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Messages - jamawani

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Routes / Re: Neah Bay to Port Angeles
« on: November 28, 2021, 08:59:38 pm »
Howdy Hilltopper -

Although I am not a Olympic Peninsula local, I have ridden it a few times.

Neah Bay is a great place to start a journey.
If you can - and you should - head all the way out to Shi Shi Beach.
Cape Flattery used to have a loop road - it's now out-and-back.
Then there's the Makah Museum in Neah Bay
with artefacts from Ozette village which was covered by a landslide 500 years ago.
It is the equivalent of Pompeii.

Highway 112 is narrow with some serious climbing, too. And lots of curves.
There's zero shoulder, but traffic is light and usually going no more than 45 mph.
Because it's the Pacific Northwest, dense forest prevents views of the water.
But there are sections with lovely views of the Strait.
The toughest section is east of Clallam Bay after the Hwy 113 turnoff.

Pillar Point (MP 34) is a small day-use park with magnificent views of the water. Quiet.
(There's no designated camping between Clallam Bay and Sadie Creek but -
if you are totally wiped out and it's getting dark, you might beg forgiveness and camp here.)
Sadie Creek (MP 47) is a small State Forest campground used mostly by 4x4ers.
Lyre River (MP 50) is another State Forest site with less noise.

Salt Creek County Park (MP 58 via Crescent Beach Rd) is the place to aim for.
If you can do 60+ hilly miles. Spectacular, eye-popping views. IF - - it's not cloudy/foggy.
Reservable campsites - bathrooms w/ showers.

A note about Highway 112 -
Highway 112 frequently has washouts that close the road for extended periods.
Already, the Pacific Northwest has had heavy fall rains and the ground is saturated.

It's always a crap shoot.
The rainy season ends about June 30 and begins about July1.
But really, you probably shouldn't start before June 1.
Hope for sunshine, but always be prepared for rain.
And plan an alternate rout via Highway 113 and US 101.

Happy  trails!

Routes / Re: Interstate Alternatives
« on: November 27, 2021, 12:02:24 am »
Different strokes for different folks - but for the life of me,
I have never understood why people would choose to bike tour on an interstate.

Kinda like -
A Big Mac at McDonalds vs. a fresh meatloaf sandwich at a mom & pop cafe in Beatrice.
Or a room at the Motel 6 just off I-95 vs. a little cottage on the Maine coast.
Or 45 minutes of muzak on hold with Verizon vs. a funky zydeco club in Lafayette.

South / Re: Summer 2022 Civil Rights Ride
« on: November 26, 2021, 10:48:52 pm »
Selma to Montgomery is just so important.
There is the Selma to Montsomery National Historic Trail - -
but many parts of it are on 4-lane US 80.
Old US 80 on the Selma end was the actual highway used.
Then there are county roads in western Montgomery County -
esp. Old Selma Rd. - but this would not be the actual route.
(However, it would give you a much better feel for 1960s highways.)

The NPS visitor center is on a busy stretch of 4-lane US 80.
US 80 was a 2-lane highway in 1965.
That roadway is mostly the westbound 2 lanes now - with almost no shoulder.
The eastbound side is newer with a shoulder some of the way.
And most people would want to ride eastbound from Selma - like the marchers.
But there are long eastbound stretches with little shoulder and fast traffic.

In Selma, Brown Chapel AME Church and museums are all close to the Pettus Bridge.
And with the new bypass, the Pettus Bridge has far less traffic.
You can see the Alabama capitol from Dexter Ave. Baptist Church.
And the Rosa Parks Bus Boycott Museum is only a few blocks west.

The question becomes - Is it worth riding on 4-lane US 80? It is dangerous.
Because the NPS visitor center is roughly halfway between Selma and Montgomery.
Plus, there are the march campsites and the memorial where Viola Liuzzo was shot.

I suggest taking the old highway and county roads.
You still have to get on a stretch of US 80 near Benton - some shoulders.
Then take Benton/Jones Bluff/and Old Selma Rds.
You can take White Bluff Rd. down to the NPS visitors center.

Rural US 80 has about 8000 vehices Dallas Co.; 10,000 Montgomery Co.
The Pettus Bridge has 13,500. Coming into Montgomery 20-25,000.
Old US 80 southeast of Selma has about 2500.
The county roads have 100 to 300 to 500 cars per day. Your choice.
I do wish this route were more bicycle friendly.

PS - There's camping at Prairie Creek Park just north of Benton.

Possible route:

General Discussion / Re: New Executive Director
« on: November 21, 2021, 08:57:28 am »
Scott Pankratz has resigned.
Jennifer O'Dell is the new interim Executive director.
It may be helpful if one of you might contact the board chair
and request a more complete explanation of the current status of ACA.
Since ACA is funded by memberships and donations
there are many other who may wish to know.

Routes / Re: Brit riding across the US
« on: November 19, 2021, 05:46:20 pm »
The North American continent does seem to have
more drastic climate extremes than Great Albion.
And what many say here is quite true.

The western mountains stay snow-capped into June -
whilst the Great Plains and Midwest roast by July.
Not to mention the occasional earthquake, tornado, and hurricane.

That said, a May/June start is best east-to-west.
A later start and northerly route is best west-to-east.

Routes / Re: Brit riding across the US
« on: November 15, 2021, 08:29:37 pm »
OD -

One of the challenges of Bike Route 66 is the Mojave Desert.
Not only are there practically zero services between Barstow and Needles, California,
but the average May temperature is already 95F/35C.
Which for a Brit is pretty darn hot. (Birmingham is 61F/ 16C.)

You also have a good deal of urban riding:
Los Angeles, Albuquerque, Amarillo, Oklahoma City,
Tulsa, Springfield, MO, St. Louis, Springfield, IL & Chicago.

Finally, US 66 doesn't exist any more.
There are a few excellent, remote sections in California & Arizona,
But the vast majority of the route has been overlaid by Interstate highways.
Particularly in the West, right on top of the old road -
so you must ride on a busy Interstate. (On the paved shoulder)
Other places you are on a service road right next to the Interstate.

There are more scenic, less trafficked options out there.

Routes / Re: Tire dipping near Astoria, Oregon
« on: November 14, 2021, 06:53:02 pm »
A favorite spot is at the wreck of the Peter Iredale at Fort Stevens State Park.
Camping available including Hiker/Biker. 9 miles west of Astoria.

Image c. Oregon State Parks

An absolutely empty road -
So quiet that you can hear the birdsong -
And the water in the brook.

General Discussion / Re: coffee coffee
« on: October 31, 2021, 08:02:29 am »
So on road tours I often rely on diner coffee at second breakfast where first breakfast was a granola bar and water.

BTW, I guess I am the opposite of a coffee snob.  I prefer diner coffee.  I much prefer to get my coffee somewhere that no "lingo" is required.  If asking for a large coffee with cream and sugar leads to a session of multiple questions with inexplicable foreign words for the sizes and numerous other options, it defitinately puts me off.

It is better yet if I can just ask for coffee and they automatically bring cream and sugar to the table (or counter) and a smiling waitress comes by to refill my cup as needed.

Aha! We are two peas in a pod.

I love to pack up early and be on my way.
The roads are mostly empty early on summer mornings -
and the sunlight is golden.

Then I come upon a little diner and have a great Second Breakfast.
With coffee. And the usual questions.
The cafe in Burlington, Wyo (pop. 250) is da best.

General Discussion / Re: coffee coffee
« on: October 30, 2021, 11:50:02 pm »
Coffee? Who needs coffee??  ;)
A nice bottle of night-chilled water is the ticket.

Routes / Re: The Thompson River Backcountry Drive - NT Alternative
« on: October 18, 2021, 07:16:39 pm »
Lots of people have heard ot Thompson River Road.
(Actually there are two - - the forest road and the logging trunk road.)

Lolo National Forest floated the idea of paving the forest road about 15 years ago.
There was a huge outcry against doing so by many traditional users and environmentalists.
The forest service rationale was the dust and runoff from heavy use.

Little used forest roads can be magical.
Heavily used forest roads can be pretty tough slogging.
I chose not to ride it many years ago (and I ride lots of unpaved roads)
because it was so dusty and heavily washboarded. (only did a mile or so)
Forest road surfaces can vary greatly from year to year and even within a season.

Unless you have a fat tire bike, I wouldn't try it early, soon after snowmelt.

Because of the massive Northern Pacific Railway federal land grant - 47 million acres -
there is a checkerboard of private landholdings all over western Montana.
From Northern Pacific to Plum Creek Timber to Weyerhauser now.
Plum Creek moved increasinly into land development.
So the Thompson River corridor is hardly wilderness.
Given the logging and recreation traffic,
I thought it made sense to pave Thompson River Road.
Of course, paving just leads to even more traffic, I know.

Routes / Re: NT Alternative between Cut Bank and St Mary in MT
« on: October 18, 2021, 05:21:37 pm »
CS -

You said you were planning a spring trip.
You do realize than in Glacier NP -
May is winter, June is spring (maybe), and summer hits sometime in July.
Going to the Sun Road doesn't usually open until late June or early July.

Routes / Re: Interstate Alternatives
« on: October 17, 2021, 10:42:28 am »
PS - Bentonite

Don't know where you are from, but there is a soil type called "bentonite" in the High Plains.
It's what they make absorbent kitty litter out of.
It is clay-based and turns into a slimy mess when wet.
You can't even stand up - let alone ride.
And it get's on all moving parts of the bike - nearly impossible to get off.
Most dirt road cyclists in the High Plains / Rockies have encountered it.
I have. The stuff of nightmares. 1950s horror movies.

I don't know whether the road in question has bentonite.
Rain totally changes the equation on dirt roads.
But bentonite is another story altogether.
You can expect to find pockets of bentonite west of the Missouri River.

Just FYI.

Routes / Re: NT Alternative between Cut Bank and St Mary in MT
« on: October 17, 2021, 01:01:51 am »
Yes, turn onto IR 464 in Browning and continue north to Many Glacier.
IR 464 turns off US 89 in Browning just after  US 89 turns west.

US 89 has been improved little by little over the past 20 years.
Traffic between Fairfield and Dupuyer is light to moderate.
Traffic on the Rez south of Browning picks up a little but there are shoulders.
North of Browning, summer traffic can be heavy,
plus the road is narrow, curvy, with lots of steep sections.

There is a massive project going on just south of St. Mary.
Because of the traffic volume and terrain it is a mess.
Flagger trucks should shuttle you - but no guarantees.
Some companies won't because of insurance issues.

I am not aware of any ongoing construction south of Dupuyer.
When there has been construction, it has been more manageable.
Newer sections of US 89 south of Dupuyer have shoulders.
Older sections do not. But traffic is not that bad.

I don't know why auto traffic continues to be relative light.
I suspect cars stay on I-15 and cut over on US 2 - like the NT route.
I've ridden it many times without any problems.
Sometimes there can be a headwind - more often a sidewind.
(You are likely to have wind across ND & MT - ride early.)


Also, west of the Missouri River towns are few and far between. And small.
Even before the pandemic, stores were disappearing from remote towns.
Check carefully - it's likely that some may never reopen.
If a tiny town's bar/cafe/store is gone, don't hesitate to ask someone for water.
Quite often, you'll end up with cookies and an apple, too.

Pic - Empty highway in eastern Montana

Routes / Re: NT Alternative between Cut Bank and St Mary in MT
« on: October 16, 2021, 10:49:57 pm »
CS -

I have toured Glacier more than a dozen times - bad habit.
And I have ridden Duck Lake Rd (IR 464) a few times as well as the Canada option.
I think the route into Canada is primarily to visit Waterton Lakes N.P.
Waterton is nice - different - Canadian parks often have a village with development in parks.
But Many Glacier is so much better - and right there where IR 464 comes out at Babb.

Duck Lake Road is way better then US 89 to St Mary.
Although US 89 is being rebuilt there are still narrow sections with heavy RV traffic.
Plus there will still be major construction going on next summer.
If you must use US 89, I would take Starr School Rd. just north of Browning.

Duck Lake Road has light to moderate traffic, fairly high speeds, and limited shoudlers.
The terrain is rolling, so you have a moderate amount of up & down.
Visibility is generally good - no trees - except just after you top a hill.
The winds can be tough - no trees - so plan to ride this stretch early in the day.

I would strongly suggest staying at east 2 nights at Many Glacier -
So that you have a day to hike into the backcountry.
You will not regret it.

<<< BUT >>>

From Great Falls I would very, very strongly suggest US 89 via Choteau.
It's shorter and far more scenic - fabulous views of the Front Range north of Fairfield.
Choteau has great camping in the town park. Or motels if you prefer.
Limited services in Fairfield and Dupuyer. I've stayed in Dupuyer a few times.
There used to be two general stores and a couple of bar/cafes.
There still is a store - occasionally open and a cafe.

The ACA route has you on service roads chock-a-block next to I-15.
The Canadian loop I can understand somewhat - the I-15 service road I cannot.

Plus, US 2 westbound from Cut Bank to Browning - if you choose to skip Canada -
Can put you straight into a brutal headwind - 5 mph in granny gear pedaling as hard as you can.
Eastbound - you can put your feet on the handlebars and sail without pedaling. (Well, not quite)

Pic - Lake Josephine at Many Glacier

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