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Messages - indyfabz

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Routes / Re: Missoula to Banff
« on: January 30, 2013, 10:45:56 am »
Here is the tentative schedule:

Looks like 9/22 will be the last day you can ride the entire length.

BTW...As noted, RVs are not much of an issue on GTS as much of it is off limits to anything over 8' wide (including mirrors) and 21' long.

Try to schedule your trip so you can make it across. I have ridden the entire thing (west to east) once and up and back down the west side two other times. It's spectacular.

In '09 we did a clockwise loop from/to Whitefish using the Great Parks North route, closing the gap to Elko. Logan Pass was still closed when we got to St. Mary so we went around to the west side of the park via East Glacier and then rode up and back down the west side of GTS. Here are some photos:

If you have the time, I recommend going the long way through Sparwood and Waterton Village. The only stretch we didn't like was the one on PR 3 between about Coleman and where you turn off around Burmis. Make sure to cross the road and see the Burmis Tree before you turn off PR 3.

In '11, we camped in Darby heading south from Missoula. The relatively new owner of the campground there has cabins. You can bargain price, or so I have read. The Nez Perce Motel in Wisdom was clean and decently priced. It's small, so you might want to make a reservation if you plan to stay there.

Routes / Re: Missoula to Banff
« on: January 30, 2013, 10:21:26 am »
Yes. There should be less recreational traffic, at least in the states.

Are you planning to: (1) cross the border at Roosville, MT and head straight to Whitefish or (2) ride through Fernie, Sparwood, Pincher Creek, etc., cross over at Chief Mountain and then ride to St. Mary? If the latter, and you plan to ride GTS after mid-September, I would check Glacier's web site for road work scheduling. For several yearsa now, the NPS had been doing extensive work on Going to the Sun. This has resulted in periodic, total road closures once peak season has ended to allow for accelerated construction work:

When do you plan to hit Yellowstone?

General Discussion / Re: Ireland Bike Tour
« on: January 30, 2013, 09:54:28 am »
I have heard good things about Iron Donkey but cannot vouch for them personally:

One nice thing is that they offer guided and self-guided tours.

Routes / Re: Eastbound from Washington/Oregon
« on: January 28, 2013, 01:03:36 pm »
’99: Seattle up to the NT for the entire route.
’00: Seattle to the NT to Glacier N.P., backtracked to Columbia Falls, Great Parks to Missoula, TransAm to Fairplay, CO.
’02: Cycle Oregon, which included much of the OR portion of the TA.
’06: CANDISC, which included some of what is now the new NT routing into Bismarck.
’09: NT between Whitefish and Eureka, MT and the west side of Going to the Sun.
’11: 2 ½ days on the TransAm between Missoula and the east side of Big Hole Pass.

Some opinions/observations:
1. The OR potion of the TA was far less interesting than the NT with the notable exception of McKenzie Pass. And, IIRC, the distances between services were usually greater on this stretch of the TA.

2. The scenery between Anacortes and Glacier, N.P. is fabulous. Once you cross the Cascades via Rainy/Washington Passes, indoor sleeping options on the NT were relatively easy to find. Places like Winthrop, Tonasket, Omak, Republic, Colville, Sandpoint, ID. You don’t have to cross two passes to find places to camp, eat or sleep inside. As noted, you might get wet and/or chilly weather. Both times I left Seattle the third week in May and took three days to get up to the NT. First time there was rain and snow on Washington Pass and then again on Sherman Pass. Generally, we had numerous chilly and/or damp days through Whitefish, MT. But you can get that on the TA. In Missoula near the end of June ’11 it was chilly and drizzly that evening and the next morning, and the next two nights on the road it was 40 or below.

3. The ride up Going to the Sun in Glacier National Park is hard to beat. Waterton Village in Canada is in a dramatic setting. However, east of Cut Bank, MT, the scenery is nothing to write home about. Lots of open farm and ranch land, but there are plenty of towns usually spaced nicely apart.

4. I would trust the re-route though ND. During CANDISC we rode a couple of days in that area. Very little traffic except for in Bismarck, and even that wasn’t really bad. Two friends just did the NT last summer. They didn’t have any problems in that area. Haven’t seen the new map for that section, but in general I like riding in ND. The general lack of traffic in most places and open skies gives a sense of freedom. The winds, on the other hand, can be brutal. With very few trees there is little shade and nothing to block the wind. You will see trees again once you get into MN.

5. Columbia Falls/Whitefish to Missoula is nice overall. Missoula south/east through Montana is really nice, especially Darby through Big Hole Pass to Dillon and then on to Ennis. Services are adequately spaced for the most part. (Don’t expect high quality tea and coffee in most small towns.) Wasn’t a huge fan of riding in Yellowstone/Teetons due to the traffic. South of there it was fine most places except for a couple of noted areas in CO. The stretch between Lander and Rawlins, WY has very few services.

Send me a PM if you have any questions.

General Discussion / Re: When You Are the Only Cyclist in the Family
« on: January 25, 2013, 09:53:45 am »
While I don't have kids, for bike overnights, maybe try making the overnight part a family affair by having the rest of the family drive to the overnight location and meet you there. My GF once drove to meet and camp with me for part of a long weekend trip when she didn't feel like riding and camping in the heavy rain that was forecast for the first night and following morning.

General Discussion / Re: Traffic burnout?
« on: January 21, 2013, 02:38:16 pm »

+1. Also, there are a good number of light-traffic places to ride in OR and MT. Last year's Cylcle Oregon route had very little traffic most days. On Day 1 (Bly to Silver Lake) we probably saw a half dozen non-event-affiliated vehicles in nearly 80 miles of riding.

In 2011 we did a loop from/to Missoula starting at the end of June. Except getting out of and back into Missoula, there was very little traffic. Even Butte wasn't bad. What helped is that we did about 60 miles of dirt roads.

Connecting ACA Routes / Re: Boston MA connecting to Northern Tier Route
« on: January 14, 2013, 02:44:19 pm »
ACA's Atlantic Coast route has a Boston Spur that you could take to the main part of the route and then follow that north to hook up with the Nothern Tier in Brunskwick, Maine. That would add some time, though.

One option is Amtrak's Downeaster train service. You can roll your bike on (i.e., you don't have to box it) and go from to Brunswick. This subject came up on antoher forum recently. According to Amtrakm you cannot detrain at the Freeport, Maine station but you can at Portland and Brunswick.

Here is the link to the train information:

It's only a 3.5 hr. ride to Brunskwick, and there is a convenient 9 a.m. departure. There are internal links on the page for the schedule and bike information.

Starting from somewhere like Brunskwick would allow you to ride through New Hampshire, Vermont and the Adirondaks in New York. Very pretty part of the route. Vermont especially so.

General Discussion / Re: Costs of Touring
« on: January 14, 2013, 02:23:46 pm »
Breakfast at a local cafe or diner (say pancakes, some meat and coffee) is probably going to run me $7-8 dollars with a tip. Lunch probably $6-$7 dollars if I just get a sandwich, chips and a drink. I usually cook dinner, but if I don't, I count on least $12 with a tip for dinner not including drinks. Then there is the cost of snacks. That piece of pie or ice cream you cannot resist.

Don't forget the cost of Gatorade / orange juice / V8 or whatever your drink of choice is, and those snacks.  I'll often eat and drink my way through $2-5 of fluids and snacks a day.  Water is usually free, but I like to buy something if I get it from a convenience store just so they don't think (and I don't feel like) I'm a freeloader.

Definitely. I am sure I spend at least that much on snacks and beverages every day.

I am planning to ride to my high school reunion in June. Should take about 6 days. If I do, I will keep a daily account of everything I spend so I can have a feel for what it adds up to. Since it will be in the northeast, camping costs will likely skew the result to the high side (I might easily pay at least $30/night in some places), but I will track spending by categories.

Routes / Re: northern tier route Aug to Oct.
« on: January 11, 2013, 10:28:58 am »
I finsihed Northern Tier in Oct, 2003, riding west to east. I finished before maximum fall foliage color. I encounterd hurricane winds, hail, torrential rain, and snow flurries, with temperature down to the 20s. Many campgrounds were closed.

Yeah. That part of northern New York and New England can go either way at that time. Snow in the Adirondaks is quite possible. We finsihed in August and had cold nights in that area, and many campgrounds start to shut down after Labor Day. And it was very cold and wet crossing Kangamagus.

Gear Talk / Re: 2 people, 6 panniers for a cross country tour. Bad idea?
« on: January 03, 2013, 01:12:37 pm »
You really do not need to carry more for a tour that length than for a shorter one.  I would suggest you consider taking only what you have been using so far on your short trips for your longer trip.  Think about what you really need before deciding.
This is an excellent point.  If what you've taken on a 5 day trip was enough, it will be enough for a 2 month trip. I assume you didn't take 5 days worth of clean clothes and had to wash on the 5-day trip so just continue on the same schedule.  At most you will need a bit of warmer clothing depending on where you ride  but that shouldn't add much bulk or weight.

Agree except that weather variation can, in some cases, add to the load somewhat. I hope to do a 6-day from Philly to western Mass. in mid-June. Highly unlikely that I will need my larger, warmer sleeping bag and clothing for 40 degree nights and morning like I did for my 9-day trrip in MT.

I do feel my bike would be extremely fast on the flats though.

Towing a full load, probably not.

General Discussion / Re: 2007 Trek Madone 5.0 for touring across the states
« on: December 28, 2012, 04:04:05 pm »
Do you think you can pull a trailer over mountains and up steep hills with the gearing your bike has? Assuming the stock triple, that's a low combination of 30x25. Not a very low gear for loaded touring.

General Discussion / Re: Need advice - NJ
« on: December 26, 2012, 02:45:15 pm »
I have been corresponding with the OP via PM. Sounds like he might be interested in the ACA section in NJ. One word of advice for anyone else who is: The upper section of Old Mine Rd. between U.S. 206 and Dingman's Ferry/CR 650 is in pretty bad shape in places. Some pot holes (some big) and ruts. During an organized century in October I talked to a couple who lives on that section. They expect it to get worse if the winter is bad due to plowing. It's still worth riding, however, The nice thing is that there is usually so little trraffic you can usually dodge road hazards without having to worry about cars. The fall can be tricky. Downed leaves obscured some of the road defects. NPS 615 from Wallpack south is in pretty good shape. The lower section of Old Mine from the end of NPS 615 to the top of the climb is banged up. The descent to Millbrook and the rest of Old Mine all the way to I-80 is in decent shape. Definitely obey the seemiingly out of place traffic light near the end. As the sign warns, the road gets extremely narrow. There is no room for a vehicle and a bike to pass with any degree of safety, hence the uni-drectional traffic.

General Discussion / Re: Costs of Touring
« on: December 26, 2012, 02:26:37 pm »
Mayber I am an oddity, but things like fruit, nuts and granola bars are the snacks I eat between the meals I eat before, during and after each day's ride. Breakfast at a local cafe or diner (say pancakes, some meat and coffee) is probably going to run me $7-8 dollars with a tip. Lunch probably $6-$7 dollars if I just get a sandwich, chips and a drink. I usually cook dinner, but if I don't, I count on least $12 with a tip for dinner not including drinks. Then there is the cost of snacks. That piece of pie or ice cream you cannot resist. Then there is camping costs if you cannot find a place to stay for free. (You can reduce costs by looking for public campground like local and state parks or U.S.F.S. campgrounds, which are often less expensive than private campgrounds.) And don't forget to budget for repairs and/or replacement parts like tubes and tires.

General Discussion / Re: self-guided support on lewis and clark
« on: December 26, 2012, 01:52:43 pm »
Sounds like you want a "supported" tour.  AC has Cycle Montana, which might be what you're looking for.

If you are open to a supported tour of this nature, last year I did a good portion of the route ACA will use for Cycle Montana in 2013 during an unsupported loop tour of my own out of Missoula. (Days 1-4 and Day 6.) It's quite nice. Day 4 is particularly nice. The view from Big Hole Pass is wondeful as are the meadows and the descent on the Pioneer Mountains Scenic Byway. Saw a moose with calf outside of Jackson and a herd of antelope near Polaris.

As DaveB notes, you can get by with very little in the way of gear if you are planning to motel it. With a little planning and some route modifications, you could do the loop I did and sleep indoors. Send me a PM if you want details.

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