Show Posts

This section allows you to view all posts made by this member. Note that you can only see posts made in areas you currently have access to.

Messages - Itinerant Harper

Pages: [1] 2 3
Pacific Northwest / Re: Iron Horse Trail conditions?
« on: January 15, 2016, 11:24:17 am »
I rode North Bend to Cle Elum on 38s. There is at least one section where it's pretty soft but I just took it slower. Personally I wouldn't ride it on 28s, but I wouldn't ride pavement on 28s either, but I'm sure you could make do. It'd be more pleasant on something 35 and up though.

Routes / Re: Three weeks - Pacific Coast or Sierra Cascades
« on: January 08, 2016, 12:05:45 pm »
Having done both of those routes, I offer the following. In three weeks I rode from Seattle to SF on the Pacific Coast with two rest days and a few days in SF.  So pushing it you could go further.  But worth taking time off on the OR Coast, the Redwoods and SF in my opinion.  On the Sierra Cascades from Portland I made it to Lake Tahoe in 3 weeks. In those three weeks I took one day off at Crater Lake (worth doing that IMO).  The Sierra Cascades in that stretch, if you are riding 50+ miles a day, includes a pass or a summit every day.  I'm sure someone could (and have) blasted through that faster but it's a tough route.  That section also includes several long stretches with minimal services. You want to have a water filter. It definitely is more wilderness riding than the coast, but coming into CA there is a long stretch on pretty busy roads.

The other issue I'd really think about is the weather. In May it'll be rainy on the coasts and there will still be snow in the mountains. The mountains will also be rainy where it isn't snowing.

Given your time constrains I'd personally do the Pacific Coast. Its a beautiful ride and there is lots to see and do. Many little towns and such will provide comfort and entertainment even on rainy days.  Lots of options for camping and for those days when you want a break from the rain hotels, hostels, etc.

Routes / Re: Anyone ride on 101 along Lake Crescent in Washington
« on: September 14, 2015, 11:34:12 am »
I've ridden 101 around Lake Crescent and also 113/112. I'd definitely do 113/112 eastbound for sure. I personally enjoyed that ride a lot - in the woods, on the coast with many tantalizing glimpses of the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Nice country riding as you come into Port Angeles.  It is more up and down as you go around inlets and river egresses but that's great riding IMO.  Lake Crescent on the other hand is a beautiful lake but you need to spend a lot of time looking at the road and especially the traffic coming up behind (mirror recommended).  Going westbound the lake is on your right (beyond a wooden barrier most of the time) but felt safer. Going eastbound, which is also slightly uphill the bulk of the way) there are shear rock walls most of the time.

Pacific Northwest / Re: Good routes from Bremerton to Astoria?
« on: May 17, 2015, 11:50:29 am »
One thing I should add about the above route, is that 101 between Cosmopolis and Raymond isn't the most ideal. Definitely fine if you need  a more direct route (the person I put that route together for originally needed a shorter route) but it won't be the most scenic and logging truck free. So this route which takes 105 to the coast and around the peninsula to Raymond adds some miles but is more scenic and gets to the Pacific Ocean.

Since I was editing the maps I removed Seattle and added Astoria so you can see the whole route. At 200 miles this could easily be a nice 3-4 day trip, preferably 4. Don't miss Cape Disappointment State Park and the endless beaches up around Twin Harbors or Grayland Beach State Parks. There are definitely a few cutoffs and options if you want to shave off a few miles, but they often will have more logging traffic and/or worse roads. Most of them are fine though in my experience. This is definitely the most scenic route between Seattle and Astoria.

Pacific Northwest / Re: Good routes from Bremerton to Astoria?
« on: May 16, 2015, 02:30:32 pm »
Here’s a link to a Google Map with my preferred route from Bremerton to Long Beach:

This has some great riding along Hood Canal, through the woods and small little towns and is still pretty direct. I’ve done it in two-three days, staying in Shelton (slightly off the route) or camping at Potlatch State park. I’d personally do it over three days staying at Potlatch, then Lake Sylvia and finally Long Beach. With a lighter load you can definitely do this route in two days.  From Long Beach it's just 101 to Astoria (across the harrowing Astoria Bridge) and 101 down the coast in OR as far as you want to go. Pick up the Cycling OR map which has tons of great resources on it.

Food Talk / Re: vegetarian trek on the transamerica?
« on: December 09, 2014, 11:23:25 am »
Yeah I should say I've had to turn down offered food which I always feel a bit bad about. Also because of that I never stay with Warm Showers hosts or anything like that.

Food Talk / Re: vegetarian trek on the transamerica?
« on: November 16, 2014, 06:17:01 pm »
I didn't.  Rice takes a long time to cook on an alcohol stove.  But sitting in the city park in a town that only has hairdressers, a gas station and maybe a bar I had time.  I used dehydrated beans which are faster. Another tip for people who want to cook real food is that ziplock bags are your friend. Get the double locking freezer bags and then you can buy jars and cans of food and put them in those bags and discard the heavy, bulk packaging.

On my last long tour I switched from rice to a 'whole grain mix' made up of quonia, millet and amaranth. I'd top it off whenever I'd find a Coop with a bulk section.  That cooks much faster and substitutes for rice in most anything I made.

Food Talk / Re: vegetarian trek on the transamerica?
« on: November 16, 2014, 04:37:28 pm »
I'm vegetarian and rode cross country on the Northern Tier a couple years ago.  My basic advice is be prepared to carry more food.  I had a four pannier setup on that tour but I normally just use two front panniers and a saddlebag so I had a lot more space. I devoted the main compartment of my front pannier to food which let me carry a decent amount so I could stock up. I found, with only a few exceptions (East Montana for instance), there would be something close to a supermarket every four days or so. So I would stock up on my basics plus a few things for the next couple of days and then use the small town stores to supplement with more perishable things like cheese, fruit and vegetables (if available).  I carried dried things like rice and beans, but I like to spend time cooking each evening  (especially when you are camping at city parks and such where there isn't too much else to do)  so I carried staples that in a pinch could serve as a meal and supplement it with what I could find. This all could be done vegan I think, many of my meals pretty much were.

In the midwest on the Northern Tier, which I imagine will be similar to the Midwest on the TransAm in the tiny town stores it'd often be pretty hard to find much vegetables. So worth carrying more of those when you can find them.  I also found that even things like vegetable soup would usually be the kind with beef broth. You always can find bread, peanut butter and cheese of varying quality.  Tortillas are usually pretty available and less bulky then bread. Mac and Cheese is usually available.  Plenty of eggs if you are willing to eat those.  The other problem I had was finding veggies in small quantities, even the big stores in the midwest would only sell things like carrots and such in big bags.  Often I'd get those bags of pre sliced things so you could get less. Getting things like Tofu I could only really do in towns with a coop as if a big store even had it, it be some huge package.

At restaurants I think vegan would be harder.  Grilled Cheese can be had if you ignore what it's going to be grilled on. Pancakes, waffles, fried potatoes likewise.  That old standby salad is harder to find in the midwest and will usually be iceberg lettuce based. That being said I was occasionally surprised by some little town being hipper than you'd have suspected, or some random looking diner having a sautéed veggie sandwich, or a good coffee shop that might make pannis or some such.  But you can't bank on that at all.

So I did sections 1 through 4 of the Sierra-Cascades this summer (ending at Lake Isabella), I've ridden the Northern Tier and I've done the Pacific Coaset so I can answer any questions on those routes. The Sierra-Cascades was plenty tough and I wouldn't want to do it for my first tour. It's always hard to judge but the South to North seemed harder to me. For example the climb out of Yosemite in that direction with the extensive traffic would no fun IMO. Going downhill in that section was stressful enough.  I on average did much shorter days than I've done on other tours and even then you crossed a pass or summit nearly every day. Several thousand feet of climbing most days with some days far more then that. All that being said the scenery is pretty much unparalleled. Mountains the whole way, views into real wilderness, riding on narrow forest roads where you'd see one or two cars a day, huge descents into wide valleys, streams, rivers, creeks, seven national parks/monuments, USFS land most of the time and on and on.  I really loved it.

The Washington part of the Northern Tier is the hardest section of the NT but by the time you get there you should be ready for it. You can do five passes in four days if you so chose. This is easier East to West as you'll already be at 2000' or so. Great scenery here as well as you are in the mountains and there is Glacier at one end and North Cascades National Park at the other end. When you reach Anacortes take the time to ride in the San Juan Islands. In fact I recommend riding the islands, ferrying to Sidney BC, riding to Victoria and taking the Coho ferry to Port Angles. Take 112 from Port Angeles instead of 101 around Lake Crescent. Definitely ride around the Olympic Peninsula. If you have the time ride into the Hoh Rainforest and spend a few days there.  The Peninsula is rolling hills and is generally pleasant riding. Be prepared for rain, though it can absolutely not happen.

The Astoria Bridge will be the last thing on your route and while not a great time isn't that big of a deal. 

Pacific Northwest / Re: Bears on Pacific Coast Ride?
« on: June 15, 2014, 12:18:06 pm »
There's bears on the Olympic Peninsula, pretty much the only part of the route you'd have the privilege of seeing them. Being well into the summer at your start date I wouldn't worry much about it. Most of the campgrounds will be pretty occupied and especially if you follow the ACA inland route you won't be going through the more wild parts of the peninsula.  Most Washington State campgrounds that have had issues with bears have bear boxes to put your food etc. into. If they have those, use them!

Routes / Re: Pacific Coast: Vancouver or Bellingham?
« on: May 02, 2014, 11:53:55 am »
Huh, I wouldn't have thought that (well per se - Amtrak is kind of expensive) what with the B'ham airport being a pretty small regional airport.  Maybe the cheapest option of all would be to fly into SeaTac and ride up to Vancouver :)  This does IMO have a lot going for it as my preferred route follows Whidbey Island, Fidalgo Island and then Chuckanut Drive to Bellingham.  This gives one a nice taste of the inland route and the edge of the San Juans (which of course one could go to or day trip to from Fidalgo Island). Then you either ride up the Sunshine Coast and down Vancouver Island or take the ferry from Tsawwassen. Then you visit Victoria and take the Coho to Port Angeles and ride around the Peninsula.

Anyway however you do it, it'll be a great trip. When I rode the Pacific Coast I only went as far as SF and I've always regretted I didn't do the whole thing. So I definitely want to do the whole route one day and presuming I'm still in Seattle, the above route is how I'd start off.

Routes / Re: Pacific Coast: Vancouver or Bellingham?
« on: May 01, 2014, 11:46:24 am »
I have to say that the route that Bicycling the Pacific Coast and it looks like the ACA maps use from Bellingham to Vancouver isn't that bad really. There are some bits that aren't ideal (around the airport mainly) but Bellingham to the border and in Canada the whole ride from the area around UBC into the city is classic. 

Is it really cheaper to fly into B'ham than SeaTac and take the train? As adventurepdx noted it's an easy jaunt what with the light rail from SeaTac to King Street Station and what with being able to roll on your bicycle on Amtrak you could assemble your ride during any down time. Anyway that's certainly what I'd do if I was flying in, even if it was a couple of bucks more.

Routes / Re: Pacific Coast: Vancouver or Bellingham?
« on: April 29, 2014, 12:01:33 pm »
Oh also I've ridden into and out of Canada several times (and driven many, many times) and have never had issues with the border. Bring your passport and it's no big deal. Maybe they'll search a bag but most of the time I've just been asked a couple of questions and waved through. Less hassle at the ferry border crossings than the big crossing at Blaine, but still no big deal.

Routes / Re: Pacific Coast: Vancouver or Bellingham?
« on: April 29, 2014, 11:57:49 am »
I agree with most of the opinions here w/r/t the Vancouver start, which I for one recommend - Vancouver is a great city. But there is another option for getting to the coast that hasn't been mentioned. Instead of going south from Vancouver go north and ride the Sunshine Coast. This route out of Vancouver is quite nice and once you quickly get through the 'burbs it is excellent wooded and waterfront riding with the occasional ferry ride. Then you take the ferry at Powell River over to Vancouver Island and ride down the east side with plenty of opportunities to go to the Gulf Islands. Then you either ferry into the states via Anacortes (visiting the San Juan's of course) or head into Victoria and take the Coho to Port Angeles.

This route FWIW is the route in Bicycling the Pacific Coast by Kirkendall and Spring. They also lay out the route around the Olympic Peninsula which keeps you actually on the Pacific Coast. The Adventure Cycling route inexplicably (well perhaps to not overlap with Washington Parks - get that if you want to go around the peninsula with ACA maps) uses what K&S deem the "inland route" which while a great ride I've done several times, it's not really the "Pacific Coast". Plus the Olympic Peninsula is must visit.

I don't know about your time constraints or what have you but from Anacortes to North Bend but if you aren't super time compressed I'd take the Mountain Loop Highway and camp in the National Forest there. There are many campgrounds in that area you so you could adjust the miles to your needs. This is a really scenic route, though it does have many miles of gravel road. Not a problem on my touring bicycle with 38mm tires but YMMV.  I basically did a trip from Kirkland WA to Red Bridge Campground on the Mountain Loop Highway to Bayview State Park which by your itinerary you could certainly do. As the Mountain Loop campground was day 1 on my tour I of course got off late so one could certainly make it well beyond Kirkland with an earlier start. It also would be very easy to connect to the Snoqualmie Valley Trail from the Mountain Loop and this would take you right up to Snoqualmie/North Bend/Rattlesnake Lake where the Iron Horse Trail begins.  Anyway if this seems interesting I could dig up more details on the route.

Pages: [1] 2 3