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Messages - indyfabz

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General Discussion / Re: DIY Tips
« on: December 22, 2010, 09:28:41 am »
Letting cold water from the tap warm naturally and putting your pots in the sun before cooking can help save fuel.

If you store items inside your cooking pots, line the pots with something like a bandana to prevent surface damage.  Learned this the hard way.

The wind will usually dry wet/damp clothes quickly if they are attached outside the panniers (secure them tightly) or put in a front pannier with an outside mesh pocket.

Oh...Don't tug on Superman's cape. :)

Gear Talk / Re: Uncomfortable seats
« on: December 17, 2010, 02:34:33 pm »
For extended bicycle touring I go for big, soft tires and a big, soft seat. I wouldn't ride on anything but a Terry Liberator Y Gel Saddle. Over the years I have suffered plenty of pain in my hands, arms and feet but I don't even think about my rear end. Also, everyone I have met riding on a Terry Liberator Gel saddle has also been blissfully happy with it. This might be unfashionable as hell but it's what works for me.

We have never met, but I love mine, too.  And...REI carries it, so if you don't like it you can return it.

Gear Talk / Re: How accessible is propane on the TA Trail/good stove?
« on: December 17, 2010, 02:31:06 pm »
I use an MSR Dragonfly because I like to cook elaborate meals.  It has great flame control, a windscreen and is it's very stable.  It's also fully field maintainable.  Paired with a 22 oz. fuel bottle I can make morning coffee and cook two-pot meals for probably about 10 days and still have extra fuel for starting campfires.  The biggest "con" about the stove is that it's loud at full blast.  But because it is so powerful, it's rarely on full for all that long unless you are trying to boil very cold water.

Re: buying fuel, assuming you are burning "white gas" (MSR now calls it SuperFuel.  Coleman Fuel and Camp Fuel are other brands), over the years the quart size cans have become more available, but you might not be able to find them some places.  If that happens, you may be forced to buy a half gallon of Coleman Fuel.  That happened to me once.  I left the extra with the manager of a campground and asked her to give it to other cyclists who passed through.  One time I had an outfitter open a can of Coleman Fuel and charge me to fill my bottle.

Routes / Re: Different routes across Washington state
« on: December 17, 2010, 02:12:30 pm »
When you get to Rockport I would not recommend the Rockport Cascade Rd, the ACA route.

+1  And when in Rockport, stay at Howard Miller Steelhead Park.  They have Adirondak shelters.  Nice if it's been raining.

Routes / Re: A Monkey Wrench...
« on: December 17, 2010, 02:05:29 pm »
When would be the earliest I could depart Boston that would guarantee warm enough weather to stealth camp across the Northern Tier?

Not sure I understand the relationship between temperature and stealth camping as opposed to camping in established camprgounds and camping areas (e.g., city parks).

In any event, if you ar leaving Boston in early April and following the NT proper, you could very well encounter cold nights in the Adirondaks.  For example, the average nightly low in April for Lake George is around freezing.  Further west, Dunkirk, NY is 37.

General Discussion / Re: Eating ... not IF, but HOW
« on: December 17, 2010, 01:47:19 pm »
The broader your cooking knowledge, the more likely you will be able to keep your promise and give yourself the calories and proper nutrition your body will almost certainly be craving.  There are a wide variety of books on camp/backpack cooking out there.

Buying just what you need for dinner each night is fine in theory (and doing to at a grovery store rather than the campground store will likely be less expensive), but I like to carry around a 1/2 lb. of pasta with me just in case the store I planned to shop at is closed for the day, went out of business or burned to the ground the week before (actually happened).  That and the olive oil and spices I always carry will do in a pinch.

General Discussion / Re: Fundraising bike ride
« on: December 17, 2010, 01:27:57 pm »
Don't know how you are planning on financing your trip, but you need to ber vey careful if you plan to use some of the funds to pay for your expenses.  If Joe Smith gives you $100 thinking that it is going solely to the non-profit but really you use some or all of it to fund the cost of the trip, Joe could, in theory, be in trouble with the IRS if he claims that $100 as a charitable contribution.  He might also just be pissed.  Full disclosure is important.

If I am not mistaken, there was an older forum thread on this topic.

General Discussion / Re: photography and cycling
« on: December 13, 2010, 11:02:30 am »
Here's just an idle passing thought.  I've recently concluded that, for me, photography and cycling don't mix that well and I'm not sure exactly why that is.  I'm pretty serious about photography as a means of expression having worked semi-professionally at it for many years and logically you'd think being out on a bike would give a lot of photo opps.  However, I'm also pretty serious about getting where I want to go on the bike and focused on the ride as well as the passing scenery, but it seems I can't do two things at once - namely focus on riding my bike and focus on looking for interesting  photos at the same time.  Stopping for pictures every five minutes gets frustrating.  My last big ride on the West Coast produced some very unmemorable images apart from those I did while taking a day off from the bike.

Wow. Eeerily similar experience.  When I crossed the country I was shooting semi-pro.  I was also more mission oriented when riding.  I toted two cameras, including a medium format with power winder and three lenses.  Shot some 80 rolls of film between 120 and 35mm.  I was disappointed with most of it.  Some of that was due to the fact that I did mostly "street work" and not scenery.  But I always felt torn between riding and stopping to shoot.  Much of the work seems to reflect a person who was riding his bike and stopped really quickly to take a photo.  Consequently, the best shots were usually ones taken during days off or after the day's riding was done, when I could concentrate solely on shooting without thinking about the riding that still needed to be done.  The following winter I took one camera and one lens on my 7 week trip in southern Spain.  I tried to be less serious about both riding and shooting and got better results.  Now that photography is no longer a pursuit of mine and I constantly remind myself that I have all day to get where I am going, I find that I get better images on tour, even with a digital point and shoot.

Considering riding the NT in 2011.  What are recommended starting dates so as to minimize freezing/snow weather?

Which direction?

See my post above regarding my experience going west to east twice from Seattle starting the last week in May.  And note that there has been heavy mountain snow so far this season, although that doesn't necessarily translate into cold and snow later on.

While I found the conditions epic (see link below, which was taken in '99 near Washington Pass) and enjoyed the lack of vacation vehicle traffic, if I were to do it next year I would probably leave later for one reason:  Going to the Sun Road in Glacier Nat'l Park has been opening somewhat later than normal recently.  You don't want to miss that.  There is a major road rehab project that will continue next year.  Whichever way you go, and whatever time you start, make sure to check the parks official site for road closure and delay information.

Routes / Re: Wyoming and Colorado routing?
« on: December 08, 2010, 03:50:53 pm »
It's in AZ.  Go to Google Maps and type in Apache National Forest, Clifton AZ and you will see U.S. 191 between Alpine and Clinton.

And on Street View it does look Freaken Awesome.

Routes / Re: Wyoming and Colorado routing?
« on: December 08, 2010, 03:46:05 pm »
valygrl writes:
"If it works into your route, the 191 through Apache National Forest, Alpine to Clifton, is Freaking Awesome!!!! (and insanely hilly, and there are no services, but hey, it's sooooo great!!!!)"

I tried to look this up to no avail. I found an Alpine and 191 in Wyoming and a Clifton in Colorado but couldn't find an Apache National Forest. 191 south of Hobart Junction and down into Utah would certainly provide long stretches of "no services" but plenty of fine desert scenery. Looks a like a route worth taking.

It's in AZ.  Go to Google Maps and type in Apache National Forest, Clifton AZ and you will see U.S. 191 between Alpine and Clinton.

General Discussion / Re: folding bike
« on: December 06, 2010, 02:42:47 pm »
If you are still planning on flying, I am not sure a folding bike alone solves the problem of in-flight damage.  You might need a hard case.  Unless things at Friday have changed, you can buy a hard case for your Friday that can double as a trailer to carry your gear.  While doing part of the TA, I rode for a week with a couple on a Bike Friday tandem pulling their gear in the trailer.  They had no problem making good time.

I have an older Friday New World Tourist  (maybe 6 years old) that I bought for commuting reasons.  I persoanlly cannot imagine loading it with gear and touring on it.  The bike doesn't feel stiff enough for by 6'2", 215 lbs. frame with gears, and the small wheels aren't as smooth as larger ones.  But but many people do tour on them.

Another shipping option is UPS and/or FedEx.  Last year I shipped from the east coast to Whitefish, MT for a hair under $50.  The airline I was flying wanted something like $175.

General Discussion / Re: Atlantic Coast Route
« on: December 01, 2010, 11:28:11 am »
I did this section a long time ago ('99) but regularly ride on some of the PA and NJ portions so I can offer some detailed insight.

Norristown to New hope has some hills, but it's not particularly arduous.  Anything really steep is short.  There will be heavy traffic in places if you ride this section during a weekday.  I strongly recommend doing it Sat. or Sun. and the earlier the better.

New Hope to Delaware Water Gap, PA is mostly flat to gently up hill as you go upstream along the Delaware River.  There is one rather large hill above Milford, NJ and other smaller ones.  There is also a long slog up SR 611 heading to Delaware Water Gap as you climb above the river.  You should not encounter too much traffic in most areas.  Phillipsburg might be one exception.  Some of the road surfaces between Riegelsville, NJ and Phillipsburg, NJ may be chipped up a little.  There is an option to ride a trail from Lambertville, NJ to around Milford.  It's pleasant and easily rideable.  I have done sections of it riding a road bike on 23c tires.  I strongly recommend taking the trail at least as far north as Stockton, NJ as there is no shoulder on this stretch of SR NJ and it's windy in places.  North of the north end of Stockton, SR 29 widens and has a wide shoulder until it ends in Frenchtown, NJ.

About 8 miles north of Lambertville you will pass Bull's Island Recreation Area.  It's a fabulous place to camp.  Ask for site 66 or 67 close to the river.  Depending on the time of year, the place can be booked on the weekends (weekdays are mostly empty, except maybe during the time around Lambertville’s Shad Fest, and if you want to make a weekend reservation you must pay for two days unless you call Saturday morning and there is space available.  If you are concerned, start off from Norristown on a Sunday and spend Sunday night there.  The store in Stockton, NJ (in the old train station next to the trail) recently expanded their grocery selection.  They also have some prepared foods and make sandwiches.  Great wine and beer store in Stockton, too, just don’t let the park rangers catch you.

Worthington State Forest, across the river from Delaware Water Gap, PA, is another nice place to camp.  (Skip Shady Acres in Portland, PA).  Just note that the bear population in the Delaware Water Gap Nat’l Recreation Area has taken off over the years.  The ride through the Gap is beautiful, but you will encounter some hills.  North from Port Jervis, the road is a gentle up hill until you start a relatively short climb up to Otisville.

I don’t want to offer anymore detail since it’s been a while since I have been farther north, but I will says that I remember MA and CT being fairly hilly in places and that the U.S. 1 portions in ME were not that pleasant.  Lots of noisy traffic.

General Discussion / Re: Camping in the east
« on: November 22, 2010, 10:55:55 am »
A basic campsite in a PA state park is $17/night for non-residents.  $15 for residents.  I actually thought it would be higher.  NJ is $20 at the least.

Routes / Re: Northern Tier - travel direction
« on: November 22, 2010, 10:38:56 am »
East of Cut Bank, we had prevailing tailwinds in MT and ND.  However, I spent a week riding in ND during an organized event and the winds (which were fierce at times) were mostly out of the SE.

Based on experience and talking to locals, there are at least two isolated sections where the wind always blows in a certain direction absent some crazy set of circumstances.  One is between the road that takes you into Waterton Village in Alberta and the town of McGrath.  Tailwind going to McGrath.  The snow fences along the road tell the story.  The other is the section between St. Mary, MT and Chief Mountain Highway, which uses U.S. 89.  The wind will almost certtainly be at your back heading "east" (you actually head northeast).  It was when I went in that direction, and I had a killer headwind last year coming the other direction.  Fortunately, both of these sections are relatively short.

But as someone else wrote, I wouldn't base my decision on prevailing winds.  Other factors such as the chance of snow and Going to the Sun Road being open could be more important depending on your trip timing.

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