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Messages - aggie

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271
Routes / Re: San Francisco to New York for charity
« on: July 29, 2009, 08:49:02 pm »
The Western Express would not be the best route to take in Feb or Mar.  As soon as you climb out of the Sacramento area it is possible to hit snow.  You may have to deal with snow most of the way to Fallon, NV.  From Fallon to the Utah border there are 11 passes or summits up to 7700 feet.  If there isn't snow it will definitely be cold.  A better route for that time of year would be to the Pacific Coast Route to the Southern Tier.  Even then it is possible to get some snow in the mountains of New Mexico/Arizona.  But you could take some alternative routes to avoid it.  You could then take the Underground Railroad or Great Rivers routes to join up with the Tranam.  Expect cold and rain.

272
Southwest / Re: Phoenix, AZ to Durango, CO
« on: July 29, 2009, 11:18:57 am »
The web link http://www.azbikeped.org/images/map%20side%201%20%283-03-06%29.pdf is the state map of the shoulder width of various state highways.  It may be helpful.  Bicycles are permitted on hwy 160 that goes through Kayenta.  They are also permitted on hwy 163 that goes by Monument Valley although I wouldn't recommend it.  It has almost no shoulder and gets a lot of RV traffic.  It is most memorable (other than the "monuments") for the trail of beer cans and bottles from Mexican Hat.

273
I've put my bike on the Coast Starlight.  It is possible that you got someone that didn't want to load it in baggage. Amtrak sells the box and it is my understanding from the ticket agent (phone) that any station that handles baggage will put a boxed bike in baggage.  You should call Amtrak's 800 number and let them know the difficulties you had in Salinas.  Hopefully you have the name of the agent that told you they don't take bicycles.

274
Routes / Re: MN to CA
« on: July 27, 2009, 04:18:45 pm »
I'm not sure about some sections of the Western Express.  It is also possible to get snow in late Oct and November.  Even on the Southern Tier you might get snow in New Mexico.  If not it will be cold in the mountains.  The Southern Tier would be a much better option.  At least it takes you directly into San Diego.

275
Routes / Re: Grand Canyon & Death Valley
« on: July 27, 2009, 01:06:59 pm »
There are a couple of options to getting to Las Vegas from the ACA Grand Canyon Connector.  At Ash Fork, AZ go west on I40 until you get to exit 139 - Crookton Rd.  Follow Crookton Rd which becomes Route 66.  Take this all the way into Kingman, AZ.  Route 66 connects with Hwy 93.  Take 93 north.  This will take you over the Hoover Dam into Boulder, NV, Henderson NV and Las Vegas.  (You could also take I40 all the way into Kingman.)  I haven't been on Hwy 66 so can't say what is on that road but Hwy 93 is a divided hwy almost until you get to the Hoover Dam.  There is a least one place, Dolan Springs - slightly off the hwy, where you can get water. 

You could also follow the Grand Canyon Connector to La Verkin, UT.  Then take Hwy 9 through Hurricane until you get to Hwy 212.  Take 212 into the Washington/St. George, UT area.  Then you two options.  You could take I15 south of St George, through the Virgin River Gorge, all the way to Vegas or you could take the road through Santa Clara, UT (route 18 and 8).  This turns into old hwy 91 and dumps you onto I15 at Littlefield, AZ.  Then follow I15 into Las Vegas. 

Once you are in Las Vegas you want to get to hwy 160 (which is also called Windmill in the cities south of Vegas).  It also the road to Pahrump, NV.  Then take hwy 372 (becomes 178 in CA) to Shoshone, CA.  Follow 178 into Death Valley.  The road takes you past Badwater which is the lowest point in North America.  You will then run into hwy 190.  Follow this north then west to hwy 136 to Lone Pine, CA and hwy 395.  You can then take this North to hwy 120 in Lee Vining.  120 will take you over the Sierra Mtns into Yosemite.  Be aware that the mountain road/passes are closed in the winter time as they are not plowed/maintained.  If you arrive in the winter you will have to head south on the 395 until you get to hwy 58 (not sure if hwy 178 is open in the winter) and go through Bakersfield.  You can then head north to get to Yosemite.  After Yosemite you have a couple of other options to get over to the coast so you can follow Hwy 1.

In Death Valley a map may indicate that you can take Racetrack Valley Rd and Death Valley Rd to leave the park.  I DO NOT recommend this road.  It is a poorly maintained dirt road that will see you pushing your bike through 6 inches or more of sand.  It can be a little dicey with a four wheel drive vehicle.  There is absolutely no water stops or shade.  You might see 1 or 2 vehicles if you are lucky. 

As was said earlier carry plenty of water.  There are some spots where water stops are few and far between.

276
General Discussion / Re: Support
« on: July 26, 2009, 06:57:18 pm »
Generally a supported tour means they haul your gear, provide route guides, have sag (refreshment) stops, and provide roving support (ie. if you break down they can help or give you a ride to the next sag stop or evening site).  Each supported tour is different as some provide meals and some do not.  Some are camping tours and some stay in hotels/motels.  You still need to carry tubes or patch kits for breakdowns.  Most expect you to take care of minor repairs yourself.  Generally the literature for the tour describes what's included and what is extra.  If you have any questions most tour operators are happy to answer them.

277
Routes / Re: Route Help and Camping Tips for a Beginner
« on: July 26, 2009, 11:58:31 am »
You have a couple of options for your route.  You could take the TransAm and connect to the Underground Railroad or the Great Rivers.  These will then connect you to the Southern Tier.  If you want to take the Western Express you may want to connect to the Grand Canyon connector.  This will then take you to the Southern Tier for the route into San Diego.  You could take the Western Express all the way to SF and then connect to the Pacific Coast and then ride south to San Diego but be aware that after you leave Cedar City, UT the water stops are few and far between until you get to Fallon NV.  Be prepared for some cold weather in the mountains as you will most likely get there in late September to October.

278
California / Re: Pacific Coast route from Pismo to Gaviota
« on: July 23, 2009, 06:12:26 pm »
According to Caltrans (CA DOT) large portions of the 101 between Pismo Beach and Buelton are off limits to bicycles.  There is bike map http://www.dot.ca.gov/dist05/bike_ped/bikeguide/bikeguide.pdf that shows some alternative routing.  However this is a freeway even if it isn't rated as one.  There is a lot of traffic and past experience would indicate that it is loud with cars and trucks whizzing by at 65+ mph with lots of little wires to flatten tires from the heavy trucks that use the road.  I've ridden the coast road and much prefer it to the freeway.

279
General Discussion / Re: Train travel with a tandem
« on: July 23, 2009, 05:43:27 pm »
I've traveled a couple of times with my bike on Amtrak.  I buy one of their bike boxes since it is so much easier to buy it there and box up the bike at the station.  The only thing I have to do is remove and zip tie my handlebars and remove the pedals.  The bike then goes into the box and I seal it with packing tape.  I place my name and address at several places on the box.  I've watched them load and unload my bike and I've never seen them "throw" it.  My bike has arrived in the same condition as I packed it.  However one time the rear quick release did work a hole in the box.  I think this was due to the box laying on the floor of the baggage car.  Traveling by train is so much more relaxing than flying but slower.  Given a choice I'd take the train with my bike over flying anytime.  I'm a premier category flier so I fly a lot for business but I'd still rather take the train.

Bike boxes/service are only available at stations that have baggage service.  They charge $15 for the box and $5 handling fee.  Unfortunately you can't get on or off the train with your bike at any stop that isn't listed has having baggage service.

280
Gear Talk / Re: Bike Clothing For Glacier National Park
« on: July 22, 2009, 09:49:23 am »
The average low for September for Glacier National Park is 39 degrees F.  The average high is 67.  It also averages 2 inches of rain.  This info is from the parks website:  http://www.nps.gov/glac/planyourvisit/weather.htm.  I'd be taking some long sleeve stuff and long fingered gloves.  The record low in September is 18.  

281
Routes / Re: Seattle to San Francisco Aug/Sept
« on: June 30, 2009, 12:08:54 am »
The book I mentioned earlier generally states which state parks have hiker/biker sites.  You need to ask when you go to the check-in booth.  They will direct you to the hiker/biker site.  As I recall you can only stay at these sites for a couple of days.  Some have showers and some do not.

282
Temporary ACA Route Road Closures / Re: Southern Tier 2009
« on: June 29, 2009, 02:47:44 pm »
I just saw a news article that says the ferry is now open for regular operations.  Its hours of operations are:  5:00 AM TO 9:00 PM 7 DAYS A WEEK - NEW ROADS SIDE - 15 & 45 ON HR - ST. FRANCISVILLE SIDE 00 & 30 ON HR  Here is part of the article: "Before traveling, drivers can call the Toll-Free Ferry Information line at (888) 613-3779 for the status of the ferry, or visit the “Ferry Status” page on the right-hand side of the DOTD Web site. Drivers also may access updates on the ferry through Twitter by visiting http://www.twitter.com/StFran_Ferry. By creating a Twitter account, drivers can receive automatic updates on the ferry’s status via their Twitter Web page or text message".

283
Routes / Re: Maine Cycle Trip - Portland to Calais
« on: June 28, 2009, 07:24:09 pm »
U-Haul has two locations that rent trucks in Calais.  If you contact one of them ahead of time I'm sure they would a vehicle for you to rent.

284
Routes / Re: A long road trip ahead.
« on: June 24, 2009, 11:31:13 pm »
You are not too far from Adventure Cycling Association (ACA) routes.  You could ride to either the Great Rivers or Underground Railroad route.  These routes connect to other routes.  ACA has some very good maps of the routes.  Take a look at the web site for "Routes and Maps".  There is an overall US map that shows the routes.  You can then pick the routes that fit where you want to go.  You could then go to AAA to get a map of Arkansas or go to a good bookstore to get some maps.  Also check out the ACA "How-to department" for general info on touring.  After you have looked at the info on the web site if you have other questions there are lots of folks with lots of touring experience that will be glad to share their insights.

You don't need a GPS unless you like them better than a bike computer.  I use one but it is a personal preference.

285
Routes / Re: Seattle to San Francisco Aug/Sept
« on: June 22, 2009, 04:01:56 pm »
In the California parks the hiker/biker sites are first come/first served.  They are relatively inexpensive (I stayed in Big Sur for $3, $0.25 for hot shower) and are only for hikers and bikers.  I doubt you will be turned away.

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