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Messages - indyfabz

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There ain't much of anything to stop for in Jersey City, so opportunistic theft shouldn't be a problem. Hoboken, where the ferries to NYC leave from during the week, allegedly has the highest concentration of bars of any city in the U.S. It's the birthplace of baseball and the home town of Frank Sinatra. If you have ever seen the American TV show "Cake Boss," the bakery is right down town. The main ferry dock is located behind a beautifully restored train station built in 1934. The city has seen a huge turnaround during the last few decades. Lot's of people who work in Manhattan live there.  Still, I don't know that I would leave my bike unattended for any length of time, at least not in some areas of town.

Routes / Re: Mapquest Maps/Routes
« on: July 17, 2013, 03:28:58 pm »
A word of caution, at least for Google bike routes, is that it does not distinguish between paved and non paved roads so if you want paved roads be careful.  Sometimes you can use the satellite view to tell if it is paved or not.

Case in point: If you ask Google for a bike route between Twin Bridges, MT and Wisdom, MT, which are both on ACA's Trans Am, the first suggested route (which is also the shortest) sends you on a 20 mile unpaved road between Twin Bridges and Melrose that is rough in places, especially the part where you climb. It's not available on Street View so you have to rely on the satelite image. That image is not definitive. Could be unpaved but also could be light colored paving. Compounding the problem is the fact that Google draws a line on the road even in the satelite image mode. The I-15 through Melrose has an orange tint similar to the organe used in the map image mode.

The second suggested route is the one the Trans Am follows.

Routes / Re: North Teir
« on: July 17, 2013, 08:05:57 am »
Another consideration is hours of daylight. The further north you are, the shorter the days will be. Daylight savings time ends on Nov. 3 this year.

Routes / Re: Going To The Sun Road...after 4 PM
« on: July 17, 2013, 07:56:43 am »
We were stopped at Sprague traveling west in the afternoon and required to stop until 4PM.  So there are some west-bound restrictions.

Yes. It's all explained on the park's official website. Unless you are camping at Sprague Creek, Lake McDonald Lodge is a much nicer place to stop for a while. Grab something to drink, take it down to the water and enjoy the view:

Routes / Re: North Teir
« on: July 15, 2013, 01:50:59 pm »
If you don't dally and don't take days off, you could make GTS leaving Anacortes on 9/10, or maybe a few days earlier. Marias vs. GTS is like Budweiser vs. prosecco. Long, not particularly scenic and has trucks. If the goal is to skip Canada, it's only about 64 miles from St. Mary to Cut Bank. From W. Glacier, the most you save is a day by riding Marias assuming you do a 102 mile day to Cut Bank. That gain is wiped out if you stop in E. Glacier on the way to Cut Bank.

As noted, many campgrounds, especially in the east, will be closed. In the Adirondacks, some start closing soon after Labor Day.

DK: Irene was late August of 2011. Sandy was October of last year.

Routes / Re: North Teir
« on: July 15, 2013, 08:33:57 am »
First question if you can get over the pass in Glacier Nat. Park if you follow Going to the Sun Rd. As to the East, I rode Northern Tier New England section in Oct. I encountered torrential rain, hail, snow flurries, hurricane winds, and temperatures down to the 20s.

Was that due to Hurricane Sandy, which is not the norm?

Routes / Re: Route Ideas
« on: July 15, 2013, 08:21:48 am »
Another vote for the TA east to west, especially if you want to avoid the potential for cold on the NT. I did the western portion of Northern Tier twice starting during the third week of May. Numerous days of cold rain and a few days of mountain snow all the way Glacier National Park.

The only way you can actually ride into NYC from NJ is via the George Washington Bridge way up north.

There are several rail and ferry options to Manhattan, but there are bike restrictions on the rail options during weekdays and certain holidays. Every year my local club does a ride from New Hope, PA (which is on ACA's Atlantic Coast route) to Brooklyn. We cross into Lambertville, NJ (also on the ACA route) and then take a mostly different route to Hoboken, NJ, where we catch the ferry to Manhattan and then ride over the Brooklyn Bridge.  The ferry ride is very nice. It lets you off on/near the MUP that runs along the Hudson River.

I think our route and the ACA spur to NYC have a few common points, including Summit, NJ, where the spur ends and you take the train. When the time comes, I can give you the route from there to Hoboken with the proviso that it can only be ridden on the weekends, and preferably Sunday. That's because it goes through the Port of Elizabeth & Newark. Riding through there on a weekday would mean suicide by truck.

Our route does pass through Jersey City in North Jersey, a town with a less than stellar reputation. However, it avoids the really bad sections of that town. In the 16 years we have been riding to Brooklyn, no one has ever been the victim of violence. In fact, we often get cheers from the locals. But if riding through areas with poor people who don't look like you is frightening, I recommend that you stop in Summit and take the train to Penn Station.

Routes / Re: North Teir
« on: July 15, 2013, 07:48:20 am »
Starting when in September?

Even if at the beginning of the month, you should at least expect cold and possibly snow in the Adirondack Mountains. September 22 will the be the last day you will be allowed to ride the entire length of Going to the Sun Road in Glacier National Park due to an ongoing road rehabilitation project:

Sounds like you might be able to ride up and back down the west side. After that, you would have to take the Marias Pass detour.

Average nightly lows for Bismarck, ND in October are around freezing. Same is true for Lake Itasca, MN and Woodstock, VT. November is even colder.

One of many ways would be to get yourself to Butte, where you can stay in the kitchy motor lodge portion of the Hotel Finlen and eat a myriad of places. From there, take MT 2 over Pipestone Pass to MT 41 to Twin Bridges, where I believe there is a motel. There are also a couple of restaurants Then MT 287 through Sheridan and Virginia City to Ennis, where there is lodging and places to eat. From there, U.S. 287 will take you to U.S. 191, which will take you to W. Yellowstone.  IIRC, there is lodging in the Earthquake Lake area.

For a variation from Butte, take I-15 south for a bit and and then its frontage roads to Melrose, where there is a motel and good restaurant. Just south of town, you turn left onto Melrose-Twin Bridges Rd. (a/k/a Melrose Bench Rd.). It's not paved, but it's really cool back there. 20 miles of nothing but some free range cattle. It will take you into Twin Bridges, where you can pick up the route described above.

General Discussion / Re: I wonder why...........
« on: July 12, 2013, 07:31:55 am »
As some who tours and does fast road rides, I can tell you that just because you are going fast doesn't mean you cannot see and hear things around you. Not sure why some people think otherwise. I guess it's like lumping anyone riding fast on a light bike into the Lance Armstrong wanna be category. When I lead group rides I routinely point out people, places and things of interest and beauty.

I like touring alone because I like my alone time and I am comfortable with my own company, and going it alone affords more flexibility. That said, I also like touring with my partner because we get along on well in those conditions. Don't think I would ever spend a significant length of time touring with a group of strangers. I did that on ACA's Northern Tier group tour. It's not really for me.

Depends what you can/are willing to tolerate. I twice started from Seattle in late May. Took three days to get up to Bay View, which is just east of Anacortes. Crossed the North Cascades Highway (Rainly and Washington Passes) three days later. It started raining at some point during the climb. The rain turned to snow approaching both summits. The upside was that the scenery was dramatic and there was very little traffic. We also had snow in Republic and then climbing Sherman Pass several days later. Nothing stuck to the roads.

As noted, there are timning issues with Going to the Sun Raod, which you should realistically not expect to open before at least mid-June unless you get there on a weekend, the road has been fully plowed and there are no hiker/biker restrictions on the road.  The current road rehab project also affects the opening date. From Bay View I took exactly 14 days to get to GTS, including two rest days. That was not fast pace, but in some cases it was dictated by the spacing of camping and other services. You really don't want to miss GTS. The optional way around is a long drag with scenery that simply does not compare. It also leaves you with more miles if you want to get back on route to do the section into Canada, with a stop at Waterton Villeage, which I highly recommend.

East of the Cascades can be roasting during summer. Both times it was very warm from Winthrop, WA to Tonasket, WA in early June. I would not want ride through that shadeless stretch during a hot day in July. I have read and heard stories of people riding west towards the Cascades in brutal heat.

If I were to do it again, I would probably start from Seattle around June 1st and be prepared to hang out in Glacier if necessary.

General Discussion / Re: Shipping bicycles
« on: July 05, 2013, 09:25:13 am »
If you've already registered, contact your tour leader and ask about handling bikes.  Otherwise, Adventure Cycling can give you some good tips if you email them.

Scroll down and you will find an email address to submit your particular question(s).

General Discussion / Re: Fall riding on the northern tier
« on: July 01, 2013, 11:21:42 am »
I would also think the major mosquito action would be gone. They were horrible in places like Chester, Havre, Malta and Glasgow when were there in late June.

While the nights can be cool, the sun should warm you quickly as you will be in the great wide open. And if you get a nice tailwind, you can really move.

Routes / Re: Bus from Portland to Astoria
« on: June 28, 2013, 01:41:40 pm »
I was in Portland again last September for Cycle Oregon. It's a very short walk from the Red Line to the Amtrak station. (When you are in the arrival terminal facing the exits, walk to the right to find the Red Line.) IIIRC, you can see the tower of the station as you cross the river on the Red Line. Downtown Portland is pretty compact and easily walkable. If you need a good book for the tour, definitely stop at the giant, independent book store in town. Can't remember the name, but it's famous. You are probably better off leaving your bike and just walking around. If you need any last minute bike items, look up the Bike Gallery's downtown location. There is alo a big outdoor store in the downtown area. Can't remember the name of that, either, but if you search Google it will probably show up. If you want some interesting eats, there is a concentration of food trucks between SW Washington and SW Alder between 9th & 10th.

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