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Messages - indyfabz

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Routes / Re: Going to the Sun Road Status
« on: June 09, 2011, 07:55:13 am »
My pleasure.  What I neglected to mention is that the visitor center, the roof of which you can see sticking up through the snow, sits on a small hill above the road.  I guesstimate that it's base sits about 15-20' feet above the road surface.

Routes / Re: On Elk Pass Now
« on: June 09, 2011, 07:48:36 am »
Mind you I saw a picture from June 4 on Glacier Park-Going to the Sun Rd and it did look a bit un-rideable.

A bit is an understatement.  Logan Pass is covered in what looks to be about 20-25 feet of snow.

Routes / Going to the Sun Road Status
« on: June 08, 2011, 07:57:30 am »
An amazing photo taken a few days ago which should give you an idea of how much work they have ahead of them:

Routes / Re: From Bannff or Boulder or Portland To Helena MT...
« on: June 06, 2011, 11:25:09 am »
I'd pick a city that's easy/cheap to get you and your bike to.


Also, if you were to start in Portland and cross OR, keep in mind that it can get crispy critter hot in August east of the Cascades.

If you decide to start in Banff, I would not pass up the opportunity to ride at least the west sie of Going to the Sun Road in Glacier National Park.  You could then double back a bit, head south to Missoula then Hamilton, over Skalkaho Pass (much of the way unpaved, with narrow twists and turns near the summit and some scary looking dropoffs) to the Anaconda/Philipsburg area and then to Helena.  Looks like the latter part would require some I-15 riding.

Seattle up to the Northern Tier to Glacier and then south as noted above would also be a nice ride.

General Discussion / Re: Hit by uninsured motorist
« on: June 06, 2011, 10:57:59 am »
Be actively involved in any criminal end of the incident.  (Hopefully, the particular jurisdiction has a victims' advocacy office to help you.)  It's quite possible that the judge will order him to pay restitution for any losses that you can't recover from some other sources.

I work in an industry where vandalism is fairly common.  When the vandals are caught, we often get restitution imposed as part of the sentence.  Depending on many factors (including jail crowding), this kid may walk with probabtion and could be ordered to get a job (if he does not have one already) and to pay restitution as a condition of probabtion.  If restitution is offered, it may take years to fully recoup your losses, but it may send a message and provide you at least some personal satisfaction.

General Discussion / Re: bike on UNITED airlines
« on: June 06, 2011, 08:00:18 am »
Looks like $100 to me:,,53403,00.html

Coupons?  Doubt it.  Although let us all know if you find any.

You can check UPS and FedEx, but my first instincts tell me that they won't be much cheaper to HI since it would go by air instead of ground.

For the first day, plan a reasonable distance to ride and a place to stay the first night, and just get out the door.

+1  And when nothing goes horribly wrong, you will realize that it's not scary.  But if something does, learn from it and realize that its an anomaly.

If you sit around waiting for the nerves to stop, you will never get out the door.

General Discussion / Re: Making the Commitment
« on: June 02, 2011, 10:02:07 am »
Sounds like cycling isn't something new to you, so I think you will find your rhythm quickly.  That was true for me on my first tour:  Seattle to Bar Harbor, ME then home to Philadelphia and on to Ocean City, NJ.  While I had been cycling for many years and had done a few week-long supported tours, my loaded riding experience consisted of not much more than a moderately hilly 62 mile ride one Sunday morning a few weeks before I headed to Seattle to start the trip.  And I had never camped before in my life.
Starting out with relatively easy mileages is a good idea.  Our first few days from Seattle up to the intersection with the NT near Anacortes were pretty easy.  The next two days, before we crossed the Cascades, were also fairly easy mileage and terrain-wise, although one of them was spent riding in a cold, steady rain.  All that was good preparation for crossing the Cascades, which we did the snow.

The camping part of the equation took some getting used to.  The first night I slept very little.  Sounds (including those coming from the very loud snorers in our group of 12) kept waking me up.  After a week or so I got used to it.

I also agree that rest days are best left for places where there are fun/interesting things to do.  Our rest days in Glacier National Park and at Lake Itasca were nice as there were non-biking activities to pursue.  In contrast, our rest day in Glasgow, MT was downright dull.  Not much to do in a place like that.  I remember being so bored on our day off in Minot, ND that I went to the zoo and then to see a movie at the mall.  I could have done that at home.  But I was with a group so compromises had to be made.

Can’t offer any insight into the commitment aspect as my situation was somewhat unique.  For almost two years I knew I was going to lose my job due to a merger.  As that time approached,  I begged to be let go in early May so I could take the trip.  I got a decent severance package and had no house, spouse or kids to consider.  Since I wanted to take the trip, committing was easy.

General Discussion / Re: Spring Snow in the West
« on: June 01, 2011, 10:06:26 am »
The North Cascades Highway (SR 20) is now open:

But be prepared for terrible conditions off and on up until mid-July.  You can get snow/rain/wind, etc in the early summer.

Check out the link in my May 18th post in this thread.  If I am not mistaken, '99 was the second or third latest opening.  Challenging, but epic.

What do you think?

I thought you would have left by now.

Routes / Re: Storms Destroying East Coast
« on: May 31, 2011, 09:35:48 am »
Haven't had it too bad in eastern PA and NJ, although there was a small tornado and a tiny earthquake that popped up on separate days last week here in Philly.  Could get some heavy thunderstorms tomorrow due to the 90+ degree heat and high humidity crept in yesterday.  So far, it's actually been more pleasant this year.  By this time last year we had already had several weeks with multiple days in the 90s.

Stop on by.  We are open for business.

Gear Talk / Re: Rack Platforms
« on: May 31, 2011, 09:19:57 am »
I love my Nitto Big Front (and Big Rear).  Gorgeous and super strong.

General Discussion / Re: Spring Snow in the West
« on: May 31, 2011, 09:14:21 am »
According to Gem Mountain near Phillipsburg, MT, Skalkaho Pass is now open.  Recent motorist describes a few potholes near the summit and snow on the sides of the road, but easily passable.

Rocky Mountain / Re: Bike shop in Denver area
« on: May 27, 2011, 09:50:39 am »
I'm just wondering if a $700-800 Safari (REI) or similar priced touring bike is adequate for me to "test the waters" of bike touring.

It would be.  Whatever bike you use, make sure it is properly geared for the terrain. 

FYI, if you ever want to do any touring in the Glacier National Park area, Glacier Cyclery in Whitefish rents B.O.B. trailers.  (Make a reservation well in advance.)  You can do a nice 8-day loop (including a day off) up into B.C. and Alberta that comes back through Galcier N.P. over Going to the Sun Road.  The GF and I did that in '09.  It was her first self contained trip and she really enjoyed it.

General Discussion / Re: Getting a Bike to where you are going
« on: May 25, 2011, 12:54:11 pm »
We'll be shipping UPS from Philadelphia to Missoula next month (LBS to LBS) for a loop tour.  Did the same two years ago for a loop out of Whitefish.  Using a LBS for the shipping may save you as I believe they get commercial rates.  (Shipping to Whitefish via UPS Ground was under $50/bike each way.)  The LBS in Missoula will assemble the bikes (at a charge) and hold the boxes and duffel bag for the gear, which will accompany us on the flight.  At the end of the trip, we will simply ride to the shop, drop the bikes off, and have the LBS ship them back to our local LBS.  The assembly and packing costs extra, but the convenience is worth it to me.

As for boxes, I have Pro XL II from Crateworks.  Stronger than a cardboard box, yet less expensive ($179) than a hard case.  And it's big, but not too big that you incur abnormal fees.  I can get my 60 cm bike along with my racks (not attached) and a stuff sack containing my stove and fuel bottle in it.  When I used one for a trip in Spain, I also got my sleeping bag and tent in it, too.  I have used my current one for 4 round trip flights and it’s still going strong.

As noted, Frontier and Soutwest have manageable bike fees of $50 (compare to Delta, which I believe is over $200.  Maybe as high as $275.)  Unless you are flying either of those, you might find it more economical to ship via UPS or FedEx.  We left 9 business days shipping to Whitefish to be on the safe side.  I recall the actual transit time to be more like 6 or 7.
If you use an LBS for packing and assembly, check well in advance as to whether you need an appointment.  Some are very busy during certain times of the year.

Amtrak is another very low cost option.  You can purchase an Amtrak box for something like $12.  It’s big and requires very little disassembly of the bike.  I believe the fee for the actual shipping (if you are a train passenger) is only $15.  The limitation with Amtrak is that, unless there is roll-on roll-off bike service, which is available  on only a very limited number of routes, you can only check bikes as baggage between stations that offer checked baggage service.  Such stations are often limited on many/most routes.)  Not sure if you can still ship via Amtrak if you will not be riding the train.  I know you used to be able to.  Check Amtrak’s web site for details.

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