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Messages - indyfabz

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General Discussion / Re: camping sites in the Western USA
« on: November 13, 2015, 09:34:45 am »
Be careful and make sure they haven't got sprinkler systems that provide an unwanted alarm clock.

Heh. Many years ago I stayed at the city park in Lander, WY on the TransAm. Not long after I pulled into the park another guy camping there warmed me to keep my tent fly zipped up. He had been riding with a buddy who crashed going into DuBois. His buddy was in the hospital in Lander. The day before I arrived he went to visit his buddy and had left his tent fly open. The sprinkler system came on. He returned to his tent to find 2" of water inside and everything soaked from the spray.

General Discussion / Re: Getting out of Dulles Airport.
« on: November 12, 2015, 08:20:08 am »
Minivan cabs have become more popular in major metropolitan areas, at least in the east. Back in September I arrived at the Atlantic City, NJ train station on a fully-loaded bike only to find that a drawbridge up the line was stuck open. People were taking jitneys to the next station, but my bike would not fit in one. A minivan cab driver was happy to take me to the station. Took off the panniers, the driver folded down one of the rear seats and we tossed the bike in the back. Even if there is no minivan cab around at the moment, if there is a dispatcher, you should be able to have them call for one.

One again through the magic of Google:

Seems Dulles has an exclusive deal with one taxi service. Check out the end of their FAQ page. They have large vehicles. You can make a reservation. Note that you can also use other cab companies but you will have to make reservations on your own as other cab companies may not solicit business at the airport. There is also a bus to downtown D.C., etc., that appears to have a bike rack on the front. There is other bus service that takes you to a train line, which may allow bikes.

General Discussion / Re: Getting in shape for touring
« on: November 11, 2015, 01:49:26 pm »
Ride throughout the summer, increasing your mileage until a metric century isn't a rarity. I also recommend taking one or two short trips (1-2 days) so you know what to expect in terms of the effort required to push and handle a bike with a load. Are you planning to camp and/or cook? If not, you really don't need to carry much at all.

I did the GAP a few years ago as part of a cross-PA tour in mid-September. Pittsburgh to Connellsville the first day. Connellsville to Rockwood the second day. Rockwood to Cumberland and then north to Bedford, PA the third day. Until you hit the divide without 23 miles left, you will have a net elevation gain, albeit a gradual one. Rockwood to the divide is a little steeper than much of the other mileage. From the divide to Cumberland is a piece of cake requiring much less effort as it's a good net elevation loss as rail-trails go. Wind may also be a factor for at least part of the trip. The first day of my trip the area was under the influence of a weather pattern producing winds out of the SE. There were some open sections where I could feel myself pedaling into the wind. You also need to train your mind. You will likely be going slower than you do during road rides. You need to accept it and not push yourself too hard. Despite more than 15K touring miles I still sometimes start out too hard. It's good way to wear yourself out early on. During my Black Hills tour back in June I did 61 miles and nearly 4,800' of climbing in the first day. I was on the road for only 7.5 hours, including two extended stops and numerous shorter ones. Day 2 I did 71 miles, 41 of which were on the rugged Mickelson Trail, with a total 5,000' of climbing. Pushing too hard the first day made Day 2 very hard. I was pretty tired by the start of day 3.

BTW...Mid-September was a nice time to ride the GPA. I left PGH on a Saturday morning. Not much traffic on the trail, and I camped alone at Connellsville. Only saw one other person who was travelling loaded. Sunday I encountered a greater number of day riders, but not enough to cause any congestion. Had Husky Haven Campground all to myself.  Monday morning I saw two day riders heading in my direction and a family heading in the other directions. Days were warm but not unpleasantly so. Nights were cool, but not cold.  I really liked the two places I stayed. The dollar store in Rockwood had a poor grocery selection, but there are a couple of places to get prepared food, including an inexpensive pub on the east end of own. Just bring ear plugs if you are a light sleeper. Even though they are across the river from the campground, the trains can be very loud as they blow their horns at the road crossings in town.

General Discussion / Re: Flying with a bike . Help!
« on: November 10, 2015, 09:27:45 am »
Brought to you by the magic of Google ("Alaska Airlines bicycle policy"):

Click on the internal link for its checked baggage policy. Looks like if you keep the linear dimension (l+w+h) at or below 115" and the weight at or below 50 lbs. the charge is $75. That's cheap, by American standards. I flew U.S. Air to Italy in 2013 and paid $200 each way. Back in the day (1995) Delta charged me nothing from NYC to Milan.

General Discussion / Re: camping sites in the Western USA
« on: November 01, 2015, 09:55:32 am »
Many thanks for all the advice. I like the idea of town parks. Its unheard of in the UK where  we often get screwed for poor facilities on  infrequent campsites.

If you will be doing the Trans AM I highly recommend the Bike Camp in Twin Bridges, Montana. It's free, but donations are appreciated. The place is a model facility. Huge lawn of lush grass for your tent right along the Beaverhead River. Indoor shelter with some used furniture and electrical outlets for charging things. Picnic tables. Flush toilet. Hot shower. Bike repair stand. Even a large camp sink with counter space for washing dishes. In the center of town (a 5 min. walk) you will find a very good grocery store for a town of its size, a couple of restaurants, a bar, laundry and even a library with free Internet access. The grocery store has a collection of things cyclists may want/need, like energy bars, inner tubes and travel sizes of things like sun block, tooth paste and bug spray (very important in that part of the world). It's also a good place to meet other cyclists. I met around 10 people in the three nights I stayed there during two separate trips in the area.

General Discussion / Re: Dogs n' bears
« on: November 01, 2015, 09:34:53 am »
There are more than 100,000 black bears in the western states (more than 200,000 in Alaska).  Some may consider that rare, I do not.

I'd add that in portions of the East there are quite a few as well.

Hunterdon County, New Jersey this past June:

OP: If there is a bear box, use it. Some places such as national parks require you to use them if they are provided. Ignore the safe storage rules in Glacier N.P., for example,  and you could easily be fined. Saw it happen. In a scene out of a Yogi Bear cartoon two campers at Sprague Creek left a picnic basket on the table of their campsite and walked away. Ranger happened by not 5 minutes later and wrote them up.

In the end, I think you will have are more trouble with rodents than with bears. On my first tour a squirrel ripped through the mesh of my tent to get a loaf of bread I left in there.

Routes / Re: cheap camping near charlottesville va.
« on: October 27, 2015, 11:14:01 am »
I looked around and didn't see anything less expensive. That's a popular area. $25 is probably at or below what you should expect in that neck of the woods unless you can camp for free on public land in the area. Camping in the mid-Atlantic states can be relatively expensive. I see rates in the $30s and $40s in in some places in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. When I crossed PA last year I was routinely paying in the low to mid $20s for camping even in places that were not particularly popular.

Yeah. Can't you just buy a few bottles of water and put them in your panniers on the days you need to carry extra water? If you are going to tour a lot in remote areas maybe think about water purification if there will be ample water sources.

Routes / Re: Norther Tier - options around the Great Lakes
« on: October 23, 2015, 08:40:12 am »
While it was 16 years ago, I don't recall anything of interest in IL or IN, period :) except for the John Deere Pavilion in Moline, IL, across the river from Davenport, IA. We were hosted by a couple in Davenport, which may be off route a bit. Took a rest day at their place. During the rest day I rode over to Rock Island and Moline. The John Deere Pavilion has combines and things you can climb up on. The kids there seemed to really enjoy it. So did I.

Oh. And you can have a Dan Quayle burger in Huntington, IN, which is his home town.

Connecting ACA Routes / Re: TransAmerica and Cincinnati
« on: October 17, 2015, 09:46:12 am »
I wasn't familiar with the GAP Great Alleghany Passage.  Thanks! I just googled it and read a bit about the trail.  It looks like great. 

Really after reading my question again the main question is regarding suggestions for great route from Cincinnati to to the East Coast. I need to check out the PA Bike route next and also try to find out about the off road bike path into Cincy.  Thanks

Here is route S:

Click on the individually numbered sections to see detail. Heading east, Route S combines with the GAP but then leaves it at Rockwood, PA. I stayed on the GAP until its end in Cumberland, MD and then took a few local roads north from town to U.S. 220 and took that and U.S. 220 (Business) into the center of Bedford. (Map No. 13.) IMO, some fot the most interesting parts of the GAP and between Rockwood and Cumberland, and U.S. 220 was not bad riding. Nice shoulder all the way, and there is a campground just west of the center of Bedford.

If you decide on this option I can give you route details, including various diversions off Route S that make it a better ride. The abandoned PA turnpike section is a neat ride. There are two unlit tunnels. One is about 3,900' long. The other is more than a mile long. Very post-apocalyptic back there. So much so that the portal area of one of the tunnels was a shooting location for the film "The Road" starring Viggo Mortensen. Also, going that way avoids a monster climb out of Betzwood, PA. The western end of the trail is right along Route S. At the end of the 8.5 mile rideable section, it's easy to get back on Route S. You just need a decent light and a jacket as it is completely dark inside the tunnels and the ambient temperature is usually quite cool even on warm days.

Connecting ACA Routes / Re: TransAmerica and Cincinnati
« on: October 16, 2015, 10:12:36 am »
Another option would be the GAP from Pittsburgh to Cumberland, MD then heading north to Bedford, PA (original home of Cannondale) and picking up signed PA Bike Route S (with a modification here or there, including incorporating an abandoned stretch of PA Turnpike) to the Schuylkill River Trail into Philadelphia. I did that two years ago. Except for the day from Bedford to Cowan's Gap S.P. it's not that arduous hill-wise.

Routes / Re: route maps
« on: October 16, 2015, 08:37:19 am »
IIRC, ACA's Northern Tier route goes through/near Sandusky. You could follow that along the lake and then drop down to Warren, OH. I have a route from the Youngstown-Warren Regional Airport through PA that I could tie in to ACA's Atlantic Coast route down to FL. I did the PA section last year and camped every night. Some of the route follows PA Bike Route V. That route is signed and easy to follow. It also uses 23 miles of the Allegheny River Trail, which is quite nice and ,except for maybe .75 miles, is paved. It's PA, so you have to expect some hills. Most of them are on the short side, but they get steep and numerous at times.

Routes / Three States Mini-Tour
« on: October 15, 2015, 02:59:55 pm »
Some selected photos from last weeks three-day trip on ACA's Atlantic Coast route between Port Jervis, NY to Philadelphia with a detour:

Rented an SUV one-way on Thursday and camped along the Delaware River in Matamoras, PA, not far from Port Jervis. Dropped the car off the next morning, pulled the bike out of the back and began riding, crossing into NJ in about the first three miles and entering the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area. Spent the first night at a campground up on the ridge above Portland, PA, the home town of the author of the song "All I Want For Christmas In My Two Front Teeth."  The campground I found has wooded tent sites for only $10, which is extremely cheap for that area.

From Portland I followed the ACA route proper through Belvidere to Philipsburg, NJ. I had already ridden the roads between Philipsburg and Milford, NJ twice this year, and since I would be camping on the PA side of the river that night I decided to cross over into Easton, PA and ride a portion of the Delaware & Lackawanna Trail system down to camp in Upper Black Eddy, across the river from Milford. While the trail is scenic and offers some nice views of the river, the surface was mostly not fine crushed rock, which made for slower going.

PA 32 along the river is not a particularly safe cycling route, so at the start of day three I went back a few miles and crossed over into Milford to again pick up the ACA route proper, opting for the wide-shoulder NJ 29 over the parallel D&R Trail until Stockton, where the shoulder disappears and the road becomes very rough in place. Picked up the trail alternative in Stockton for about 4 miles to Lambertville before crossing the Delaware one final time for the final segment home.

Overall, it was a great trip. Wildlife sightings included a large, pileated woodpecker, numerous deer and a flock of about a dozen wild turkeys. I would have liked to have spent the first night at the riverside campground in Worthington State Forest, but the place was packed to the gills for the holiday weekend. (I am going to contact the state about creating a few hiker-biker sites or at least having an overflow area for hikers and bikers. Seeing that the facility is close to the AT and directly on the Atlantic Coast route, it's a prime candidate for such sites.)

I did this section this section (with a few modifications not shown here) this past weekend:

It wasn't my first time riding these roads. Except for the trail between Frenchtown and Lambertville, NJ and one or two other areas, you are pretty much going up or down hill. The elevations are not high, but there are some steep grades, especially in the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area.

A few years ago I mapped out the route from Philly to CT hoping to ride to my high school reunion. I remember things getting hiller, especially once you climb out of the Hudson River Valley north of Poughkeepsie, NY. I actually rode the route south from Bard Harbor to Philly, but that was back in '99 and I know there have been some changes since then. I also took a detour from Windsor Locks, CT to visit a friend at Yale. That detour avoided what I understand are the tougher hills of western CT.

I don't have any of the maps for the portion of the route south of Conshohocken, but I know some of the areas the route passes through. Again, you won't find and big mountains, but you will definitely encounter some hills in PA, such as in Lancaster County.

It's hard to raise money unless you have a unique angle and a talent for attracting media attention. Some (not many) just seem to have a knack for that.

Fat Guy Across America is a prime example of that talent. He's managed to get himself featured in, among other places, the "New York Times" and raise more than $15K (It could be much more than that by now. I stopped following the story a while back because it nauseates me. Since he has been soliciting funds outside of his GFM page, there is no way to determine how much he has raked in.) to cover his expenses even though he's only ridden maybe a couple hundred miles in something like 5 months.  (Many even question whether he's ridden the miles he claims to have ridden.)

Google him if you don't know the story. He's been the subject of several now-locked threads on

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