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Messages - indyfabz

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Not that I can help you, but what is your schedule. I am planning to be in Twin Bridges the night of the 23rd and then riding to Ennis via Virginia City the 24th before I turn back west towards Butte.

Gear Talk / Re: FYI: Axiom GrandTour Modular Bags (Warning?)
« on: May 28, 2014, 01:09:04 pm »
Why advertise something that does not work? Now that I think about it, it may be that I have 2 different revisions of the bags.

I think that is exactly what you will find. The current version of the tent bag fits the current version of the panniers and either your panniers or tent bag are/is an earlier model.

General Discussion / Re: Mailing to Myself On the Road
« on: May 28, 2014, 12:50:09 pm »
4.  some sites claim only 'major' post offices accept GD, in a metro area like Albany, NY I need to send GD to the main post office, not one closer to my route.

Here is what the USPS has to say:

It does state that you should use the 9999 suffix after the ZIP, although I have never used it. Note that it says mail will be held up to 30 days so I assume you will have someone back home periodically drop things in the mail for you instead sending everything out yourself before you leave.

Gear Talk / Re: FYI: Axiom GrandTour Modular Bags (Warning?)
« on: May 27, 2014, 01:15:27 pm »
That doesn't smell right to me as the description reads:

"•Can be mounted to any Modular GrandTour series bag via patent-pending Clip ‘N’ Strap system" (emphasis added.)

Can't believe they would make that statement if it were not accurate. What was your source of the equipment? Offcial dealer? eBay? Etc. Perhaps you got your hands on an older style tent bag and newer style panniers? Have you tired contacting Axiom? There is a contact form on their website.

Personally, I never understaood the need for a separate tent bag unless you need so much capacity that you cannot simply secure the tent to the top of the rear rack.

General Discussion / Re: equipment & route
« on: May 21, 2014, 08:36:26 am »
I think you should consider three. Marias Pass (U.S. 2) is nothing to write home about, and it is long. Its also has truck and RV traffic. Did it E-W in '09. It simply doesn't compare to Logan Pass. Everything after the world's largest purple spoon is from the west side of GTS:

If your concern is skipping the stretch in Alberta, there are other ways to get to Cut Bank from St. Mary. Again, I would not skip that. Waterton Village is a great place for a rest day. The town campsite is in a dramatic setting:

Also, don't know if you are just generalizing, but I would stick to the "official" route rather than getting on U.S. 2 as early as possible and sticking with that. You would miss some nice stretches such as MT 37 along the east shore of Lake Koocanusa. Le Clerc Rd. between Ione, WA and and Newport and MT 56 towards Libby, jut to name a few. Much less traffic than U.S. 2.

For my two trips out that way, I took a short ferry from Seattle and got on the Pacific Coast route north. Stayed at Kitsap, Fort Worden S.P. and then Bay View, which is on the Northern Tier route. Fort Worden was very nice. It's the former military base that was used in the film "An Officer and a Gentleman."

General Discussion / Re: equipment & route
« on: May 20, 2014, 02:46:46 pm »
Also, I plan on starting the NT by May 31st in Seattle: is this too early or too late?

I once did Seattle to the NT and then headed east twice. Both times I started around May 23. Don't see how May 31st could be too late, although I don't know what criteria you might have in mind. School will likely be  in session, so the crowds will liekly not have materialized. Plus, it will likely be cold and wet in the N. Cascades that early, deterring many visitors. It's only about a 4-5 day ride until you hit the mountains. Whether it's too early will likely depend on your tolerance for chilly, wet weather.

Here is some data on historic openng and closing dates of the N. Cascades Highway:

As you can see, a start date of May 31st will likely not put you there before the road has fully opened. However, that does not mean you won't run into some weather. In '99 I hit rain somewhere along the climb. By the time I got to the first pass, the rain had turned to snow, although it was not sticking to the road surface. The following year there were a few snow flurries on the way up, but nothing major. Both years it poured a cold rain between Bay View and Rockport, and it was generally chilly and damp until Winthrop. If that is not for you, you might want to start later. Between Winthrop and Tonasket, it's generally warm and dry. Republic, at the foot of Sherman Pass, was on the chilly side. Snow showers crossing Sherman Pass both years. The rest of the way to Glacier N.P. was often on the chillier side with some light rain on several  days. But by no means miserable.

When picking a starting date there is an additional consideration down the pipeline: The opening date of Logan Pass in Glacier. You never know what's going to be up with that, especcially if the road re-hab project is still going on. For example, this year the NPS has announced that the earliest you will be able to ride the full length will be June 20th, even if the road has been fully plowed. The likeley reason for this is that they want uninterrupted time to perform work on the road. It's a lot easier (and cheaper) to perform road work with no traffic. If there are things like eemergency repairs needed due to avalanche damage, as was the case when I was lats there in '09, the opening could be delayed even further.

As for sleeping bags, Staehphj1 prety much covered it. Some people sleep warmer than others, and, as far as I know, there is no one standard that measures warmth. I took an REI brand 32 synthetic bag and got by with it, although I remember being cold a few night depsite having a good deal of clothes on. My current 20 degree Cat's Meow has served me well in sub-freezing temperatures.

General Discussion / Re: GDR in Montana
« on: May 20, 2014, 06:44:49 am »
Thanks. Wanted to ride it south in '11 but a ranger at Sula told us it was closed so we kept on U.S. 93. About 3 miles later she chased us down in her pickup and told us she had been mistaken. We had gotten a late start waiting for the library in Darby to open so we decided not to give up the 3 miles we had just taken.

General Discussion / Re: GDR in Montana
« on: May 19, 2014, 08:35:08 pm »
Thanks. Will be heading south to Wisdom. I think I will be o.k. Surface looks a lot like Melrose-Twin Bridges Rd., which I have done with standard levers.

Mid-Atlantic / Re: Washington DC to Pittsburgh shuttle
« on: May 19, 2014, 04:27:06 pm »
Does anyone have any suggestions about finding someone to shuttle four people and bicycles from Washington DC to Pittsburgh?

From the official GAP web site:

There are several service providers that provide shuttle service for people and bikes between D.C. and PGH.

Or you could take the train as there is checked baggage service in D.C. and PGH.

General Discussion / Re: GDR in Montana
« on: May 19, 2014, 02:15:03 pm »
There's even more snow in Montana -
Lot's of high elevation areas have 200% of normal.

Generally, I use a 1000-foot rule for the Rocky Mtn states.
What's 10,000 ft in NM, is 9000 in CO, 8000 in WY, and 7000 in MT.

Zoinks! I am hoping to ride Gibbons Pass on 6/21. That's just a stone's throw south of 7,000'. Then Skalkaho Pass (7,200'+) on 6/27. Let's hope things have metled enough by then.

FWIW, I did a group tour from Seattle up to the Northern Tier thence to Bar Harbor, ME. The strongest participant in the group rode a full suspension MTB towing a B.O.B. with a lot of weight.

Routes / Re: Sierra Cascades camping reservations
« on: May 18, 2014, 07:07:54 am »
National Park rules and facilities vary by park and even by specific campground.  Check each official park web site and you will likely find the answer to your question.

General Discussion / Re: Lewis and Clark and TransAmerica West East
« on: May 14, 2014, 08:05:19 am »
When do you anticipate being in the Missoula area? I will be heading east on the TA for a couple of days, but not until June 20th. Probably too late to for you. If not, I will happily allow your chef to cook me dinner.  ;D

I have the bike shop assemble and get ready... saving money is obviously not why I do it this way.

I have done the same. The bike is tuned and ready for me to ride out of the shop. When the tour is over, I ride back to the shop and hand back the bike, provide shipping instructions and go for a beer or whatever. To me, the convenience is worth the extra $.

Gear Talk / Re: Advice on a Bicycle for Trip to France
« on: May 13, 2014, 09:47:48 am »
If money is tight then I would stick with the Bike Friday. A loaded down bike on tour is a different animal from a racing bike. You ride it differently, it feels differently. I actually like a loaded bike. Your young, a few extra pounds aren't going to make a lot of difference. I haven't tried the case as trailer. You could always store the trailer and just use panniers. Picking out a tour bike is much easier after you have done some touring.
I'm beginning to think this is the best solution if money is tight and the model Bike Friday you have is suitable for racks and panniers.  I've ridden a Bike Friday a modest amount (my son-in-law has one) and, while it's initial handling is different from a 700c wheel bike, you get used to it pretty quickly.  After that, it's just another bike and only seems strange when you look down.

+1. For several years I did a bike-train-bike commute on a Friday New World Tourist. It was actually geared too low for my relatively flat commute. Many years ago I spent a week off and on touring with a couple riding a Friday tandem pulling the suitcae trailer you describe. Don't recall the model, but it had drop bars. Whatever model it was, they managed to drop me for a bit climbing Hoosier Pass from Breckenridge, CO and had no problem on the descent to Fairplay, where we went our separate ways.

As for airline bike charges, last year U.S. Airways from Philly to Venice was supposed set me back $200 each way. Fortunately, the rent-a-agent who helped me with the kiosk check in didn't realize one of my checked pieces was a bike (or didn;t know there was an extra charge) so I only paid $100 for it as my second checked bag (the first was free). But they got their $200 for the flight home.

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