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Routes / Re: West from Pittsburgh to Ohio
« Last post by jamawani on November 27, 2015, 07:28:42 pm »
Rob -

Please do not trust Google Maps - they are notoriously wrong.
In the West it has routed people on nonexistent roads, private ranch roads, you name it.
It may take more work, but there are resources out there.

Years back I did the C&O in the summer and it was great - quiet, cool, adventurous.
But my roommate did it in the fall - when it was rainy - and was miserable.
As early as you are planning, all the water will be turned off, and the towpath will be a sea of mud.

I know you have talked about short daily mileage - and a six month window.
But March is just too early for this part of the country.
Not to mention what a pain it is to get across Chesapeake Bay.


Have you considered starting some place like Sapelo Island, Georgia? (Or Jekyll Island)
Then head across southern Georgia and southern Alabama - many civil rights sites.
Then grab the Underground RR ACA route -
Then working your way northwest up to St. Louie?
At 25 miles per day with every 5th day off - it would take about 9 weeks.
Not to mention lovely azaleas and dogwoods - and very few climbs.

PS - According to Rand McNally it's 827 miles from DC to St. Louis, but only 802 miles from Savannah to St. Louis.
And that doesn't include the extra 80 miles in the Delmarva peninsula plus crossing the bay.
Take away - it is no further leaving from the Georgia coast and with far better weather conditions.

Sapelo Island, Live Oaks and Palmettos
General Discussion / Re: Surly LHT/Disc Trucker
« Last post by RussSeaton on November 27, 2015, 01:48:15 pm »
Do those bars serve a special purpose or are they just another set of bars?  I guess what I am asking is are they built specifically for a certain riding style?

They are handlebars for a bike.  Road style bike.  The purpose today is they are for the older, slower long distance rider.  Randonneur is a long distance riding style.  If you look at the historical (40s 50s) pictures of European bicycle racers, you will often see flared handlebars on their bikes.  And more upright riding positions with stems showing.  The tiny bike with the seat as high as possible and the bars as low as possible is a newer look.  In olden times the racers raced 100+ miles everyday for 8 months on less than smooth roads.  Sometimes dirt or gravel roads.  So having a comfortable bike was more important than a super aerodynamic bike.
Routes / Re: West from Pittsburgh to Ohio
« Last post by roadrunner on November 27, 2015, 01:43:21 pm »
Hi Whitebirch,

I did a Chesapeake Bay to Mississippi River tour in 2006, with the objective of riding as many trails as practical.  Rode the C&O Canal and GAP trails to Pittsburgh, then the Montour Trail to the Panhandle Trail to Stubenville.  Both of those trails have been further developed since then.  The day riding west from Stubenville was the hilliest of the entire tour.

Much of northern Illinois can be crossed riding trails.  I rode the Kankakee River State Park Trail, the I&M Canal Trail, and Hennepin Canal Trail, finishing at Rock Island, Illinois.

You will likely be be able to ride some trails in Iowa.  I'm planning a tour next year across Iowa, following the American Discovery Trail, a 500-mile zigzag route which includes over 300 miles of rail trails.
Gear Talk / Re: Lookin for rain poncho
« Last post by BikePacker on November 27, 2015, 01:30:23 pm »
I am always going to end up wet, as well .... all I have learned is that I can minimize the drenching by having snug fitting rain proof clothing around my neck, wrists and waistband.
Gear Talk / Re: Long tour on a Trek 7.2 fx?
« Last post by BikePacker on November 27, 2015, 01:22:07 pm »
Mikem - For me, with a few adaptations, I'd be completely in favor of using your Trek 7.2fx. 
Regarding what I mean by adaptations .... I'd study the following text and see which mods would make the most sense for the least investment:
- Best wishes for a great tour.
Routes / Re: Southern Tier variant
« Last post by roadrunner on November 27, 2015, 12:58:49 pm »
Hi Grencove - US Bicycle Route 90 which was recently designated in Arizona follows the route you plan to travel.  This news release describes the route, which follows the Southern Tier from California to Phoenix, then goes south through Tucson, Sonoita, Tombstone, Bisbee, and Douglas to Rodeo,

I live in Sierra Vista, 17 miles from Tombstone, and would be glad to answer any specific questions you may have about the route from Tucson to Rodeo.  You can contact me at
Routes / Re: Plummer ID to Ellensburg, WA
« Last post by jamawani on November 27, 2015, 11:07:13 am »
Rob -

I've given this a lot of thought - and I have looked at your other posts to get a better idea of your overall trip.
Or course, there are three factors that, combined, limit your options - -
1) Short daily mileage 2) Avoiding routes with significant climbs 3) Using rail trails as much as possible

Most state transportation departments have traffic counts maps or date online. (AADT - Average Annual Daily Traffic)
Here is Washington's:

If you notice, WA 28 has very low traffic. WA 26 also has pretty low traffic counts, too.
Both would involve negotiating the I-90 Columbia River bridge at Vantage.
If you were to do WA 28 - I would suggest cutting up to Cheney - college town with services -
Then cutting over to Edwall and Harrington - and later cutting southwest to George (busier stretch).
If you were to do WA 26 - I would head southeast to Oakdale and Colfax -
With an option to loop down to Kahlotus and Connell for more services - then Othello and Royal City.

Via WA 28 you have the choice of hitching across the river from the boat ramp on the Old Vantage Highway.
That road has a spectacular descent down Frenchman Coulee - with basic camping at the river.
You could call the Vantage Resort and see if you could hire a person to come from the marina.
Otherwise, you would need to get on I-90 and then use extreme caution on the bridge.
Or you could call the resort and arrange a van/pickup shuttle across the bridge for either route.

I have hitched across a number of major rivers in the U.S. - Mississippi, Missouri, Potomac.
If the boat ramp is fairly busy, you just hang out and ask folks.
I was solo - with three it would be a little tougher.
It usually takes no longer than an hour or two at a well-used ramp.

Yet another option is one I outlined before -
Take the WA 26 option via Colfax and Connell then via Vernita bridge and Yakima.
The stretch from Connell to Yakima is remote, but does have minimal services at spaced intervals.
Then you have the gorgeous Yakima Canyon ride up to Ellensburg.


I would also like to mention that not all rail trails are created equal.
It's been years, but riding on the Milwaukee Road route in Montana was brutal - just railbed.
And getting to the start or from the endpoints of some rail trails sometimes defeats the purpose.
Rail trails are often built for local use - not for through riders.

The Trail of the Cooeur d'Alenes is an example.
The eastern section from Lookout Pass to Kellogg is often smack up against I-90.
It was built using environmental remediation funding because of past mining in the region.
Plus to get to the eastern end, you have to do a lot of riding on I-90 in Montana.

A little further north is a spectacular route that connects with the C d'A at Enaville.
From Thompson Falls, you cross the river on the restored High Bridge and then take MT 471 - almost no traffic.
At the Idaho border it becomes paved FR 9 (Forest Road) - Thompson Pass is only like 150 ft higher than Lookout.
Murray and Pritchard have basic services.

General Discussion / Re: Surly LHT/Disc Trucker
« Last post by DaveB on November 27, 2015, 11:06:31 am »
I did a little reading in the Park Tools manual and looked at the net.  The stem size and the bar size should match, a difference of 0.1 is acceptable but no other.  My stem is a 31.8 so I need the bars to be 31.8.  Sounds right.
31.8 mm handlebar and stem clamp sizes are almost the norm these days so finding matching ones is very easy.  Be aware that you will see some handlebars and stems listed as 31.7 mm but these are identical to and interchangeable with "31.8 mm"  The difference is that the true diameter is 1-1/8" or 31.75 mm.  Most makers round the diameter up to 31.8 mm.  A few round down to 31.7 mm but I've always thought this was a bit of a scam to make you think you have to buy both their bars and stem together. 
General Discussion / Re: Surly LHT/Disc Trucker
« Last post by fiveonomo on November 27, 2015, 11:05:23 am »
Thanks Ron.  Since I already have it I think I will try it and then I can make the change if I need to.  It also has a sticker on the underside that gives you all of the torque settings.  As always, thanks for everyone's help and advice, Im definately learning.
Gear Talk / Re: Lookin for rain poncho
« Last post by Rusty123 on November 27, 2015, 10:42:43 am »
Not a poncho, but I have a jacket from Shower's Pass made of eVent, and it's been excellent for my commute in rainy Puget Sound.
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