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Messages - roblee

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There is flooding at present along the Sabine River right along the Louisiana/Texas border.
Trying to leave Merryville headed West yesterday along US 190 - this route was closed. State Highway 12 West of DeQuincy was also closed.
I understand the situation is expected to get worse rather than better over the next couple of days.

Yesterday I did manage to cross into Texas, but by taking I-10 into Orange County. I understand bicycles are not permitted on Interstates in Louisiana but I did not have a problem on this occasion.

I would suggest avoiding the Merryville area in the coming days as flood rescues and evacuations are taking place at present. The flooding seems to have emanated from a dam upstream so even though the heavy rain has been and gone, there is a delayed impact on this occasion.

Routes / Re: Great Parks North - Canadian Camping
« on: December 18, 2015, 11:54:30 am »
Righto, thought I'd resuscitate this old thread of mine with some feedback from my tour using the Great Parks North route...

Short summary would be - good route. I think the distance fits well into a fortnight's tour (I completed it in 12 days on the bike, plus 1 rest day, and the 12th cycling day I arrived into Missoula for lunchtime).

I flew into Edmonton on 29th August, then on 30th got the VIA Rail across to Jasper. What I hadn't quite accounted for was the fact that this train comes all the way across Canada...don't count on it being on time! I had a 7-hour delay.

I guess I hadn't quite appreciated how far North the route starts. My first night on the bike was camping near the Columbia Icefields. There was snow falling. The next morning was a very cold start!
I had low cloud cover all along the Icefields Parkway so only got slight snatches of views now and then.
In fact for the whole of the first week I had a lot of rain and cold temperatures. The weather only really finally improved the day I did Going-To-The-Sun-Road through Glacier NP. So my final three days were warm and sunny!
Apparently the last week or so of August there were big fires and lots of smoke around this part of Canada!!

To answer the query I originally had when starting this thread - I didn't have any problem finding camping spots. The Nat'l Park sites I used in Canada were not full.
I elected to stay at Kootenay Park Lodge for the third night on the bike - there were no campgrounds in quite the right place. The next night (out of the Parks) I found a wild camping spot as the only campground around, at Fairmont Hot Springs, was really an overpriced RV park.

I basically started out with two days' supplies leaving Jasper. There are opportunities to stock up at Saskatchewan River Crossing and Lake Louise, if needed. But both are overpriced, especially the Crossing!!
From Castle Junction, through Kootenay Park, there's nothing (another reason I decided to stay at the Lodge on this stretch).

I took my rest day in Fernie, about half way I think. There's a good choice of accommodation there. Recommend the Red Tree Lodge - reasonably priced and bike-friendly.
Cranbrook is a sizeable town (you guys would probably call it a city...) not too far off the main route.

The remainder of the route was pretty straightforward. Glacier NP is recommended, and when I was there (the week after Labor Day) was not too busy. Lots of cyclists out on shiny race bikes though!

Compared to my tour the previous year (three weeks on that occasion) on the northern section (through Washington and Oregon) of the Sierra Cascades route, I thought this tour was easier and more straightforward. Generally less need to plan that far ahead logistically (e.g. For food and water). None of the climbs really seemed that bad - definitely on the whole shorter in duration - compared to some of the neverending climbs on the SC...

Hope that helps some considering a tour using Great Parks North!


Routes / Re: Great Parks North - Canadian Camping
« on: February 07, 2015, 03:25:10 am »
Hi guys

This is all top info, thanks so much!

Dates I'm thinking of at the moment are either 22 Aug - 6 Sep or 29 Aug - 13 Sep; looks like this should generally be OK then.

Current vague plan is to arrive Edmonton (by air) on Saturday evening, then VIA Rail to Jasper to arrive Sunday afternoon, then head off Monday - so the camping I'm concerned about would be during the week - thanks Darren for the info that this should be OK.

Pete - that's some pace you're setting, I normally average 60/70 miles a day but then again am carrying ca. 20+ kg rather than 7 kg!!


Routes / Re: Great Parks North - Canadian Camping
« on: February 06, 2015, 03:25:00 pm »
Great info - thanks!
Looks like it'd be best to do some planning ahead for accommodation, at least on the Canadian parks section, then.


Routes / Re: Great Parks North - Canadian Camping
« on: February 06, 2015, 03:04:17 pm »
Hi adventurepdx - thanks for coming back with your thoughts so quickly!

May I ask - did you pre-book the hostels or just turn up and find space? And what time of year are we talking here? I've heard good things about these hostels so they'd certainly be another accommodation option.

Regarding tour length - I agree it may not be some people's 'cup of tea.' I seem to enjoy the journey aspect of a tour - i.e. getting from A to B by pedal power. So I may cover more distance than most, and spend more time in the saddle rather than at points of interest along the route.
My thinking was that last year I managed about 1,050 miles of the Sierra Cascades route over 17 days on the bike - and believe me that was pretty mountainous! So about 750 miles of Great Parks North in, say, 11-12 days on the bike - I'm thinking that should work out about the same pace (can't take as much holiday this year!). But no plans are finalised yet so I may not do the whole route.


Routes / Great Parks North - Canadian Camping
« on: February 06, 2015, 11:06:09 am »
Hi guys

Quick question from across the Pond - completed the Northern half of the Sierra Cascades at the end of last Summer and really enjoyed it.
Looking at trying the Great Parks North this Summer - 2015.

One thing that I can't seem to answer at the moment - the U.S. parks seem (in my limited experience) good in that there are many hiker/biker campsites available. So you're safe turning up at the end of the afternoon and being relatively assured of having a spot to camp.
The Canadian parks don't seem to have the same hiker/biker provision - and the first few nights on the route would be in Jasper/Banff/Kootenay parks. I'm probably looking at hitting the road in peak Summer (July/August) and would prefer to not have to pre-book accommodation. Will I encounter full-to-capacity campgrounds or can the tired cycle tourist still be relatively assured of a camping spot at the end of a day's riding?

Would also appreciate any pointers about the best time of Summer - I'm planning to complete the route in a fortnight, Jasper to Missoula. Would normally plan to go after Labour Day in September but feel this may lead to some worse weather in the Canadian Rockies at the start of the trip?

Thanks for any tips!


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