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Messages - indyfabz

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Routes / Re: Which Route to Take
« on: April 13, 2012, 08:51:26 am »
The Northern Tier has fewer mountain passes than the Trans Am, and they are generally lower in altitude. Logan Pass in Glacier N.P. is the "cima coppi." Around 6,700'. The passes in WA are all below 6,000. Two are in the 5,500' range while the other two are, IIRC, in the low 4000s. After Waterton Village in AB, you won't have another mountain to speak of until the Adirondacks in NY.  VT and NH have some climbs, but only two serious ones that I remember--Middlebury Gap and the climb over Kangamagus Highway.

Routes / Re: Ordered Maps!
« on: April 12, 2012, 09:58:21 am »
Or if you are a glutton for "punishment" and have the time, take the spur to Missoula at the Jct. of U.S. 12 and U.S. 93. From Missoula, take the Great Parks route to Whitefish/Columbia Falls where you can get on the Northern Tier to Sedro-Woolley, WA , which is about 30 miles south of Bellingham. You would miss the eastern/central OR desert and McKenzie Pass, but in return you would get the easdt shore of Lake Kookcanusa and the mountains of WA, including Sherman Pass and the North Cascades Highway. With even a few more days, you could ride east from Whitefish/Columbia Falls into Glacier N.P., take a day to ride (without gear) up and back down the west side of Going to the Sun Road, and then head west back to Whitefish and continue on the NT.

Total route mileage determined from the ACA maps/average miles per day will give you number of riding days. Add in rest days if you plan to take any as well as a few days for mechanical problems and possibly bad weather to be on the safe side.

Calculating with a rage of average mpd (e.g. 30-60) is difficult since if most of the time you average only 30 mpd it will take a lot longer than if you average 60 mpd most of the time.

General Discussion / Re: Touring Across America
« on: April 09, 2012, 01:44:11 pm »
Surface can also factor into choosing a tire size. If you plan on taking some unpaved roads (e.g. U.S.F.S. roads), you will almost certainly want something on the wider. You might also find yourself on a long stretch of unpaved road resulting from summer road reconstruction. That happened to me twice while riding a portion of ACA's TransAm route. I was happy for my 37c tires.

Re: bikes, at your budget, you might look into the Windsor Tourist from It has all necessary eyelets for attaching racks. They also sell the Motebcane Gran Tourismo.  Both are under a grand. But for both, you will, almost certainly want to get a smaller small chain ring to give you lower gearing.

Some people like BD. Some people hate BD. Let's not go down that road. Merely letting the OP know of the option so he can do his research and make his own decision.

And here is the status page for the Going to the Sun Road (and other Glacier roads): Glacier National Park Current Road Conditions.

It's worth going to their Flickr site to get an idea of the effort involved:

Check out the photos from 2011 to see what it takes from start to finish. And you thought your job was tough.

Furthermore, the "Classic" fare includes other benefits, such as better seat selection. I'm flying to Bellingham this year with my bike for less than what it cost me to ship my bike to Yorktown in 2010.

Sweet, but do you get free peanuts and a pillow? ;)

Routes / Re: Jacksonville, FL to New York City, NY
« on: April 03, 2012, 04:16:02 pm »
From Cape May just go up US9. The Bridge over the Mulica River near New Gretna might not be finished necessitating a detour on 50 to the west through Egg Harbor. Otherwise just ride the shoulder of the Garden State Parkway for the 2 1/2 miles.

50 is way south of New Gretna. Are you thinking of the long, flat bridge over the Great Egg Inlet that used to carry U.S. 9? As of last year, I don't think it was open. Heading south, U.S. 9 combines with the GSP at Somers Point as a detour. I don't believe that section of the GSP is open to bikes.

Personally, I can't think of a more miserable road to ride in that area than U.S. 9. During the summer there is heavy traffic. Lots of businesses along the route, so people are constantly turning in front of you into parking lots yapping on their phones despite NJ's hand held cell phone ban. The GF's parents have a house in Avalon. When we ride down there we pretty much have to get on U.S. 9 for a few miles. Can't stand it. You are better off riding up "Ocean Drive" (follow the sea gull signs) through the various towns and across the various inlets. Wildwood/N. Wildwood, Stone Harbor, Avalon and Ocean City have some wide boulevards with bike lanes, and the traffic is more controlled. In the tidal areas between towns there are a lot of wading birds and ospreys. If it's early enough, you can also incorporate some beachfront boardwalks, which are interesting for one who has never seen them. (The Wildwood boardwalk is particularly campy.) Once you pop out of Ocean City using the bridge and causeway at the north end, you can make a left onto SR 152, work you way through Somers Point and get back on U.S. 9 if you so desire.

How long of a distance between water sources are we talking about? Forewarned, I'd rather carry extra water than a water filter. I can and have carried two days worth of water before.

About 48. West to east, it's about 32 from Colonial Creek to Washington Pass and another 16 to Mazama. As noted, it's literally all down hill to Mazama. Even if you are not a fearless descender, it's not going to take you long to cover that distance, so you don't have to ration water over the entire distance.  Cross the river on Lost River Rd. and you will find a country store.

Second the concerns about stopping halfway up. Not only might there be snow on the ground, I wouldn't want to get stuck up there in a storm. It will also likely be very cold up there at night. The second time I crossed I ended up meeting a guy at the Witnthrop KOA who had stealth camped on the west side. He had started from west of Colonial Creek, started the climb late and was worried about running out of light. He said he melted snow for drinking water and froze his butt off. However, that was at the beginning of June.

Leaving from Colonial Creek, I wouldn't worry about daylight. If you were to start at 8 a.m. and take 10 hrs. to get to Washington Pass (at a 5 mph average, that would be 6 hrs. of pedalling and a generous 4 hrs. of stopping), it would only be 6 p.m. Another hour to Mazama and it's 7 p.m. In that neck of the woods at that time of year, it stays light well beyond then.

Finally, if the mileage works out for you, consider staying at Rockport the night before Colonial Creek. Howard Miller Steelhead Park has Adirondack shelters, which is nice if it's raining. (Reservations recommended, at least for weekends.) From there, it's a short, relatively easy day to Colonial Creek. Good rest for the legs before the next day. Not sure if there are groceries available in town. You could carry from Concrete. Marblemount, a little futher east, has more services.

Routes / Re: Jacksonville, FL to New York City, NY
« on: April 03, 2012, 02:13:29 pm »
Don't think you are going to find many/any campgrounds on route between the Conshohocken, PA area and NYC. If you have the time, consider bagging the ACA spur from Lambertville, NJ to NYC, which ultimately involves a train ride into the city. Stay on the main route to the Middletown, NY area and then head to NYC using a combination of NY Bike Routes 17 & 9. (Route 17 goes through Port Jervis, NY as does the ACA route.) The trip north up the Delaware River to Delaware Water Gap, PA and through the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area is very nice. While the campground at Bull's Island north of Stockton, NJ is closed this year, there are other camping opportunities. The campground at Worthington State Forest is great. You might even see a bear up that way. Last October we just missed seeing one during a day ride up there.  (There are bear boxes available at the group sites.)

As a general rule, expect to pay a lot to stay at a campground, at least in the northeast. For example, the non-resident camping fee for NJ state parks is $25/night. Private campgrounds can be much more. Driftstone on the Delaware that is shown on the ACA map on the PA side of the river above Belvidere, NJ, will set you back between $36-$40/night, depending on the time of the year. The KOA outside of Port Jervis is almost $45. Still cheaper than a motel.

Routes / Re: Getting Around New York City
« on: April 03, 2012, 01:35:56 pm »
One suggestion is to take a train from the shore to Manhattan and ride the Hudson River pathway.

FYI...NJT recently "clarified" its bike on train policy. (Excuse the editorializing, but that's horse puckey. NJT changed it.) You can now only board and detrain at stations with high level platforms. On the North Jersey Coast Line, you are good at most stations north of Bradley Beach, including Red Bank, but not the station immediately south of Red Bank or Perth Amboy. If travlelling on a weekday, you would also have to wait until after rush hour. You cannot take a bike on any train that terminates at Penn Station in NYC  between 6 a.m. and 10 a.m.  Don't know what your timing is, but July 3rd, July 4th, Labor Day and  Labor Day eve are no-bike days.

General Discussion / Re: "inexpensive" supported tour
« on: April 02, 2012, 11:33:10 am »
Haven't checked them out lately, but there is:

BRAN in Nebraska
CANDISC in North Dakota
LAGBRAU in Utah (might be out of your price range)

The first two are cheaper as the food is a la carte. You buy what you want from locals, who prepare meals and sell other goodies at rest stops and in the overnight towns, or eat at cafes, etc., in towns.  I did CANDISC and Bon Ton a week apart back in '06. I actually liked the CANDISC format better. We got to taste local specialties and have rest stops in unique places due to its small nature (about 300 people). For example, the very first stop on the first day of riding was in the basement of a church. The "church ladies" were selling fresh lemondade, fruit and a large selection of home baked goods. And riders were invited to stick their heads in and observe the service being conducted upstairs. While you are spending money out of your own pocket each time you want to buy something, I am certain that the trip (not including travel) ended up costing less than Bon Ton, especially since the latter did not lunches in the price.

Bon Ton is o.k.  Some pretty riding with some hilly sections. One nice thing is that you can buy wine at selected vinyards and the ride organizers will pick it up in a van and carry it for you during the tour. On most days, they have two different mileage options.  I don't know where you live, but I don't know that it's nice enough to spend a lot on travel to do it. For me, it was something like a 5 hr. drive, so not much was involved.  Note that the last few years the event has seen a lot of rain.

General Discussion / Re: No restrooms?
« on: April 02, 2012, 10:51:27 am »
Ask around locally. There's usually a coffee shop or gas station open early within a couple of blocks of the city park. You might have to get up a bit before the urge becomes intense.

+1. You might even find a shower if the town is big enough. For example, in Tonasket, WA I twice stayed not at a city park but on the lawn behind a cafe/ice cream parlor. Think it was called Shannon's. For after hours rest room use, there was a truck stop a half block away that also had coin-op showers.

We traveled eastbound from Whitefish, went over Marias Pass (Logan was closed), then used MT 49/US 89/Chief Mtn. Hwy. to get to Waterton and ultimately the Canadian Rockies parks. The two days we spent on 49/89/Chief Mtn. were tougher than the Marias Climb: lots of up and down. 89 between the junction of 49 to St. Mary was either climbing or descending with no flats. Chief Mountain was also challenging, though from the looks of things heading north may be slightly easier than south.

In '09 Logan was closed when we got to St. Mary. We did St. Mary to West Glacier then to Sprague Creek in the park via 89, 49 and Marias in one day so we could at least ride the west side up to Logan and then back down. About 100 miles. For all it's beauty, it's a day I don't think I would like to repeat. At the end of the day, my girlfriend was so dazed she entered a restroom and stood there for a few seconds trying to figure out why there were urinals in the women's room.  Ooops.

Your description of 89 and 49 is spot on. Not a flat spot to be found. I've done Chief Mountain both ways. Went north in '99 during ACA's NT tour. We grossly underestimated that day. It seemed much harder than crossing Logan Pass. You are right. If north is easier, it's only slightly.

Both times it took me about 7.25 hrs. from Colonial Creek Washington Pass including rest breaks.

There is a U.S.F.S. campground relatively early on during the descent. In the Mazama area, a couple recently opened a cyclist-only campground on their property. It's on SR 20, so it might be off route as I think the official route uses a smaller road on the other side of the river for a while.

IIRC, the first 16 miles are pretty much screaming. Once you get to Mazama, it cools out to Winthrop, where there is a nice KOA along the river. When I was there, the owners were really nice. They gave me a "cyclist discount" and even offered to let me sleep in one of their Kabins for the same price. Winthrop is a good place to take a rest day after the climb.

OP:  Something I forgot to mention. If you start somewhere like Shelby you are going to hit Going to the Sun pretty early.  Probably about the third day unless you take the route proper and go into Canada, which is not easy. The ride from Cut Bank, MT, just west of Shelby, to McGrath, A.B., is a lonely one.   IIRC, it's about 70 miles. The only thing in between was a small store in Del Bonito. Getting back into the U.S. via Chief Mountain is no piece of cake. Rode that direction in '09 as part of a loop from Whitefish . There is a very stiff climb of about 6 miles that starts not far from the road that takes you into Waterton Village. Then there is another climb up to the border crossing. When you finally make it to U.S. 89, you will likely have a major headwind to St. Mary.

If you skip Canada, ride from Cut Bank to East Glacier and take MT 49 and U.S. 89 to St. Mary, you will also have some climbing.  MT 49 offers some gorgeous views:

But there is a stiff climb up to the top, which is known as Looking Glass Hill. Fortunately, it's not super long. Taking U.S. 89 and possibly Starr School Rd. from Browning may be a flatter option. Never done it, so I don't know. Either way, there will be some ups and downs on U.S. 89 between the junction with MT 49 and St. Mary, but you finish a screaming descent of maybe 5-6 miles into town. After climbing it I took this shot looking back down towards St. Mary:

The point of all this being that regardless of which direction you opt for, you are going to do some climbing relatively early on. In the end, it's a beautiful route no matter which way you ride it.

We want to go from Anacortes to Montana, and end up either at Glacier park, Missoula or somewhere along the Amtrak a little farther east (Shelby maybe?).

I may be misinterpreting this, but Amtrak doesn't serve Missoula. And in case you don't know, if you want to travel on Amtrak with your bikes, you need to find a station with checked baggage service. Shelby has it.

Based on your timing, I would definitely go west to east west if you want the greatest chance of Logan Pass on Going to the Sun Road being open. As noted, last year it opened abnormally late (very late) as did Rainy and Washington Passes in the Cascades.  You can monitor the stauts of both roads. Once plowing starts, Glacier gives nearly daily updates on progress. WADOT also gives progress reports on SR 20 through the Cascades.

Ditto on not worrying about wind.

I have gone west to east twice. Both times I left from Seattle around the 25th of May. While, long the climb up the west side of the Cascades is not grueling in terms of overall steepness, and there is at least one section of downhill on the way to Rainy Pass and a short section after Rainy before you climb again to Washington Pass. As mentioned, Colonial Creek is a good jumping off point (and very pretty). If you stay at Newhalem you will enounter some good ups and dows before the climb starts in earnest, which it does right after Colonial Creek. From there, its about 32 miles to Washington.

Another consideration is Loup Loup Pass. There are some 8% sections going west. And I believe Whitefish to Eureka is a net elevation gain, albeit a very gradual one.

One thing you could do is start in Seattle and ride north to intersect with the NT route. That would give you a few more days to get your legs.

Send me a PM if you would like more info.

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