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Messages - EmilyG

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1
Routes / Re: Northern Tier through Montana
« on: April 21, 2021, 09:42:11 pm »

I did the entire NT back in '99. In '06 or '07 I went back for CANDISC, which was a supported, one-week loop tour from/to Garrison. Really liked riding in the state for the reasons you mention. And there sure was wind. One memorable day in '99 we had a strong tail wind heading towards Page except when we had to turn right a couple of time. When that happened, we had to lean sideways to stay upright.

During CANDISC we left the lunch stop town one day and had 18 gently rolling miles until the next rest stop. During that stretch there was a woman with her daughter parked by the side of the road with water and Gatorade for riders. I and my friend pulled up and asked how far until the next stop. She told us 9 miles. I couldn't believe we had only come 9 miles since lunch. "I feel like we've been riding for an hour." I said. My firend looked at her watch and said "We have been riding for an hour." Remember that we were riding road bikes wth no gear. Going down one gentle descent I was in a tuck but only able to hit 12 mph coasting due to a massive headwind.
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So glad someone else enjoyed ND, wind and all!  In North Dakota we decided that one day, when we are retired and don't have anywhere we need to be, we want to plunk ourselves down in the middle of somewhere, and proceed with a "tailwind tour."  Each morning, we wake up, and find out what direction the wind is blowing towards, and then we'd ride in that direction.  See where the wind takes us.  maybe we'd go back and forth across a state, or maybe we'd eventually go everywhere. 

2
Routes / Re: Weiser River Trail
« on: April 20, 2021, 10:03:40 pm »
It is worth checking out the info and reviews on AllTrails and Traillink to see what other users have said and compare to your comfort level.  Goatheads take out many a tire on that trail.   We ride on Schwalbe Marathon tires (the 1.4 or 35c) and had zero flats in over 8,000 miles before we replaced them because they were worn out, in case you are looking for new tires.  :)

After watching the videos posted on the Weiser River Trail page, and reading reviews, we decided not to risk the section from Cambridge through the river canyon and back to 95.  Too isolated, and if we got into trouble, it was a long hike back or out.   Would love to go back someday with mountain bikes to ride the whole thing..

The trail goes along 95 from just south of Council, all the way to New Meadows, and that is the section we got to see and try out, which was not doable for us with our loaded touring bikes. But you could hop on or off easily due to close proximity to 95.  Keep in mind the trail was specifically developed for horses and mountain bikers and the terrain is very variable if not downright unpredictable. 

Enjoy Idaho, and be sure to stop in Council, which had a beautiful little park in town with a huge cannon, and excellent public restrooms.

3
Routes / Re: Weiser River Trail
« on: April 14, 2021, 08:36:54 pm »
We checked out the Weiser River Trail in summer 2018. It was not useable with our touring bikes on 28 x 1.4 tires.   Loose rock, big gravel, just not passable w/out wide gravel tires.
That said, the route from Cambridge to New Meadows wasn't too bad, in our experience.  It was a road with a lot of logging truck traffic until Tamarack, where the lumber mill is located.  So it was exhausting due to the constant monitoring of the road.  But pretty good visibility.    Limited water from Council to Pine Ridge (the Huckleberry Store in Pine Ridge is a great stop).  The campgrounds in that stretch were dry in 2018.
Hope that helps.

4
Routes / Re: Northern Tier through Montana
« on: April 14, 2021, 09:19:24 am »
Sounds like a grand adventure!
Yes, we followed the ACA route through ND, with a slight detour on the eastern border. We wanted to go through the Sheyenne National Grasslands, and jigged South to do that, and navigated our way through small towns of Colfax and Abercrombie and back to the route in MN at Fergus Falls.

ND was one of our favorite states for the incredibly kind/polite drivers, the tiny towns with incredibly kind/polite people, and the pristine prairie potholes with more waterfowl than you can imagine.   Lots of wind (In ND, the question isn't "will there be wind today" but "which way is the wind howling from today?).  There was just something about it that was truly wonderful.  I read a lot of stories about how people skip over ND, or think it is the worst state ever.   For us, it was truly special. Now, truthfully, part of that had to do with how difficult our journey across MT was!

If you want to read about our trip, from west to east, just to see the terrain and what it was like, this is our travel journal:  http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/bend2boston

5
Connecting ACA Routes / Re: Crescent City, CA to Sierra Cascades Route
« on: April 14, 2021, 01:58:57 am »
This is a tough question, because the roads west-east in this area are either super rural with few services, or major roads with high traffic volume, especially in the summer. I'm originally from northern California.  I would not want to ride from Crescent City to Grants Pass, but mostly due to the section from Crescent City to Collier Tunnel.  LOTS of RV traffic and big trucks, with very little to negative shoulder on curvy roads wrapping around giant trees.    But if your tolerance for traffic is high, it is gorgeous.      96 is beautiful, VERY rural, so you'd want to check services and plan accordingly.  Does the route you are taking go from O'Brien to Happy Camp on Grayback Rd?  Or where do you drop onto 96?    If it is to Happy Camp, that section is beyond rural, so plan accordingly. You won't run into much traffic.  Lots of no cell service areas out there.

We are doing a loop this summer, combining Sierra Cascade and Pacific Coast, too, July and August.     Bend, OR north to Sedro-Woolley, then South on Pacific Coast to SF, then east to Truckee and back North on the Sierra Cascades. So maybe we'll cross paths!

-Emily
P.S., If you are flexible in direction, I recommend doing the coast section from north to south, due to prevailing winds on the coast.   So north on Sierra Cascades and south on Pacific Coast.....

6
General Discussion / Re: Advice for Newbies about the Weather.
« on: April 14, 2021, 01:41:32 am »
We have a Big Agnes Fly Creek 3 person tent (for 2 people). Worked great on our W-E Northern tier route.    I remember well one night in Fort Benton, MT, where the wind blew so strong that the tent pretty much squashed sideways many times. It was completely unharmed afterward.  Weathered many rain storms and wind storms.  The mosquitoes loved to hang out between the tent and fly, waiting for us to come out.....   

And thanks for the reminders about weather.  It pays to watch the weather reports, and believe them.  No matter what the current weather outside may be.  We are vulnerable out there.

7
Routes / Re: Northern Tier through Montana
« on: April 14, 2021, 01:32:28 am »
Wanted to share that in ND, many if not most small towns have city parks that you can often camp in for free. Always good to check in with the police department, or at the local diner to find out protocols. Many of the tiny towns also have swimming pools, so paying to swim gets you a shower!  Small towns in Montana also often have places you can camp, if you eat in a local establishment and talk to folks, you'll find them.     Looking at it from East to West, our lodging was:   Free city park in Glendive, RV park in Circle, Free city park in Jordan, Free park in Winnett (no bathroom after pool closed), Warmshowers in Lewistown, free park in Geraldine, campground in Fort Benton, and RV park in Great Falls. 

There are two rest areas on the route through MT, both with world-class, amazing facilities, that people have reported camping at (overnight parking is allowed). One in Mosby, and one between Circle and Brockaway, called the Flowing Wells Rest Area.   We stopped at both but didn't camp.  Best water in Montana at the rest stops!

We rode the route from West to East in 2018, so not sure how relevant our experience is.  Did the Lewis & Clark section from Lolo Pass to Missoula and around to Great Falls through Augusta, so that section isn't relevant to you, but then we went from Great Falls to Fort Benton, through Geraldine and down to Lewistown (still on L&C route). This was one of our favorite bits in Montana.  From Lewistown, we were on the Northern Tier.  Sweet little town park in Geraldine where we stayed for free.  Be prepared that MT-200 has some rough spots where the road has so many frost cracks that you feel like you are riding on a railroad track.   It is numbing.      I echo other posts talking about the long sections between services on 200, especially from Lewistown to Glendive, and I worry about some of the tiny places, after the pandemic year--did they survive?.  Additionally, we hit numerous severe thunderstorms during our crossing of Montana.  I ended up making a list of ALL service stops across MT, and we would hop from one to the next, check the weather, and act accordingly.  After getting caught in one especially bad lightening storm, we adopted the mantra "check the weather and believe it."   People drive fast (we joked that the 70 mph meant that was the LOWER speed limit...), but are super friendly. 

8
Routes / 2 weeks in south-western British Columbia?
« on: April 13, 2021, 06:52:22 pm »
We just acquired the gift of two more weeks to add to our epic tour this summer, our Sierra Cascades (SC)/Pacific Coast (PC) route extravaganza (a giant loop from Bend, OR north to Sedro-Woolley, then over to Anacortes and south on the Pacific Coast route to SF, then back to Sierra Cascades route in Truckee and back north  to Bend).

We are not interested in doing the southern portions of either the PC or the SC routes this summer for a variety of reasons. We'll do that loop another time. But we are interested in going into Canada for a bit, and trying to figure out an interesting route. We know nothing about BC or Canada, not even sure if bicycle tourists would be allowed across boarder with the pandemic. We are both fully vaccinated though....  This portion of our ride would be in July.

So if you had two weeks, departing Sedro-Woolley and returning to Anacortes, what would you do?

9
General Discussion / Re: Rain Jacket? Yes. Rain pants?
« on: March 20, 2021, 04:24:00 pm »
Once I get chilled, it is difficult to get warmed up again, especially my legs. So I take and wear rain pants. I found these Illuminite Intrepid Commuter Pants.  What I appreciate is they have a mesh liner, which keeps them from sticking to your legs, they have zippers on the bottoms so you can take off/put on over shoes, and they are roomy and fit over whatever you are wearing at the time.    I use them to sit on when it is damp/wet, and to keep warm in camp when it is wet.  They are black, but covered with Illuminite reflectiveness.  When I wear these, I do not get wet, do not get chilled. Great wind-blocker pants, too.  https://illuminite.com/products/illuminite-mens-reflective-intrepid-waterproof-commuter-pant-black

10
General Discussion / Re: Virtual Tours?
« on: July 27, 2020, 12:30:49 am »
Maybe I didn't make myself clear. I am actually riding my bike, outside, in the weather and on the roads.  I do day rides here in Central Oregon. Pack up my food and water and ride. Go to see the amazing beautiful things in this area, wave at other cyclists on the road, watch how the snow slowly melts from the Cascades day by day.   Scout out great places to do overnights in when we can.   

11
General Discussion / Re: Virtual Tours?
« on: July 26, 2020, 05:38:23 pm »
For me, the point was to have a goal and ride towards it, so I could end the summer feeling better than I started.   it's been super fun to re-live my ride of 2 years ago, look at and share photos again, while getting to know the backroads of my community really well.
But I get that it isn't for everyone.    I think if I hadn't had the goal of riding 4,144 miles this summer, I may not have done much riding.

12
General Discussion / Re: Lube when long distance touring
« on: July 14, 2020, 11:55:36 am »
You are absolutely correct.    Can't let it sit on there. I think some of the directions just assume you are home with your tools and resources!  I was told if you wipe and scrub it off so you can't see any residue, you've done a good job. The lube needs to be in the tiny link, not on the outer edges.   I rub the chain as I turn the crank backwards, until very little came off on the rag.    At any rate, it seemed to work, our chains lasted over 4,000 miles before they needed to be replaced, and rest of drive train still going strong. 

13
General Discussion / Re: Lube when long distance touring
« on: July 14, 2020, 11:08:21 am »
I've never counted the drops. I just run a thin stream, try to get the whole chain, and then rub and scrub to distribute and clean as I turn the crank.  I always figured it didn't pay to be stingy on the lube because the drivechain is so important.

14
General Discussion / Re: Lube when long distance touring
« on: July 13, 2020, 04:53:01 pm »
Yes, just the lube and rag.    If you do it regularly, things don't build up to the point where you need solvent.   

We went all the way across country using rags. We started with a few, and then just found them along the way.  In the town of Glendive, MT, a youth thrift store owner gave us a towel that we cut up.  Light enough that we just stuffed it down at the bottom of a pannier until needed.  The towels, with the texture, allow you to scrub the road grime away easier, I think. 

15
General Discussion / Re: Lube when long distance touring
« on: July 13, 2020, 02:21:44 pm »
We just kept the lube and a rag in a ziplock baggie.   Every few days, we start the morning with cleaning/lubing our chains.   Drip it on, turn the crank, scrub and rub.   When the rag became thoroughly black, we'd toss it and put in a new one. We would keep our eyes out on the road, and when we saw a potential new rag, I'd stop and hang it off my bag until we could wash it if needed. Will never forget the brand new white towel on the side of the road in the Adirondacks!  . 
Can't recommend a particular lube because we used whatever we could find in whatever bike store we came across...

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