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Messages - indyfabz

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General Discussion / Re: Which Route Would You Suggest?
« on: November 10, 2016, 10:58:33 am »
If you're looking at ACA routes, the western (and northern!) parts of the TransAm or Great Parks North would be good.  You might start at Anacortes and take the Northern Tier to Glacier NP, then head south to Yellowstone and the Tetons, before flying out of Jackson.  If you've got a bit of extra time, head south into Colorado.

Did just this many years ago, although I started in Seattle. Finished on the Great Parks South at Cortez, CO because I had the time. (If you can make it that far, you can ride another day to Durango, CO for a flight.)

If you want to cut down on the climbing and/or don't want to deal with the crowds at Yellowstone, you could do the beginning what's suggested above but then take the L&C route from the TransAm and end up in North Dakota. (Airports in Bismarck and Fargo. Don't know about Minot.) Or just the Northern Tier proper, but I think that would be less scenic.

Routes / Re: Atlantic Coast Traffic - Bar Harbor going South in May '17
« on: November 10, 2016, 10:30:33 am »
The scenery is beautiful and the small coastal fishing villages you go through are worth the trip on their own.

What small fishing villages does the route pass through? There are sections of the route that are not even along the coast (e.g., Freeport to Kennebunk).

Routes / Re: Atlantic Coast Traffic - Bar Harbor going South in May '17
« on: November 10, 2016, 08:39:11 am »
You could do Richmond if it's convenient to fly into.

The route does not go anywhere close to NYC unless you were to take the spur to N. Jersey. The regular route through NJ (with a bit of a foray back into PA between Mt. Bethel and Delaware Water Gap), is quite scenic and mostly traffic-lite. Worthington State Forest in NJ is a must-stay, IMO. Weekdays there are best. Weekends can fill up far in advance, and you cannot reserve for one night on the weekends. They do have overflow space for people arriving under their own power. I was told to call the park itself (not Reserve America) ahead of time and reserve a spot there. Sites 11 and 12 are the best for cyclists. Private, right on the river and close to the bathhouse, where there is a camp sink. You will need hang your food, etc., or stash it in one of the bathrooms as there are a good number of bears (and other critters) in Worthington and neighboring Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area. When I was there in September a raccoon tried to run off with one of my panniers. I think it had the lingering smell of everything bagels in it. I did some car camping there last month and a fox ran through my site--twice.

Routes / Re: Atlantic Coast Traffic - Bar Harbor going South in May '17
« on: November 09, 2016, 04:15:14 pm »
Couple of things:

1. I did the AC route from Bar Harbor south to my home in Philly back in '99. I wasn't thrilled with most of the riding in "Down East" Maine. I can only imagine that things are the same or worse development and traffic-wise.

2. Unless you are a low daily mileage person, two weeks is a long time to do Bar Harbor to Boston. Section 1 of the AC Route goes as far south as Windsor Locks, CT and is only 439 miles. From Bar Harbor to Ayer, MA and thence via the Boston Spur to Boston looks to be noticeably shorter. With that much time, maybe consider flying into Philly, Baltimore or D.C. and heading north. I did a portion of the AC route back in September heading south. Blazed my own trail from Brattleboro, VT and picked up the AC route in N. Canaan, CT. From there, it was five medium distance riding days to Philly, although I took a day off at a state forest in New Jersey to do some canoeing and because I didn't want to ride into the city on a Friday. All campgrounds that I stayed at along that stretch, including two state parks, will be open by mid-May. (Lone Oak Campground, in E. Canaan, CT has a hot tub and changes cyclists only $20.) The mileage between Lambertville, NJ and Port Jervis, NY is quite nice and should have mostly low traffic. The section between Otisvile, NY and New Paltz, NY is also quite nice. Just bring some climbing legs. There were some sections in NY and CT that I was glad I wasn't riding in the opposite direction. North of N. Canaan, CT (e.g., Richford) I hear it gets hilly again.

With one detour to ride a portion of a trail in PA, this photo to the one at the end of the set were taken between E. Canaan, CT and Milford, NJ:

General Discussion / Re: summer sleeping
« on: November 04, 2016, 10:21:02 am »
My advice may be worthless in this matter.  But...  The Atlantic route is near the ocean.  So you will have cooler temps from the ocean and breezes blowing in from the ocean will be cooler.

Some of it (e.g., the portions through PA, NJ, NY, CT & MA) is nowhere near an ocean.

Agree with the others that a bag might come in handy. I used mine in late August while finishing the Northern Tier, which merges into the Atlantic Coast route around Damarriscotta, ME. New England can have somewhat chilly nights even in August. The two nights I camped before the start of d2r2 in westerns Mass. in mid-August it was chilly enough for a bag. if you trip gets pushed past Labor Day a bag would highly advisable. This past September I rode from Vermont to Philadelphia starting the Saturday after Labor Day and hooked up with the Atlantic Coast in N. Canaan, CT on the second day. Temps dropped in the 40s that night.

During sweltering night in the Midwest I would not get in the bag but rather lay it on top of my mattress. It was nice to have something with some cushion to it.

BTW...Send me a PM if you'd like the skinny on the portion of the Atlantic Coast route north from PA to N. Canaan. I am particularly familiar with the portion between Philly and Port Jervis, NY.

Gear Talk / Re: trailers vs panniers
« on: November 02, 2016, 12:51:01 pm »
6'2" and around 210 lbs. here. Racks and panniers work fine for me.

General Discussion / Re: Amtrak Coast Starlight now easier to use
« on: November 01, 2016, 10:24:42 am »
Amtrak has been expanding walk on bike service across its route system. In September I took the Vermonter from Philly to Brattleboro, VT. There is a bike "cubby" in each coach car that you hang your bike in after removing panniers, etc. (I left my tent bungeed to the rear rack.) Advanced reservation required. $20 charge for my trip. I believe it's $15 if you only go to New Haven, CT heading north. When the train arrived in Philly, two people got off with bikes. Three of us got on in Philly. (We were not travelling as a group.) When I got off at Brattleboro, there were two people with bikes waiting to get on. Seems to be a popular service. The Capitol Limited, which parallels the GAP trail, also recently introduced walk on service.

Routes / Re: Route 6 east to west
« on: November 01, 2016, 08:18:29 am »
You'd certainly have heavy traffic in places in NY (e.g., Middletown area). East of Middletown it's a divided highway. PA Bike Route Y uses U.S. 6 /U.S. 209 starting in Matamorras, PA. Traffic between there and Milford, PA, where U.S. 209 splits off, is often pretty heavy. While I hear that it's died down some, fracking-related traffic uses U.S. 6 in north central, PA. Route Y continues to use U.S. 6 much of the way across PA. Traffic will be heavy in the Warren, PA area.

One alternative from U.S. 6 in Port Jervis, NY: Ride south through the NJ side of the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area. Cross the ped path along I-80 to Delaware Water Gap, PA and then take signed PA Bike Route V all the way to Emlenton, PA. From there, take the paved Allegheny River/Samuel Justus rail-trail to Oil City and then PA 8 up to Union, PA.

Gear Talk / Re: New Rider Advice on Purchasing a Road Bike
« on: October 24, 2016, 08:00:26 am »
I would look at the REI/Novara Safari which sells for only $799.00 and comes complete with rear rack.

Better look quick as it has been discontinued, or so I am told. REI is revamping its bike lineup for next year.

Flooding has damaged a section of the Greenbrier Trail covered by maps 10 (Greenbrier River) and 11 (Harts Run). (BE-1003).

Details can be found at the top of this page:

Comparing the wording to the mileage chart, it seems that the trail is impassible roughly between Hopper (Map 11) and a few miles south of Anthony (Map 10)

General Discussion / Re: Full Time Tour Leader?
« on: October 16, 2016, 09:32:50 am »
When I did Cycle Vermont in 2010 the leader and his wife worked the tour along with others.

Routes / Re: How to know if newer map version has re-routes?
« on: October 12, 2016, 01:09:26 pm »
Good questions, and something I have been thinking about since I rode part of the Atlantic Coast route last month. I don't believe I have the latest map version for the portion I rode. After crossing the Hudson river via the bike/ped bridge, the route on my map heading south immediately takes to roads again. But you can stay on the trail and easily re-join the map route after a few more miles of car-free riding. I have been wondering if, when my map version was produced, the trail had not been extended but is now incorporated on the newest version of the map.

This issue applies significantly to the portion of the Northern Tier route in North Dakota, which underwent a major re-route due to the oil boom. Anyone relying on an old map for that area and not having knowledge of the re-route would likely have an unpleasant experience.

Gear Talk / Re: Getting bike and gear to start of tour
« on: September 27, 2016, 09:47:45 am »
For a variety of reasons, some Amtrak routes are better than others. From an on time perspective, routes that use lines that are heavily congested with freight traffic (e.g., the Capitol Limited, which is popular with GAP riders) tend to have worse on time records, but not always. Necessary maintenance work can also affect on time performance.

A few weeks ago I rode the Vermonter with my bike from Philly to Brattleboro, VT. The Vermonter has roll-on bike service. The staff at the station was very helpful. The woman at the information desk told me to ask a red cap when I needed to report for the elevator ride down to the platform. The red cap was pleasant in letting me know, and everything went smoothly. Before my stop, the conductor let me know which doors would be used to detrain. The train arrived a few minutes early. The services uses lines with little or no freight traffic, some of which are dispatched by Amtrak and commuter agencies, so I should have been more hopeful this would happen then I was.

Routes / Re: New England to the Atlantic Coast Route
« on: September 26, 2016, 10:54:33 am »
I originally eyed up Taconic State Park near Millerton, but Labor Day is the last day of its season, which seems strange. One would think there would be some leaf pepper business, at least on weekends.

Routes / New England to the Atlantic Coast Route
« on: September 23, 2016, 10:39:35 am »
Some photos from my recent tour from Brattleboro, VT to Philly, hooking up with the Atlantic Coast Route in Canaan, CT:

(Click on the first image and advance manually to read the captions.)

My computer decided to go on strike the morning after my 1 mile ride from the Brattleboro Amtrak station to my motel, but mapping shows about 400 miles total. Day 2 was the hardest, with neatly 4,100' of climbing in 53 miles. The overwhelming majority of that came in the first 30 miles and featured grades in the double digits in the southern Berkshires. Other than brief showers the first two days and some humidity, the weather was quite nice.

Heard a bunch of coyotes while camping at Lone Oak in E. Canaan. The Atlantic Coast route south there has some gut buster climbs. Not long, but very steep in places. The Harlem Valley Trail south the Millerton, NY is gorgeous, as is Shunpike Rd. heading towards the Hudson Valley outside of Amenia. (CR 41 into Hyde Park, not so much, as there was a lot of traffic, and the road needs some serious work in places.) The ride along the Schwangunk Mountains south of New Paltz, NY was similarly beautiful. The Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area was terrific as always. I don't think I got passed by one vehicle in nearly 30 miles and encountered maybe a dozen travelling in the other direction. The campground in Worthington State Forest is a must-stay place if you ride that section. (Sites 11 and 12 are close to the rest room and front the river.) I did deviate from the route in Phillipsburg, NJ by crossing the river into Easton, PA and riding some of the D&L Trail but got off it in Riegelsville and crossed back into NJ via the Roebling bridge there. The final night was spent in Upper Black Eddy, PA, where the owner of Dogwood Haven charges cyclist only $10 to camp.

Looks like the weather is about to start turning in these parts, but I am hoping to get in at least one more three-day trip. Last year we had a 75 degree weekend in December so it's quite possible that I will.

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