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Messages - John Nelson

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I did it last August/September, Bellingham to south of San Diego. It's easy to ride directly out of the Bellingham airport (I've done that twice). It's a great ride. Lots of hiker/biker camp sites, so it's a great route to camp. You can read more about my trip in my journal. I averaged 60 miles a day. Big Sur is the best, but the whole route is fantastic (although it gets quite different south of Santa Barbara). I suspect, however, that due to the severe California drought, you may find that many of the California state park campgrounds have closed the showers--bummer! Wash yourself off at the water spigot or jump in the ocean.

Have a great time.

Routes / Re: Getting to TransAm start point (Yorktown, VA)
« on: April 14, 2015, 04:34:16 pm »
I shipped my bike ahead to Yorktown, flew into Newport News, and caught a ride to Yorktown.

General Discussion / Re: USA visa at Canadian border.
« on: April 09, 2015, 09:35:08 am »
What is your nationality?

Routes / Re: Minnesota to West Coast route options?
« on: April 07, 2015, 04:47:16 pm »
there is one small town (Del Bonita) between Cut Bank and Magrath, AB
Town? That's quite generous.

Going into Canada and back to the U.S. is entertaining if for no other reason than to see the different levels of security at the border crosssing. The Canadian officials are friendly Dudley Do-Right, down-home people. The U.S. officials are stern, all business.

The Lee Creek Campground in Cardston, Alberta is a friendly place, and the Remington Carriage Museum in Cardston was voted "the best indoor attraction in Canada."

The wind can be quite brutal between Cut Bank and Cardston.

Routes / Re: Minnesota to West Coast route options?
« on: April 07, 2015, 02:47:05 pm »
But whatever you do, do not even consider for a second skipping Going To The Sun Road. This will be the highlight of your trip. It is a must do.

Routes / Re: Maryland to Maine route? (Breast Cancer Awareness Ride)
« on: April 06, 2015, 11:42:09 pm »
The route is called the "Atlantic Coast" route. Read more about it at the link below:

Routes / Re: Minnesota to West Coast route options?
« on: April 06, 2015, 09:49:10 am »
I like indyfabz's suggestion. Just remember that Going To The Sun Road will close September 20, so plan to get there by then. I don't think that'll be a problem. You should be able to go from Minnesota to Glacier National Park in about three weeks. Also, be sure to check closing dates for campgrounds along the Pacific Coast. I don't think that will be a problem either. Most of them are either year round or at least open late into the season. A few may close on Labor Day, so check the individual sites before you plan on them.

You should be able to get to Anacortes in about five weeks, and then from there to San Francisco in another three. That should get you to San Francisco before the end of September.

General Discussion / Re: Shipping bicycle back home question
« on: April 01, 2015, 12:41:23 pm »
Which is why every tourist or other serious rider should have at least two bikes!
Agreed. It can be a bit slow. It was a month before my bicycle arrived home from Bar Harbor. I was beginning to think the bike shop had lost my bike. So don't pack your only bike shoes and helmet in the box, and have another bike at home. The bike shop in Astoria was faster--it only took a week. Also, the bike shop in Astoria told me where I could buy a giant duffle bag just down the street for only $12. That was big enough for all my panniers and gear. I reused that same bag in Bar Harbor by having it sent to me care of general delivery at the Bar Harbor post office.

General Discussion / Re: Shipping bicycle back home question
« on: March 31, 2015, 10:19:51 pm »
I rode my bike to a bike shop in Bar Harbor, gave them my credit card and my address. Done. I took the shuttle to the Bangor airport and flew home with my gear in a duffle bag. Piece of cake.

General Discussion / Re: Pac Coast Ride
« on: March 31, 2015, 05:22:45 pm »
(1) Crescent City to San Francisco along the ACA Pacific Coast route is 412 miles. But it's pretty hilly, and the scenery is so fantastic, I'm not sure you'll want to rush it. If you have 6 days, you can do it with 70 miles a day (on average--stops are never exactly where you want them). That's doable, but 7 days would be better. My eleventh commandment is, "Thou shall not rush through Big Sur." I did it last fall in a bit over 7 days.

(2) I prefer to fly with my bike if I can and if I can find an airline that doesn't charge an arm and a leg for the bike (i.e., Frontier or Southwest). Shipping it is also a very viable option. Don't use your hard shell. Use a cardboard box. Shipping an empty case is expensive.

(3) Camping on the coast is wonderful, plentiful and cheap. No problem getting spots because you'll be using hiker/biker spots. No reservations needed.

(4) In good weather, a bivvy is sufficient. If it rains a lot, you'll wish you had a tent. No way to know what will happen. Hammock is iffy--may be hard to find trees where you want them.

(5) Gear lists are a dime a dozen. When in doubt, don't take it.

Bicycle Route 66 / Re: Mid-summer heat on Route 66
« on: March 31, 2015, 03:28:05 pm »
Different people tolerate the heat differently. I lived 20 years in Phoenix and ran 8 miles every day at noon, year round, including days above 120 degrees. The key to staying alive in the heat is to be carrying massive amounts of water, and drink it. Never, ever run out.

I can tolerate heat even better on a bicycle with the constant breeze created by the motion.

Riding across northern Wisconsin is fun. It's heavily forested, relentlessly rolling, with lots of lakes and summer resorts tucked so far into the trees you hardly notice them. There is also farmland and interesting barns. Public campgrounds (on lakes of course) are sufficiently available and medium priced (i.e., a bit more expensive than campgrounds out West, but not anywhere nearly as expensive as the private campgrounds in the East). For more information and pictures, check out days 35-38 of my journal.

I did not take the ferry, but went through the UP, which I very much enjoyed (especially the pasties and Mackinac Island). The routes diverge at Conover, WI and reconnect at the Wolf Lake, MI. The UP route is 215 miles longer than the ferry route.

Although the ACA does have exactly this route, many people have observed that it is far from the shortest route. That's because the ACA is trying to make the most of their route to the UP. I'm not sure I understand the constant fascination with "shortest", but there are several journals over at CGOAB where they have followed a shorter route.

Routes / Re: Northern Tier Extension?
« on: March 27, 2015, 09:56:51 am »

Routes / Re: Pacific Coast Route
« on: March 25, 2015, 08:14:42 pm »
North to South is preferable for several reasons. The wind is one. You won't fight the wind continuously going the other way, but you will more often than not. But there are other important reasons. The shoulders are better on the southbound side, specifically for the benefit of cyclists. The view is better. Cars see you better (since the drivers are admiring the view too). The pullouts are mostly on the ocean side.

Nevertheless, if you choose to go the "wrong" way, you'll still have a good trip.

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