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Messages - Westinghouse

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General Discussion / Re: Winter Pacific Coast tour
« on: January 20, 2009, 10:04:31 pm »
Cycling the PCBR in winter is a choice one has to make. It is an individual thing. Sure, it can be done. In my own personal point of view I think against doing it in winter. For someone else it might be just the thing to do. After reading some descriptions here of what to expect on such a tour I am confirmed in my opinion that, if I ever do the PCBR again, it should not be in winter.

With the right and appropriate equipment you can do it.

Routes / Re: Orlando FL to Houston TX
« on: January 19, 2009, 12:48:05 pm »
That seems like a good way to go. I have also followed the gulf road if that is 98. It is flat about everywhere with the gulf waters often immediately to your left going west. It does rise here and there, and of course when you cross bridges. 90 through Mississippi can be a bit highly trafficked. If it gets too hectic, you should be able to find a concrete sidewalk on the gulf side to use intermittently. Sidewalks across the street from the gulf side were very old, broken, occluded, and generally in disrepair and moved about by the roots of old trees. I remember having to cross from one side to the other more than twenty times in one area because the road was too busy and narrow to cycle, and cyclable surfaces on either side of 90 began and ended intermittently. Traffic slacks off just about everywhere on Sundays. Much of what I write here about Miss. may have changed after hurricane Katrina. Lately they were paving in new roads. Your chosen route ought to be all right. There may be others with much more experience cycling all these different routes who can give you better advice than I can.

The gulf route has nice scenery. There is plenty of fresh air. There are beaches. There are quite a few places for free camping. I got lost twice trying to regain 90 west out of Pensacola. Maybe it was just me, but it seemed to be somwhat confusing getting through the city and staying on 90. 90 into New Orleans is a good ride. There is a ferry near Franklin Street that will take you across the Mississippi River. 90 can take you through real Cajun bayou country. It is all flat in that area. Expect to see narrow roads bounded by canals. New Orleans in below sea level in areas. That region has a major project controlling water. The mouth of the Mississippi keeps wanting to move, and they need to keep it where it is. The region is a flood plain.
They want to build a sea wall around Houma.

General Discussion / Re: Winter Pacific Coast tour
« on: January 19, 2009, 12:13:26 pm »
I know I would not do it in winter. Not after what I found out. The S-tier is good in winter, definitely, but the northern part of the PCBR in winter?
No. Not to be redundant, but you are being advised against doing it.

Routes / Re: Orlando FL to Houston TX
« on: January 17, 2009, 08:49:40 am »
About litespeed's comment to avoid highway 190 crossing Louisiana, I wholeheartedly agree. I took 190, and that is why I said to follow ACA's mapped route after 90 in Florida. 190 might be ok at times, but the last time I used it in 2007 on my way from Florida to El Paso, it was none too good, and there was definitely some monkey business going on with the motorists. It also gets like a rollercoaster on towards San Antonio. I got off it, onto 46 going around SA, and got onto I-10 when I could. 190's surface also got quite rough, joggling the bike, body, and hands continuously. Some extents of 190 might be ok at times, but it is a road to be avoided in general.

Routes / Re: East Coast, Maine-Fl or Fl-Maine
« on: January 16, 2009, 08:05:53 pm »
Use coastal Florida barrier islands. In some places you must take causeways back to the mainland to get around inlets. You must also get off and return to the mainland to go around Cape Canaveral and NASA. I found one causeway bridgeside to be extremely cluttered by debris and impossible to cross without tire trouble. Generally, the islands route is pretty good, and it is preferable to using highway one which can be loaded with traffic at times. Some parts of one are ok to use. Farther south in FL it is a good idea to stay on the islands. It is pretty much solid city from West Palm Beach south to Miami and south to Homestead. If you go to the Keys, there is a paved cycling path starting around Miami and going a long way south. It winds along for quite a distance underneath the elevated tracks of metrorail. I believe it is called metrorail. It is good riding all the way to the Last Chance Saloon, if that is what they still call that place. Getting over to Key Largo is another matter. This road, US 1, has a nice wide cycling path connected to it, or at least it can provide room for safe cycling in places, but it has cat eye reflectors crossing it in lines at intervals so that you have to keep an eye on the reflectors to avoid running over them, or ride out in the traffic lane of this narrow, moderately to highly trafficked road.  An alternative which you can find on a road map is Card Sound Road which may be a longer way around, but safer and more comfortable.

Once you are in the Keys it is easy going with plenty of room on the roads, and many good sidewalks. There is a dedicated cycling path which runs right along the water on the west side. In some areas you would have the shallow water immediately on one side of you, and trees and bushes between the path and the roadway. There is a seven mile bridge, and several shorter bridges which will expose you fully to any sidewinds.

Routes / Re: Does anyone have experience with Illinois to Florida tours?
« on: January 16, 2009, 07:23:28 pm »
You will find highway 90 in north Florida fine for cycling. It is hilly, yes. It also has a wide shoulder in most extents. It is clean and smooth. Towns and sources of good food are easily available relieving you of carrying extra weight in water and snacks and food. If free camping is what you are doing, there are plenty of good opportunities for that. Around towns you might find various kinds of barriers between yourself and your chosen sleepsite. You may find drainage ditches between you and the wooded areas. Perhaps places away from any town are more readily accessible.

Routes / Re: Dedicated Across America Bicycle Path
« on: January 16, 2009, 07:11:40 pm »
I thought there was a coordinated effort to restructure the abandoned and exempt Rail Road beds throughout the country for this purpose.
I know there has been an effort here in Illinois.
The rock Island trail is a great example of reclamation of an exempt track.
I wish there were more....

Yes there is such a coordinated effort. Now if they could string them together coast to coast it would be great. I for one would definitely use it the full length, for sure. Maybe because I am getting older I am less resilient than I was when I was younger. In some areas of the southern tier, not necessarily ACA's route, there was just way too much traffic, pollution, and noise.

Routes / Re: Dedicated Across America Bicycle Path
« on: January 16, 2009, 07:04:42 pm »
Maybe it was just me, but on my last tour which went from southeast coastal Florida to El Paso, Texas there was too much noise and traffic. The Tammany Trace was a genuine relief. I like the open road too. I also see that a dedicated cross country path would be free of most traffic and air pollution. I have done some research on the American Discovery Trail. A good part of it seems to be something like what I think is needed, and a good part of it consists of foot paths, horse paths, and roadways. Out west it may be traversable in some extents only by foot. The canal tow paths across the southern tier of counties in Pennsylvania are completely off-road from what I read. Some places may be more fitting for trail bikes and not touring bike sized tires and wheels.

I was reading a copy of the Arab Times, and what did I see? This headline: New Interstate road map takes shape for bicyclists. I read it. Apparently ACA are putting together some country wide map for cyclists. Here is the web site address just in case anyone here is unaware of it. I looked it up. It appears to be quite a project. Over the road cycling is fine as long as you are on the best roads for cycling.

Routes / Re: Route help needed Portland OR to Reno NV
« on: January 14, 2009, 10:16:22 pm »
I am not too sure about this because I have not read this book in a long time, but you might find information for cycling in that region in the book "Outings on Wheels." I believe it was put out by the Sierra Club.

Routes / Re: Dedicated Across America Bicycle Path
« on: January 14, 2009, 10:05:17 pm »
Actually, I made a mistake about the Tammany Trace. It does run some 31 miles, but not from Baton Rouge. It goes between Slidell, Louisiana and Covington, Louisiana. Sorry about that.

Routes / Re: Any advice about cycling in Portugal?
« on: January 10, 2009, 03:19:08 am »
There is information on cycling conditions in the book "Miles From Nowhere" by Barbara Savage. That was a long time ago, however, and conditions may have changed by now.

Routes / Re: food and water on the southern tier
« on: January 10, 2009, 03:16:10 am »
Knowing what is available, where it is, and how far away it is on a bike in time and distance are all quite important. When I did the SR I used roads that were and were not on the ACA route. Often I would come across places where only a convenience store was available. A CS is good for hydration any day, or if you like coffee, but when it comes to solid nutrition there can be a letdown; not always, but sometimes. Out west CSs sometimes have mini restaurants and tables in them. I have not see that on the east coast. In some places you might want to carry a couple of litres of water. In other areas you can easily guage your cycling time to the next sure source of food and water.

If you are going to cook your own food, you will need food stores in which you can purchase cookable food. This is where CSs leave you out in the cold as far as I have been able to see. In some areas you might have to settle for restaurant fare, and ready-to-eat sandwiches from a CS deli or something like that. The thing is to buy and carry your food for your next anticipated meal.

As for myself, I get my food from stores and restaurants. I cook at times using a lightweight, alcohol stove. Apples, bananas, and dried fruit such as dates and apricots are good snacks to carry along. In some areas of the ST you will find good food sources frequently; in other areas not so frequently; in other areas you had better stock up and be prepared.

Routes / Re: Seattle to San Francisco in May
« on: January 10, 2009, 02:57:12 am »
It has been quite a while since I cycled any part of the PCBR. Check hostels in Seattle on Google. That might get you something. There were quite a few nice hostels in SF when I was there. I met a young woman in one who was extremely talented in speaking with different accents. She could do it just like a professional actress on TV, even better.

I remember it was quite hilly leaving south out of Stinson Beach. You come to a long descent after passing a Buddist center. The descent takes you to bike paths which go to or near the Golden Gate Bridge. I do not know why, but I had to carry the bike down stairs, go to the other side of the bridge, and carry it up stairs to cycle across the bridge.  The state of Washington should be rainy. I had quite a bit of rain in Wash. and OR, but once in CA, there was not a single day of rain while cycling. It is an excellent ride with plenty of well wooded areas. The wind will come in from the quarter rear or rear and give you a good push at times. Entering Eureka, CA I remember some strong side winds, and that because I think your route takes you at an angle quite different from much else of the route. There are inexpensive state campgrounds with hiker-biker campsites along the way.

General Discussion / Re: Winter Pacific Coast tour
« on: January 10, 2009, 02:34:04 am »
I have considered doing the PCBR in winter too. I looked up the winter weather, and got some word from people who know weather conditions in that region in winter. The general consensus was---don't do it in winter. Can you do it? Yes, most likely. There may be numerous setbacks due to stormy, wet, cold weather, and snow, but it can be done. They say some really severe storms can sweep in.

Connecting ACA Routes / Portland to Pac. Coast Route?
« on: December 28, 2008, 07:37:59 am »
Just about any roadmap will give you the way. I have done the PCBR three times. Once I went from Seattle to about half way through Oregon where my girlfriend had such a bad case of tendinitis we had to quit and drive back to Florida. Next, I went back myself, and carried on from Portland to San Diego, a really fantastic, great ride. Third, I cycled from Arcata, California to Santa Cruz, CA. I flew to China after that.

Getting from Portland to the PCBR is the easiest thing in the world to do. You can also go south to get on I-5, and criss cross it visiting interesting towns along the way, take 38 at Drain, OR, and enter the PCBR west of Drain at Reedsport. The choice is yours.

This message was edited by Westinghouse on 12-28-08 @ 4:40 AM

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