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Messages - indyfabz

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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.

I wouldn't pay it any mind. When you get behind the wheel do you pay any mind to the chances of being injured or killed in an automobile accident vs. a bike accident?

If someone is not going to engage in long distance cycling because they are concerned about knocking a few years off their life after seeing some story on the evening new they had might as well shelter themselves from all potential risks. There are a lot more common things out there that can kill you. Considering what the "average Joe" is like in this country, I will take my chances. And for what it's worth, I crossed the country with a guy who turred 77 during the trip.

General Discussion / Re: touring without "eating out"
« on: June 25, 2013, 01:22:50 pm »
riding across the middle of the Rural US and not trying the local biscuits and gravy, or riding through Maine without eating lobster would be a huge shame IMO.

+1. I had my first taste of chicken fried steak with biscuits and gravy half way through a century day from WA to ID. Near the end of the trip, we splurged for lobster in Camden, ME. A few years ago I could not spend a night in Butte without trying Pork Chop John's double poork chop sandwich, which made an infamous cameo appearence in the film "Ride the Divide." A huckleberry milk shake in western MT is a must in my book. I know money can be tight, but it is nice to sample some of the local fare.

Routes / Re: Going To The Sun Road...after 4 PM
« on: June 21, 2013, 04:02:39 pm »
Forgot to mention that there can be a greater risk of thunderstorms in the afternoon. You are very exposed once you get above the loop. And if the road project has left some sections unpaved like they were in '09, you might encounter some mud if it rains.

Routes / Re: Going To The Sun Road...after 4 PM
« on: June 20, 2013, 04:01:16 pm »
I have ridden up the west slope 3 times. Once up and over. Twice up to Logan Pass then back down to Sprague Creek. I have always started out from Sprague Creek very early in the a.m. 6 a.m. if not before. The first two times there was virtually no traffic for at least the first hour. The last time (in '09) we had some dump truck traffic some time after 7 a.m. As you may or may not know, there is an on-going road re-hab project. Don't know where they will be working when you are there. Check the park's web site.

When at the top, the relatively short haike/walk to the observation platform looking out at Hidden Lake is well worth the effort. It starts from behind the visitor center. You will likely see lots of people on the path. It's not technical. Lots of people do it in sneakers. I saw several mountain goats and a playful marmot when I did it. The last time I was up there, there was too much snow on the path to walk it in cycling shoes. July 27th shouldn't present that problem. Never felt worried about leaving my bike unattended.

Maybe a quarter mile or so before the pass there is a metal decked observation area you can walk up to. Some nice views from up there. I stopped there on the way back down. The McDonald Creek access area down on the "flat" part is also worth a stop on the way back. It's signed and there are some parking spaces.

Bring ample food and drink if you plan hang out up there. Sun block is also highly recommended. There is no shade, and the sun can be intense. I took the shuttle up one day prior to the start of a back country backpack trip. I have an olive complexion and still got a nasty neck burn in less than two hours.

Routes / Re: Eastbound from Washington/Oregon
« on: June 19, 2013, 10:37:56 am »
Going to the Sun Road is one of the finest rides in the world.
Yes, it involves climbing, but the road was engineered with a constant 8% grade on purpose.
Way easier than the climb to Rainy Pass.

And yes, there are time limitations for cyclists - along Lake MacDonald and on the ascent.
It's 21 miles from the lodge to the pass - 10 miles gentle and 11 climbing.
You could make it in 3 hours at a steady pace, 3 1/2 hours banana breaks, 4 hours easy.
Not to mention that the uphill climb has jaw-dropping, right-on-the-edge views.
It does mean leaving early - or you can hike up to Avalanche Lake - and ride up after 4.
It doesn't get dark until 10 in late June.

Or you can have the shuttle drive take you panniers up to Logan Pass
or even across if you lodge on the east side, as well.
Then you can zoom up with less weight.
(The driver can leave your bags in bear boxes on top if you are comfortable with that.)

You'll be missing the numero uno section if you skip Going to the Sun.
Just sayin'.

+1 on all this. It's not as daunting as you might think. Nowhere near as taxing as Rainy/Washington. The above description from the Lodge is accurate. The first 10 miles will not really seem like climbing. When I crossed the first time, two members of our group had their gear shuttled to the top. As noted, you can start before 6 a.m., well before there is any traffic. And what traffic you encounter will be moving relatively slowly. It's not the sort of road where you can speed. Also, there are pulll-offs along the way where you can take a break and let traffic pass.

I will add that if you are planning to go to Missoula and get on the TransAm,  Lost Trail and Chief Joseph Passes (three miles apart) are tougher. If your plan is to go to Wisdom, you will have another 25 miles from Cheif Joseph Pass. About 5 miles of that is steep descent. The rest requires pedalling to one degree or another. Between Sula and Wisdom, a distance of almost 40 miles, there is no food or drink except for a rest stop in ID, just after Lost Trail and before the final push to Chief Joseph. Then how do you plan to get back north to rejoin the route? (I can give you an option to Butte.) Staying on the Trans Am beyond Wisdom will get you ever more mountain passes.

If you really want to skip Logan Pass, take Marias Pass and then go to Cut Bank, where you will hit the flats. The climb to Marias is long and there is more traffic, including RVs and trucks, which you won't find on GTS. You can break it up into two days if you can get a room at the Isaak Walton Inn. There is also a private campground before the pass and maybe other motels.

In an effort to tempt you, the last 24 in this set were taken during a 2009 ride up and back down the west side the day the pass opened:

At a minimum, I suggest you spend a few days at the lodge and make the ride up and back down without gear.

If you do opt for Loan Pass, send me a PM if you want a routing option to bypass Chif Mountain Hwy. and the section in  Canada, although I think Waterton Village is worth the effort.

General Discussion / Re: To Go Home or Not...That is the Question?
« on: June 19, 2013, 09:50:25 am »
During my group tour we passed somewhat near the home of one participant. Her mom picked her up and took her home for a short visit. She never rejoined the tour. While there were other forces at work, I am sure the physical and psychological comforts of home played a role in the final decision as we were less than a month from the end.

If you want to finish the trip and feel that it would be hard to continue on if you visit home, you have your own answer.

Whatever you do, you don't want to look back and regret your decision.

Routes / Re: Eastbound from Washington/Oregon
« on: June 18, 2013, 02:16:38 pm »
Where are you exactly? If you missed Sherman Pass, that was the 5th one.

FYI, according to the NPS site, Going to the Sun will be open in it's entirety to vehicle traffic on June 21st, weather permitting:

Looks like good timing. Even if opening is delayed, you may be abloe to cross on bikes during the weekends. I would definitely wait in the park if that looks like a possibility. You don't want to miss that hill. Besides, the alternative over Marias Pass is much longer. Stay at Sprague Creek or Avalanche campground and get a very early start. There will be enough light to start riding before 6 a.m.

General Discussion / Re: Pronounciation...
« on: June 14, 2013, 04:34:39 pm »
You say toe-may-toe, I say toe-ma-toe. I don't think anyone cares if you are slightly off from the "official" pronunciation. But FWIW, I say usually "pan-yeas," as in Yea! We won!

The campground in Worthington State Forest on route adjacent to the Delaware Water Gap Nat'l Recreation Area is $25 for non-New Jersey residents. Camp Taylor, next to the Lakota Wolf Preserve that I took a detour to, was around $30, though you get a discount on the price of admission to see the wolves. Driftstone on the Delaware, on route south of Portland, PA, is a staggering $42 before 9/1, $38 afterwards. (Closes for the season on 9/15). Delaware River Family Campground, on the NJ side of the river south of Columbia, NJ is $41. Dogwood Haven in Upper Black Eddy, PA, just off the route from Milford, NJ, was $15. The owner is a nice guy. He gave me that rate last year because I came by bike. Gave it to me again this year. YRMV. In general, I would expect to pay between $30 and $35 at least at private campgrounds in Lancaster County, south of Philadelphia.

Routes / Re: Riding west to east along the northern tier
« on: June 14, 2013, 10:34:18 am »
Found this:

I took it near the summit of Washington Pass.

Routes / Re: Riding west to east along the northern tier
« on: June 14, 2013, 10:26:00 am »
+1 on what PDX says. As noted, I got snowed and rained on crossing Rainy/Washington and Sherman. Both times it poured a cold rain between Sedro-Wooley and Rockport. Somewhere at home I have a photo of the large sign for Washington Pass nearly covered in snow. Those conditions are quite dramatic scenery-wise, but they can become dangerous when you start to descend.

Allso, leaving mid-May will substantially increase the chance that Going to Sun Rd. over Logan Pass in Glacier National Park will not be open, especially if the road reconstruction project is still going on. For example, as of today, the road is not open fully open to cars. There is a chance that hikers and bikers can cross the pass today through the weekend:

In 2009, the last time I was there, Logan Pass did not open until late June. A year or two after that, it did not open until some time in July. While a July opening is rare, late June is a distinct possibility. A mid-June opening is what you should count on. Even if the snow and debris has been cleared and the guardrails put in place, the NPS may keep the road closed up to a specific date to allow for uninterrupted construction activity.

It would be a shame to miss GTS. I have ridden up to Logan Pass three times. Its always a thrill. The alternative (U.S. 2 over Marias Pass) is a long slog and not particularly scenic. It also leaves youi with a pretty taxing day to get back on route if you want to follow the portion of the route into Canada to Waterton Village, which I highly recommend. Even if Logan Pass is not fully open, it would be worth going into the park, making camp at either Avalanche or Sprague Creek Campground and riding as far up the west side as possible.

Routes / Re: Planning trip from NY to Ca
« on: June 13, 2013, 02:41:41 pm »
I plan on spending a week in Colorado at my pals apartment. Then taking off to San Francisco from there. I'm not entirely sure what I'm up against during November and where exactly I'll be while enroute. I'm still working on that and have been reviewing the map a lot.

You keep saying November, but you are starting in late October. The portion of the TransAm from the eastern end to Pueblo is about 2,200. If you average 71 miles/day every day for a full month, with no days off for rest, mechanical problems and/or bad weather, you won't get to Pueblo until late November. Add another week of chilling to that and you are talking about hitting the western mountainous part in December.

If Amtrak has a freight service then that is news to me.

It does, but not between all points:

Regular bicycles and unicycles may be shipped on Amtrak Express. Bikes must be securely packed in a box; you may bring your own box or purchase one at the station (call ahead for details and to make sure that boxes are available). Bicycles are generally exempt from Amtrak Express size requirements."

You can only bring your bike on board with you between stations with checked baggage service. I suspect the same rule applies to Amtrak Express service.

IMO, if you are brining more than you can carry with you on the plane you are likely bringing too much. Use one pannier as your carry-on (or tape two together). Put the rest of the gear in a duffle and check it. Mail the bag home when you arrive. The only thing I would ship is my stove and fuel bottle to eliminate the risk of confiscation by the TSA.

Having your gear ahead of time gives you an opportunity to become familiar with it, and I doubt the checked baggage fees will be less than the cross country shipping fee.

As for the bike, with what most airlines are charging now, it's often cheaper to ship the bike UPS or FedEx. We typically go throuigh a LBS. Seems like they can get you a better commercial rate. While it adds costs, we have our LBS box our bike, ship them to a LBS at the start and have them assembled and tuned there. Saves us work, which is nice when you have just spent over half the day travelling and have to hit the road early the next morning.

For all, it's my understanding that Southwest recently uppped its bike fee to $75.

I live in Philly and am very familiar with the Atlantic Coast route from around Otisville, NY down to Conshohocken, PA and possibly a bit south of there. (I don't have the map for the section south of Conshy.) Just rode the stretch  between Port Jervis, NY and Philly earlier this spring as I did last year. These were taken between Port Jervis and Milford, NJ, with a detour en route to a campground and wolf preserve:

Feel free to send me a PM if you would like detailed info. on the route, sights, services, etc.

Routes / Re: Riding west to east along the northern tier
« on: June 12, 2013, 04:51:43 pm »
In your opinion, what kind of daily mileage can be expected when crossing through Washington and those first set of mountains?? I'm really intimidated by the idea of tackling huge hill climbs right from the beginning.

I'll defer to the other posters who've done it west-east (we rode west) on the approach to the first passes.  From there on, figure a pass a day until you get to the Columbia River.

I found out west that I usually ended up riding from one town to the next.  It could be done differently, especially if you're willing to load up on food and water -- again, YMMV.

Yes. A pass a day is how it works out unless you do some massive a mileage days. That's because, aside from Waucunda/Sherman, there is some noticeable mileage between the climbs. The decision is where you stay in between. For example, when you come over Washington Pass, you can stay in Winthrop or further down the road in Twisp. Staying in the latter will mean a shorter day when you climb Loup Loup but more miles after Washington Pass. Same with Loup Loup. You can stay in Tonasket, where Waucunda starts or stop short of there, making for a longer day when you climb that pass but fewer miles after Loup Loup.

Personally, I like getting as close as possible to the start of the climb. Less warm up but more energy. A few years ago we climbed Pipestone Pass on the way to Butte, MT. We stayed in Twin Bridges the night before. That meant some 15 or 20 miles of warm, shadeless, rolling riding before the climb. I think that contributed to the difficulty we had with what seemed on paper to be nothing very difficult.

On that note, I forgot to mention that from Colonial Creek, you get no warm up. You turn right ouf the campground, cross the bridge and hit what is probably the steepest sustained section of the climb. Several of us actually took laps around the campground to warm up our cold (literally) muscles.

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