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Messages - merzperson

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General Discussion / Re: TransAmerica 2012
« on: January 23, 2012, 02:05:48 am »
...there's no lodging between Rawlins and Lander, if the reports of the Jeffrey City motel closing are true, and it's about 120 miles.  If you hit a bad headwind, like we did, you're going to be hurting.  I'd recommend you plan on two nights either side of that stretch to rest up before and after that ride.

I didn't read the entire thread, so if this has already been mentioned then please disregard. I rode the opposite direction (west to east), and stealth camped every night, but if you don't mind 'roughing it' for a night (it was a luxury for me) you can stay for free in the Sweetwater Station rest stop. There's drinking water, restrooms, picnic tables, etc. However this obviously isn't an option if you don't have a sleeping bag and aren't interested in camping, but I think it would be a shame to ride the TransAm without camping at least a couple times. The places I camped are some of the most memorable parts of my trip!

However you end up doing it I hope you have an amazing time and I wish you the best of luck!

As John Nelson mentioned, Newport News is the way to go. That's where I flew out at the end of my trip.

General Discussion / June Curry aka Cookie Lady
« on: January 23, 2012, 01:45:07 am »
I rode the TransAm in 2010 and stayed at The Cookie Lady's place in Afton. When I got there she had just recently gotten very sick or injured. I felt terrible for her, and unfortunately did not get to meet her although a friend/neighbor/caretaker let me and some fellow tourers stay in the Bikecentennial 'museum'. If you've been there you know how amazing this place is!

Anyway, I have been looking around the web and haven't found anything about June Curry in the last year or two, and would love to know if she has recovered and if so how she's doing these days. Also, just out of curiosity, if anyone has recent photos of the 'museum' to see if I can spot what we left there.

Colorado / Worst experience across the US was in CO
« on: February 15, 2011, 11:05:41 pm »
I rode the TransAm solo West to East last summer (2010) and my worst experience with people the whole trip was in Colorado, especially the more rural areas.

Specifically, Kremmling, CO sticks out in my mind. This was the single least friendly town I went through on my entire ride. It was already getting dark when I visited the sheriff's office to ask if there was anywhere I could pitch a tent for the night in or around town. A police officer sitting in his cruiser rolled down his window and told me, with a smile of satisfaction on his face and a chuckle, "There's a city law against that." He told me I could either go to the RV park (and pay $12 to sleep on gravel beside RV generators) or "get out of town". I ended up pedaling just out of town (already dark) and pitching my tent in the desert, private property or not, on top of a bunch of little cacti, and was eaten alive by swarms of mosquitoes. I got out of there as fast as I could in the morning.

I was just a 20-year old kid. Would these people treat their own kid like that?

I ended up sleeping in 3 public restrooms during my 7 days in Colorado. People were giving me shit left and right. I felt unwanted, which made me want to get out of the state and never come back.

Riding through Kansas afterwards was like a 180-degree change, and it made me want to stay there as long as I could (and spend money there, stimulate the economy...).

I know that a bunch of Colorado is very friendly towards cyclists, and I'd never judge an entire state (or even an entire city) by the experiences of just a couple days or a couple rotten people, but it has had a lasting impact on me. I'm wondering, has anyone else has experiences similar to these?

International / Re: Extended Solo European Tour on the Cheap
« on: February 09, 2011, 05:57:36 pm »
Thanks everyone for your help! Some really good input, I appreciate it.

Janus: I'll definitely have to ride through Scandinavia, those pictures and your description make it sound amazing. I am of Norwegian descent so it would be interesting to experience the culture as well. However, I am curious what you mean when you say "don't worry about money". Do you mean that it would be easy for me to find an informal job there?

I'd still love to check out other parts of Europe by bicycle. Any more suggestions are appreciated!

International / Extended Solo European Tour on the Cheap
« on: December 23, 2010, 05:04:39 am »
I'm thinking about doing a year or so long solo tour through all of Europe sometime in the not-too-distant future, probably after I graduate from my University. I have many questions, and could also use some general tips and information from people who have experience in touring abroad.

My hope is to get to Europe and ride around and explore with a few specific places in mind where I have contacts and spots I'd really like to see. Instead of saving up a bunch of money for the trip, I'll take what I have and when I get close to running out I'll stop wherever I may be and find a simple job like working on a farm or washing dishes at a restaurant or whatever I can get. Is this idea realistic?

Since I plan on traveling inexpensively, I would prefer to camp as much as possible. And by camp, I mean really camp, not pay for a campsite. I rode the TransAm last summer and camped for free every single night of the trip with only one or two exceptions, would this even be possible in Europe and would it be enjoyable?

I have basically all the gear I'll need. What else do I need to be thinking about before I start making this trip idea a reality?

General Discussion / Re: Is it ok to travel solo...
« on: November 19, 2010, 03:00:24 pm »
I successfully completed the TransAm just this past summer (2010) and set out solo. I'm 20 years old and this was my first tour, although I had done a bunch of backpacking and cycling before the trip. I had the absolute time of my life, and you will too. You will learn more than you can imagine, especially if you are open-minded about trying new things.

Also, if you're on a popular route (like the TransAm) there's a very good chance you'll run into cyclists riding the same way as you. I was lucky enough to meet with a group halfway through my ride that was my age going the same way at about the same pace so we rode together the rest of the way. It was an amazing experience meeting people this way, and I developed a very close friendship with the group I rode with. Don't get high hopes that this will happen for you, but regardless I would have still had an amazing trip if I ended up doing the whole thing solo.

If you are inexperienced at camping you should seek advice from someone you might know who has experience. You should be prepared for weather (both very hot and fairly cold) and bugs. Sometimes it takes a bit of searching to find a safe and practical spot to camp. I camped every night while I was riding solo, and never once payed. Sometimes you just have to pull off the side of the road and set up tent behind a bush. I'd advise not camping on private property without permission. Also keep in mind that you learn the most when things go wrong. Just remember that you'll never be less than a day's ride from a town of some sort, and the longest time I went without cell reception was probably about 4 days in Idaho (AT&T).

Believe me, when it comes to asking someone if you can set up your tent in their yard you will have no problem doing so. I have always been very reluctant to asking strangers for help but I found no problem during my trip. People were more often than not very eager to help. Sometimes (in Kansas mostly) people even came up to me and asked if I wanted to set up my tent in their yard!

Do it! You'll have the time of your life.

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