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Messages - indyfabz

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Routes / Re: North Teir
« on: July 15, 2013, 07:48:20 am »
Starting when in September?

Even if at the beginning of the month, you should at least expect cold and possibly snow in the Adirondack Mountains. September 22 will the be the last day you will be allowed to ride the entire length of Going to the Sun Road in Glacier National Park due to an ongoing road rehabilitation project:

Sounds like you might be able to ride up and back down the west side. After that, you would have to take the Marias Pass detour.

Average nightly lows for Bismarck, ND in October are around freezing. Same is true for Lake Itasca, MN and Woodstock, VT. November is even colder.

One of many ways would be to get yourself to Butte, where you can stay in the kitchy motor lodge portion of the Hotel Finlen and eat a myriad of places. From there, take MT 2 over Pipestone Pass to MT 41 to Twin Bridges, where I believe there is a motel. There are also a couple of restaurants Then MT 287 through Sheridan and Virginia City to Ennis, where there is lodging and places to eat. From there, U.S. 287 will take you to U.S. 191, which will take you to W. Yellowstone.  IIRC, there is lodging in the Earthquake Lake area.

For a variation from Butte, take I-15 south for a bit and and then its frontage roads to Melrose, where there is a motel and good restaurant. Just south of town, you turn left onto Melrose-Twin Bridges Rd. (a/k/a Melrose Bench Rd.). It's not paved, but it's really cool back there. 20 miles of nothing but some free range cattle. It will take you into Twin Bridges, where you can pick up the route described above.

General Discussion / Re: I wonder why...........
« on: July 12, 2013, 07:31:55 am »
As some who tours and does fast road rides, I can tell you that just because you are going fast doesn't mean you cannot see and hear things around you. Not sure why some people think otherwise. I guess it's like lumping anyone riding fast on a light bike into the Lance Armstrong wanna be category. When I lead group rides I routinely point out people, places and things of interest and beauty.

I like touring alone because I like my alone time and I am comfortable with my own company, and going it alone affords more flexibility. That said, I also like touring with my partner because we get along on well in those conditions. Don't think I would ever spend a significant length of time touring with a group of strangers. I did that on ACA's Northern Tier group tour. It's not really for me.

Depends what you can/are willing to tolerate. I twice started from Seattle in late May. Took three days to get up to Bay View, which is just east of Anacortes. Crossed the North Cascades Highway (Rainly and Washington Passes) three days later. It started raining at some point during the climb. The rain turned to snow approaching both summits. The upside was that the scenery was dramatic and there was very little traffic. We also had snow in Republic and then climbing Sherman Pass several days later. Nothing stuck to the roads.

As noted, there are timning issues with Going to the Sun Raod, which you should realistically not expect to open before at least mid-June unless you get there on a weekend, the road has been fully plowed and there are no hiker/biker restrictions on the road.  The current road rehab project also affects the opening date. From Bay View I took exactly 14 days to get to GTS, including two rest days. That was not fast pace, but in some cases it was dictated by the spacing of camping and other services. You really don't want to miss GTS. The optional way around is a long drag with scenery that simply does not compare. It also leaves you with more miles if you want to get back on route to do the section into Canada, with a stop at Waterton Villeage, which I highly recommend.

East of the Cascades can be roasting during summer. Both times it was very warm from Winthrop, WA to Tonasket, WA in early June. I would not want ride through that shadeless stretch during a hot day in July. I have read and heard stories of people riding west towards the Cascades in brutal heat.

If I were to do it again, I would probably start from Seattle around June 1st and be prepared to hang out in Glacier if necessary.

General Discussion / Re: Shipping bicycles
« on: July 05, 2013, 09:25:13 am »
If you've already registered, contact your tour leader and ask about handling bikes.  Otherwise, Adventure Cycling can give you some good tips if you email them.

Scroll down and you will find an email address to submit your particular question(s).

General Discussion / Re: Fall riding on the northern tier
« on: July 01, 2013, 11:21:42 am »
I would also think the major mosquito action would be gone. They were horrible in places like Chester, Havre, Malta and Glasgow when were there in late June.

While the nights can be cool, the sun should warm you quickly as you will be in the great wide open. And if you get a nice tailwind, you can really move.

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!

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