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Messages - indyfabz

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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.

General Discussion / Re: Need advice - NJ
« on: December 20, 2012, 10:07:03 am »
People tour on MTBs. I crossed the country with a group of people, one of whom rode a full-susppension MTB towing a B.O.B. trailer. My GF's first tour (in '09) was on a MTB. Montana, British Columbia and Alberta back into Montana.

If you could get a ride to Port Jervis, you could follow the route I suggested to Lambertville then stay on the D&R canal path. That would take you pretty close to home. There is also train service to PJ from Seacaucus Jct. I was able to rent a car from Philly. Surprisingly, Avis offered one-way rental to PJ.

You could also take the D&R system to Frenchtown and then make your way to Spruce Run recreation area, which opens May 1, camping at Upper Black Eddy, PA along the way. The camping area at Spruce Run is on the reservoir. Heard and saw some loons when we stayed there last Easter. If you were to stay there two nights you could take a day ride out and back on the nearby Columbia Trail, from High Bridge to Califon and beyond. Very pretty, especially during the spring when things are blooming. I can get you from Frenchtown to Spruce Run without too much climbing, but some climbing is unavoidable.

General Discussion / Re: Need advice - NJ
« on: December 19, 2012, 12:28:45 pm »
Where in NJ are you? I ride in Hunterdon and Warren Counties fairly often in the fall, spring and summer. Lots of great riding in those areas. Did the Black Bear Century for the second time this year.

For scenery and mostly quiet roads, riding from Port Jervis, NY, pretty close to Montague, NJ, through the Delaware Water Gap NRA and then continuing down the river makes for a very nice mini-tour. I did Port Jervis to Philadelphia last May. This is part of ACA's Atlantic Coast Route. There is camping on route just outside of Port Jervis, at Worthington State Forest near Delaware Water Gap, PA and at a couple of private campground south of there. Spring is a terrific time to go as there is very little traffic in DWG compared to summer. Another nice thing is that, for the most part, the hills are not that bad, although there are two nasty ones in the NRA. Not real long, but steep in places. Port Jervis to Worthington is about 35 miles, so you can ease into it. The camground at Worthington is right along the river. And south from Frenchtown, NJ you can take a nicely-surfaced trail as far south as Trenton.

Send me a PM if you would like more info and possibly some other ideas based on where you are in NJ.

Gear Talk / Re: Bike box / carrier
« on: December 03, 2012, 11:10:40 am »

Roomy, but sitll airline-legal. You can usually get other items inside, such a small tent, sleeping bag or racks.

Or you could have your bike professionally packed in the same type of box it was possibly shipped from Asia to your LBS in.

General Discussion / Re: The TransAmerican for a beginner?
« on: November 29, 2012, 03:11:23 pm »
I crossed the North Cascades W-E in October one year in the pouring rain. Climbing was OK, the exertion kept me warm but descending from Rainy Pass to Mazama I came close to hypothermia.

Heck, I came close to getting hypothermia due to rain on Sherman Pass (along Northern Tier in Washington) in June!

Me, too, only it was snowing. We camped in Republic. During breakfast we had flurries. Not a good sign. Coming down the east slope it was windy and snowing. I think that was around the beginning of the second week of June.

Routes / Re: Paris to the South of France (Mediterranean), and beyond
« on: November 26, 2012, 02:00:37 pm »

Buy detailed Michelin maps of France and simply link together the smaller "D" (departmental) routes that are in white and yellow. The choices are seemingly limitless so there is no point in suggesting a specific route. Just put together the little winding roads and go! Camping locations are usually marked on them as well.

That's pretty much how I planed a tour in Spain. I bought a good travel guide (I recommend the "Rough Guide" series, figured out what I wanted to see, bought a Michelin map of the region and picked the smallest roads possible between the towns I wanted to visit. Worked out well nearly every time.

Also look for journals at Finally, I got loads of camping information from the Spanish National Tourist Office in New York.

Having done so myself, I am with the folks who recommend taking the NT to the GP to Missoula to pick up the TA. You can easily get from Seattle to the NT.

As for the four passes, two of them--Loup Loup and Waucunda--are not overly demanding. The first (which actually consists of two close together, Rainy and Washington),
is the most difficult. However, there is a great town for a rest day east of the passes. The final, Sherman Pass, is harder than the middle two but not as hard as the first.

General Discussion / Re: Advice on Heading South in Winter
« on: November 20, 2012, 10:31:46 am »
I am curious how you managed it.  Did you get a roomette?  Did you take long layovers along the way to break up the travel?

At the time, it was all coach from Philly to Chi. Left around 2:30 p.m. and arrived in Chi around 7:30 the next morning. From Chi to Seattle I got a one-person
room/coffin. Departed around 3:30 p.m. and arrived around 8 or 9 a.m. the second day. (I.e. leave on a Monday afternoon, arrive on Wednesday morning.)
We were allowed to get out and stretch the legs for 20 min or so in Minot, ND and in Havre, MT. Otherwise, I just read, watched movies in the observation
car and relaxed as the scenery sped by. The route skirts Glacier N.P. Acutally saw some mountain goats coming down from Marias Pass. The next
morning it was light out when we went through the Cascades. Amazing, especially when you are on some trestle hundreds of feet above some gorge
and cannot see the tracks below you. The second year I did not have a room from Chi. Just slept in a seat in the lower level. The seats are larger than
your average train seat and had leg support. I find the train relaxing, and I didn't have any time constraints. Running around Chi for half a day was also fun.

Pacific Northwest / Re: San Juan trip - suggestions
« on: November 15, 2012, 11:25:24 am »
Do you mean Fort Worden outside of Port Townsend? If so, +1.  Have stayed there twice. Definitely nice hiker/biker sites and nice shore.

General Discussion / Re: Advice on Heading South in Winter
« on: November 15, 2012, 10:41:54 am »
Several good options given. Train with the bike. Train and ship the bike. Plane and ship the bike.

I priced an arbitrary date of 12/13. Cost for coach was $212. At this late date, a flight might cost you a good bit. Personally, I would take my
chances with a train over a plane from a weather delay perspective.

The route from MSP to JAX is the Emprie Builder to Chicago, the Capitol Limited to D.C. and then the Silver Meteor. All stations have checked
baggage so brining a bike is possible. Assuming everything runs on time, the trip duration is about 50 hrs.
(The Silver Service has a pretty bad on-time record.) Some people can deal with that. Some people cannot.

I have taken the train from Philly to Seattle with my bike twice. As noted, it was pretty easy. I checked the bike and a second bag containing my tent,
racks, sleeping bag and two panneris of stuff. I carried on the other two panniers. I re-assembled the bike and attached the racks with a set
of allen wrenches.

Gear Talk / Re: Touring Bikes - Surly LHT vs Novarra Randonee
« on: November 13, 2012, 10:32:46 am »
The Surly site has more detail over the spectrum of sizes than the REI site. For exampple, the Surly site tells you the stock bar width for
all frame sizes. The REI site contains no bar width information at all. As a broad-shouldered person who is also 6' 2",
something like that is important to me. I also don't see any geometry information, but maybe I am missing something. And, of course,
the LHT is available in more sizes and with 26" wheels. I would at least try to get more detailed information from REI. As noted,
test rides of both would be ideal.

Overall, I am pleased with my LHT. My first one was stolen and I didn't hesitate to buy a second one.

Routes / Re: Southern Tier in March of 2013
« on: November 12, 2012, 10:20:52 am »
I have ridden fully loaded in some very wet places, including the western part of Northern Tier starting in late May twice. I have never once used fenders.
The gear on my rear rack sits parallel to the bike, preventing any spray from hitting me. And if it's raining hard eneough, my feet are going to get wet
with or without a front fender. In fact, I don't think any one of the 12 on our cross country trip used fenders.

General Discussion / Re: Advice needed!!!
« on: November 03, 2012, 10:55:01 am »
2% of first-time bicycle tourists underpack, 10% pack just right, and 88% overpack. Don't worry too much about underpacking. Read some of the equipment lists over at and here on this site to get ideas.

Heh. I might go even higher than 88%. Nearly everyone on my first tour (cross country with a group of 12) mailed something home within the first week. My favorite was the woman who mailed home her blow drier and her Sony Watchman TV.

There is also a "how-to" section on Adventure Cycling's web site.

General Discussion / Re: Yellowstone North Entrance Info.
« on: November 03, 2012, 10:45:42 am »
I believe it's Old Yellow Stone Trail South. Hard to find good info. on it, but it seems to be part of an old stage coach route. If you look at Google Maps Street View where the north end merges back into U.S. 89, a little ways above where SR 540 branches off from U.S. 89, you can see that it's a dirt road. There is also a portion of it you can cycle in the park between Mamouth Hot Springs and the north entrance. Open one-way to cars but both ways to bikes. Check the park's web site for details.

Could be a nice ride. Last year we did a 20 mile section of unpaved road between Melrose and Twin Bridges, MT that turned out to be a hidden gem. If it's rough going, you can cross back to U.S. 89 at Corwin Springs and Miner.

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