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Messages - John Nettles

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I replied to your message.  You can also contact me directly at J0hn at nettles family com (no space between nettles and family).

If you decide to go to Tishomingo, MS, on the Natchez Trace, I can get you to Asheville on lower-traffic roads.

I can also get you to Tuscaloosa from Kosciusko (also on Natchez Trace).

If you can get from Tuscaloosa to Weaver, AL, you can take the Chief Ladiga Trail (a paved rail trail) to Smyrna, GA (NW of Atlanta) where you can connect to other trails to get you to Coventry, GA.  If you can get from Coventry to anywhere between Seneca, SC and Highlands, NC, I can get you to Asheville on lower-traffic roads.

From Front Royal, you can take the W&OD paved trail to Washington, DC (trail starts in Purcellville, VA) where you can connect with Atlantic Coast Route which would bisect the Canal Trail.  Another option is to ride along the coast in NJ and come thru NYC that way (via ferry on the rough parts) and take the various trails north of NYC to Poughkeepsie and connect with the AC route there.

If any of these sound good, contact me privately and I will see about getting you the route.


Routes / Re: East Coast to West Coast Trip
« on: March 26, 2014, 12:03:22 pm »
Got it.  Since everyone's goals are different, in 35 years of touring, I have not heard of a program that exists.  Basically, you will need to buy the individual map segments you need, review them, make a rough draft of your itinerary to see where you can be each day based on your individual needs.  There are way to many variable to do a realistic program.  For instance, you may need a motel and/or restaurant at the end of your daily goal but only a campground exists.  Therefore, you will need to decide what is best for you, cutting the daily distance or going longer.  If it is very hilly, you may choose shorter.  If flat and you have a tailwind, go longer.  But you need to visit Aunt Sally who lives 20 miles off route also.  This is why a program doesn't work.

Realize, no plan will survive a few days it seems so just be familiar with what you can do and what you want to do.

Again, best wishes!

Routes / Re: East Coast to West Coast Trip
« on: March 26, 2014, 11:27:58 am »
I am not trying to sound rude, but you have checked out the ACA maps, correct?  If so, I am confused as to what you are asking.

In either case, based on your pretty ambitious goal of a 30-day crossing and ending at the Golden Gate, you will almost need to do something very similar to the TransAm route to Pueblo where you connect to the Western Express.

Best wishes!

Using the AL and MS traffic count maps and google streetmaps, I came up with a quick route.

Aliceville to Pickensville via Sapps Road (low traffic county road) to AL-86 (low traffic state road).  Pickensville to Brooksville via MS-388.  Brooksville to Louisville via Lynn Creek Rd and Brooksville/Louisville Rd (all low traffic county roads).  Louisville to Kosciusko is MS-14 (low traffic after you get out of town a couple of miles) to Knox Rd (county road about a mile before MS-19).

By low traffic I mean sub-2000 average vehicles per day.  A lot of the county roads are sub-1000.  This was compiled by using the AL and MS traffic count maps and google streetmaps.

Remember, you get what you pay for .  If you use it, please post how it went.

Bicycle Route 66 / Re: Route 66 - Sullivan to Marshfield Mo
« on: March 11, 2014, 11:27:19 pm »
While I do not have topo maps, I have driven the I-40 numerous times between Tulsa and St. Louis.  The route you want is in the hear of the Ozarks so you will be either going up 300 foot in elevation or down 300 foot in elevation.  It gets a little better toward Marshfield.

If you are concerned about hills, I would suggest you take the Katy Trail to Clinton and from there I can get you a detailed cue sheet to Girard, KS.  Much flatter.  Only a day or two of a few noteworthy hills.

Happy Riding, John

If you like gravel AND can handle remote high altitude (9,500') AND you are traveling after July 4th (NFS travel restrictions), I would recommend you consider Gravelly Range Road.

Do a bit of research (especially looking for pics) on this high-meadow road. You would need to follow the ACA TransAm route to the McAtee Bridge CG and then head up into the range.  It will drop you off onto your mile 260.  There are forest service cabins and a couple of campgrounds (along with dispersed camping) but only stream water (if that) so you would need to filter.

A lovely route with lots of wildflowers, etc.

This is a nice route but you do know that it has gravel from mile 219 to 291, correct?  I have no issues with gravel but some bikes' tires are too narrow so wanted to point this out.  Also, there is camping at Henry's Lake at a small county park you ride by a few miles before mile 219.

Routes / Re: Florida Loop Parking
« on: December 19, 2013, 08:39:03 am »
When I did a ride from the upper Keys to Key West and up toward St. Augustine, I parked at the Walmart on the south side of town in St. Augustine so the car would be there when I would get back.  I asked permission from the store management and they were fine (just park away from the store) and so they would not tow the car.  I cleaned out the car so anyone peering in saw there was nothing to break into the car for.  Other options are a car dealer and there is a public parking garage downtown but they will charge.  The other is to book a hotel the night before and the night you get back from the loop and they typically will allow it also.

Have a great ride!

Connecting ACA Routes / Re: starting Vancouver finishing Tucson
« on: November 25, 2013, 05:23:31 pm »
I would recommend you fly into Edmonton and ride over to Jasper then down to Banff to connect with the Great Divide.  The big drawback is it will be cool with possible snow.  Very very scenic however.

Once you are near the southern end of the GD, I would suggest you break off at Silver City (cool town) and ride to Lordsburg (get a train if you are running behind), then to Animas.  From there you can either ride south on  NM-338 to CR-3004 (Geronimo Trail) to Douglas, AZ (at the US/Mexico border)  OR you can ride another scenic road west to Portal, AZ; gravel to Chiricahua NP with a ton of hoo doos (eroded stone pillars); to Douglas (another neat town).  If you want to end up in Antelope Wells, you can take Mexico 2 from Antelope Wells to Douglas.

From Douglas, you can continue west on NM-92 to Montezuma Canyon Rd (very remote gravel) to Parker Canyon Lake to Sonoita via AZ-83 to Green Valley to Tucson.  If you are tired of gravel, take AZ-92 to Sierra Vista then over to Sonoita thru the Fort Huachuca and AZ-83.

Tucson is a good finish as it has planes or trains.  Amtrak, the US train service, has HUGE bike boxes.

For a detour, you might consider breaking off in Jackson, WY and heading south to Alpine, WY then take Greys River Rd./Emigrant/CR-306 to Kemmerer, WY.  From there head over to Manila, UT then toward Maybell, CO via Browns Park Rd./CO-318.  Between UT border and Maybell, head north on CR-10N to CR-25 just over WY border.  Head east on extremely remote CR-25/CR-4 (not scenic, to me at least) to Baggs, WY, then WY-70 to CR-129 where you reconnect with GD.  The roads between Alpine and Kemmerer are very beautiful and very quiet.  You miss a lot of the heat of the Great Basin but CR-25/CR-4 are just as wide open as the Great Basin (check streetview on Google maps).  Again, this alternate is very remote for long stretches.

If you want GPS routes or cue sheets, contact me privately and I will send to you in December.

Best wishes on your trip!

Routes / Re: Transam Motels around Jeffrey City, Wy?
« on: November 14, 2013, 06:54:10 pm »
Unless they have added something the past 18 months, there are hardly any businesses there at all.  If you require indoor lodging, you could head south to Rock Springs from Jackson and then over to Rawlins on I-80.  Yes, it is blah scenery along I-80 but you would have multiple options for indoor accommodations (and camping).  Plus there are a couple of places to get some really big ice cream cones.  Basically, you trade nicer scenery and less traffic for a lot more services.

Routes / Re: Money and access
« on: November 11, 2013, 01:38:03 pm »
Almost all food supply stores (convenience stores, groceries stores, etc.) accept credit/debit cards.  Some hostels do.  All motels do.  Almost any town over a 500 people should have a bank and/or ATM.  However, small stores in the middle of nowhere may not, especially if they do not sell gasoline.

I did part of the GD this past summer and basically carried about $100-150 in cash at all times and resupplied on cash when I came across a bigger town or an ATM.  Had no issues.

Routes / Re: Best way to build a route from scratch?
« on: October 26, 2013, 12:17:41 pm »
That basically boils down to time and desire.  If you have the time and have the curiousity, sure do as many miles as possible.  The primary advantages of the ACA maps are that the cyclotourist info has already been researched (and done well typically) so there is little left to chance.  This is a huge advantage.  The campgrounds, grocery stores, cue sheet, etc. are already done and the route has been ridden by others so you know the roads do not dead-end.  You will know there is a campground 12 miles up the road which is really nice since a lot of campgrounds are closed or no longer accept tents.  Be sure to check out the addendums before starting a new map.  Also, check out the journals on (website for cyclotourists) to get a feel for any of the routes. ACA maps are well worth the money.

The big drawback to pre-planned routes are just that, they are preplanned.  You lose a ton of "adventure of what's around the bend".  For me, that is big.  If you need to go off-route from a organized route, you may not have done the research to know to avoid Highway X in favor of Highway Y.  You may not realize the largest ball of twine is only 10 miles off-route and, assuming you are a twine ball enthusiast, that could be the miss of a lifetime.  I am sick in that I actually enjoy creating routes and riding them some day.  I have routed over 500 individual routes (though have only ridden about 40%) around the country so obviously I do not fear going off route  ;).  Heck, pay me 2 cents a mile & I'll do a route for you  ;D.  Most of the routes are short, i.e. 50 miles or less, and connect to other routes, either mine or some organized route or road.  Think of a spider web, not massive trails though some do connect lots of short routes into 1,000+ mile routes, i.e. Alexander, KS (TransAm) to De Funiak Springs, FL (Southern Tier) or Brownsville, TX to Winnipeg.

A major drawback to creating routes is that I tend to remove a lot of the surprises during the research.  I already know what is ahead and like I indicated above, I enjoy wondering what's ahead.

Personally, if a map exists I will use it but will just as easily create my own segments if a map doesn't exist where I want to go.  For instance, I  have a created a few routes to supplement organized routes/roads for a "fall colors" ride I hope to do in a couple of years going from Montreal, QB to Burlington (mine) to Albany, NY (ACA/mine) to Erie, PA (Erie Canal, mine, & ACA) to Pittsburg (ACA) to Sheperdstown, WY (GAP) to Front Royal, VA (mine) to past Asheville (BRP) to Statesboro (mine) to Jacksonville (ACA).  Even though the above routes lean more toward organized routes, I typically do about 75% custom.  I have been touring for over 35 years so I have done most of the organized routes so either have to repeat or do my own now.

I rarely use a topo map as you can learn to "read" the topography of a map if you have some basic knowledge of the area.  For instance, a squiggly road that follows a river is typically a gentle climb (or as gentle as the river falls).  However, a squiggly line not following a river has a good chance that it is going up and over a ridge or pass.  Occasionally, areas like the Ozarks throw you off as they just pave a straight road up and down cliffs it seems.  You can also use Google satellite and streetview to get an idea if you really need to.  However, coming from the west coast, anything thrown at you by GA will be doable.  Also, do not be afraid to ride some gravel if needed.  It isn't bad at all.

Again, have a great ride!

Routes / Re: Best way to build a route from scratch?
« on: October 25, 2013, 10:34:32 pm »
I would probably work my way over to Asheville, NC then take the Blue Ridge Parkway up to Front Royal, VA the connect to the Atlantic Coast Route in Washington (via the great paved W&OD rail trail) then head north toward NY.  If you prefer the ACA routes, go from Atlanta to Charleston, SC and connect with the Atlantic Coast Route there.

From around the PA/NY border, break off and head north toward Ithaca.  When I rode the Northern Tier, it actually went through Ithaca I think but that was in the 80s and ACA keep altering the routes a little to keep them viable.  If you don't mind riding on crushed gravel/chat/stone dust, you could break off at Poughkeepsie and head toward Albany and connect with the Erie Canalway Trail (very rideable on touring tires) then break off that around Weedsport and head south to Ithaca.

For each state you are doing your own route, check the state's department of transportation for a state bicycle map, traffic count maps, and county maps.  You can use Google to see if any bike routes exist but take those with a heavy dose of salt.  Try to go to streetview and see what the road/trail is like.  I try to stay on roads with less than 2,000 vehicles per day (prefer 1,000) but that may a bit difficult in the east.  You typically give up flatter roads, possibly shoulders, and more services for much less traffic and more scenery and "character".  New York has a pretty good site.

Due to the heavy traffic in the east coast corridor and the amount of research required to create a safe route, I would strongly consider following the Atlantic Coast Route IF you want to visit the major cities.  Otherwise, swing west from Front Royal through western MD and central PA on your own route.

Whatever you choose, have a great ride!

Routes / Re: Ride across Nebraska route advice
« on: October 22, 2013, 11:32:36 am »
Try reviewing these Department of Transportation sites for Nebraska and Kansas.  You may have difficulty with accommodations only due to the lack of population thus the lack of services.  However, you may be doing high mileage??? so can adjust the mileage accordingly.


Enjoy the ride!

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