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Messages - indyfabz

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I have only ridden a paved portion of the GDMBR, but I have ridden several 20-30 mile stretches of gravel (both hilly and mountainous sections) on a single with a full load and 37c tires. If you could be assured of something well maintained like this, then you might be o.k. with what you are planning:

That's on the TransAm's Old Darby Road Alternative south of Hamilton, which I highly recommend.

Or this, from the Trans Am's Laurin alternative between Sheridan and Laurin, MT (show on the addenda to the relevant map), which I also highly recommend since I suggested it to ACA  :):

But I think you would be unhappy campers if you were to hit conditions like these, or even worse:

Long stretches of 2"+ deep washboards. Cannot imagine days of that on a tandem with 35c tires. And I think Lucas' description of floating on the gravel is a good one.

Gear Talk / Re: Tent choice for Northern tier
« on: March 08, 2017, 01:10:08 pm »
Veteran from more than 15 years ago. We never "stealth" camped once. In fact, several parts of the route offered no real opportunity since they pass through fenced off, open ranch land and farm lands, including many miles of corn fields. If you are good with the space, I'd go with the BA. (I have been using a Fly Creek UL2 for the last two years.) The only downside I see is that it might not pitch well if you have the opportunity to sleep under something like a picnic pavilion with a concrete floor to escape rain. Then again, maybe it would pitch well enough.

General Discussion / Re: Eating the Transam Trail
« on: March 08, 2017, 10:10:30 am »
To me, there is a difference between calories and nourishment. I left the cooking gear at home during my 20-15 Black Hills tour and regretted it. "Junk/fast food everywhere. Nutritious/healthy food, not so much. Spent three nights in Custer and finally found a place that more than just burgers, fries, steaks and pizza. Another place near town also had *gasp* some green stuff called spinach that wasn't drowning in ranch dressing like many of the salad bar vegetables I found. Eating like that is fine once and a while, but my body runs best on a carb-based dinner with vegetables and protein. I typically have breakfast in camp, lunch out on the road if I haven't brought stuff to make my own lunch and then cook dinner in camp. I actually find it relaxing and sometimes challenging to whip up a great meal. During my week-long tour last September I made this in about 35 minutes:

As for cost, I think you are going to spend more if you eat out every meal, especially when you factor in tip when you get waitress/waiter service. As you get into more touristy areas out west, the prices are generally going to rise. That's not to say some bargains can't be found.

Routes / Re: Great Parks North - best timing
« on: March 07, 2017, 02:09:33 pm »
I'm going east-to-west and was planning to camp at the Rising Sun Campground.  I don't think I'll make it from Rising Sun to Sprague Creek Campground by 11 am.   It looks to be a challenging 34 miles, and I don't want to rush it because I know how beautiful that stretch is.   I had planned to end up the day in Columbia Falls, but maybe I'll just hang out at Sprague Creek Campground or Lake McDonald Lodge and pedal the last hour down to West Glacier after the road re-opens at 4 pm.
That sounds like a plan. Rising Sun is a good place to start from. IIRC, it's only 2000' of climbing from there to Logan Pass. Then it's all down hill. That's what we planned to do in '09, but when we got to St. Mary we were told the pass would not be crossable the next day. We had a fixed flight home, so in order to see at least some of the west side, we stayed at St. Mary and then rode nearly 100 miles around the park, via Looking Glass Hill and Marias Pass, to Sprague Creek. The next day they opened the west side all the way to the pass so we got to go up and back down.

If enough snow has melted, I recommend taking the relatively short hike to the viewing platform overlooking Hidden Lake that starts behind the Logan Pass visitor center.

Sprague Creek is along the lake and has a day use picnic area. This place in W. Glacier offers hiker/biker camping in an open area for only $10:

Stayed there before the start of a backpack trip. Nice for $10, and it's set back from the road so it's quiet.
The market in W. Glacier, while not huge, has a decent grocery supply if you will be cooking. The pancakes at the Glacier Highland Restaurant on U.S. just east of GTS Road were pretty darn good.

Definitely follow the map proper getting to Columbia Falls due to the shoulderless section of U.S. 2 in/near Hungry Horse. The unpaved portion (Belton Stage/Blankenship) can be washboardy in places, but it's really nice back there, except for the occasional vehicle associated with rafting operations. Keep your eyes peeled for bears!

Routes / Re: Great Parks North - best timing
« on: March 07, 2017, 09:36:21 am »
Forgot to ask Pete, we will be camping mostly. Did you need to book ahead for national park campsites or, as a biker, could you just show up on your September trip.
I have ridden in Glacier several times, including in 2009 while doing the Waterton/Glacier Loop from/to Whitefish. I believe all of the campsites in Glacier are first come, first served. I also believe all of them have hiker-biker site. I know Sprague Creek and Apgar do. The former is smaller and has several tent pads in the infield along with bear boxes. It's also within walking distance of Lake McDonald Lodge, where there are a couple of restaurants and a not-so-great for groceries camp store, although that's not as big a deal now that the park offers free shuttle service. Grab a beer and drink it down by the lake, and don't miss the parlor with the fireplace and trophy heads on the walls. The downside to Sprague Creek is that it's pretty close to the road, but traffic dies down in the evening. Definitely check the park's site later in the year for any constructions programs. As noted, after Labor Day they sometimes close the road at time to allow for accelerated constructions work. I am actually scheduled to arrive at the park of June 26th. Due to the heavy snow this winter there is a decent chance that GTS will not be open all the way to Logan Pass by then. Check out the park's site once plowing has begun. They usually include a link to their Flikr site with photos of plowing operations. Pretty impressive undertaking.

As for GTS bike restrictions, you can go up and down the east slope any time of day. Heading east up the west slope, you have to be at Logan Pass by 11 a.m. You can ride west on the west slope anytime of day up to Sprague Creek Campground. Between there and Apgar Village, bike are not allowed between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. Believe that restriction takes affect June 15th. Don't know how long into the summer it lasts, but I would bet it's until at least Labor Day.

In AB, I highly recommend going off route a bit to Waterton Village. Nice place for a day off, and there is a great towne campsite in a dramatic setting along the lake. I have never done it, but there is supposed to be a nice boat ride/hike combination you can do if you take a day off there. That campsite does take reservations.

General Discussion / Re: Biking the TAT early this spring.
« on: March 06, 2017, 04:39:14 pm »
There are a couple of private campgrounds and U.S.F.S. campgrounds between Missoula and Hamilton, MT. There is a private one in Darby. There is another U.S.F.S. campground a few miles west/north of Sula, MT and one in Sula itself. Coming down from Chief Joseph Pass there is a U.S.F.S. campground on MT 43. Wisdom has a private campground, and you can camp in the American Legion park (no potable water). Jackson, MT has two private places to camp. One is a hot springs resort. You can also camp across the street at the Motel. There are at least to private places in Dillon that allow tent camping. The Bike Camp in Twin Bridges is technically in the city park, but it has nice facilities. Laurin, Virginia City, MT and Ennis have private campgrounds. In Ennis there is also a nice fish access campground along the Madison River. No water, but there is water close buy at the Lion's Club park. Couple of private places between Ennis and W. Yellowstone and several places in and close to W. Yellowstone itself. South of the parks there are a couple of private places in DuBois, Lander and Rawlins, WY and a place in Riverside, WY.

My biggest concern with a mid-May start from Missoula would be the weather. In the last thee years I have started two tours from Missoula headed south/east on the TransAm in mid-June. Last year, it was raining and 42 when I landed at the airport around 2 p.m. The next morning I woke up to 32 degrees. In 2014, there was 5" of slush on Lost Trail Pass a couple of days before I crossed it. Last year I rode the last 20 miles south/west from Darby in a cold rain, and it basically rained off and on all night. The next day I got snowed and sleeted on climbing Lost Trail. This winter has been a heavy snow one.

It shouldn't even take you a week to reach W. Yellowstone. When I rode through Yellowstone doing part of the TransAm in 2000 there was frost on the ground in late June. The average nightly temperature for May at Old Faithful is 28F. At least bring some cold/wet weather riding and sleeping clothes.

General Discussion / Re: Cycle the Erie Canal Event
« on: March 05, 2017, 08:08:26 pm »
FYI...There is now a commercial shuttle service for the canal route:

Don't know anything about it.

General Discussion / Re: Weight Distribution
« on: March 05, 2017, 09:31:52 am »
Hello Everyone,

and signed up for a week long bike ride in Montana with AC. This is a back woods carry all your stuff gig.

Which trip is that?

Routes / Re: Route Advice - ~6 day tour in CT, MA, and VT/NY
« on: March 02, 2017, 02:42:42 pm »
Heh. Back in September I rode through Blandford, MA on the second day of a tour from Brattleboro, VT to Philadelphia. I came from the west on U.S. 20 to Russell and then took Blandford Stage (which becomes Russell Stage) up to MA 23 in Blandford and continued west on MA 23 through severe rollers. Getting up to MA 23 required 1,100' of climbing in 4 miles. It started off pretty gentle so I thought "This isn't as bad as it looked on Ride With GPS." I was eventually in for a rude awakening. When I finally wandered into a store near Tolland Reservoir the cashier asked me how I was doing. I looked at her and replied "I've felt better." Your way looks slightly easier, but it's still a bear. In any event, MA 23 could have moderate traffic, but there appears to be a good shoulder.

If you look on Street View, you will see that U.S. 7 has some traffic and little or no shoulder in places between Pownal and Bennington. You might want to stick with parallel side roads, which are also visible on Street View. For me, the charm of New England is found off the beaten path.

How do you plan to get back? Reverse direction? The reason I ask is that Amtrak's Vermonter train has walk on bike service for a limited number of bikes. No boxing required. I used to get to Brattleboro for the start of my tour. Arrived right on time. You could ride over to one of the station along the route and tale the train home. It's my understanding that the service is very popular (several people got on and off with bikes at various stations during my trip), so reservations well in advance are strongly recommended.

General Discussion / Re: Receiving mail on the road
« on: March 02, 2017, 01:56:07 pm »
Also, I believe some large national chain drug stores (Walgreens, CVS, etc.) can look up your prescription from the store you usually use and refill it locally.

Excellent point. During my 2015 SD trip my GP's nurse called in an RX to a Walgreen's in another part of the state rather than to one in Rapid City. The Rapid City store simply looked it up in their system and filled it.

General Discussion / Re: Receiving mail on the road
« on: March 01, 2017, 01:15:59 pm »
When I did the Northern Tier way back when I frequently had film (anyone else remember film?) mailed to me (and frequently mailed exposed film home), so I think I can say that zzzz nailed it. I tried to use medium sized towns (e.g., Sandpoint, ID, Bowling Green, OH) for deliveries so that P.O. hours would be longer.

One other thing: Is there any way you can take 3 months worth of meds with you? I was taking blood thinners daily (and still am). Back then, my insurance would normally only dispense a 30-day supply, but they made exceptions for people who would be travelling like I would be.

Routes / Re: Route advice - Oregon to Maine
« on: February 28, 2017, 08:00:21 am »

Here's my route from Newport to SV. You could continue through the Sawtooths for what is probably the quickest route to Yellowstone. The TA is your other option but as I mentioned above it will add a decent amount of miles because it heads up to Missoula.

If you are a glutton for punishment, ride this alternative east of Prairie City, OR back to U.S. 26, only in reverse:

It's from Cycle Oregon in 2002, where we crossed the entire state in 6 days of riding. That section between U.S. 26 and Prairie City was magnificent and all paved.

Routes / Re: Seattle to Anacortes
« on: February 27, 2017, 10:46:56 am »
I did it twice--back in '99 and '00. I took the ferry starting in Seattle to I think, Bremerton, and rode north to the pick up the Northern Tier just east of Anacortes. Whatever I did, it followed ACA's Pacific Coast route. It was a nice way to get in some miles before hitting the climb over the north Cascades Highway. Did three days from Seattle to Bay View, which is on route a bit east of Anacortes. Camped at Kitsap Memorial State Park, Fort Worden State Park (which is really nice and was a filming location for "An Officer and a Gentleman") and Bay View State Park. Leaving Port Townsend gives you another very ride, which I like.

Doing this was a nice way to get in some miles before hitting the climb over the north Cascades Highway. If you start riding from Anacortes you are likely to hit the 30+ mile climb as early as day 3. After Bay View I stayed at Howard Miller Steelhead Park in Rockport. (Adirondack shelters there in the event of wet weather) and then did a short day to Colonial Creek Campground, which is where the climb up to Washington Pass starts in earnest. As a result, I got 5 days or warm up before tackling the long slog up. Winthrop, on the other side of the pass, then makes a nice place for a rest day.

General Discussion / Re: Map update
« on: February 27, 2017, 10:24:04 am »
Definitely get the addenda for valuable addition and subtractions to/from the maps.

Routes / Re: Cherry Springs State Park, Pa
« on: February 24, 2017, 10:41:18 am »
When I get the chance I'll send you a PM with the map links and some notes about food, etc., sources.

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