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Messages - indyfabz

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Routes / Re: Northern Tier September
« on: June 30, 2012, 09:27:51 am »
Weather is not the only consideration when talking about getting to East Glacier if you plan to go over Logan Pass rather than Marias. There is an ongoing project to rehab Going to the Sun Road. The last several years, the NPS has been closing the road for extended periods in September to permit work to go on uninterrupted. Depending on the schedule for the year you plan to ride it, you may get shut out. For example, the park's web site notes this:

"This year road construction in September 2012 will make a portion of the Going-to-the-Sun Road inaccessible. The last day to drive to Logan Pass from the west side from West Glacier is September 16. Beginning on September 17th, the section of the Going-to-the-Sun Road between Avalanche and Logan Pass will be inaccessible to vehicles to accommodate accelerated road rehabilitation. There will be vehicle access to Logan Pass from the east side of the park in St. Mary until October 14, weather permitting."

As a frame of reference, the two times I did the western most section of the NT I started in Seattle and joined the route just east of Anacortes on day 3, staying at Bay View State Park. In total, I took 18 days to get to W. Glacier. That included rest days at Winthrop, WA and Sand Point, ID and a short day from Rockport, WA to Colonial Creek Campground just before the climb over the Cascades starts in earnest.

If you are looking for historic weather averages, try here:

But understand that you could get snowed on the mountains.

On the eastern end, you could get some chilly, wet weather in the Adirondaks. Got just that finishing the NT in August. I am pretty sure I would prefer September/early October in OH, IN, IL and IA to the searing heat and massive humidity we had during the height of the summer.

This is the CO route from Sisters to Bend:

While I have never done Santiam, I can't imagine it being as cool as McKenzie, which I have done in each direction, albeit unloaded, and which I highly recommend assuming it's open.

+1 on the traffic dropping off after McKenzie Bridge.

There is a (pricey) campground/hot springs a little past the junction of 126 and 242:

There is also camping in Sisters.

In '07 Cycle Oregon started in Sisters. I believe we had lunch in Bend on the way to La Pine. I remember the route we took being nice. I will see if I can find the map tonight.

General Discussion / Re: What do you use for sunscreen?
« on: June 28, 2012, 08:18:24 am »
I buy No-Ad brand:

The GF uses spray on Neutrogena, which I used during a ten day tour last year. It has a strange smell. Every time she puts it on I am transported back to somewhere in SW Montana, which is not necessarily a bad thing.

Not to get too far off target, but Lander, WY is mentioned in today's Dining section of the "New York Times." Apparently there is a kick-ass market there (Mr. D's Food Center) that sells, among other things, organic foods.

One great place I was pointed towards in 2009 in Lander, Wyoming was the Holiday Lodge (beside McDonalds as you enter the town from the SE).

Not free, but for $10 you get hot showers, a nice grass pitch beside the river away from any traffic, I think there might have been a hot tub, laundry facilities, and a coffee and bun in the morning included. It's a family run place with friendly staff.

Also in Lander is the city park where we camped for free.  Nice bathrooms but no showers.

Glad to hear it's till nice. Spent two nights there. Think I did shower at the pool.

One piece of cautionary advice that can be applicable to any city park: Make sure you leave your tent fly closed when the tent is unattended even if there is not a cloud in the sky. A cyclist who was staying in Lander waiting for his pal to get out of the hospital after a nasty crash left his tent unattended with the fly open. He returned to find it flooded with water and everything inside soaked thanks to the park's sprinkler system, which came on while he was away.

For example, when I've traveled in Canada they have a debit card system (Interac) not linked to a Visa card. So I couldn't use my American debit card linked to a Visa to pay for things in a store, nor could I get cash back with a purchase. When I used my bank card in a store I had to make sure to tell the clerk to swipe it as a credit card only. I could only get money out of bank ATMs (meaning fees) because those little dinky "independent" ATM machines were only linked to Interac. It made it hard sometimes to get cash as a lot of small towns wouldn't have a bank, just one of those independent ATMs. I tended to take out larger amounts from bank ATMs when I could, partially because of the fees and partially because I didn't know when I'd be able to find an appropriate ATM again.

I experienced the same the last two times I was in Canada. Riding the Great Parks route a few years ago I wanted to get some Canadian cash after crossing the border at Roosville. Stopped at a couple of places with independent ATM machines and could not get cash. At first I was worried that there was something wring with my card, but then I guess that the machines were not connected to a network that recognized my card. Finally found a bank in Fernie and was able to get cash from its ATM.

A few years before, after driving to PQ for a Velo Quebec event, I tried to swipe my credit card at a self-serve gas pump and it would not work. The clerk inside the store had to run the card for me.

On the Nothern Tier, I can remember camping free or nearly free in city parks, fairgrounds and the like at least 16 times in 92 days. Another two nights were spent at hiker/bikers sites in a national park, which were $5/night. Three nights were in state parks that also charged $5 for hiker/biker sites. Another night we stayed at an ice cream parlor that allowed camping on their back lawn. That was also $5 I think. Another night we stayed in a senior citizen center for free, although we left a donation. Keep in mind that our group was "high maintenance" in that the majority preferred privare campgrounds with amenities like laundry facilities. We could have stayed at more cheap/free places. Finding cheap/free established camping ot harder in the northeast.

On the part of Trans Am I did the following year (between Missoula and Fairplay, CO), I stayed for free in Wisdom, MT, Lander, WY and Walden and Kremling, CO and a couple cheap sites in Yellowstone/Teetons. In Ennis, MT I paid a modest fee at a fish commission campsite. Could have stayed for free in a few more places but I chose not to because money was not a big concern. When you pass through Twin Bridges, MT, make sure to check out the free (donations encouraged) bike camp in town. I was there last year. Great place.

One thing you have going for you is that you are not in a large group. Somewhere like a fire station or church is probably more likely to allow to pitch a tent if it's just you and your son.

Another option is National Forests. With certain limits, you can generally practice what is called "dispersed camping" for free. Note that you generally won't really have access to tap water and bathrooms. Developed sites with running water, picnic tables and tolietes usually cost something.

My pleasure. I fractured my collar bone a few weeks ago in a freak cycling accident so I have to live vicariously for a while longer.

Glacier Cyclery rocks. We used them for shipping, recieving, assembly, packing and trailer rental in '09.

One final word of advice: Stay away from the Double Pork Chop Sandwich from Pork Chop John's in Butte if you have a sensitive stomach. Anyone who has seen "Ride the Divide" probably knows what I mean. I took a chance and found it wholy overrated as a novelty sandwich. But I come from the land of cheesesteaks and good roast pork, so I may be spoiled.

Asking my question slightly different.

What are the best ways to shuttle south from Roosville after finishing my ride there? Is there anything from Eureka to Butte say? Or possibly Lima or Divide even? I've not been able to find much on the web.

Sometimes one way car rentals work out well and can be cheaper than paid shuttles.

There you go. I recently rented a car one way with Avis to get to the start of a short tour where I rode back home. Checked their site and they allow one-way rentals from FCA, the airport near Whitefish, to the Butte Airport. You can easily bike into FCA from Whitefish. The Butte Airport is right near the center of town.

You might want to reserve now. I picked an arbitrary date of August 8. Everything was sold out except for standard and full size. It's not a big airport, but it serves Glacier National Park, so it's popular. Both showed a rate of $129/day, which has got to be cheaper than any shuttle you could arrange for.

Finish at Roosville, ride to FCA, pick up some wheels and drive to Butte. Divide and Melrose are all doable in one day from Butte if you take I-15 and the parallel frontage roads. Melrose, for example, is about 35 miles from Butte. Lima will likely take you two days.

We were in Butte last year. If you stay the night, the only camping is at a seedy sounding KOA right next to the interstate. Treat yourself to a room in the motor lodge portion of the Hotel Finlen in the historic Uptown section. Great retro place. The room was spotless and the staff very friendly.

Ride on the correct (the right, literally) side off the road.   :)

Excuse me if you already know this, but in light of a recent thread on this forum I want to point out that the TransAm is not a "trail" in the sense of a car-free bike trail.  It's a route, the vast majority of which is on public roads.

The above regarding tipping covers it. (I calculate before tax.) For a larger bar tab, I usually leave around 15%, but if I have only one $2 beer I am not going to leave $0.30. I will probably leave a dollar.

Most of the camping places will be shown and described (e.g., city park, private campground, state park) on the maps, but you can always ask local for addtional options such as church yards. Places like town parks and fairgrounds are often free or nearly free. On the other end of the cost spectrum are "private" (e.g., commercial, for-profit) campgrounds. They can be relatively expensive, especially in the eastern part of the country or if they are located near major attractions like national parks. (Some will give cyclists discounts.) U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) campgrounds and state parks are usually in between cost-wise.


They say their intrastate range is "Northwestern Montana." Don't know what includes.  I would expect to pay a pretty quarter from Roosville to Butte. In '09 we used them to get to the Whitefish KOA from the Kalispell Airport (maybe a 15 min. ride at most) and they charged us something like $25 or $30. Eureka to Butte alone is over 5. hr. drive. Then there is the drive to pick you up and the drive back to their home base.

You might want to look into bus service. These guys go from Whitefish to Butte:

You could finish at the Border and ride the ACA Great Parks route back to Whitefish. IIRC, it's around 60 miles measured from Eureka. Easily doable in a day. Stay true to the route as it takes you off of U.S. 93 in places and uses quieter, pretty roads. Stop in Olney (off route about 1/4 of a mile) and check out the store. "Rustic" place with a collection of old pop/soda bottles:

Or you could pay for a shuttle from Eureka and then catch the bus. But with the likelty hefty price, riding will probably be more economical.

Routes / Re: UK Rider. Any Advice through Wyoming NP's?
« on: June 18, 2012, 07:46:16 am »
+1 on Jenny Lake hiker/biker sights.

Before that, if the USFS/ACA (free) campground on the west slope of Togwotee Pass is still listed on the map, at least take the short walk up there. When I was there is was identifiable by some wooden fencing with a gap that you could walk through and a "no vehicles" sign. Heading west it will be on your left. Seem to remember a picnic area about 1 mile before it. Nice view of the mountains. Primitive camping with a bear box.

I rode through Divide last year. There ain't much there. Don't know if the outfitter there is still in business. There is also the Blue Moon Saloon. A easy ride south down the frontage road takes you to Melrose. There is a motel/campground there (think it's called The Sportmans Motel) that might let you leave you car. The Hitching Post is the local eatery. They might also have some ideas. Melrose is an actual town with residents. Divide looked like simply a junction of roads with a few businesses.

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