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Messages - indyfabz

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The full length of the road opened today at 8 a.m. local time.

Routes / OGRASM: Our Great Ride Around Southwest Montana
« on: July 12, 2011, 02:17:13 pm »
The rough cut of a slideshow from our recent (6/29-7/8) tour of southwest Montana (turn up the volume):

Flew into Missoula from Philaelphia and set out from the KOA the next Darby using the Old Darby Alternative. If you do this portion of the Trans Am route, I highly recommend the alternative for scenery and lack of traffic, and Red Barn Bicycles is worthy of a visit. The road surface presented no problems on 37c tires.  Continued on the Trans Am over Lost Trail and Chief Joseph Passes to Wisdom.  Continuing on the Trans Am, we picked up sandwiches to go in Jackson and then climbed Big Hole Pass, were the historical display area a short walk from the road made for a great lunch stop.  Near the bottom of the descent we turned left onto the Pioneer Mountains Scenic Byway, which is on the GDMBR, ending up at Elkhorn Hot Springs when it turned out that nearby USFS Grasshopper Campground was closed. From there it was on to BLM Divide Bridge Campground along the Big Hole River.  We rolled into Twin Bridges on July 4th via the 20 mile unpaved Melrose Bench Road. Next stop Butte via Pipestone Pass, where we made an obligatory stop at Pork Chop John’s.  Then Philipsburg via Anaconda and Georgetown Lake. (The Inn at Phillipsburg, which is located across from a good grocery store and is a short walk from the center of town, has a nice area for tent campers, complete with shade, a clothes line, picnic tables and wooden lounge chairs, and the proprietor is awesome.)  The original plan from there was to ride the Skalkaho Highway back to Hamilton, but it was officially closed due to a washout.  AC staff member Casey, who we fortuitously met at Elkhorn, told us of an alternative to our planned detour through Drummond to Ekstrom’s Stage. It utilized the very scenic Rock Creek Road, which involved 30 miles of unpaved riding, just as much (if not less) dirt than we would have had on Skalkaho.  From Ekstrom’s Stage it was a short (but headwindy) 26 miles back to Missoula, where we were treated to ice cream at AC’s world headquarters.
The route (except for the areas in and immediately surrounding Butte) was as scenic as it was challenging.  Met several cyclists riding the Trans Am east to west, including a Scot who had made it all the way from VA to Lolo in about five weeks. In addition to the usual deer, we saw a mommy moose with her calf, two sandhill cranes, a couple dozen antelope, two snakes a bald eagle, and osprey or two and countless other species of birds. Send me a PM if you would like route and services specifics. With some modification of the daily distances, this loop can be done "credit card" style.

General Discussion / Shout Out to Twin Bridges Bike Camp
« on: July 11, 2011, 02:43:08 pm »
On July 4th, my partner and I had the pleasure of spending the night at the cyclist-only campground in Twin Bridges, MT.  It occupies a pretty spot along the Beaverhead River and is a three minute walk from the center of town.  A clean, hot shower and a clean bathroom.  The indoor shelter, which contains two picnic tables,  offered a welcome escape from the intense mosquitoes that are attributable to this year's abnormally wet winter and spring.  There is a large camp sink and a third picnic table outside.  There was even a BBQ grill, coals, lighter fluid and a can of Coleman Fuel.  You may sleep inside the shelter or pitch your tent on the surrounding grass.  About the facility, my partner remarked that it's "well proportioned."  Nothing is too small or too far away from anything else.

Not long after we arrived, the man who serves as the "caretaker" of the facilitiy stopped in to check on the place and to collect donations left by users. During our brief conversation, he explained that some of the town fathers still do not support the site because they feel cyclists do not spend much money.  (Next door there is a small motorist’s rest stop. A man came over from that stop, took himself a shower and left without leaving a donation.)  To counter that perception, he asked us to write in the sign-in book how much money we spent during our stay. (Usually, guests are asked to supply this information on a survey from, but the forms were out the day we were there.)  We went one step further and slipped a few store receipts into the box along with our donation.

Later in the evening we were joined by a solo cyclist riding to his home in St. Paul. MN and a German couple who was on the Trans Am east to west.  From looking at the guest book, they seem to be drawing a decent crowd.

Consider supporting this oasis if you have the opportunity to.  Twin Bridges has a fairly good-sized grocery store for a town of its size.  And while the restaurant portion of the Blue Anchor is closed (the bar side is still open), there are a couple of other eateries and coffee places in town along with a library.

General Discussion / Re: Your top 5 things to take on tour
« on: July 11, 2011, 02:08:41 pm »
Patience.  I think you will find that things rarely go as smoothly or according to plan as you would hope.  This past Friday was the last day of a 9 day tour.  Because of a pass closure, we had to take a detour the day before.  That left us with a final day that was only 26 miles.  Most of that mileage was flat to gently down hill.  Took 2.5 hrs. pedalling time because Mr. Wind decided to rear it's 30 mph head. 

General Discussion / Re: Fleece in July?
« on: July 11, 2011, 02:02:11 pm »
Mike -

You should expect low temps in Montana, Wyoming, and Colorado to be in the 40s - sometimes high 30s in August.  You could always mail the cool weather stuff via "General Delivery" to some place like Missoula that you are sure to visit and that you'll be there on a weekday (or Sat a.m.).  Then you can mail the stuff home from Pueblo.

Depending on your skin melanin, long sleeves and long pants can also be very nice in intense sun.  Also saves on the sunscreen bill and reduces the number of bugs that get stuck on your skin.

All good advice.
Just got back from riding the portion of the Trans Am between Missoula and the bottom of the east side of Big Hole Pass.  Was also in Twin Bridges.  Hit a warm patch and we still had two nights where it got down to 40 degrees.  In ’00 I had frost on my tent in Yellowstone in early July.  A flece could come in very handy.
Intense sun can also be a factor. I have an olive complexion and never use anything above 30 SPF back home in the east.  For this trip, I used my GF’s 90 SPF and still got a lot of color.

Hopefully, the skeeters will be gone when you get where we were.  Wisdom and Twin Bridges (as well as several other places we rode through in the state) were infested.  You have to climb a little lip several miles west of Wisdom before reaching town.  Forced us to hit “mosquito speed.” I looked at my GF’s butt and there had to be a dozen of them on her.  And they do bite through spandex.  Got to the grocery store in town.  Before I could get my money out of my pannier they were on my legs and arms.

General Discussion / Re: Just the Bear essentials
« on: July 11, 2011, 01:48:12 pm »
The only approved storage method in US National Parks(?) is a bear canister like above, which you just set on the ground.

Simply not true.  The NPS actually proivides bear boxes in places like Yellowstone and Glacier.  Used them in two campgrounds in the latter two years ago.  Another place that comes to mind in Colonial Creek Campground in the North Cascades.

General Discussion / Re: Map Case = No Confidence??
« on: July 11, 2011, 01:40:15 pm »
In my experience, pulling my map out of my map case and looking around in a confused manner almost immediately brought offers of help, and directions that got me where I needed to go.[/quote]

+1.  I have a hard time understanding the fear mentality that seems to be behind many posts these days.  On Saturday I got back from nine days of riding in southwest Montana with my 5' tall girlfriend.  (Kept my map strapped under the bungee cords that held sleeping bag to my front rack.)  We rode on several stretches of relatively remote dirt roads, including one 20 mile stretch where we saw vastly more cattle than vehicles.  Not once did I worry about Cletus jumping out of his pickup and forcing me to squel like a pig.  And when people would ask us where we were headed I didn't feel the need to lie for fear that they would be laying in wait around the first hairpin turn in the road.

General Discussion / Re: Crossing the Cascades
« on: June 27, 2011, 09:14:44 am »
I started the L&C on 8/1 and had good weather, although a little too hot in eastern OR.

+1 Eastern and central OR can be very hot that time of year.  I rode through there on Cycle Oregon the second week of September.  John Day to Mitchell and Mitchell to Sisters were crispy critter hot.

General Discussion / Re: MultiVitamin and Water storage
« on: June 22, 2011, 04:40:32 pm »
Since you won't need the extra water carrying capacity for the entire trip, perhaps some 2L soda bottles?  You can then recycle them when they are no longer needed.

Routes / Re: South Idaho to Boulder,Co.
« on: June 20, 2011, 09:22:53 am »
OP:  If you want to find the least hilly route, familiarize yourself with one of the many bike route mapping sites like and  You can plot routes and see the elevation profiles.  While not 100% accurate because they tend to miss small elevation changes (IMO, is more acurate than, the profiles do give you and good idea of the climbing involved.

Here is a page from the OP's journal:

He got lucky.  Some property owners will not be so understanding in the end.

Routes / McKenzie Pass Status
« on: June 17, 2011, 11:29:07 am »
Came across this:

The internal link says it looks like sometime in July before it will be fully open to vehciles.

General Discussion / Re: Flying with Bicycle on Small Planes
« on: June 15, 2011, 09:47:01 am »
If you have good relationship with a LBS at home, try shipping through it.  It's possible that they get a lower, merchant rate.  Worked for us two years ago.

This morning I opened by Crateworks box for the first time since we got back from our trip two years ago.  Inside was an itemized receipt from Glacier Cyclery.  Shipping was $53/bike from Whitefish, MT to Philadelphia, PA.  My box is a total of 86.5 in.  Cheaper than the on line price I was quoted by UPS.  And much cheaper than the $200 Delta/NWA wanted.

General Discussion / Re: Flying with Bicycle on Small Planes
« on: June 14, 2011, 03:47:32 pm »
Ship it to a hotel or better yet a bicycle shop. If adjustments are needed, the bike will be ready to go.

+1.  We are shipping to a shop in Missoula tomorrow.  It wil reassemble and tune, for a price of course.

I have suggested this before:  If you have good relationship with a LBS at home, try shipping through it.  It's possible that they get a lower, merchant rate.  Worked for us two years ago.

General Discussion / Re: Nightly Accomodations & Bicycle Traffic
« on: June 13, 2011, 10:00:58 am »
Private campgrounds will have showers.  U.S.F.S. campground will proabbly not.  I stayed in one BLM campground on the Nothern Tier that actually had showers.  Some state parks will.  Some city parks will.  (Bring shower shoes like flip flops and some might be s little grungy.)  Sometimes you can shower at the city pool or, as noted, buy a shower from a gym, etc.

The AC maps idicate whether a campground is private, U.S.F.S., etc.  You will probably encounter more indoor lodging that you think you will.  If you are leaving in a little more than a month, why not buy the maps now so you can get an idea of what's available?

I did the section from Missoula to Fairplay, CO starting the 3rd week in June and mid-July.  I encountered at least a dozen people that I can remember, mostly going to W-E, but a few going E-W.  You seem to be starting later so maybe you will have more E-W riders.

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