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Messages - PeteJack

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General Discussion / Re: New York to San Francisco Ride
« on: April 06, 2015, 10:52:49 pm »
I'm sure warmshowers is OK but I can't bring myself to use it as I've no interest in offering that kind of hospitality myself. perhaps I've got more money than sense. Ah well... Whatever you do you'll meet a lot of nice people. The Atlantic coast route meets the TransAm at Mineral, Virginia. The fire house there acts as a sort of hostel that many people stay at.

General Discussion / Re: New York to San Francisco Ride
« on: April 06, 2015, 05:42:23 pm »
Bear in mind that B & Bs in the US are not a cheap alternative to motels, many of them tend to rather luxurious and cost an arm and a leg: I paid $140 for one night in Connecticut, the lady told me she usually charges $170 (George Washington slept here or some-such) If you need  a break from camping and you probably will, use a Motel 6 or the like. Or better yet a no name place. I got a quite acceptable room in Bedford PA for $29 a couple of years ago. Some of them drive you nuts because they are run by Indians, East Indians as they say here, and at the check-in you get a lovely aroma of Indian food but there isn't an Indian restaurant for many miles around. Talking of Indians: when you get to Colorado and points west try native American Fry Bread if you can get it, it's nothing like fried bread at home and is delicious.

Unlike in the UK just about everywhere here gives a discount to seniors

Above all have fun and stay safe. Pete

Routes / USGS maps for touring anybody?
« on: March 29, 2015, 10:48:46 am »
Has anyone used USGS maps for touring? I've searched this site and find no reference to USGS. My only experience of USGS maps was many years ago when I used their paper maps for hiking. It seems to me the scal was way too big and you would need a trailer to carry them for a tour of any distance but maybe things have changed. Is there a USGS tool for selecting maps that is any use?

I'm trying to help someone in the UK who things ACA maps are expensive. I've searched this site and find no reference to USGS. Not very promising

Gear Talk / Re: New Adventure Bike...from Trek!
« on: March 21, 2015, 11:39:42 am »
I get the general idea of this Trek touring bike, but where are the mud-guards (fenders) and why oh why drop handle bars? Unless you're into down hill racing or fancy yourself in the Tour de France, no one on a long distance bike ride needs drop bars - IMHO.  And unless you enjoy a wet ass, fenders are a great invention.  It looks like Trek are just jumping - belatedly - on the rising popularity of bike touring but are still stuck in mountain bike mode.  Otherwise, not a bad bike.
I like the variety of hand positions you get with drops (my 520 has 50K on it so far) As for fenders I'm agnostic: they are a nuisance when you take the front wheel off to fix a flat, if you are touring with somebody you like it's nice for them to have a rear fender with a mud flap (aka buddy flap), they are a bit of added weight, mine are SKS and Trek might balk at the cost. That said in most cases a back rack and its contents acts like a fender to keep your bum dry but does nothing for your wife behind you.

I like the idea of disk brakes, the Single Digit SD-7s that came with mine were utter rubbish. Braking on a steep hill was like planning for retirement, you had to plan it so far ahead. And they were very noisy, toe-in and all kinds of pads notwithstanding. I replaced the front SD-7 with a Single Digit Ultimate and it's like night and day i.e. it works and is silent. The SD-7 is adequate for the back. As you can see it wasn't cheap.

General Discussion / Re: Getting from Seattle to Anacortes
« on: March 21, 2015, 12:38:33 am »
The trains to Mt Vernon/Bellingham are at 7:40 am and 6:50 pm. They take just over two hours to Mt Vernon another 30 minutes to Bellingham.

General Discussion / Flushable wipes not good
« on: March 13, 2015, 11:22:43 am »
This is bad news for people like me who have used these things as emergency TP. Baby wipes, flushable included, are bad news for sewage and presumably septic systems.

So dispose of them like trash, no matter what they've been used for.

ACA maps are better for people trying to enjoy the experience rather than get somewhere specific.

I'll second that, on the Northern Tier near Glendive MT a bunch of people I'd made friends with took the quickest way at one stage which meant about 12 miles of noisy freeway. I took the ACA wiggly waggly route, about 13 miles, and saw one (1!) car the whole way.

Gear Talk / Re: One link in the chain
« on: March 01, 2015, 10:41:59 am »
Some time ago someone told me my chain looked slack when I was using the granny gear. Without checking the length properly or anything sensible like that I took a link out. Problem fixed, slackness gone. Then when climbing the notorious Devil's Slide hill on the Pacific Coast Hwy. (very busy, no shoulder) I inadvertently shifted to the big-big combination. The chain jammed instantly. It was so tight I couldn't move the chain off the chain ring or sprocket even by pulling on it sideways never mind the derailers.

I ended up climbing into the ditch to try to fix it and had to remove and replace the jockey wheel to get some slack so I could ride again. At the first opportunity I replaced the chain and now I live with the 'slack' which is probably due to a fairly big difference between the largest and smallest chain rings, 51 - 24.

Moral of story. Beware of chain shortening and  put a new chain on if anything is the least bit suspect.

Gear Talk / Re: New Rider who needs advice on tires
« on: February 18, 2015, 10:18:20 pm »
You're young you say. Well get out there and do it with whatever you've got. You can find a way to strap gear to your bike. It won't be purdy but who gives a s***, it's your trip not anybody else's. You don't need fancy tires, as Sta... etc has noted, M+'s weigh a ton and ride like you are going through sand. I've mentioned this before but I'll say it again. I met a man in Virginia on a Schwinn he'd found at the side of the road in LA! He was dumpster diving for food. His weather gear was a garbage bag with three holes in it. His front tire had a bulge in it and when I pointed it out he said it had been like that for a month. So, as they say in Liverpool, on yer bike.

Gear Talk / Re: What lube to use for touring.
« on: January 27, 2015, 03:12:34 pm »

General Discussion / Waterproof printer paper
« on: January 24, 2015, 12:59:52 pm »
There's a product that seems to be only available in the UK, Toughprint, a waterproof paper you can use with a laser printer. Sounds ideal for those of us who don't want a GPS. Anybody know if there's a US supplier?

Gear Talk / Should I be worried about my frame?
« on: January 23, 2015, 02:58:59 pm »
I have a Trek520 that I love dearly with 46000+ miles on it. I was in an LBS the other day and mentioned this to the fella and he asked if I was getting cracks in the frame. I haven't found any cracks but then I haven't done a penetrant dye inspection on it or any such thing. About the only thing that hasn't been replaced is the bottom bracket which still seems smooth as silk. Should I be undertaking another big tour with this bike or should I be looking to replace it? If I do it will probably be with a Disc 520, my one beef with my current bike was the brakes it came with were very noisy and not very good.

I'm working on alternative routing in case this proves to be a problem. This would put me on country roads through small towns, but in Pennsylvania and Maryland instead of Kentucky and Missouri.

If you are not set on starting in D.C. or can get yourself up to it, you might consider signed PA Bike Route S to get around the C&0:

Heading west, Route S joins the GAP at Rockwood, PA. However, you can take U.S. 220 from Bedford, PA to Cumberland, MD if you want to pick up the GAP from the beginning. I did the reverse when I rode from PGH to Philly in 2013. I picked up U.S. 220 north of Cumberland by following smaller roads out of town. The road has a decent shoulder and traffic was not that heavy on a Monday afternoon. Let me know if you want the exact routing between Bedford and Cumberland. Personally, I found the portion of the GAP between Rockwood and Cumberland to be the most interesting so I wouldn't miss that portion if possible.

Also, if you pick up Route S anywhere east of Hustontown, PA and have a strong from light or headlamp you can take an easy detour from the route and ride a stretch of the abandoned portion of the PA Turnpike. Very neat ride (It was used in the filming of "The Road" starring Viggo Mortensen), but there are two long tunnels that are not lit, hence the need for a good light. At the western end of the rideable portion you will find yourself back on Route S at Breezewood, PA.
+1 I rode Route S from near Philly to Rockwood. Some of it is fairly busy roads but much of it is highly rural PA e.g. Burnt Cabins. The western part is quite hilly. I managed to miss the old turnpike tunnels as you will if you follow the Route S signs, perhaps as well as I didn't have much in the way of lights or a map to show me where the tunnels were. i was unimpressed by the GAP. When it's wet the crushed gravel makes a paste that clings to your bike, especially to fenders. i ended up sharing a room with a complete stranger in Ohiopyle because the camping facilities near there were so poor.

Gear Talk / Re: What lube to use for touring.
« on: January 07, 2015, 06:43:53 pm »
Off to lube my chain.

Gear Talk / Re: What lube to use for touring.
« on: January 07, 2015, 05:56:39 pm »
FWIW, the care my chains get is mostly sloshing on some lube and wiping it off with a napkin.  They very rarely get any cleaning beyond that.
Hmm. It could be I'm not oiling my chain often enough. I took the Dumond label at its word when it says not to relube until you can hear the chain. I'll try more frequent oiling and see if that makes a difference. I can live with oiling more but the cleaning razmtaz is insufferable.

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