Show Posts

This section allows you to view all posts made by this member. Note that you can only see posts made in areas you currently have access to.

Messages - John Nelson

Pages: 1 ... 46 47 [48] 49 50 ... 106
Connecting ACA Routes / Re: Portland,or to Seaside
« on: April 16, 2013, 10:45:02 pm »
There is excellent, inexpensive, twice-a-day bus service between those two cities on Northwest POINT. The bus leaves from the same place as the train arrives. There's even TV and free WiFi on board. When I did it, I didn't take my bike with me, so you better call them to see what their policies are for that.

General Discussion / Re: Bears
« on: April 15, 2013, 08:11:26 pm »
On the TransAm, I only wild camped once in bear country, along that very long stretch along the Lochsa River in Idaho. There are, of course, a number of campgrounds along that road, but wild camping there is extremely easy to find and perfectly legal (i.e., no need for stealth). There are no Grizzlies in this area, so you only need to worry about a rare black bear. Just hang your food at least a hundred yards from your tent, and bring no food or smellies within a hundred yards of your tent, and the risk is miniscule. In my case, I stopped and ate dinner at a pullout along the road, brushed my teeth and cleaned up there, and then rode several more miles down the road before camping.

Routes / Re: Weather in the TransAm Mountains
« on: April 15, 2013, 07:38:54 pm »
When starting in the West, you're picking an ideal time to start. If you were to start much earlier, you could anticipate very cold weather, not so much in the Rockies but before that in the Cascades and high plains of Wyoming, Idaho and Montana. Weather in the last half of June in the Colorado Rockies is about as good as it gets. The worst you might expect is for it to drop down to freezing briefly overnight. Even then, that will likely only happen if you camp up high, above 7000 feet. That's probably only going to happen a couple of days. You can mitigate this by choosing a low spot on the route to camp rather than a high spot. Daytime temperatures in the mountains in June may be anywhere from the 60s to the 90s. June is one of the least rainy months in the mountains, but you may encounter a brief thunderstorm, perhaps with some hail. If that happens, seek shelter until it passes (sometimes easier said than done). If you want, you can take extra clothes and send them home from Pueblo.

General Discussion / Re: Tents
« on: April 15, 2013, 07:32:36 pm »
I agree that unless you're pretty chummy, a 3P tent would be worth the extra weight.

If I look at all the 2P tents at REI in this price range ($220-$235), I find the REI half dome, the Marmot Limelight, the Marmot Earlylight, and the Mountain Hardware Drifter. Two of the other tents are about the same weight (a bit over 2 Kg) and same floor area (32 square feet). The REI half dome is heavier by a half kilogram, but has 6 extra square feet of floor space. All the other tents have more than twice the vestibule area, and more importantly, two doors and two vestibules. I think the two doors and two vestibules will be very much appreciated. All four tents are freestanding.

General Discussion / Re: touring without "eating out"
« on: April 10, 2013, 05:02:33 pm »
I carry a couple of energy bars for emergency food, and I really hope I won't need them. Other than that, everything I carry and eat is bought in stores along the way. There's no need to carry much more than it takes to get to the next town (or maybe the town after that in case everything is closed in the next town).

I've encountered that situation quite a few times. The worst was climbing Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park. Climbing at 5 MPH, there was no way I was going to make it through the construction before the automatic light reversed directions. I jumped the gun a little, starting as soon as the last car passed and before the light turned green. I rode as fast as I could. Nevertheless, I was still only halfway through when the cars starting coming at me. The drivers all understood my predicament, however, and accommodated me as best they could, either slowing to a crawl or stopping completely. If they moved over as far as they could, there was just enough room for me to squeeze by between their driver's side mirror and the concrete barrier. It's exciting!

In other cases where I've been going downhill through the construction, there's not a problem as I can keep up with the cars.

General Discussion / Re: Weather on the TransAm
« on: April 10, 2013, 03:56:02 pm »
I went East to West, May through July. I planned zero nights in advance. Out of 70 nights, I paid to sleep only nine times: $45 for one motel (Lexington VA), $10 for one cabin (Guffey CO), and $75 for seven campgrounds (five National Park campgrounds, one state campground and one Forest Service campground). I averaged $14 a day for food, one third of that spent in grocery stores and two thirds in restaurants. I took no stove.

General Discussion / Re: Weather on the TransAm
« on: April 10, 2013, 11:05:08 am »
Riding East to West in the more typical May through September is usually chilly to pleasant in the East, hot through the Midwest, and pleasant to hot in the Northwest. Riding August through October is more likely to be pleasant in the East, pleasant in the Midwest, and chilly to cold in the Northwest. McKenzie Pass in Oregon usually closes for the season in late October or early November. The high and low in Sisters Oregon from last October was 81F and 19F, with an average high of 62F and an average low of 30F.

Routes / Re: Atlantic Coast Route close to Moorestown New Jersey
« on: April 10, 2013, 10:09:03 am »
The Atlantic Coast route doesn't use much of New Jersey, and what it does use is in the northwestern part. The closest this route comes to Moorestown is about 25-30 miles west in Conshohocken or Plymouth Meeting or Ambler, PA.

General Discussion / Re: Camping on the TramsAm
« on: April 09, 2013, 12:13:25 pm »
Why bother with your own van.  Use somebody else's.
ACA tours are great, but not exactly cheap. My guess is that taking your own van will reduce costs. It also gives you more control over your schedule. But your own van does come at the cost of not riding every seventh day, so you don't actually get the satisfaction of riding across the country, if that's important to you. An ACA tour open some doors (such as camping opportunities not available to the general public) but it closes others (such as places that cannot accommodate groups of that size, and the thrill of riding through Yellowstone).

Routes / Re: Southern Tier starting April 17th, Tempe to Austin.
« on: April 09, 2013, 12:06:32 pm »
You need three things to survive in the desert:
1. Water
2. Water
3. Water

Carry twice as much water as you think you need. Water is not just the difference between being thirsty and not. It is sometimes the difference between life and death.

General Discussion / Re: Camping on the TramsAm
« on: April 09, 2013, 11:25:15 am »
For me also, the trip would be diminished by the van. But plenty of van-supported cyclists have a great time. To each his own.

A van can save a lot on up-front equipment costs. You don't really have to worry about stretches with lack of food or water. You're not constrained to eating what's available along the route, since the van can go off-route to pick up food. You can quit for the day in the middle of nowhere since the van can shuttle you to where you will stay for the night. The van can stay behind and pack up, allowing the cyclists to get out earlier. It can travel ahead and make all the arrangements for food and lodging. It can shorten the trip by allowing the cyclists to ride much farther in a day. It can detect problems on the route and scout out detours. It frees you up from worrying about most mechanical and physiological breakdowns. It provides emergency shelter during storms. The van driver can take care of daily chores such as laundry and shopping.

A van solves many problems, perhaps too many. It can turn an epic adventure into a series of day rides, not that there's anything wrong with that.

General Discussion / Re: Camping on the TramsAm
« on: April 08, 2013, 09:50:13 pm »
Regarding the van: some yes, some no. The dogs might limit you further.

Most churches, fire departments and town parks probably won't care if you have a van, and probably will be okay with the dogs, although they likely won't let you bring them inside.

Private homes and Warm Showers hosts will be on a case-by-case basis. Be considerate and make sure you call ahead, tell them about the van and dogs, and give them an easy chance to say no. Some of these people may feel that a van-supported group doesn't need their support as much as others, and many are not equipped to handle your dogs.

Hiker/biker sites in Yellowstone and Grand Teton are not available to those with a vehicle. An individual site will be cheaper for you anyway than seven times the per-person rate, although you face the possibility of a full campground. Send the van ahead early to reserve a spot.

I would guess that 90% of the cyclist-only camping spots will still be available to your van-supported group. You might miss out on a few more because of the dogs. You can send the van ahead to check things out. With seven of you, motels will become a pretty inexpensive alternative.

General Discussion / Re: Stanley, Id -93-loop?
« on: April 08, 2013, 04:55:39 pm »
According to the Idaho bicycle map, about 40% of the highway between Challis and Arco has shoulders 4 feet or greater. Another 20% has shoulders 2-4 feet, and the other 40% has shoulders less than 2 feet. The average annual daily traffic for that road in 2011 was only 552 cars. That's even fewer than highway 12 along the Lochsa River used the the TransAm which has an AADT of 569 and has no shoulders at all--that road seemed almost deserted and completely safe when I rode it. I think you'll be fine.

You can call the Idaho bicycle coordinator at 208-334-8272 for more information.

General Discussion / Re: Seattle To Missoula Prevalent Winds
« on: April 07, 2013, 10:18:05 pm »
It's a crap shoot. There will probably be a historical bias for one direction, but in any given year, anything is possible. Also, the historical data will be different for different months, so it depends on when you're going.

It also varies along the route, but suppose I pick Spokane (about midway) as a representative sample, and let me pick the month of July at random. The bias for wind direction for July in Spokane is from the southwest. That suggests you might get some slight benefit of going west to east, but the benefit is just a probability and will likely be small. You will still get some headwinds, and those crosswinds will feel like headwinds anyway.

Note that if I were to pick January instead of July, the bias is exactly opposite. There are slightly stronger winds from the northeast in January, although winds from the southwest are in very close second place.

In April, the southwest bias is even stronger than it is in July. In October, the winds come from almost every direction except the northwest, with southwest and northeast winds still occurring more often than other directions, although there are also a lot of winds from the south.

Winter is significantly windier in Spokane than summer, so choosing the season is more of a factor than choosing the direction. I doubt you'd want to go in winter anyway, and July and August are the least windy, so that's probably when you want to go.

Bottom line: Use some other criteria to decide which direction to go.

Pages: 1 ... 46 47 [48] 49 50 ... 106