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Messages - indyfabz

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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.

Routes / Re: Transam trail from Twin Bridges to Missoula, Montana
« on: May 18, 2012, 09:29:00 am »
Your question is a bit difficult to assess without knowing the exact Ikenberry route. However, I was riding in the area last year. Started in Missoula and took the Trans Am to east of Big Hole Pass. Then took the Pioneer Mountains Scenic Byway to Wise River then MT 43 to Divide, then down to Melrose via the frontage road and then to Twin Bridges via Melrose Bench Road. From there I took MT 41 to MT 2 to Butte. From there, I took I-90 frontage roads and a little bit of the interstate (3 miles) to MT 1 and rode that all the way to Philipsburg and then eventually back to Missoula via MT 348/Rock Creek Rd., I-90 (again, about 3 miles) and local roads. Back in '00 I rode the Trans Am proper from Missoula to Twin Bridges and beyond.

No offense to the natives intended, but Butte ain't the nicest place in the world. There is only one camping option around--a KOA that looks and sounds (from the reviews I found) seedy. And it's right next to the interstate. However, the Finlen hotel/motel is a neat place. The motor lodge portion is relatively affordable and very retro. Despite its age, it was very well maintained, and the room was spotless. If you like larger cities, especially ones with interesting architecture and some history, Butte is worth a look. Just watch your bike. There are signs all around town about crime. A lot of it is meth-driven.

The ride from Twin Bridges to Butte was nice until hitting town. MT 41 to the junction with MT 55 is flat to gently rolling. There are some big rollers on 41 after that. You start up Pipestone Pass as soon as you turn onto MT 2. Pipestone seemed harder than it looked on paper. A narrow shoulder, but little traffic. We rode it July 5th, so that might not be the norm. Pretty ride. After Anaconda, MT 1 to Philipsburg is very nice. If you go this way, make sure to turn around as you descend. There is a cool waterfall that you will miss if you just look ahead. There is a great campground in Philipsburg run by a very nice woman.  Rock Creek Rd. is fabulous. There is 30 miles of unpaved surface which was easily managed with 37c tires. Just before you reach I-90 there is a nice campground with a good restaurant (but no groceries around), or you can camp in the forest along the road, but there is no running water (other than the creek) and no services back there.

The original plan was to stay in Philipsburg, back track on MT 1 to MT 38, ride over Skalkaho Pass to Hamilton and then take the Trans Am back to Missoula. Unfortunately, Skalkaho Pass was washed out so we took the Rock Creek Rd. route which was recommended by an Adventure Cycling employee we fortuitously ran into at a hot springs resort in the Pioneer Mountains. If I could do it again, that’s what I would do.

I think the Trans Am is, overall, more scenic than the above-route via Butte is what you are looking for is mountain views. It’s certainly more difficult. There is free camping in Wisdom if you can tolerate the mosquitoes. The long slog north from there is very pretty and then there is a long descent all the way to Darby. Yummy sandwiches at the store in Sula. I highly recommend the Old Darby Alternative between Darby and Hamilton. There is a point where the mountains, sky and river seem to come together. Stunning. And the unpaved section is not bad.

If you are up for the challenge, doing the reverse of the above route to Twin Bridges is an option. It presents its own set of challenges, but the scenery is terrific. Send me a PM if you would like details or otherwise have any questions.

Here is a slideshow of the trip:

Routes / Re: Advice on route selection
« on: May 16, 2012, 10:04:02 am »
The section of the NT between Bismarck and Fargo, ND is new, so I cannot commnetn. I enjoyed the NT route through MN.  Took the "long way" up to Grand Rapid. (Ended up in Davenport, IA instead of Muscatine and crossed into IL there.) While I liked ND a lot and have since been back there to ride, it was nice to see some trees again in MN.  :) Lake Itasca was really nice. You can walk across the Mississippi River there. Camped at a couple of other places on lakes. Saw a bear cub in Malmo and then camped at   Mile Lacs in Isle. Also camped along the river in Palisade. Grand Rapids is the home town of Judy Garland. Went off route a bit and spent a few days in Minneapolis. In IA, the route passes through Dyersville, where the baseball field in "Field of Dreams" is.

Probably not the best route if mosquitoes really bother you. They were a constant issue in most places, including the hostal at Lake Itasca. It was also God awful humid many days, but I suppose the alternate route has some high humidty sections. On the other hand, there were actually a few days when it was on the cool side. We hit Fargo on July 6th, so that would have been early to mid-July.

General Discussion / Re: Best Fortune Cookie Ever
« on: May 15, 2012, 10:36:49 am »
How appropriate!  My best fortune cookie said; "You will be hungry in an hour.  Order take-out now".

Good one!

OP: That's pretty amazing. Here's to hoping they are good memories.

Routes / Re: Connecting Northern Tier to Chicago
« on: May 14, 2012, 04:12:52 pm »
Maybe use Google Maps biking directions from Huntington, IN as a start.  Looks to incorporate a trail or two, including one through Hammond, IN, which is a populated place. And you could have a Dan Quayle burger in Huntington.

General Discussion / Re: Bike shipping / Lesson learned?
« on: May 14, 2012, 03:55:37 pm »
Info has it that the  some of the so called rip-off airlines are too pricey. While I'm not complaining about FedEx their pricing seems a bit high, or is it that everybody ships in small boxes and my mistake was the larger box?

Out of curriousity, which airline will you be flying, and what is there bike charge? You may have saved money. U.S. Air, for example, charges $200 per bike.  I believe Delta is $175.

As noted, size can matter. Last year we shipped two bikes UPS in two separate boxes from Philly to Missoula. MY GF's bike is 42cm so it can go in a relatively small box. I used my pretty large CrateWorks plastic box because my bike is 60cm and has correspondingly larger things like bars and stem. Also has 700c wheels vs. her 26". Shipped via a LBS. While the shipping bill was not itemized, it was their belief that my bike was more because of the larger box.

Looking forward to flying Southwest to Cycle Oregon in September.

Routes / Re: Advice on route selection
« on: May 14, 2012, 09:48:18 am »
Are you sure the Northern Tier is now going through MO?:

Routes / Re: Delaware bike routes
« on: May 14, 2012, 09:28:07 am »
Try getting in touch with the White Clay Bicycle Club. A good number of their members tour and ride in Delaware. Did an overnight CC tour with them a few years ago. Middletown, DE to St. Michales, MD and then back via mostly a different route. Nice ride.

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.

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