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Messages - indyfabz

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781
Routes / Re: Route from West to East in September/October
« on: February 04, 2013, 11:21:33 am »
It can vary year to year in the northeast. When I did the nothern tier many years ago, I remember having a campfire in Dunkirk, NY, just west of Buffalo. That was early August. Central VT and NH were also quite chilly, but we were farther north than you will be. This year there was some early snow in the mountains of northern, PA and sub-freezing nights in northeast, PA/northwest NJ by mid-October. I also think my old high school in Deerfied MA got some snow in late-October/early November. October can also bring Nor'easter storms.

782
Routes / Re: Hartford CT to Pitt PA
« on: February 04, 2013, 11:03:46 am »
PA has a series of signed bike routes. I have looked at some of them and think they are nuts in places. Some scary, high-traffic roads. I think I understand why they did what they did--they want to use state-maintained roads, but that doesn't make it right.

Also, a while back all the links I had bookmarked stopped working and I have not bee able to find a link that takes you to the index that in turn allows you to see each route.

Here is a PDF of the route network:

ftp://ftp.dot.state.pa.us/public/pdf/bikes/bicyclepa.pdf

Here is what I think is the easiest way to get the maps for each route:

http://www.pahighways.com/other/bicyclepa.html

Click on the internal "maps" link for each route. That will produce an overview map of the route. Click on each circled number segment to see the individual segments. If you clink on the "directions" link, you will get a cue sheet of sorts.

Here are some suggestions with the disclaimer that I am not familiar with some of the roads/routes I am suggesting:

1. You could follow ACA's Atlantic Coast Route from Windsor Locks to Port Jervis, NY. From there, you can cross into PA at Matamoras and pick up the spur of PA Route Y, map segement 29B. Take that to main Route Y and follow that to Route G. Take Route G all the way down to Bedford. Using Google biking directions, get biking directions from Bedford to Cumberland, MD (It should give you three options.) Cumberland is the southern terminus of the Great Allegheny Passage rail-trail. That will take you very close to Pittsburgh. In fact, by sometime in June the last sesment into Pittshburgh is supposed to be completed.

2. Do 1 above but at Bedford, get on Route S west, gets onto the GAP trail at Rockwood (map section 9).

3. Take the ACA route all the way to Conshohocken, then take the Schuykill River Trail to PA Route S.

A couple of notes:  I haven't been up there lately, but it's my understanding that natural gas fracking activity has increased truck traffic on the northern tier of PA, which is used by Route Y. The good news is that you leave U.S. 6 and jump on Route G at Ansonia.

Can't tell you much about Route G except that it uses a porton of the Pine Creek rail-trail, which is very nice, and that it passes through the heart of Pennsyltucky. Expect hills when not on the trail.

I am a big fan of the ACA route south of Port Jervis through Lambertville, especially the section through the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area. You then continue down the river on nearly all quiet roads in PA and NJ and can pick up a rail-trail between Frenchtown and Lambertville, NJ. The eastern part of Route S also takes you through the Conoestoga Valley, which is quintessential PA Dutch. However, I understand that option 3 suggested above is the long way around. I live in Philly and am hoping to ride the GAP/Route S home from PGH in mid-April.

Send me a PM if you have any questions or would like more info. There are slight modifcations I would make to the eastern part of Route S based on my riding experience.

783
Routes / Re: Missoula to Banff
« on: January 31, 2013, 10:52:51 am »
If you have tires that can take dirt/gravel, take the Old Darby Alternative between Hamilton and Darby. It's really nice back there.

It's a long 75 miles. From Darby on you climb gently to Sula. A few miles after Sula (good sandwiches at the store there), things get steeper. But what really makes it a long 75 miles is the stretch after Lost Trail Pass. There is only a few miles of steep descending before the grade eases and you have to do a lot pedaling to get to town. But it sounds slike you will be travelling on the light side.

The people at the Nez Perce were really nice. When we arrived early eveing, they were away at a family function. They left envelopes with keys to each room taped to the office door. There was also a note explaining that we should simply pick a room and that they would be back later that night to collect payment.

This is pretty much the only place to eat in town, and it's pretty good:

http://www.thecrossingbarandgrill.com/

They have a neat bar decorated with cattle brands.  Note that the grocery store in town closes pretty early. 6 p.m. IIRC.

Don't miss the truck in Sparwood. There is a cool cafe/ cofe shop in an old church on your right in Coleman. Pincher Creek is a sad little town. IIRC, other than the Prince of Wales Hotel, the number of rooms in Waterton Village are limited so you might want to make a reservation. Same thing if you want a room in Glacier, N.P.

The Park Cafe in St. Mary is the place to eat, especially if you like pie. Before you get to St. Mary you will pass a small eatery on the left side of U.S. 89 called the Fire Horse Cafe. It's on the Blackfoot reservation. Had an excellent, hand-pressed burger there.


784
Routes / Re: Missoula to Banff
« on: January 30, 2013, 10:45:56 am »
Here is the tentative schedule:

http://www.nps.gov/glac/planyourvisit/gttsrfaq.htm

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:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/davez2007/sets/72157620763740044/

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.

785
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:

http://www.wfl.fhwa.dot.gov/projects/mt/gtsr/

When do you plan to hit Yellowstone?

786
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:

http://irondonkey.com/

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

787
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.


788
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.

789
General Discussion / Re: Traffic burnout?
« on: January 21, 2013, 02:38:16 pm »
Dirt.

+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.

790
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:

http://www.amtrak.com/downeaster-train

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.

791
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.

792
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.

793
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.

794
I do feel my bike would be extremely fast on the flats though.

Towing a full load, probably not.

795
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.

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