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Messages - indyfabz

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Routes / Re: Going To The Sun Highway
« on: March 10, 2010, 08:26:47 am »
Btw, Nos. 228 to 214 were taken during our climb up the west side of GTS last summer and Nos. 194-152 and 145 are from the leg between St. Mary and Waterton Village, which we did in the opposite direction:

I am a veteran of the entire Northern Tier and did the section between Anacortes and Glacier a second time.  If you would like any additional info. send me a private message.

Routes / Re: Going To The Sun Highway
« on: March 09, 2010, 11:43:21 am »
Don't miss the pie in St Mary:

Seriously is right!  We had breakfast in Waterton Village.  When we told the owner where we were headed next he said the exact same thing.  Had dinner and pie there.  Everything was terrific.

Routes / Re: Moab Utah to Cortez Colorado(Mesa Verde)
« on: March 09, 2010, 07:36:59 am »
In '00 I spent about a month in Cortez (after we got burned out of the park) and drove from Moab to Cortez coming back from Vegas.  Yawn on the scenery.

If you have extra time and energy, you could do what Valygrl's suggests.  You go all the way to CO 145, swing past Telluride and go over Lizzard Head Pass.  From there, it's basically all downhill to Cortez, and it is forested until Dolores.

The climb into Mesa Verde N.P. is fun.  Up, up and away!

Routes / Re: Going To The Sun Highway
« on: March 09, 2010, 07:00:27 am »
I was just there last summer and in total have climbed the west side 3 times, descended the west side twice and the east side once.

1.  From a road clearing perspective, it is hard to know when the pass will be open.  Sometimes hikers and bikcers can get to Logan Pass before cars, but that is not always the case, and the east side of the road might be closed. The best thing you can do is check the park's web site as your trip progresses.  The NPS gives daily updates on which portions of the road are open to whom.  This summer the entirety of the road did not open until the 3rd week in June due to repair work necesitated by a huge avalanche during the winter.  It could be open all the way the first week in June like it was when I was there in '00 or it could be closed into July  You never know.  We had intended to cross west to east last summer on June 22 but were forced to go around.

2.  As noted, there is ongoing construction work that may cause delays and force you to share the road with convoys of dumptrucks.  The trucks aren't that big of a deal.  When you hear them coming, simply pull over and wait for them to pass.

3.  IMO, and assuming you are going west to east, you should camp at Sprague Creek.  It's small and thus not a zoo, and there are nice hiker-biker sites for $5/person.  Lake McDonald Lodge (a must see) is a short walk away.  Check out the room with the trophy heads then grab a beer at the bar and take it out lakeside.  There is also a camp store, but buy groceries at the store in West Galcier as the camp store's slection is poor.  From Sprague Creek it's about 13 miles to Logan Pass.  Start very early to beat traffic, to give yourself enough time along the way to takes breaks and photos and for the best chance at spotting wildlife.  If you are there mid to late June, you can hit the road at 6 a.m. and have plenty of light.  Starting early is especially important this year as it is the park's centenial so heavier than normal crowds are expected.  The first 6 or so miles you won't even know you are gaining altitude.  You might see a bear cross the road along this stretch.  The next 7 miles vary in grade, but there is nothing too steep.  If you keep a moedrate pace you should have no trouble reaching Logan Pass by 11 a.m.  When you get there, do the relatively short hike to Hidden Lake if the path isn't too snow covered.

4.  If you want to give yourself more time, camp at Avalanche Campground east of Sprague Creek.  But note that there is no food there so you will have to carry.  Also, because both are east of the Apgar Turnoff mentioned below, you cannot ride to them between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m.  If you stay in the Whitefish area, sleep in, ride to West Glacier in the afternoon (heed the map warning about staying off U.S. 2), pick up groceries and head to either campground one the bike ban lifts at 4 p.m.

5.  If Logan Pass won't open in time to fit into your schedule, you will have to go around via U.S. 2 from W. Glaicer to East Glacier, MT 49 to Kiowa and U.S 89 N to St. Mary.  We did that last summer in the opposite direction.  It's roughly 90 miles.  You could break it up into two days by staying in E. Glacier, where there are motel, camping and a hostel.

Routes / Re: C&O canal to Pittsburgh via cumberland MD.
« on: March 08, 2010, 12:33:06 pm »
According to Amtrak's web site, the station (including checked baggage service) is open 24/7.  Many moons ago Amtrak eliminated New York to Chicago service via Philly and Pittsburgh.  Now there is a train that leaves from NYC and terminates in Pittsburgh at around 8 p.m.  Passengers continuing on to Chicago on the Capitol Limited that originates in D.C. have to wait for that train to arrive in Pittsburgh at 11:48.  Chicago passengers origating in Pittsburgh and heading to Chicago also have to catch the Capitol.  In short, it won't be shut down.  In fact, that's the P.M. "rush hour" as the only other two trains are in the A.M.  Try this phone number:  (412) 471-6172.  If that doesn't work, call Amtrak toll free and they should be able to give you a direct number.  Also...The hotel may have a van shuttle that can accomodate your bikes.  Note, however, that Amtrak boxes are longer than your average bike box because you don't have to take the wheels off.

A final option if you don't need you bikes before starting the trip:  Ship them FedEx or UPS (I hear the former is cheaper) from a to a LBS in town and then pick them up.

Routes / Re: C&O canal to Pittsburgh via cumberland MD.
« on: March 08, 2010, 08:00:32 am »
You are correct about checked baggage on Amtrak.  You can only check it to stations that have checked baggage service.  I simply give the box back to Amtrak when I am done.  It's not expensive, so it's no great loss.  Usually all you have to do is remove the pedals, lower the seat post if the bike is large, and twist the bars and stem.  Check with Amtrak, but the station may hold your boxes in a secure area until the next morning.  There are hotels within walking/short cab ride from the stattion.

Gear Talk / Re: Gear for a three-day tour
« on: March 05, 2010, 08:29:50 am »
I crossed ND when doing the Northern Tier route and did CANDISC in '06.  Since there are only 6 trees in the entire state  :)  and the sun always seems to shine in the morning, a good pair of black arm and leg warmers seems like it would be enough, especially if you are working hard into those infamous ND winds.

Your handle suggests you are based in Bismarck.  Is that correct?  What route do you have planned?  I stayed at the Ramkota before and after CANDISC, and the event spent the night there after riding in from Strasburg which, as I am sure you know, is the home town of Lawrence Welk.  Got a tour of his preserved homestead from a niece of his and saw the bed where he was born.  I love ND.

Routes / Re: Kettle Valley Railway
« on: March 05, 2010, 08:14:10 am »
If I am not mistaken, an sotry written by a duo who cycled come of it appeared in "Adventure Cyclist" magazine within the last year.  Maybe you can contact AC and get a copy.

And have you seen this:

Unfortunately, I couldn't find any word on surface conditions.  But there is a link to a published book about the trail system.  Being a former railroad right of way, I doubt you will encounter singletrack.  Typically, a railroad ROW would be at least 15 ft. wide.  Usually wider.

From one commerical outfit that runs tours on the trail:

"Cycling on some paved roads and the unpaved Kettle Valley Railway trails, whose surface varies from smooth hardpack to loose gravel."

I would suspect that, like many trails, codntions will depend on weather.

Thanks, i will look this over.  Yes on the skinny tires.  i am a road guy so this is all new to me.
Thanks for the input and i might circle back once i dig in here. 

Then you probably want to head to Missoula via Drummond as someone familiar with Skalkaho Pass informed that the unpaved section is quite long.

Routes / Re: Biking for Local Food
« on: March 03, 2010, 09:15:08 am »
maybe you could fill BOB trailer with dirt and grow the food as you'll get plenty of sunshine/rain/etc and won't go bad as fast? : ;D

Ha!  The visual I have in my head is priceless because I can see someone doing something like this if it hasn't been done already.

General Discussion / Re: Cycle lane or another sad joke
« on: March 02, 2010, 11:49:04 am »
The sand and dirt is from the sanding for ice/snow and often does not get cleaned off until May of June.

They sweep the bike lanes in your neck of the woods?  Wow!  Here in Philly we have to rely on mother nature (in the form of rain) to wash the sand away.  It's truly pathetic.

General Discussion / Re: Gators in FL
« on: March 02, 2010, 11:45:01 am »
Watch out for the Jersey Devil.  Much scarier than any gator.   :D

General Discussion / Re: Passing other tourist riders
« on: March 01, 2010, 02:06:27 pm »
I also enjoy talking to the Harley riders - especially camping near them, guaranteed to entertain.

Definitely.  I camped in Montrose, CO.  There were four Harley riders there.  There was one male-female couple.  Their male friend, not wanting to be a third wheel, had a blow up doll attached to the passenger seat of his bike.  There were a few at the fish access campground in Ennis, MT when I stayed there.  They had a little party but weren't overly loud and obnoxious and never kept me awake.  The next morning, one of them was nice enough apolgize in the event that they had.  That's more than I can say for the loud RV-ers and car campers I have encountered.

I have a possible loop tour planed for this summer starting and ending in Missoula.  Stops in Darby, Winsdom, Wise River, Butte (day off there) Philipsburg, Hamilton and then back to Missoula.  Here are links to the daily maps.  At "show" you can select elevation profile to see the climbing.

I have done the segment from Missoula to where you turn off for the Pioneer Mountains Scenic Byway towards Wise River.  That portion is part of AC's TransAm route.  It's o.k. until Darby and then gets much better as you climb to Chief Joseph and Lost Trail Passes.  The Pioneer Mountains Scenic Byway is part of their Great Divide Roue and was recently paved.  From what I have read and seen, it's quite beautiful.  AC is riding it as part of Cycle Montana this year.  To get to Butte you will need to spend time on the interstate, but it is legal and there doesn't seem to be much traffic.

You say road biking?  Is that as opposed to mountain biking or will you be riding road bikes with skinny tires.  The reason I ask is that the penultimate day crosses Skalkaho Pass.  Much of the road is not paved so it might not suit you.  I am planning on going fully loaded with 37c tires.  There are motels and camping in every town except for Wise River.  There is RV camping there but I don't know if they can accomodate tents.  The motel is small so reserrvations would probably be a good idea.

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