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Messages - indyfabz

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Sea Gull Century, Salisbury Md?

Too crowded for my tastes, but very popular.

That's the only thing that comes to my mind.

I did it three times ('95-'97) before I came to the conclusion that the only reason I did it the second and third times was because I was supposed to like it even though I didn't.

Routes / Re: Summer heat on the TA
« on: January 30, 2012, 04:33:25 pm »
Are you doing the entire TA or just the portion in those states?  If the former, don't discount the 'skeeters out west. We did a few days on the TA out of Missoula in late June/early July and they were insane in places.
Big Hole Valley, ~15 mph, mid afternoon, and the sun was out.  We were being bitten through two layers of clothes bu flies and skeeters.

According to the locals, last year was a really bad year due to the heavy snow and subsequent melt.  Five miles outside of Wisdom we hit a little rise that slowed us down to around 7 mph. We got swarmed. I could see at least a dozen on my GF's butt biting through her spandex. When we got to town she volunteered to wait outside with the bike while I went into the grocery store. She was inside within 3 minutes due to the 'skeeters. We stayed in a motel rather than camp at the infested American Legion park. We had to kill some 'skeeters in the room. Twin Bridges was so bad in the evening that we could not sit outside at the bike camp. Watched the 4th of July fireworks from inside the screened shelter.

Didn't have any problems with bugs on the NT until Sprague Creek Campground in Glaicer N.P., but both times I left Seattle in late May, so it may have been a bit early for them. Heading to Missoula from Columbia Falls they were pretty bad at Lake Alva in '99. Again, the winter had been very snowy.

Routes / Re: Montana 83 riding conditions?
« on: January 30, 2012, 04:20:07 pm »
We managed to squeak into the last spot at Lake Alva.

Do you know if the loons were nesting there? There used to be a pair that came back to Lake Alva every year.

Routes / Re: Summer heat on the TA
« on: January 30, 2012, 10:54:48 am »
Are you doing the entire TA or just the portion in those states?  If the former, don't discount the 'skeeters out west. We did a few days on the TA out of Missoula in late June/early July and they were insane in places.

Routes / Re: Another Great Parks North Ques...
« on: January 30, 2012, 10:36:03 am »
We did a loop from/to Whitefish in ’09 using part of the Great route and connecting the ends using Rte. 93 to Elko. I second going to Waterton Village. (Also stayed there in ’99.) The town campsite is great. Right on the lake. It can get very windy, but there are indoor camp kitchens where you can cook. We actually slept in one in ’09 as it was very cold and extremely windy.  If you can take a day off, there is a boat ride/hike combination that’s supposed to be fabulous. We had to cancel our day off for schedule reasons so didn’t get to do it. Another reason to stop there is that there is nothing except for one restaurant between Pincher Creek and the border crossing at Chief Mountain, where you may find a vending machine or two. That restaurant is in Twin Butte, which is maybe 20 miles south of Pincher Creek. You won’t find any other commercial establishments until U.S. 89. (In the vicinity of Babb, we stopped at the Fire Horse Café on the left. I believe it’s on the Blackfoot reservation.  Great burgers.) The climb that starts at the Jct. of PR 5 and PR 6 is a tough one, both physically and psychologically as much of it is laid out in front of you. There’s another climb to get to the border crossing. And you will almost certainly have a stiff headwind on U.S. 89. I think making it from somewhere like Pincher Creek all the way to St. Mary in one day would be a daunting task.

If I remember the AC route correctly, you come down from Baynes Lake to Rte. 93 to Elko. If so, 93 was a long false flat. And if you have good eyesight, you get taunted by the flashing traffic light at the Jct. with PR 3.  :(  Little traffic and a shoulder. Elko to Fernie wasn’t bad, although many have reported heavy traffic on PR 3. We had little traffic. It mostly came in spurts.  Maybe it being late June had something to do with it. There is a dirt alternative on the other side of the river which can be picked up near the store in Elko. Someone recently asked about it on this forum. Sparwood has a nice campground on the edge of town with free firewood. And you ride past the world’s largest truck. Approaching Coleman all the way to the turnoff for Rte. 507 traffic picked up. The stretch between Coleman (great café in a former church) and 507 was the worst. A good deal of traffic and noisy, and the towns along the way are drab. Rte. 507 was traffic free and pretty, albeit extremely rolling in places. If you come down 22 to 3, it might be worth backtracking a bit to take 507 into Pincher Creek, which is another sad little place. Doing that will also allow you to see the famous Burmis Tree, which is near the junction of 3 and 507.

Gear Talk / Re: Folding tires
« on: January 28, 2012, 11:14:03 am »
I've used the dollar bill trick on 2 inch blowout.  It got me 12 miles to the next town and made feel all McGuyver-like.   8)
Would a $10 bill last 120 miles? :)

I have booted tires for myself and for others using bills. It has worked well. Once all I had was a $20.  That's why I always try to carry at last one $1 bill on rides.  PowerBar wrappers supposedly work well, too.

Connecting ACA Routes / Re: Connecting Transam and L&C
« on: January 28, 2012, 11:01:05 am »

Could you explain where I can find the location of fairgrounds or do you know a place that lists campgrounds in Wyoming and South Dakota campgrounds in Wyoming and South Dakota?

Google "camgrounds south dakota" and the same for Wyoming and you will find some resources, although I doubt they are complete. If you have a general idea of the towns you will be passing through you can search Google Maps for "campgrounds near [name of town]." Zooming out once the map pops up will broaden the search results. County and town chamber of commerce/visitor web sites can also yield results. If you will be passing through national forests, the search the U.S.F.S. web site for the particular forests. Same thing for any national parks/recreation areas.

Routes / Re: pacific coast- astoria, OR to San Diego, CA
« on: January 27, 2012, 03:52:27 pm »
See this for general weather info for the OR portion:

It also has some other good information.

General Discussion / Re: Long distance trip alone?
« on: January 26, 2012, 07:48:32 am »
Crossed the country with a small group. The following year I did seven weeks solo in southern Spain and seven weeks solo in the U.S.  I'm not crazy or stupid. I much prefer it to traveling with people who I didn't know when the trip started. I also like the flexibility. You don't have to consider anyone else's want or need but your own.

I think you need to comfortable being by yourself.  Some people feel the need for constant/more frequent social interaction.  If you do, you might not like it.

General Discussion / Re: Favorite Eating Spots
« on: January 25, 2012, 06:19:08 pm »
In St Mary's on the east side of Glacier - the Park Cafe has amazing pie.

You beat me to it. We were there in '09. Pie and everything else was great.

Between Eureka and Whitefish, MT there is a town called Olney. There is an old store just off route about .25 miles. (Follow the blue sign pointing to Olney.) The food wasn't anything to write home about, but the place is neat. Among other things, it has a large collection of old pop bottles.

More specifics on the route would help people.  E.g., How are you getting from Glacier to Yellowstone?

BTW...If you are going to be in Buffalo, the NT route into Niagara Falls, ON and then back into the U.S. and to the Erie Canal at Lockport is worth it.

General Discussion / Re: Most interesting states
« on: January 24, 2012, 02:36:50 pm »
From my collective experience riding some or all (and some parts more than once) of the Northern Tier, Trans Am, Great Parks, Attantic Coast and Great Divide (paved portion), as well as some of my own planned mileage in Montana, Montana has been my favorite for scenery, including diversity thereof, and lack of traffic. Lots of nice people, too. WY is probably second for scenery due to the parks and Wind River. WA is a strong third.  Except for Dallas Divide through Telluride and over Lizzard Head to Delores, didn't really enjoy Colorado all that much. IL, IN and OH were not all that interesting from a scenery perspective. One hidden gem is the Atlantic Coast route between Port Jervis, NY and Lambertville, NJ. Not what comes to mind when most think of eastern PA and anywhere in NJ.

Routes / Re: Transam in Montana: best route...
« on: January 23, 2012, 10:31:49 am »
A plug for the Old Darby Rd. alternative between Hamilton and Darby.  There is some dirt, but it's well worth it. Heading to Darby there is an overlook where the mountains, sky and river come together:

See the last photo.

And Red Barn Bicycles is a neat place.

Routes / Re: Transam in Montana: best route...
« on: January 22, 2012, 02:16:02 pm »
AC's Trans Am route south on 93, etc., to Hamilton, Darby, Sula, Wisdom, Jackson, Dillon and Twin Bridges is quite nice in most places. As noted, from the Jct. of U.S. 12 and U.S. 93, there is a spur into Missoula. You then back track south on U.S. 93 to continue on the Trans Am.

This summer we did a loop from/to Missoula. We followed the TA for a few days and then did our own thing to get back to Missoula. We did pass through Twin Bridges but did not stay on the TA to get there. Instead, we took the Pioneer Mountains Scenic Byway off the TA (after descending Lost Trail Pass) to Wise River and then headed through Divide and Melrose and took the Melrose Bench Road, which is not paved, to Twin Bridges. The advantage of this route is that you get to do the scenic ride to Lost Trail and Chief Joseph Passes into Wisdom then Lost Trail Pass after Jackson. The Pioneer Mountains Scenic Byway and state route 43 to Divide is a fabulous ride. Melrose Bench is somewhat of a challenge due to the surface and some climbing, but worth it. Overall, prettier than staying on the TA to Dillon IMO. Lot's of camping on the Byway (U.S.F.S. campgrounds and dispersed camping) and in Divide (BLM along the river for $6 and Melrose (private).

Send me a private message if you would like some route options through this neck of the woods. Our route back to Missoula from Twin Bridges included Rock Creek Rd. Off the beaten path and very scenic. Most of it is not paved, but we had no problems on 37c tires. Going in your direction, you'd go through Phillipsburg, Anaconda and Butte then over Pipestone Pass (state route 2) and then come down state route 41 through Silver Star into Twin Bridges to hook back up with the TA toward Virginia City and Ennis.

Every day but the last is chronicled here:

If you stay in Twin Bridges, check out the free Bike Camp.  Great place with a shower, etc.

Agree that Missoula and the AC headquarters are nice places to visit. Some relatively cheap motels in town and a nice KOA an easy ride from the center of town and right near an REI if you need supplies.

Gear Talk / Re: Novara Randonee
« on: January 18, 2012, 10:16:34 am »
don't hesitate to buy something expensive or fancy if you so desire. I'd love a custom Co-Motion or Independent, but I cannot justify the expense.

I'd advise someone to hesitate before spending too much money on a touring bike.  The Co-Motion and Independent Fabrications bikes you mention are indeed beautiful, wonderful bikes.  But functionally they don't do anything more than the Trek 520, Surly LHT, or REI bike mentioned here.  What they do worse is make you worry about them.  The Co-Motion Americano frame costs $2000.  The IF Steel Indpendence frame costs $2300.  You will spend more time worrying about the bike than enjoying the bike tour.  You won't just lay them down on the ground to take a picture.  You won't lean them up against a pole to go into a store.  The bike will be more important than the tour experience.  And the tour may suffer for it.  Equipment gets beat up, used, abused, scraped, gouged on a tour.  The $1000-1500 range is good for touring bikes.  You get a very functional bike and maybe racks and panniers too.

Its counter productive to have too nice of a touring bike.

Gee.  I never knew of this maxim.  There must be a lot of angst-ridden Co-Mo and IF owners out there.

Gear Talk / Re: Novara Randonee
« on: January 17, 2012, 02:26:59 pm »
My Surly Long Haul Trucker hanldes relatively heavy loads very well (never any shimmy), has adequate gearing and the eyelets and brazeons for racks, fenders and three water bottle cages. And the wheels have never given me a moment's pause. They are retailing for around $1,400 these days. Whatever you end up getting, have the spokes properly tensioned before you shove off. I crossed the country on a Cannondale with a wheel set that was not up to the task. Didn't take me three days to break my first spoke. Wheel problems can really be a PITA.

And if you hit the lottery before your trip (or your budget otherwise increases), don't hesitate to buy something expensive or fancy if you so desire. I'd love a custom Co-Motion or Independent, but I cannot justify the expense.

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