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Messages - mathieu

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General Discussion / Re: camera choice
« on: October 26, 2023, 06:40:23 pm »
Sorry for bumping. Just curious if you still use those cameras and how many people switched to their phones.
If you still use a camera, which one?
In 2022 and 2023 I had a Sony DSC-RX100-M2, a high-quality compact camera, in the handlebar bag on a cross-country journey, but I didn't use it. The iPhone camera is way more compact and easy to use. It's at hand in a pocket of my cycling jersey.
The picture quality was good enough for the pictures in my daily journal. Transfer of pictures from iPhone to iPad, on which I type and edit the journal, by AirDrop, is also much quicker than removing the SD card from the Sony and inserting it in the iPad SD-card reader.
Next time I will leave the Sony at home. That also saves 200 gram.

I cannot answer that question because I never cycled Chinook Pass. Several years ago I went from Seattle to Enumclaw and Greenwater but took the dirt roads over Naches Pass to Cliffdell. That's a remote dirt route, entirely different from the trail over Snoqualmie Pass which is a very popular one-day return-ride from North Bend on a well-maintained, hard-packed rail-trail. The P2C trail on the east side of Snoqualmie Pass is less-travelled and starts to get more loose the further you get. I guess that you could leave the P2C Trail before Cle Elum, at Easton, but I am not fully sure.

A primary route across the State of Washington is the Palouse to Cascades (PTC) State Park Trail HOWEVER, based on what I've read in many journals, that route is not advised for use by loaded tourers, such as myself, using tires <2" because of the loose gravel.   
The Palouse-to-Cascades Trail is not bad all the way! I recently did large parts of it (see ). The bad parts for non-MTB tires are east of Cle Elum to Ellensburg and especially from Kittitas to the Beverly Bridge over the Columbia River.
The section from North Bend over the Snoqualmie Pass to Cle Elum is a good, low-gradient gravel road that you can do on a touring bike with 1.5" tires. From Cle Elum, follow Hyw-10 to Ellensburg, Hwy-821 to Yakima, US-97 to Prosser and Richland, Hwy-124 to Waitsburg, US-12 to Lewiston and Kooskia.
West of Yakima there are several other options that you can easily figure out by yourself.

Routes / Re: Missoula to Casper-WY
« on: September 01, 2023, 10:48:26 am »
Thanks again. I rode the Rock Creek road yesterday and it was a beautiful ride. Hwy-210 was also fairly quiet and the 5 miles on I-90 went speedily because I think it is slightly downhill. Much recommended.

Routes / Re: Missoula to Casper-WY
« on: August 03, 2023, 05:03:58 pm »
@ BikeliciousBabe
The nice route from Missoula to Philipsburg that you suggested uses a short section, about 5 mi, of US-12 between Clinton and the start of the Rock Creek road. Are cyclists allowed on US-12 ?

Routes / Re: Missoula to Casper-WY
« on: July 31, 2023, 01:38:00 pm »
Hi Jama,
Thanks for your suggestions. Especially where the GART maps have so many blanks, I take it as license for following my preferences. I visited Butte twice on the Great Divide route. It's a nice place to have a rest.
The road from Philipsburg over Garnet ghosttown to Missoula was in my gpx-files last year. Now the Rock Creek route suggested by BikeliciousBabe seems preferable to me.

I found your journal C2C from Westport to Sandy Hook on CrazyGuy. The days in eastern Montana, Wyoming will certainly give me inspiration to further explore option#3 and possibly rethink my route through Nebraska.

Routes / Re: Missoula to Casper-WY
« on: July 31, 2023, 12:26:22 pm »
@ BikeliciousBabe
Thanks! I missed that backcountry road. Last year's plan for that section was to go from Anaconda to Hamilton over the Skalkaho Pass (2211 m). Your route is shorter, more direct and, coming from the west, has less elevation gain. I will seriously consider that. A day of 75 miles might be at my limit, but there is enough time to find that out in advance.

Routes / Re: Idaho to Minnesota Gravel Ride
« on: July 31, 2023, 06:18:35 am »
I wouldn't trust Google to come up with a sensible bike route, but Ride-with-GPS has a large collection of bike routes and shows you which sections are paved or gravel-like.
Just from my own memory : I would go from Boise to Ketchum on the Idaho Hot Springs MTB route, then from Ketchum to Mackay over the Trail Creek Pass, jump over Lost River range to Clyde and somehow get to Lima-MT where you pick up the Great Divide MTB route to West Yellowstone.
Start to play with Ride-with-GPS and in a few hours you'll find a route much to your liking !

Routes / Re: Missoula to Casper-WY
« on: July 29, 2023, 06:34:41 pm »
@ jamawani

John, thanks for commenting, because you are probably the most experienced person on this forum when it comes to cycling the States west of the Mississippi/Missouri. I rode from Washington-DC on the GART route last year but quit in Omaha because of the excessive heat in the Midwest in June. I intend to fly to Seattle medio August and start from there because of the temperature statistics and the prevailing wind directions. Casper is not an endpoint, but a town that links fairly straightforward to the dots on the GART map from Omaha. From Seattle to Missoula I counted about 12 stages, so I may get there in the second week of September.

West of Casper, the GART map is rather sketchy. I had my option #2 prepared for last year as GPS tracks, but feared the long and empty road between Casper en Shoshoni and the large elevation gains between Cody and Cooke City in the Yellowstone Park. Also the roads in Yellowstone were a concern. That's why I came up with options #1 and #3. I have cycled the TransAm in 2009 and know those roads fairly well. East of Butte-MT is new territory for me.

I am not that strong anymore, approaching 75 yrs, so I prefer the comfort of a motel bed, shower and food service instead of camping. That obviously rules out long remote stages. I don't mind dirt roads if they have a good surface. I am very much looking forward to the Hiawatha bike trail between Idaho and Montana, although it is a slight detour.

Sorry for messing up the Interstate Highway system and the US highway system. I hope it is clear which options I described.

Routes / Re: Missoula to Casper-WY
« on: July 29, 2023, 05:07:43 pm »
Thanks for the comment. The map you added looks very much like the TransAm route from Missoula to Muddy Gap, where the TransAm continues south to Rawlins and the blue line goes east to Alcova / Casper. This is my option #1. I cycled the TransAm east to west in 2009, so I know this route quite well. I prefer to explore new areas, but all things considered this might be the best choice.

Yes, I have also heard that some rail-trails in Nebraska are not in good riding condition. I won't stick to them if it becomes tediously slow. The same is true for the John Wayne rail-trail in eastern Washington. I have seen small parts of it when cycling south-north in that state near Cheney. It looked very much like a loose coarse vulcanic sand, which is no fun to ride. Where possible I will skip those trail parts.

I can't resist to make a comment on the Youtube video clip from Roland and Julianne, about the dangerous narrow shoulders in Montana that led them to quit cycling there. Maybe it's my European view, but I think it is mostly their own fault. By sticking right on the narrow shoulder or the white line, you put yourself on an edge. You practically invite cars to pass narrowly without reducing speed or changing their line. On those kind of roads I always take a line about 2 ft left the white line. In that way you force cars coming from behind to change their line, or to slow down if there isn't enough room to pass. You keep the initiative to give way. I believe this is a fair interpretation of sharing the road.
I have done some 7 cross-country routes in the US, totalling more than one year of daily cycling, so this is not a naive theory. It works.   

Routes / Re: GDMBR Northbound Snow on Brazos Ridge, Indiana Pass
« on: July 28, 2023, 01:41:48 pm »
Snow conditions vary from year to year. In 2010 we rode northbound over Brazos/Indiana on June 9-11 with only short residual snow patches on Brazos. You need some luck and prepare detours if conditions are poor.

Routes / Missoula to Casper-WY
« on: July 28, 2023, 01:25:23 pm »
I am planning to ride from Seattle to Omaha following roughly the Great American Rail Trail. From Seattle to Missoula the route is fairly obvious and also from Casper-WY to Omaha-NE. The main puzzle is how to go from Missoula to Casper. Since there is virtually no existing rail trail in Wyoming, I feel free to cross that state in whatever direction that suits me best.
I plan to stay overnight in motels and only carry a tent and sleeping bag for emergencies. My preferred daily distance is 60 miles. I'll use a mountainbike with rear panniers.

From studying the map I see roughly 3 options, each having some major downsides :
(1) Missoula to Jeffrey City on the TransAm;  last stage from Jeffrey City to Casper (100 mi) ;
(2) Missoula to Butte - Bozeman - Gardiner - east on I-14 to Greybull - south on I-20 to Shoshoni ; last stage from Shoshoni to Casper (110 mi ; no services) ;
(3) Missoula to Butte - east on I-90 to Bozeman - Billings - Buffalo ; south on I-25 to Casper ; last stage from Kaycee to Casper (70 mi).
Obviously, I am not sticking to an Interstate if there is a fair country road roughly parallel. I am not afraid to ride on roads with narrow or no shoulders.

I am glad to hear your comments and recommendations on these options.

Routes / Re: Alternative route from Rawlins to Jeffry City WY
« on: July 28, 2023, 12:36:06 pm »
I rode the Crooks Gap road from Jeffrey City to Rawlins in 2012, see .
Half of it is dirt road, but not a bad surface if you have wide tires. Most of it is part of the old Great Divide MTB route between Atlantic City and Rawlins , so in-season you will probably meet several GD riders. You definitely need a good navigation device because there are several side roads where direction markers are missing.
In my book the route between Jeffrey City and Rawlins over Crook Gaps was 84 mi, so not shorter than the paved road. Its main attraction is the remote Great Divide Basin.

General Discussion / Re: Your best single piece of advice
« on: February 26, 2023, 06:00:47 pm »
If you don’t have one already, add a stand to your bike. You will appreciate the comfort many times each day.

For the TransAm, I recommend to carry a Dazer (an ultrasound emitting dog deterrent) for the stages in eastern Kentucky. Some people say that dazers don't work, but in my experience they are very effective. Moreover, having a dazer at arms reach boosts your confidence, which is a good thing because dogs seem to smell fear. A dazer could well dispel raccoons and other critters too. Their audible range is more extended than that of humans. According to a study done by National Wildlife Research Center and the United States Department of Agriculture in 1995, the effects of ultrasonic repellents tend to wear off a few days after exposure as the pests get accustomed to the noise. But as a passer-by, you are mainly interested in the first effect and less in a possible wear off.

Theft is rare, but a Dutch compatriot who cycled the TransAm east-west a week ahead of me had his bike stolen in Florence (Oregon) on the last-but-one stage. The bike is probably your most valuable posession on the route, so try always to keep an eye on it or park it in a very prominent place. Sometimes you have go shopping. In Walmarts I usually look for a person who is collecting the shopping carts. If you give him/her a tip and promise to be back within a hour, he/she might show you a safe corner to park the bike. 

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