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Messages - John Nelson

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46
General Discussion / Re: Yorktown Accommodation
« on: May 29, 2014, 11:18:11 am »
Yes, one-way car rental is a viable option. For best results, reserve it in advance and don't rely on getting one at the rental counter.

Another option is to fly into Newport News. It's an easy ride from that airport to Yorktown.

In Yorktown, the Duke of York Motor Hotel is very close to the start, right on the water, and they also have a restaurant. Or, contact Grace Episcopal Church as they allow you to stay in their guest house (they accept donations), which is only about two blocks from the Yorktown Victory Monument.

47
Food Talk / Re: Food by Mail
« on: May 29, 2014, 11:11:59 am »
Percy, I understand and admire your commitment to quality food. Given that, I think your plan to carry your own is probably your best option. There are many parts of the TransAm where quality food is not available. You can go days in Kentucky and Virginia along that route without finding any source of fresh fruit, vegetables, bread or dairy.

Good luck and I hope your reach your goals.

48
General Discussion / Re: Mailing to Myself On the Road
« on: May 28, 2014, 11:47:19 am »
1. The "post office address" is usually just "city, state zip", not a street address. Some people like to add "Hold for cross-country cyclist" on the line after the name. This is unnecessary, but it might add some amusement to the small-town postmaster.

2. I've never seen nor used the 9999 suffix.

3. Every town that has a post office accepts general delivery. But not all post offices do. So if a town has multiple post offices, all the general delivery will go to one of them (it's not always obvious which one). For this reason, I try not to use general delivery in towns with more than one post office. You could end up having to go to more than one to find your package. Also, as you note, many very small post offices have very few manned hours. The USPS website shows the hours of each post office, so be sure you know what they are. Note also that every town that has a zip code doesn't necessarily have a post office. As I said, the USPS website identifies all post offices. Only look at real "post offices", not "self-service kiosks", nor "approved postal providers".

4. As mentioned above, you don't get to pick which post office your general delivery package goes to. A big city like Albany would not be my choice because of this.

BTW, there are many threads in this forum about General Delivery. If you search, you'll get lots of other information and tips.

Buffalo Prairie, IL has a real post office, but only has very limited hours (see below). But you can send them General Delivery if you want and are sure you're going to be there during their open hours.

18401 206TH ST W
BUFFALO PRAIRIE, IL 61237-9000

    Phone 309-537-3169

Pickup Services Hours

    Mon-Fri 8:00am - 10:00am
    Sat 8:00am - 9:15am
    Sun Closed

Interesting side story. The post office in Dalbo, MN is very small, similar to the one in Buffalo Prairie. But they know that almost all general delivery packages are for touring cyclists. They also know that almost all touring cyclists stop at the Adventure Bicycle Bunkhouse a couple of miles out of town. So when they get a general delivery package, they give it to Donn Olson at the Adventure Bicycle Bunkhouse and put a sign on the post office door saying where it is. Donn puts it on the table in the bunkhouse.

49
Food Talk / Re: Food by Mail
« on: May 28, 2014, 10:44:45 am »
This may not apply to you at all, but I'll mention it just in case.

Racing (or even rushing) the TransAm, even at a very low level, would make the route about 10% as much fun as taking a bit longer. So please carefully consider whether you even want to rush this trip. Maybe this race is not the best option for you. Unless you are an exceptionally goal-driven person, and/or have very limited time, taking a few more weeks for this trip would make it ever so much more fun. But maybe you're not out there for fun.

Getting half or more of your calories from Clif Bars is not a balanced diet. My guess is that your body will revolt. I further guess that this strategy will only save you a few bucks a day at most. A typical Clif Bar has 230 calories, and cost you (according to your figures) 59 cents plus 24 cents mailing costs (315 calories per dollar). An two-pound sub sandwich at Safeway costs $5 (on sale) and has 1642 calories (328 calories per dollar). You can eat real, fresh food for less! Furthermore, the all-you-can-eat Chinese buffet in Marshfield, Missouri costs $4.50 and can easily provide you with at least 1500 calories per dollar.

50
Food Talk / Re: Food by Mail
« on: May 27, 2014, 10:34:50 am »
10 Clif Bars a day for weeks on end? Just the thought of it makes me want to hurl. Have you tried this before? Do you know if your stomach can handle that much of the same thing?

Pete, I think maybe he's talking about this: http://www.transambikerace.com/. It's a very informal "race", but I agree with you that a number of people have done these kind of distances when not in a race. I also agree with you that it's easy to resupply en route. Carrying 10 pounds of Clif Bars to save ten bucks would not be my cup of tea either.

Perhaps what the OP means by GWD is the GDMBR. Or maybe he means an ad hoc route through the Sierra Nevadas.

Now, a few tips about general delivery. Pick a medium-sized town that only has one post office, but a post office with generous open hours. Know what the hours are ahead of time, and Google the location of the post office ahead of time too. Pick a town that you won't risk getting to on one of the days with more limited hours, such as Saturday or Sunday. If you can plan well enough, pick a town that isn't your destination for the day, but rather some place you'll be in the middle of the day (when the post office is more likely to be open--but make sure the post office doesn't close for lunch, which they do in small towns). If you keep to a schedule, general delivery can work very well. Don't put too much faith in expected delivery times, but mail your packages with plenty of time to spare.

51
Routes / Re: Rainwear for the GDMBR
« on: May 27, 2014, 10:07:02 am »
I've found a jacket hood is awkward under or over helmet.
+1

The hood under the helmet creates so much wind noise that it impairs my hearing. The hood over the helmet pulls up the jacket. Not putting up the hood at all causes the hood to flap around and interfere with my rear-view vision. So I prefer a jacket without a hood, and use a helmet cover if I want to keep the rain off my head.

52
General Discussion / Re: Fantastic Commuting Infrastructure
« on: May 26, 2014, 02:46:04 pm »
We have hundreds of bicycle bridges in the U.S. Not enough, of course.

53
General Discussion / Re: My First Tour (Need tips)
« on: May 25, 2014, 01:11:55 pm »
Bobby, I think you made the same mistake I did, and misinterpreted what "3 travel days" means. It apparently does not mean three riding days.

54
Routes / Re: Virginia
« on: May 25, 2014, 01:08:16 pm »
If I can outrun the dog, which is usually only possible on a downhill, I do so. Otherwise I stop. Most other things you can do from a moving bike are either dangerous or ineffective (at least against some dogs).

55
Routes / Re: Bozeman to Boulder!
« on: May 24, 2014, 05:42:12 pm »
there are lots of ways down from the peak to peak highway (7/72/119).  recommended choices would include south st vrain (7) or left hand canyon (which has very light traffic).  be aware that the more direct route from estes park to lyons, 36, may still be closed to cyclists for flood repairs, and in any event is very busy.
Left Hand Canyon is normally an extremely popular cycling road, but is pretty torn up now and for the foreseeable future. It's currently more dirt than pavement and will likely still be that way for quite some time. US36 from Estes Park to Lyons is iffy on a good day, but this isn't a good day. It is not only usually closed to cyclists, but often closed to everybody. The construction project on that road is massive and will continue for a long time yet.

The floods of last September drastically changed the cycling landscape in this part of Colorado. It will take years to recover.

56
Routes / Re: Bozeman to Boulder!
« on: May 23, 2014, 10:58:44 am »
Bozeman isn't far off the TransAm, so if you work your way over to the TransAm (maybe at Ennis), you can take the TransAm to Granby, CO, and then take Trail Ridge Road to Estes Park, CO7 to Lyons, and US36 to Boulder. Yes, there are some RVs in Yellowstone NP and Rocky Mountain NP, but the scenery will make it worth it.

57
Routes / Re: Virginia
« on: May 22, 2014, 10:30:13 pm »
Good of you to share your experiences. Now I'll share one of mine. If you think the dogs are bad on the TransAm in Virginia, wait until you get to Kentucky--you ain't seen nothing yet! Have fun!! I wish I was there again.

58
General Discussion / Re: equipment & route
« on: May 21, 2014, 12:10:32 am »
I think you should reconsider too. Riding over Logan Pass was the single most magnificent ride of my life. I might go all the way back to Glacier some day just to do it again.

59
General Discussion / Re: equipment & route
« on: May 20, 2014, 03:21:33 pm »
May 31 is a reasonable time to start the NT from Seattle, although a week or two later will reduce your chances of wet weather. However, I would adjust my schedule so as to not get to Glacier NP before Going To The Sun Road opens. Depending on the route you take and your daily mileage, it will take you about two weeks to get to Glacier. So, for me personally, I wouldn't leave more than two weeks prior to June 20. Furthermore, if GTTS Road is still closed when you get there but looks to open soon, I'd sit there in Avalanche Campground and wait for it.

One problem with a 15-20 degree bag is that it will be way too warm for a lot of your trip. I would prefer to go with a lighter bag and take a liner and sleep in my warm clothes when necessary. That gives you more latitude. But, as Pete says, it depends on your personal preferences and whether your greatest fear is being too cold or too hot. If you're circumnavigating the U.S., however, you better plan on being both.

60
It'll take you longer, but you'll make it if you have the time.

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