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Messages - aggie

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Routes / Re: Western Express - NV - early June
« on: January 17, 2010, 07:15:33 pm »
The Western Express can be done in early June and the weather should be good.  I've done the part through Nevada 8 times so here are my observations.

You shouldn't have any problem with water stops/availability up to Fallon.  After you leave Fallon the next place for available water and food will be Middlegate which is about 55 miles.  There is a neat old store with a bar and grill and a limited selection of groceries.  They also have small number of rooms.  I haven't stayed in them so I can't say what they look like.  If you opt for the alternate route  after Middlegate there aren't any water stops until you get to Austin - 60 miles.

The next place for water is Cold Springs which is about 11 miles from Middlegate.  There used to be a gas station and limited store there but it burned down several years ago.  I hear they have been building a new store that is supposed to be finished by now but I haven't been by there since September so I don't know if it's done.  They also have some rooms for rent.

Then next place for food/water/rooms is Austin.  It is about 45 miles from Cold Springs.  There are a couple of bar and grills as well as three motels (Pony Canyon, Lincoln, and Mountain).  There is also a B&B in town that is wonderful.  Can't remember the name but anyone in town will tell you where its at and who to call.  The two gas stations have a limited food selection.

After Austin the next water stop other than the campground at Bob Scott Summit is the town of Eureka about 70 miles away. There are two motels and a good grocery store.  I recommend the Best Western.  It has a hot tub and a pool as well as a so so breakfast.

The next place for water/food/motel is Ely about 75 miles away.  It has several motels, restaurants, and grocery stores. 

After you leave Ely the next water stop is at Majors Junction about 30 miles away.  I haven't stopped there so I don't know what they have to offer.  Baker is about 35 miles away and it has a small grocery store (owner is NOT very friendly) and a small motel (Silver Jack) with a great little wine bar and the owners are wonderful.

You can also stay at the Border Inn on Hwy 6/50.  It has a restaurant/motel and a limited grocery store and the owners are real nice.  The rooms are ok.  The next stop on Hwy 50/6 is Delta.  As I recall it is 80 miles of nothing.

If you can carry 3 water bottles and have a 100 oz Camelback you should be able to make it.  However if it is really hot you may find you need to carry more water.  If you leave early in the morning you should be able to get to your next motel before it gets too hot. 

I would think many of us had the same thoughts/concerns you do when we took off on our first solo trip.  As the trip develops most, if not all the concerns, evaporate.  I ride with a bob trailer with a small rear bag on the top of a rack.

While it is possible to have a problem with people/wildlife, I've never had a problem.  If you use the ACA maps they tend to keep you off the high traffic roads so that conflicts with drivers in a hurry tend to be avoided.  They also have a good "list" of campsites.

Pacing has never been a problem.  Just ride at a pace that you are comfortable doing.  When you tire - stop.  Stop (take breaks) during the ride to enjoy the scenery or road side attractions.  It breaks up the days ride and makes the trip more memorable.   This way the terrain/wind becomes less an obstacle and more a chance to experience a different part of the country.  You'll most likely find that some days you do more miles than planned and on other days you do fewer.  Pretty soon you'll see that you develop an average and that may help you plan your route. 

Wind for days on end can be discouraging but I've rarely found it to be a problem for more than a couple of days at a time. 

Getting sick is always a concern but I carry my insurance card just in case.  Never had to use it.  I buy packaged food and get water at municipal faucets or bottled water at convenience stores.  I also carry a cell phone.  It may not work everywhere but it does work along about 90 plus percent of the routes I take.  When there is coverage I check in with loved ones to reassure them that everything is ok.

On my first trip I packed too many changes of clothing.  I've found that I only need three days of clothing changes  (that includes the ones I'm wearing).  I wash that days riding gear at night and let it dry overnight.  On a rare occasion it may not be dry the next morning so the extra days stuff allows for an additional day to dry so I don't have to put on damp clothing and worry about saddle sores.  Some will only carry two days and I met one person who only had 1 days worth.  I prefer to wear "mountain bike" shorts over the "racing" style of shorts.  I can wear them around as casual clothes after the ride and they have pockets to carry money.  They also have a liner and pad to make the journey more comfortable. 

Just remember that the only "hard" day was yesterday.

Routes / Re: California in December
« on: January 06, 2010, 06:50:50 pm »
Snow could be a problem going over the passes from Vegas.  You'll need to check the weather and possibly the California Dept of Trans (DOT) to see if the passes are open.  Once you cross the Sierra Nevada range you shouldn't have any problems with snow.  Unfortunately there aren't many routes from Vegas to SF if snow closes the passes (once closed they are closed for the season).

The most scenic route, if the passes are open, is to take the 160 out of Vegas.  Then take hwy 372/178 to Shoshone.  Follow the 178 through Death Valley until it connects with the 190 west.  Follow the 190 until it meets the 136 (to Lone Pine).  Then take the 395 north until you reach the 120 that will take you up a very big climb into Yosemite.  Follow the 120 all the way to Manteca.  There are then a couple of ways for you to get to the SF bay area.  If snow has closed the passes (very possible) you either take the 395 upto Carson City, Nevada or take hwy 95 out of Vegas north to Fallon, Nevada.  You can then take hwy 50 to Carson and Lake Tahoe. 

It is very possible you'll run into some snow at the higher elevations.  If you get to Vegas at the beginning of November you may just beat the snow.  Also be prepared for rain on the coast route.  This is the beginning of the rainy season.

Hope this helps.  Good Luck.

Routes / Re: New to board: Eugene, OR to Sacramento, CA
« on: December 20, 2009, 11:54:31 am »
The ACA maps for the Pacific Coast, the new (April 2010) Sierra Cascades, and the Western Express will have an elevation profile so you can get an idea of what the terrain will be like.  They also give a general idea of the weather at the time of year you want to tour.  There are also some topographic programs that use can use to plot a route and then see the elevation profile.

If you are going to buy a new bike in Eugene you should make contact with a bike shop there before you leave.  Most bike shops in the US stock a limited number (if any at all) of touring bikes.  Ordering the one you want ahead of time will save you from doing a frantic search for the bike and gear once you get here.

Haven't quite figured out the quote thing so I answer each in turn.

I've had the Mootour for a year and a half and used it to pull a trailer across the Southern Tier.  I've also ridden it on the Nevada portion of the Western Express.  The use of fenders has all but eliminated water entering around the S&S down tube coupling.  They also keep quite a bit of road grime off me and the bike.  I do wish it was able to handle a tire larger than 32 mm.

I agree with whittierider on custom bikes.  Most will be able to get a good fit on stock frames.  For me though, I couldn't eliminate some lower back pain and sciatica issues.  With the custom I was able to get a shorter top tube and when combined with a more upright stem it just about eliminated the problem.  I did use a bike shop that "guaranteed" the fit.  If it didn't fit they would take it back or order another.  It does take 2 to 3 months to get the bike after you order it.

I'm looking at some different brakes but there was an article on Velonews that discussed the problem.  It seems the fork flexes just enough to cause the cable to tighten which then causes the brake to put more force on the wheel.   This adds more flex until the brake is so tight that it slips and then grabs repeatedly which causes the "chatter".  I haven't heard it being a problem with metal forks so maybe that is one solution. 

I own a Mootour will S&S couples and love it.  I don't even know the couples are there until I need to break the bike down.  The only downside (besides a little extra weight) is they are not sealed.  Before I put on fenders I rode through a rain storm.  About 4 oz of water accumulated in the down tube due to the wheel spray working its way into the tube.  At least ti won't rust.  It also will only take a 32 mm tire at the max.  Since I don't ride off road with it that is ok.  I also pull a BOB trailer with no problems.  I put panniers on to ride to the local stores near home. 

I'm using a carbon cross fork with cantilevered brakes and it does occasionally develop "chatter".  It can be very disconcerting when braking to a stop.  You may want to take a look at disk brakes that are cabled (Not hydraulic). 

I also had a problem with the wheels the bike shop built for me.  They are 32 hole and I must have broken 10 spokes in a year.  I've had it rebuilt twice and I hope the last time solved the issue.  My next set will be at least 36 hole.

The nice thing about Moots (and other custom bikes) is that you can get exactly what you want and the fit is such that it will help eliminate fitting issues that lead to aches and pains.

California / Re: California Between Christmas and New Years
« on: December 10, 2009, 10:19:04 am »
There is plenty to see from SF south so I wouldn't worry about keeping your driver occupied.  However be prepared for inclement weather - lots of rain.  Make sure you have some warm clothing and rain gear.  If you use your road bike I'd suggest that you equip it with some fenders.  It is hard to say if a front will come through during the time frame you want to ride.  You should be able to check about a week ahead to see if any fronts are expected.  The fronts will be cold and wet but you will have one heck of a tail wind.

Routes / Re: routes across canada
« on: December 07, 2009, 01:22:00 pm »
There was a short post in 2005 from Judyrans about routes in Canada.  If you do a search in routes using "Routes in Canada" you will find the post.  It will also bring up some other posts you might find of interest.

General Discussion / Re: saddle help!
« on: December 07, 2009, 10:37:07 am »
If you have a bike shop you go to "regularly" ask them if they have saddles you can try for a few rides to see how they work for you.  I've ridden saddles that some folks claim is the most comfortable they've ever ridden but I find them extremely uncomfortable.  Since everyone's bottom anatomy seems to be a little different you may have to try several different saddles to find one you find comfortable.  On my touring I have a Brooks and on my regular road bike a Sella Italia Prolink gel.

You can do a search for "saddles" in this forum and gear to see what others have said since this is a popular topic.

Routes / Re: TransAm + Western Express in Summer
« on: December 05, 2009, 10:31:09 am »
If you are prepared for hot, dry conditions then the Western Express isn't a bad route.  However, if you don't want to be hot then either the Northern Tier or the full TransAm might be the way to go. 

Connecting ACA Routes / Re: Connecting Natchez, MS to Southern Tier
« on: December 04, 2009, 10:59:10 am »
The Great Rivers South (Section 3) follows the Natchez Trace from Tupelo, MS to Natchez, MS.  It then heads south to St. Francisville, LA where you can connect to the Southern Tier (section 5 or 6).  I've found that these maps tend to keep you off the very busy highways whenever possible.  They may not be the most direct or shortest routes but they do take you through some areas off the main highways that most people never see. 

Routes / Re: TransAm + Western Express in Summer
« on: December 03, 2009, 06:30:56 pm »
The Western Express route through Utah and Nevada would most likely be pretty hot and dry during August.  Late July to early August have the hottest average temps.  I've ridden this route through Nevada 8 times in the middle to late September.  The temps have varied from about 25 degrees F to 95 degrees F during different rides during those years.  If you arrive at the route around September the weather should be manageable.  Just be prepared to carry enough water to make it about 70 miles without finding a place to refill or get anything to eat.  

Connecting ACA Routes / Re: Washington DC to San Diego CA
« on: December 02, 2009, 10:27:18 am »
Oops.  I did mean "not" in the summer.

General Discussion / Re: Getting back to where you started
« on: December 01, 2009, 12:56:12 pm »
I've used Amtrak several times and always had a good experience.  As Staephj1 mentioned check the route schedule to see which stations have baggage service.

Connecting ACA Routes / Re: Washington DC to San Diego CA
« on: December 01, 2009, 12:53:05 pm »
There are several ways to get to San Diego from DC using Adventure Cycling (ACA) maps.  You take the  ACA Atlantic Coast route and then connect to the Southern Tier route in St. Augustine, FL.  Or you could take the TransAm route to where it connects to the Great Rivers route.  Then follow it south until it connects to the Southern Tier route.  Or you could take the TransAm route to the Western Express.  Then take the Grand Canyon Connector to the Southern Tier.

I would recommend going on the Southern Tier in the middle of the summer.  It is hot and humid in the south and can be very hot and dry in the west.

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