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Routes / Southern Tier timing and direction
« on: June 18, 2013, 03:30:42 pm »
Looking for some advice here.  I was planning to do the Trans Am this summer (like about now), but job says no.  So either I wait a year, or more likely do the Southern Tier later this year.

So - My thought is to do the southern tier mid Sept to Mid Nov.  I am thinking 8-9 weeks, which seems a pretty leisurly pace? 

I live and cycle commute in Phoenix, so I do have some heat tolerance.  I know that late Sept is still warm in the desert Southwest, but nothing I can't handle.  What I don't know about is the rest of the route.

Also, I could realistically do either direction... What are the pros and cons of each?



Gear Talk / Re: shifters
« on: November 29, 2012, 11:14:18 pm »
Interesting, but pricey.  My 7 speed STI level died so i just bought some NOS shimano 105 down tube levers for about $30.  Franly, i adapted back in minutes.  I doubt i'll bother with STI again.

Routes / Re: Timing and weather
« on: October 29, 2012, 09:47:21 pm »

Thanks for the info - we should talk as I am also in Mesa, about the same age, and gee, I have a son Mark M (but he lives in LA).
I left you a PM


Gear Talk / Re: Thermarest pads - are Neoairs that much better?
« on: October 22, 2012, 03:14:49 pm »
Good inputs.  I looked up the Exped SynMat, and while it is cheaper, it is MUCH heavier.  Yes, I am in the AARP age group (56), but i sleep on my stomache or back more than on my side, and prefer a firm matress. But I will admit that while the 1 " thermorest I have now is OK, it's not super comfy.

Guess I'll be watching to see if someone put's the Neoair's on sale. If not, watch for another REI 20% one item in the spring.

Gear Talk / Re: Well, here we first touring bike is........?
« on: October 21, 2012, 10:26:40 pm »
Fit is king. Since you have a significant background, I presume you have at least one bike that just fits and feels like it's part of you.  If so, which of the two matches the best?


Gear Talk / Re: REI Novara Safari
« on: October 20, 2012, 08:51:02 pm »
I too have a Randonee. Mine is about 15 years old. Only one long tour under it so far, that was Portland to San Francisco on the ACA Pacific coast route. Other than being a little short on gearing for a couple of the more severe climbs, it did great. In the 15 years since, it has done commute duty, being left out in the hot Arizona sun all day, and other than the paint being faded, it works just fine. Oh yes, the STI shifters that my year came with gave up the ghost a year or so ago, and will replaced with downtube levers .  But the New models use bar end shifters anyway, which is a better choice.

From what I see in the specs, the new ones are even better yet in terms of the equipment that they have on them. So you should be fine.

I intend to use my now 15-year-old bike to do the Trans Am next summer. Other than the smallest chain ring which I have already swapped from a 26 to a 24, the previously mentioned shifters, and replacement of wear items, I expect to use it as it sits, and doubt I'll have any issues.

When I bought mine, the Randonee was more like half the price of alternatives such as TREK. Nowadays it's still cheaper though not by nearly as much. Still when you consider that it is cheaper and you get 10% back at the end of the year, I think it's one of the better values out there.

Just the two cents from a satisfied owner.


Gear Talk / Re: How much does a sleeping bag liner increase warmth?
« on: October 20, 2012, 08:41:30 pm »
Well, the sale reappeared today, so I bit.   

Staehpj1-I decided your advice was good, and in looking at the numbers and realizing that the EN rating of my old bag is actually 17°, and that most the time I sleep a little colder than many people, I decided that yes the Phantom 32 was a better choice. So it looks like this decision is made now.

So I got the Big Agnes fly Creek UL 2 4 a tent, Nashbar waterproof front panniers to replace my worn-out REI rear panniers, a Phantom 32 as a lighter less overheating replacement for my marmot bag. Now I guess all I need is to replace my obsolete thermal arrest pad, find my old Trangia stove, and wait nine months to start.

Guess I'm getting anxious!

Gear Talk / Thermarest pads - are Neoairs that much better?
« on: October 20, 2012, 10:51:10 am »
Another gear question from me...

I have a ~15 yr old 3/4 lenght Thermarest pad. It works and holds air fine.  It has been stored uncompressed, so still fully inflates.

But I read about these new neoair pads - much thicker, cushier, warmer, lighter......but spendy at $130-$200.

Does anyone have experience with both the old and the new?  Are the neoair pads worth the upgrade cost.
This is for 11 weeks TransAm next summer (and likely other shorter rides in the future).

Routes / Re: Timing and weather
« on: October 19, 2012, 11:06:19 pm »
1st of June is the earliest I can start, but my sister thinks E to W may fit her sked better, so it is starting to sound viable. So either direction may work.

Routes / Re: Timing and weather
« on: October 19, 2012, 09:24:15 am »
Thanks Jam.  I am starting to think E-> W is a better option - need to consult my riding partner (Sister). She wants to to the Pacific to Missoula, but is concerned that if I go the other way, timing the "meet" would be a challenge.

On the other hand, it sounds like going that way, the weather stays kind of constant - which is a good thing. I would then do Start June 8th; Finish ~ Aug 24.

decisions, decisions........

Routes / Re: az: show low to globe on rt. 60?
« on: October 19, 2012, 09:19:21 am »
Yes, Pason to Phoenix (Mesa) on hiway 87 is buzy.  On the other hand, the shoulders are wide.  Weekend trafic (friday/saturday AM up to Payson; sunday back) will be very heavy.

60 show low to globe is mostly down hill - curvey.  It is the Salt River Canyon. Never riden, but have driven. Great views though.

If you are planning to hit Phoenix after the weekend, I can provide a "warm shower" I am in Mesa, 3 miles south of the ST route.
PM if interested.

Gear Talk / Re: How much does a sleeping bag liner increase warmth?
« on: October 18, 2012, 12:01:15 am »
Thanks all.  I was about to pull the triger on a phantom 45 and decide how much help it needed.  I found one on line for 220 or so.  But, it sees I waited tooooo long. Now everyone is back up to full list.  Worse, many places show out of stock.  Hmmmmm does that mean that Mountain Hardware is about to release a new model?  Eventhe phantom 32s are scarce.  That was another option - only 4 oz more.

I guess its a good thing I'm starting early with my plans........


Routes / Re: Pacific Cycle Route tour suggestions for visiting Brits
« on: October 17, 2012, 11:56:33 pm »
I did Portland to SF 12 years ago mid - late summer (930 miles). The really pretty part is the Oregon coast to say 200 miles south of SF (Big Sur). There are some severe climbs, but lots of rolling. The pacific coast is far from flat, so there is little level riding.

One gotcha is weather. Depending on what you mean by spring, you could be rainy much of the time. The coast north from SF will be wet until sometime in June. South is beter.

Also, you say 500 miles - that is about what SF to LA is, so you might do that. Keep in mind that trains are not as good in the US as the UK, so you may be better off flying from LAX to SFO return. So, if you kind find a way to rent, ride from SF to LA, fly the bikes bake and return them. Then go on to Reno, which is straight east from SF.

I haven't riden that route, but I have driven it (a couple times).  The part closest to LA isn't as exciting (in my mind), but Big Sur is gorgeous.  I will note though - there are hills - This coastline is right along the San Andreas Fault.  Other attractions - Hearst San Simeon "castle". The huge mansion built by Randolf Hearst, the New Paper millionaire, Monterey... Not a bad ride by any means.

Does that help?

Gear Talk / Re: How much does a sleeping bag liner increase warmth?
« on: October 15, 2012, 04:03:21 pm »
the space blanket idea is interesting. I was planning to take one as a ground cloth anyway - to save the bottom of the tent. I have used these as ground cloths before - While it is imposible to get them back in the original package, with practice they will go in a sandwitch size zip lock bag.

Also, I did a bunch of googling this weekend - seems that on the backpacker side, most feel that silk liners are really only for keeping the bag clean - dont count on more than 2 or 3 degrees add.

Now the fleece liners seem to add more.

I am thinking I'll grab the phantom 45 and spends some nights on the balcony to see what additions I need.

Gear Talk / Re: How much does a sleeping bag liner increase warmth?
« on: October 13, 2012, 03:07:28 pm »
As winter is approaching you will have plenty of cool weather to experiment in your back yard
Good point. Though I live in a condo with just a small balcony - but doable. And here in the valley of the sun, mornings at or below freezing are infrequent  8)  None the less - a very good suggestion. And I can test how I do stuffed, vs. hungry. I know that makes a difference too.

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