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Messages - RussellB

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Routes / Question about Service Directory listings on ACA maps...
« on: June 07, 2010, 10:04:57 pm »

Specifically as regards the Motel/Hotels section, I'm curious if there's any particular meaning to be found in the order in which the motels/hotels are listed: it's obviously not alphabetical, but in doing some spot checking I didn't get the impression that they were listed in any order of cost.

If they aren't listed in any particular order, then as a way of squeezing as much information as possible in the limited space available, I suppose my suggestion for the next edition of the ACA maps would be that they be listed in increasing order of cost, ideally with the first option being the least expensive choice in the area.

It seems that this would be a predictable and objective way to order them, and in the case of travellers on a budget who would invariably go with the cheapest option in the area, this would save both the travellers and the hotel proprietors the hassle of a bunch of phone calls.

Routes / Re: Strangest attractions along the TransAmerica Trail?
« on: June 02, 2010, 02:43:24 pm »
Thank you for pointing out 17(C) - I knew that I'd need to get on the approved visiting list, which is what I meant by "scheduling," but I'm embarassed to say I missed the provision restricting "friends" to pre-confinement relationships. These prisoners spend 23 hours a day in solitary confinement, and the one remaining hour isn't spent in communal activity (i.e. it's solitary exercise), so my guess is that it wouldn't be too difficult to find someone willing to accept an unknown visitor sight unseen: so, it's the 17(C) restriction, and not the 16 restriction, that's probably the deal-breaker here.

I do need to say, however, that not insulting these particular prisoners isn't exactly my first priority in life: the people confined in this institution are genuinely the worst of the worst (mass murderers, terrorists, one gentleman who was credibly accused of over a thousand counts of child molestation, and even the CFO of Enron), and I personally do not see a single reason why I should feel guilty about entertaining myself at their expense.

Routes / Strangest attractions along the TransAmerica Trail?
« on: June 01, 2010, 08:16:02 pm »
I'm interested in making a list of things to see/experience along the TransAmerica Trail which might not be listed on the official maps, but which are unusual enough to make interesting blog posts or stories once I get home.  The following is the list I've come up with so far, and I was hoping other forum readers who have ridden the TransAmerica Trail could reply to this message with their own suggestions:

  • A major portion of the route Robert M. Pirsig rode for his novel Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance is duplicated by the TransAmerica Trail from Prineville OR to Missoula MT: I thought I could take pictures of things which match up to what was described in the book.
  • In Florence CO, the TransAmerica Trail route passed by the ADX Florence supermax prison. I read the document on visiting procedures and didn't find anything which restricts visits from "friends," or any restriction on who is considered a "friend." So, I could pick some random prisoner who isn't anywhere close to their maximum of five visits a month and schedule a visit.
  • Marshfield MO is the hometown of astronomer Edwin Hubble (of the Hubble Telescope). They have a 1/4 size replica of the Hubble Telescope.
  • The geodesic dome where R. Buckminster Fuller lived in Carbondale IL is apparently open for visits and photos.
  • The Gathering of the Juggalos (see in Cave-in-Rock IL will take place over Aug 12-15 this year. I consider the chance to attend a festival in honor of what has been voted to be the worst rock band in the world to be quite an opportunity.
  • The Old Talbott Tavern in Bardstown KY has apparently been open since the revolutionary war, and was patronized by Daniel Boone, the exiled Louis-Philippe of France, Andrew Jackson, Abraham Lincoln, Henry Clay, John Fitch, John Audubon, Jesse James, and George Patton
  • Getting a tour of Virginia Military Institute in Lexington VA (noon at 415 Letcher Ave).

Can any more experienced riders top any of those suggestions?

General Discussion / Re: Invitation to join
« on: June 01, 2010, 07:52:08 pm »
A few days ago, I made a list of all the cities along the TransAmerica trail for which a search on turns up at least one active member. Obviously some of those members might not be hosting at any given time, but this let me know in what towns it might make sense to at least look for a home stay (I took out a pen and wrote a "W" next to each such city on my maps so I'll remember to check).  In case this would help anyone else, here's my list:

Routes / Re: Best resupply points on TransAmerica Route?
« on: May 27, 2010, 05:54:33 pm »
I must confess a big part of what was driving this for me was nervousness about doing any serious maintenance on my bike while in a town which doesn't have a bike shop: if I'm in the middle of nowhere and (while installing it) manage to mess up the new chain that I've mailed myself, then I've got a bit of a problem on my hands :( Even if this doesn't happen, it's something I'd worry about :(

From there, since bouncing the package along would defeat the purpose of mailing it to myself in a city which has a bike shop, it became important to me to identify package pickup locations with Sunday, Saturday, and late evening hours which the USPS locations would not.

Good job with the zip codes: I honestly had no idea that this is why they were in the ACA maps.

Routes / Best resupply points on TransAmerica Route?
« on: May 24, 2010, 09:11:21 pm »
As part of my TransAmerica Route planning, I put together the following list of cities that seem as if they'd be the best places to plan resupplies (e.g. replacing the chain and/or tires):

Each one is in a city that has multiple bicycle shops, and each represents the largest city which the TransAmerica Route passes through in its state.  The five of them are close to evenly spaced, resulting in a reasonable distance between chain replacements even for riders who are particularly aggressive about chain replacement.

The thing that might be useful to other riders is that on the above page I've also made note of the best place within that city to receive packages: my first choice was FedEx locations which offer the Hold at Location service and which have extended weekend hours, and where that service isn't available,I indicated the exact address you should use to arrange to pick up a package at a U.S. post office via general delivery, along with the address/hours/phone of the post office where your package would be held.

I'm wondering if it might be worth the additional space on the official ACA maps to provide (at least in the case of the largest cities) mailing information like this for those five particular cities: I'm sometimes surprised at how many cyclists don't know about general delivery, or the FedEx Hold at Location service.


The above link is my attempt to identify the best opportunities along the TransAmerica Trail to watch state and federal judicial proceedings within each TransAmerica Trail state.

The idea is that if you're planning a cross-country bicycle ride along the TransAmerica Trail, and are subsequently planning a career in either law or law enforcement, you can use the above list to gain experience during your ride which will allow you to use your cross-country bicycle ride to your advantage in job interviews, law school applications, and your resume.

Oh, and I'd also like to recommend another discovery which has made cycling much more interesting for me: the book Infrastructure: A Field Guide to the Industrial Landscape by Brian Hayes.

It lets you recognize and understand all the working man-made objects you pass by, basically.

I just finished reading all of the Wikipedia pages for all of the towns along the TransAmerica Trail, and updated the web page linked to in my original message with the most unusual attractions and events in many of them.

Two of the whimsical findings include that one town along the route was the inspiration for the TV show South Park, and that many riders are likely to be passing another during the annual "Gathering of the Juggalos."

Out of curiosity, why did you?

While the Wikipedia entries are interesting, they don't look like it will be terribly useful while en route. 

They're not useful en route, but then neither is most of the information about flora, fauna, and history provided in the official Adventure Cycling maps.

If practicality were all we cared about, then we wouldn't ride across the country at all: we'd all just get stationary bikes and work out at home.

The Wikipedia pages are the best way I've found to learn about the nature and eccentricities of each town I pass through.

As part of preparing to ride the TransAmerica Trail this summer, I made a web page with links to the Wikipedia pages for essentially every town along the route (ordered from west to east and starting in Florence).  Towns which begin map sets, and towns which contain bicycle shops (accurate through the most recent map addenda), are each specially flagged.

Anyway, it's posted at for the sake of any other cyclists who might find it useful.

Classifieds / Map Sets FS: TransAmerica, Southern Tier, Atlantic
« on: June 20, 2008, 06:46:41 pm »

This message was edited by RussellB on 8-7-08 @ 9:32 AM

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