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Messages - indyfabz

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Routes / Re: Logistics for GDMBR
« on: February 25, 2015, 12:46:57 pm »
Waterton Village has a nice, albeit very windy, towne campsite along the shore of the lake:

You might inquire about reservations as I imagine it can get busy. I stayed there twice in mid-June, before the real crowds arrived, and there were still a decent number of people there. If you have an extra day or so, there is a boat ride/day hike combination trip you can take from town. Never got the chance to do it, but I hear it's nice.

You could even ride to Lethbridge via Magrath. Crossing the country the portion between Waterton and Magrath was probably the fastest 60 miles I ever did on a loaded bike thanks to a killer tailwind.

General Discussion / Re: Roll on service for Amtrak long haul routes
« on: February 24, 2015, 10:18:51 am »
I'd be interested to see the Cascades station configurations, especially compared to the typical length of the train. I have seen Amtrak stops that are no more than 40' of "platform" and a bus shelter. One potential safety issue is if you have a short platform resulting in the tail of the train, where the baggage car is usually situated, being way down the track. That could result in a member of the train crew having to walk along ballast or some other unsafe condition wheeling a bike, possibly in the middle of the night. There are other operational considerations that could make unloading from the baggage car impractical or impossible at particular stops.

General Discussion / Re: Roll on service for Amtrak long haul routes
« on: February 23, 2015, 10:36:21 am »
Staehpj1's comment poses the $64,000 question: Will these new baggage cars with accommodations for unboxed bikes expand the number of stations which bikes can be transported between or will they merely offer a more convenient way to transport bikes, with the general requirement that there be checked baggage service at the origin and destination remaining in place? My educated guess is that it will be the latter due to schedule and safety concerns.

Note one of the comments to the blog:

"I agree it is a less-than-half measure. I want to get off at some small stations that don’t have baggage service but, apparently, the fine print says the roll-on/off policy only applies to stations with baggage service. Stupid."

Having done it several times, I have to agree that having to box the bike really isn't the big issue. The scarcity of origin-destination pairs between which one may transport bikes is.

As for timing, a comment to another blog post relates a conversation with Amtrak in October of 2014 during which Amtrak stated that there has been a delay in production and that the new cars will not be put into service for 6-12 months.

Routes / Re: Logistics for GDMBR
« on: February 22, 2015, 08:25:46 pm »

Routes / Re: New York - Virgina Beach
« on: February 19, 2015, 01:36:08 pm »
For sure. I'm planning on the train to bay head since why not? I'll already be cheating anyway, lol. Ride to cape may, crash there, ferry over to lewes the next morning.

Enjoy the snow. One local news channel just ran a story about the snow cover in Cape May. Maybe this weekend's forecast temps (close to 50) and rain will wash some of it away.

General Discussion / Re: Washington, D.C. To Portland Maine.
« on: February 13, 2015, 10:14:14 am »
Forgot to mention that there is another campground in Portland, PA. It's on Turkey Bridge Rd. a short distance NW from town. Problem is, there is really nothing else in the way of services in Portland except a tiny gas station/"Food Mart" that I think has limited hours and a dive bar which may or may not have food. If you find you need to stay in Portland for whatever reason, you can cross the river via the pedestrian/bike bridge to Columbia, NJ, take Decatur Street north, cross over I-80 and go to the truck stop plaza. There is a McDonald's and a Taco Bell, and the place might have some groceries. Round trip it's probably 3 miles. To get to the bridge, to past the c-store about 50 yards and cross the railroad tracks. Even if you keep moving, it' worth walking out onto the bridge for the views of the river. BTW...Portland is the birth place of the guy who wrote the song "All I Want For Christmas is My Two Front Teeth."

If you have the time, can get adequate supplies and want to expend the energy, you can camp at Camp Taylor and then take a tour of the Lakota Wolf Preserve the next morning. The two are in the same location outside of Columbia, NJ.:

That's what I did the last time I toured down from Port Jervis. I awoke to howling wolves at dawn. The only issue with that is that you would probably have to walk part of Mt. Pleasant Road that leads up there from NJ 94. I cam down it and it is incredibly steep.

Finally, I would try to time your trip so that you ride the Conshohocken to New Hope section on a weekend day to avoid as much weekday suburban sprawl traffic as possible.

General Discussion / Re: Washington, D.C. To Portland Maine.
« on: February 12, 2015, 02:09:38 pm »
I am very familiar with short section between the Philadelphia area and the Port Jervis, NY area as I try to ride some or all of it every year.

For obvious reasons, there is nothing in the way of camping on or near the route north from Conshohocken until you get to the Milford, NJ area. From Milford, you can cross the river into PA and head back south about 1.5 miles to Dogwood Haven Campground. (Most of that 1.5 miles can be done on a bike path.) The place is a bit dated, but the owner is very nice. Last year he was still giving cyclists a discount rate of $15, which is cheap for that area. Milford has good pizza and a surprisingly decent grocery store for a town of its size.

Heading north from there you won't find any campgrounds until you cross the river from Belvidere, NJ to Mt. Bethel, PA. Driftstone on the Delaware is between Mt. Bethel and Portland, PA. Never stayed there, but I know it's wildly expensive. Over $30/night and possibly as high as $40. There is a historic old hotel in Belvidere, but it's expensive. The town itself is worth a look see. There are many nicely renovated Victorian house on the streets around the large town square. Grab a sandwich from Skoogy's Deli on Greenwich St. (the other location doesn't have a bathroom) and have lunch in square.

The next camping spot on route is the campground at Worthington State Forest, which you pass right by a few miles after crossing the pedestrian bridge along I-80 from Delaware Water Gap, PA into NJ. Nice place along the river. $25/night for non-residents. If you stay there, ask for the group site with the bear locker. There are a decent number of bears in that part of the world, and they can get very big. Not too long ago someone bagged an 800+ lb. bear on the PA side of the river not that far away. You will need to go off route a very short distance into the center of Delaware Water Gap, PA for food. No grocery store, but there is a convenience store with some canned goods. There is also a diner, a pizza place, great bakery that has BBQ on certain days during certain times of the year as well as a couple of other nicer restaurants.

North from the Worthington campground there are no food sources on route until you hit Port Jervis, a distance of about 34 miles. There are water and bathrooms at Old Millbrook Village, which is about 9 miles from the campground. If you desperate for something to eat, when you get to Peters Valley Craft Center you can stay on CR 615/Bevans Road instead of starting the climb. About 2 miles down that road you will come to Layton, where there is a very good place called the Layton Country Store. It was closed for a while but recently reopened. I was there in October and the food was quite good. Hope they are able to make a go of it. Reverse course to Peters Valley Craft Center and continue on route. Or you can take CR 560 directly from Layton and then make a right onto to Old Mine Rd. and you will be back on the route. I caution against that as CR 560 always seems to have a fair amount of fast moving traffic.

Three or so miles before you cross the NY state line there are two campgrounds on the right side of CR 521. From what I have read, the first one you pass (Cedar Ridge) is a dump, assuming it's even still in business. The second one (Rockview Valley) is a little hickish, but o.k. Check their web site for opening dates.

It seems the full-service grocery store in Port Jervis is out business. If you cross the river into Matamoras, PA and head a but west on U.S. 6 there is a large grocery store (Price Chopper) on the right and just about any other service you could want. It's actually an interesting if you understand local economics. Taxes in NY and generally higher than in PA so people drive across the river from NY to PA to save money. Where it's particularly visible is with cigarettes. There are several tobacco outlets on the PA side of the river. Gas is the same way. There is one small station in Port Jervis but several of them in Matamoras as gas is noticeably cheaper in PA.

North of there, ACA changed the route some since I road home to Philly from Bar Harbor many years ago. I have the new map at home and will check to see how it compares to what I did. But in general, I would say that 60 miles/day is a reasonable number assuming you are in decent shape. The section from the bike trail in Conshohocken to New Hope, PA is not overly hilly, and there are no long, hard climbs. When you cross from New Hope into Lambertville, NJ, you can take the D&R Feeder Canal trail all the way to Frenchtown. That is basically flat. I recommend it as the surface is good and it's shaded. Also, NJ 29 has no shoulder between Lambertville and the north end of Stockton. If you find the trail boring, you can get back on NJ 29 at Bull's Island Recreation Area, where there are water and bathrooms. At that point, NJ 29 has a wide shoulder all the way to Frenchtown. The rest of the way up to Port Jervis has some ups and down and includes two steep climbs in the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, neither of which is more than a mile. Outside of those and the mega-steep but very short "bump" out of Mt Bethel, PA a little ways after you cross the bridge from Belvidere, NJ, the climbing is not really arduous. The only bad traffic area is in and around Philipsburg, NJ. The section between P'Burg and Belvidere is a sheer delight. Very little traffic and pretty. And due to narrow, overhead railroad bridge passes, you don't get any trucks.

General Discussion / Re: Washington, D.C. To Portland Maine.
« on: February 12, 2015, 10:28:51 am »
I am starting to plan to ride my bike to Maine from Washington, D.C. in May. I am trying to find people who have done this route before.

Do you mean Adventure Cycling's Atlantic Coast route?

General Discussion / Re: Question About Minimum Stay Requirements
« on: February 09, 2015, 02:49:35 pm »
Thanks, everyone, for your feedback! We're heading up to the Adirondack and Green Mountain loops.

As an aside, if you are on that part of the GM loop, I recommend Brighton State Park outside of Island Pond, VT. There are groceries and at least one place to eat in Island Pond. Stayed there during ACA's Green Mountains Loop tour in 2010. Lake Carmi was also decent, but there was not much around. IIRC, you would have to go off route a bit to Enosburg Falls to get food, etc.

General Discussion / Re: Traveling the Transam Supported by RV
« on: February 06, 2015, 09:23:09 am »
In case no one has mentioned this, many Walmarts allow RV camping in their parking lots. Obviously not ideal, but if you are in a bind it might be useful information.

Routes / Re: Rt. 2 across North Dakota
« on: February 03, 2015, 10:14:03 am »
Thanks for the info. on Noxon to Clark Fork. I'll make a note on my map.

I would have to dig out my old map to confirm, but I think it was this:

Routes / Re: ROUT HELP! Chicago, IL to Hilliard, OH
« on: February 02, 2015, 03:56:38 pm »
If you can drop south to Ashkum, IL you could pick up ACA's Northern Tier route to Monroeville, IN and then slice diagonally SE to Hilliard. There is an air conditioned community building in Monroeville, where cyclists can stay for free if it's not being used for a function.

When is this trip planned for? The reason I ask is that you say you are newcomers and are planning between 105 and 125 miles/day. That could be trying in the height of summer. When I did the Northern Tier with a group of people there were days over 100 degrees in IL and IN with very high humidity. That was around the end of July. Topped out at 107 in Huntingdon, IN. The low in Fletcher Lake, IN was 85 with incredibly high humidity and no breeze. To top it off, there was very little in the way of shade. Rode most of that stretch without my helmet. A couple of days some of us started out before sunrise to get in as many miles as possible before the sun burned off the morning fog and began roasting us.

As for restocking supplies, that likely won't be needed. There was never any real trouble finding food each day so there was no need to carry multiple days worth of food.

Routes / Re: Rt. 2 across North Dakota
« on: February 02, 2015, 03:01:00 pm »
Bull River Campground (U.S.F.S.) just before the junction of MT 200 and MT 56 was nice.

Assuming it still goes that way, I recommend following the official Northern Tier route on the south side of the river between just beyond Noxom and Clark Fork, ID rather than staying on MT 200. Nice and quiet back there. There was some packed dirt both times I rode it, but nothing bumpy or technical. From Google Maps, it looks like the old truss bridge across the river into Clark Fork has been turned into a bike/ped path. That river crossing was one of my favorite little gems of the Northern Tier. I can still see the giant Osprey nest atop the old bridge.

General Discussion / Re: Logistics for GDMBR
« on: February 02, 2015, 01:40:41 pm »
For auto rentals, you might try Enterprise Car Rental. I have seen cargo vans of theirs and they rent minivans and SUVs.

I'll let people more experienced with the route give better detail, but I am pretty sure that some of the route is not accessible by automobile while other portions are.

Routes / Re: Trans american--western express
« on: January 30, 2015, 10:06:02 am »
You could have snow and/or icy roads in the east in March, especially if you are talking early March. For example, the average nightly low for Berea, KY for all of March is about 32F. Or it could be unseasonably warm. As they say about March, in comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb.

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