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Messages - John Nelson

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Here's an off-the-wall idea. I think, by not paying for hotel rooms, you will save enough money that you can afford to occasionally and infrequently lose stuff to thieves. Make sure your key information is backed up in the cloud and encrypt your hard disk. Buy a really good tent, one you're comfortable in long term. Many campgrounds limit your stay to a week, but that sounds like it will work okay for you. You'll need to choose campgrounds with WiFi and/or 4G, plus power, so that will limit your options a bit. Carry a long extension cord. Start in your own country until you establish a comfortable routine, and they you can branch out to other countries. Organize your route to be some place warm in the winters. Showers aren't that hard to come by--a lot of campgrounds have them--or maybe you can go swimming in a lake each day. Security isn't too hard when you're in camp. Take you most valuables with you when you leave camp.

Sounds like an interesting idea.

Routes / Re: Underground RR trail
« on: July 21, 2014, 08:02:08 am »
Rides like this are done by solo females all the time. You'll be fine. Have a great time!

General Discussion / Re: trip from georgia to southern ontario
« on: July 18, 2014, 03:01:07 pm »
Not only dirt roads, but sometimes hiking trails and sometimes private roads. Whereas Google bicycle directions might be good for getting you to the supermarket, I prefer Google driving directions with the "Avoid Highways" option for getting you longer distances. Bicycling directions might have a hundred times as many turns as the driving directions, and some of the directions are things like "turn left" without specifying the name of the thing you're turning left onto (because it doesn't have a name).

Routes / Re: TransAmerica Trail: Headed East, looking for Partners
« on: July 11, 2014, 06:01:15 pm »
I suppose the problem is that you've started a bit later than average. Many of the westbounders have already finished, and many of the eastbounders are ahead of you. Maybe you'll catch them. Good luck.

Routes / Re: TransAmerica Trail: Headed East, looking for Partners
« on: July 11, 2014, 12:25:43 am »
I don't think you need to advertise for partners. The TransAm is so popular that you'll almost certainly have partners whether you want them or not. Don't worry. You'll meet fellow travelers on the road.

Routes / Re: Idaho - Trans Am
« on: July 11, 2014, 12:24:10 am »
Well, it has been four years since I did it, but I found Idaho delightful. It's true that most of the roads have no shoulders, but I did not encounter much traffic. The long ride down the Lochsa River Valley was stunningly beautiful and I saw almost nobody for 77 miles. I noted in my journal that Idaho has a way of making you feel lonely. It was certainly the state where I saw the fewest number of people and cars.

General Discussion / Re: Cardboard Box for Bike as Checked Baggage
« on: July 10, 2014, 09:59:05 am »
Be careful, going over 50 lbs may be a show stopper.

It depends on the airline, and the airlines keep changing their policies. The two most bicycle-friendly airlines (Frontier and Southwest) both have different policies on bicycles than they did a year ago. Frontier now charges more than they did ($75) but they also allow the bike box to weight up to 99 pounds without an overweight surcharge.

But even with a 99-pound limit, it might still be advisable to pack your gear separately. That's because the TSA will almost certainly open your bike box to inspect it (since it doesn't fit in the scanner). When I pack only the bike and nothing else in the box, the TSA can inspect it without pulling the bike out of the box. They just open the top and look in. But if your bike box is packed with all your gear, the TSA may need to pull everything out to inspect it. The chances that they will repack everything as carefully as you packed it are small, so it's best not to make them have to do this.

Routes / Re: To many choices
« on: July 07, 2014, 09:45:14 am »
If you want to find funky places, check out RoadsideAmerica.

Here's a link to Foamhenge. It's a short diversion off the TransAm, but it's an extra six hilly miles. Turns out there are many other Stonehenge replicas around the country, one made out of junk cars just outside Alliance, Nebraska.

There are competing claims for the world's largest ball of twine. Here's the one in Cawker City, Kansas.

I personally like the Atomic Canon in Junction City, Kansas.

There are many, many more. There are quite a few Paul Bunyan statues around the country.

Routes / Re: To many choices
« on: July 07, 2014, 12:09:06 am »
It depends a lot on whether you will take 60 days or 80 days. 60 days will leave very little time to stop at interesting places. 80 days will open many opportunities. Good luck getting 80 days. It'll make it a much better trip.

If you only have 60 days, I'd consider taking a train or bus across the center of the country. The center of the country has its own special charm, and I'd hate to see you miss it, but I'd hate more to see you miss other areas.

In the U.S., National Parks are very special places and it's worthwhile going out of your way to visit them. They do attract a lot of visitors, however, so it won't be much of a wilderness experience. Nevertheless, I'd make a special effort to go there.

Stay out of all big cities. Big cities have a lot to offer, but I don't think a bicycle tour is the right time to take advantages of them.

Well-known places are well known because they are popular with most people. Little-known places have a charm of their own, but appeal to fewer people. For example, would you like to see the world's largest ball of twine? Would you go out of your way to see a replica of Stonehenge made out of Styrofoam? Many people would say no to these, but some people would say yes. It's hard to recommend little-known places because we don't know what kind of things you'd be interested in. Sometimes a little-known gem is just a lonely country road shrouded by trees. These places often don't even have a name.

Gear Talk / Re: From the road: least used gear, most appreciated gear
« on: July 04, 2014, 06:39:11 pm »
Something I really appreciate is my woolen cap and my gloves for chilly mornings. However, during summertime on the trans am you would never need that.
Not necessarily true.  In the Rockies you can get a short cold snap or even snow in any month of the year.  We did the TA an especially hot year and still had a few cold mornings and a freezing afternoon/evening once as well.  I took my light gloves and cap and used them in the Cascades and Rockies.


It was 27 degrees F when I set out from Guffey, CO on a June 15.

Westinghouse, Google will answer your question. She started her 3-month tour two weeks ago.

General Discussion / Re: general advice on making a tour happen
« on: July 03, 2014, 10:21:01 am »
Wow, JD, I think I'd carefully inspect your frame for cracks. At any rate, your old 520 is quite different than a 520 of today.

My algorithm is pretty dirt simple. When a tire is worn out, I replace it. I try not to overthink this.

it is rigged strongly in favor of the Easterly traveler
This perception doesn't match National Weather Service monitoring data. The worst headwinds I've ever had in my life was the day I rode southeast from Wolf Point to Glendive, MT. The best tailwinds I've ever had in my life was the day I rode east from Cut Bank to Havre, MT.

Routes / Re: East to West or West to East
« on: June 29, 2014, 11:50:56 pm »
My only thought to counter it is that it was valid for sure for that point in time only.

Absolutely. I agree. Although it is interesting to look at the NWS averages, the experiences of any one individual will almost certainly not match them on very many days. The NWS averages really only reflect a slight bias. Wind is highly variable. That's why I typically cut a day short if there's a headwind and extend the day if there's a tailwind. Just because there's a headwind one day doesn't mean you'll have one the next. Furthermore, you can easily have a headwind one hour and a tailwind the next. Wind is also highly variable within a single day.

There are exceptions, however. Certain places, such as the Wyoming Wind River area, seem to have quite predictable winds.

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