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Messages - John Nelson

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16
Gear Talk / Re: Lightweight touring bike?
« on: January 09, 2017, 08:19:35 pm »
If you don't mind my asking, which mountains?  I found the Rockies and Cascades much easier than the Ozarks and Appalachians.
All of them, although yes you are correct that the Rocky Mountains have more gentle grades. I think the hardest hills I've ever climbed are in the Green Mountains of Vermont. It depends, however, on whether you prefer 5 miles at 13% of 30 miles at 6%.

17
Gear Talk / Re: Lightweight touring bike?
« on: January 09, 2017, 02:22:57 pm »
I've wondered about this for a while.  I'm old, slow, and heavy, so I've got gears down to 20 gear inches on all my bikes, even the one without racks, so I can climb some ridiculous hills when it's hot and I'm tired.  But some people recommend doubles for touring with light loads.  At what point of youth, fitness, and light load does a 27-30 gear inch low become a viable option for touring?
Triples are still widely available in touring and mountain bikes, but are getting less common in regular road bikes (the kind you need for lightweight touring). You can get a road bike with a compact double and put a long-cage derailleur on the back and get your gearing down to 27 inches. That's enough for most lightweight touring.

I had a triple on my road bike until it got run over by a car. The bike I replaced it with only had a double. I expected that to be a big problem because I often ride up and down the mountains, but we humans, even old ones, are pretty adaptable. Even though my gearing isn't quite as low as it was before, I'm fine with it.

18
Routes / Re: Place to finish WB Northern Tier ride
« on: January 09, 2017, 02:15:11 pm »
I went the other way, but same difference.

I rode out to the Anacortes Ferry Terminal, just because I'm a completionist and that's what you're supposed to do. You are absolutely right, however, in that there is nothing to look at there, and it would be quite a bit of work to dip your tire if that's what you had in mind.

I started (and you can end) at the Bellingham Airport. It's about a 45 mile ride from the Anacortes Ferry Terminal to the Bellingham airport along the Pacific Coast Route if you decide to go all the way to the ferry. You can skip the ferry and just turn right at Bay View and head straight for the airport, saving you the 33 miles of the round trip to the ferry and back. On this route, you'll pass right through Edison, which is as close to the water as the Anacortes Ferry Terminal is anyway.

Bellingham Airport is served by Frontier, which has attractive ticket prices and attractive prices for taking your bike on the plane. Although quite a few people dislike Frontier, I'm flown them a lot and never had any problems. Just make sure you understand their fee structure before you go so you have the option of keeping your fees low if that's important to you.

19
In general, you can expect a campground with hiker/biker sites to always accommodate you. This might not officially be the policy on the books, but you can almost always count on it anyway. I've been to a number of hiker/biker campgrounds which were technically over their defined hiker/biker limit, but they always squeeze you in anyway. I've also been to a number of campgrounds without hiker/biker sites and that were full, but they squeeze you in somewhere too. I've also several times been offered a chance to share someone's site in other campgrounds.

Somehow it all works out. Nobody is going to ask you to go cycling down the road in the dark.

20
Gear Talk / Re: Lightweight touring bike?
« on: January 07, 2017, 11:27:16 pm »
For lightweight touring, any bike will do. I agree with Ron that you should look for a carbon-fiber road bike. I suggest you forego racks and put your gear in a saddle pack such as an Apidura or Revelate, combined with a very small handlebar bag such as one from Banjo Brothers that straps on the bars.

21
Gear Talk / Re: Camp Stove
« on: January 06, 2017, 10:04:30 am »
Depends on how elaborate you are with your cooking. I use a simple alcohol stove, but you can only prepare simple meals with it. The stove itself weighs only an ounce, and I buy fuel in 12-ounce bottles sold in gas stations, auto parts stores, and even grocery stores.

22
Cheap accommodations along the entire Pacific coast are readily available if you are carrying camping equipment, with the exception of in Los Angeles. Unless you ride a long ways, you'll probably spend one night in LA. You can probably arrange a Warm Showers host in SF and LA. The ACA maps identify the campgrounds and hostels. The Pacific coast is generally great for cheap places to sleep.

23
Routes / Re: Northern Tier vs. TransAm
« on: January 02, 2017, 05:14:20 pm »
The TransAm is better. The NT, however, does have Going To The Sun Road.

24
round rock house in Kentucky
Huh? Where is that?

You didn't see that?  :)

I think it was somewhere west of Sonora (aka where the route crossed one of the Kentucky state parkways), east of Madrid.
Ah, that explains why I didn't see it. I took the side trip to Mammoth Cave and returned to the TransAm via Caneyville (where a famous trail angel used to live). So I bypassed Sonora.

If you have an extra day (two if you take a day to tour the cave--and why would you go there without touring the cave), I recommend the side trip to Mammoth Cave National Park.

25
Routes / Re: Help with Route Planning From KS to CA
« on: December 28, 2016, 09:32:47 pm »
Big towns always complicate route planning. The best routes (IMHO) avoid big towns. They are hard to get into, through and out of.

My advice would be to drop straight down to Baxter Springs in the southeast corner of Kansas and then take Bicycle Route 66, which goes directly to Victorville. It's a really cool route, but it doesn't get you to Denver or Las Vegas. My advice would be to visit those two big cities another time by automobile.

26
round rock house in Kentucky
Huh? Where is that?

27
General Discussion / Re: How to transport bike box?
« on: December 25, 2016, 03:58:41 pm »
I have a destination at the end of my journey and staying with family in San Francisco. Is there a possibility of fed-ex'ing the box from Dulles?
The nearest FedEx shipping office is 5.2 miles from Dulles Airport. The online FedEx calculator says that to ship a 31 pound box of dimensions 47x30.5x10.5 (the specifications for a Trico Iron Case) via FedEx Ground (the cheapest option) from Dulles to San Francisco with no insurance and with delivery to and pickup from a FexEx office (again, the cheapest option) is $162.95.

28
General Discussion / Re: Lions and tigers and bears oh my!!!
« on: December 24, 2016, 09:25:13 pm »
I agree. A pannier makes a great bear bag. I prefer to put it at least 100 yards from my tent, sometimes much farther away. Be sure to remember how to get back to where you put it. I try to leave some markers, but on occasion, it has taken me a while to find it in the morning.

Put everything that smells in it. Not just food, but toothpaste, soap, bug repellent, sunscreen, dishes, etc. In addition to not eating anywhere near your tent, don't brush your teeth anywhere near your tent either.

29
I assume you are referring to June Curry from Alton VA.  Unfortunately she died in 2012 so that's one highlight newer travelers won't have a chance to enjoy.
Yes, she died at the age of 91 on June 16, 2012. But you can still visit her house, still stay there overnight, and still spend hours exploring the collection of memorabilia there. It's still a highlight.

30
General Discussion / Re: How to transport bike box?
« on: December 24, 2016, 08:10:31 pm »
My advice is the same as before. Don't bring your Trico.

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