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Messages - indyfabz

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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.

General Discussion / Re: If you only had a couple of weeks?
« on: May 04, 2016, 09:52:30 am »
I'll be doing my third loop tour from/to Missoula, MT starting on June 14. Ten days of riding with the opportunity for a rest day or breaking one day into two shorter days. All camping except for one night in a motel in Butte, but even there you can camp if you don't mind a KOA near I-90. Some relatively short days. Some long days. (IIRC, the longest day is 80 miles but with little elevation gain.) Thing is, there are some mountains. There is also some dirt riding. Most of the dirt is benign, and there are workarounds for all of it. However, there is one 20 miles stretch that has some climbing and descending and washboards in places. The only workaround for that stretch adds some noticeable miles. Eliminating another 30 mile (but slightly down hill) stretch diminishes the beauty of the route.

Logistically, Missoula is an easy place to start a tour for me. I can fly to MSO from the east coast and take a short taxi ride to the pretty quiet KOA on the west end of town. I ship my bike to REI, which is a two block walk from the KOA, and it's ready to ride when I arrive. REI holds my bike box and duffle bag and I pick up fuel for the stove and any last minute items I may need. The next morning I shove off. When I finish, I drop the bike off at REI, give them the shipping documents, pick up my duffel bag and go have a beer.

In terms of meeting people, the first two days and some of day three follow the popular Trans Am route. After a detour off that route you rejoin it at Twin Bridges and take it for another day to Ennis before leaving it for good. From there, you end up on the L&C for a bit. Last time I rode out that way I encountered at least a dozen people doing the Trans Am or L&C and I didn't do the mileage to Ennis that year. This year my penultimate night on the road will be spent in a town where ACA's Cycle Montana supported tour will be staying.

Send me a PM if would like details, including a route map with elevation profile.

Routes / Re: TransAm trail - how fit
« on: May 02, 2016, 07:35:55 am »
When I did the Northern Tier we went off route a bit for camping and ended up doing Brandon Gap in Vermont instead of Middleburry Gap. It was the one climb of the entire trip I thought I might have to walk.

Where in northern NJ were you? I have done a little touring up there. Some nasty hill up there. The climb up Millbrook Rd. in the Delaware Water Gap NRA heading towards Blalrstown had me walking.

In any event, 26x36 should be o.k. Heading west, you will have some 8-9% stretches on Loup Loup Pass. Mazama to Washington Pass is about 16 miles, IIRC, but you won't encounter anything in the double digits. If you do the mileage from Cut Bank, MT into Alberta, there is a steep climb of about 5 miles heading back towards the MT border, but it's manageable if you pace yourself. BTW...I highly recommend not skipping that section. Waterton Village makes a great place for a rest day. The town campsite is in a dramatic setting, and there are boat ride and hike options.

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