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Messages - briwasson

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Rental car would be my first choice, one-way from New York to Bar Harbor. I know Hertz has a location at the Bar Harbor Airport, which is on the mainland between Ellsworth and Bar Harbor. It's a long drive, though, figure a full, long day.

There is regularly scheduled commercial air service to Bar Harbor airport (BHB), but it is small commuter planes and I'm not sure if they have room for bikes or not. They code share with US Airways out of Boston. Jet service is to Bangor airport (BGR) and I believe there are regular shuttles from there to Bar Harbor. I'm not a huge US Airways fan, but they do have some convenient connections to Maine via Philadelphia. You could fly AMS-PHL-BGR and then bike to Bar Harbor/Mt. Desert Island from Bangor, as DaveB suggested. Ride to NYC, spend a few days there, then take the train (AMTRAK) back to Philadelphia and fly home.

Routes / Re: Allegheny Gap
« on: January 20, 2013, 02:14:12 pm »
I wrote up my tours on the GAP and the C&O on CrazyGuyonaBike site if you are interested. See

I used the equivalent of 35mm tires and had no problems. (26x1.25).

General Discussion / Re: network provider for cell phone
« on: January 10, 2013, 09:17:43 am »
If you want to buy an iPhone here for smartphone capabilities, Verizon did offer the iPhone 4S in a "global" variety that also has a slot for a GSM SIM chip for while traveling. I work for a German company and have one so that I can use my Verizon phone when traveling in Europe. Maybe you could find one used either in Europe or when arriving in the US, so at least it wouldn't be a total waste when you get back to Germany.

Verizon is not terribly good price-wise here in the US, though.

Gear Talk / Re: Bike Rack Advice
« on: November 26, 2012, 05:48:28 pm »
I've had two types of hitch racks. One had a "fold down" feature, which allows you to access the rear of the vehicle. This works OK when there aren't any bikes on the rack, but is very difficult when bikes are loaded as the weight makes it challenging to fold up and down. I replaced it with a Thule swing-away rack, which kind of cantilevers out to the side very easily, even when bikes are on it.

If you generally will only be accessing your rear door/hatch when there aren't any bikes on the hitch, then the fold-down type would be fine for you, and will save you some $$ to boot. If you think you be accessing the rear door when you have bikes on the rack, seriously consider spending the extra money for the swing-away type.

If you are able to get a 2" receiver hitch for your vehicle, I suggest going that route over the 1.25" hitches, as the larger box cross-section makes for a more sturdy interface between the hitch and your vehicle.

General Discussion / Re: guiding services
« on: November 20, 2012, 01:42:04 pm »
Sounds like a possible trolling post, with OP thinking of offering said "guide service" perhaps?

Sorry, the book is SOLD. But, I'm happy to help with any questions or trip planning. Just send me a note directly.

Routes / Re: GAP/C&O Canal - Alternative Roadway Routes
« on: October 08, 2012, 08:13:45 am »
RangerTom, as an FYI, the main C&O route out of Williamsport is now fully open and no detour is necessary. However, I still think the on-road route to Antietam is worth taking, as it's a pretty ride and offers some nice variety from the towpath.

You should have some nice foliage this time of year. Enjoy the ride!

Gear Talk / Re: Chain Maintenance on Tour
« on: October 01, 2012, 08:53:07 am »
As far as chains go, the gravel of the GAP is worse than the mud of the C&O, in my opinion (I've ridden both end-end on my single bike). The mud washes off more easily and doesn't grit-up the chain to the extent that the GAP's gravel does.

For 10 days, I wouldn't worry too much about relubing, but would rather just wipe the chains clean at the end of each day. If you have access to a hose at the end of the day I would also occasionally rinse them off.

Last year we also rode about 100 miles of the GAP on our triplet. Talk about trying to keep chains clean! On the triplet we have four chains, including the child stoker kit. We had a bit of rain on the GAP ride and the chains got gritty pretty quickly. Rinsing them off with a hose helped a lot.

Routes / Re: ACA Denali route?
« on: September 24, 2012, 12:28:29 pm »
What route are you taking from Valdez to Denali? I assume up the Richardson and then over the Denali Hwy at Paxson? Or will you cut across the Glenn Hwy from Glennallen to the Parks Hwy then to Denali? If you aren't including the Glenn Hwy, you might want to consider it. It's a very pretty road, especially riding west to east (Anchorage to Glennallen). If you aren't stuck on seeing Denali, a great route would be Anchorage to Glennallen along the Glenn Hwy, then take the Richardson south to Valdez.

60 miles is certainly doable for experienced riders, but don't underestimate the climbing on the route. There aren't any huge climbs, but lots of rolling hills, especially out of Valdez. If you are doing the ride self-contained (even w/o camping gear), that might be optimistic on a tandem (I say this as a person who has done bike tours on a tandem - and triplet - since 1999). I'm pretty familiar with that area as I lived in Glennallen, Alaska, for several summers and regular drove and rode all the roads around there. If you've never been to Alaska, budget in lots of time to stop and take photos! Of course, the good think is you have nearly unlimited daylight in case you need more time to ride.

If you are riding the Denali Hwy from Paxson to Cantwell, then 60 miles is VERY optimistic, as it is all gravel and rolling terrain.

General Discussion / Re: Amtrak changes baggage and bike policy . .
« on: September 11, 2012, 06:06:41 am »
I wonder if they will no longer accept tandem as rail freight (unaccompanied)? I'll have to look into that AMTRAK is my go-to shipper for tandems.


Gear Talk / Re: Chain repair
« on: September 07, 2012, 06:37:48 am »
For anyone who uses master links, I highly recommend getting  a Park MLP-1C tool for home use. It makes removal so much easier than doing it with just your hands.

Gear Talk / Re: Chain repair
« on: September 06, 2012, 04:06:08 pm »
I've used SRAM master links with Shimano 9-speed chains for several years with no problems. Officially you are supposed to use the Shimano one-time use pins when rejoining a chain, but I never use them.

By the way, I use the setup above on both my single touring bikes as well as my tandem and triplet, all run with wide-range gearing and a lot of stress, especially on the tandem and triplet.

Routes / Re: GAP/C&O Canal - Alternative Roadway Routes
« on: September 05, 2012, 02:00:24 pm »
If you are staying in Leesburg one night, then taking the W&OD path would certainly be an option worth considering. The two times I've ridden on the C&O, the section from Whites Ferry to Great Falls has had some of the worst trail conditions of the entire trail. But, the W&OD will add extra miles to the route compared with riding the C&O. It's mitigated by the fact that it is paved the entire way. We did a short tour one Memorial Day weekend a few years back where we parked at Great Falls, rode to Leesburg via the C&O, stayed the night there, and rode back via the W&OD.

BTW, we had a very good experience staying at the Best Western in Leesburg on that trip. We stayed for two nights and they were very accommodating (pardon the pun), allowing us to store our tandem and Burley child trailer inside in an empty conference room.

I assume you saw my mapped on-road route from Williamsport to Antietam on my trip report?

Routes / Re: ACA Denali route?
« on: September 04, 2012, 12:40:22 pm »
The "not camping" part is what may prove challenging as you plan your trip. A lot of the lodging infrastructure now in Alaska is built by and for the big tour/cruise companies, and tends to cluster around sights or stopping points convenient to their buses. They also can fill up quickly based on what tours are there.

That leaves you basically with lodges and b&bs. Lodges can be very "rustic" or great, it depends which ones you are at. Also, don't judge a lodge by the outside. I've seen ones that look great outside be kind of dismal inside, and vice versa. B&Bs can be anything from a room in a mobile home (seriously) to a "normal" b&b. When researching options, be sure to ask probing questions!

The general lack of lots of lodging options makes it important to pre-book if you want to be assured of a bed each night. This is challenging, though, to do on a bike trip, especially in a place like Alaska where the weather can impact a day's plans to such a great degree. With long distances between services, you don't have too many options if a place you were planning on staying is filled up.

I don't say this to discourage you at all. Alaska is beautiful! Just be aware that you probably will have to prebook most every night and lose some flexibility that camping might otherwise allow.

Routes / Re: civil war routes on virginia??
« on: September 04, 2012, 12:25:29 pm »
Depending where in Virginia you are looking, there are lots of possibilities. In the Shenandoah Valley, for example, there are tons of Civil War battlefields and related sites. You could pretty much just follow Rt. 11 north/south to hit some of them (it parallels I-81), like New Market, for example. Even without the history, it's a pretty area. Just got back from there yesterday for a Labor Day camping trip to Shenandoah Nat Park.

Then, up near Strasburg, swing east toward DC and take in the sites closer to DC like Bull Run, Manassas, etc.

If you can go a bit farther afield, the C&O canal route offers access to some "big" Civil War sites, like Antietam and Harper's Ferry.

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