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Messages - John Nelson

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1
Routes / Re: Circling the US. Feedback please?
« on: April 24, 2015, 05:16:24 pm »
Sounds like a great plan. Good choice of departure and good choice of direction.

Sponsorships? Not impossible, but also not likely.

2
I understand your temptation.

The direct way is massively steep. I climbed Halcyon Hill on a fully-loaded bike, but my heart rate was through the roof and I wasn't sure I was going to make it. Furthermore, the traffic was non-trivial and there is no shoulder. Nevertheless, it's certainly doable if you have strong legs and heart.

The hill up Cabrillo Highway here is probably almost as steep and quite busy with traffic.

The detour gains the elevation more gradually and on safer roads.

3
Routes / Re: Latest date to leave - TransAm East to West (2016)
« on: April 23, 2015, 05:14:40 am »
11-12 weeks is plenty. 10 is usually enough, and it's rare to take more than 13. Except for Kansas and eastern Colorado, there are no "flat sections."

Weather is unpredictable and vastly different from one year to the next. There are "averages," but no "normal." A lot of luck is involved, more needed at some times of year than others.

You'll have a ball!

4
Routes / Re: Latest date to leave - TransAm East to West (2016)
« on: April 22, 2015, 10:56:41 am »
There is what I would consider an ideal timeframe to leave Yorktown on the TransAm (which is the first half of May), but you can really leave anytime, understanding that the farther from the ideal timeframe you leave the greater the chance of weather problems. It isn't like there is some drop-dead date, like leaving on June 8 would be fantastic but leaving on June 9 would be a disaster. Furthermore, it depends on whether you plan to take 4 weeks for the trip or 20 weeks for the trip (how long do you plan to take anyway?).

Personally, I left in early May from Yorktown and did not find the heat to be a problem. If you want to avoid heat, I would suggest you leave earlier than that (April) rather than later. Even though you tolerate cold well, however, you might not tolerate riding through a foot of snow very well. Furthermore, even if you tolerate cold, do you tolerate cold and wet together?

Also, there is heat and there is heat. The temperatures in June might be higher than the temperatures in August in many places, but the humidity in June might be less than the humidity in August, making June more pleasant than August.

Since you ask your question about "latest", I assume that you cannot leave early. If you're not too slow, and you have enough time to wait out a snowstorm or two, I think you could wait as late as August to leave. You may have to skip McKenzie Pass (regrettable), but there is an alternative. Also, if you're planning to camp (are you?), you may find some campgrounds closed after the beginning of September.

5
Christine,

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.

http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/goingdown

Have a great time.

6
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.

7
General Discussion / Re: USA visa at Canadian border.
« on: April 09, 2015, 09:35:08 am »
What is your nationality?

8
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.

9
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.

10
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:

http://www.adventurecycling.org/routes-and-maps/adventure-cycling-route-network/atlantic-coast/

11
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.

12
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.

13
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.

14
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.

15
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.

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