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Messages - John Nelson

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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.

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.

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.

round rock house in Kentucky
Huh? Where is that?

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.

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.

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.

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.

Since you said trans-am, I'm going to assume you mean the ACA TransAmerica Trail form Yorktown, Virginia to Astoria, Oregon.

I suggest you go over to and read a number of the 672 TransAm journals there. See what other people liked and where they stayed. For me, the highlight were the Cookie Lady's house, Mammoth Cave, Grand Teton NP, Yellowstone NP, Twin Bridges Bike Camp, the ACA headquarters, Lochsa River and Mackenzie Pass. But there were hundreds of other great places.

Routes / Re: What is Your Favorite Cross Country Route and Why?
« on: December 15, 2016, 07:59:54 pm »
Agreed. This is no contest. For coast-to-coast routes, the TransAm is a clear winner. The TransAm has far more tradition, far more cycling infrastructure, far more comaraderie, more signage, more welcoming churches and fire stations, more free camping in city parks, more charming small towns, more friendly people, etc.

And you absolutely must experience the exhilaration of being chased by a Kentucky dog.

General Discussion / Re: How to transport bike box?
« on: December 09, 2016, 06:09:14 am »
My preference is to take my bike on the plane with me (on Frontier or Southwest), assemble it in the airport and ride out the door. On the way home, it depends on whether I have a friend with a car who can drive me to a bike shop to get a box, and then the airport. If I do, I'll bring it home the same way. Otherwise I'll ride to a bike shop, have them do the pack and ship, and take public transportation to the airport.

General Discussion / Re: How to transport bike box?
« on: December 08, 2016, 12:09:03 am »
If you price this out, you'll find that it makes no sense to ship an empty bos. Use a cardboard box to get your bike to the start, throw it away, get another box for the return trip.

General Discussion / Re: ?How easy are SPD pedals to get use too?
« on: December 07, 2016, 06:08:14 pm »
It's pretty easy. Nevertheless, you will fall because you forgot to unclip ... twice. Once in the first day, and once a month later when you stop suddenly and unexpectedly. After that, you'll never fall again, and you won't even have to think about it.

You can set the tension low. But I wouldn't. They will arrive from the factory with the tension set to the middle of the range. Leave it there. Setting the tension low may cause more problems than it mitigates. You might fall because you came out of the pedals unintentionally.

Here's a link to the experiences of 821 people on the Pacific Coast Route.

General Discussion / Re: Lions and tigers and bears oh my!!!
« on: December 06, 2016, 12:12:04 pm »
Pat, you left off ticks and mosquitoes. In certain areas, ticks can carry life-threatening diseases. Use DEET and/or don't spend a lot of time in tall grass, or, if you do, check yourself thoroughly.

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