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Messages - indyfabz

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Gear Talk / Re: Can we survive the Transamerica with no cyclocomputer?
« on: December 09, 2013, 11:58:01 am »
If you need to use the mileages on the left, you need to constantly calibrate your computer.

You can use the computer's odometer and, if necessary, do quick calculations in your head to know when the next turn is.

General Discussion / Re: The North Star Tour
« on: December 09, 2013, 11:45:20 am »
It's the "rebirth" a self-contained group tour ACA used to run. Missoula to Anchorage:

Supposed to be great. A guy on my NT group tour did it way back and loved it. Crossed paths with the '00 edition in Glacier N.P.

Routes / Re: frontage road from billings to livingston
« on: December 09, 2013, 11:33:46 am »
Use Google bike directions. Routes you on some unpaved roads (including one called Convict Grade Rd.). What you can see on Street View looks pretty good. Could be an adventure.

Problem is that it's 122 miles. You could stop in Big Timber (86 miles from Billings). There is a campground in town. Looks like nothing but a school in between so plenty of food and water would be advisable.

General Discussion / Re: Need advice for my trip this summer
« on: December 06, 2013, 01:07:18 pm »
One of the guys on my Northern Tier group tour was a non-cyclist right out of college. He did great as he was in shape from being a runner who lived at high altitude in CO. He once joked that his house was higher than the highest pass we crossed.

At the risk of stirring the "strike out on your own" crowd, I am going to at least suggest that you consider chaning your starting and ending points and follow the TransAm route. It would take care of a lot of the planning and the map list the valuable resoruces you will need. If you have the time and really want to end in Frisco, you could ride down the coast from Florence, OR.

Routes / Re: East To West Montana
« on: December 05, 2013, 03:24:11 pm »
there is one place on the reservation with some mean dogs, but other than that, it's fantastic in all respects). Once you cross the river south of Ione, stop at that little museum in Tiger for some ice cream. You'll need some nourishment for the upcoming climbs.[/quote]

Heh. I wasn't going to go there, but since you did...The second meanest dog I encountered on the entire Northern Tier was on Le Clerc. Scrappy little guy. Stopped me dead in my tracks. When yelling at house produced no owner, I opened up my Siwss Arm Knife just in case. His bark turned out be worse than his bite.

A couple of us were amazed at the map profile for the stretch of SR 20 that takes you into Tiger. It was nearly vertical. Fortunately, we got to go down it.

Routes / Re: East To West Montana
« on: December 05, 2013, 09:23:38 am »
and then pick up 2 at Sandpoint then 20 through WA all the way to Anacortes.

Unless they have made improvements to U.S. 2 west of Sandpoint I would not do that way. Based on some bad advice, we strayed from what was the official ACA route between Newport and Sandpoint and took U.S. 2 instead. Verry scary. Little shoulder in places and a good amount of traffic, including logging trucks. Our host in Sandpoint was surprised that someone would suggest that route. The following year I took the official route, which utilizes roads on the other side of the river. Much nicer. You end up on a bike path along U.S. 95 and then the old highway bridge across the lake into town.

Also, I have to imagine that, west of Newport, Le Clerc Rd. on the north side of the river has less traffic than SR 20. Rode it twice and ecnountered almost no traffic. Street View also suggests Le Clerc is more scenic than SR 20. You can take Le Clerc to the bridge that crosses over to Ione, then head south a short distance on SR 31 to pick up SR 20. If you start out on one and want to switch, there is a bridge across the river at Usk.

Routes / Re: St Paul to Fargo via Bemidji
« on: December 03, 2013, 01:54:05 pm »
There is a lot of beauty in this state, and it is GREAT for cycling.

'Tis true. One of the nice Minnesota memories I have from my ACA group tour of the NT came from Browning. It was one of our scheduled mail stops. We arrived at the post office to find taped to the front door a hand-drawn welome sign with the names of all the people who had general delivery mail waiting for them.

We spent almost the same number of days in MN that we did in MT, with an equal numer (2) of rest days in each state. That surprised us since we seemed to have been in MT forever.

Routes / Re: Missoula to Glacier?
« on: December 02, 2013, 10:02:47 am »
Unless things have changed, there are restrictions on bikes if you're going up the west side on Going to the Sun Road. You have to be at the top of Logan's Pass by 11 a.m. & can't get back on until 4 p.m.

Things haven't changed since at least '99 when I first rode it, but the above is not quite correct. Heading east, you must be up to Logan Pass by 11 a.m. Heading west, you may come down from the pass all the way to Sprague Creek Campground, located about a mile west of Lake McDonald Lodge, at any time. You may not head west or east between Sprague Creek and Apgar between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. There are no time restrictions east of the pass.

Tom: It's definitely worth it if you have the time. As noted, it's a comfortable 3 days from Missoula. I left the park and rode to Flathead Lake State Park in Bigfork the first night, Lake Alva (U.S.F.S. campground on MT 83) the second night and was in Missoula the next day. If you headed that way in the opposite direction, of course) you could make camp at Sprague Creek or Avalanche and the next day ride up and back down the west side sans gear. IMO, the west side is the more stunning side.

To get the "full effect," you might consider going from Missoula to St. Mary via MT 200, U.S. 287 and U.S. 89 and crossing Logan Pass east to west. Camp at Rising Sun in the park and it's only a few thousand feet of climbing up to the pass. However, I am not familair with the traffic conditions on most of that route so I am hesitant to endorse it. I have ridden U.S. 89 between MT 49 and the west entrance to the park at St. Mary. You would have several ups and downs and then a screaming 5-6 mile descent to St. Mary.

Re: Getting between Columbia Falls and West Glacier, I have done both the U.S. 2 option (east from Columbia Falls) and MT 486 to Blankenship and Belton Stage, taking Belton Stage all the way to U.S. 2. (both east and westbound). Aside from the eastern section of Belton Stage, it's unpaved when you leave MT 486. As noted, it can be washboardy. Conditions can vary based on time of year and weather conditions. (Heavy rain can ease some of the washboards.) I didn't find it unmanageable. It's pretty back there and much, much quiter than U.S. 2. You may even see a bear. (We were warned about them by a local who lived back there.) The reason to avoid U.S. 2 is that there is a section near Hungry Horse that has no shoulder. I chanced it going east because I rode pretty early in the morning when traffic was light. Not so sure I would want to do it later in the day with heavier truck and RV traffic. At a minimum, I would recommend the unpaved option heading west as it's a net elevation loss, which means you are climbing less on dirt.

Routes / Re: St Paul to Fargo via Bemidji
« on: November 26, 2013, 11:14:44 am »
I liked the route up through Lake Itasca and Bemidji. We took a day off at the lake. Stayed in the HI place. Took a boat tour on the lake. Saw a family of loons and a pair od bald eagles. A ranger explained that every year tens of thousands of peole come to talk across the Mississippi where it flows out of the lake.

At home I have a photo of Paul & Babe in Bemidji. We were there in early July. The skeeters were off the hook just about everywhere in MN north of Minneapolis.

General Discussion / Re: Start date spring 2014
« on: November 25, 2013, 10:08:57 am »
What Josh said about the Northern Tier. Wet weather wise, I would wait until at least mid-June and possibly  later, especially if you go that route. The first two times I rode the NT it was chilly and damp in places like Sandoint, ID and Eureka, MT and Whitefish, MT in early to mid-June. In 2009 I rode from Whitefish through Eureka to the Canadian Border in the 3rd week of June. Same thing. Chilly and drizzly off and on.

Also, while frontage roads often exist, they don't always exist, so you might find yourself on the Interstate.  Sometimes the frontage road on one side of the Interstate abruptly ends with no way to enter the highway, requuring you to backtrack to a point where you can cross over the highway and continue on the frontage road on the other side. This can require careful planning to avoid such situations. Finally, not all frontage roads are paved.

Routes / Re: Sierra Cascades in april
« on: November 18, 2013, 10:18:50 am »
guess my question is ; are they opening/ closing the cascades highway in segments or as a whole?

The lynch pins are Rainly and Washington Passes between Newhalem to the west and Mazma to the east. The road is either open across the passes or it's not. Having crossed twice in late May, I recommend cold/wet weather clothing if you happen to tackle it in April. I got snowed on both times and it was pretty darn cold at the summits. Still plenty of snow piled up along side the road. Also, pay attention to the forecast. Not a place you want to get caught in a storm.

Routes / Re: Transam Motels around Jeffrey City, Wy?
« on: November 15, 2013, 11:05:08 am »
Brings back memories of the lovely, and now defunct, JC Motel. One guest who stayed there near the end reported mushrooms growing out of the carpet in his room.

IIRC, there was a church in town that allowed people to stay there until somebody/some people did something to mess that up.

FYI...JC was established as a uranium mining town. The town started down hill around '81 after the bottom fell out of the uranium market. When I was there in '00 you could still see some of the barrack-type buildings that once housed workers.

General Discussion / Re: hybrid7.2 trek for touring bike?
« on: November 14, 2013, 01:39:47 pm »
I am in the "take your road" bike camp. With support, what more would you need to carry over and above what you usually take on every day road rides?

As for gearing, if you think you may need to, there may be ways to lower it without investing too much. In May I took my road bike to the pre-Alp region of Veneto Italy for two weeks of day rides from a residence hotel. I have a 50x34 compact up front. Having SRAM components, I simply bought a long cage RD, 12x32 casette and a new chain. $200 or so installed.

Routes / Re: Yellowstone to Rapid City, SD
« on: November 14, 2013, 01:28:01 pm »
Have you cheked crazyguyonabike? You might also want to register with if you haven't already. There is a touring subforum.

Routes / Re: Northern Tier for the Non-Camper
« on: November 14, 2013, 01:25:37 pm »
It's just that I REALLY like carrying "nothing" and staying in hippy deluxe  B&Bs where they server home made granola with yogurt and fresh fruit, Celestial Seasons tea,....etc.. ;-))

You might like this HI hostal in Niagara Falls:

When we stayed there back in '99 they actually had a Merry Prankster-style bus. For a fee, they took us on a tour of some non/less-touristy places in the area, including a brewery and winery. It's located in the old part of town, so you are not constantly durrounded by the throngs.

Don't confuse it with the motel of a similar name. That place has some bad reviews.

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