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Messages - indyfabz

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General Discussion / Re: Luxuries
« on: February 08, 2011, 10:19:49 am »
I now carry a small santoku knife instead of the Swiss Army knife I used to tour with.  Got tired of slicing with such a small blade.  I also take a small, thin cutting board so I don't have to use my plate.  Good coffee and french press mug.  Corkscrew, as I try to have wine every night.

General Discussion / Re: On-line Bike Touring game
« on: February 04, 2011, 09:53:39 am »
"I have never heard of bike touring as a weight loss method and most of the input I've read suggests that most bike tourists do not lose weight on tour."

I lost only about 5 lbs. (out of about 195) on two tours of about 7 weeks each.  During my X-Country+ tour that lasted over 3 months, I actually gained weight at one point.  I went west to east on the Northern Tier.  While in the mountainous/more hilly areas out west, I was scarffing down a lot of calories.  Once I hit the more forgiving terrain of the plains and midwest, I was still eating like I was in the mountains, but I wasn't working as hard.  I was with a group.  For various reasons (e.g., lack of suitable groceries), we ened up "eating out" a tad more.  That certainly helped with the weight gain, especially when we had very few choices other than fried/greasy food.  Even the fish was deep fried.

I certainly would not want to be losing a lot of weight while on tour.

Routes / Re: Portland Amtrak station to Champoeg State Heritage Area
« on: February 02, 2011, 02:26:22 pm »
Also of note: Willamette Mission State Park , not to far from Champoeg, now has hiker/biker campsites. IMO a much nicer place to camp than Champoeg

That name kept ringing a bell so I checked the Cycle Oregon archives and I was right.  We stayed there for two nights in 2005.  I remember it not being all that great, but it's possible that the 2000+ strong crowd has something to do with that.

General Discussion / Re: Think SPRING!
« on: February 02, 2011, 10:31:00 am »
Phil saw his shaddow this morning.  Early spring!  Interestingly, it's supposed to get into the 40s next week here in Philly.

Routes / Re: Need route from Chicago to Deerfield, MA
« on: January 28, 2011, 09:18:59 am »
Are you a DA alum?  I was class of '83.

Rocky Mountain / Re: Fry Canyon Lodge
« on: January 25, 2011, 01:19:16 pm »
If you get water and decide to go to Monument Valley I recommend you take route 261.  It has a spectacular view of the Valley of the Gods.  It also cuts off some mileage going to Mexican Hat.  There is set of switchbacks that are dirt/gravel going down the mesa but it is a short section and you can walk if it you need to.

I drove up Rte. 261 back in '00.  Definitely a great view.  I would love to ride down it on a bike but not up.  It descends 1,100' in 3 miles.

Check out the video:

Gear Talk / Re: Brakes compatible with Sakkit Touring Racks
« on: January 25, 2011, 01:03:41 pm »
Nice stuff.  I am a Beckman fan, too.  Someone recently stole my LHT with the rear rack and the mounting hardware for the front rack attached.

Maybe check these:

Routes / Re: Road bike tour routes in Northern Spain?
« on: January 20, 2011, 11:38:09 am »
Get hold of the Michelin Regional Maps, they're pretty good for finding quieter roads, look for the green highlighted roads, they're scenic routes.

+1 on the maps.  Another good tool is the Rough Guide travel book series.  There is one for Spain and possibly one devoted to northern Spain.  I planned a 7 week tour of southern Spain using the Michelin regional map for the area and the Rough Guide to Andalucia.  Finally, for help with general information, get in touch with these folks:

They have various regional offices in the U.S.  They sent me reams of information for the areas I was planning to visit, including lists of lodging/camping options that contained rates.

Gear Talk / Re: Bicycle Speeds Question
« on: January 19, 2011, 10:46:00 am »
Another vote for expectations.  When I did the nothern tier, a few of us had a running joke about how our computers almost always seemed to show a 12.4 mph average for the day, regardless of the day's terrain.

BTW...If you get severe headwinds in eastern and central MT, 15 mph is going to seem fast.  We went west to east.  During a 20 mile stretch with a strong tailwind I spun out at 32.5 mph on the flats.  Was able to maintain that speed for maybe 3 miles before having to drop down to a comfortable cruising speed of 28 mph.  On days like that, ride early in the morning and/or later in the evening.  Depending on when you go, you may have plenty of light.

General Discussion / Re: Must upgrades for LHT
« on: January 18, 2011, 03:32:32 pm »
Out caution I will add one thing.  After maybe 1.5 yrs. of commuting and short tours, the ridges on the seat post and/or mounting hardware became worn the point where the saddle no longer stayed in position.  It would tilt back after a short time no matter how hard I tightened the bolt.  I had to replace the post.  Never heard of this happening to anyone else, so it may have been an anomoly.  And maybe my 215 lbs. had soemthing to do with it.

I also put on a Terry Liberator, but it's my understanding that the saddle that comes with the current edition is better than what the bike used to come with.

Routes / Re: Newbie Route question
« on: January 17, 2011, 02:40:49 pm »
It will run the gamut from country roads to state highways to U.S. highways.  And as noted, some wider roads, including interstates, can be safe.  In some cases, the small country rodes can pose their own problems.  For example, when I did the NT, a woman in Indiana warned us about yahoos running stop signs at intersections in the backroads that cut through cornfields.  Two years ago I did the section of the NT from Glacier N.P. to Eureka, MT.  There was heavy traffic in Columbia Falls, but very little on most of the parts of U.S. 93 that we rode except leaving Whitefish and entering Eureka, and the part of 93 that we were on had enough shoulder to get by.

One tip is to not take "shortcuts."  You may see a more direct route than the one show on the AC map.  One probable reason for the less direct route is potential traffic on the more direct route.  For example, heading west out of Sandpoint, ID, you could take U.S. 2 instead of following the official route that crosses the lake and meanders along the other side of the river before eventually getting to the same place, but you might get squashed by a logging truck trying to do so.

In sum, t's completely doable even with the areas of moderate to heavy traffic.  And at some point you will want to spend omse time in more populated areas.  Meeting the locals is part of the experience.

Routes / Re: On the Northern Tier - From Washinton heading east....
« on: January 17, 2011, 02:08:01 pm »
indyfabz & johnsondasw - Your comments lead me to believe that the ACA maps suggested by Fred would round out many of my questions relating to overnights and supplies etc.  From there, figuring out when I could jump an Amtrak home should allow me to flesh out a trip itinerary.

Yep.  The maps show everything, including camping locations, grocery stores and motels.  When you look at the maps, you will see that in WA it can be difficult to combine days shown on my itinerary.  For example, to get from Winthrop to Republic instead of stopping in Tonasket would require a very long day with two passes.  Same would be true if you stayed in Tonasket and tried to skip Republic.

The NT often follows the route of Amtrak's Empire Builder, especially east of Cut Bank.  Go to Amtrak's web site, select stations and search by state.  You will get a list of all stations in that state.  Click on a station name to see if there is checked baggage service.  The station must offer checked baggage service in order for you to be able to take your bike with you.  East of Cut Bank, MT, Shelby and Havre have checked baggage service.  I would also call ahead to make sure they have a bike box on hand.

If you find yourself pressed for time, at least try to make it into Glacier N.P. and ride the west side of Going to the Sun and maybe make the hike to the lake from Avalanche Campground.  You could then double back to Whitefish for the train.

Routes / Re: Route 464 (Duck Lake Road) from Babb to Browning, Montana
« on: January 12, 2011, 02:56:59 pm »
+1 on Waterton Village.  It has a great town campsite that is dramatically located:

The photo of grazing deer and the next 14 photos were taken in Waterton Village and on the way to St. Mary.  The one on the beach with the log in the forground was taken at the town campsite.

Unfortunately, both times I rode through there (including in 2009) we had to skip our rest days there.  I was really looking forward to Crypt Lake.

Routes / Re: On the Northern Tier - From Washinton heading east....
« on: January 12, 2011, 02:44:50 pm »
Not sure where the Washington Parks route goes, but this was my itinerary starting from Seattle and taking a ferry to pick up the Pacific Coast Rote to the Northern Tier. I don’t think many people would consider this a moderate pace.  Certainly not aggressive.  I was with a group, so we had to accommodate all abilities.

Kitsap State Park (I think that was the name)
Fort Worden State Park at Pt. Townsend
Bayview State Park
Howard Miller Steelhead Park in Rockport
Colonial Creek Campground on Rte. 20 a little east of Newhalem
Day off in Winthrop
Sandpoint, ID
Day off in Sandpoint
Junction of Rtes. 200 and 56 in MT
Sprague Creek in Glacier National Park
Day off waiting for the pass to open
St. Mary KOA
Waterton Village, AB
McGrath, AB
Cut Bank, MT

We had originally planned to take a day off in Waterton village but got delayed in Glacier, so we skipped it.  Send me a private message if you would like the rest of the itinerary or other info.

General Discussion / Re: Which Way Is Best
« on: January 11, 2011, 01:27:46 pm »
Just did the loop in June of '09 with one detour.  GTS was not fully open, so we had to go around the edge of the park to the W. Glacier entrance.  However, the following day we did get to ride up the west side to Logan Pass and back down again.  (In ’99 I climbed the west side and descended the east side.)  We started in Whitefish and went clockwise.  I agree with Valygrl for the reasons she notes and others, including...

1.  Leaving Waterton Village heading towards the U.S., the climbing on Chief Mountain Highway (MT 17) will be more forgiving.  You will have climbing for sure, but it will be easier. (I have done it both directions.)  The trade off is that you will almost certainly have a stiff headwind from the junction of MT 17 & U.S. 89 to St. Mary, but it's relatively flat.

2.  West to East on GTS Road is also wider.  Also...there is an ongoing rehab project, which I think is mostly on the west side.  You may encounter unpaved sections depending on when you go.  I prefer descending unpaved roads to climbing them.  Check the park's official web site for details and potential road closures.  The bike restrictions noted could be important.  Going west to east, you must reach Logan Pass by 11 a.m. or risk a fine.  East to west, you can ride the road between St. Mary, over Logan Pass to Sprague Creek Campground at any time.  You cannot go west of Sprague Creek between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m.  Sprague creek is a nice, small campground on the lake with $5 hiker/biker spots, and it's within walking distance of Lake McDonald Lodge (which also has a camp store and a bar that allows you to take drinks down to the lake), so it makes a great place to stop for the day.

3.  There is an unpaved section between W. Glacier and Columbia Falls.  (Follow the map's advice and take this route instead of U.S. 2.)  It's predominantly downhill going clockwise, which should makes things easier.

Here is a link to some photos of our recent trip:

Send me a private message if you would like more details about what we encountered.

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