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Messages - indyfabz

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The beauty of going East to West and towards Bozeman is that as you get closer, you have many options on sight seeing and "wasting" a day or two.  I'd start a week earlier than planned and take some interesting side-trips.

That's pretty much what I was thinking. As you get out Bozeman way there are worse places to have kill time. Take a few days off in Yellowstone and do some hikes. Stay on route though the "old west" town of Virginia City, drop down to the Bike Camp in Twin Bridges then swing around and visit Lewis & Clark Caverns between Cardwell and Three Forks.

If you get to Bozeman some other way, you can get back on the TransAm pretty easily. MT 55 and MT 41 between Whitehall and Twin Bridges is relatively flat with a nice shoulder. Send me a PM if you want an alternative from there to Missoula that avoids the passes west of Dillon and you don't mind some dirt riding.

General Discussion / Re: Found on the road
« on: March 01, 2016, 10:23:20 am »
Lots of tools. Change. A few smashed cell phones. Over a decade ago I found a large carabiner that serves as my key chain to this day.

A plethora of kids toys. On the last day of my x-country trip we passed an "eccentric" man who had picked up every small toy he had found crossing the country and had affixed them to his bike. It was quite a sight. Earlier in the trip I found a rubber glove in the middle of nowhere while in Alberta heading for the border crossing at Del Bonito. I stopped and wrote the words "I'm Flexible" on it, which is something our leader used to say a lot, and left it on the road. The only person in the group who noticed it was a guy who had stayed an extra day in Waterton and was chasing us down. He picked it up and carried it with him to our campground in Cut Bank. For many weeks later we took turns sticking it each other's bikes.

The creepiest thing seen was probably the animal hoof and foreleg. Guessing it was from a small deer, but there were no other signs of road kill. There was just the hoof and portion of a leg.

In ND we came upon a pheasant that had been hit so recently the blood running from its nose had no yet clotted. A woman in our group plucked a few tail feathers for some of us that we attached to our bikes. Mine blew away that afternoon during when a massive thunderstorm moved through camp.

The funniest thing was probably the jacket of a porn video tape. The film was entitled "Fat Alberta."

Routes / Re: TransAm Summer 2017
« on: February 29, 2016, 10:46:05 am »

My suggestion is to allow more time and more money than you need.  Then just ride the miles you feel like each day.  IMO, nothing sucks the joy out of a tour more than a rigid schedule.  Too tight budgets can be joy killers as well.  I am not saying you need to take a long time or spend a lot, but it will be more fun if neither of those is too limiting of a factor.

Having done two extended solo tours after doing an ACA group tour with a drop-dead finish date, I agree. While the group tour schedule was totally rigid and the average daily mileage relatively tame, I enjoyed much more the ability to ride the miles I wanted to ride (or not ride at all) when I was alone.

OP: There are almost certainly going to be days when you just don't feel like riding much, if at all, especially if the weather is crappy. As for a budget, I find that I always spend more than I think I will. Chances are you are going to want that motel from time to time.

Routes / Re: Summer riding in Idaho: from Ketchum to Coeur d'Alene
« on: February 29, 2016, 10:38:34 am »

Isn't is amazing what you can see by going "off route" and/or doing a little gravel.  Nice pics.

The ones I linked to that are unpaved are from the Old Darby Rd. alternative on the ACA map for that part of the TransAm. The gravel section of the alternative is about 6.5 miles or so. I have ridden it three times. Very little traffic. I have run 37c tires, but I think quality 32c tires would probably suffice. The gravel and washboards have never been that bad. Plus, early on it takes you by the Red Barn Bicycles, which is a neat shop in, of course, a red barn.

Routes / Re: I-90 Lookout Pass - Idaho/Montana border 2016
« on: February 26, 2016, 04:54:21 pm »
That bridge does look really cool.

Routes / Re: Summer riding in Idaho: from Ketchum to Coeur d'Alene
« on: February 24, 2016, 11:10:00 am »
Funny. A few months ago I was looking at a tour north/west from Missoula through CdL for next year. My initial Google Maps search returned a route from Missoula to CdL that used frontage and other roads generally following I-90. Maybe you didn't zoom in tight enough. I don't think I made notes, but I remember finding camping and grocery sources sufficiently spaced between the two cities to make it doable.

As for south of Missoula, I have ridden that stretch through Sula 3 times, but in the opposite direction. This June will be number 4. I have also climbed up to Lost Trail Pass (the junction of U.S. 93 and MT 43) twice. From Lost Trail Pass towards Missoula you would basically have one long down hill to one degree or another all the way to at least Darby, where there is camping and a good grocery store, with a few little ups thrown in to keep you honest. If you can't make it all the way to Darby there is the Sula Campground and Country Store in Sula. The campground is decent enough, but the store's grocery selection is pretty limited. They make food, but only breakfast and lunch. When I stayed there in mid-June of 2014 the place closed at 5 p.m. And I mean it was dark and locked up tight when I got arrived around 5:02. You can still camp after hours, but you won't be able to get anything to eat. However, if you continue north on U.S. 93 for three miles there is a U.S.F.S. campground (Spring Gulch) on your right. Two miles north from Spring Gulch is a place called the Rocky Knob Lodge, which serves food and drinks.

North from Darby, I highly recommend Old Darby Rd. and Sleeping Child Rd. over U.S. 93 if you will be equipped to handle about 7 miles of gravel/dirt. That takes you back to U.S. 93 at the south end of Hamilton. From the north end of Hamilton there is a nice bike trail with some mountain views paralleling U.S. 93 all the way to Lolo at the junction of U.S. 93 and U.S. 12. It starts out on the east side of U.S. 93 and you eventually cross over to the west side. If you zoom in tight on Google Maps you can see it. It's also my understanding that this summer there will open a trail coming off U.S. 93 somewhere will take you into Missoula.

Edit: I did a rough recreation of my preliminary work. My thinking was to go from Missoula to Mullan to pick up the Trail of the CdL, take that to the end and then ride up to CdL. The route I came up with from the Missoula KOA to Mullan stayed off of I-90 until St. Regis. It then used the Milwaukie Rd. trail to Saltese, MT where it picked up the NorPac Trial to Mullan. Total distance was 126 miles. I saw camping at least in St. Regis at about mile 80. However, I later read that the MR Trail is not in the greatest of shape in places. To avoid the MR Trail between St. Regis and Saltese looks like it would require 23 miles of I-90 riding. You could cut out about 12 of those miles by taking Mullan Gulch/Old Mullan/12 Mile Rd. between St. Regis and Henderson to pick up I-90, but that would require a lot more climbing.

General Discussion / Re: Vehicle rentals that can haul 4-5 bikes?
« on: February 24, 2016, 10:13:49 am »
Assuming you don't need to transport all those people and their bikes and gear, how about a cargo van? Enterprise, for example, has them. Or a vehicle with a hitch and a U-Haul trailer.

BTW....These folks do private, custom tours:

I am sure there are others out there.

General Discussion / Re: Looking for rear panniers for TR 101-KHS
« on: February 19, 2016, 01:11:47 pm »
You might want to measure the diameter of the rack's tubing (if you don't know it already) and contact Wayne at:

He is very knowledgeable and helpful and sells Lone Peak and Ortlieb bags.

General Discussion / Re: Locks for a solo Trans-Am camping tour?
« on: February 19, 2016, 09:49:19 am »
As hinted at, a mini u-lock (or any u-lock really) without a cable will likely be useless in a campground if you plan to lock the bike to something.

I am not much of a weight weenie. I am also not someone who thinks there is a low risk of theft in most instances. Accordingly, and at most, I take a medium thickness cable with a built in combo lock. (Don't want to keep track of a key.)  I did a week long tour across PA without a lock. Back in 2000 I did a seven week tour out west without one. I never use my lock in camp unless I am somewhere where the general public has easy access (e.g. city park). As mentioned, you can often ask to bring your bike inside places like grocery stores. I have never been refused.

Am I going to leave my bike unlocked outside the Missoula public library. Of course not. Am I going to leave my bike unlocked while I sleep at a nearly empty BLM campground that's down a gravel road, a mile away from the nearest paved road. Most likely.

Routes / Re: Biking from Norway to Italy
« on: February 18, 2016, 11:06:54 am »
What happened to the cross-U.S. tour you were going to start this spring?

General Discussion / Re: Bikeshop / Outdoor gear store in Miami, FL
« on: February 17, 2016, 09:57:13 am »
There is a Bass Pro Shops location in Miami. It carries JetBoil. Whether it will be in stock is a different matter. Maybe you can order what you need and have it delivered to the Miami location for pickup.

There are a zillion bike shops in Miami. Go to Google Maps and search for "bike shops near Miami, FL".

General Discussion / Re: State Park Camping
« on: February 17, 2016, 09:38:16 am »
Our plan right now is to continue to head south in NJ all the way to Cape May, and take the ferry to Lewes, DE. Any advice you might have re how to get across the Susquehanna would be most welcome.

A couple of notes:

1. The ferry is a fun ride. Did a day trip from the GF's parents' house in Avalon to Rehobeth, DE using the ferry. Met a first cousin of Louis Garneau sailing down. Saw a school of dolphins swim under the boat on the way back. If you are planning to stay at Cape Henlopen State Park in Lewes, DE you will almost certainly need a reservation, at least on the weekends and probably during the week in high season. Weekends can be booked months in advance.

2. You probably know this, but the U.S. 9 draw bridge between Somers Point and Beesley Point is no more. The only ways to cross the Great Egg are to go pretty far inland or hug the coast. I recommend riding south through the shore towns (Ocean City, Strathmere, Sea Isle City, Avalon, Stone Harbor and the Wildwoods). The boardwalk in Wildwood is a sight, with it's amusement piers and carnival games. I would try to avoid the heart of Atlantic City. Not bike friendly at all. You may ride the boardwalk up to a certain time of day (maybe 10 or 11 a.m.) Taking that south until it ends in Ventnor and then hitting the street is the way to go.

3. If you won't be hugging the coast all the way to Cape May, there is a nice camping spot in Woodbine, NJ at Belleplain State Forest. It's large, but a reservation for weekends during the height of summer is probably a safe way to go. In fact, a reservation for any of the private campground along the U.S. corridor is probably advisable during the summer. I am pretty familiar with Atlantic and Cape May Counties. Feel free to send me a link to a map of your route in those areas and I will take a look at it.

4. If you want to ride across the Susq. you are stuck with either U.S. 1 across the Conowingo Dam or PA 372 much further up stream. The former is narrow, shoulderless and can have heavy traffic. Take a look at it on Google Maps Street View to see the conditions. The latter has a shoulder.

General Discussion / Re: State Park Camping
« on: February 16, 2016, 10:01:21 am »
We plan to use a combination of ACA and East Coast Greenway, plus a little going off on our own. The ECG route actually goes past the house I grew up in on Riverside Dr in Cranford, NJ, so we do not plan on going near the Gap. Thanks for your offer, and we will keep that tactic in mind.

Keep in mind that in PA, the ECG is much more of a theory than a reality. There is very little that's green about it. Some of the routing is downright nasty, like the part through NE Philly. Urban combat riding at its finest. PA 291 through Eddystone, Chester, etc. is dismal with a lot of truck traffic in places.

Our local club does a yearly ride from New Hope, PA to Brooklyn, NY that goes through Mountainside, Liberty Corner, Bridgewater,   Somerville, Neshanic Station and Ringoes, in the opposite direction of course. It's actually a nice route, and New Hope is on the ACA Atlantic Coast route. I can point you to the cue sheet if you'd like. There is just no camping around.

If you are going to E-W starting in Seattle, one option is to ride the PC route north to the Mt. Vernon area, then do the Northern Tier to Whitefish/Columbia Falls, MT then the Great Parks North to Missoula to pick up the TransAm. If you have the time, from Whitefish you could head to Glacier National Park and ride up and down the west side of Going to the Sun and then head back to Whitefish. That would add about 3 days. I did this all way back when during a tour from Seattle to Cortez, CO. Having done the Northern Tier from Bay View to Glacier twice and much of the TransAm in OR as part of Cycle Oregon, I much prefer the latter. Central and eastern OR can be crispy critter hot during the summer with little shade. It was that way when I crossed the state during my first Cycle Oregon. It was close to 100 during the day off in Sisters, OR and in the 90s the day we rode into Sisters from the east. That was during the second week of September, mind you. Immediately east of the Cascades on the Northern Tier (Winthrop, Twisp, Omack and Okanogan) can also be hot, but then you get back into the mountains, and generally I think it's cooler. Experienced a few snow flurries crossing Sherman Pass from Republic, WA to Colville, WA, during the first week of June.

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