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Messages - John Nelson

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General Discussion / Re: Costs of Touring
« on: December 26, 2012, 04:59:54 pm »
I count on least $12 with a tip for dinner not including drinks.
An $8 sub sandwich at Safeway is two pounds and provides me the better part of three meals.

don't forget to budget for repairs and/or replacement parts like tubes and tires.
I consider bike repairs to come out of my emergency funds, and I don't typically count them in my daily expenses. I count tires, tubes and chains as equipment costs. I figure out what tires, tubes, chains and pads I'll need for the whole trip before the trip, buy them ahead of time (on sale), and then either carry them or have them mailed to me. It is often difficult to find good parts on the road (especially tires appropriate for touring).

Routes / Re: Northern Tier + North Lakes (SS Badger Ferry)
« on: December 26, 2012, 01:47:21 pm »
I have not taken the Badger, but I do recommend the route through the UP and across the Mackinac Strait. A ride around Mackinac Island is fun and the top of Lake Michigan is very nice.

General Discussion / Re: Costs of Touring
« on: December 25, 2012, 06:01:31 pm »
I did the TransAm solo on $16 a day ($14 a day for food and $2 a day for lodging). I did the Northern Tier solo on $33 a day, mostly because campgrounds were considerably more expensive there.

It depends on many factors: your dedication to finding free (but legal) places to sleep, your willingness to eat our of grocery stores (which are about half as expensive as restaurants if you buy ready-to-eat food), etc. Cooking (which I did not do) can save you even more. Free and legal places to sleep are plentiful on the TransAm. Avoiding paying to sleep is the most efficient way to save money.

You didn't say whether you are going solo or not, but sharing expenses can save even more.

I only count expenses from wheel-dip to wheel-dip. Obviously the cost of buying equipment, getting to the start and getting home from the end can drive up the costs.

We used to have Sprint. We were without service in many areas that the coverage map claimed to serve. We got fed up with it.

I have Verizon 3G. On the TransAm, I had cell service but no data service in eastern Kentucky. I had no service at all in the Mount Rogers National Recreation Area, in Guffey Colorado, from Rawlins to Lander and in Dubois in Wyoming, in much of Idaho, and in parts of eastern Oregon and the coast of Oregon. On the Northern Tier, I had no service in parts of eastern Washington, western Montana, parts of North Dakota, the Adirondacks and central New Hampshire. Service is generally unavailable in most National Parks. Service was available, but I was unwilling to pay extra for it, in Alberta and Ontario (the only service that is included in your plan in Canada is text). Other than that, service was good. I could usually post my journal entry directly from my tent at night. Even in most of the dead zones I mentioned, I could still get a period of coverage sometime in the middle of that day or the next. From a data standpoint, eastern Kentucky and Ontario were the only place I went days in a row without coverage. You can sometimes find Wi-Fi to substitute when cell service is unavailable, although the available Wi-Fi can be so slow as to make it unusable for many purposes.

I also believe that Verizon is the best in small town America. If you're using your phone almost exclusively in a big city, other carriers may be better, but this doesn't usually apply to touring.

Routes / Re: USA Corner to Corner
« on: December 17, 2012, 11:31:52 am »
If you hit Kansas between early-May and mid-June, you could have some fairly violent storms (50+mph winds, 1.5+" hail, tornadoes, etc.), not like the gentle rains the NW & NE have.  That said, just pay attention to what the locals says.  If it is going to be had, they will assist.  Listen to a local radio station or ask a farmer.  If sky is a pale green, take cover as hail is in the immediate area.
You could, and caution is certainly advised, but I wouldn't schedule my trip around it. There's also a good chance that you'll have nothing but gorgeous weather in Kansas.

Routes / Re: USA Corner to Corner
« on: December 16, 2012, 11:22:10 pm »
the Vantage bridge is a death trap
Wow, you're right!

Routes / Re: Need help with getting ready for bike tour - Routes
« on: December 16, 2012, 03:18:39 pm »
Northern Tier in January is not only inadvisable, it's impossible unless you bring snowshoes and carry your bike on your back across the Rockies and Cascades.

Routes / Re: USA Corner to Corner
« on: December 16, 2012, 01:09:47 am »
There is insufficient wind bias to justify using it to pick a direction. I've been across the U.S. in both directions, and, no matter which way you go, the wind is sometimes in your face, sometimes at your back, and sometimes at your side.

You can start whenever you want, but I like lots of daylight, so, all other things being equal, I prefer to center my trip around the summer solstice. Also, some people hate the heat more than the cold, and others hate the cold more than the heat, so your bias might influence your start. I'm not sure how far north you're starting, but I'd probably start heading south on the Atlantic Coast in the mid to late spring as soon as the weather gets warm enough.

Some people don't mind riding on the interstate, but I prefer to avoid it like the plague. I don't like either of your two routes through Washington. I'd jump from the TA at Missoula, go up to Glacier NP and then stay on the Northern Tier to the coast.

In my opinion, 75-80 days is tight for the trip your plan, especially for someone who says time is no issue. Take a bit more time and enjoy yourself.

Routes / Re: Need help with getting ready for bike tour
« on: December 16, 2012, 12:33:52 am »
Fred, this thread has gotten split. Half of the posts in this thread are still over in General Discussion, and half are here. It makes the thread confusing. Can it be fixed? Can the two threads be merged back together?

Routes / Re: Re: Need help with getting ready for bike tour
« on: December 16, 2012, 12:23:31 am »
well i only have a road bike that needs some replacement on tires.
Your "road bike" may or may not be suitable. Can you tell us more about it? What make, model and year? The problem with many road bikes is that they are not suitable for mounting racks and panniers to, or the chainstay length may be too short to avoid heel strike, or they may not have low enough gear or strong enough wheels to haul a full load, or the tires may be too narrow to be comfortable for the varied road surfaces you may encounter. Tell us more.

My budget is around 3000 dollars for getting all equipments i need.
That should be plenty. Figure something in this ballpark:
  • Bike (if you need a new one): $1200
  • Panniers: $300
  • Racks: $200
  • Tent: $200
  • Sleeping bag: $150
  • Air mattress: $100
  • Head lamp: $30
  • Bike computer: $40
  • Tail light: $30
  • Bike jersey: $50
  • Bike shorts: $50
  • Bike shoes: $75
  • Sunglasses: $30
  • Bike gloves: $15
  • Rain suit: $80
  • Zip-off pants: $50
  • Long-sleeve wool shirt: $50
  • Camera: $200

I am planning to order all of the equipment online and send them to my friends house in Rochester NY because that is where I am starting.
The problem with this approach is that you'd really like to have the opportunity for a dry run before you start your tour. I'd at least allow a few days to ride around Rochester with all your gear loaded to make sure it all works okay. Be sure to set up the tent and try the other gear before you start.

I'd probably take a year to do all the research, buy all the stuff, and try it out before starting the tour. Since you're starting next month, you clearly don't have time for much research at all. There are 50 good options for most pieces of gear you need. How will you decide which of the 50 to buy? Without considerable research, you will either need to take somebody's advice, or you'll need to buy what's available.

Since you have an REI nearby, I would go there and pick out what you need from what they have. You'll be able to check the stuff out and ask the store personnel for advice. In person advice and a discussion of the advantages and disadvantages of each option is your best bet. You can have it all shipped to Rochester. Unfortunately, there is no REI in Rochester, so you won't be able to take back or exchange anything that doesn't work out.

Routes / Re: Re: Need help with getting ready for bike tour
« on: December 14, 2012, 09:58:32 pm »
I have a question regarding shopping for equipment, I really need help with finding the right kind of equipment that i need to get for the tour, this is my first time and I am not sure which is which is right for me
So are you asking where to shop? or what to shop for?

What's your budget? Are you doing this on the cheap, or do you have enough money to buy the best stuff? Are you starting with nothing? or do you already have some stuff? If so, what do you already have.

I would normally recommend waiting for sales. But you said you're leaving next month, so you really don't have time for that. If the budget is fairly liberal, and if you have an REI (or similar) in the area, you can probably get everything you need in one trip. A bike, racks, straps, water bottle cages, water bottle, computer, lock, panniers, tent, sleeping bag, sleeping pad, head lamp, a cook stove, fuel and pots (if you plan to cook), bike clothing (shorts, jersey, socks, shoes, gloves, helmet, sunglasses, mirror), outdoor clothing (including rain gear and warm clothing), allen wrenches, spare parts (tubes, cables and brake pads), clothesline rope, sunscreen and bug repellent. Then all you need is underwear, a camera, cell phone and toiletries to complete your kit.

Routes / Re: Need help with getting ready for bike tour
« on: December 13, 2012, 06:05:52 pm »
I will be traveling through almost all of the states, around 35 states, and I wanted to know if anyone who lives in those areas could help me out find good places to eat, or shop or get my bike fixed up or even maybe a place to crash.
You're in luck. This is exactly what the ACA does. Order up their maps covering where you plan to ride, and you'll have just what you need.

I hope i can get so really awesome advices from you guys.
You're in luck again. The "how-to department" of this web site has advice on all aspects of touring. We'd be happy to help with any specific questions that remain.

GPS Discussion / Re: Google maps vs garmin GPS
« on: December 10, 2012, 10:23:58 pm »
Stored maps (as well as paper maps) have the advantage that they still work when you have no internet connection or the internet connection is weak. If you're lost on a small country road or in a small town, relying on the web for help may be useless.

I often use Google maps, using the "avoid highways" option with driving directions to pick bike routes. This is usually much better than Google's bicycling directions, which often gives routes that are just plain weird and/or incredibly complicated.

Gear Talk / Re: 2 people, 6 panniers for a cross country tour. Bad idea?
« on: December 10, 2012, 08:23:31 pm »
I was more concerned about the handling characteristics of a rear-heavy load.
Lots of people successfully tour with only rear panniers. It can be an issue with short-chainstay bikes, but should be fine with your LHT. Keep the panniers as far forward on the rack as you can without hitting your heels on them. If you mount any load on the rack platform, keep that forward too.

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