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Messages - John Nettles

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General Discussion / Re: 12 days - NY to Norfolk
« on: July 14, 2015, 06:08:32 pm »
First I assume you are going from New York City, NY, to Norfolk, VA.  Can you provide more information as to your trip?    For instance, when are you planning this trip for, i.e. May, August, October?  Are you camping (outside of NYC).  How many days in NYC?  Do you eat out in cafes or cook your own food?

Hostels in NYC around $60/night.  Hotels a minimum of $150.  Hotels can go radically up depending on the time of year.  Food is about $30-$40+ a day for cafes.  Can be less if cooking.  Sightseeing can be free to expensive.   Provide more info and others can assist with costs.

Best wishes, John

If you can, get a bag without side baffles which are the inner walls on the side to prevent down from going from the top of the bag to the bottom (or vice versa).  You want to be able to shake/shift the down around as the temperatures on the TransAm have huge swings. This way you can shift the down to the top when in cooler places like Yellowstone and shift to bottom in warmer places like Kansas and Missouri.

My most used bag is a 32 degree bag and it has worked for 25 years. 


Routes / Re: Dallas to Black Rock City, NV
« on: June 29, 2015, 03:27:39 pm »
Check out the various journals over on  You can do a search for various cities, i.e. Black Rock City, to see if anyone has toured through there and then maybe patch together some routes that way.  Depending on the time of year you go, you could take a variety of ACA routes to do at least 75% of your route.

Best wishes, John

While I have not ridden it yet, there is a sidewalk on the southside of the I-55 bridge.  It is narrow and you will probably need to walk.   It dumps you out near Metal Museum Rd & Alston Ave.

Let me know how it works out.



My mistake then.  I guess I read so many journals that indicated they went that way writing about Polebridge and Home Ranch Bottoms stores I guess I got it ingrained into my brain that was the original route.  Regardless, in this case, since the OP wanted to go to Glacier, I still think North Fork road would be a better option, unless you have information/opinions otherwise.

The original GD route when through Polebridge then south to Columbia Falls via North Fork Rd..  For some reason, the route got altered even though the original route was perfectly fine.

If wanting to go to Glacier, you could turn onto Camas Rd. south of Polebridge.  Or you could go slightly north of Polebridge and cross the N. Flathead River and cross a bridge (no fording necessary  :)) to access the Inside Fork Road down to Camas Rd. to Apgar and return via Blankenship Road back to Columbia Falls.

Personally, I would take the N Fork Rd. as there is another campground/cafe/store on the road that is also pretty neat and the road is much better maintained.

Enjoy the ride!

Routes / Re: Shoulders / Bike Lanes on ACA Routes
« on: June 22, 2015, 02:25:42 pm »
A down and dirty cue sheet is Grant Village in Yellowstone to Cody via Cooke City, then Greybull, Manderson, Ten Sleep (via CR-47/Lower Nowood Rd.), Buffalo, Clearmont, Gillette, Moorcroft, Hulett, Belee Fourche, Deadwood (where you pick up the Mickelson Trail), Custer, (lots of really nice riding in area), Keystone (via SD-87), Rapid City, Wall (via interstate, blah), if you can handle multi-days of remoteness, then to Pierre via US-14 otherwise, take SD-248/I-90 over to Vivian then up to Pierre; then US-14, continue on US-14 to Brookings.  From there, look at Minneasota's bike maps and chose your route.

Best, John

Routes / Re: Shoulders / Bike Lanes on ACA Routes
« on: June 21, 2015, 05:14:51 pm »
It has paved options the entire route to Missoula.  There are one or two longer sections with no/limited services for say up to 80 miles but that is doable since that is basically only one day.  One section along the Lochsa River in Idaho is remote but the TA has used since '76 and it is one of my favorite sections of the TA.

Routes / Re: Shoulders / Bike Lanes on ACA Routes
« on: June 21, 2015, 04:57:13 pm »
Based on what you said, I would maybe suggest from Portland to Missoula either TA or L&C.  Missoula to Yellowstone (crazy traffic but great scencery).  From there if you prefer farmland & wide open country scenery, wing it Muscatine, IA then over to Indiana where you break off and go to Grand Rapids.  If you prefer cooler temps and more variety, from Yellowstone, head over on your own route to Minneapolis (they have lots of bike paths into the city) and join up with the North Lakes to Grand Rapids.

Other than traffic leaving Portland and in Yellowstone, traffic should be fine.  For the "on your own" sections, let us know which you prefer (northern Wyoming is great!) and we can possibly offer suggestions.  Be sure to check out each states' bike maps and traffic count maps.  Traffic will be low in the central plains mostly.

Best, John

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.


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