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Messages - indyfabz

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Did the section from Port Jervis, NY to Philly last weekend. No problems. The northern section of Old Mine Rd. has a few minor condition issues here and there, but nothing to be worried about. NPS 615 is mostly in great shape. When it ends and you make the left up the relatively short but very steep climb (the sign for Crater Lake made me chuckle) towards Millbrook there are a few more minor condition issues, but again, nothing to worry about. You pick up Old Mine again and it's pretty much smooth sailing to the I-80 walkway.

BTW...This section is gorgeous and, at least when I did it, virtually traffic-free. In the 36 miles between my campground on CR 521 a few miles south of Port Jervis to Worthington State Forest I saw maybe 20 moving motor vehicles at most. Also saw three cyclists, including a couple on a tandem who had started in the Keys and were headed to Maine and then on to Nova Scotia.

On the drive up I took 209 from E. Stroudsburg to Dingman's Bridge. Lots of traffic on the southern end and minimal to no shoulder in places due in part to construction work. 209 is still closed between Dingman's Bridge and Milford, PA, and research indicates that the detour is twisty and very steep in places.

Do you realize that the Northern Tier also goes into Alberta, Canada from Cut Bank, MT?

While you can skip going into that portion of Canada, I would not take Marias Pass instead of Going to the Sun Road in Glacier Nat'l Park. GTS is, IMO, the highlight of the route. If you look closely, you can see the road carved into the side of the mountains:

From Cut Bank, go to Browning and then take Starr School Rd. from N. Browning to U.S. 89 north to St. Mary and you will be back on route. St. Mary is the western end of GTS. You will have some ups and downs on U.S. 89, but it will end with a screaming descent of maybe 6 miles into St. Mary. This is looking down the hill:

Treat yourself to some pie at the Park Cafe in town.

If find yourself inclined to go into Canada from Cut Bank, Waterton Village is a nice place for a day off. There is a nice town camspite situated on the shore of the lake.

And there are some hiking opportunities. The route back into MT over Chief Mountain Highway is as sweet as it is challenging.

General Discussion / Re: best pre-ride food
« on: May 07, 2012, 10:01:39 am »
To this day, if I order pancakes I inquire about the size after an incident in Cut Bank, MT during our NT trip. Two of us ordered two pancakes each after a hard, nearly service-less ride from McGrath, AB. They were easily 12" in diameter. Being from the east, I had never seen pancakes that big. One waitress in another MT town called pancakes like that "horse blankets."

General Discussion / Re: How many cloths for a tour?
« on: May 07, 2012, 09:54:38 am »
Also, if I know it's going to be cold in the morning and I'm not sure my jersey will dry overnight, then I don't wash it.

Of course, but washing isn't the only thing that makes a jersey wet. If I get a cold rain between Rockport and Colonial Creek and it stays damp and wet the entire day, the next day I don't want to start to climb the North Cascades Highway in sub-40 temps wearing a wet jersey (or shorts or socks) just to save what amounts to a negligible fraction of the toal bike, body and bag weight. Even a smaller fraction when you add the rest of the gear. Even more unappealing when you throw in rain and then snow during the climb. But of course, YMMV.

General Discussion / Re: best pre-ride food
« on: May 07, 2012, 09:38:54 am »
Pancakes with a couple of sausage links. Had some yesterday morning before hitting the road for 65 miles on the last day of a three-day. No need to clean up. The restaurant staff took care of that.

They day before I intially had a bagel topped with a can of sardines in olive oil before heading out to find a second breakfast.

If you wait to fully digest your breakfast you will be sitting around for a long time.

Routes / Re: Connecticut connect to Northern Tier
« on: May 06, 2012, 06:23:10 pm »
I heard from other forums that Pennsylvania is pretty hilly, but I don't know how it compares to route 17. I'd also be curious if anybody has biked it.

If all else fails, map it on something like and see the profile.

PA Route Y across the northern tier of PA is pretty hilly in places. You have to cross the Allegheny Mountains.

General Discussion / Re: How many cloths for a tour?
« on: May 06, 2012, 06:19:06 pm »
and one riding jersey.

And if it gets wet and doesn't dry over night and it's cold the next morning? I have toured in WA in late May twice. So glad I had two jerseys. Starting out in the low 40s wearing a wet jersey would not have been fun even with a layer or layers over it.

Stay on the route as a section of U.S. 209 (between SR 739 and Milford, PA) is now closed for the repair of a road failure. Any detour around the closure will likely involve some stiff climbing. Besides, the NJ side is much nicer.  Look out for bears!

Routes / Re: Connecticut connect to Northern Tier
« on: April 30, 2012, 07:52:33 am »
I have heard from witnesses that parts of U.S. 6, which PA Bike Route Y uses at times, has heavy truck traffic due to the explosion in gas drilling. I think the epicenter is in the Wellsboro, PA area and places west of there, but I cannot confirm. Last time I was up that way, which was several years ago, U.S. 6 had a good shoulder.

Routes / Re: Rural Pennsylvania Roads Still Safe?
« on: April 26, 2012, 09:54:17 am »
While I have not seen it myself, some friends tell me that the U.S. 6 corridor in north central/northeast PA has become truck central thanks to fracking. I think it's bike route Y that uses it for a ways.

This will give you an idea of where the activity is centered:

Not to dis my home state, but....I have looked at a few of the PA bike routes and have not been impressed with several stretches. For example, Route S uses a section of PA 23 west of Morgantown when there is a much nicer parallel route. The route that goes north out of Harisburgh looks insane in places. In general, the PA bike routes tend to stick to state highways. Depending on where you are, they can be more heavily trafficed. And "shoulder" is a word that seems to be missing from PennDOT's vocabulary. I would like to do more touring here, but the though of heading out into "Pennsylbama," as some of us call it, makes me nervous. I'd be fine with following a route that has been proven by others before me. Indeed, I have twice done supported trips across the state. But in planning my own route, I have fears of ending up on twisty, hilly, shoulderless roads with yahoos in pickups exceeding the 50 mph speed limit.

General Discussion / Re: I am new and would like to take my first tour
« on: April 25, 2012, 04:08:35 pm »
Beg you wife to drive you to Port Jervis, NY, ride down the river following ACA's Atlantic Coast route, and get her to pick you up in Lambertville. This segment is quite nice. You might see a bear between Port Jervis and Delaware Water Gap. The NJ portion south of Belvidere will expose you to a different side of the state. It's gorgeous all the way down to Milford. From Frenchtown to Lambertville there is a wooded trail. Just rode it Easter weekend as part of a short tour. It's in good shape. You could even continue on to Trenton.

You could camp at Worthington State Forest and in Upper Black Eddy, PA, just off route across the river from Milford, NJ. If you want to motel it, there is a Best Western not too far off route from Delaware Water Gap, PA. There is at least one motel in Philipsburg, NJ and at least one across the river in Easton, PA, where you can visit the Crayola crayon operation, although it's mostly a kid thing.

General Discussion / Re: I am new and would like to take my first tour
« on: April 23, 2012, 07:59:00 am »
You might also be interested in this tour High Point,NJ to Cap May,NJ from here
I am wanting to do this tour this year.
What ever you decide have fun.

FYI...This is a tad bit inaccurate now thanks to NJT's revised bike policy.  NJT runs the Port Jervis train service for NY and its bike policy applies to this route. NJT's new bike policy only allows you to board and detrain at stations with high level platforms. Port Jervis does not have such a platform. You would have to detrain at Middletown, NY and start from there. You can take U.S. 6 from Middletown to Port Jervis.  Twenty or so miles IIRC. You can also climb up to Otisville and take U.S. 209 to Port Jervis.

General Discussion / Re: Bike weight
« on: April 18, 2012, 12:19:25 pm »
Another way to lapproach it is to ask yourself whether the weight is too much for you to handle. For my first trip (x-country on the Northern Tier and then down part of the Atlantic Coast route), my bike (63cm Cannondale T-700) and gear wegihed 90 lbs. according to a truck stop scale. I could have carried less, but I was unwilling to eliminate the good amount of film photo equipment I wanted to bring. In the end, the weight was manageable for me. I only weighed the bike out of curiosity. The actual weight wasn't important. What was important was that I was carrying what I wanted to carry and that I was capable of carrying it.

Routes / Re: Which Route to Take
« on: April 15, 2012, 10:35:21 am »
The Northern Tier has fewer mountain passes than the Trans Am, and they are generally lower in altitude.

In addition, the climbs aren't much different; 3,000-4,000' for the NT passes

My map is showing showing nothing over 3,000' other than the Cascades, with Loup Loup being in the 2,500 or so range from Twisp. And after you are done with Sherman, Logan is the only true pass remaining, although Chief Mtn. Highway is no piece of cake. Plenty more on the TA.

Routes / Re: Which Route to Take
« on: April 13, 2012, 08:51:26 am »
The Northern Tier has fewer mountain passes than the Trans Am, and they are generally lower in altitude. Logan Pass in Glacier N.P. is the "cima coppi." Around 6,700'. The passes in WA are all below 6,000. Two are in the 5,500' range while the other two are, IIRC, in the low 4000s. After Waterton Village in AB, you won't have another mountain to speak of until the Adirondacks in NY.  VT and NH have some climbs, but only two serious ones that I remember--Middlebury Gap and the climb over Kangamagus Highway.

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