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Messages - indyfabz

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General Discussion / Re: Newbie, just signed up for the TransAm tour!
« on: October 18, 2013, 11:31:47 am »
My first tour was ACA's group self-contained Northern Tier tour. The first day of the trip was only the second time I had ever ridden a fully-loaded bike. (The first time was a 62 mile day ride with all my gear the week before I hopped the train to Seattle.) The first night of the trip was the first night I ever slept in a tent. After we reached Bar Harbor, I rode home to Philly on my own and then to the beach in NJ.

I enjoyed the experience very much. The trip also taught me skills and gave me confidence I didn't have before. Armed with such I did two solo, month+ tours the follwing year, including one in Andalucia, Spain.

Not to focus on the negative, but, IMO, the two biggest "cons" are not being able to set your own schedule/itinerary and the possibility that there may be a person or two in the group that just rubs you the wrong way. There is not much you can do about the former. In our case, majority ruled, and you do have to finish by a certain date. Ultimately, the issue didn't cause much dissention. As for the latter issue, the best piece of advice I can offer you is to try to be as tolerant as possible and, most importantly, don't let the actions of others get to you to the extent that it keeps you from ejoying the experience.

Routes / Re: Biking to District of Columbia, from Chicago, IL
« on: October 17, 2013, 10:59:41 am »
As noted, more information is needed. For example, if you have the right equipment (e.g., bike suited for unpaved paths) and plan to travel at certain times of the year, this is a wonderful way to get from Pittsburgh to Cumberland, MD:

From Cumbaerland, MD you could follow the C&O Canal Path directly into D.C.

PA does have official signed bike routes:

Routes A and S might be of interest to you. Route S uses part of the Great Allegheny Passage trail, which is the first link in this message. Route S intersects Adventure Cycling's Atlantic Coast route in the Columbia, PA, area. You could follow that (Map Section 3) to D.C.:

Indoor lodging is doable but may require reservations during certain times of the year. It will also likely be significantly more expensive than camping, especially the further east you go.

Don't understand your point/question No. 4 Please clarify.

General Discussion / Re: A New Accessory (Looking for Feedback)
« on: October 14, 2013, 10:22:39 am »
An umbrella rarely does me much good when I am walking for any length.

General Discussion / Re: Paying for the trip?
« on: October 14, 2013, 10:16:28 am »
Well....When I did ACA's Northern Tier group tour, there were three people who had just finished undergrad or grad school, one who was going to be a senior in undergrad, a special ed teacher, four retired fellows (one had been an engineer and another a CHiP) and two people, inlcuding myself, who were unemployed. Prior to the trip, I was practicing law in-house with a large corporation. My unemployment was the result of a corporate acquisition that required regulatory approval. That process, along with implementation, took a long time. I had a good 18 months advance notice that I would likely be losing my job. During that time, I saved up as much as I could. Ended up taking three long tours, among other things. Being able to flop with my mom when I wasn't travelling helped with the financial end. Now that I have been working for some time, my trips are limited to 10-14 days or less including travel to and from the start/finish.

As for our leaders (there ended up being three), one was ex-Navy and did something with computers on what sounded like a consulting basis, one was a retired CIA and one, I believe, was an independent electrician.

Gear Talk / Re: See the gear on Velo Orange
« on: October 07, 2013, 01:44:17 pm »
Anyone know if "Casey" is Casey Greene?

General Discussion / Re: coast to coast touring 30 days?
« on: October 06, 2013, 10:14:44 am »
You are going to have to ride 30 centuries back-to-back with no rest days at all.

Sorry to be so negative but I don't think you have any idea what you are getting into and you better find out before committing to the trip.

+1. And I am inclined to think it would be more than 30. Per Google Maps, a direct Interstate route is nearly 2,800 miles.

General Discussion / Re: Saddle bags
« on: October 04, 2013, 10:24:34 am »
Here is another frame of reference that might be useful....

I have Ortlieb Sport Packers (front, 30L/pair) and Back Packers (rear, 50L/pair if you believe Wayne at The Touring Store, 42L/pair if you believe Ortlieb). My first tour with them was in an area and at a time that made carryi both warm weather and cold weather clothing prudent. From what I gather, I carry more clothing (both on and off bike) than the average person. I don't carry any electronics other than a cell phone. I am tall and broad shouldered so my clothes are larger than average, and I need a long sleeping bag and mattress. I had a companion but I carried virtually all of the cooking gear, which included a relatively bulky stove (MSR Dragonfly) and 22 oz. fuel bottle. Tent and sleeping bag went on the racks. Even with all that stuff I had plenty of room left over in by bags. Even when we had to carry food to camp I still had some room left.

General Discussion / Re: Motivation: why ride?
« on: September 30, 2013, 11:01:15 am »
+3 on what John said. I finished an 8-day, 475 mile, fully loaded ride earlier this month and felt/experienced every one of those things. At first I thought "smug superiority" was excluded, but then I remembered how smug and superior I felt when, on the last day, I met some friends, who were near the end of a 55 mile day ride, for coffee. My loaded bike next to their cabron fiber feathers made me feel supreior, if only a little.

General Discussion / Re: shipping bikes
« on: September 30, 2013, 10:22:41 am »
You'd better call ahead before you go down to be on the safe side.

+1. I think this issue came up a few years ago and it was determined that shipping service was not offered by all REI stores.

Routes / Re: across USA from NY to San Francisco: ROUTES HELP!
« on: September 23, 2013, 08:02:00 am »
Pennsylvania DOT has signed bike routesRoute S is nice riding.

Meh. Just did most of it from Bedford to Philly and the part that uses the GAP. Yes. The signage is excellent, and the route definitely has many wonderful moments. But there were some stretches where the traffic, which included trucks, was pretty heavy during the week. PA 234 from Bigglerville to E. Berlin was one of them. U.S. 30 from a little west of Chambersburg through the town itself and east to where it turns off on PA 234 was also busy on a weekday. PA 234 into York and then PA 452 out the other side of York was also very busy on a weekday. I even tried to beat rush hour by leaving before 7 a.m. but it didn't work. Getting through Lancaster was a bit of a trial on a Friday around lunch time. Route S also spends more time on PA 23 than you need to. I understand why they do it (The route uses state-maintained roads), but there are much quieter and scenic ways to get east of the New Holland area. Between PA 897 and Weaverland Road all the way to PA 23 via Smoketown School, Turkey Hill, Valley View and Red School Roads I encountered no cars and three Amish kids on bikes. I also encountered this menagerie apparently expecting some treats:

Up on the ridge you could see the cars rushing by on PA 23 on a late Friday afternoon.

East of Breezewood, the abandoned PA Turnpike route is a fantastic alternative to the climb on U.S. 30. You just need a good light as there are two unlit tunnels. One of them is a mile long. The roadway crown means that going east you cannot see the light at the other end of the mile-long second tunnel until you are most of the way through. My 140 lumen camping headlamp was sufficient. I simply followed the median striping. Once you leave the abandoned turnpike at Pump Station Road, it's a short climb north to rejoin the official Route S.

The entire set from Pittsburgh to Philly via the GAP to Cumberland, MD and then U.S. 220 to Bedford (Camped down the street from Cannondale) to pick up Route S:

Mid-Atlantic / Re: C & O Canal-Great Allegheny Passage
« on: September 17, 2013, 03:49:56 pm »
I was o.k. at Connellsville. The problem with Rockwood is that there are two grade crossings smack in the middle of town. By law, the trains have to blow the horns unless what are called "quiet zones" have been established by the municipality. To do that, the municiipality often has to jump through a lot of regulatory hoops, and it can be expensive. Compounding matters was the fact that there appeared to be some industry in town that does its own rail switching in the middle of the night, probably because main line rail traffic is less frequent during that time. I could here what sounds like rail cars being banged aorund. Being in the rail biz, I should have anticipated all this, but it never occurred to me.

The following two nights I camped near the PA Turnpike. Jake Brakes all night. Made me long for the train horns.

Mid-Atlantic / Re: C & O Canal-Great Allegheny Passage
« on: September 17, 2013, 02:59:59 pm »
Just rode the entire GAP from PGH to CUM. There is at least one extended stretch (south/east of Confluence heading to Rockwood) that is much more packed dirt than crushed limestone.

Agreee with Bri that 32-35 is ideal. I ran 32c Conti Contacts. No problemo.

Here are some photos of the entire trip from PGH to PHL:

The image showing the signle railroad track was the last one taken on the GAP.

Do not camp at Husky Haven in Rockwood without ear plugs unless you like train horns in the middle of the night and early morning.

Routes / Re: Sierra Cascades-Oregon section: Windigo Pass question
« on: September 16, 2013, 10:59:12 am »
Did you circumnavigate the lake? I have done it twice but sans gear. Amazing ride. I cannot imagine do it loaded.

Routes / Re: Northern & Eastern Maine
« on: September 04, 2013, 09:30:26 am »
Simple Internet searches will produce answers to your question about trail surfaces.

General Discussion / Re: Self inflating pad / Neo air reliability
« on: August 28, 2013, 04:01:47 pm »
I'll gladly exert the extra effort to blow up the NeoAir.

I don't mind blowing things up. In fact, I bought a BA Air Core for a trip in OR last year after I broke my collar bone. I wanted the extra 1.5". 20 deep breaths inflates it nearly full. But the second time I inflated it--the first day of Cycle Oregon--I watched a small hole open right before my eyes. Nothing I did damaged the mattrerss. The only other time it had been opened and inflated was in my house. I am glad I had the patch kit as there was no source to replace it and temps got below freezing the first four nights. Eventually brought it back to REI for replacements. I used it on a 3-day this spring, but I don't fully trust it.

I have had my ProLite for years. No problems. Next week I am heading out for 6 days. I am going back to the tried and true.

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