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Messages - indyfabz

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General Discussion / Re: Question: Highway Troubles?
« on: March 04, 2013, 09:53:23 am »
1. IIRC, the section of I-80 east of Rawlins is about 16 miles. I rode it early in the morning heading east on a July 5th and ecountered little traffic.

2. 47 miles of Interstate riding on the NT? Where? I don't remember any interstate mileage. Could it be the re-route around the Wlliston area has added intersate mileage or that I am simply getting old?

3. Unless I am mistaken, every inch of interstate in MT is open to bicycles. A few years ago we rode a couple of 3 mile stretches of I-90 when no thru frontage roads were available.

4. As for crossing ramps, as noted, stop and wait for a break in traffic. Another thing you can do if there are on and off ramps for your direction is exit and then get back on using the on ramp. I did this while riding an extremely busy stretch of limitred access highway that rings Sevilla.

General Discussion / Re: Beginner out and back camping in NW?
« on: February 25, 2013, 02:29:13 pm »
If you don't mind some dirt, drive to Philipsburg. At the Sinclair gas station, turn right off MT 1 onto MT 348, climb the hill and descend to the memorial bridge across Rock Creek. Leave your vehicle there are ride down stream to this place:

Ask for (or reserve ahead) site 21, which is close to the creek. There is also a cabin available for rent. The food is darn good so you don't need to bring cooking gear. (There is nowhere to buy groceries anyway.)

IIRC, it's about 30 miles of unpaved surface and 9 or so more of paved road. (Either that or 20 miles of dirt and 9 of pavement.) Beautiful back there. Several places you ride right next to the creek. Lost of forest, too. Virtually traffic-free when we rode it in '11. Except for a few spots it's like riding on a rail trail grade-wise. Any noticeable up hill sections will be short. Our Surly LHTs with 32c tires easily handled the surface. Keep your eyes peeled for moose. Near the end of the dirt portion there is a neat cable and wood suspension bridge across the creek. Not long after you pick up pavement there is an outfitter on the right called Trout Bum. The owner makes good coffee and has a neat collection of flies. Other than that there is nothing commercial until the campground, so bring enough food a water.

General Discussion / Re: Campsites and bike theives!
« on: February 22, 2013, 10:28:57 am »
What John said. Someone once plotted to steal my stove. The cyclist camping area was next to a road that lead to a residential area (possibly a trailer park.) Yhe only thing separting the two was a low post fence. Two teens drove by and saw that I had left my stove out. The driver stopped and the passenger got out and headed to the fence. I was sitting outside the laundry room, saw what was going on then started to walk briskly toward my tent. The kid, who was just about to hop the fence, jumped back in the car and the two sped off. I created the perfect opportunity crime by leaving something valuable in sight and easily accessible in a area with fairly regular traffic.

In general, I assess my surroundings to determine what precautions are prudent, taking into account several factors, especially public visibility and access since I feel there is usually (but not always) very little risk posed by fellow campers. With that said, I always take my money, cards and ID with me.

Did a quick search. Avis Rental Car allows one way to the Bangor, ME airport. Rate depends on car size and time of year. Interestingly, their web site asks for home country. Unless I missed something, Holland/Netherlands is not listed.

General Discussion / Re: car storage
« on: February 15, 2013, 02:56:39 pm »
Another possibility is the Helena Airport.  Most airports have long term parking lots at fairly lows daily rates and smaller city airports can be very innexpensive.

Yep. Airport parking for $15/week:

If Helena's airport is anything like FCA (near Whitefish) and Missoula's, parking with you bike and riding out shouldn't be much of a problem. They aren't like JFK.

Contains an internal link for a map of lots and garages downtown:

During Cycle Oregon last year we stayed two nights in Ashland. There, we saw an honest-to-goodness phone both. The door was missing, but the rest was in tact an working.

General Discussion / Re: Self Contained Touring in Northern Minnesota
« on: February 06, 2013, 02:26:16 pm »
My only quibble is that there are often frost cracks on the highway shoulders every ten feet or so but this is hardly a major problem.

When we crossed into MN from ND we hit them almost immediately. Kathunk, kathunk kathunk every few seconds, but it wasn't nearly that bad most places.

OP: Grand Rapids is the home town of Judy Garland. Saw a bear cub in Malmo. Bemidji has its own gaint Paul Bunyon and Babe statues. My biggest annoyance were the skeeters. A coulple of afternoons I set up my tent find blood spots on the hite parts from skeeters that had gotten in that morning and been squashed when the tent was rolled up.

Routes / Re: Hartford CT to Pitt PA
« on: February 05, 2013, 10:35:00 am »
No problem. I think the single craziest section I have seen is on Route J coming out of Harrisburg. U.S. 22/322 can have very heavy and fast traffic depending on the time of day. While there is a shoulder (complete with rumble strips that push you towards the guardrail), it would be miserable riding when it's busy. To see this, one need only use Google Street View for the stretch of U.S. 22/322 betweent the city and the bridge crossing the river and understand that the traffic you see can probably be considered on the light side. Route J then continues up the Susquehanna on U.S. 11/15. That can also be busy and noisy.  depending on the time of year and day. Yet on the other side of the river you have much prettier and quieter SR 147, which also has a shoulder. Route J doesn't pick up SR 147 until Northumberland, which happens to be right where it narrows and becomes choked with trucks and other traffic crossing the river on U.S. 11. They would have been better off staying on U.S. 15 to the college town of Lewisburg and crossing over there.

In general, the lack of/narrow shoulders on many PA roads is probably the biggest drawback to riding in the state.

OP: Something else came to mind. Route G skirts the edge of Jersey Shore, PA (See the bottom right corner of map section 15). The Pine Creek Trail has been extended to Jersey Shore:

No need to leave the trail at Blackwell. You can take it all the way to Jersey Shore and pick up the route again there. My guess is that they planned route G before the extension and never changed it.

Routes / Re: Route from West to East in September/October
« on: February 04, 2013, 11:21:33 am »
It can vary year to year in the northeast. When I did the nothern tier many years ago, I remember having a campfire in Dunkirk, NY, just west of Buffalo. That was early August. Central VT and NH were also quite chilly, but we were farther north than you will be. This year there was some early snow in the mountains of northern, PA and sub-freezing nights in northeast, PA/northwest NJ by mid-October. I also think my old high school in Deerfied MA got some snow in late-October/early November. October can also bring Nor'easter storms.

Routes / Re: Hartford CT to Pitt PA
« on: February 04, 2013, 11:03:46 am »
PA has a series of signed bike routes. I have looked at some of them and think they are nuts in places. Some scary, high-traffic roads. I think I understand why they did what they did--they want to use state-maintained roads, but that doesn't make it right.

Also, a while back all the links I had bookmarked stopped working and I have not bee able to find a link that takes you to the index that in turn allows you to see each route.

Here is a PDF of the route network:

Here is what I think is the easiest way to get the maps for each route:

Click on the internal "maps" link for each route. That will produce an overview map of the route. Click on each circled number segment to see the individual segments. If you clink on the "directions" link, you will get a cue sheet of sorts.

Here are some suggestions with the disclaimer that I am not familiar with some of the roads/routes I am suggesting:

1. You could follow ACA's Atlantic Coast Route from Windsor Locks to Port Jervis, NY. From there, you can cross into PA at Matamoras and pick up the spur of PA Route Y, map segement 29B. Take that to main Route Y and follow that to Route G. Take Route G all the way down to Bedford. Using Google biking directions, get biking directions from Bedford to Cumberland, MD (It should give you three options.) Cumberland is the southern terminus of the Great Allegheny Passage rail-trail. That will take you very close to Pittsburgh. In fact, by sometime in June the last sesment into Pittshburgh is supposed to be completed.

2. Do 1 above but at Bedford, get on Route S west, gets onto the GAP trail at Rockwood (map section 9).

3. Take the ACA route all the way to Conshohocken, then take the Schuykill River Trail to PA Route S.

A couple of notes:  I haven't been up there lately, but it's my understanding that natural gas fracking activity has increased truck traffic on the northern tier of PA, which is used by Route Y. The good news is that you leave U.S. 6 and jump on Route G at Ansonia.

Can't tell you much about Route G except that it uses a porton of the Pine Creek rail-trail, which is very nice, and that it passes through the heart of Pennsyltucky. Expect hills when not on the trail.

I am a big fan of the ACA route south of Port Jervis through Lambertville, especially the section through the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area. You then continue down the river on nearly all quiet roads in PA and NJ and can pick up a rail-trail between Frenchtown and Lambertville, NJ. The eastern part of Route S also takes you through the Conoestoga Valley, which is quintessential PA Dutch. However, I understand that option 3 suggested above is the long way around. I live in Philly and am hoping to ride the GAP/Route S home from PGH in mid-April.

Send me a PM if you have any questions or would like more info. There are slight modifcations I would make to the eastern part of Route S based on my riding experience.

Routes / Re: Missoula to Banff
« on: January 31, 2013, 10:52:51 am »
If you have tires that can take dirt/gravel, take the Old Darby Alternative between Hamilton and Darby. It's really nice back there.

It's a long 75 miles. From Darby on you climb gently to Sula. A few miles after Sula (good sandwiches at the store there), things get steeper. But what really makes it a long 75 miles is the stretch after Lost Trail Pass. There is only a few miles of steep descending before the grade eases and you have to do a lot pedaling to get to town. But it sounds slike you will be travelling on the light side.

The people at the Nez Perce were really nice. When we arrived early eveing, they were away at a family function. They left envelopes with keys to each room taped to the office door. There was also a note explaining that we should simply pick a room and that they would be back later that night to collect payment.

This is pretty much the only place to eat in town, and it's pretty good:

They have a neat bar decorated with cattle brands.  Note that the grocery store in town closes pretty early. 6 p.m. IIRC.

Don't miss the truck in Sparwood. There is a cool cafe/ cofe shop in an old church on your right in Coleman. Pincher Creek is a sad little town. IIRC, other than the Prince of Wales Hotel, the number of rooms in Waterton Village are limited so you might want to make a reservation. Same thing if you want a room in Glacier, N.P.

The Park Cafe in St. Mary is the place to eat, especially if you like pie. Before you get to St. Mary you will pass a small eatery on the left side of U.S. 89 called the Fire Horse Cafe. It's on the Blackfoot reservation. Had an excellent, hand-pressed burger there.

Routes / Re: Missoula to Banff
« on: January 30, 2013, 10:45:56 am »
Here is the tentative schedule:

Looks like 9/22 will be the last day you can ride the entire length.

BTW...As noted, RVs are not much of an issue on GTS as much of it is off limits to anything over 8' wide (including mirrors) and 21' long.

Try to schedule your trip so you can make it across. I have ridden the entire thing (west to east) once and up and back down the west side two other times. It's spectacular.

In '09 we did a clockwise loop from/to Whitefish using the Great Parks North route, closing the gap to Elko. Logan Pass was still closed when we got to St. Mary so we went around to the west side of the park via East Glacier and then rode up and back down the west side of GTS. Here are some photos:

If you have the time, I recommend going the long way through Sparwood and Waterton Village. The only stretch we didn't like was the one on PR 3 between about Coleman and where you turn off around Burmis. Make sure to cross the road and see the Burmis Tree before you turn off PR 3.

In '11, we camped in Darby heading south from Missoula. The relatively new owner of the campground there has cabins. You can bargain price, or so I have read. The Nez Perce Motel in Wisdom was clean and decently priced. It's small, so you might want to make a reservation if you plan to stay there.

Routes / Re: Missoula to Banff
« on: January 30, 2013, 10:21:26 am »
Yes. There should be less recreational traffic, at least in the states.

Are you planning to: (1) cross the border at Roosville, MT and head straight to Whitefish or (2) ride through Fernie, Sparwood, Pincher Creek, etc., cross over at Chief Mountain and then ride to St. Mary? If the latter, and you plan to ride GTS after mid-September, I would check Glacier's web site for road work scheduling. For several yearsa now, the NPS had been doing extensive work on Going to the Sun. This has resulted in periodic, total road closures once peak season has ended to allow for accelerated construction work:

When do you plan to hit Yellowstone?

General Discussion / Re: Ireland Bike Tour
« on: January 30, 2013, 09:54:28 am »
I have heard good things about Iron Donkey but cannot vouch for them personally:

One nice thing is that they offer guided and self-guided tours.

Routes / Re: Eastbound from Washington/Oregon
« on: January 28, 2013, 01:03:36 pm »
’99: Seattle up to the NT for the entire route.
’00: Seattle to the NT to Glacier N.P., backtracked to Columbia Falls, Great Parks to Missoula, TransAm to Fairplay, CO.
’02: Cycle Oregon, which included much of the OR portion of the TA.
’06: CANDISC, which included some of what is now the new NT routing into Bismarck.
’09: NT between Whitefish and Eureka, MT and the west side of Going to the Sun.
’11: 2 ½ days on the TransAm between Missoula and the east side of Big Hole Pass.

Some opinions/observations:
1. The OR potion of the TA was far less interesting than the NT with the notable exception of McKenzie Pass. And, IIRC, the distances between services were usually greater on this stretch of the TA.

2. The scenery between Anacortes and Glacier, N.P. is fabulous. Once you cross the Cascades via Rainy/Washington Passes, indoor sleeping options on the NT were relatively easy to find. Places like Winthrop, Tonasket, Omak, Republic, Colville, Sandpoint, ID. You don’t have to cross two passes to find places to camp, eat or sleep inside. As noted, you might get wet and/or chilly weather. Both times I left Seattle the third week in May and took three days to get up to the NT. First time there was rain and snow on Washington Pass and then again on Sherman Pass. Generally, we had numerous chilly and/or damp days through Whitefish, MT. But you can get that on the TA. In Missoula near the end of June ’11 it was chilly and drizzly that evening and the next morning, and the next two nights on the road it was 40 or below.

3. The ride up Going to the Sun in Glacier National Park is hard to beat. Waterton Village in Canada is in a dramatic setting. However, east of Cut Bank, MT, the scenery is nothing to write home about. Lots of open farm and ranch land, but there are plenty of towns usually spaced nicely apart.

4. I would trust the re-route though ND. During CANDISC we rode a couple of days in that area. Very little traffic except for in Bismarck, and even that wasn’t really bad. Two friends just did the NT last summer. They didn’t have any problems in that area. Haven’t seen the new map for that section, but in general I like riding in ND. The general lack of traffic in most places and open skies gives a sense of freedom. The winds, on the other hand, can be brutal. With very few trees there is little shade and nothing to block the wind. You will see trees again once you get into MN.

5. Columbia Falls/Whitefish to Missoula is nice overall. Missoula south/east through Montana is really nice, especially Darby through Big Hole Pass to Dillon and then on to Ennis. Services are adequately spaced for the most part. (Don’t expect high quality tea and coffee in most small towns.) Wasn’t a huge fan of riding in Yellowstone/Teetons due to the traffic. South of there it was fine most places except for a couple of noted areas in CO. The stretch between Lander and Rawlins, WY has very few services.

Send me a PM if you have any questions.

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