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Messages - John Nelson

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General Discussion / Re: Shipping bike to Astoria/ Logistics
« on: February 27, 2015, 04:05:36 pm »
I have not shipped my bicycle to Astoria, but I have shipped my bike from Astoria. Bikes and Beyond did a good pack and ship for me. I'm betting that you could ship it there.

But if you have a bit of spare time, you could fly to Portland and ride to Astoria. If you do ship your bike to Astoria, there is good bus service between Portland to Astoria, and good light rail from the Portland airport to the downtown bus terminal.

Routes / Re: Primitive Camping on Pacific Coast Route
« on: February 20, 2015, 12:21:04 pm »
The status of California parks is available at I would pay very close attention to which parks have hiker/biker sites, as that can make a huge cost difference for solo bicycle travelers.

Gear Talk / Re: New Rider who needs advice on tires
« on: February 20, 2015, 09:45:24 am »
Giant is like Ford; do you have a Mustang or a pickup truck?
The Marathon I used ... rides like a loaded pickup truck in heavy mud.
"Marathon" is like Ford too. Schwalbe makes a dozen different kinds of Marathon tires with wildly different characteristics.

Routes / Re: Primitive Camping on Pacific Coast Route
« on: February 19, 2015, 07:50:25 pm »
I think wild camping would be pretty easy north of San Francisco. Plenty of open country there. From San Francisco to Santa Barbara, it's probably possible, with fewer opportunities. South of Santa Barbara might be hard. As Pete says, some campgrounds may not be open that early, but that might give you greater options (if you don't get caught). As Pete says, the campgrounds, if open and if they have hiker/biker sites are already pretty cheap ($5-$12).

Temporary ACA Route Road Closures / Re: Pacific Coast Section 4, Map 43
« on: February 10, 2015, 09:41:13 am »
I spoke with the owner
The owner of what?

General Discussion / Re: Question About Minimum Stay Requirements
« on: February 08, 2015, 05:06:12 pm »
I've stayed in hundreds of campgrounds while bicycle touring, and I've never encountered a minimum stay requirement. I'd say you're looking in the wrong places.

Southwest / Re: Possible to cycle from Vegas to Grand Canyon?
« on: February 07, 2015, 09:25:40 pm »
North rim? South rim? Somewhere else? The Grand Canyon is a big place.

Routes / Re: TransAmerica then Pacific Coast Summer 2015 (First Tour)
« on: February 04, 2015, 10:46:37 am »
Your plan sounds good to me too. I've done all the roads you are planning. Leaving in the first half of May from Yorktown is practically ideal. At 70 miles a day, you'll get to Astoria in the middle of July. It will take you a few days to get up to Seattle. Personally, I wouldn't start down the west coast until the middle of August. My theory is that you don't want to get past San Francisco before Labor Day to avoid the heaviest tourist traffic.

My advice would be some combination of (1) start a bit later, perhaps the middle of May, (2) stay with your sister a little longer, and/or (3) reduce your mileage down to 60 miles per day.

On the TransAm, it's easy to go cheap because of all the free camping. On the Pacific Coast, it's just a bit more expensive. Although the camping isn't free, it's generally only $6 to $12 for hiker/biker sites. Plan your stops only at campgrounds with H/B sites, as regular sites can be a lot more expensive. The ACA maps tell you where the H/B sites are, as does the California State Parks web site. I averaged $16 a day on the TransAm (with one motel) and $32 a day on the Northern Tier (with no motels). I did not carry a stove. Avoid all motels if you can--they really drive up the costs.

General Discussion / Re: Deviation on Transam (Tenn & NC)
« on: January 30, 2015, 09:47:56 pm »
How much worse will the hills be than if I stayed on the transam?
Worse? You can throw a dart at the map and find a flatter route than the TransAm.

General Discussion / Re: Traveling the Transam Supported by RV
« on: January 30, 2015, 09:46:14 pm »
Where you stop cycling for the day and where you and your wife settle into the RV for the night do not have to be the same place. Also, I assume you don't need an RV park every night. If you're sleeping in your RV, you can probably find a parking lot somewhere to park for the night.

I'd recommend that your wife research the route and find places to see on her own while you are out cycling. Driving ahead ten miles at a time is going to get really old. She can also travel ahead and find a place to spend the night. If that's too short or far for you, she can pick you up wherever you quit for the day and drop you off in that same spot the next morning. If you want to take side trips during the day together, or have lunch together, you can prearrange that and she can meet you or pick you up.

Be aware that you won't have cell coverage everywhere, so always have a default plan of where and when to meet. And be sure you carry or have access to enough food and water to get there, and carry rain gear if there's any chance of rain.

Your biggest challenge will probably be if you want to camp in Yellowstone or Grand Teton. Plan well enough so that you can reserve a camping spot ahead of time. Or just plan to spend the night outside those parks. You'll probably end up spending a night in Jeffrey City, Wyoming (or maybe Sweetwater Junction). That will likely be your most remote location. You can probably park the RV just about anywhere in Jeffrey City.

Routes / Re: Trans american--western express
« on: January 30, 2015, 12:52:42 pm »
It's just a matter of risk and fun. If you tolerate cold well, and have enough time to wait out bad weather, then sure, you can do it. I wouldn't, but you can. Or, if you only want to do 30 miles a day, and "March" means a late March start in Yorktown, then it'll probably be okay. I still wouldn't because there's too much risk it won't be much fun. Budget for a lot of motels.

General Discussion / Re: folders
« on: January 28, 2015, 03:01:29 pm »
S&S would be too much trouble for frequent assembly and disassembly. For a car trip, I would think options other than a folder would be better, e.g., a rack (roof or hitch), or even putting your bike inside and carefully packing around it. You might also consider a soft case, where you take off both wheels. Then you could just throw your bike on top of your other luggage without worrying about getting your other stuff dirty.

If you stick with the folder idea, then certainly Bike Friday should be at the top of your list.

If possible, I prefer to know where I'm going to end the day before I get there, or at least know the possibilities. If I have no idea where I might spend the night, the anxiety is a bit uncomfortable. It always works out, but it makes me a bit uneasy.

It's useful to know what things to look for. Most of these have already been mentioned: churches, fire stations, gas stations, city parks, swimming pools, public buildings, etc. In between towns, a flat spot by the side of the road is an option. Try to pick some place where the cows won't trample you, where a truck won't run over you, where the sprinklers won't soak you, and where you won't get flooded if it rains. Getting roused by the police is usually the least of my worries. Even if it happens, they will usually either allow it or help you find alternatives. As Pete says, ask if you can, and hope for the best if you can't.

Gear Talk / Re: What lube to use for touring.
« on: January 27, 2015, 12:33:56 pm »
Pete, you are the only person I have ever heard report getting 10,000 miles out of a chain (or even anything close to that). I have read how you care for your chains, but try as I might, I cannot duplicate your experiences. I lube once a week with a quality lube, never deep clean it off the bike, and yet I cannot get more than 4000 miles out of a chain. When doing loaded touring, I cannot even get that much.

General Discussion / Re: Green-lighted to go cross-country! (questions)
« on: January 25, 2015, 11:57:00 pm »
This is just one data point, and it doesn't mean anything, but in a couple hundred days of touring, I've never taken a "rest" day. Personally, I don't think rest days do me any good, and I would usually rather see what's down the road than stay where I am. I have, however, taken three days off during my touring, all of them on my TransAm tour. But these three days weren't for purposes of "rest," but because there was something at that location that I wanted to do and it took a whole day to do it. BTW, I did have a split rim once, but I managed to get a new wheel built and still rode 78 miles that day.

I did the Northern Tier in 64 straight days, averaging 72.5 miles per day with no days off. I did the Pacific Coast in 32 straight days, averaging 60 miles per day with no days off. The main reason I averaged less on the Pacific Coast is that I did it at a time of year when the days were shorter. When I have less daylight, I cannot go as far.

BTW, I have found that I average about 5 miles per day over the mileage on the map, typically to get food or ride to a campground. So my mileage on established routes is always more than the advertised distance. It's a good idea to plan for that.

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