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Messages - indyfabz

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Routes / Re: Solo Trip Across America
« on: January 15, 2017, 09:16:02 am »
I was in the Black Hills two years ago. If you to go through Devil's Tower and make your way to Spearfish, SD, this is how i got to Hill City:

(Ignore the frist couple of miles and head straight to U.S. 14 Atl. I had to make a run to a store for something.) Spearfish is a wonderful town with a great public campground.

As noted, you can continue on the Mickelson Trail from Hill City to Crazy Horse and back. The trail literally passes under the roads that leads to the monument, and you can see it from the trail.

From Hilly to City to Mt. Rushmore, you can take U.S. 385 to SD 244, but that's busy. I recommend this route instead:
That back road to Keystone is very pretty and lightly travelled. If you leave a while before the historic train from Hill City to Keystone you can wait for it to pass by. The train crosses that road several times.

Routes / Re: Deception Pass State Park, Washington
« on: January 11, 2017, 02:11:05 pm »
I didn't see any signs restricting bicycles, so I decided to ride like hell.  I got about 50 yards before a pickup truck with a loudspeaker pulled up behind me and told me to get off the road.

Wow! Was it a police officer or some other official? I rode it back in '99 and '00. Probably less development back then, and both times were weekdays in late May, so the busy tourist season hadn't started, and outside of "rush hour."

Routes / Re: Deception Pass State Park, Washington
« on: January 11, 2017, 08:17:49 am »
The bridge can also be very busy, and there is no shoulder.

And I have always wondered about this warning on the park's web site:

"Please note: U.S. Navy jets from nearby Naval Air Station Whidbey Island periodically fly over the campground while engaged in local training. Depending on the direction of the wind, their flight pattern may put them above the park, creating noisy conditions for campers. At various times during the day and night, the aviators may engage in Field Carrier Landing Practice for imminent operations aboard aircraft carriers. The park and naval station have been neighbors since 1942, and park staff stays in regular contact with officials at NAS Whidbey Island. We will do our best to notify campers of anticipated Field Carrier Landing Practice periods. Although State Parks cannot be responsible for the jet noise, we do share visitor concerns with our representatives of Naval Air Station Whidbey."

Anyone know if it's really a big concern?

Routes / Re: Place to finish WB Northern Tier ride
« on: January 10, 2017, 02:46:50 pm »
An alternative, albeit likely a hiller one, is to head west to Columbia, NJ and cross the Delaware via the ped/bike bridge into Portland, PA, which is the eastern terminus of signed PA Bike Route V:

Follow Route V to Emlenton PA (map #5) and then take the paved Allegheny River/Samuel Justus Trail all the way to Oil City, PA. From there, work your way up to Erie, where you can get on the Northern Tier eastbound in Niagara Falls, ON if you wish.

A few years ago I did a trip across PA starting in Vienna, OH. Made my way to Franklin, PA and took the ART south to Emlenton and then Route V as far east as Catawissa (map #21), before heading south. The trail is very nice and, except for maybe .5 miles, paved. The state also did a pretty good job with Route V. I found plenty of well-spaced camping and other services along the way. In Portland, PA, there is a private campground a bit of a climb above town. If you are willing to climb some more to save some $$, there is a second campground higher up the hill that charges only $10 for tent sites. Further west along Route V there is camping at Hickory Run State Park and in the town of White Haven (good grocery store and pizza places there) to the west of Hickory Run. From either, I believe it's easy enough to make the Catawissa/Bloomsburg area, where there is yet more camping, in one day.

While it's not the definitive source, I asked for Google Maps bike directions from Florham Park to Columbia, NJ. One option is returned was a 58 mile route that picks up the Paulinskill Valley Trail from a few miles west of Newtown to almost Columbia. Have never ridden the trail, but hear it's nice, albeit unpaved. The paved alternative between Newtown and Columbia is NJ 94. It has traffic in places depending on the day and time, but there is a good shoulder. I have ridden the entire stretch from Blairstown to Columbia and would not hesitate to do so again.

Let me know if you decide on this option. I have details regarding where I camped and shopped for groceries for dinner, etc.

Routes / Re: Place to finish WB Northern Tier ride
« on: January 10, 2017, 10:03:05 am »
Starting here in north-central NJ, I was contemplating where to start my journey.  I wanted to start at the Atlantic Ocean, but what counts as "The Ocean".    I settled on Sandy Hook.  From there, it's ocean as far as you can see (3400 miles to Portugal).

I live in Philly and ride in NJ often. Either from home into S. Jersey or west central Jersey (Hunterdon, Warren and Sussex Counties). Have you come up with your route west from Sandy Hook? If so, I would like to see it. I am woefully ignorant concerning good routes across that part of the state and am always looking to expand my knowledge base.

And where do you intend to hook up with the Northern Tier?

Routes / Re: Place to finish WB Northern Tier ride
« on: January 09, 2017, 02:47:37 pm »
Take a few more days and ride south along the Pacific Coast route from where it intersects with the Northern Tier and then take a short ferry ride to Seattle. That's what I did, only in reverse when I did the NT west to east and then part of the NT the following year.

Along the way, camp at Fort Worden State Park:

It's a former military base where "An Officer and a Gentleman" was filmed. Really nice place with a beach. The campground apparently fills up fast, but I believe they still have some hiker/biker spots.

My first night out from Seattle I stayed at Kitsap Memorial State Park.

Both times I stayed at Fort Worden then took the ferry from Port Townsend to Fort Casey then rode on to Bay View to camp.

General Discussion / Re: Finishing my TransAm ride - Where to Start
« on: January 06, 2017, 01:38:46 pm »
What jamawani said, if only for the reason of easy transportation of bike and body to the start.

Routes / Re: Northern Tier vs. TransAm
« on: January 04, 2017, 10:45:02 am »
The timeframe is doable for a first timer, but I think it wise to have either an open ended schedule with some extra time built in or a flexible end point.  On a coast to coast trip the flexible end point may not make sense so allowing some extra time is more important.

The starting and ending dates included in the OP are the ones listed for the supported NT tour described in the link in my post above. As I read the ride description, there is a rigid itinerary that must be adhered to.

Routes / Re: Northern Tier vs. TransAm
« on: January 03, 2017, 04:10:12 pm »
Here appears to be the skinny:

While you can do you own self contained tour, the ride organizers offer various ACA routes (including the GDMRB) as supported camping tours, although it sounds like you are responsible for most of you meals.

OP: Since you indicated a specific start date, it sounds like you are planning to do one of the supported trips. I hope you realize that the Northern Tier and TransAm routes start in different locations on different days.

Also, the TransAm route appears to follow the Western Express portion, which will send you through the Nevada desert near the end of July.

As you climb Togwotee Pass, keep your fingers crossed for clear weather just over the top for a view of the Tetons.  It's the most magnificent view I know.

That reminds me...When I did that portion of the TransAm back in '00 there was a joint ACA/U.S.F.S. cyclist only primitive camp site on the west slope of Togwotee, maybe 5 miles up from Moran. If it still exists and is listed on the map, I highly recommend it. It has an amazing view of the Tetons. It was a bit difficult to access. There was a post-rail fence with a gap in it and a sign indicating no motor vehicles were allowed. I had to push my through the gap and up a small hill and walk with the bike a bit further, but it was worth it. There was a bear locker and, IIRC, a picnic table or two, but that was basically it. Saw some moose tracks and stumps that had been ripped up, likely by bears looking for grub. No water or toilet, so you'd have to practice primitive camping techniques. You'd also have to carry everything you need from DuBois. (I was going east to west.)

Another nice place in that area was the campground at Jenny Lake on Teton Park Rd. Camped there and did an out and back ride to Moose for groceries.

General Discussion / Re: Support for Danish Bike Ride
« on: December 28, 2016, 03:37:57 pm »
Maybe check this site when they are finished redesigning it:

Gear Talk / Re: Long distance tour bike for small lady
« on: December 26, 2016, 11:31:31 am »
I'm 5' and I don't know my inseam, but  I think I have rather short legs compared to my torso, especially for a woman.  I found I could not clear the top tube of the 46cm Surly LHT and worse, the top tube was too long so I was too stretched out on the bike.   I just took the stock 46 cm out for a 5-min test ride.  Because of those 2 things, I did not even bother trying to get the bike tweaked to fit better.

Just this summer got a chance to test ride the 42cm Surly Trucker (not too many stores seem to stock that tiny size) and finally, stand-over height was ok (still don't have the recommended 2" clearance) and the reach was great -- for the first time, I didn't feel like I would have to shorten the stem!  So this is the bike for me.

As noted above, my ex is the same height and is built similarly. Glad you like the 42cm like she does. I can easily see how the 46cm top tube would be too long. I was actually fortunate in that there is a shop here in Philly that, at the time, had a wide variety of sizes in stock, including a 42cm. When I saw it I "tricked" her into coming to the shop with me and suggested that she try it out just for S&Gs, knowing full well it would be a surprise birthday present if it fit.

The Bike Camp in Twin Bridges, MT. Free (donations strongly encouraged), riverside camping on soft grass with a food prep area, camp sink, indoor shelter with a couch and power to charge electronics, shower and flush toilet. If you can handle gravel, the unpaved alternative between Laurin and Sheridan, MT (check the map addenda for a link to the route) and the Old Darby Rd. alternative between Darby and Hamilton, MT. Spring Gulch Campground a few miles west of Sula, MT has a cyclist-only site. If you don't mind paying a bit more for camping, Jackson Hot Springs in MT comes with free use of the hot springs pool. West from there, Wisdom, MT has free camping in a dramatic setting on the edge of town (great mountain views), but bug spray is a must. I think you can sleep in the screened picnic shelter.

Routes / Re: Lewis and Clark Trail
« on: December 20, 2016, 02:15:24 pm »
This June I was again in MT riding and did some of the L&L from Missoula, only in the opposite direction. Three Forks, MT to Twin Bridges, MT is pretty easy. The free (donations of supplies and/or money are appreciated) Bike Camp in Twin Bridges is a great place to stay and is a nice place for a day off. Despite being a small town, the place has everything, including a good grocery store, library with Internet access and a laundry.

Beaver on the bank of the Beaverhead River at the Bike Camp:

Twin Bridges to Dillon is a gradual climb, and there is a section with no shoulder. I recommend riding early. Haven't been to Dillon in more than a decade, but I remember it having everything. Then you hit the mountain passes. At the top of Big Hole Pass, take a break and walk the gravel path to the interpretive boards. The view is terrific.

Someone renovated an old hotel building in Jackson. You can also camp on the lawn on the side of the building. The only other option for lodging is camping or a room at the hot springs lodge across from the hotel. Depending on the time of year, they may have limited hours during the week. There and the café in town are the only places to get food. (The mercantile closed several years ago.)

Wisdom has free camping on the edge of town, a motel, small grocery store, bar and a yummy bar/restaurant called The Crossings at Fetty's. Mosquito repellant is an extremely good idea for all areas mentioned above.

For the most part, the climb up to Chief Joseph Pass is not steep until the last five or six miles.  If you don't mind dirt, the Gibbons Pass alternative saves you some miles. The climb up heading north is pretty mellow, and the road surface was in good shape when I came down that side in 2014. However, the descent down to U.S. 93 to Sula is quite a different story. It's narrow and bumpy in places. There are warning signs that it is not maintained for vehicles. But if you have the skills and the appropriate tires, it's worth it. It truly is like being in the backcountry. I was going to do it again this year but it rained hard all night so I stuck to the pavement.

Assuming you take paved MT 43, it's all down hill once you reach Chief Joseph Pass. Note that the rest area on U.S. 93 near the junction with MT 43 at Lost Trail Pass has been greatly improved over the years. There are now plumbed bathrooms and drinking water. The downhill, to one degree or another, basically lasts until north of Darby. You'll pass by a store/restaurant/campground in Sula. The place shuts up tight at 5 p.m., although you can still pick a campsite and pay in the morning. Groceries are pretty limited. This year I camped further north at U.S.F.S. campground Spring Gulch. Small place right along the river with a biker campsite:

Again, if you don't mind mellow dirt with some relatively easy climbing and descending, the partially unpaved Old Darby Alternative to Hamilton is fabulous:

(Those are actually some of the lesser scenic photos I have of that stretch.)

It's my understanding that, as of this summer, you can now take a bike trail all from Hamilton into Missoula. The last piece wasn't open when I started my tour back in mid-June.

And that's all I have to say about that.

Routes / Re: What is Your Favorite Cross Country Route and Why?
« on: December 16, 2016, 10:26:45 am »
One possible combination is the Pacific Coast route north from Seattle to the Northern Tier to Glacier National Park for a ride up the west side of Going to the Sun and back down then back track and take the Great Parks North to Missoula to the TransAm. Did that itinerary in 2000 during a trip to Mesa Verde, CO. Split off from the TransAm at Fairplay, CO.

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