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Messages - John Nelson

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General Discussion / Re: Trangia Stove / Meths
« on: January 25, 2017, 11:04:53 am »
BUT...  do you know you can get a gas burner for the Trangia?...In fact there are advantages over meths:  controllable, no sooty pots...

Y'know, I haven't had an issue with "sooty pots" with my Trangia. At least when I use HEET in the yellow bottle, which is the easiest methyl alcohol to get in (most parts of) the States in smaller amounts. However, I have used one type of denatured alcohol which was a bit sooty.
The amount of soot depends on the fuel. Alcohol stoves will burn any type of alcohol. Ethanol and methanol burn virtually soot-free. Isopropanol can be sooty. Ethanol and methanol burn better anyway, so there's little reason to use isopropanol unless you can't find anything else.

He has already withdrawn his own draft bill.

Routes / Re: Pacific Coast Hywy South (thru L.A.)??
« on: January 20, 2017, 03:59:08 pm »
Most of the route through LA itself is along the beach, except for a short section around LAX. On the beach path, there's no danger from cars, but you do have to closely watch out for kids, skateboarders, strollers, dogs, skaters, joggers, other cyclists, oblivious people crossing the path, etc. The section around LAX requires you to be on your toes. The biggest problem with going through LA, if you are camping, is that there is no place to camp. So find someplace else to sleep.

The worst section is the 27 miles through Malibu. Heavy traffic and no shoulder.

Routes / Re: Tour de SRAM USA 2017- unique cross-country route
« on: January 19, 2017, 01:49:15 pm »
I changed it to use as much of the Transamerica Trail as I could- trade off of known cycling route vs. mileage.
ACA routes are wonderful, but they are definitely not designed to get you from point A to point B quickly. If you have only 4 weeks to get from coast to coast, and you have a number of fixed points you need to hit, I'm afraid your route will be constrained to pretty-much suck. I suggest you see if you can relax any of the constraints so that you will have a better time.

Routes / Re: Cycling Route 66 west from Flagstaff
« on: January 19, 2017, 12:26:42 am »
Follow the ACA maps and you'll be fine. Bicycles are allowed on some sections of the interstate and prohibited on others. The best way to sort it all out is with the maps. Even when allowed, it's best to avoid as much of the interstate as you can. You'll love the challenge of the Mojave Desert and Sitgreaves Pass.

Routes / Re: Another way to cope with dogs
« on: January 17, 2017, 04:41:26 pm »
The houses are often right up against the road - so the dogs are closer to begin with.
Boy that's the truth! Sometimes a dog sitting on its front porch is only 12 feet from where you are riding. I was constantly moving over to the far left side of the road to pass a house on the right and vice versa. Most of the time the dogs just sat there, but if they decided to take action, they were on you in a flash. The silent dogs are the worst--the ones where your first indication that they are there is when their head hits your pannier.

Nevertheless, I loved eastern Kentucky. I'm very glad I went through there. It was a great experience.

Routes / Re: Another way to cope with dogs
« on: January 17, 2017, 01:28:26 pm »
A good chunk of the TransAm lore would be lost if the Kentucky dogs were eliminated. Dogs can certainly be a problem, but it's another one of the exciting challenges of the TransAm. It's not an insurmountable problem. To me, Kentucky was an unfamiliar and mostly welcoming world, and I would not want to miss it.

Gear Talk / Re: Ultra light sleeping bag, tent and pad?
« on: January 17, 2017, 12:12:56 am »
Everything involves trade offs and you haven't given us enough information to know what your requirements are.

The problem with credit-card touring in the US West is that you can't always find some place to stay, and some of the places you do find will be expensive. So you have to carry camping gear anyway. And as long as you're carrying it, you might as well use it, especially in a camping paradise like the West Coast.

You will find a few simple dorm accommodations, but not many.

I just bought a blowup pillow.  I have not tried it yet.  It's packs to about 3 inches long--tiny little thing.  I'll be interested to see if that helps.
I absolutely love my inflatable pillow! Never again will I stuff clothes into my sleeping bag stuff sack.

Routes / Re: Deception Pass State Park, Washington
« on: January 12, 2017, 11:02:21 am »
To find the actual grade log into the "Ride with GPS" website, you'll have to sign up but it's free.
Mapping software often has problems with bridges. If you map a route across the Royal Gorge Bridge, the elevation profile assumes you rode 1250 feet down the canyon wall to the river and then back up the canyon wall on the other side.

Routes / Re: Deception Pass State Park, Washington
« on: January 12, 2017, 10:59:41 am »
I didn't see any signs restricting bicycles, so I decided to ride like hell.  I got about 50 yards before a pickup truck with a loudspeaker pulled up behind me and told me to get off the road.

Wow! Was it a police officer or some other official? I rode it back in '99 and '00. Probably less development back then, and both times were weekdays in late May, so the busy tourist season hadn't started, and outside of "rush hour."
I assume it was a bridge or highway official, perhaps an overzealous one.

For me, the key to sleeping comfortably is to have a good quality air mattress at least 2.5" thick. And yes, your tent is too heavy.

Gear Talk / Re: Camp Stove
« on: January 11, 2017, 06:05:35 pm »
A partially filled Trangia is harder to start.

One of the Vargo titanium stoves is probably perfect.
I use a Vargo titanium stove. I love it. It weighs 1.4 ounces and is indestructible. But you do have to know how to follow instructions. The instructions say to fill it--it doesn't matter whether or not you need that much fuel to cook tonight's dinner. Fill it anyway. A partially filled stove will not reliably bloom. If you don't need that much fuel, pour back what's left when you're done.

Routes / Re: Deception Pass State Park, Washington
« on: January 11, 2017, 11:48:57 am »
The bridge can also be very busy, and there is no shoulder.

And I have always wondered about this warning on the park's web site:

"Please note: U.S. Navy jets from nearby Naval Air Station Whidbey Island periodically fly over the campground while engaged in local training. Depending on the direction of the wind, their flight pattern may put them above the park, creating noisy conditions for campers. At various times during the day and night, the aviators may engage in Field Carrier Landing Practice for imminent operations aboard aircraft carriers. The park and naval station have been neighbors since 1942, and park staff stays in regular contact with officials at NAS Whidbey Island. We will do our best to notify campers of anticipated Field Carrier Landing Practice periods. Although State Parks cannot be responsible for the jet noise, we do share visitor concerns with our representatives of Naval Air Station Whidbey."

Anyone know if it's really a big concern?

First, the bridge. Yes, the bridge can be very busy. The lanes are only 11-feet wide, narrower than your typical traffic lane. There are no shoulders. There is a narrow sidewalk, just wide enough for one person, separated by a cable from the traffic lane. Two people can pass if they turn sideways. I didn't see any signs restricting bicycles, so I decided to ride like hell.  I got about 50 yards before a pickup truck with a loudspeaker pulled up behind me and told me to get off the road. It took me several minutes to unload my bike so that I could lift it up over the cable onto the sidewalk. Honestly, I think it would have been better for all if they had just let me proceed. The sidewalk was so narrow that I had to be careful when trying to walk the bike across. When I encountered a person walking the other way, I had to lean my bike against the railing and move behind my bike so they could pass.

Now the jet noise. Yes, it's deafening! I was camped on the island and they came over about every three minutes. Conversation had to stop for a minute to let each jet pass because there's no way you could hear anything with them overhead. It's very controversial, even among the island's residents. The bottom line seems to be that this is the price we pay for keeping our country safe.

BTW, if you camp on the island, keep an eye out for stinging nettles. Those things are nasty. My hands stung for three days afterwards.

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