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Messages - Jason

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31
Gear Talk / Re: Soma Steel Frames
« on: November 20, 2010, 06:29:53 pm »
Soma's are nice bikes for the $$$.

They are distributed through hawley company (almost a house-brand), much like Surly is with Quality (QBP.)  Basic frames, nice quality, smooth riding (as is the case with steel frames.)  I would argue in terms of quality, they are very much on par with anything from Surly.  A guy a work has a Soma Smoothie and I have a Surly Cross Check.  While different in terms of geometry, etc, the build seems to be identical.  Since you're asking the question on a forum dealing with bike-touring, you're going to get probably too many comments in favor of a Surly this or that.  I have one, I like it, but I also wanted a bike able to handle single speed touring, so Surly was really it in terms of frames competitively priced.

The Soma touring frame, the Saga, specs out to be in effect a Long Haul Trucker.

j

32
Routes / Re: camping and the southern tier route
« on: October 26, 2010, 12:42:56 pm »
I camped all the way across the ST, short of four days - where I stayed in hostels (major cities.)

As for an average price, I would say on average, you'll looking at $20.00.  In Florida I paid close to $30.00 a few times, and in New Mexico and parts of west Texas, paid about $9.00.  When you look over the ACA maps, you'll notice that the majority of the referenced campsites are privately owned, or at least a smaller variety state/county park.  All of the private parks are more than familiar with cyclists coming through, some going so far as to have cyclist as part of their business model (separate, well kept, flat, grassy areas...)  It goes without saying that you're not going to require the standard RV hookups, etc, so a plot of land for a tent is easy to accommodate.  Either way, most of the camping services referenced are well priced.

Arizona, especially just east of the CA border, has plenty of places where you can camp out with no trouble (pull off on the side of the road, etc...) Eastern CA is much the same (Octillo for example...)

Enjoy the trek, it's unbelievably amazing

j

33
Routes / Re: Southern Tier 2010 Tex-Mex Safety
« on: October 25, 2010, 08:39:21 pm »
I'm going to second Tony's comment.  Should you be overly concerned?  Not any more than any other part of the route.  In fact, I think the stretch of highway from Van Horn to El Paso (I went east/west last year) is one of the best of the entire route.  You are extremely close to the border in parts east of El Paso, but I wouldn't label this as being a reason to hold off traveling along the route ACA provides.

Again, to Tony's point, if you pay attention to your surroundings - along all parts of the route - you'll be fine.

j

34
Routes / Re: Southern Tier Nov 2010 Info appreciated
« on: October 18, 2010, 08:47:03 am »
I would second westinghouse's posting - especially on the southern tier.  The aca maps provide more than enough options, many of them are privately owned rv parks where you'll be more than fine.  Florida is good, and it really only gets better as you move west. 


It's a bike tour so be willing to stretch a little outside your comfort zone and you
ll be good

35
General Discussion / Re: east to west southern tier
« on: August 23, 2010, 03:41:49 pm »
Emory Pass and parts of Hill Country, Texas will be most prone to cold(er) temps when you roll through.  As suggested, a decent sleeping bag should make the trek in both places more than doable/comfortable.  The roads themselves for both are good so any inclement weather shouldn't make them impossible to pass.

Enjoy it.

j

36
General Discussion / Re: Cutting Weight
« on: August 07, 2010, 08:52:35 pm »
Extreme, yes... but when you read over this, it seems to make sense:


http://ultralightcycling.blogspot.com/

37
Connecting ACA Routes / Re: Southern Tier
« on: July 23, 2010, 06:44:37 pm »
The map in question can be found at any one of the CA campsites - given to you by the park ranger.  There's also a map online through the official CA state park website, but as I mentioned above, I think that one may be missing a few - either way, the paper one is a good one.

38
Connecting ACA Routes / Re: Southern Tier
« on: July 22, 2010, 04:18:42 pm »
I would suggest going down the coast - if for no other reason, you'll enjoy the ride a lot more.

As for the question about the campsites before/after/outside of Santa Monica, it really depends.  I've stayed in Malibu lagoon (north/west of Santa Monica about 12 miles) and it was awesome.  Conversely, I stayed south of Santa Monica at Dana Point.  I say stayed - I mean camped @ both.  Camping should be very good for you in September.  I did it in November after coming west along the southern Tier, and had no problems.

Malibu Lagoon is about 84 miles from Dana Point; Dana Point is about 65 miles from San Diego (Where you can then grab the southern tier west.)  The 84 mile trek is a piece of cake, flat, right along the ocean, etc.

One recommendation I would make is to pick up the free map of CA's campsites.  There's a version online, but in looking over it, it seems to be missing a few.  The paper version shows all the parks, with reference to which allow camping.

Hope that helps.

39
Gear Talk / Re: Heavy Duty Handle Bar Bag
« on: July 22, 2010, 04:01:14 pm »
A second recommendation for the Arkel bag - small one.  Amazing, amazing, amazing...  It went through about 10 straight days of rain along the southern-tier with no problems - e.g. I didn't have the rain cover and everything stayed relatively dry.  The map window on the bag does an excellent job of keeping the maps dry when raining as well. The handlebar clamp system is one of the nicest i've ever seen - strong, light, good length (away from the handlebars), etc.

The large bag is huge - which may lend itself to being over packed.  In saying that, I've over packed it (the small version) MANY times...

worth checking out.

40
Eric, to your questions...

I don't think I'd do anything different - per se.  I would though make the recommendation to pick up a South Carolina road map - even something fairly basic.  As noted on the ACA maps, the numbers are a bit confusing - some change according to the different counties, others based on how the wind blows...  Well, not really, but it might help in terms of asking for services other than what's shown on the ACA maps.  Some of the locals weren't terribly familiar with some of the road numbers ACA printed, nothing serious, nothing tramatic, just an FYI.

Also, absolutely, go along the Outerbanks.  Even riding through there pre-season (summer season) it was really super nice - roads, people, obviously scenery - the ferry ride is a nice way to relax.  As for services, I used ACA listed services officially, with a more than a few wild nights spent on the side of the road (well hidden would be another way to say it...) in GA and SC.  In fact, most everyone I met - including local police - were incredibly receptive to me ditching for the night here or there.  As with most areas in the country, the smaller the town/village/whatever, the more likely you'll be to find something you'd normally never expect - like a nice place to camp.

Should you need a bike shop in or around Statesboro, GA as you're making your way, the one listed (don't have the name in front of me...) is outstanding.  Super laid back, been around forever, etc, etc.  There's also, I think, a shop listed in Suffolk VA (which is off-route about 10 miles or so) that is awesome - same thing, laid back, been around since the stone age.


Enjoy yourself.

Jason

41
Add me to the list too, Eric...  went through GA, SC, NC and VA about 6 weeks ago.

You'll have a blast though, so enjoy it.

42
General Discussion / Re: bike travel and BP oil spill
« on: June 09, 2010, 06:34:22 pm »
Interesting questions.

As an aside, I would hope, if anything, that the oil spill doesn't not impact on someone's decision to ride through that part of the country.  Granted, with the weather currently this time of year, the Southern Tier is usually not a main travel destination.  Though, in saying that, the people of the area - most certainly the RV parks and local hotels - are hurting for any type of local tourism.

I'm sure I speak for anyone who has ridden along the Southern Tier when I say that this segment of the route stands out given the graciousness and hospitality of the locals.

43
General Discussion / Re: Youth tour on bamboo bikes
« on: May 20, 2010, 12:45:38 pm »
Here's my totally one-sided opinion about something you're planning (the power of the internet..)

Go for it.  Making a bike then making yourself actually get on it and ride, holy, that sounds like the essence of bike-touring.  The worst that could happen is much the same as the worst that could happen with a bike that has the words Long, Haul, and Trucker on it.  A friend in Atlanta made a bamboo bike in one of the week long course.  Wow, so nice - and simple (single speed, which on its own makes me wish I had one...), and again, something that he made.  I would absolutely, without question ride it anywhere and everywhere.  If I had to do over again, I would have considered this before doing the Southern Tier.

Everyone knows this, but i guess few truly practice it - they are no rules to bike touring...  Certain things make it easier - like 29 gears versus one, the type of bike, etc - but you still have to ride the bike.  What better way to feel 100% connected to the entire experience than manufacturing the bike from scratch.

You won't know unless you try...

I commend your efforts, and hope that you've made the decision already to have a go at this.  

44
General Discussion / Re: How Realistic is 125 miles daily mileage?
« on: May 13, 2010, 05:18:45 pm »
No question, you can do this.  Based on your previous 200 miles in 10 hours, seems you're well on your way.

So, yeah, have at it...  100+ days (fully loaded, unloaded, single speed ;D or whatever) are a blast.

Sounds like fun, enjoy it...


j

45
Routes / Re: Direction and departure month on Southern Tier in winter
« on: February 28, 2010, 03:27:46 pm »
I'm going to second the suggestion of going in Feb.  I finished the southern Tier in at the end of November (2009) - starting on Sept 29.

By the time I got into/through New Mexico and Arizona, the temperature were really started to move down.   Again, you're going to experience a fair amount of elevation changes - in NM - as well as in Texas.  In both areas, it's not at all uncommon to experience either snow, or at least nasty freezing rain.  Based on the weather the US got (still getting) this year overall, it's a safe bet those conditions (in both AZ, NM, and Texas) will be felt at least through the month's of Jan and Feb.  You might experience a few colder evenings at the beginning of the trip (AL, MS, and LA), but be in really good shape going forward.

As for the wind part, well, I guess, yes, they blow west to east but I never felt it to be a strong enough reason to suggest to anyone that they not go east to west.  You'll feel wind at various places (for me, no where was a strong as LA - coming around the MS river.) but it adds another level of accomplishment - so absolutely GO.

j

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