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Messages - John Nelson

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1
Routes / Re: Coos Bay Bridge Bypass Yes and No?
« on: Today at 06:43:23 am »
I stayed on the standard route across the Coos Bay Bridge. The bridge is no picnic, but it's only six minutes of your day. Coos Bay provides ample access to services that you probably need. Seven Devils Road is aptly named. It's steep and hard. Bullards Beach State ParK has a very nicely appointed hiker/biker campground. You'll like it.

2
Another alternative to consider is to fly into Bellingham, Washington and ride up to the border. At Peace Arch, you can cross into Canada with your bike (to make it official) without going through Canadian customs and immigration. If you prefer, you can ride all the way up to Vancouver--you're halfway there anyway at the Peace Arch. If you ride your bike up to Vancouver, there will be no problem with customs. One of the main reasons I flew into Bellingham was not necessarily to save the hassle of Canadian customs and immigration, but that I could find much cheaper flights (for both me and my bicycle) to Bellingham than to Vancouver. And, if you pick your airline well, taking your bike on the plane is no more costly than shipping it. I prefer to put my bike together at the airport and ride out the door. The Bellingham airport is sleepy enough that you can easily find a place to do it.

3
General Discussion / Re: Hire of touring bike in Seattle
« on: March 27, 2017, 12:25:17 pm »
Honestly, you rarely hear of people successfully renting (hiring in British-speak) a touring bike. First of all, most bike shops don't even stock them, or, if they do stock them, they have one or two. Second, many bike shops don't rent any bikes at all. Third, even if they do rent touring bikes, it may be a lot of time and fuss to fit your gear to them.

I know it's trouble and expense to bring a bike from Europe for only two weeks, but that may be your best bet anyway.

4
I crossed from Canada to the US over the Lewiston-Queenston bridge in 2012. Not sure if I was supposed to or not, but I rode past the line of cars to the front. It didn't take long at all.

5
Gear Talk / Re: 48 tooth gear on a triple chainring?
« on: March 22, 2017, 10:25:04 pm »
Was 48 considered too high or too low in that other thread?

6
Gear Talk / Re: Recommendations for thermometers?
« on: March 22, 2017, 09:36:25 pm »
The hard part is that "daily minimum and maximum" requirement. The thermometer has to stay out of the sun continuously all day.

7
Gear Talk / Re: Recommendations for thermometers?
« on: March 22, 2017, 08:16:31 pm »
Most thermometers are going to be useless for what you want. The biggest problem is where to put it where its readings won't be distorted. You can't put it on your body, nor in your bags. You need to put it in a well-ventilated shady spot that won't get reflected heat off the pavement. Where are you going to find that on a bicycle?

8
Routes / Re: Transamerica route question
« on: March 21, 2017, 11:26:41 pm »
That's easily twice as many clothes as you need. And really, no jeans. Lightweight nylon pants look just as formal.

9
General Discussion / Re: Northern Tier cell phone service
« on: March 21, 2017, 10:41:27 am »
Be careful. Just because a minor carrier says that it uses the same network as a major carrier does not mean that the coverage is the same. But even if Cricket had the same coverage as AT&T, AT&T isn't known for good rural coverage.

10
General Discussion / Re: Cell phone service on Lake Erie connector
« on: March 14, 2017, 01:15:33 pm »
I did the LEC in 2012 with a Verizon US plan. Text messages were free, but phone calls were not and data was not. There was no daily charge. I'm sure you can confirm on the Verizon web site or by calling them. I did occasionally use Wi-Fi with my phone in Canada, but I found the free Wi-Fi available to be very slow.

11
General Discussion / Re: Northern Tier cell phone service
« on: March 12, 2017, 11:01:16 am »
I did the NT with Verizon and had service every night, except: (1) in the National Parks (there's almost never service in a National Park), (2) Canada (in which my plan doesn't cover at a reasonable price).

Service during the riding day is intermittent on any route, which is why, as Pete said, you leave your phone in airplane mode to conserve the battery.

12
Routes / Re: Seattle to Anacortes
« on: March 10, 2017, 12:02:03 am »
Another option is to fly to Bellingham and ride the Pacific Coast Route down to Anacortes. Is much closer than Seattle. That's what I did.

13
Gear Talk / Re: Tent choice for Northern tier
« on: March 08, 2017, 03:15:19 pm »
All things equal, I prefer a free-standing tent. But I wouldn't pay two pounds for it! I've used both. I don't think stealth camping or not is a deciding factor. I don't see anything about stealth camping that speaks for or against a freestanding tent. Besides, stealth camping is not a binary thing. Many campsites are quasi-legal.

Freestanding tents still do much better if you can add a few stakes, and non-freestanding tents don't necessarily need stakes (you can substitute rocks, picnic tables, trees, etc.).

I did the NT in 2012. The NT is pretty heavy on camping. I spent 49 of my 64 nights in my tent.

As long as your okay with the room, take the lighter one.

14
General Discussion / Re: Eating the Transam Trail
« on: March 07, 2017, 11:14:26 pm »
Everybody has different experiences, but here's mine.

In Virginia, Kentucky and Illinois, the route is so rural that many of the towns you go through have few food choices. Even when you do go through a bigger town, the ACA map often takes you the back way through town so that you still don't see much food. I found myself eating a lot of gas-station food in those states. From Missouri to the West Coast, things were a bit better. You could find more cafes and grocery stores. I did not take any cooking equipment, so I could only eat ready-to-eat food.

To find more food options, you have to be willing to go off route a bit. Sometimes that's just a few blocks off route, but it can be a bit time-consuming to hunt around. I suppose a smart phone might help you find more food.

I also admit that I'm cheap, and not willing to spend two hours on a meal, so I rejected some of the fancier restaurants. That limited my options further.

15
Routes / Re: Great Parks North - best timing
« on: March 07, 2017, 12:48:03 pm »
Forgot to ask Pete, we will be camping mostly. Did you need to book ahead for national park campsites or, as a biker, could you just show up on your September trip.
I'll give you an answer about camping in National Parks in general. The general answer is that there is no general answer. You have to check the individual park, and the individual campground within the park. Many National Parks have hiker/biker sites, which cannot be reserved but guarantee you a spot. Yellowstone, Grand Teton, Glacier and Redwood are like that. In Rocky Mountain National Park, some of the campgrounds have H/B sites and some don't, so it can vary by campground in the same park. Theodore Roosevelt and Mammoth Cave NPs have no H/B sites.

Having said that, I will note that even parks without H/B sites will usually find room for you even when the campground is full. That's not a guarantee of course, but it works most of the time.

H/B sites are usually (a lot) less expensive than regular sites. Regular sites can be reserved, but it'll cost you. If you have a vehicle accompanying you, you must reserve a regular site. If traveling with a group, it might, depending on group size, be less expensive to reserve a regular site, since H/B sites charge by the person and regular sites charge by the site.

Check individual campground closing dates. Most campgrounds are still open in September, but that is about when they start closing, so don't get surprised.

When traveling solo, I never reserve.

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