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Messages - indyfabz

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Routes / Re: A Loop Through the Black Hills
« on: May 17, 2016, 11:06:14 am »
From Hot Springs to Wind Cave N.P. I think you are stuck with U.S. 385. Once I got out of town there was very little traffic on that road. It probably picked up a bit as more tourists started heading towards the park. From what I read, the loops is best done in the early morning or evening. If you have the time, the Mammoth dig site in Hot Springs is worth the price od admission. You can ride there from the center of town.

If you want to save miles from Custer to Mt. Rushmore, get off U.S. 16A east of Custer and take SD 87 to S. Playhouse Rd. That will take you back to U.S. 16A and will still allow you to ride the switchbacky/pig tail part of U.S. 16A (Iron Mountain Rd.)

Once you get to SD 244 in Keystone (a horribly tacky town), the climb to Mt. Rushmore is short, but boy is it steep in place. Ride With GPS shows nearly 600' of climbing in 1.6 miles with a ruling grade of over 10%. Facing the entrance, there are bike racks on the right. Watch out for flailing selfie sticks.

Here is the map for the Needles Highway loop I did during one of my non-move days in Custer:

Some spectacular views. As you can see from the profile, you want to go clockwise unless you are a masochist.

Routes / Re: Hwy 2 from Spokane to Newport, WA
« on: May 17, 2016, 10:32:24 am »
The first time I ever ate chicken fried steak and biscuits and gravy was in Newport, WA during a century from Ione to Sandpoint. Seemed like a good idea at the time. ;)

BTW...Assume you are following the ACA route to Roosville. Definitely take Le Clerc Rd. rather than WA 20. Really nice back there.

Routes / Re: Hwy 2 from Spokane to Newport, WA
« on: May 16, 2016, 02:47:02 pm »
If you look on Street View there appears to be a very wide shoulder. And if use Google Maps bike directions they keep you off U.S. until Colbert. From Chattaroy north it routes you for a while on a frontage road to the east of U.S. 2. That's available on Street View. Looks interesting. Narrow, but through the forest. You get off U.S. 2 again for a bit along Diamond Lake.

Routes / Re: A Loop Through the Black Hills
« on: May 16, 2016, 02:31:14 pm »
O.k. I looked at the ACA itinerary. If you can swing it and don't mind the climbing, the day from Rapid City to Deadwood via Nemo Rd. is really nice. Here is the route I did continuing on to Spearfish:

The portion between a little after mile 34 and a little after mile 36 is a quiet, gravel road. Once you get to the summit around mile 38.7 it's a cruise into Deadwood. Just before you start that climb there is a private campground with a "burger shack" open to the public. The burger was pretty good. Since I didn't stay in Deadwood I didn't look for camping, but I remember seeing this place. Not sure if it offers tent camping:

This was my second day, from Spearfish to Hill City:

Spearfish has the most amazing municipal campground I have ever seen. And it's right next to a national fish hatchery museum, complete with "tanks" full of fish. The gradual climb through Spearfish Canyon is really, really nice, as is the mileage to Cheyenne Crossing. When you turn on to U.S. 85 is where things get ugly. It was only 3 miles, but that climb was a beast. The sun beating down on me didn't help. Mil3 30 in Edgemont is where I picked up the trail. as you can see, there are two sustained uphill sections. Between the surface and the breeze and me being tired from the early climbing, those sections were harder than I thought they would be. Note that the only place to get any food along this stretch is at a restaurant in Rochford. Pretty sure it's not open on Sunday.

I finished the trail on day 3, passing through Custer and Pringle:

I don't know whether the ACA trip will get off the trail at Pringle and take U.S. 385 to Hot Springs or stay on the trail until it crosses U.S. 18 and taking that to Hot Springs, but from the days mileage, I suspect it's the latter, which is what I would do. U.S. 18 has a wide shoulder and is pretty tame except for that mile or so hill you have to climb before cruising down into town. The ACA trip is going to stay at a place that's just to the north of the center of town. I stayed at a place that is closer to town on the south end. Pricey ($30) for what it was, but it is convenient and there is a lot shade. It's small, so you might want to look into tent site reservations:

This was my day from Hot Springs to Custer via Wind Cave N.P.:

If you looked at my photos, the bison shots were all taken on this day. The nice thing about it being short is that I had plenty of time to one of the longer tours of Wind Cave. Definitely worth the $12 or whatever I paid for it. Get there pretty early or you may have to wait for a tour. When I got done mine the wait for the more popular tours was about 1.5 hrs. Bring food as once you leave Hot Springs there is nothing until Custer. Just before mile 26 on my map I got off SD 87 and took Lower French Creek Rd. That's another gravel opportunity. Very quite and scenic back there. While the map doesn't show it, there is a tail spur extension that goes out to Stockade Lake from Custer. I stayed on the road and was glad I did. There appeared to be some short, super-steep section on the spur. The place I stayed was a bit outside of the center of town. While spending three nights in Custer I saw this place, which had a shaded tent area and is within walking distance of the main drag:

Despite being close to things, it's still pretty quiet back there. One possibly negative is that I looked liked it could be a bit buggy, especially being so close to the creek.

That's all for now. I will update with my thought about Needles Highway.

General Discussion / Re: Demands on energy
« on: May 16, 2016, 10:25:48 am »
Does 5 hr. Energy even contain any energy (i.e., calories)? If you are looking for some liquid food for those hard days with long stretches of no services, I recommend Perpetuem by Hammer. Comes in single-mix powder packs. The downside is that once mixed, it doesn't keep well for more than 2-3 hrs. in high heat.

« on: May 16, 2016, 08:06:55 am »
It's Colonial Creek. I believe there is still a small grocery store in Newhalem. Look them up and give them a call re: their selection. Many years ago we fed 13 people with supplies from that store, but that was some time ago.  BTW...The county park in Rockport has Adirondack shelters, which are quite handy if it's cold and wet.

Routes / Re: A Loop Through the Black Hills
« on: May 16, 2016, 08:03:39 am »
I flew to Rapid City on June 17th and started riding the next day. Plenty of tent space at the campground I stayed in, although I did make reservations at some of them just to be safe. Don't know your planned route, but the KOA on SD 244 was the most crowded. After that, Crooked Creek in Custer was second, but still, there would have been space had I showed up unannounced.

If you tell me the general route/itinerary, I can give you a better idea of what you might like to ride, etc., but Needles Highway is certainly worth the effort. You can do it as a day ride from Custer. And if you are going to Mr. Rushmore, the "back way" from Hill City is much nicer than SD 244.

General Discussion / Re: Missoula MT to Sand Point ID
« on: May 12, 2016, 01:51:06 pm »
Done some of what you are talking about (the portion between Sandpoint and the jct. of MT 200 and MT 56) back in '99 and '00. Bull River (U.S.F.S. campground) just south of MT 56 was nice:

Also, there is a nice, partially unpaved alternative between there are Clark Fork that gets you off MT 200 for a while:

Crossing the river into Clark Fork there are two bridges. I believe the old steel truss bridge is a bike/ped crossing.

Some asked this same question before. IIRC, some who had ridden in the area suggested taking the paved Blue Slide Rd. between Thompson Falls and the north end of Trout Creek.

I have been doing some preliminary planning for a trip next year that includes Thompson Falls and saw this place:

It's small, so a reservation might be a good idea.

We did Brandon Gap W to E instead of Middlebury Gap during ACA's '99 Northern Tier tour because it was closer to where we had to go off route to camp the night before. It's a nice ride, but note that their a very steep pitch near the top. It was the only time during he entire trip that I thought I was going to have to walk. Still, it's probably better than trying to ride unpaved 125. Did that during ACA's '10 Cycle Vermont when they were paving the west slope of Middlebury Gap. Made for a hairy descent at times.

General Discussion / Re: Newbie ISO perfect touring bike
« on: May 11, 2016, 04:23:23 pm »

As for the bikes mentioned in this post, is gearing the biggest issue here? I thought you could modify bikes to accommodate lower gear settings, yeah?

But component swapping to get sufficiently low gears might end up costing you more in the end. For example, You might need an entirely new drivetrain. The Fuji Touring, on the other hand, comes sufficiently geared for most. I am a big guy and not a superlative climber and I get by with the same gearing as the Fuji.

Then the sufficiency of the wheels vis-à-vis your planned load also needs to be evaluated and may need attention in the form of replacements. Nothing sucks on a tour quite like persistent wheel problems. I know from experience.

General Discussion / Re: beckman packs
« on: May 11, 2016, 04:08:37 pm »
What vintage?

Routes / Re: East Coast Greenway Complete Route Info
« on: May 11, 2016, 10:38:05 am »
Haven't ridden the Pennsylvania portion, but having lived most of my life in Philadelphia, I can tell you that there is very little "green" in the Pennsylvania portion of the ECG. In fact, it goes through some areas of the Philadelphia that have heavy traffic and are not all that bike-friendly. South of the Philadelphia, it passes through Chester and Marcus Hook, which are industrial areas. Indeed, Rte. 291 through the Eddystone and Chester areas is literally named "Industrial Highway." I believe the ECG also uses some heavy-traffic roads into the state of Delaware. I would look at ACA's Atlantic Coast route over this portion of the ECG.

The north to south advice is for the coast due to the prevailing winds off the ocean. The two times I rode from Seattle up to the NT in Bay View wind was not really much of a factor.

Do you want to join the NT east or west of the Cascades, and if east, how far east (e.g., Winthrop, WA, Sandpoint, ID)? The answer to that question seems like it will be the biggest route driver.

General Discussion / Re: Trying to get started
« on: May 09, 2016, 07:13:25 am »
Look at the menu on the right for starters:

Routes / Re: Newbie, Summer 2016 - where?
« on: May 06, 2016, 12:45:56 pm »
What do you consider not a lot of ground in a day, and do you want to avoid mountains?

Any transportation constraints/issues?

Will you be cooking?

If you don't want high heat and humidity that eliminates a lot of obvious places. (E.g., deep south, Midwestern places like Iowa).

Maybe the Oregon coast. Plenty of other cyclists there. It's the Oregon DOT I believe that has a nice on line guide for the route, which includes camping locations.

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