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Messages - CoMandy

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I experienced the same challenges on this road section, on Map 122 between point D and the eastern matchline (on Oct 21, 2022). I have skinny tires and had to walk my bicycle in several places due to the severe wash-outs.

I just finished the TransAm, arriving in Yorktown on Friday. This was the most deteriorated stretch of pavement on the entire journey. I shared my concerns about the poor road conditions with the cartography team (probably should have posted here too!) and I know they're investigating alternatives.

The challenges were further complicated by 6 separate dog incidents on this short stretch, starting with a pair of loose Great Danes as I turned at Point D.

Enjoy the last few days/weeks on the TransAm, ERB (looks like you started just behind me)! BTW, the eastern part of Map 127 (east of point F) was one of my favorite parts of the entire TransAm with a beautiful one-lane country road and a canopy of fall-colored leaves, followed by a dedicated trail into Berea. I'm glad I didn't circumvent Kentucky, even though there were a few challenges.

Gear Talk / Re: cooking System
« on: October 29, 2022, 12:38:59 am »
Where did you hear that?  It's usually the type of fuel source that determines whether it's allowed during certain conditions.  Often, wood-fired=bad.  Things like white gas and butane=good. The latter do not produce embers and are more easily controlled.

I was misinformed by hosts at several campgrounds who said "personal stoves" are allowed. The bottom line is the Solo Stove is not a good choice for the TransAm, where the fire danger is often high in the west in particular.

Gear Talk / Re: cooking System
« on: October 26, 2022, 11:20:01 pm »
I'm currently riding the TransAm (Eastbound). It's late in the season and I've had cool weather, so I've definitely wanted hot meals and morning coffee.

I started with my Solo Stove Light. I love this because it's light, I can fly with it, and I don't have to take or buy fuel (though alcohol fuel is an option). The problem was that campgrounds and forest rangers asked me to put it out, even when in a fire pit, due to the high fire hazard especially between Oregon and Colorado. Solo stoves are supposed to be allowed. But I was chastised too many nights. It also takes a good bit of time to gather the wood, tend the flame, wait for sufficient heat, wait for the boil, etc. It was fun the first week. Then as the days grew shorter, I found it a stressful rush to need over an hour to cook dinner and breakfast.

So I mailed that home and am now using a small handheld immersion heater with my Solo Pot 900. It's much faster after a long day on the road. I mostly stay at established campgrounds, city parks, churches, or hostels so I borrow power from a picnic shelter, a bath house, or an RV site. I started selecting simpler meals, mostly things that just require boiling water (still plenty of options). A few times I put it directly in a can of stew. On the rare occasion that I didn't have access to power for the 10 minutes to boil the water, I just ate a room-temperature meal instead. Honestly, I'm pretty tired and ravenously hungry at the end of every day, so even as a foodie, it's not such a big deal if I miss a warm meal occasionally. But if your main plan is primitive camping, that wouldn't work unless you stop and prepare your meal at a convenience store or city park along the route.

The rest of my kitchen kit: a titanium spork, a collapsing silicon bowl with lid/plate, a polypro cup, a pocket knife, and a mini can opener.

I also had a skillet with removable handle. I didn't use it. The solo pot is sufficient. So I mailed that home too (with a bag of fascinating Montana rocks that a kind camping neighbor gifted to me...yikes!).

For cleanup I started carrying a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser. It works to remove grease (always a problem with bullion cubes) & flame char (if you care) on the stainless steel, even with cold water. It drys quickly. They're "squish-able" and lighter weight than a washcloth.

Solo Stove:

Solo Pot:

Immersion Heater:

General Discussion / Re: Getting to Your Starting Point
« on: October 26, 2022, 10:21:00 pm »
For my Eastbound TransAm Trip, I flew to Portland then took a public bus to Tillamook. I shipped my bicycle via Bike Flights to the LBS in Tillamook, OR. I packed all my gear in with the bicycle, with the exception of one pannier with a few essentials that I took as a carry-on for my flight and bus ride. It meant starting from Tillamook instead of Astoria. But that still worked out fine because I could dip my bicycle in the ocean at Pacific City, OR. For the return home (next week!), I live in Washington DC, so from Yorktown I have a friend who will greet me at the finish line, celebrate with me, load me up, and drive me the 3 hours home.

For trips in the northeastern US where Amtrak is available, I pre-position my bicycle and gear at my starting point near an Amtrak (friend or LBS). I drive my car with bicycle rack to my destination at an Amtrak station with long-term parking. Then I take Amtrak one way back to where I prepositioned my bicycle & gear. When I finish the ride, then I drive home. Maybe a little complicated, but it works in areas well-serviced by train and when you're only going a few hundred miles (instead of a few thousand). And it avoids having to lug the bike and gear on the train (an awful experience when I travel solo).

But those are the epic trips that I only do every few years. Mostly I do weekend loops from home (or somewhere I can park a car) so I can spend more time riding than on the logistics.

I have just completed the TransAm Section 11 (Eastbound). All roads are now open through Eastern Kentucky with one exception.

On Map 130, between Yerkes and Point B, a bridge is out on SR 451 at these coordinates:
37.273722, -83.278639'25.4%22N+83%C2%B016'43.1%22W
The road is not marked closed until you've arrived at the washed out bridge. No detour is posted. There are no indicators that repairs are underway or contemplated. You can hike through the ravine on foot (there's a well-worn path now). I might walk an unloaded bicycle through if I had hiking boots with good traction. No way was I walking a loaded bicycle through with cycling cleats or shower shoes.

You can get around this by taking Couchtown Rd., which runs alongside the North Fork Kentucky River between 0.7 miles east of Yerkes and Point B. This replaces the 4.2 mile section with a 4.4 mile route (so adds only 0.2 miles). Here's the Google Maps view:,-83.2915166/37.267802,-83.2456115/@37.2719513,-83.2861281,14z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m2!4m1!3e1

Otherwise, all debris is removed from the roads. The breaks in the road have been patched, some with gravel, and are often marked ahead with a "Caution: Break in Pavement" sign. There were a couple of areas where there's just one lane, but those were mostly temporary for active work that day and just a few hundred feet each, so likely to remain dynamic. There were no significant delays due to these single lane areas. There's some road deterioration, especially along the shoulders, but nothing worse than other neglected rural roads on the route. Unlike some other places on the TransAm with deteriorating roads, I did not need to dismount at any point during Section 11 to get through.

As usual, watch out for the loose dogs. Dozens of dogs. Every day. But I think that's normal in Kentucky, not unique to the floods.

Otherwise, just be prepared for a heavy heart. The area along the route bears the scars of the devastating floods (overturned houses, furniture in treetops, piles of debris, etc.).

SR 140 is closed for a bridge replacement between SR 815 (Guffie) and SR 81 (Glenville), 2.2 miles east of SR 815. The closure is well signed with a detour posted for both EB and WB travel.

Upon the advice of a local, I took a chance and was able to ride through on Oct 21, 2022 (didn't even need to dismount). The new concrete bridge deck is in place, but the surface isn't finished/graded and the guardrails aren't yet in place. It was also late enough in the day that no work crews were on site.

As a bonus, there was no other traffic on this 5 mile stretch.

No guarantees you'll have the same experience or that this is a safe option, but hopefully this can help any other late-season travelers like me still out there on the TransAm.

On map panels 56 & 57, the road from the west edge of Jeffrey City, then extending 9 miles to the west, is very difficult to travel by bicycle (at least with road tires).

The road was open when I came through but was milled in the past week. The grooves are in a pattern similar to an asterisk (parallel, perpendicular, and diagonal to the road). It's like rolling on high-density rumble strips laid down in 4 different directions. Tires get twisted in every direction as they fall into multi-directional grooves. Road markings are missing.

Locals said a new surface will be in place in October, then there will be chip and seal work in the spring.

My hands went numb every mile or so trying to control the bicycle.

It doesn't look like there's an alternate route. Use extreme caution, be prepared for closures, and be mentally ready for a very slow section that may include walking (on a stretch of the route that is already quite remote).

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