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Messages - indyfabz

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Routes / Re: Sierra Cascades camping reservations
« on: May 18, 2014, 07:07:54 am »
National Park rules and facilities vary by park and even by specific campground.  Check each official park web site and you will likely find the answer to your question.

General Discussion / Re: Lewis and Clark and TransAmerica West East
« on: May 14, 2014, 08:05:19 am »
When do you anticipate being in the Missoula area? I will be heading east on the TA for a couple of days, but not until June 20th. Probably too late to for you. If not, I will happily allow your chef to cook me dinner.  ;D

I have the bike shop assemble and get ready... saving money is obviously not why I do it this way.

I have done the same. The bike is tuned and ready for me to ride out of the shop. When the tour is over, I ride back to the shop and hand back the bike, provide shipping instructions and go for a beer or whatever. To me, the convenience is worth the extra $.

Gear Talk / Re: Advice on a Bicycle for Trip to France
« on: May 13, 2014, 09:47:48 am »
If money is tight then I would stick with the Bike Friday. A loaded down bike on tour is a different animal from a racing bike. You ride it differently, it feels differently. I actually like a loaded bike. Your young, a few extra pounds aren't going to make a lot of difference. I haven't tried the case as trailer. You could always store the trailer and just use panniers. Picking out a tour bike is much easier after you have done some touring.
I'm beginning to think this is the best solution if money is tight and the model Bike Friday you have is suitable for racks and panniers.  I've ridden a Bike Friday a modest amount (my son-in-law has one) and, while it's initial handling is different from a 700c wheel bike, you get used to it pretty quickly.  After that, it's just another bike and only seems strange when you look down.

+1. For several years I did a bike-train-bike commute on a Friday New World Tourist. It was actually geared too low for my relatively flat commute. Many years ago I spent a week off and on touring with a couple riding a Friday tandem pulling the suitcae trailer you describe. Don't recall the model, but it had drop bars. Whatever model it was, they managed to drop me for a bit climbing Hoosier Pass from Breckenridge, CO and had no problem on the descent to Fairplay, where we went our separate ways.

As for airline bike charges, last year U.S. Airways from Philly to Venice was supposed set me back $200 each way. Fortunately, the rent-a-agent who helped me with the kiosk check in didn't realize one of my checked pieces was a bike (or didn;t know there was an extra charge) so I only paid $100 for it as my second checked bag (the first was free). But they got their $200 for the flight home.

I alway ship UPS or FEDEX store to store, you get business rates that way. I haven't done in a while but it used to be cheap.

+1. However, with fuel costs these days, it has gotten more expensive. Size also matters. My bike is on the large side. 60cm LHT. Shipping it has cost more than shipping my GF's 42cm bike. Still, I have never paid more than what most major airlnes charge except for Southwest and maybe Frontier. Sounds like you would end up with a relatively small pack size.

Note that I have always been told that the safe play is to allow close to 10 days for UPS ground if the distance is substantial. I have twice shipped from Philly to two different cites in western MT. Transit times have been about 7-8 days. Finally, if you are going to have your bike reassembled by a shop, it's probably a good idea to make an aoopintment sooner rather than at the last minute.

Here is a link to the signed PA bike routes:

Within each inidivudla route you can click on each segment to get detail.

Unfortunately, the maps don't show mileages or the locations of campgrounds, but you can work around that. In planning trips using Routes S and V, I first mapped them out using an on line proogram (Bikely, MapMyRide, etc.). Once I had the mileages, I searched Google Maps for campgrounds in areas that I thought would be reasonable riding distances each day. You can do this by picking a town and, in Google Maps, searching "campgrounds near [name of town]" Zooming out will expand the search results. Also, where you see a PA state park on the map, you can check the park's web page to see if it offers camping.

One option from Buffalo is to head SW to Erie. From there, it's not too far to PA Route Y, which goes along the northern tier of the state. While it may be out of the way, you could then pick up Route G south and then Route S in Bedford, PA. Route S will take you through Columbia, PA and Lancatser, not too far from Lititz. I found a decent amount of camping on Route S east of Bedford, inlcuding two very nice state parks--Cowan's Gap and Caledonia. One you get to Cowan's Gap, the route east is not all that hilly. Going this way also gives you the opportunity to ride a portion of the abandoned section of the PA Turnpike east from Breezewood. It's a neat ride of about 8.5 miles. Completely car-free. It's got a post-apocalyptic feel to it, which is why it was used in the film "The Road," starring Vigo Mortensen. I saw to walkers when I rode it one weekeday afternoon. The road surface is a little choppy in places, but I had no problem on 32c tires with a full load. The only caveat is that there are two unlit tunnels. Heading east, the first one is about 3,800' in length. The second is about a mile and has a crown closer to the eatsrn portal, which means you literally cannot see the light at the end until you get closer to it. A good light is a must. My 120 lumen head lamp was fine. Surprisingly, there was almost no debris inside the tunnels. You can still see the median stripes so you can just follow them. When you reach the end of the rideable section, not long after the eastern portal of the second tunnel, one left and a short hill climb puts you back on Route S. Going this was avoids a sttep climb out of Brezewood.

Don't know what you plan on averaging a day, but from Bedford you could stay at Cowan's Gap then E. Berlin (campground maybe 3.5 miles off route) and then easily make it Lititz on the third day.

Send me a PM if you would like more info about the Route S option and the turnpike.

Gear Talk / Re: Saddle Suggestion other than Brooks
« on: May 08, 2014, 10:41:02 am »
Saddles are very personal. What works for one person may not work for another. With that said, I have only toured with a Terry Men's Liberator saddle. If you buy one from REI and don't like it, you can get a full refund within one year.

Routes / Re: Route Check
« on: May 08, 2014, 08:17:02 am »
As noted, that is not a route showing roads you have picked.

When is the trip supposed to begin?

Routes / Re: Portland to Sun Valley, ID
« on: May 02, 2014, 04:50:20 pm »
If you go with Shannon's suggestion, there is a private campground on U.S. 93 a few miles east/south of the center of Hamilton, MT, one in Darby and one in Sula. Between Darby and Sula there are a couple of U.S.F.S. campgrounds. I recommend taking the Old Darby Rd. alternaitve between Hamilton and Darby if you have tires suited for gravel/dirt. Very pretty back there.

One correction, however. You would leave the TransAm at Lost Trail Pass. If you were to make the left onto MT 43 and continue the 3 miles to Chief Jopseph Pass you would be in MT and headed down towards Wisdom.

PS Any MUST see's or MUST NOT do's please feel free to let us know.

May have mentioned this before...Since you will be on the NT, Waterton Village in Alberta (nice place for a rest day) and Glacier National Park.

Taken from the town campsite at Waterton:

Taken on Going to the Sun:

But if you go by yourself you need to be okay spending a lot of time in your own head. On the plus side, no constant negotiations on how far, or how fast, or where and what to eat, or where to stay.

+1. I have done most of my touring alone and have been on the road alone for as long as nearly two months. You really do need to be comfortable with your own company to spend a long time solo. And being able to make your own decisions is a real plus.

I will also bet that solo travellers receive more "acts of kindness." My very first tour started out with ACA's group tour across the Northern Tier. When that part of the trip ended, I rode home solo in about three weeks. As a group of a dozen, we seemed more self-sufficient when together in camp and thus were rarely offered assistance. During my solo trip home, I was offered things several times, including a half a pie that a woman had baked in her RV. During the group portion of the trip, it would not be odd to find yourself riding alone. It was then that people were more likely to experience acts of kindness. One woman in the group who was riding solo one day was invited into the home of a woman in rural ND and served tea.

I have encountered at least a half dozen women touring alone, including one on the Northern Tier who made it to the eastern terminus just fine.

What John says, especially about the number of people on the TA vs. the NT. Did the entire NT once, the western portion to Glacier a second time, and some western portions of the TA twice. Encountered far more people on the TA. In '11, in just 2 1/2 days on the TA south/east of Missoula, I encountered at least 9 people. They had all started in the east in May. In all honesty, I don't remember encountering that many people during all my time on the NT other than the one year when I started out one day ahead of ACA's NT group tour and spent two different nights in the same towns with that group.

General Discussion / Re: Hello from Twin Bridges, Montana
« on: April 28, 2014, 08:53:57 pm »
Some photos photos from in and around town, including one of the Bike Camp building and a nice sunset viewed from the grassy camping area.

Gear Talk / Re: Touring-oriented bike shop in Missoula?
« on: April 28, 2014, 02:01:19 pm »
All of the shops in town should be able to help you out, but as mentioned above, Hellgate Cyclery is very close to the Adventure Cycling headquarters and has great service. If looking for a shop with more product inventory, Missoula Bicycle Works is right across the river from downtown.

Thanks. I am planning to ship to Missoula for a loop tour starting on June 20th. If I don't use REI, which is convenient to the KOA where I will be spending my first night, I might use Hellgate.

OP: I used Missoula Bicycle Works when I was out that way a few years ago. They were very busy in late June. You might consider calling ahead, checking their schedule and making an appointment ahead of time if they allow that.

Even if you get service in Missoula, I recommend stopping by this place in Hamilton, MT if only to check out the shop:

Nice group of people. You'll ride right by the road that leads to the shop if you take the Old Darby Rd. alternative, which is something I also recommend. There is a beautiful spot on that route where the river the mountains and the sky all seem to come together.

Routes / Re: Philadelphia to Detroit via Canada
« on: April 28, 2014, 10:47:32 am »
One option: You can take SEPTA to Trenton then NJT to Seacucus Jct. then a third train (Metro-North service run by NJT) to Port Jervis, NY where you could (a) ride north in NY or easily make your way to the start of PA Bike Route Y in Matamoras, PA, which would take you close to Erie, PA:

Note that there are restriction on when you can take your bike on all these services. I think with SEPTA, you would be good even on a weekday morning since you would be going against the tide of the morning commute. As for NJT, you cannot head up north from Trenton on any train that arrives in NYC before either 9 or 10 a.m. Can't remermber which, but the rules are on NJT's web site. There are also restrictions on the Port Jervis train (since NJT runs the service, NJT's bike rules apply), but by the time you would get to Seacuacus Jct. on a weekday you would be o.k. as long as you don't wait until close to the evening/afternoon commute. I once worked out a schedule that made this combination workable on a weekday morning.

Riding from the Art Museum to Port Jervis is about 160 miles, so you would save about 2 days. 3 days of riding as opposed to 1 day of train travel. Personally, I would try to find the time to ride. The trip up the Delaware and through the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area is quite nice. I was supposed to do it in reverse on Easter Weekend like I have done the last two years, but when I went to pick up the one-way rental it was discovered that my driver's license had expired. Plan B was a ride up to Upper Black Eddy, about 20 miles above Lambertville, NJ on Friday for two nights of camping and a day ride on Saturday before returring home. The campground in UBE gives all cyclists a flat $15/night rate. Farther north, there is nice riverside camping at Worthing State Forest in NJ, just across the river from Delaware Water Gap, PA.

Alternatively, you could take NJT from Trenton into NYC's Penn Station, ride to Grand Central Terminal and take the train (Metro-North) to Poughkeepsie, NY. There are some bike restriction on this service as well. Check their web site.

Don't know if Amtrak has any trains with checked baggage that go as far north as somewhere like Albany.

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