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Topics - Westinghouse

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General Discussion / Great American rail trail
« on: July 03, 2020, 05:40:24 am »
Great American rail trail. In all these years I do not remember seeing anything on this forum about the great American rail trail. It is about 3700 miles from Washington DC to the coast of Washington state. About 2000 miles are already completely paved or exist as hard packed earth good for cycling and completely 100% off the road. That makes it the safest possible route for cycling across the United States. There is an online interactive map for it that costs no money at all. It means no pollution in your face most of the time, no noise from vehicles, and a greatly reduced chance of collision. It seems to me there should be more interest.

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There are three roads crossing north Florida going east to west. Which one is best for you to bike depends on the kind of touring you do. The most popular route is highway 90. It runs from Jacksonville, FL to Van Horn, TX.  If you need designated camp grounds, motels, and you want to visit sites of cultural and historic interest, 90 is your road. One thing about 90 is it can get very hilly. Some hills are quite long and might present a difficult to insurmountable challenge to inexperienced cyclists starting out from Jacksonville. You could also encounter heavy traffic.

Farther south is highway 20. This road is clean. It has side lanes. It is rolling, but it does not have the long steep hills found on 90. It is an easier ride, faster and safer. On my three crossings using 20, I do not remember seeing a camp ground or any sign of one. There is a motel here and there. If you stealth camp, and are looking just to cross the state, 20 is the way to go.

Farther south, following the contour of the shore line on the gulf of Mexico, is highway 98. I used it twice. It is nearly level with small rises here and there. It has many restaurants and motels. It is not a good place to live during a hurricane, but that is a different matter. Certainly there are places of interest. Be all that as it may, there are two reasons I know for avoiding this route. Both times I used it I fought a stiff side wind, south to north, coming in from the gulf. Because it follows the shore line, it adds 60 miles. For many that is a full day of cycling. Add side wind to 60 extra miles, and you question using this road for bicycling, unless you have to.  So, there you are.
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Routes / Three roads across Florida on the southern tier.
« on: March 11, 2020, 08:01:00 pm »
There are three roads crossing north Florida going east to west. Which one is best for you to bike depends on the kind of touring you do. The most popular route is highway 90. It runs from Jacksonville, FL to Van Horn, TX.  If you need designated camp grounds, motels, and you want to visit sites of cultural and historic interest, 90 is your road. One thing about 90 is it can get very hilly. Some hills are quite long and might present a difficult to insurmountable challenge to inexperienced cyclists starting out from Jacksonville. You could also encounter heavy traffic.

Farther south is highway 20. This road is clean. It has side lanes. It is rolling. It does not have the long steep hills found on 90. It is an easier ride, faster and safer. On my three crossings using 20, I do not remember seeing a camp ground or any sign of one. There is a motel here and there. If you stealth camp, and are looking just to cross the state, 20 is the way to go.

Farther south, following the contour of the shore line on the gulf of Mexico, is highway 98. I used it twice. It is nearly level with small rises here and there. It has many restaurants and motels. It is not a good place to live during a hurricane, but that is a different matter. Certainly there are places of interest. Be all that as it may, there are two reasons I know for avoiding this route. Both times I used it I fought a stiff side wind, south to north, coming in from the gulf. Because it follows the shore line, it adds 60 miles. For many that is a full day of cycling. Add side wind to 60 extra miles, and you question using this road for bicycling, unless you have to.  So, there you are.

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General Discussion / Need information on Continental Gatorskin.
« on: March 10, 2020, 05:39:32 pm »
I have here a set of Continental Gatorskin dura skin bicycle tires, 700 by 28. I plan to use them for a long distance, loaded tour. In the past I used Schwalbe Marathons to great satisfaction. If there is a better touring tire, what could it be? I bought Schwalbe new only to find they will not fit the bicycle frame. They expand too far and rub on the frame. I will not buy 26 inch wheels, so here I am with the considerably lighter thinner Continentals. Can anyone give me a good idea of what kind of distance these tire will go before needing to be replaced? Is there anyone who has toured on a loaded bicycle with these tires? I read some entries on a forum, but the numbers varied so much it baffled me. One said 200 miles and I know they are much better than that. Another said 10,000 kilometers, , and I think we all know better than that. If you have seriously toured on Continental Gatorskins, what can I expect for mileage?

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General Discussion / The famous bicycle
« on: February 17, 2020, 07:29:19 pm »
" Bicycles have a way of turning a trip into an adventure"

"Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow-mindedness" - Mark Twain

"A bicycle traveler is well aware that it is nigh on impossible to pedal into a public place with 40 or 50 pounds of gear balanced on a non motorized vehicle, without several people approaching and asking, "Where are you from?"

 I feel that I am entitled to my share of lightheartedness and there is nothing wrong with enjoying one's self simply, like a boy. ~ Leo Tolstoy In response to criticism for learning to ride a bicycle at age 67

The bicycle is a curious vehicle. Its passenger is its engine. ~John Howard

If constellations had been named in the 20th century, I suppose we would see bicycles. ~ Prof. Carl Sagan

When man invented the bicycle he reached the peak of his attainments. Here was a machine of precision and balance for the convenience of man. And (unlike subsequent inventions for man's convenience) the more he used it, the fitter his body became. Here, for once, was a product of man's brain that was entirely beneficial to those who used it, and of no harm or irritation to others. Progress should have stopped when man invented the bicycle. ~ Elizabeth West

It never gets easier, you just go faster. ~

Newspapers are unable, seemingly to discriminate between a bicycle accident and the collapse of civilization. ~ George Bernard Shaw

Life is like a ten speed bicycle. Most of us have gears we never use. ~ Charles M. Schulz

It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle. ~ Ernest Hemingway

The journey of life is like a man riding a bicycle. We know he got on the bicycle and started to move. We know that at some point he will stop and get off. We know that if he stops moving and does not get off he will fall off. ~ William G. Golding (English Novelist and Poet. Nobel Prize in Literature, 1983.)

Whenever I see an adult on a bicycle, I have hope for the human race. ~ H.G. Wells

I thought of that while riding my bicycle. ~ Albert Einstein on the theory of relativity

Nothing compares to the simple pleasure of riding a bike. ~ John F. Kennedy

As a kid I had a dream - I wanted to own my own bicycle. When I got he bike I must have been the happiest boy in Liverpool, maybe the world. I lived for that bike. Most kids left their bike in the backyard at night. Not me. I insisted on taking mine indoors and the first night I even kept it in my bed. ~ John Lennon

The bicycle has done more for the emancipation of women than anything else in the world. ~ Susan B. Anthony 1896

Let me tell you what I think of bicycling. I think it has done more to emancipate women than anything else in the world. It gives women a feeling of freedom and self-reliance. I stand and rejoice every time I see a woman ride by on a wheel...the picture of free, untrammelled womanhood. ~ Susan B. Anthony 1896

When the spirits are low, when the day appears dark, when work becomes monotonous, when hope hardly seems worth having, just mount a bicycle and go out for a spin down the road, without thought on anything but the ride you are taking. ~ Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

If you worried about falling off the bike, you'd never get on. ~ Lance Armstrong

Chasing records doesn't keep me on my bike. Happiness does. ~ Lance Armstrong after his third Tour de France victory

Let a man find himself, in distinction from others, on top of two wheels with a chain -- at least in a poor country like Russia -- and his vanity begins to swell out like his tires. ~ Leon Trotsky

Next to a leisurely walk I enjoy a spin on my tandem bicycle. It is splendid to feel the wind blowing in my face and the springy motion of my iron steed. The rapid rush through the air gives me a delicious sense of strength and buoyancy, and the exercise makes my pulse dance and my heart sing. ~ Helen Keller

Bicycling is a big part of the future. It has to be. There's something wrong with a society that drives a car to workout in a gym. ~ Bill Nye the Science Guy

Government must help to eliminate cars so that bicycles can help to eliminate government. ~ Advocacy slogan in Holland

It is the unknown around the corner that turns my wheels. ~ Heinz Stucke Bicycle touring for 47 years and still going.

When I was a kid I used to pray every night for a new bicycle. Then I realized that the Lord doesn't work that way so I stole one and asked Him to forgive me. ~ Emo Philips

The bicycle, the bicycle surely, should always be the vehicle of novelists and poets. ~ Christopher Morley (American author and editor 1890-1957).

A bicycle does get you there and more.... And there is always the thin edge of danger to keep you alert and comfortably apprehensive. Dogs become dogs again and snap at your raincoat; potholes become personal. And getting there is all the fun. ~ Bill Emerson, "On Bicycling," Saturday Evening Post, 29 July 1967

Melancholy is incompatible with bicycling. ~ James E. Starrs

The bicycle is just as good company as most husbands and, when it gets old and shabby, a woman can dispose of it and get a new one without shocking the entire community. ~ Ann Strong

Cycle tracks will abound in Utopia. ~ H.G. Wells

You never have the wind with you -- either it is against you or you're having a good day. ~ Daniel Behrman, The Man Who Loved Bicycles

Think of bicycles as rideable art that can just about save the world. ~ Grant Petersen

It's not about the bike ~ Lance Armstrong

Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving ~ Albert Einstein

On my tenth birthday a bicycle and an atlas coincided as presents and a few days later I decided to cycle to India. ~ Dervla Murphy, Full Tilt: Ireland to India with a Bicycle.

A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step. ~ Lao Tzu
And a bicycle ride around the world begins with a single pedal stroke. ~ Scott :)

The bicycle is the noblest invention of mankind. ~ William Saroyan (Nobel prize winner)

I began to feel that myself plus the bicycle equaled myself plus the world, upon whose spinning wheel we must all learn to ride, or fall into the sluiceways of oblivion and despair. That which made me succeed with the bicycle was precisely what had gained me a measure of success in life -- it was the hardihood of spirit that led me to begin, the persistence of will that held me to my task, and the patience that was willing to begin again when the last stroke had failed. And so I found high moral uses in the bicycle and can commend it as a teacher without pulpit or creed. She who succeeds in gaining the mastery of the bicycle will gain the mastery of life. ~ Frances E. Willard How I Learned To Ride The Bicycle (1895)


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General Discussion / It's about the bike. It's about you.
« on: December 09, 2019, 02:06:59 pm »
When does your bicycle become something more for you than simply--a bicycle? The long distance touring cyclist comes to harmonize with some affinity to his bike. And why is this? Does anyone know why? Do bikes go somewhere after they die? Will we meet them again in a future life? When a woman cries and prays and laments at her  memory of a long-lost bicycle, what are we to bring away from it as a lesson to be learned?

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General Discussion / Coordinated stalking on the road
« on: October 01, 2018, 10:59:53 am »
"Absolutely no need for this at all. A beautiful wide shoulder, totally destroyed for all intents and purposes by this chip seal rubbish. Brutal to ride on, but you have to go there when trucks approach. How do you know a truck is coming from behind? Theres a car coming from the front too. Never ceases to amaze me, no traffic for hours, and then one from fore and one from aft, cross right next to you. Incredible how often this happens."


The quote above comes from Crazyguyonabike.com. Search southern tier. The first entry should be Rufus and Dave do Alaska to Florida. Go to page 68 on his journal. Has anyone else seen that kind of deliberate coordination of vehicles to intercept cyclists? I have seen it many countless times. I have seen it used for illegal stalking and annoyances. Has anyone here encountered these four-wheeled miscreants on tour?

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General Discussion / Cycling Ukraine: September 3, 1994
« on: September 29, 2018, 04:20:00 am »
The western edge of Ukraine looked like the outside of a prison. On the border was a tall, electrified, metal fence. The land had been completely cleared of trees and brush about 100 feet on both sides. Another T-shaped barbed wire fence stood at the edge of the cleared strip. At first the country started to look attractive. Large, verdant, green fields of short grass bordered both sides of the road. Cattle grazed lazily in those fields. Horse-drawn wooden wagons hauled hay from those fields. Men hand-pushed bicycles loaded down with burlap sacks full of potatoes and other crops. In a short distance, however, came a perceptible decline in living standards, noticeably lower than in Poland. Side roads were dirty, rutted muck holes. Buildings were dirtier and even more run down looking. I saw a man and a child with swollen infected limbs. It was some time before a restaurant came into view. Hungry as hell and looking forward to a nice big nourishing meal with  small price tag,I had been in eastern Europe long enough to know that only the small price tag on my fantasy would come true. Yet, I still permitted myself this singular delusion. It was impossible to shake the expectation after living 44 years in countries where big nourishing meals were a  birthright. I entered its small,dark, rectangular gloom. The sickening smell was the first thing that distinguished it. It smelled putrid like rancid flesh or road carrion rotting in the summer heat. Out of sight there must have been a big, dead rotting animal hanging from a meat hook. The worn tile floor was covered with layers of ground-in filth. A glass display case held a one-foot diameter round of cheese. On top was a hunk of long-gone meat. The walls and tables were gloomy, grimy and dank. The few dirty mucent characters standing at one table looked more sinister than anyone pictured in the FBI's most wanted flyers. There was no way in hell I was going to eat in that sty.

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General Discussion / Cheap tires cost more than expensive tires.
« on: September 13, 2018, 11:12:55 pm »
 I used to carry a spare tire. That was when I used less expensive tires. For example, with cheap tires you might use 4 on the rear and three on the front from Florida to California. With cheap tires, if you get a small slit, it gradually gets larger, and eventually it balloons up, and starts twisting off the rim. Thump bump thump bump thump as you wheel along looking for a place to replace your fourth rear tire in 2000 miles. There are millions of bits and pieces on the road to pierce tires.
With stronger tires, Schwalbe Marathon, the tires can take those bits and pieces with no slits and holes. If the tire does get cut or holed, is stays perfectly together. They hold together. You need only one set from coast to coast. I used to carry a spare. The last few tours I did not because I used tires that were stronger and more reliable.

Don't go anywhere without a patch kit, levers, and a pump on long tours, no matter what kind of tires.

   
   
   


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General Discussion / Free Ranging Dogs and the Cyclist
« on: August 28, 2018, 11:25:26 pm »
Here is a detailed answer about dogs. I wrote it on another thread for a person planning a transcon on a recumbent.
As for dogs on tour, I have had many experiences with them. Some cyclists might carry pepper spray, which I have done but never used. I saw another advise carrying a water pistol containing a mixture of water and ammonia; this I have never done. The fact is that dogs can be an occasional annoyance or hassle or whatever, but by and large they are not a real danger unless one comes charging at you from out of nowhere, startling you, and causing you to involuntarily swerve out into traffic. It happens.

There is something about the movement of cycling that sets dogs off into a headstrong frenzy of barking and chasing. I mean, you come along, and there is some dog in a yard. It has been lolling around all day perhaps. It catches sight of you going by on your bike, and it immediately goes nuts. It starts barking, snarling, yelping, and growling, and chasing you at high speed and going for your heels with all its might. I have seen dogs go absolutely bananas at the sight of me cycling, even if I was two hundred feet away from them. I have seen them come charging out at me, stopped only by a fence around the property. They would follow all along the fence line to the end, and then go ape trying to jump over the fence or tunnel under it.  This kind of reaction comes from dogs of all sizes from the largest dogs to even those little Mexican Chihuahuas. That is no kidding. I was cycling through some town. Somebody was carrying one of those little Mexican dogs. It saw me. It went crazy trying to jump from its owners arms and chase along.

I have worked out a manner of dealing with dogs. In spite of all the noise and chases not one dog has ever actually bitten me.  However, they do seem to be fond of going for the feet, and some have come close to biting. First, slow down a bit, look at the dog and yell out a loud, sharp report, and when I say loud and sharp that is what is meant; something like you might expect to hear from a marine corps drill sargeant. You might have to yell a number of times. The yelling will bring some dogs to a halt. Some will stop temporarily and continue, and slow down or halt every time you yell. Just yell out hut or ha loud, sharp, and clear. If that does not dissuade the cur from pursuing his pleasure or whatever it is he gets out of the chase, come to a dead stop and give him the yell. He will stop. He may turn around and take off. He may tarry a while and snip and growl. He may come close, but my experience is the actual attack will not happen. I have cycled 34,000 miles through 19 countries, and six or more times across the USA, so I know of what I speak.

I have always ridden an upright touring bike, therefore, having a dog running along and chasing at my heels is a different matter from riding a recumbent with the animal more nearly at the vital parts such as torso, head, and throat. My general advice is this. If you are concerned, do what I have told you, and carry a water pistol with water and ammonia in it, if legal to do so, or a very good pepper spray, not one of those little key chain things, but a canister with a real fog or large volume spray that comes out, but do not use it as a first response. If you yell and stop and yell, the dog will stop his pursuit. In other words, do not run and it will not chase. Often, as you are stopped at the roadside waiting for the animal to lose interest, its owner will come out and call it back, and it trots on home. If you stop and it stops and loses interest, it might head back to its territory on its own, but if you take off it will turn around and continue chasing. Dogs, for the most part, are a temporary nuisance, but not a real serious danger. However, I am sure cyclists have been actually attacked, and perhaps even injured.

When stopped, the hound may come close, but will not actually sink its teeth into your hide. If it is particularly vicious or mean, give him a whiff of the pepper spray or whatever, but I have never found that to be necessary. If you get off the bike and walk a ways, which you would not or might not be able to do, it could lose interest; get back on and cycle away, and it will pick up where it left off, or just go home.

Try not to let a dog catch you by surprise in close quarters. That happened to me once, and I tipped over injuring my ankle. It was at night on a quiet, placid road. A very large dog came charging aggressively from out of the bushes near the side of the road. All of a sudden I heard this very loud barking and snarling, and saw a blur out of the corner of my eye. In an attempt to stop, dismount immediately, and get the bike between myself and the attacking dog, I forgot my feet were strapped into the pedals, and tried to get off on the right of the bike, I fell over and twisted my ankle. Well, at least I fell over away from the dog and not toward it. After all that the dog just stood there looking at me, and turned around and left. It was one of the larger breeds of dog, and I am sure it would not have harmed me, but it caught me completely unexpected, and I reacted unthinking with a start. There was no time to think through what to do. The subconscious mind told me I was under attack and needed to respond, and I did.

You might have dog problems in some areas at times, and no dog problems whatsoever in other places. In 1984 in winter along highway 90 in Florida free ranging dogs were all over the place, and I might add, were often seen dead along the roadside after having been slammed by motor vehicles. In 2007 I cycled 90, and there was not the first problem with the first dog; very different from 1984. In countrified areas dog owners may be more disposed to letting their dogs roam free. Some may be fenced in, but have some little tunnel dug out under the fence in some bush-covered corner. They actually seem to be smart enough to try and cover or hide their tunnels. Anyway, that is about all I can tell you. If you go into Eastern Europe, you may find canines of a very different stripe; very different from the friendly domesticated kind we are used to in the USA.

As for some of those dogs I encountered in eastern Europe, nothing short of a firearm would save you.  Some of those would run you to earth and kill you and eat you. I had never seen anything even remotely as vicious as those, and have not seen anything like it since. If there is any such thing as a homicidal, insane, psychotic, murderous, savage dog, those dogs were it. Thank God for chain link fences. They must have been raised to be that way.
 

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General Discussion / Southern Tier---Non ACA
« on: December 31, 2017, 09:41:38 pm »
I will take another shot at cycling the southern tier. I have done it five times. The beginning of the new year is good for a start. For the most part I follow a route different from ACA's, mainly because mine is shorter, less hilly, and almost as interesting. East coastal Florida to San Diego is the way to go. Instead of taking hwy 90 across north Florida I take 98 to 267 to 20. I take 90 through AL, MS and LA to Tammany Trace to Covington, LA. Then I get 190 and find my way to Houston, and get I-10 frontage roads and 90 to San Antonio. From here I can Take I-10 and roads to El Paso and Las Cruces and I-10 to Yuma, AZ.After that is the road from hell to Ogilby Road,and then west to hwy 78 and Glamis and Ocotillo and then hysterical hwy 80 to Pine Valley and roads into San Diego.

On my last trip my cyclometer turned over to 2803 miles as I pulled up to the Point Loma hostel in S.D. I think it's going to be a cold trip.

I can take different roads from the roads mentioned here. Being a 68-year-old man traveling alone, I usually take the path of least resitance.

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General Discussion / Demands on energy
« on: May 15, 2016, 10:45:41 pm »
Wholesome food provides the necessary nutrients for daily activities. But, can it serve well for a man on a fully loaded touring bicycle carrying 40 pounds of gear against headwinds, and over hills and mountains? At my age, 66, I have found it necessary to supplement my energy needs. Sure, there are canned drinks, e.g., Monster, Red Bull, Rockstar, etc. I have found these drinks to be helpful at times. The real shot in the arm comes from the small shots of energy drinks. EE, eternal energy, works almost as well as 5-hour-energy, and the cost is only 88 cents a shot. Redline works very well, too. Both are on the shelf at Wal Mart. In WM EE is $5.00 and change for a six pack, and in Walgreens it is over $9.00. On tour, I would down one EE in the morning, and a Redline in the afternoon. The difference was easy to feel. It works.

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General Discussion / The wearing of the green
« on: March 15, 2016, 08:24:08 pm »

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General Discussion / Cycling Partner
« on: December 08, 2015, 10:49:26 pm »
Certainly there is a designated section for cycling partners, and that is limited to members of ACA. However, I am thinking about doing another transcontinental bicycling tour this winter by way of the southern tier from Florida to San Diego or Los Angeles. I have already cycle toured about 40,000 miles through 19 countries ---USA, Canada, Mexico, England, Scotland, Wales, France, Belgium, Germany, Italy, Czech, Poland, Ukraine, Moldavia, parts of Romania and Bulgaria, Greece, China and a little in South Korea, Ireland.

I have done the southern tier 5 times and twice from Florida to El Paso. By southern tier it is meant the southern tier of states, part on and part off ACA's mapped route.

I am 66 and expecting to meet a female companion for the trip, and while it is surely not to be, it is here for the doing, and as usual the trip will most likely be done alone.

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Routes / Southern Tier in North Florida
« on: October 07, 2014, 12:04:13 pm »
ACA puts you on highway 90 in north Florida. In its full extent, 90 runs between Jacksonville, FL and Van Horn , Texas. There are three main possible routes through north Florida, each with its own positive and negative values as far as cycling is the matter.

90 has many motels and campgrounds and wooded areas for free camping. The many trees help fend the north winds of winter. Restaurants abound. The scenery is good. You have a side lane to yourself most of the way. It is historical. There is the used-to-be infamously cruel Chatahoochie mental hospital. There is the even worse state training school in Marianna, FL where forensic anthropologists have unearthed 91 of the 31 bodies of boys the state said were there. Yes, 91. Seems many just disappeared, probably beat to death. 90 is also very hilly.

There is highway 20 running E and W many miles south of 90. 20 is much closer to level than 90, and thus faster and easier to cycle. There are many places for free camping. Traffic is comparative light. There is plenty of room for safe cycling. However, 20 can be a nutritional nightmare. Once west of Wakulla Station, only one store or two have anything resembling real food. You have three days of mainly junk food.

There is 19 / 98 running along the contour of the gulf coast. This road is about level. There are many places for camping, legally and stealthily. Restaurants are aplenty. Food stores with nutritious food are available often enough. The downside is sea breezes off the gulf are not always just breezes and they can slow you to a crawl. This route is about 60 miles longer than 90 and 20.

All in all, there is a good argument for choosing 90 as the best of the three.

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