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Messages - indyfabz

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631
Routes / Re: Cape May, NJ Ferry
« on: May 14, 2013, 01:19:55 pm »
You might try getting in touch with the Princeton Freewheelers club. Some members might have routing ideas. I am pretty ignorant when it comes to central NJ unless it's west central/north NJ (Hunterdon, Warren and some of Sussex Counties).

http://princetonfreewheelers.com/

Here is a lresource for regional NJ clubs:

http://www.state.nj.us/transportation/commuter/bike/bikeclubs.shtm

632
10 to 15 min. to inflate an air mattress? What type of mattrress do you have? I used a BA Air Core for my last trip. The long one: 72" and 2.5" thick. It takes me 20 breaths to inflate it almost full and a few extra puffs to top it off. As noted, they are important for insulation.

I resisted a Camelback when I rode across the country despite having weeks of 90+ temps with massive humidity. I then went to southern Spain without one and ended up getting one the first chance I got. It was not the hinderence I thought it would be. I now routinely use one, albeit it a smallish one. 40 oz. I think. Nice thing to have when you have to dozens of miles to cover with no services, especially in the hot sun. I also carry two bottles, which allows me to carry stuff like juice without getting the Camelback gunked up.

Take the camera if you want to take the camera. I toted a Mamiya 645 with metered view finder, power winder and three lenses across the country along with a 35mm. Both were film. Didn't regret it for a minute.

A u-lock is great fior locking yuor bike to things parking meters and bike racks. A picnic table or tree at a campground, not so much. A simply cable will deter opportunistic theft. I don't lock up my bike far more than I lock it. If you are worried about someome walking off with you panneris every time you turn your back, you might very well give yourself an ulcer. Rationally assess the risk presented by the particular surroundings and take reasonable precautions, which may range from not letting your stuff out of your sight (downtiown Cleveland, OH) to nothing (an empty USFS campground in the middle of nowhere MT).

I don't think anyone is going to notice, much less care, if your clothes are wrinkled. And if you have synthetics, wrinkling shouldn't be a major problem. I have never used compression sacks for anything other than my sleeping bag and I have never been asked to leave any place because I looked disheveled.

Relax and have fun.

633
Routes / Re: Cape May, NJ Ferry
« on: May 13, 2013, 03:24:33 pm »
I think I just saw on the news the other day that planned repairs to 35 have been put on hold--sort of. They are going to work on drainage before actually working on the road itself.

This was the original plan:

http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2013/02/christie_route_35_repairs_to_s.html

Like I said, I think some of the work is being put off for a while.

634
Routes / Re: Cape May, NJ Ferry
« on: May 13, 2013, 01:49:21 pm »
Did you end up travelling north along the coastline via 1/9/parallel routes?

There is a gap in U.S. 9 that cannot be ridden. There is an old causeway and drawbridge that carried U.S. 9 across the Great Egg Inlet. The brdge was closed to all traffic several years ago due to structural problems. The state eventually bought it and was going to rehab it. Then it found out that the bridge needs a lot more work than first believed. Last I heard, the plan was to demolish most of it and maybe leave a bit on both sides for fishing. It's fenced off and the draw is in the open position. U.S. 9 now combines with the Garden State Parkway to get across the inlet. Even if it's legal to ride that section of the GSP, you don't want to.

Your two choices are to go way inland to May's Landing to get across the Greast Egg River or ride through Sea Isle City and Stathmere and cross Corson's Inlet into Ocean City, where you can take 34th Street west out of Ocean City to get back to U.S. 9. Personally, I would ride through the coastal towns all the way through Ocean City, taking in some of the boardwalks if timing allows. The Wildwood boardwalk is interesting if you have never seen it. At the north end of Ocean City is a bridge that will take you to SR 152. Following that west until it ends at the traffic light in Somers Point. Make a roght onto Bay Ave., bend left onto E. Ocean, right onto Buffalo and left at the T onto Ocean Heights. That will take you to U.S. 9. The newly rebuilt 9th St. causeway (SR 52) out of Ocean City does have bike facilities, but it drops you off in a busier section of Somers Point.

Note that U.S. 9 in that part of the world can be very busy. Also, the road leading to the bridge between Avalon and Sea Isle City was damaged by Sandy. My GF's parents live right near it. It's supposed to re-open temporarily at least (it may already have) but there may be some necessary closures for final repairs this summer. I will try to get more info.

635
General Discussion / Re: first big bike tour
« on: May 08, 2013, 03:55:17 pm »
Other than the camp chair, I don't see anything out of the ordinary item-wise, although the Q-Core is inordinantly heavy

No way I am sitting on one of my Ortliebs, especially if it's muddy. There might be hard items in them like a pump and tools. And using one for a chair necessitates taking it off the rack, which many times I don't bother with. I bring a 12 oz. plastic tarp. Great for two people to sit on and can be used as a shelter to cook under in wet weather. The tarp goes on the rear rack under the tent so it takes up no pannier space.

Never do I unpack all my gear on any given day. I take out what I need for the day/night and leave the rest packed. If I need to get out quickly the next morning, I a make sure I am prepare the night before by making sure I have packed everything I won't need the next morning.

Don't think a half a body legth of bubble warps is going to cut it when it's literally freezing out, especially for sometone like me who is 6' 2" and over 200 lbs. I will stick with my Therma Rest Pro Lite 3 or Big Agnes Air Core.

My GF uses a Cocoon pillow. Takes all of 3 minutes to pack up, weighs 3.5 oz. and is extremely compact. I simply stuff my sleeping bag sack with the clothes I will wear the next day and cover it with my towel.

Unless you are riding long stretches with no services, how much water do you need to carry?

636
Routes / Re: Across North America
« on: May 07, 2013, 01:42:24 pm »
If you want to bypass all the issues associated getting out of NYC/N. Jersey by bike, you can take Metro North from Grand Central Terminal all the way to Pougkeepsie, which is on Bike Route 9. Bikes are permitted at certain times provided you buy a one-time permit for $5:

http://www.mta.info/mnr/html/getaways/bikerule.htm


637
As a veteran of an organized, x-country tour with twelve other people I had never met before, I would advise you, and anyone else who might be considering joining you, to be independent or at least be prepared to become independent quickly. If it turns out you are not compatible and need/want to split, having only one tent, one stove and one set of cookware is going to cause problems. Some of the people in my group annoyed me to the point I nearly dropped out at least once to continue on my own. In the end, I am glad I did not. Being in a larger group provided some insulation from the two or three people I did not get along with. I had to share shopping, cooking and cleaning duties with them every once in a while, but other than that I could limit my interaction as I saw fit and not feel on my own.

And you never know who you might click with. I was 34 at the time. My best good friend during the trip turned out to be someone who was 60.

638
Mid-Atlantic / Re: New Jersey Wolf Preserve & Campground
« on: May 01, 2013, 01:09:07 pm »
Finally made it to this place last week during a 3-day trip from Port Jervis, NY to Philly. Took a detour off the ACA Atlantic Coast route from Millbrook Village in the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area. The campground (Camp Taylor) is somewhat rustic, but the bathroom and shower facilities were clean and pretty well maintained, and there is a lot of shade. On the way there you pass though Blairstown, which has a lot of services, including restaurants, a large grocery store, pharmacy and liquor store. NJ 94 was somewhat busy in places on a Tuesday afternoon, but there is a very good shoulder the entire way. Bears in camp are not uncommon. One had come into camp the night before I was there. There is no bear box, but I was allowed to store surplus food and such in the shower facility.

Took the tour of the preserve the next day. Before I did, I heard wolves howling earlier in the morning. In addition to the wolves, they have three rescued bobcats and two foxes. The tour guides were very informative and the animals are clearly well cared for. It was nice to see that the wolves are not kept in cages or small pens. They are kept in large, fenced, wooded areas that are measured in acres, not square yards.

My detour took me to the center of Columbia, NJ. From there, you can get back on the ACA route via the pedestrain bridge to Portland, PA. (Portland is the home town of the man who wrote the song "All I Want For Christmas Are My Two Front Teeth.") Send me a PM if would like the exact route. Be forewarned that the climb out of Millbrook, while short (about 1.1 miles), is severe the entire way. The 2.5 or so mile climb up to Camp Taylor averages 3.6%, but there are two very steep sections, so it is more difficult than it looks on paper. When you descend back to NJ 94 you will be glad you came up the way you did, as the way down is even steeper. On the steepest part, I had the brakes fully depressed yet could not come to a complete stop.

639
Routes / Re: East Coast Greenway--Will my bike be ok?
« on: May 01, 2013, 11:21:26 am »
Be careful going through Chester, PA. Another flareup of violence there very recently.

640
General Discussion / Re: touring without "eating out"
« on: April 22, 2013, 11:12:05 am »
Several of you mention "local mom and pop diner" - What is that?

Small, locally owned and operated diners are often operated by the owners' family, thus known generically as "Mom and Pop Diner."  They know and are known by the locals, who often will go there for a regular cup of coffee, sometimes a breakfast, every morning.

In Darby, MT we had breakfast at Sandy's Silver Spoon or something like that. A couple of regular locals came in, went behind the counter and poured their own coffee so the lone waitress could see to the other customers.

Places like that are fun to visit. They are also good places to pick up intel, such a nicer roads to ride. You may even get a surprise. In a local diner in Poe, IN on the Northern Tier, a compadre and I ended up in a conversation with the former Mayor, who was an active farmer. We talked about our trip and he told us all bout the new volunteer fire house the town had built. He eventually went to work in the fields. When we asked for our check a short time later, the waitress told us he had paid for our breakfasts.

641
Routes / Re: Avoiding Yellowstone
« on: April 19, 2013, 09:44:29 am »
At Madison campground the hiker/bikers get to camp in a nice grassy area right behind the office (and it's a well-kept secret that the ladies gave us access to their coffee pot in the morning)!

When I was there many moons ago they had a cache of supplies just for hikers and bikers, inlcuding condiments, utensils and even a double burner propane stove.

What I did not like abiut Madison is what Jamawani notes. Madison was crowded and loud. Moreover, people simply didn't follow the rules about food storage. I got up very early to start my day and saw a lot of empty food and beer containers along with coolers left out.

Definitely get off the main roads when you can, even if for only for a few yards. I nearly got doored during an "animal jam." Someone who thought they had seen a moose or something stopped and the lemmings did the same. As I rode by I thought of how 15 min. earlier I had seen several elk when I turned down an access road looking for a place to take a rest and have a snack. I also remember riding a gravel path to get to Old Faithful. it went right past some gieser that was about to erupt. Much cooler than Old Faithful itself as there were only a handful of people and you could get much closer.

642
Routes / Re: Across North America
« on: April 19, 2013, 09:29:50 am »
If I had to skip any part of what you have laid out, it would be the portion of the Northern Tier in ND and MT up to Cut Bank, where the route heads into Canada. Amtrak's Empire Builder service can be used as a bridge. However, travelling by train with a bike in the U.S. can be difficult. On that train you can only take bikes between stations that offer checked baggage service. Fargo, ND does. So does Shelby, MT, which is near Cut Bank. Another issue is that the bikes need to be boxed. Amtrak has their own boxes which require little disassembly of the bike. However, whether there will be some available at small stations is not certain. That train can very crowded during the high tourist season since it is often used by groups heading to Glacier National Park. I would be wary of simply showing up and expecting to find two seats on the day you want to travel. And it's not cheap. Just for fun I priced Fargo to Shelby on July 18th. $189/person.

643
General Discussion / Re: Inspire or Scare the Begeebees?
« on: April 19, 2013, 09:00:33 am »
As a 20-plus year environmental historian in the northern Rockies who has been bicycle touring since 1984 - methinks your worries are misplaced.  Prudence dictates that a person from the East Coast or Europe who shows little awareness of the climate or remoteness of the Intermountain West might benefit from a few cautionary posts.  In contrast, a person who worries every detail usually benefits from a little humor and upbeat encouragement.  YMMV.

Well put. I am an east coaster. While we have some bears in PA and NJ (and other places), I had never spent any time in local bear country before touring in the west, and I had never camped anywhere a day in my life.

During two tours west of the Mississippi I had the good fortune of seeing bears on three separate occasions. One of those occasions was brought about a result of an unthinking/ignorant/sloppy cyclist leaving garbage out at the Jenny Lake campground in the Tetons while he went to try to get better cell phone reception. The young bear (likely an orphan) got into the garbage, had a look-see in the guy's tent and then jumped up on the picnic table to sniff his drying laundry before being scared off by two women banging pots and pans. While proper education may not have deterred that guy, it might result in fewer incidents like that, which incidents can contribute to the ultimate destruction of bears due to habituation. "A fed bear is a dead bear."

644
Routes / Re: Across North America
« on: April 17, 2013, 04:24:41 pm »
ACA's Nothern Tier is a fine route. You cross into Canada twice, visiting Niagara Falls and Alberta, including Waterton Village, which has a drmatic campsite in town. And going to the Sun Road is Glacier National Park is one of the most scenic roads in the entire country.

Riding out of NYC can be tough, especially if you don't know the area. Fortunately, there are several rail options to get you out of the city.

The nice this about following one of ACA's route is that the maps who the location of services souch as camprgounds, bike shops, motels and grocery stores.


645
Routes / Re: Allegheny Mountains loop--motel info
« on: April 17, 2013, 04:13:31 pm »
Here are some details from someone who rode much of the loop:

http://forums.adventurecycling.org/index.php?topic=8937.0

In one of the posts in this thread there is a link to a Crazy Guy journal:

http://forums.adventurecycling.org/index.php?topic=10929.msg55872#msg55872


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