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Messages - John Nelson

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Routes / Re: Bus from Portland to Astoria
« on: June 28, 2013, 05:13:32 pm »
it's a nice, comfortable bus with on-board Wi-Fi, and it drops you off in Astoria with convenient access to services. Be sure to hike up the hill and climb the Astoria Column.

Routes / Re: Bus from Portland to Astoria
« on: June 28, 2013, 02:40:32 pm »
Even if a box is not required, bikes are better protected in the cargo area of a bus if boxed. It keeps them from sliding around and banging into everything.

General Discussion / Re: Brooks Sadles
« on: June 26, 2013, 03:19:18 pm »
Just my perspective.

A lot, a really lot, has been said about Brooks saddles. I'm sure your searches have confirmed that. The most commonly stated comment is that saddles are very personal and that only your own experiences can provide reliable information for you.

My experience:
 - It took me thousands of miles to break it in, but until it was broken in, it was as comfortable as my previous saddle,
 - Once broken in, it was much more comfortable--not easy-chair comfortable but comfortable enough to not cause problems.
 - I take reasonable care to keep it dry. I cover it at night. Nevertheless, it gets really wet from time to time. It's outdoor gear. It's going to get wet on tour. But it has not suffered from it.

My opinions:
 - Unless you have a very upright riding position, you do not want springs.
 - Use Proofide and not other products.
 - Don't expect miracles.
 - Don't buy preaged saddles.

General Discussion / Re: Trikes and rumble strips...
« on: June 23, 2013, 08:05:26 pm »
I met a guy last summer on a two-wheel recumbent towing a two-wheel trailer. He said that the biggest unanticipated issue with the trailer was the difficulty in trying to avoid the rumble strips.

Gear Talk / Re: Solar Panel - Yea or Nay?
« on: June 21, 2013, 05:57:29 pm »
There isn't anyplace in the U.S. where you will be away from AC power for very long. Of course, you may find yourself sitting around some power plug for longer than you want while waiting for stuff to charge.

Routes / Re: Going To The Sun Road...after 4 PM
« on: June 20, 2013, 01:04:39 pm »
I will be there arrive around July 20th (westbound)
Just curious, but if you're westbound, by what route will you come in? Won't you have already gone over GTTSR on your way there?

Routes / Re: Going To The Sun Road...after 4 PM
« on: June 20, 2013, 12:05:11 pm »
Depends somewhat on whether you are starting after 4PM, or whether you will be on the climb, finishing after 4PM. If the latter, no problem. If the former, if you see three or more motor vehicles piling up behind, get off the road and let them pass, same as you should do on any road.
If eastbound, you are not allowed to be on the climb before 4PM. It's an expensive ticket and they do issue them. The NPS web site gives all the restrictions in detail.

This has been going on for the past year. I recommend stopping in at Hill's Village Grocery in Haugen, which is just before the closure (if eastbound). Jim Hill, who has been running this store for over 32 years, can give you the latest tips on how to get through the construction. Jim is well familiar with this route and is cyclist friendly, and has a log book you can sign. Everybody stops here anyway as it's the only place you've seen in a long time.

Routes / Re: Going To The Sun Road...after 4 PM
« on: June 19, 2013, 09:24:41 pm »
Sorry, I have not ridden up after 4. I would suspect, however, that traffic will be more of an issue then. I did ride up at first light and was able to get almost all the way to the top before the cars started coming. It's a much, much better ride without cars.

General Discussion / Re: To Go Home or Not...That is the Question?
« on: June 18, 2013, 11:54:22 pm »
Aren't you having the time of your life? You should be, and I hope you are. If so, you won't be tempted to end your trip in Missouri. Besides, I've read your blog and you don't seem like a quitter to me. Have fun! If you're not having fun, change something. If you need a bit of extra money to lighten the stress, maybe you can borrow some from your family. Figure out what you need and go after it.

Routes / Re: Eastbound from Washington/Oregon
« on: June 18, 2013, 11:49:16 pm »
Going to the Sun Road is one of the finest rides in the world.

I doubt that the experience would be even one tenth as good by bus.

New England / Re: Border Crossings - Ontario/NY
« on: June 16, 2013, 06:57:34 pm »
From time to time, we encounter all sorts of road conditions not ideally suitable to bikes. Border crossings are no different. In each situation, we adapt as necessary. Ride more slowly or even walk if warranted. It's a short-term inconvenience.

Gear Talk / Re: stability
« on: June 16, 2013, 06:53:37 pm »
Post back if you still have stability problems on a calm wind day. If so, then something else is going on and we should discuss further.

General Discussion / Re: riding and camping in thunderstorms
« on: June 16, 2013, 06:31:05 pm »
Lots of good advice and I agree with it all.

Rain doesn't worry me. Lightning, hail and tornadoes worry me, but not too much. During the day, I just ride through most rain. If it gets violent, I look for a house, building or bridge that I can take shelter from on a porch or under an overhang. Sometimes, however, they're aren't any around. I actually like sleeping in the rain, but I don't much like it if it's raining while I am setting up or breaking down camp. If tornadoes or high winds are forecast overnight, I look for someplace inside to sleep. Ask at churches and fire stations or look for a Warm Showers host.

Routes / Re: Riding west to east along the northern tier
« on: June 16, 2013, 03:48:36 pm »
My suggestions:
  • Consider flying into Bellingham WA to start your trip. It is served by one of the most bike-friendly airline around (Frontier) and it is an easy ride from there to the start of the NT.
  • If even remotely possible, schedule your trip so that Going To The Sun Road will be open when you get there. Going To The Sun Road is the absolute jewel of the Northern Tier. It would be criminal to have to go around it. Starting in mid-May will give you very little chance, but starting in mid-June will give you a very good chance of this road being open.
  • Starting in May will almost certainly you subject you to wet weather through Washington. Starting later would avoid at least some of this.
  • I second the praise for South Skagit Road between Sedro-Woolley and Concrete--absolutely lovely.
  • You don't have too many options for distance in Washington until you get over Sherman Pass. You're pretty much committed to one pass a day over Rainy/Washington, Loup Loup, Wauconda and Sherman.
  • Take a tour of Libby Dam just past Libby MT if you can. The visitor center is on the west side.
  • Campgrounds along the Northern Tier tend to be a bit more expensive than camping on the TransAm, especially as you get farther east. Not that big of an issue if you are sharing costs, but can be significant if you travel solo.
  • Spend a night at Cottonwood Campground in Theodore Roosevelt National Park if you can. It's cool.
  • Don't miss the stop at the Adventure Cyclists Bunkhouse in Dalbo, MN.
  • If you take the North Lakes route, plan at least several hours to explore Mackinac Island.
  • Stysh's Brown Barn Campground in Boonville NY is a real bargain camping for only $6.
  • Spend an hour and $20 to take the Maid of the Mist at Niagara Falls. Lock your bike up within sight of the ticket booths.
  • It can be a challenge to arrange transportation home from Bar Harbor. I had the Bar Harbor Bike Shop ship my bike home and took the shuttle to the Bangor airport.

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