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Messages - cgarch

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Just my opinion, but why wouldn't you use CGOAB? The website gets a huge number of hits and you're in the company of world travelers, where many folks are more likely to see it. Plus somewhere in one of the topics is a discussion of what makes a good journal - people you meet, the various odd adventure, you name it. Photos of the people you meet, that which captures your eye, all those things that make a trip anything other than what you expected. Setting up a journal on CGOAB is pretty straightforward. Take a look at the featured journals for the best examples. How you write about your trip will make a world of difference too. Good luck . .


Depends where you start. I'm presuming that you're starting in SF - airport? Let us know and then we can suggest the corridor. Suggest you also look at this thread.

General Discussion / Re: New to downhill grades
« on: February 10, 2011, 12:55:06 am »
Most western grades are limited to 6% or so . .snip

If only that were true. While that may be good for parts of WA and OR, it isn't so in California and it isn't true for the Cascades, Sierra, the Rockies, and a lot of other places. Some of the steepest grades on the Pac Coast route are up to 15% in CA. My recollection too is that the Three Capes route near Cape Lookout in OR has quite a bit of 12%.

Fred Hiltz's comments are spot on IMO. I tour with my SO on our tandem and bob. I have deep-V black rims with both caliper and disc brakes, and in our experience descending fully loaded (neighborhood of 100LBs in addition to us - 375 lbs plus bike) have not had any issues with tube or tire failures (in spite of some bad tire choices). Since I can alternate between disc and calipers on the rear some of the over-heating issues are significantly moderated. The only time I cooked a rear disc was an intentional test on a 20% grade in our area - but I still stopped. And unless I'm mistaken, most tandemnistas don't use a disc as a drag brake for that reason.

Perhaps more important is learning how to descend. I would strongly suggest reading the current article in Adventure Cyclist (Feb 2011) about cornering. It will help you learn to descend better. You're just going to have get used to the idea of going 45-55 mph on a downhill and learning how to moderate the rig into a corner. Sean Yates (of the 90's Motorola team) used to talk about sticking your elbow into a corner - try it, you'll find you go right around. Learning how to accept the speed and how to corner will instill you with the confidence you need to handle those wicked descents. After all, after the top you've earned that descent - learn to enjoy it.


Not complete for a while. See The only alternate I know of is to not go that way, but head down through the peninsula. Yep it is a tough nut but folks do ride it and survive.


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 . . .

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