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Messages - cgarch

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Pacific Northwest / Re: How to Return to Start on one way tour?
« on: February 03, 2011, 03:49:23 pm »
Most folks have successfully used Amtrak to complete that loop. You would have to get over to Emeryville (BART or otherwise) to pick up the Coast Starlight to Portland. You might have to ride back to Astoria unless that's part of starting plan. That portion of the route has been extensively discussed by others. I've no experience flying with a bike but have done the Amtrak thing several times and highly recommend it (at least out here on the left coast). YMMV.

Santa Rosa, CA

Routes / Re: Reno into Denver/Boulder area
« on: January 10, 2011, 04:44:41 pm »
Not much to add other than yep, it is kind of early. I would have two observations on the proposed route from Baker to Delta and then from Delta to Helper. Baker to Delta is every bit as desolate as Baker to Milford with no services in between. You must be topped up as you leave the stateline (NV-UT) motel. My recollection is that you have some 60+ miles of pure unadulterated Utah desert - I've driven this twice. Second, I would question the route from Delta to Helper. By going north you should expect to encounter some heavy truck traffic on 6 from Spanish Fork, up and over Soldier Summit (elev. 7477) and down to Helper. I haven't ridden it, but I have driven both this and the alternate, around through Salina. If I were riding I would take the Salina route. Plus you'll be a little further south and possibly out of potential bad weather. Doesn't look to be much different mileage-wise. The fabulous red rock country on 50/70 would more than make up for riding in more of the bloody desert north of Delta.

Routes / Western Express - Shoe Tree is gone
« on: January 05, 2011, 12:31:11 pm »
The Shoe Tree, just east of Middlegate, NV on US 50, has been chopped down by vandals. One of the scenic spots of the trip, the tree was cut down some time 30-31 December 2010.

Santa Rosa, CA

Routes / Re: Pacific Coast - Rain or RV's, which is worse?
« on: October 20, 2010, 04:33:40 pm »
Hmm, I think that's a specious argument for not riding it. Sure traffic is heavy getting the through SF and the stretch to Half Moon Bay isn't the best, but after HMB, CA 1 is a gas. There is one side road to consider taking as well that takes you through the Gazos Creek area and off 1 for a bit. The tail wind to Santa Cruz is to die for (well almost). Getting through Santa Cruz is a little testing with a lot of twist and turns and traffic. South to Monterey isn't too bad, and after Monterey you're rewarded with Big Sur. I've lived in the Bay Area for most of my adult life and have ridden south from HMB at least once a year during the last 20 years to as far as SLO. I just don't see traffic in that area being any worse than any day in Lincoln, OR. A trip down the Pacific Coast isn't complete without the Big Sur stretch. Stopping in SLO makes more sense from that standpoint.

Santa Rosa, CA

Routes / Re: Pacific Coast - Rain or RV's, which is worse?
« on: October 15, 2010, 10:29:21 pm »
I agree with the other posters. Only comment I would add is that it rained really late this year so I would call this year a bit of an anomaly. In general the weather is good, though you should expect rain in Washington anytime. It just gets better going south. The only other concern is fog. Prepare yourself with a good blinking tail light for those occasions. We rode it in 2009 and in general had few problems with the nasty beasts. The worst area though was around Florence to Coos Bay on the weekend with the dune buggy haulers. Could have done without that. Another vote for mirrors as well. Camping at HB sites was a breeze. And as I have noted before, this has got to be one of the most pleasant of trips with plenty of HB campsites and easy access to services.


Routes / Re: Western Express challenges?
« on: October 02, 2010, 11:39:25 am »
There are a number of threads in the forums covering this route and numerous journals over on CGOAB. Here's one: and another Directory at CGOAB:  You might want to think about that April departure - could be mighty cold out in the open across Nevada.

Santa Rosa, CA

General Discussion / Re: Riding Route 50 in NV & UT in June
« on: September 20, 2010, 02:01:13 am »
A couple of recent journals you should check out
These should give you a pretty good idea of what's in store across Nevada and Utah. Note that Karen's sticks to US 50 While Wayne takes on the alternate route from Middlegate to Austin.

Santa Rosa, CA

Routes / Re: Short California Loop in Late October?
« on: September 14, 2010, 09:51:04 pm »
Take a look at this for the 'North of the Bay' option.
As for the option currently presented here, I can't think of a much better route. Have ridden it several times though not unsupported. CA 25 is a complete gem with generally quiet road and spectacular scenery. The East Pinnacles campground is a little on the pricey side. If the weather holds, it is a great time to be on the Big Sur coast. If you get cramped for time you could also return on Carmel Valley Road by way of Arroyo Seco. Hmm, maybe I should go myself!

Santa Rosa, CA

Routes / Re: how late to start the Sierra Cascades route?
« on: August 24, 2010, 10:24:02 pm »
Well, there's a world of speculation. It will depend when the first storms hit. Without speaking for Washington, you could make it over the Oregon passes possibly as late as mid-Ocotober - maybe. The last several years it seems storms were late in getting to the Mt. Bachelor area but then once winter set in they've been hammered. You could easily get through several of the CA passes as late as November and possibly into December as you head south. The prior years would have been a cinch, this year it seemed like after January is when the storms and the snow rolled in. I suspect sooner is better and this is a fine time of the year to be in those mountains. But you never know - hope you're prepared for the best of both experiences.


Gear Talk / Re: Fuel Choice for MSR Whisperlite International Stove
« on: August 07, 2010, 12:22:05 pm »
I should clarify that I only used the premium unleaded because that was what the brother-in-law had in the camp. Had I stopped at the pump I would have definitely used the cheapest grade available.

Gear Talk / Re: Fuel Choice for MSR Whisperlite International Stove
« on: August 06, 2010, 01:06:23 am »
I'll take a shot. I have one. It works best on white gas. When I used some 'unleaded' premium last year, the smoky nature of it was unpleasant. Given the option of lugging around a gallon of white gas, I could live with it. Things do come clean. I can't vouch for switching the jets to run on kerosene or diesel, not having even tried it. As for simmering, it is not going to be as good as your kitchen stove but it is sorta feasible - it is not the best. My preference is white gas stoves, but many dislike handling that gas. I dislike the hassle of propane/butane cartridges.  Everyone has an opinion on these items and you will eventually have to decide for yourself.

For the true light weight fanatic there are plenty of other options - alcohol stoves and the Nimble Will Nomad Stove come to mind. Not sure how well these stoves simmer . . .

Rocky Mountain / Re: US 50 in Nevada?
« on: July 09, 2010, 11:11:42 pm »
Suggest you take a look at this current journal on CGOAB: particularly days 7 to 10 or so. Second Aggies' note. Where you plan to ride makes a big difference.

univac has good advice. I've never broken a chain either but my spare chain parts and chain tool saved someone else's ride once. It happens. You can either be stuck somewhere and depend on others to get to the next bike shop (which is where?) or be prepared to fix most anything that comes along. There have been other threads on what you should bring - checking out CGOAB is an excellent source.


Routes / Re: Just wondering about northwestern California
« on: June 01, 2010, 10:36:54 pm »
You may wish to take a look at this journal from CGOAB


General Discussion / Re: Sierra Cascades - how tough a route?
« on: May 31, 2010, 01:13:16 pm »
Here's two suggestions for you. The first is indeed the connection to the Western Express route. This would take you east from SF (includes ferry trip $$) through Sacramento and over to CA 88 to Carson Pass, shortly after which you would turn north on CA 89 on the SC route. This route north would take you around the west side of Lake Tahoe. This route involves a fair bit of climbing, which by the time you reach SF you should be used to.

A second suggestion is, in Ft. Bragg consider take CA 20 east. Ft. Bragg -> Willits -> Ukiah -> Clear Lake -> Williams. Once in the valley you could take CA 45 north, connect to CA 162 to continue east and thence to CA 70. You could then take advantage of the easy grades and the spectacular scenery in the Feather River Canyon, rejoining the Sierra Cascades route at CA 89 north of Quincy to continue north to Greenville and Lake Almanor and beyond.

You better not be worried about climbing. All of CA coast is steeper than most coastal routes in WA or OR. Those states have generally consistent grades around 6% max.. Once in CA you will see that number go up. The CA coast will beat your legs up with its constant up and downs. Once you turn inland you again will see many long climbs as well.

I'm not sure I understand the complaint about the cost of the ACA maps. You certainly could do your own research and perhaps get by without the maps. Seems to me that when you look at the complete cost of the trip, the maps are an incidental cost and cheaper than being lost.

Santa Rosa, CA

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