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Messages - indyfabz

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16
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.

17
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.

18
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

19
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.

20
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.

21
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.  ;)

22
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.

23
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.

24
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.

25
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.

26
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.




27
Routes / Re: Logistics for GDMBR
« on: February 22, 2015, 08:25:46 pm »

28
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.

29
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.

30
General Discussion / Re: Washington, D.C. To Portland Maine.
« on: February 12, 2015, 02:09:38 pm »
I am very familiar with short section between the Philadelphia area and the Port Jervis, NY area as I try to ride some or all of it every year.

For obvious reasons, there is nothing in the way of camping on or near the route north from Conshohocken until you get to the Milford, NJ area. From Milford, you can cross the river into PA and head back south about 1.5 miles to Dogwood Haven Campground. (Most of that 1.5 miles can be done on a bike path.) The place is a bit dated, but the owner is very nice. Last year he was still giving cyclists a discount rate of $15, which is cheap for that area. Milford has good pizza and a surprisingly decent grocery store for a town of its size.

Heading north from there you won't find any campgrounds until you cross the river from Belvidere, NJ to Mt. Bethel, PA. Driftstone on the Delaware is between Mt. Bethel and Portland, PA. Never stayed there, but I know it's wildly expensive. Over $30/night and possibly as high as $40. There is a historic old hotel in Belvidere, but it's expensive. The town itself is worth a look see. There are many nicely renovated Victorian house on the streets around the large town square. Grab a sandwich from Skoogy's Deli on Greenwich St. (the other location doesn't have a bathroom) and have lunch in square.

The next camping spot on route is the campground at Worthington State Forest, which you pass right by a few miles after crossing the pedestrian bridge along I-80 from Delaware Water Gap, PA into NJ. Nice place along the river. $25/night for non-residents. If you stay there, ask for the group site with the bear locker. There are a decent number of bears in that part of the world, and they can get very big. Not too long ago someone bagged an 800+ lb. bear on the PA side of the river not that far away. You will need to go off route a very short distance into the center of Delaware Water Gap, PA for food. No grocery store, but there is a convenience store with some canned goods. There is also a diner, a pizza place, great bakery that has BBQ on certain days during certain times of the year as well as a couple of other nicer restaurants.

North from the Worthington campground there are no food sources on route until you hit Port Jervis, a distance of about 34 miles. There are water and bathrooms at Old Millbrook Village, which is about 9 miles from the campground. If you desperate for something to eat, when you get to Peters Valley Craft Center you can stay on CR 615/Bevans Road instead of starting the climb. About 2 miles down that road you will come to Layton, where there is a very good place called the Layton Country Store. It was closed for a while but recently reopened. I was there in October and the food was quite good. Hope they are able to make a go of it. Reverse course to Peters Valley Craft Center and continue on route. Or you can take CR 560 directly from Layton and then make a right onto to Old Mine Rd. and you will be back on the route. I caution against that as CR 560 always seems to have a fair amount of fast moving traffic.

Three or so miles before you cross the NY state line there are two campgrounds on the right side of CR 521. From what I have read, the first one you pass (Cedar Ridge) is a dump, assuming it's even still in business. The second one (Rockview Valley) is a little hickish, but o.k. Check their web site for opening dates.

It seems the full-service grocery store in Port Jervis is out business. If you cross the river into Matamoras, PA and head a but west on U.S. 6 there is a large grocery store (Price Chopper) on the right and just about any other service you could want. It's actually an interesting if you understand local economics. Taxes in NY and generally higher than in PA so people drive across the river from NY to PA to save money. Where it's particularly visible is with cigarettes. There are several tobacco outlets on the PA side of the river. Gas is the same way. There is one small station in Port Jervis but several of them in Matamoras as gas is noticeably cheaper in PA.

North of there, ACA changed the route some since I road home to Philly from Bar Harbor many years ago. I have the new map at home and will check to see how it compares to what I did. But in general, I would say that 60 miles/day is a reasonable number assuming you are in decent shape. The section from the bike trail in Conshohocken to New Hope, PA is not overly hilly, and there are no long, hard climbs. When you cross from New Hope into Lambertville, NJ, you can take the D&R Feeder Canal trail all the way to Frenchtown. That is basically flat. I recommend it as the surface is good and it's shaded. Also, NJ 29 has no shoulder between Lambertville and the north end of Stockton. If you find the trail boring, you can get back on NJ 29 at Bull's Island Recreation Area, where there are water and bathrooms. At that point, NJ 29 has a wide shoulder all the way to Frenchtown. The rest of the way up to Port Jervis has some ups and down and includes two steep climbs in the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, neither of which is more than a mile. Outside of those and the mega-steep but very short "bump" out of Mt Bethel, PA a little ways after you cross the bridge from Belvidere, NJ, the climbing is not really arduous. The only bad traffic area is in and around Philipsburg, NJ. The section between P'Burg and Belvidere is a sheer delight. Very little traffic and pretty. And due to narrow, overhead railroad bridge passes, you don't get any trucks.

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