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Messages - John Nelson

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Routes / Re: Cell phone
« on: February 02, 2012, 10:55:00 am »
I used a Verizon smart phone on the TransAm. My coverage wasn't always exactly as shown on the map, but coverage can vary from one block to the next. In some places, I could text but not call. In some places, I could text but not include pictures in my text. In some places, I could call but not email. In some places, I could email but not call or text. Flexibility is the key. I studied the map ahead of time so that I could warn my friends and family when I might have days coming up without coverage. On the TransAm, that meant eastern Kentucky, Mammoth Cave NP, eastern Missouri, near the Colorado-Kansas border, southern and central Wyoming, parts of Montana and eastern Idaho. When cell coverage wasn't available, I would look for unsecured Wi-Fi.

General Discussion / Re: Hello, I have some questions. help us plz.
« on: February 01, 2012, 10:14:29 am »
There are two different TransAmerica Trail routes, one for bicycles and one for motorcycles. The acronym "TAT" almost always means the motorcycle route. I assume that this is not the route you are taking, so a better name is either "TransAm" or "TransAmerica" or, in this audience, "TA" is usually clear.

There are not many McDonald's on the TransAm. That's probably because most of the towns the TA passes through are too small to justify a McDonald's. Nevertheless, you can find Wi-Fi in a lot of other places. I would sometimes just wander around town checking for signals from open networks and then walking towards them to get a stronger signal. I used a lot of signals standing outside of buildings closed for the night. You won't find a signal every day, but you will find one every few days.

May through October in the U.S., especially on the TransAm, is usually suitable for camping, cold in some spots and hot in others, but rarely so cold or so hot that you cannot camp. How much or little you camp depends on you. You can camp easily camp 90% of the time if you want, and 100% of the time if you are a bit creative. If you don't mind camping, it's a great way to save a lot of money. Having camping gear and being able to camp at least some of the time increases your flexibility greatly on the TransAm, because finding indoor sleeping every night is a struggle (although possible if you're committed to it).

Warm Showers provides a nice break from other lodging options, and is a great way to meet interesting people.

Studying English is good, as you won't find many people along the TransAm who know Korean.

If starting the TransAm in the East, it will be much, much better to start in May than to start in August.

General Discussion / Re: Long distance trip alone?
« on: January 31, 2012, 12:07:02 pm »
"Not so nice" people are much more common on TV than in real life. Your chances of a significant problem due to one are miniscule, and I'm not sure those chances are increased by going alone, or in fact by going at all.

Routes / Re: Summer heat on the TA
« on: January 29, 2012, 02:38:31 pm »
Temperatures vary from year to year, so it's hard to say in advance. But it's always a good idea to be carrying mosquito repellent--it can make the difference between a pleasant evening and a miserable one.

I seldom get very hot while riding because the constant breeze helps.

General Discussion / Re: Long distance trip alone?
« on: January 27, 2012, 05:44:05 pm »
I agree with VeloVeg 100%. Most people who start alone make life-long friends along the way. Most people who start with strangers part ways somewhere during the trip. I always start alone, and ride alone 75% of the time, but I meet many fascinating people every day and enjoy great conversations.

One of the great things about riding with people you meet along the way is that there is generally no commitment. If you start at the same time, great. If you don't, no worries. If you meet at lunch, great. If you don't, no problem. If you finish at the same place, great. If you don't, no explanations necessary. All the upside of companionship with none of the downside.

Routes / Re: Best way from SW Colorado on TransAm to Denver
« on: January 26, 2012, 06:06:10 pm »
I think you can find better ways from Denver to Fort Collins than 287. I'd try to stay east of I-25 for most of the trip.

From downtown Denver, take the South Platte River bike trail for about 15 miles to 104th (or even farther if you're starting in south Denver). This gets you out of the Denver area entirely on bike paths. Then jog a mile west and pick up Riverdale, a sleepy and beautiful country road. Take that north 9 miles to 160th (state highway 7). Jog west five miles on a busy but shouldered highway to Colorado Blvd (AKA country road 13) (a busy street in Denver, but getting rather sleepy this far north). You're about two miles east of I-25 here. Take that north 25 miles to Johnstown, and continue north another 10 miles to Windsor on country road 17. By now, you're only 15 miles from Fort Collins. You can wing it from there.

Actually, you can kind of make it up as you go. Once you get to the north end of the South Platte River trail, just head north on any county road that looks good to you. Stay east of I-25 and west of US85 and you'll be fine on almost any country road.

I suggested north because you said you didn't want desert riding. No deserts and no mountains is a tough pair of requirements. Yes, you can start by riding up the coast and then going across. But then there's the question of whether you can get to DC by June 10 this way. Why don't you just fly to Pueblo and start there? That will skip most of the desert, the mountains, and the snow/cold.

Your problem is overly constrained. You'll have to decide which of your desires you want to compromise on.

General Discussion / Re: Long distance trip alone?
« on: January 26, 2012, 10:46:21 am »
If you have a life-long friend, then touring together is probably good. But I would not want tour with someone I didn't know well. Such a partnership is unlikely to last very long.

Touring for me is about freedom. Freedom to decide where to go, how far to go, how fast to go, when to linger, when to call it a day, what to eat, where to sleep and when to get up. Touring alone preserves that freedom. There's a lot to say for it. If you don't want to make these decisions, then having a touring partner would probably be fine.

Also keep in mind that we are never alone. There are people everywhere. And 99% of those people are kind, friendly, eager to engage and helpful.

Connecting ACA Routes / Re: Seattle to Northern Tier
« on: January 25, 2012, 08:25:38 pm »
What if you want to ride the NT from the beginning (i.e., start in Anacortes)? Is it reasonable to safely ride from Sea-Tac to Anacortes? If so, how? Can it be done in a day?

General Discussion / Re: Coast to coast
« on: January 24, 2012, 06:01:00 pm »
Here's an example of the advantages of being on the established TransAm route. The town park in Troutville, VA has a sign up on the fence that says the park closes at 11 p.m. But there's an addendum attached to that sign that says "Bike-76 TRANSAM Welcome", meaning that the park closure doesn't apply to you. The sign also says that the restrooms are locked at dark--but they don't lock them if there's a TransAm cyclist camped there. These towns know that they are on the TransAm route, and make special accommodations for you. And when the police and townfolk see a tent in their town park with a bicycle parked outside, they already know why it's there.

General Discussion / Re: Coast to coast
« on: January 24, 2012, 04:27:29 pm »
East to West starting in August will be riskier than the other way around. That's because the West is typically higher elevation and you want to get through there before it gets too late in the autumn. Nevertheless, October will probably be okay, but it will have some risks.

TransAm West to East has the advantage of starting out farther north and higher elevation, and finishing farther south and lower elevation. This plays pretty well to avoiding excessive heat and cold.

If you get the TransAm maps, they'll save you a ton of money by locating places you can stay for free. Because people on this route are more used to seeing touring cyclists, you're also likely to get more hospitality offers.

General Discussion / Re: Bike Transport
« on: January 24, 2012, 04:13:49 pm »
The actual name is "bikeflights" (plural).
A search of the forums for "bikeflights" here yields nothing.

A search of crazyguyonabike yields one member who has used them. You could ask him through his guestbook.

A search on the ACA home page yields a few hits. BikeFlights is a business supporter of the USBRS and a corporate supporter of the ACA. BikeFlights gives a 10% discount for ACA members. They are mentioned in this ACA article:

You can probably cross the Rockies on the Western Express route in late April. But if it's snowing, you don't want to be up on the passes. So having a few spare days to wait out a storm is advised. But the Western Express will not meet your goal of avoiding desert riding, and crossing Carson Pass in the Sierra Nevada may not be possible in early April, and you may also encounter some difficulty in the higher elevations of Utah (e.g., Cedar Breaks). The ACA advises not starting the WE until mid-May.

General Discussion / Re: Most interesting states
« on: January 24, 2012, 02:59:48 pm »
I counted the 774 pictures from my TransAm, and then divided the number in each state by the number of days I was in that state. The results show less variation than you might think. There's something interesting everywhere. The only real standout was Wyoming, but that's where Grand Teton and Yellowstone are. You're probably wondering why Kansas came in second place and why Montana came in last. I'm wondering too.

Wyoming: 18
Kansas: 13
Illinois: 11
Virginia: 10
Colorado: 10
Idaho: 10
Missouri: 10
Kentucky: 9
Oregon: 9
Montana: 7

General Discussion / Re: training and nutrition
« on: January 23, 2012, 06:07:15 pm »
Ride as much as you can without losing perspective on life.
If you are overweight, even by a little, lose weight.

Neither of these are necessary, but both will make the tour easier. If you can only do one or the other, do the second.

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