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Messages - indyfabz

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1
One option is to go from Columbus to Pittsburgh, PA and ride the Great Allegheny Passage (GAP) trail to Cumberland, MD, the C&O Tow Path from Cumberland to D.C. and then pick up ACA's Atlantic Coast and then TransAm routes to Yorktown.

The GAP is a nice ride. It's popular and well supported by the communities is passes through. Plenty of places to find food and lodging/camping. Surface is primarily crushed limestone. It's mostly on former railroad rights of way, so the grading is easy. Mileage is about 150 to Cumberland. Very gradual net elevation to the eastern continental divide at around mile 125 and then an easy 25 miles down hill to Cumberland. I did it in under three full days of riding with a full load on 32c tires with little tread.

While I have never ridden it, it's my understanding that the C&O is more rustic. Most of it is dirt, and it can be very muddy after a period of heavy rain.

There is a good amount of information, including maps and services lists, for both trails here:

 http://www.atatrail.org/

There is also an official National Park Service web site for the C&O Tow Path:

http://www.nps.gov/choh/index.htm

Pennsylvania Bike Route S uses part of the GAP:

ftp://ftp.dot.state.pa.us/public/pdf/bikes/state_mapS.pdf

If you don't want to ride into Pittsburgh, you could ride from Columbus to West Alexander, PA, pick up PA Route S, which joins the GAP in West Newton, PA and then stay on the GAP when Route S leaves it in Rockwood, PA. Google Maps bike directions gives a route from Columbus to West Alexander that's 178 miles with 3,888' of climbing, which is not bad.

2
Routes / Re: Hwy. 49 from St. Mary, Mt.
« on: March 03, 2015, 04:22:10 pm »
+1 on Sprague Creek or Avalanche over Apgar. Sprague Creek has tent pads in the hiker/biker area (Avalanche may, too. Never stayed there.) and is within walking distance of the lodge, where you can grab a beer and drink it by the lake while gazing at the mountains. There is also a shuttle service between Avalanche and the lodge. Not sure how late it runs. Check the official park site.

Start the climb very early to beat as much traffic as you can. I think we started from Sprague Creek at around 5:30 a.m. in 2009. Make sure you get enough food for breakfast and snacks the day before as nothing will be open so early.

The first photo I linked to was taken near the top of the climb out of St. Mary. It will get your juices flowing.

3
Routes / Re: Hwy. 49 from St. Mary, Mt.
« on: March 03, 2015, 10:21:24 am »
BTW...I recommend sticking to the official ACA route between Whitefish/Columbia Falls to W. Glacier, especially if you go during peak tourist season. There is a section of U.S. 2 between Columbia Falls and Hungry Horse that has no shoulder. I have done both ways, but the year I took U.S. 2 it was before high season, so the traffic was lighter than normal. The official route (MT 486 to Blankenship Rd. to Belton Stage Rd.) has a unpaved section but it is manageable. It's definitely more pleasant riding than U.S. 2, which can get noisy. And you have a better chance of seeing a bear.

IIRC, the official ACA route turns off of Belton Stage Rd. at Lake 5 Rd. to get back to U.S. 2. When we rode this stretch in the opposite direction in 2009 we took the entirety of Belton Stage Rd. That eliminates additional U.S. 2 riding, although it does bypass a couple of campgrounds on the highway.

One more unsolicited piece of advice: If you are planning to camp in the west side of the park before crossing Logan Pass and cooking while you are there, I would shop at the store at the junction of U.S. 2 and Going to the Sun, before you enter the park. I found the selection there better than the selection available at Apgar and Lame McDonald.

4
Routes / Re: Hwy. 49 from St. Mary, Mt.
« on: March 03, 2015, 10:05:11 am »
The GF and I rode from St. Mary to East Glacier via U.S. 89 and MT 49 and then to W. Glacier via U.S. 2 back in 2009 because Logan Pass was still closed when we got to St. Mary.

Your day from St. Mary starts with a  good 5-6 mile climb. Then you basically roll up and down to the junction with MT 49. We took a road-side break at the junction. It's a bit of a ghost town, with some sort of old shop that is no longer in business. Mosquito repellant was necessary.

The climb up MT 49 (a/k/a Looking Glass Hill) is not that bad, although it is windy in spots, and the road had some lateral ruts in it when we rode it. The road passes through the Blackfoot reservation. No permit is need to ride it, but it's my understand that you need one if you want to stop and take a hike on reservation land. The scenery is wonderful. From the top of Looking Glass, it's mostly down hill (some of it decently steep) to E. Glacier, where there are several food options and a motel that also had camping.

We did this stretch in late June. Started out very early. U.S. 89 had little traffic at first and then light to moderate traffic at times as the morning progressed. I think we encountered maybe two or three vehicles on MT 49. Note that there are no services between St. Mary and E. Glacier unless you plan to take the detour to the Two Medicine area of the park.

These photos and the ones in between were taken between St. Mary and E. Glacier. You can see Lower Tow Medicine Lake in one of them:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/davez2007/3676637404/in/set-72157620763740044

https://www.flickr.com/photos/davez2007/3676640588/in/set-72157620763740044

5
General Discussion / Re: Cycling Around the World, but.........
« on: March 03, 2015, 09:47:54 am »
I'd go to the Ontario side of Niagara Falls. Much more interesting than the NY side. You can cross the border not to far from the Erie Canal path trail head in Lockhaven, NY. The Rainbow Hostel is a neat place to stay. It's not in the heavily touristed part of town, but close enough to it to be convenient. You can then cross the Peace Bridge in Buffalo, NY to continue west.

Have you looked at ACA's routes? The Northern Tier route will cover a good deal of what you want to do in the east and Midwest to Iowa. Other routes include Yellowstone, MT, AB and B.C. The Pacific Coast is also covered.

6
General Discussion / Re: Shipping bike to Astoria/ Logistics
« on: March 02, 2015, 08:23:29 am »
If Bikes and Beyond is that busy and you are going to use them for work, I think it would be wise to get on their schedule way in advance. Glacier Cyclery in Whitefish, MT is a busy shop that, among other things, receives a lot of bikes. We were advised to be on their schedule more than a month in advance.

7
General Discussion / Re: Cycling Around the World, but.........
« on: March 01, 2015, 07:36:09 am »
Having heard stories from a friend who used to attend in the infield, I'd be most concerned about the wildlife at the Indy 500.  ;)

8
General Discussion / Re: Shipping bike to Astoria/ Logistics
« on: February 28, 2015, 11:33:54 am »
and good light rail from the Portland airport to the downtown bus terminal.

+1. And if you happen to fly to PDX with your bike there is a bike assembly area complete with some tools and a repair stand right near the  the airport light rail stop.

9
General Discussion / Re: Shipping bike to Astoria/ Logistics
« on: February 27, 2015, 02:02:21 pm »
I shipped my bike from Philly to Missoula last year using bikeflights.com and had a great experience. Since I didn't have a scale I wildly overestimated the weight of the box, racks, fuel bottle and stove at 90 lbs. The rate for four-day FedEx shipping was $76 including a $5 surcharge for picking the bike up at a local shop. That was less than half what my airline wanted to fly with the bike. Definitely check them out.

If you are near Philadelphia Bikesmith and need your bike professionally boxed, there is a FedEx/Kinko's location around the corner from the shop. If you buy shipping from Bikeflights, you can take your boxed bike there are avoid the pick up surcharge.

I shipped to the Missoula REI store and had them reassemble and tune the bike so it was ready for me when I arrived. You might find transportation and shipping to Portland cheaper. It's my understanding that you can ride or take some other transport from there to Astoria. There is an REI in downtown Portland. The Bike Gallery, a good shop, also has at least one downtown location.

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Routes / Re: Logistics for GDMBR
« on: February 25, 2015, 12:46:57 pm »
Waterton Village has a nice, albeit very windy, towne campsite along the shore of the lake:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/davez2007/3675812975/in/set-72157620763740044

You might inquire about reservations as I imagine it can get busy. I stayed there twice in mid-June, before the real crowds arrived, and there were still a decent number of people there. If you have an extra day or so, there is a boat ride/day hike combination trip you can take from town. Never got the chance to do it, but I hear it's nice.

You could even ride to Lethbridge via Magrath. Crossing the country the portion between Waterton and Magrath was probably the fastest 60 miles I ever did on a loaded bike thanks to a killer tailwind.

11
General Discussion / Re: Roll on service for Amtrak long haul routes
« on: February 24, 2015, 10:18:51 am »
I'd be interested to see the Cascades station configurations, especially compared to the typical length of the train. I have seen Amtrak stops that are no more than 40' of "platform" and a bus shelter. One potential safety issue is if you have a short platform resulting in the tail of the train, where the baggage car is usually situated, being way down the track. That could result in a member of the train crew having to walk along ballast or some other unsafe condition wheeling a bike, possibly in the middle of the night. There are other operational considerations that could make unloading from the baggage car impractical or impossible at particular stops.

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General Discussion / Re: Roll on service for Amtrak long haul routes
« on: February 23, 2015, 10:36:21 am »
Staehpj1's comment poses the $64,000 question: Will these new baggage cars with accommodations for unboxed bikes expand the number of stations which bikes can be transported between or will they merely offer a more convenient way to transport bikes, with the general requirement that there be checked baggage service at the origin and destination remaining in place? My educated guess is that it will be the latter due to schedule and safety concerns.

Note one of the comments to the blog:

"I agree it is a less-than-half measure. I want to get off at some small stations that don’t have baggage service but, apparently, the fine print says the roll-on/off policy only applies to stations with baggage service. Stupid."

Having done it several times, I have to agree that having to box the bike really isn't the big issue. The scarcity of origin-destination pairs between which one may transport bikes is.

As for timing, a comment to another blog post relates a conversation with Amtrak in October of 2014 during which Amtrak stated that there has been a delay in production and that the new cars will not be put into service for 6-12 months.




13
Routes / Re: Logistics for GDMBR
« on: February 22, 2015, 08:25:46 pm »

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Routes / Re: New York - Virgina Beach
« on: February 19, 2015, 01:36:08 pm »
For sure. I'm planning on the train to bay head since why not? I'll already be cheating anyway, lol. Ride to cape may, crash there, ferry over to lewes the next morning.

Enjoy the snow. One local news channel just ran a story about the snow cover in Cape May. Maybe this weekend's forecast temps (close to 50) and rain will wash some of it away.

15
General Discussion / Re: Washington, D.C. To Portland Maine.
« on: February 13, 2015, 10:14:14 am »
Forgot to mention that there is another campground in Portland, PA. It's on Turkey Bridge Rd. a short distance NW from town. Problem is, there is really nothing else in the way of services in Portland except a tiny gas station/"Food Mart" that I think has limited hours and a dive bar which may or may not have food. If you find you need to stay in Portland for whatever reason, you can cross the river via the pedestrian/bike bridge to Columbia, NJ, take Decatur Street north, cross over I-80 and go to the truck stop plaza. There is a McDonald's and a Taco Bell, and the place might have some groceries. Round trip it's probably 3 miles. To get to the bridge, to past the c-store about 50 yards and cross the railroad tracks. Even if you keep moving, it' worth walking out onto the bridge for the views of the river. BTW...Portland is the birth place of the guy who wrote the song "All I Want For Christmas is My Two Front Teeth."

If you have the time, can get adequate supplies and want to expend the energy, you can camp at Camp Taylor and then take a tour of the Lakota Wolf Preserve the next morning. The two are in the same location outside of Columbia, NJ.:

http://www.lakotawolf.com/

http://www.camptaylor.com/

That's what I did the last time I toured down from Port Jervis. I awoke to howling wolves at dawn. The only issue with that is that you would probably have to walk part of Mt. Pleasant Road that leads up there from NJ 94. I cam down it and it is incredibly steep.

Finally, I would try to time your trip so that you ride the Conshohocken to New Hope section on a weekend day to avoid as much weekday suburban sprawl traffic as possible.

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