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Messages - Wirelizard

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Thanks for the detail, Julie, much appreciated, especially the location of good brewpubs!

I've just tripped over this really detailed PDF guide to biking the Columbia Gorge, with information on both the Washington & Oregon sides of the river: Not sure of the date of publication (can't find a date on the thing anywhere) but it's nice to have stuff from both sides of the river and detail like shoulder width and such.

Pacific Northwest / Re: Parking in Vancouver
« on: March 03, 2015, 11:54:11 pm »
There's various long term parking options out near Vancouver International Airport (YVR) that you could investigate. No idea of the cost, it's not something I've ever investigated.

Pacific Northwest / Re: Anyone ridden the John Wayne Pioneer Trail in WA?
« on: December 27, 2014, 01:55:56 am »

Overall, your route looks decent, though I'm not familiar with the North Bend to Biggs section. One change I would recommend is in the Columbia Gorge. I'd get over to the Oregon side at The Dalles. While this means about 10 miles of freeway riding, you'd get the Historic Columbia River Hwy between Hood River and The Dalles. The Rowena Loops are not to be missed!

We'd already planned on doing the whole Columbia Gorge on the Oregon side, actually, I just didn't bother to correct that portion of the Google Maps' automatic routefinding.

That sounds like a fun trip!

I live in Yakima and have ridden most of the roads on your proposed route from Cle Elum to Wapato as well as most of the John Wayne Trail from the west end to Cle Elum.

If you need any place to camp or stay in Yakima let me know.  I live off a bike path about 6 miles west of your route as it passes through.

Thanks, we'll keep that in mind as we get properly into planning in the New Year! Lake Easton SP (west of Cle Elum) to Yakima is about 120-130km, a reasonable days' haul, so we might take you up on your offer of hospitality in Yakima for a night.

Pacific Northwest / Re: Anyone ridden the John Wayne Pioneer Trail in WA?
« on: December 10, 2014, 03:27:49 am »
Just to revive this old thread of mine, my brother and I are still batting around ideas for next summer's adventure, and once I realized you could take bikes onto the Victoria Clipper passenger ferry between Victoria and Seattle for an extra $20 USD/bike, the idea of skipping the entire Anacortes-Seattle section and basically starting in downtown Seattle became a thing.

As did turning it into a loop tour starting with the Clipper and ending with the Coho ferry back to Victoria from Port Angeles - with the option of using Amtrak back to Vancouver (BC, not WA...) to shorten the whole thing.

Link to a Google Maps overview of this route - basically it's Seattle-Ellensburg-Yakima-Columbia River Gorge-Portland-Centralia-Tacoma-Bremerton-Port Angeles, 980km nominally. Two-and-a-half to three weeks, including a couple of days drinking beer in Portland.

Ending in Portland and letting Amtrak do most of the work of getting us home takes the bike portion down to 548km nominal.

International / Re: Randonnée Vienne-Nantes - May-July 2014
« on: May 17, 2014, 09:26:27 pm »
WOW!! You have been busy !  I love the maps you sent. How does one get to the place on the map so that one can move it left/right/up/down as on map quest  ?

On Google Maps, just click anywhere on the map that isn't a route line and click and drag to move the map around. Zoom is the plus/minus buttons or just the mouse wheel - scroll up to zoom in, scroll down to zoom out.

I'm going to do a full test pack after dinner this evening, I just bought one of the ultralight sil-nylon duffels I mentioned over on this thread and want to try out various configurations of that and possibly using of of my Ortlieb panniers as a carryon. I might (very big if!) be able to squash everything down and distribute it such that I have one carryon, the bike box with a few things tucked alongside the bike (one of the empty Ortliebs + helmet, tucked into the frame, maybe) and a small side bag as my personal item. Given that that would save me $200, I'm going to try hard to make that happen...

General Discussion / Re: Panniers as Checked Luggage
« on: May 17, 2014, 05:10:52 pm »
What I'm planning on doing is getting a very large stuff sack - 60 litres or so - and putting both panniers and probably helmet in together back to back and rolling the top of the big stuff sack down tight. I'll probably put a webbing strap around both panniers to hold them together so the whole thing doesn't become an unwieldy floppy mess and get destroyed by a luggage monkey.

Mountain Equipment Co-op here in Canada makes a "pack liner" stuff sack that should fit everything and will pack down into the bottom of one pannier during the trip. I'm going to get both panniers - Ortlieb Classic rolltops - up to roughly their fully loaded state for the Europe trip and then go into the local MEC with them early next week to check that the idea works; I don't see why it wouldn't.

The other option I'm considering is one of those ultralight duffel bags of silicon-impregnated nylon, but the largest one I can find is 40 L and I'm not sure that will hold a pair of fully loaded 20-25 L Ortlieb panniers. They do pack down to a little bundle about half the size of your fist, though. Going to try one of those out as well this coming week.

International / Re: Randonnée Vienne-Nantes - May-July 2014
« on: May 17, 2014, 04:49:38 pm »
After we get to Nantes on the 14th of July I don't fly home (from Paris) until the 20th, so I'm planning on spending a couple of days biking in the Nantes area, probably including riding down the Loire to Saint-Nazaire at the Atlantic coast, mostly so I can say I've ridden the entire width of France from the Swiss border to the Atlantic! (it's about 65km or so down to Saint-Nazaire)

I've also sat down with Google Maps and laid out the whole route in four sections; I posted this to the new mailing list for the ride a day or two ago but I'll repost it here too. I wound up having to use four maps due to the limits on the number of waypoints you can specify on a single Google Map.

Vienna to Passau: (Austria to the German border)

Passau to the Bodensee: (across Bavaria to the Swiss border)

Bodensee to Digion, FR: (Switzerland to the Loire River)

Digion to Nantes: (down the Loire)

The route might not be entirely accurate, but the towns (each white dot) are correct. Note that I did NOT use the hostel/accommodation address provided in the route book for each town's dot, I just picked an arbitrary point in the rough centre of each town, except in Vienna, where the starting dot is at roughly the right location for the hostel there. Rough location is good enough for basic route familiarization and for sharing with friends and family who are wondering about our route.

Just for the sake of a complete set of maps, here's Vienna-Schwechat Airport (Vienna Int'l) to the hostel in Vienna, for those of us arriving by air with bikes. Looks like a nice ride along the Danube for the most part, and a dedicated bike route off the airport property.

The only downside I've just learned about is that it's not $50 Cdn to bring the bike on Air Canada, it's effectively $150 because the cheap sods only give you one free piece of baggage on an international flight these days, $100 for the second plus $50 for a bike. Oh, and they also forbid stuffing the bike box with personal luggage, and with two panniers + helmet there's no way to avoid having two pieces of checked baggage. Sodding airlines. So there's that, but the bike has a spot reserved for it both outbound and inbound now.
Looking forward to being in Vienna in ten days!

We've been thinking of this as about a week on the road, a couple of days in Portland hanging out drinking local beer, then the train back to Vancouver BC and home to Victoria on the ferry - the Cascades train up from Portland apparently allows bikes as as luggage, intact, instead of just in boxes as cargo, which is useful.

We'd have to extent the trip at least a couple of days to include the Mountain Loop Hwy, but that would be an interesting detour.

Going by the campsites I found, one possible itinerary (not including a Mountain Loop Hwy detour) would be:
Day One - Victoria-ferry-Anacortes/Bay View SP 60km (+ferry time)
Day Two - Anacortes/Bay View SP-Tolt-MacDonald Park and Campground - 135km (!)
Day Three - Tolt-MacDonald Park and Campground - Lake Easton SP 99km
Day Four - Lake Easton - Yakima 128km
Day Five - Yakima - Brooks Memorial SP 92km
Day Six - Brooks Memorial SP - Starvation Creek SP - 121km
Day Seven - Starvation Creek SP - Portland - ~93km

This makes Day Two the longest day, although all of Day Three is one continual climb until just before Lake Easton SP. Day One is shorter than it needs to be, but there's a long gap between campsites between the area right around Anacortes down to the four campgrounds Snohomish County runs near Arlington - 50-70km, which given the ferry only gets to Anacortes from the Canadian side around 1500 puts you awfully late to be getting a site at one of them, although the county does take reservations.

The distance between Anacortes and Snoqualmie Pass/Lake Easton SP is just long enough, and the spacing between known campsites awkward enough, that you're going to have one long tough 120km+ day, or you have to add an extra day and have four shorter, easier days. Tradeoffs...

Day Four could be extended to hit the Columbia and stay at Maryhill SP, but that makes it about 135km on roads with no shade or shelter from the elements and a fairly stiff climb up and over. Breaking it at Brooks Memorial SP makes Day Five longer but more of it is along the Columbia and on more sheltered roads. I haven't been to eastern/central Washington in years, I'd forgotten until I started looking at Google Maps Streetview just how barren that area can be!

Thanks for the Mountain Loop idea - if you want to put more information on that here, please do. Even if we wind up not using it, it could well be useful to someone else!

Just to add a couple of potentially useful links to this thread, as a resource for anyone considering a similar route...

Snohomish County (immediately north of Seattle) runs a number of campgrounds, several of which seem to be reasonably accessible to touring cyclists.

King County (which also contains Seattle) operates just one campground, but it's also in a reasonable location for the route we're considering down from Anacortes area.

Heading eastward, I'm not even sure Kittitas County has a Parks/Rec Deptartment; their website is terrible:

I haven't looked up the other counties east and toward the Columbia yet - that's for another evening.

Washington State Parks have an awesome website - - and a couple of relevant parks, notable Lake Easton and the small campgrounds just west of Snoqualmie Pass in Iron Horse State Park proper.

Trying to piece together reasonable day lengths and existing campgrounds is kind of challenging, especially as the ferry from the Victoria, BC, Canada side is 30km north of Victoria proper and only runs once a day most of the time, around noon, and gets into Anacortes around 3pm. That makes the first day challenging, in terms of getting anywhere. Staying near Anacortes seems like a good plan - Bay View or Deception Pass State Parks, maybe.

That would mean a long day on the 2nd day down past Everett to either the King County park or even up into Iron Horse State Park up the Pass. Still trying to figure out stages and options after that.

I've discovered that Google Maps is terrible at telling you where campsites are...

Gear Talk / Re: Handlebar bag alternative
« on: March 31, 2014, 04:19:09 am »
RandomGuy beat me to recommending the Toppeak Fuel Tank. My bike is primarily a daily commuter, so I installed "cheater" brakes on the inside of the drop bars when I bought it - no fun playing in traffic with brakes only accessible from two of your three main hand positions!

This means I have no room to mount most handlebar bags, so the Fuel Tank on the top bar just behind the handlebar stem makes sense.

I've only used it a couple of times, but one of those was in torrential West Coast (Wet Coast...) rain for over an hour and everything inside (including phone and compact camera) stayed perfectly dry, so +1 to the Fuel Tank for that - I was a bit concerned about the top-mounted zipper, but it was solid.

International / Re: Flying into Paris
« on: March 15, 2014, 03:23:23 am »
The Cars Air France buses are like Greyhound buses in the US: huge luggage compartment.

Here's the site:

P.S.: In French a "car" is a bus, thus the name.

Thanks, I'll look into them for the last leg from Paris out to CDG when the time comes!

I'm used to "l'autobus" for bus, but that's my shaky junior high French talking.

International / Re: Flying into Paris
« on: March 15, 2014, 02:48:50 am »
This Cars Air Bus has enough luggage space for a boxed bike, then?

Asking because I'm flying out of Paris/de Gaulle in the third week of July and the logistics of getting the bike out to the airport has been in the back of my mind!

Gear Talk / Re: Tent - One Person and Freestanding?
« on: March 03, 2014, 08:03:07 pm »
MSR's Hubba Hubba 2-person lightweight tent was just re-released as the Hubba Hubba NX. Similar to the Big Anges Jackrabbit SL2, slightly lighter but slightly more expensive.

I haven't had the chance to actually use it yet, except for a test setup in the basement, but I did carry it home from the store on my bike and you can't beat the packed size and weight. The stuff sack it comes with has compression straps built right in, too, so especially if you take the poles out to carry elsewhere (strapped to your bike's top tube or elsewhere on the frame or rack, perhaps) the tent, fly and groundsheet can be compressed down to an impressively small volume. The Jackrabbit has a more conventional stuff sack, so the extra expense of a third-party compression sack pretty much covers the price difference between the two tents.

As a bonus, MSR's footprints (groundsheets) are about half the price of their BA equivalent.

I'll also add to the "go with N+1" when purchasing a tent; even the two-person jobs like the NX or Jackrabbit really aren't that big, especially if you have gear you want to store under cover as well.

International / Re: Randonnée Vienne-Nantes - May-July 2014
« on: March 02, 2014, 02:57:26 am »
I sent my deposit off to AF3V a couple weeks ago, got an email from them three or four days later saying they'd gotten it.

I'll chuck the rest of the money at them later in March or April, right now I want to get my airfare booked and paid for first. I ran into an old friend I hadn't seen for ages and it turns out he works for Air Canada as a gate agent, and he mentioned being able to swing me a discount code for AC - who are already my cheapest option to get from BC to Europe! Even better, AC is only $50 Cdn for a bike as baggage, and Victoria-Toronto-Frankfurt-Vienna/Paris-Toronto-Victoria is the sanest routing I've found that doesn't go through the US - nobody flies direct from Canada to Vienna for anything less than stupid $$$, it seems, and I won't fly through the States if I can possibly avoid it... your TSA is best avoided.

Also officially told work I'd be off for seven weeks; the response there was "We'll look forward to seeing the postcards!", which is good!


International / Re: Randonnée Vienne-Nantes - May-July 2014
« on: February 03, 2014, 02:50:34 pm »
I just got an email from Marc saying I've had a place reserved for me in the ride!

Now to start seriously figuring out plane tickets and such... there are worse problems to have.

Seriously excited to be in Vienna at the end of May!  :)

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