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Messages - indyfabz

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Gear Talk / Re: Rain
« on: May 24, 2011, 10:24:21 am »
For the whole bike, it's possible to get a bike cover.  I use one when it rains at work when commuting, but it's too heavy and bulky to tour with, plus I'm not sure where to stash 40 square feet of wet bike cover.

I have in the past carried a cheap, plastic tarp with gromets.  Maybe 5x7 or so.  Comes in handy when there is no dry ground to sit on.  You can also string it between trees to create a dry place to cook.  I have also used it to cover the bike.  It won't completely cover the thing, but if you use bungees I can get most/all of the important parts of my 60 cm bike covered.  It folds down small enough to fit under your my tent, which goes  on my rear rack parallel to the bike.

Gear Talk / Re: Rack Platforms
« on: May 23, 2011, 11:46:40 am »
I have only ever toured with front racks with platforms.  I use it to distribute my weight, not as a tool carry more in my panniers than I normally would without it.  When I crossed the country, my sleepong bag went on the front rack.  For my next two tours, I had a more compact tent and it went on the front rack and the sleeping bag went on the rear.  Neither my seelping bag nor my tent would have gone in the panniers absent the front rack platform.

And I have never had any handling problems.  I think many people look at the setup and assume it causes problems.  I did a grand total of 65 fully-loaded miles with my original setup before embarking on a trip of some 6,000 miles.

BTW...If you don't have room for your bag in a pannier, you can put it in a light garbage bag before putting it in the stuff sack.

General Discussion / Re: Panniers: locking them up...
« on: May 20, 2011, 09:17:46 am »
It seems like a lot of extra trouble and a little extra weight for very ineffective protection against a problem unlikely to occur.  I'd say just keep the most theft worthy stuff in the handle bar bag and take that with you.  I met quite a few people touring, mostly on the TA and have never seen anyone lock up their panniers.


General Discussion / Re: High Visibility - Always Good or Not?
« on: May 19, 2011, 01:44:07 pm »
Thanks for the feedback!

With this, I believe I'll be going with my original desire for a "Blacktacular" Surly LHT with red Ortlieb panniers.  I'll also look into getting one of those high visibility yellow/orange triangles to cover my bike's rear-end.   ;)

You stealin' my look  ;D:

Routes / Re: I-84 Portland-Boise
« on: May 19, 2011, 10:06:14 am »
I rode it off and one heading west through the Dalles and then to Rooster Rock State Park.  I also took a bus ride from Portland to Boardman using I-84.  Noisy,  yes.  But the traffic (second week of September) was moderate east of Portland.  I remember it being realtively gentl grade-wise, and it's my understanding the wind blows almost invariably west to east through the gorge.  Personally, I would not want to spend that much time on an Interstate like that.  I also don't know if it's open to bikes all the way to Boise.

Your original route suggests that you are willing to do some hills.  Why not drop south on something like the John Day Highway and pick up U.S. 26 west of John Day?  Some pretty country (including the fossil monument) , although services are probably relatively scarce.  I do know that there is stuff in Condon.  The town of Fossil might have something as well.

General Discussion / Re: High Visibility - Always Good or Not?
« on: May 19, 2011, 09:27:22 am »
I think that if you are off the bike (or even on it) and a potential thief is close enough to see your bike, they are going to be close enough to see that you are carrying gear regardless of pannier, etc., color.

Darker colors hide dirt and grease stains better.  (I tend to get things dirty easily, which is why I opted for red Ortliebs rather than the bright yellow.)  From an aesthetic standpoint, they are less likely to stick out like a sore thumb from your frame.  The thought of, say, a "Blue Velvet" Surly LHT paired with bright yellow or day-glo green panniers and accented with with a blazing orange tent stuff sack makes me cringe.  At that point, you might as well go for broke and put on bubble gum pink bar tape.

I am with Staephj1.  Theft is not something I worry much about on tour.

General Discussion / Re: Spring Snow in the West
« on: May 18, 2011, 09:42:59 am »
The North Cascades Highway in WA is still not open due to massive snow pack, continuing snow and slides.  Crews have encountered boulders as large as cars.  The DOT web site says they are hoping to have the road open my Memorial Day, but they are not certain that will happen.  '98-'99 was a heavy snow winter.  This was taken near Wasington Pass right around the end of May:

You can't tell from the photo, but snow is falling.

Logan Pass in Glacier N.P. will probably not open until late June due to snow and reapir work caused by avalanches.

General Discussion / Re: Cross Country Trip: Money, What To Do?
« on: May 17, 2011, 12:39:44 pm »
I like the "game" of having things sent to me. Perfecting something like that goes with my personality and if I miss it, I'll be creative about it, just as you explain.

I had film mailed to me constantly for three months along with other treats from friends.  Other memebers of our group also got mail.  It was never a problem.

Try to choose a place where you will be taking a rest day during the week or maybe Saturday to help ensure the post office will be open when you are there.

Try to choose a smaller town.  General delivery mail goes to one post office, so if you have someone mail something to, say, Seattle, you may have to do some travelling to track it down.  Not the case in a smaller town that has only one post office.  My favorite mail story is from Browning, MN, which was a suggested mail stop.  A worker at the post office made a welcome sign for everyone in our group that had mail and hung it on the front door.

Contact the USPS to find out how long they hold general delivery mail.  Back in the day, it used to be two weeks.  That is a pretty big window schedule-wise.

General Discussion / Re: Planning Route - NO Shoulders...common?
« on: May 17, 2011, 12:00:17 pm »
I agree that 32s would probably be good for that type of surface.  Some unpaved road can be more rocky and gravel covered.  The worst is when they are washboardy.  We are going to have a 20+ mile section between Melrose, MT and Twin Bridges where that is a distinct possibility (not available on Street View, but research suggests so) so I am going to stick with the stock 37s my LHT came with.

Gear Talk / Re: clipless shoes
« on: May 17, 2011, 09:51:13 am »
I've had a pair of Shimano shoes with recessed SPD's for about 10 years. They are fine for just going into a convenience store, restaurant, market, etc. but I swap them out for walking shoes for any lengthy walking and as soon as I stop for the day.

Me, too.  Just got a new pair of Shimano shoes (MT33L I believe) to replace my old touring/commuter shoes, which were also a pair of Shimanos.  My off-bike shoes are usually some sort of sports sandal.  I also bring 5&10 cent store flip flops for nasty showers

General Discussion / Re: Planning Route - NO Shoulders...common?
« on: May 17, 2011, 09:38:23 am »
I am trusting google to show me the right path. I like the option of getting the sky view of the roads, that helps.

Depending on what you consider the "right" path, be careful with that, especially out west.  In more remote places, you won't always find Street View or the satelite images useful, and Google may send you over unpaved roads.  For example, pick Philipsburg, MT as a starting point and then ask for bike directions to Hamilton, MT.  Google will route you over the Skalkaho Highway (MT 38), which tops out at 7,300 ft.  You can see part of it on Street View.  What is hard to realize, however, is that the road turns to dirt for a long stretch, including the narrow, twisty, switchback-filled, guard rail lacking west slope.

(Watch once the descent starts.)

Personally, I am looking forward to that adeventure, but others might not consider it the right path.

General Discussion / Re: Surly LHT: Adjustments needed to fit me...
« on: May 16, 2011, 04:26:36 pm »
Ufortunately, the Surly LHT's have seat tube angles that are too steep and top tubes that are too long for touring.

So the 1000 or so comfortable, stable, fully-loaded miles I have put on both of mine were all in my mind?  Guess I had better a new bike before I head off to Montana in 7 weeks.

General Discussion / Re: Planning Route - NO Shoulders...common?
« on: May 16, 2011, 04:12:59 pm »
Perhaps useful:

Although I love the massive disclaimer that calling these touring routes does not imply that they are safe for cycling.

Gear Talk / Re: new OFF product
« on: May 12, 2011, 10:06:03 am »
Good info.  We will be riding in some mosquito infested areas of Montana in late June/early July.  I will pick some up and put them to the test.  But I will still bring my 100% DEET as backup.

Routes / Re: Portland to Boise
« on: May 12, 2011, 09:59:53 am »
While it's been a while (2002), I rode from Nyssa, OR to Sisters via Ironside, John Day Mitchell and Pinneville during Cycle Oregon using U.S. 26 off and on.  I don't remember any shoulder issues. You can always use Google Maps Street View function to see if there are shoulders.

Heading east, at Mitchell there is a relatively short climb of a few miles. Then there is a long (over 20 miles), elevation loss to the junction with SR 19.  The rest of the way to John Day isn't bad.  Wish I could remember more.

Bring lots of water.  It was very warm during the second week of September, and there was little or no shade much of the time.

Finally, if you are planning to ride McKenzie Pass into Sisters (worth the effort), check with ODOT first.  I saw some news stories reporting that its considering not plowing this year because of the estimated cost.  Apparently, there are drifts up to 30'.

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