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Messages - John Nelson

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General Discussion / Re: Leaving tomorrow!
« on: July 23, 2011, 03:19:16 pm »
When engaged in an activity that has you outdoors most of the time, you have to take whatever Mother Nature throws your way and cope as best you can. Unfortunately, Mother Nature is not being particularly nice right now. Staying in air conditioned motels is a common way of dealing with a heat wave. Some also resort to riding at night, but make sure you do it safely--find low-traffic roads and get good lights. Start out each day before the sun rises, maybe way before the sun rises.

General Discussion / Re: What I Learned - My First Long Distance Tour
« on: July 17, 2011, 09:04:58 pm »
Good tips Mike. Thanks for putting this together.

General Discussion / Re: Finding Water
« on: July 16, 2011, 09:19:08 pm »
When you know you're going to be staying at a dry camp, carry more water from the last town. Carry some kind of collapsible water bladder that you can fill up for later.

Gear Talk / Re: Trailer tires
« on: July 16, 2011, 09:12:18 pm »
Well, there are probably lots of tires that will do, but the benchmark is any of the Schwalbe Marathon line (except the Marathon itself).

Routes / Re: How to reach Yorktown (Transcontinental) by airplane??
« on: July 16, 2011, 12:59:05 pm »
What you call the "Transcontinental" is more commonly called the "TransAmerica Trail".

The closest you can get to Yorktown on Amtrak with a bike is Richmond, because the Newport News station is not a luggage stop. Richmond is very near the TransAm route at Mechanicsville, so you could either just continue on from there or backtrack to Yorktown. It's only one long or two short days ride back to Yorktown from Richmond.

You can fly to Newport News (which is what I did), and it's a short 10-mile bike ride to the start in Yorktown.

You can also ride from Dulles to Yorktown. It is a frequently asked question here, and many people have mapped out routes. You can also find some routes over at It's about a 3-day ride. Here are a few links to get you started.

You could also fly into Norfolk but you'd need help getting the short distance to Yorktown from there because of the bridges/tunnels.

Routes / Re: Route suggestions request
« on: July 15, 2011, 10:59:45 pm »
Try as I might I cannot find the avoid highways, or anything similar, on GE.  More help please as the tutorials I saw came nowhere near helping.

Click on this link.

Click on "Get Directions". Enter your starting and ending locations. Click "Show options". Click "Avoid highways". Click the "Get Directions" button.

Gear Talk / Re: Handlebar bag for carbon bars??
« on: July 15, 2011, 10:39:21 am »
The Klickfix is similar and is compatible with Ortlieb and other bags.

Routes / Re: Route suggestions request
« on: July 14, 2011, 04:50:28 pm »
I usually start with the Google driving directions with the "avoid highways" option. This usually gives me a better starting point than Google bicycling directions, which are okay for getting to the supermarket but not very good when going hundreds of miles.

General Discussion / Re: International Bike Shipping
« on: July 12, 2011, 10:23:37 pm »
This is one of the most frequently asked question in this or any bike touring forum. I hope somebody has some recent experience for your specific situation, but you also might try searching. I suggest you simply enter the word "airline" in the search box in the upper right part of this window.

Routes / Re: camping oregon SC route
« on: July 10, 2011, 10:06:50 pm »
In national forests, dispersed camping is generally allowed except where specifically prohibited. You will have to check the rules for each national forest you go through (unless somebody knows off the top of their head), and find out where the prohibited areas are. It looks to me like the Sierra Cascades route goes through two or three national forests in Oregon. The rules are usually easy to find on the website of the particular forest.

General Discussion / Re: Map Case = No Confidence??
« on: July 10, 2011, 07:44:15 pm »
In a safe area, there's no harm and even certain advantages in looking vulnerable. In a dangerous area, it might be better to look confident, but I don't think simply having a map case will be detrimental to that. Furthermore, there are far, far, fewer dangerous areas than most people think.

Routes / Re: Routes in weird places
« on: July 09, 2011, 04:38:08 pm »
Start browsing around over at On the left side of the home page, look for Journals by Locale. Pick an exotic place and click it. See what adventures others have had.

General Discussion / Re: Your top 5 things to take on tour
« on: July 09, 2011, 04:28:26 pm »
For most people, thinking too hard about what they might leave out is a sure way to overpack.

Study existing packing lists. There are hundreds of them on the web, including a pretty comprehensive one right here on the ACA site.

Don't take everything on anybody's list. Also, tailor your list to the location and weather you expect there at the time you are going.

My algorithm is that you should then allow yourself a very small number of luxury items (three?) that aren't strictly necessary. These items should be unique to your preferences and tastes. Maybe you want a small camp stool. Maybe you want a 6-inch thick air mattress. Maybe you want a radio. Maybe you want a down pillow and silk pillowcase. Maybe you want a bear canister. Maybe you want a bike cover. Maybe you like the security of a spare tire. Maybe you want a fishing rod. Maybe you want a Frisbie. Maybe you want a hammer to pound in your tent stakes. But certainly don't take all of them--only take what's most important to you.

Routes / Re: I-80 through Wyoming
« on: July 08, 2011, 05:43:53 pm »
It's not allowed to ride a bicycle on I-80 in Nebraska according to the signs on the on-ramps.
That's because it isn't necessary since US30/US34 parallels I80 most of the way across Nebraska. The general rule of riding on interstate highways in the west is that it's allowed where there is no good parallel route, and prohibited where there is. Always check the specifics of course.

Routes / Re: Transamerica - how late is too late? alternative ending?
« on: July 08, 2011, 05:37:13 pm »
The later you leave, the greater the risk, but it's never too late. The days are also getting shorter as it gets later, so it's hard to put in as much distance in a day. If you're camping, the nights are longer (and lonelier) and colder. But, as I say, it's never too late. The later you leave, the more slop you should leave in the schedule to wait out any storms.

You can take any route through Colorado you want, but there won't be much difference in weather between northern Colorado and southern Colorado (if that's why you're considering a change). Unless you have other reasons to divert to southern Colorado, I'd stick to the TA. Don't plan to cross any passes over 12,000 feet.

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