in high school, I wanted to do the TransAm.  My parents decided I had to have others to go with me.  I arranged through BikeCentennial (ACA's predecessor)  to ride with two others.  We took off and in less than 3 days, I knew we were not compatible as one (the oldest @ 25) had misrepresented himself.  I am a meat eater, prefer to ride in the morning and be done by 2pm-3pm, and wanted/needed to ride about 55 miles per day on average so I could be back to school in time in August.  Unfortunately, the oldest was a vegetarian, like to ride in the afternoon until dark, and didn't want to be tied to a schedule/deadline.

After 10 days, I convinced my mom to let me try it myself.  I finished the trip, again without being murdered, robbed, and/or raped, in Lewes, Delaware (I went through DC instead).  Best trip of my life.  Mind you, when I say best, I have 50k+ miles of loaded touring and 36 years experience.  About 1/3 if this was during summer bike rides before I graduated college and started life.  Heck, my Dad is 92 and he still somewhat worries about me. 

To you parents I would say:  If Lars (and the other rider) is truly responsible and mature (at least for his age), he should be fine.  Thousands ride the TransAm every years.  The route is well-established route.  Locals tend to definitely look out after the young, female (not being sexist, just real), and retired.  When I was under 27, I could get help most anywhere, i.e. police would tell me where to camp, look after me while camping, etc.  Between 30 & 50 (I am 50), the help decreases then increases like an inverted  bell curve with 45 being the worst.  Perhaps the locals think what is a fully grown man riding a bicycle and wanting to camp.  He must be a bum.  The retired are thought of as "s/he is just enjoying something.  Great for them".  But I digress.  in today's era of cell phones, it is pretty difficult to be without communication.  Combined with a phone card, make Lars call home every night when possible.  NOTE:  Some nights it just won't be possible due to no cell service and no pay phones available.  But Lars will tell you when he is going out of range, right Lars!.  Finally, to alleive Mom's fears, Lars will carry a satellite tracker so you can track him live (every 10 minutes).  There are two brands, SPOT and InReach.  SPOT is cheaper but InReach is more reliable.  The InReach allows you to text each other also anywhere in the world.  If Lars is NOT responsible and mature for his age, make him wait or go with at least one older (40+) person as they will probably be too tired to get into much trouble.

Lars will occasionally ride with other riders on the TransAm.  Not everyday, but not unusual.

Yes, Lars could get hit by a car and die.  However, that is unlikely.  Especially, if Lars rides conservatively, uses a mirror, and wears a helmet.  The TransAm is old enough so that bikes are expected on certain roads so the locals know to be on the look out.

As an FYI, my daughter and son both have taken solo bicycle trips under age 20.  My son (just turned 21), rode from Jasper, Alberta, to La Paz, Baja California, Mexico, by himself this past late summer/fall.  He was not murdered, robbed, and/or raped.  He was greeted most days with "that is awesome" comments, met the Governor?? of Baja South Department (state), etc.  Yes, I worry about them like any parent should.  But I also know the pluses outweigh the risks of trip.  My wife, a cyclist also, definitely worries when any family member tours, and thus requires me to use the tracker. But she also knows the pluses outweigh the risks. 

Parents, go over to and review the 1000s of journals about the TransAm.  Plan on meeting him in a couple of places, i.e. the Yellowstone or near a relative who lives near to the route.

This truly can be a transformational experience for Lars.  He will come back a changed person.  Definitely more fit, but with a quiet sense of accomplishment and appreciation of America and its people.  As I get older, the trips, while meaningful, do not impact me as much.  Perhaps this is due to my extensive travels or with age but regardless, the TransAm is by far my favorite trip.  Should you, or Lars, wish to contact me, feel free.

Best wishes, John

Routes / Re: Need additional Rider or Riders ASAP.
« on: March 23, 2015, 07:32:15 pm »

While this trip is not for me (I have already done it), I am curious as to why you "must" have 3 people to go?  I did it solo and many more cyclists do it solo or with just 1 other person than with 2+ persons.

Hope you can find a buddy, John

You can buy what ever individual segments you want.  I "think" you just get a price break if you buy the entire set, i.e. all of the TransAm, not just Section 10.  If you are not an ACA member, you should join as a lot of times the the map discount pays for the membership on longer trips.

I highly encourage you to have maps, even if just a AAA map in case the GPS runs out of batteries, craps out, etc.  The ACA maps are wonderful.

Hope you have a great ride!

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