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Messages - indyfabz

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Routes / Re: Seeking Advice for a Cross Country Route
« on: August 15, 2014, 08:01:10 am »
I think January and February rules out the TA unless you enjoy riding in snow and ice and cold temperatures. That time frame would also likely put you out west too early weather-wise unless you are traveling at a snail's pace. Don't think you want to ride through MT in March or April. I was just there in mid-June and experienced a brief bit of wet snow at elevation. A few days before I arrived several inches of wet snow fell on one pass. A local told me she had a hard go of it in her car. And Yellowstone would be pretty darn cold. Nights in the teens or below cold. Same may be true for March unless you are talking the end of March and there is an abnormally warm and dry winter. Unless I am mistaken, most E-W riders start the TA in May.

Routes / Re: Seeking Advice for a Cross Country Route
« on: August 14, 2014, 10:01:47 am »
Defining "late winter" and "early spring" and providing an idea of any expected timeframe heading west might produce more helpful responses.

Also, you wrote that you are planning to bike back in the fall but also write that you can "leave as early [as] late winter....". That has me confused.

Gear Talk / Re: From the road: least used gear, most appreciated gear
« on: August 13, 2014, 10:27:20 am »
The issue at Rockwood is the surrounding terrain. Very steep hills on both sides, so the sound resonates. There are also a couple of grade crossings in town. By law, the trains have to blow their horns unless what is known as a "quiet zone" has been established. That video was taken from across the river. That horn is probably around 93 db., possibly more. It was really loud, and I work in the rail biz. Thankfully, traffic decreased later that night, but it started up again early. I had a long day the next day so I got up at 5 a.m. By 5:45 three trains had come through.

Gear Talk / Re: From the road: least used gear, most appreciated gear
« on: August 11, 2014, 08:15:54 am »
Among the items I wish I'd had would be ear plugs. I was at a town called Arlington OR camped out at the marina with a RR crossing a hundred feet away and interstate 84 fifty feet beyond that.

I feel your pain. From one night on the GAP last year:

This was not an isolated occurrence. Turn up your computer's volume to get the realistic effect.

Gear Talk / Re: trikes
« on: August 08, 2014, 07:49:41 am »
Did the Bon Ton Roulet last month.

Well, well. so did I.  Great week wasn't it?  And I also saw the same trike but I believe I saw a couple of others too.

It was. I did the event once before--in 2006. I was hesitant about going back after that experience. It was a pleasant surprise to find the event run much better. The food was better. The road markings were better. The overall support was better. The overnight locations were better. Re: that one, we started in Auburn in '06. The bleak school where we stayed was a short distance from the beautiful park we stayed at this year. We met a couple who lives near Youngstown. It just so happens that I had been planning a tour from the Youngstown area to Philly. The place where I drop off the one way rental car is 2 miles from the couple's house. I will likely stay with them the night before I start riding.

The one trike I saw was ridden buy a guy who obviously loved to show it off. He would ride it short distances in camp. I even saw him ride from his tent to the porta potties.

Gear Talk / Re: trikes
« on: August 07, 2014, 11:21:12 am »
Did the Bon Ton Roulet last month. There was one trike. While it had a large rear wheel centered behind the chair, the two front wheels were small. The rider definitely sat noticeably lower than most riders I have seen on two-wheel recumbents, incuding the Bachetta one participant was riding.

I would at least get a tall flag for riding in traffic. Also note that you may encunter issues with rumble strips on some shoulders depending on the placement of the strips and the width of the shoulder.

General Discussion / Re: Cardboard Box for Bike as Checked Baggage
« on: August 05, 2014, 02:45:18 pm »
I am pretty sure I have fewer bike mechanic skills than most people here and even I was able to reinstall my (and my GF's) RDs when we went to Italy last year. Mine required only the most minor of shifting adjustments after reinstallation.

General Discussion / Re: Fighting off boredom?
« on: July 17, 2014, 02:20:42 pm »
Not to push the point too far and be accused of retrogrouchery but tens of thousands of folks road much further and longer than you're planning without any electronics (or disk brakes) at all. A paperback and a notebook/pencil can keep you company for a long time and you can trade the book with another adventurer along the way.[/quote]

+1. I read "Flowers for Algernon" while touring for 9 days last month--something I had wanted to read for a whole. Nice to have relaxation time to do so. I also found that checking and sending email using the computer at a town library seemed like a chore. When touring, I like to leave behind as many routine things as I can.

General Discussion / Re: Big Bend Loop II, Van - Nov 2-10, 2014
« on: July 17, 2014, 02:12:43 pm »
Having done an ACA supported trip (Cycle Vermont), what Pat wrote. I went with someone and we rode together. Sometimes we would end up riding with others. You can ride at your own pace. When you finish each day depends on many factors. The daily routes were mostly hilly, but I never felt like we were finishing too late in the day for comfort. I take a lot of photos and we often stopped to see the sights, use the library and get our own lunches so we often finished later than most people.

Last month I crossed paths with ACA's Cycle Montana at one day's lunch stop. Small groups of people came in together. Some people came in alone. Some people stopped for a short while. Some lingered longer. It seemed like most people left lunch in small groups. I don't know whether those groups stayed together on the road because the lunch stop was my overnight stop.

Routes / Re: Idaho - Trans Am
« on: July 11, 2014, 09:10:40 am »
Hate to break it to you, but you will be encountering some high speed stretches in MT with commercial traffic and little to no shoulder. Heading west to Sheridan and a section of road between Twin Bridges and Dillon are the two that come to mind. Also, between Sula and Conner Cutoff Rd. heading towards Darby. West from Darby, the Old Darby Rd. alternative affords a nice break from U.S. 93. The unpaved stretch is not bad as unpaved roads go, and it's very pretty back there.

In any event, getting an early start can often be helpful.

Gear Talk / Re: From the road: least used gear, most appreciated gear
« on: July 10, 2014, 02:32:22 pm »
Something I really appreciate is my woolen cap and my gloves for chilly mornings. However, during summertime on the trans am you would never need that.
Not necessarily true.  In the Rockies you can get a short cold snap or even snow in any month of the year.  We did the TA an especially hot year and still had a few cold mornings and a freezing afternoon/evening once as well.  I took my light gloves and cap and used them in the Cascades and Rockies.


It was 27 degrees F when I set out from Guffey, CO on a June 15.

+2. I was just riding on and near the TA route in MT last month. I got caught in a rain/hail/wet snow event the second full day of summer. A few days later, I got got caught in a very cold rain. Surpised it didn't start snowing. Both those times involved descents of over 20 miles. And a few of the mornings were chilly. Glad I had my wool cap. My hands survived with polypro glove liners and a pair of light, full fingered gloves, but they got very cold.

General Discussion / Re: Cardboard Box for Bike as Checked Baggage
« on: July 10, 2014, 02:20:41 pm »
Funny thing is that the only times in recent memory that they didn't open the bike at BWI were the times that I had all of my gear packed with the bike.  Both times it was in a soft case rather than a box.  Not sure why they didn't open it these times.  Maybe my soft case fits in the xray machine?  If so there may be an advantage to taking off both wheels and packing in a smaller box, bag, or case.[/quote]

That's a distinct possibility. When we flew to Venice last year, the TSA opened our boxes (found cards inside saying they had been inspected.) I believe that's because PHL does not have any large scanners. For the return flight home, our bikes went through a large scanner at the Venice airport as we stood and watched. The agent literally gave us a thumbs up and we proceeded on.

Flying back from Portland a few years ago we watched in horror as a grumpy looking TSA agent (It was early a.m.) was trying to close up a bike box by repeatedly forcing the top down. Our bikes were next. Not wanting to see what might happen to our rides, we quickly left the area. Fortunately, there was no damage.

Connecting ACA Routes / Re: N tier to Seattle to Coast route?
« on: July 10, 2014, 09:38:51 am »
IIRC, the route Carla describes takes you through Port Townsend. Fort Worden S.P. is a nice place to camp. They had hiker/biker sites off in the trees, and the park is on the water. It's also the former military base that was used in the film "An Officer and a Gentleman."

Howard Miller Stealhead park in Rockport was also nice. There were Adirondack Shelters when I was there many years ago.

General Discussion / Re: Cardboard Box for Bike as Checked Baggage
« on: July 10, 2014, 09:32:49 am »
Just curious! How much did your bike and box weigh. My surly is pushing 50# and will be getting ready to head to San Diego to start Southern Tier in September. Looking for options to get it and my gear to there from Iowa.

I recently used to ship my bike from Philly to Missoula and back. 22 lbs. Crateworks plastic box (46"x11"x30"), 60cm LHT, two racks, MSR Dragonfly stove (I would not risk flying with an expensive stove), empty fuel bottle and packing materials. I wildly overestimated the weight of the entire package at 90 lbs. With the $5 pickup charge from my LBS, I paid $73 for shipping via FedEx through Bikeflights. (My airline, United, wanted $175.) Could have gotten it down lower had I had a scale to get an accurate weight and taken the package to a FedEx store myself. Shipment out took 4 days. There was a delay on the return due to some storms.

I just ran numbers for my bike box with a total weight of 70 lbs from Cedar Rapids to the REI store in San Diego. Got a price of $55 without local pick up. $60 with pickup. Transit time is 3 days.

Check out their website. You can play around with the weight and size to see how it affects price. If you decide to use them, they email you a prepaid label 10 days from your ship date. The label comes in about 10-15 min. if your ship date is less than 10 days from the date of purchase. Good customer service, too. I had a couple of questions before I purchased. They responded promptly to my emails.

As for the rest of my gear, I put everything except two panniers in a duffel bag. $25 to check that. I carried on the other two panniers. One counted as the one free piece of carry on. The other was small enough to count as my "personal item." I was doing a loop, so REI held my bag. Since you are going one way, look for a cheap bag at somewhere like a thrift/Goodwill store and toss it. Or you can mail it back home when you get to the start location.

Routes / Re: West from Missoula : TransAm or Lewis & Clark?
« on: July 09, 2014, 10:35:57 am »
Yes. OR east of the coastal range will likely be hot. Even crispy critter hot. (The forecast highs for the next few days in John Day are in the low to mid 90s.) But it's a dry heat. :) It's been a while, but I don't remember any really hard passes from when I rode much of the route as part of 2002's Cycle Oregon. There is, I believe, a long slog up from Mitchell. McKenzie east to west isn't that bad. IIRC, the first 6 or so miles out of Sisters in gradual. The remainder is not as bad as the west slope, which we rode up in '07. The views (assuming it's not doing something up there) are spectacular. There is an observatory at the top that is built out of lava rock. Looks like a place where Skeletor would live. Just be careful on the descent as there is a section with tight switchbacks.

Rode some of the gorge east to west during another edition of CO. I had heard about the winds, but for us, they didn't blow as bad as everyone said they would. Maybe we just got lucky.

If it were me, I would take the TA route. Ride early and take a mid-day break if necessary to avoid the heat.

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