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Messages - indyfabz

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General Discussion / Re: 2010 Tour de France
« on: February 01, 2010, 11:36:43 am »
All I can tell you is from having watched tour coverage and having been on an organized tour built around the Giro.

Most of those people you see parked along the popular mountain stages have been there for days.  And moving on to the next spot after the stage goes through can be a nightmare, expecially if you are parked along a non-through road because all the vehicles parked along the sides of the roads and all those that go up with the race have to come back down.  And there are a zillion race-related vehicles besides the team cars that you rarely see on TV.

Also keep in mind that lodging can be a nightmare as well.  During our Giro trip we had to stay a ways way from the route several times because all the hotels were booked solid.  The TdF is the Giro on steroids.  There are not only the teams, but technical support and media crews from all over the world.

We rode portions of alpine stages. Consider getting bikes, leaving the car at the bottom of a climb and then riding up before the stage comes through.

Gear Talk / Re: Jamis Aurora vs. Surly LHT
« on: January 29, 2010, 08:00:40 am »
I love my LHT.  I never hit my knees on the bar ends while climbing.  Never had a problem with the cranks or BB during the more than two years I have owned the bike and ridden it loaded and for general commuting/errands, including many runs in the rain.  I am also on the heavier side--6'2" and about 210 during the height of the season.  I really love the wheelset.  I don't think they have ever needed any major truing or adjustment.  Says something coming from someone who is less of a spinner than he probably should be.  Very comfortable and stable ride.  I did have to swap out the uncomfortable Velo-something saddle for a Terry Liberator, but I hear that Surly has switched to a better WTB saddle.

General Discussion / Re: A couple of touring questions
« on: January 27, 2010, 08:30:43 am »
1.  You will not always have condensation.

2.  As mentioned, wiping it dry before packing helps.  You can also shake out the fly.

3.  Airing it out during, say, a lunch break is also a good idea.

4. If you arrive at your next camp with a wet/damp tent and the weather is dry, pitch it but hang up the fly up separately.  Both should dry faster that way.

5.  Some front panniers (e.g., mine) have out mesh pockets.  I put damp clothing in them and they dry quickly.  Otherwise, strap them to your rear rack as someone suggested.  Just secure them well or you may lose them.

6.  If you don't trust your stuff sacks, use lightweight trash liners to cover your tent and bag before stuffing them.

Routes / Re: Mexican excursion from Southern Tier
« on: January 22, 2010, 12:02:27 pm »
Dstory is 100% correct.  And the violence has spilled across the border on occasion.

General Discussion / Re: Best Cell phone coverage across US???
« on: January 22, 2010, 11:41:49 am »
Don't get T-Mobile.  I sometimes have service problems in the center of Philadelphia.  And their customer service is horrible.

Pacific Northwest / Re: Touring Around Crater Lake
« on: January 21, 2010, 01:21:47 pm »
Oops.  Forgot the link:

Pacific Northwest / Re: Touring Around Crater Lake
« on: January 21, 2010, 01:21:17 pm »
Here is a link to the maps from the 2007 Cycle Oregon ride.  The route was a loop from/to Sisters, OR.  It included a "rest day" at Diamond Lake where you could choose to ride up the Rim Road, ride around it, and then ride back down to camp.  Doing it this way allows you to ride the entire road without repeating mileage.  Most of this route is amazing.  Not only does it include Crater Lake, but also McKenzie Pass and the Aufderheide Highway.  Dorena Lake is just outside of Cottage Grove, where the parade scene of the film "Animal House" was filmed.  One day you ride a narrow, paved forest service road through a forest.  Beautiful.

The only issue is camping.  There is camping at Diaomnd Lake and Dorena Lake, but you would have to research the other areas.  I do know that there are motels in La Pine and (I think) near Rainbow.  We did it in early September, after the tourists had gone.  Weather was still pretty warm except for La Line, where it dipped below freezing.

General Discussion / Re: BRAN - Bike Ride Across Nebraska
« on: January 21, 2010, 11:47:41 am »
John--I am surprised to here that BRAN is really fast.  I have been considering doing for the last few years and thus have poked around the ride's forum.  I got the impression that there were a lot of slower riders.  A few years ago some of the route was in the sandhills region.  Many people were commenting about how tough all the climbing was going to be, but if you looked at the profiles only one day had anything close to 100 ft./mile  Guess it's all relative.  One thing that puts me off about the event is that the logistics seem complicated if you are flying in, and it seems that often a long bus ride from the meeting place to the start is involved.

And those wake up times ARE crazy.  I have done 3 Cycle Oregons and even on long, mountainous days most people don't get up that early.  A few people set out in the dark during CANDISC (see below) even on shorter days despite there being something like 16 hrs. of daylight.

Junkman--Inasmuch as you are in SD, take a look at CANDISC.  I did it in 2006 and had a great time.  It sounds a lot like BRAN in many respects.  Cheap. ($160)  Inexpensive homemade food.  Friendly, small town people.  No waiting in long lines for things like meals and showers.  But it is very small.  Under 400 people.  That may appeal to you.  And if 2006 was representative of the usual pace, it's not fast at all.  The biggest adversity was the wind a on a couple of the days.

Mid-Atlantic / Re: Welcome to the Mid-Atlantic Region
« on: January 19, 2010, 12:04:35 pm »
For camping, Bull's Island along the Delaware River about 4 miles north of Stockton, NJ is a nice spot.  You might need reservations on the weekends, and there is a two-night minimum on weekends unless you show up on Saturday and there is a space.  Worthington State Forest in NJ across from Delaware Water Gap, PA is also nice. Take the trail from Lambertville, NJ to Frenchtown, NJ (it may even go as far north as Milford now).  It's doable even on skinny tires, and NJ Rte. 29 between Lambertville and Stockton is narrow with no shoulder.  Rte. 29 does have a wide shoulder starting about 1 mile north of the center of Stockton, but it can be littered with gravel and broken tree branches sometimes.  In the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, the Walpack Inn has famous black bread. (It may be off route.)  The Erie Hotel in Pt. Jervis, NY has good eats.  A few miles up U.S. 209, the American Family Campground off route a tad is overpriced and, I here, could use a face lift.  10 years ago I was tenting there when hurricane Floyd came up the coast. The next morning I asked about one of their bare-bones cabins.  The owner said I had to take it for 2 nights (at $50/night) even though the place was empty.  The embarrassed woman working in the office called a motel down the road and secured a room for me.  Rode about 6 miles in a hurricane.  When the campground owner saw me about to leave he changed his tune about the two-night minimum, but I was out of there.  Not the sort of guy I would ever give business to again.  The motel/retaraunt is called the Cornucopia, and the owner was very nice.  Supposedly have terrific German food.

Had the pleasure of riding the entire Rim Road in 2007, including the tail out to Cloud Cap Overlook, as part of Cycle Oregon.  Amazing place.

Routes / Re: Chicago to west coast?
« on: January 18, 2010, 11:42:25 am »
AC's Northern Tier route passes through Odell, IL, about 100 miles from Chicago.  You could hop on their, take it to outside Anacortes, WA and then take their Pacific Coast route to Seattle.  But it would be a pretty tall order to do it in 35 days.  From Muscatine, IA to Anacortes alone is over 2,700 miles.  Odell to Muscatine is probably another 200 miles.  And it's another solid 2 days to Seattle from Anacortes.  Even if you could save a day or two buy skipping the trip into Canada from Cut Bank, MT, you would still need to average close to 90 with no rest days to make it in 35 days.  You could trim a few days off of that by taking the shorter alternative through MN--going from Dalbo, MN to Fargo, ND without going up north to Grand Rapids, MN, but then you would miss Lake Itasca, where the Mississippi River starts.  (If you look at the Norther Tier maps detail on the AC web site this will make more sense.)

To give you an idea, when I did Seattle to Maine using the Pacific Coast and Northern Tier routes, I started around May 27th.  Got to Fargo, ND on July 6th.  Taking the long way through MN took another 2 weeks.  Averaged about 60-65 miles/day with a day off every 6th or 7th day.

If it turns out you will be pressed for time, consider taking the train to Minneapolis and starting from there.  (Seattle is also convenient for taking the train back to Chicago.)

As for scenery, it all depends on what you consider scenic.  I happen to love the rolling farms of ND.  Others don't get excited about that. The Northern Tier route uses Going to the Sun Road in Glacier National Park.  You can't get much more scenic than that from a mountain perspective.  The ride along Lake Koocanusa between Eureka and Libby, MT and the North Cascades Highway in WA are also quite pretty, just to name a few.

General Discussion / Re: Dry Counties on the TransAM
« on: January 14, 2010, 02:04:02 pm »
Here is a starting point:

You can match what you can find with the couty names shown on the maps.

But unless you are going to go off route you might find yourself high and dry unless you carry your own supply.

General Discussion / Re: Amtrak Travel folder style
« on: January 14, 2010, 11:33:38 am »
Try to find a seat near where the box will be stashed.  (That will depend on what type of train equipment is used on your train.)

Get up and check on it periodically.  If it walks off between stops alert a member of the train crew.  It can't have gone far.

Keep in in sight at every stop.

I really don't think you have much (if anything) to worry about.  You could have a piece of carry on in the rack above your head, fall asleep or go the bathroom and have it walk off.  In fact, that's probably a more likely scenario (See recent charges against Cybil Shapherd's son for allegedly stealing from carry on bags while in flgiht) than someone trying to walk away with your bike box since in the former scenario they could rifle your bag for valuables and then dump it back on the overhead rack of another car.

Routes / Re: Transamerica general questions
« on: January 14, 2010, 09:10:00 am »
One way to look at it:  4,750 miles.  Maximum of 63 days (9 weeks).  To average about 80 miles/day (79.16) would mean only 3 rest days, which is one every 21 days on average.  That's an average of 560 miles/week for 3 weeks--non-stop and then one day off.  Repeat.  Repeat.  IMO, that's very agressive.  With such a high daily average, having to take an unscheduled day off for something like horrible weather conditions, sickness or mechanical trouble will require more effort to get back on schedule that would be required with a lower average.  But if that's what it has to be, you feel you are capable of it AND you feel you would enjoy it, I say go for it.

General Discussion / Re: Bike Rack Reviews
« on: January 13, 2010, 12:53:36 pm »
I got a pair of Bob Beckman racks nearly 11 years ago, and in 2008 I got him to make me a new pivot mount so I could retrofit the rear rack to a new touring bike.  Bomb proof and great looking.  The front rack's large platform is particularly handy.  When I toured with a North Face Slickrock tent I could it easily fit on the front rack lengthwise.  The rear rack also has a long and wide platform.  Holds my Velox 3 tent lengthwise with no problem.  You will never have to put anything perpendicular to the carrying surface.

Assuming the guy in still in business, be prepared to wait for your stuff.  You may even have to leave a message with his wife.

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