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Messages - indyfabz

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General Discussion / Re: My Horizontal Everest : TA
« on: May 30, 2012, 03:54:03 pm »
Another option:  from Seattle, take a ferry and get onto ACA Pacific Coast route. Take that to where it intersects with the Northern Tier route. Take the Northern Tier to Whitefish/Columbia Falls and get on ACA's Great Parks route to Missoula to join up with the Trans Am. Take the Trans Am to the Atlantic Coast route, which will take you to D.C.

Also, at Whitefish you can stay on the Northern Tier to Glacier National Park, ride up and back down the west side of Going to the Sun Road and then head back to Whitefish and pick up the Great Parks. Well worth the few extra days.

General Discussion / Re: Bon Ton Roulet
« on: May 30, 2012, 09:06:36 am »
We had a rest day in Watkins Glen like they are doing this year. The Gorge was a nice walk. It was very humid on our off day. The swimming pool, which is huge, was a welcome amenity. There was also a dinner boat cruise you could take. I didn't do it, but others said it was nice.

One warning if you are planning to treat yourself to a motel in Watkins Glen like several members of my club did. The place they reserved was a real dump. I think it was called the Glen Way, but I am not certain. Bugs and cobwebs in the room and at least one non-functioning toilet.

Also, watch out for the cops. Lots of riders were blowing through stop signs on the way to the camping location at the school. The cops were not happy and told the organizers that they were going to ticket riders.

Gear Talk / Re: Bike shorts + chamois cream (Experience)
« on: May 29, 2012, 03:56:26 pm »
I have taken to using some type of cream because I find it helps me. I don't even know any racers or anyone who endorses the stuff.

Use something that is water soluable (i.e., something unlike petroleum jelly) like Belgium Butter and try to wash yor shorts each day if only for bacteria build up reasons.

General Discussion / Re: Bon Ton Roulet
« on: May 29, 2012, 03:50:31 pm »
I did in '06. You can take a duffel bag that is large enough to hold everything you need unless you are bringing a tent the size of Grand Central Terminal and a different off-bike outfit for each day. I brought a medium sized 2P tent, ThermaRest, sleeping bag, maybe five sets of riding clothes, a couple of sets of off bike clothes, towel, etc. I probably had a flat pillow, too.

Definitely don't abuse the staff. It's minimal commpared to something like Cycle Oregon, which I have done three times. There were no "sherpas," so you had to carry you own bag to the truck where there were one or two helpers who would assist with loading. You also had to carry your own bag to wherever you wanted to pitch your tent. Definitely use a dry bag or put your stuff in a garbage bag inside your duffel. The penultimate day it rained cats and dogs. The luggage was placed under a giant tarp, but people moved the tarp while searching for their bags and didn't bother to make sure they hadn't left bags on the fringes uncovered. Also, the people who unloaded the luggage managed to find the lowest spot of ground at the bottom of a ski lift. I saw some bags with pools of water on top and others sitting in inches of water.

If the last few years signify a trend, I would be prepared for rain, either on the road or in camp. I have spoken with several people who have done it recently. They experienced a good deal of rain.

Lunch is on your own. I generally didn't stop for lunch but rather just had snacks at the rest stops and my own Gu and Cliff Bars. It was warm the year I did it so I wanted to get off the road early. I usually bought lunch in the finishing towns. I liked the wine carrying feature. You could stop at selected vinyards and buy wine. A van would cruise by and pick up and transport purchases until the end of the tour. Or if you happen to see a SAG van hanging out in a town where there is a wine store, you can buy a couple of bottles and leave it with the driver.

The last night they threw a big kegger with catered BBQ.

Depending on the route, there definitely can be some extremely steep grades going W-E. There was one hill that many people walked at least part of. A 24x34 should do the trick.

General Discussion / Re: Bear spray on Transam in Rocky Mountains
« on: May 29, 2012, 07:39:10 am »
The funny thing about wildlife habitat in the western Unted States? It's growing into the urban areas as certain species become very good at thriving among the humans and their vast supplies of free food and nice places to hide.

Funny you should mention this. Just got done watching a story on GMA this morning about a bear that took a dip in a residential swimming pool in Monrovia, CA.

Last week I saw two different stories about bears. One was captured in Steamboat Springs. The other in a heavily populated area Bucks County, PA, not that far from Philadelphia.

Saw one bear on the TA at the campground Jenny Lake in the Teetons. (Despite being warned that a bear had been seen around camp during the previous few days, an uncaring cyclist left his trash on his picnic table while he wandered off to try to get a cell phone signal.) It was a young one. Likely something had happened to the mother or she drove him off after becoming pregnant again early. A few pots and pans banged together scared him off.

As noted, your chances of even seeing a bear are generally remote, except maybe in Yellowstone where you won't be doing any wilderness camping unless you leave the bike behind and go into the backcountry. The three black bears seen during my rides on the Northern Tier wanted nothing to do with humans. They simply crossed the road and went about their business.

BTW...Unless you are going to be traveling up some unpaved road for a few miles, those U.S.F.S. campgrounds are not likely to be that remote. Many are right along the highway and can be heavily occupied depending on the location and time of year. Madison and Colter Bay campgrounds in Yellowstone N.P. were insanely crowded near the end of June. I did see some old evidence of bear activity (ripped up tree stumps) at the primitive ACA/U.S.F.S. campground on the east slope of Togwotee, but even that place is close to the highway. And with it's stunning view of the Teetons, it's worth any risk you might be exposing yourself to. Just use the bear box.

Routes / Re: Nevada and Utah 2011 ? Advice & tips please
« on: May 29, 2012, 06:43:00 am »
FYI: T-Mobile does not work well in remote areas in the US.  I use T-Mobile and will be crossing NV next week on US 50 expecting 3+ days without service.

Remote areas?  T-Mobile doesn't work all that well in the fifth largest city in the U.S. I sometimes had to leave my house to get a decent signal. In rural MT last year, my GF had several dead zones with AT&T. I had Verizon and had far fewer dead zones.

Routes / Re: Gibson Pass or Lost trail Pass?
« on: May 24, 2012, 02:21:26 pm »
Thank you very much, had no idea![/quote]

No idea of what?

General Discussion / Re: Overall weight for touring
« on: May 24, 2012, 09:48:11 am »
What pdlamb said, except that my guess is that you added the text books and water solely to test the bike with additional weight. The first time I rode with any load I carried phone books just to get a feel before I loaded up the bike with the stuff I would take on tour.

If you are comfortable with the load, go for it. Don't let anyone tell you what you should and should not take. On my first tour (x-country and more), I carried probably 15 lbs. of camera equipment, if not more. I am sure it made me work harder, but I never once regretted having the stuff. Today, I carry a small cutting board and small Santoku knife because I like to cook more elaborate meals. Some people like to fish and thus take along fishing equipment.  And I never weigh my load. While sometimes I am curious about the weight, in the end it doesn't matter. The key question is whether I am comfortable carrying what I have.

Gear Talk / Re: Temperatures on the Northern Tier?
« on: May 22, 2012, 10:11:07 am »
Starting from MA in mid-June, I'd be more concerned about the heat. July was brutal in IA, IL, and IN. Daily highs were at least 90. A couple of days near 100 degrees and at least two days over 100. In Fletcher Lake, IN the low was 85. And every day was very humid. Sleeping on the concrete floor of the airconditioned facility in Monroeville, IN was heaven. The next day, the heat broke as we headed into OH.

Note that corn provides little shade.

Routes / Re: Gibson Pass or Lost trail Pass?
« on: May 22, 2012, 09:33:55 am »
I hope you understand that neither is a trail in the sense of a bike trail. The option over Lost Trail Pass uses paved highways. Gibbons Pass uses unpaved U.S. Forest Service roads and rejoins the paved highway (U.S. 93) just east of the store/campground in Sula.

Which is better depends, in part, on your tolerances and preferences. One is unpaved. One is paved. Gibbons is more isolated since it's through the forest rather than on a main highway. If it has been raining, Gibbons might present mud issues. You probably have a better chance of seeing more wildlife on Gibbons because it's more isolated.

Routes / Re: USA touring routes - September?
« on: May 21, 2012, 11:30:12 am »
Now to look into flights, maps, accomodation and all that other necessary business!  :D

Here is a handy publication for the OR coast:

General Discussion / Re: Where do you get water from?
« on: May 21, 2012, 11:16:57 am »
I fill up where I stay, if at a camp or room.  On the road eight times out of ten I fill from the drink dispenser in a minimart or fast food place.  I usually ask first and take ice as well.  I also buy something like snacks or whatever.  I don't recall ever being told no to that request.  If I eat at a diner or other restaurant I ask them to fill my bottles.  The remaining times I fill from whatever I find.  In a few places the water was nasty enough that I would buy bottled water.

+1 on all of those things. Many, many times people in places like bars or diners have cheerfully offered to add ice, at least in the west and midwest. I never buy bottled water unless I will be riding a stretch with few/no services and need extra capacity or the water is really skunky.

Routes / Re: Gibson Pass or Lost trail Pass?
« on: May 20, 2012, 06:22:01 pm »
Supposed to be nice if you don't mind unpaved surface. The folks at The Bicycle Barn in Hamilton said our 37c tires should be good enough. Going west to east, we stopped at the U.S.F.S. ranger station at Sula to inquire about the status. Unfortunately, the employee we spoke with said it was still snowed in so we opted for the road. When we gotten several miles up the road the employee chased us down in a pickup to tell us that she was mistaken and that it was a side road that was still snowed in. She didn't want us giving incorrect info. to anyone coming the other way. We had gotten a late start from Daby that morning and did not want to backtrack so we stayed on the road to Lost Trail and Chief Joseph.

This was at the end of June. Maybe you can call from Wisdom and ask about the status.

Routes / Re: Transam trail from Twin Bridges to Missoula, Montana
« on: May 18, 2012, 07:45:46 pm »
Trail Ikenberry: Twin Bridges - Butte - Anaconda - Georgetown Lake - Drummond - Clinton - Missoula

Those are the places we went through via the route I described up to Philipsburg, where we took Rock Creek Road. If you stay on MT 1 to Drummond and then head to Missoula you will end up riding more miles on I-90 because, as Carla notes, in some places there are no frontage roads.  I would either stay on the Trans Am or take one of the routes I suggested. BTW...Sklalkaho has a long section of dirt. From the videos I have seen it looks amazing (The descent starts around 1:25 min.):

And you can pan for Sapphires at Gem Mountain.

Again, send me a PM if you would like more details.

Routes / Re: Transam trail from Twin Bridges to Missoula, Montana
« on: May 18, 2012, 01:08:02 pm »
Forgot to put in a plug for the bike camp in Twin Bridges. Very nice facility right on the river. We met one of the founders when we stayed there. Good grocery store in town along with a couple of places to eat  an a coin-op laundry.

Also forgot to mention that if you go to Butte via MT 41 and MT 2. Granny's Store is the only place to get food and water, and it's not that far from Twin Bridges. After that, you won't find anything until you hit the sprawl on the edge of Butte. There is no shade on MT 41, so if it's hot bring plenty of water. Climbing Pipestone, you can take a rest in the shade of the forest, but there was no shade on the road.

I suspect John is correct about the book being dated. A lot of the sprawl in Butte appeared to be relatively new. The entrance into town has a good deal of traffic, and because I-90 slices through the town, it can be a little tricky to navigate. I picked a route using Google Maps and it was pretty much a good one, but the way you go will depend on where you are headed in town. My route was based on getting to the Hotel Finlen in the Uptown part of the city, which is the historic part. If you are just passing through there is no need to go up there. (It's a good climb.) If you want to avoid a riding I-90 as much as possible, you need to take the frontage roads on the south side of I-90. A portiojn is unpaved, but it's easy riding. At some point, you cross under I-90 from Wild Horse Meadow onto Bossard (it looks like a drainage pipe) and follow that to interchange 211. We got on I-90 there for 3 miles to the exit for MT 1. Easy riding. Shortly after getting on MT 1 there is a nice new rest area with bathrooms and cold water.

Google Maps shows a road called Crackerville on the south side of the 211 interchnage that leads to a frontage road that ultimately leads to MT 1. However, if you look at Street View it looks like that road no longer really exists. Look at the alleged interserction of that frontage road and MT 1 and you will see what I mean. When I was out there I looked for the road and didn't see it. Whatever you do, do not take the idilic sounding Blue Bird Trail out of Butte. It's not a bike trail as its name suggests. Looks like it might have been a wagon or catle trail once upon a time. We had to walk some of it.

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