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Messages - rlovisa

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Connecting ACA Routes / Michigan Hiway 23 to Mackinac bridge
« on: August 06, 2008, 08:37:18 pm »
I just did the drive by car from Standish (a few miles North of Bay City) all the way up to Mackinaw City.  All on Route 23.  Very Nice.  The road does vary in width (most places with a shoulder) and composition (tar vs concrete) and in condition.  Speed limit was mostly 55 if I recall, and not a whole lot of traffic - at least the day I did the drive.  But I think it would be enjoyable.  There are many state and local parks with access to the lake for swimming, beach, with camping along the way and small towns for food, motel, etc.  Much of the route has private homes along the shore so that restricts the lake view and access. Call 888.784.7328 for Michigan travel info.  Ask for a free DOT Road map and if you can bike the bridge, but I supect they will not allow it.  Call and ask DOT.

I moteled in Mackinaw City. Very touristy, and expensive, especially on the weekend.  If you can, avoid the weekend.  Motel prices were 50% less weekdays. If you are going across the bridge, I would suggest you see M. City and then stay in St. Ignace in the UP - motels are a lot cheaper but far less to do.

If you have extra time and energy - consider doing a loop from M. City to Cross Village to Harbor Spring and back.  The road (route 119) from Cross Village to Harbor Spring is an outstanding bike route.  About a 90 mile loop.

Have a good and safe ride.

Gear Talk / Need Gear Advise for a Randonee
« on: August 20, 2008, 07:35:05 am »
Thanks for the update.  I'd like to exchange info about the bike, mainly on bike maintenance, tools, etc.  Probably best off forum.  Send me a message with your e-mail address. You should be able to see my e-mail address via the profile.  If not post here again and Ill post my address. Thanks.

Gear Talk / Need Gear Advise for a Randonee
« on: July 25, 2008, 08:08:50 pm »
Feedback: I got the Arkel GT-54s and the Big Bar Bag (BBB). They fit very well on the bike. I was concerned that the GT-54s would hit my heels or slide on the rack, and the BBB would be too big to place on the handle bars due to the way the gear and brake cables run.  My concerns about the fit ended up being unfounded. Just completed a 4 day shake down trip of about 240 miles on the Atlantic Coast Route between DC and Isle of Wight in VA. The bags worked very well. The BBB was great. I could fit several water bottles (I reused empty soda bottles) and other items in the BBB. On the first day, I placed frozen bottles in the BBB. It kept the water cool the entire day in 95 plus heat. On other days, I stopped in grocery stores for soda, juice, etc. and bag kept them cool for as long as I needed. The GT-54, with its many pockets took some time to get used too in getting organized and remembering where everything is located. Lots of room. Very happy with the bags.

Gear Talk / Need Gear Advise for a Randonee
« on: May 22, 2008, 08:36:32 pm »
New to the forum.  Getting back into Loaded Touring after 25 years off.  Decided on a quick bike purchase of an REI Novara Randonee on sale to replace my 1977 Raleigh Super Course II.  Anyway, I was able to adapt my old front rack and front panniers (Kirtlands) to the new bike.  The rear rack (Blackburn), rear panniers, and handlebar bag  (all Kirtlands) were not compatible with the new bike.  I am considering the Arkel GT-54s and The Big Bar Bag handlebar bag - both sold through ACA.  But I am cautious in spending that amount of money without trying them on the Randonee first.  None of the bike shops in my area carry either item in stock.  I tried the hypothetical fit test Arkel recommends and all seems OK, but one bike shop was steering me away from the bags as being too big - especially The Big Bar Bag.  No mention of any other issue.

Anyone out there have any experience in outfitting a Randonee, and specifically outfitting it with GT-54s and The Big Bar Bag?  Thanks in advance for your comments and insight.

Routes / Delmarva
« on: September 13, 2008, 11:17:35 am »

Are you starting right at the Bay Bridge or are you flexible by say 30 miles...

If near Bay Bridge, consider the small, local Bay Bridge airport.  Give them a call.  Airport operations no. is (410) 643-4364.

If flexible, consider near Easton - look for someplace in St. Michaels, Easton or Oxford (in that order).  They see a lot of bikers doing the St. Michaels, Easton, Oxford loop where most start in St. Michaels.  I think there are a few B&B's in those towns now that might let you park for a small fee.  Easton has a small airpark where you might be able to leave a car.

If this fails, do as done while on a tour.  Instead of dropping in with the bike, make a few pre-trip phone calls.  Call the MD State police, I am sure they have a barracks near the bridge, call some of the local city police departments (friendlier than the State police), volunteer fire houses, libraries, etc.

There are many shopping strip malls in the area, but would caution using them (if overnight) since most are posted as no long term parking and the theft issue as well.

My best bet would be a local fire house.

Hope this helps.


Routes / TransAm Fairplay, CO to Ness City, KS
« on: August 13, 2008, 10:29:11 am »
Thanks for the information and appreciate the time and effort.  You pointed out a few things that I will want to look into before I hit the road, especially about Gillian Hogard.


Routes / TransAm Fairplay, CO to Ness City, KS
« on: August 12, 2008, 08:21:42 pm »
Just found out that I'll be able to do part of the TransAm, EB from Fairplay, CO to Ness City.  Free drop off and pick up.  So, I am soliciting any suggestions about places to see, eat, rest and so on.  Will only be able to get in 6 days of riding between 8/27 and 9/5. Any suggestions would help.

Thanks in advance, and Lets Keep it Safe Out There...


Routes / Help: Route from Wash, D.C. to Charlottesville, VA
« on: August 08, 2008, 04:20:28 pm »

I don't have any cue sheets but recommend you take a look at Potomac Pedlers Touring Club (PPTC) ( cue sheet site.  They have a couple cue sheets with Warrenton in the name.  Might be worth a look.

...And be Safe Out There...


Routes / Help: Route from Wash, D.C. to Charlottesville, VA
« on: August 06, 2008, 07:55:43 pm »
Might be quite a bit longer, and depending where you are in No. VA, consider the W&OD ( out to Perciville, VA.  Use DeLorme maps to get to Front Royal, and as the other post suggested, take Skyline Drive.  Then hop over to your destination.  I would offer that unless you are in really great shape, this route would be a tall order for one day.  29 is a direct route there, but since it is a direct route, it will have a lot of traffic on it.  I've driven 29 many times and would suggest you avoid it from a safety point of view.  Just depends on your comfort level.  Many other state and county rural roads in the area that roughly parallel 29, but that makes the ride longer, harder, etc.  

I also like the other suggestion, that is, use the ACA East Coast route down to say Ashland (you may not need to go all the way to Richmond) and then cut West or South West using DeLorme maps.  Do your homework with the maps and they will help with the choices.

Have a good and safe ride.


Routes / Are ACA Routes Marked?
« on: July 25, 2008, 05:05:33 pm »
Live near DC, in MD.  Recently bought the Atlantic Coast Route maps and completed about 310 miles of the route via 2 single day trips and one 4 day trip between Reisterstown, MD (just NE of Baltimore) and Isle of Wight, in SE VA.  Several questions:

1. Are the ACA routes numbered and posted along the route?  I noticed in parts of VA, but not in MD or DC, that the Atlantic Coast Route is numbered 1. When intersecting and sharing the TransAmerica Trail, both route numbers were posted - 1 and 76.  76 is very appropriate by the way.

2. Assuming the routes, at least parts of the routes that are marked with route numbers, are the route signs provided by the local or federal governments, cycling clubs or ACA?

3. If the route signs are correct, Did the Atlantic Coast Route South of Richmond change?  I flawlessly followed the route one signs into Richmond from the north, but the route one signs led me across the James River and then in what seemed to be the opposite direction and off the ACA published maps. No addenda was provided to indicate a route change. After about 10 miles I abandoned the signs, back tracked and followed the ACA maps.  Never did see another route one sign again.


PS:  Wanted to attach a photo of the signs with this post but could not figure out how to do that.

Routes / eastward/east coast in September
« on: July 11, 2008, 12:23:20 am »
Hey Stef,

The Blue Ridge Parkway (BRP) is a very nice route.  Two lane park road, low speed limit, many pull outs but generally no shoulders.  Weather should be great.  Later in September and early October should be very nice.  September may be a few weeks too early for the fall colors but there is a lot to offer.  Fall is my favorite time of the year, so I tend to oversell the season.  Visit the National Park Service (NPS) website for more information ( for camp sites and other logistics.  The BRP connects to Skyline Drive (SD) that is in Shenandoah National Park (SNP) also 2 lane, low speed limit, etc. (  BRP is much easier to bike than SD because SD is much hillier.  From the northern terminus of SD (near Front Royal, VA), you can bike East and go to DC and see the sites there and pick up the Atlantic Coast Route (ACR).  If you need suggestions on a route from Front Royal to DC, contact me.  The ACR goes right through DC, then North towards Philly.  The actual route around Philly is to the West and North of the city.

Have a great ride.

General Discussion / Favorite book
« on: September 02, 2008, 04:16:32 pm »
I would like to offer up for consideration 'West with the Night' by Beryl Markham.  

I really enjoyed it for her adventurous spirit, love of flying and respect for maps and navigation (See quote below).  If you read the quote below and read it from the perspective a bike rider following a map across the US, you will gain a lot of respect for those who went before us to create the resources we use so casually...

Here is a short description of Ms. Markam (extracted from a Google search)  Aviator, Born: 26 October 1902, Died: 3 August 1986, Birthplace: Leicester, England.

Beryl Markham was the first person to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean from east to west, making the trip on September 4-5, 1936. (Charles Lindbergh made the very first cross-Atlantic solo flight in 1927.) Markham grew up in Kenya; she was the first woman there to receive a commercial pilot's license and became a well-known bush pilot. Markham's memoirs of her life and the Atlantic flight, West With the Night, were published in 1942. The book was republished in 1983.

One of my favorite quotes from the book is:

From CHAPTER XX - Kwaheri Means Farewell - Pg. 218

A map in the hands of a pilot is a testimony of a mans faith in other men; it is a symbol of confidence and trust.  It is not like a printed page that bears mere words, ambiguous and artful, and whose most believing reader ... must allow in his mind a recess for doubt.

A map says to you, Read me carefully, follow me closely, doubt me not.  It says, I am the earth in the palm of your hand.  Without me, you are alone and lost. And indeed you are.  Were all the maps in this world destroyed and vanished under the direction of some malevolent hand, each man would be blind again, each city be made a stranger to the next, each landmark become a meaningless signpost pointing to nothing.

Yet looking at it, feeling it, running a finger along its lines, it as a cold thing, a map, humorless and dull, born of calipers and a draughtsmans board.  That coastline there, the ragged scrawl of scarlet ink, shows neither sand nor sea nor rock; it speaks of no mariner, blundering full sail in wakeless seas, to bequeath, on sheepskin or a slab of wood, a priceless scribble to prosperity.  This brown blot that marks a mountain has, for the casual eye, no other significance, though twenty men, or ten, or only one, may have squandered life to climb it.  Here is a valley, there a swamp, and there a desert; and here is a river that some curious and courageous soul, like a pencil in the hand of God, first traced with bleeding feet.

Here is your map.  Unfold it, follow it, then throw it away, if you will.  It is only paper.  It is only paper and ink, but if you think a little, if you pause a moment, you will see that these two things have seldom joined to make a document so modest and yet so full with histories of hope or sagas of conquest.

No map I have ever flown by has ever been lost or thrown away; I have a trunk containing continents.  I have the maps I always used en route to England and back...



General Discussion / Where to camp
« on: July 15, 2008, 11:07:09 pm »
What are the current prevailing thoughts about stealth camping?  Heard the term used recently and I assume its camping in public or private areas without specific permission.  I have been looking at the Atlantic Coast trail maps, roughly between NJ-PA and the VA-NC state lines to determine daily ride mileage based on how far apart the camp grounds might be.  Not much shown for camping, so I too was considering what the options might be.

General Discussion / Weather - we love to talk about it...
« on: July 03, 2008, 11:39:51 pm »
Weather - we love to talk about it, but we can't do anything about it - but is that a true statement and assumption?  We can forewarn ourselves on what is pending to some degree and act accordingly.  We can open the tent flap and see 'What's Up' and be self aware of our surrounding as we travel. So that is my question with respect to the weather and loaded touring.  Do most of us just properly prepare from an equipment point of view (rain gear, fenders, cool water, etc.) and then use the equipment as we tour?  Or, do we forewarn ourselves and simply avoid the worst of it (take a day off, duck indoors, sleep in late).  Basically, I am talking mostly in reference to rain, but I guess we could include cold and heat.  I do not know of many who tour in the snow/ice - but I know there are a few.  

I have been wondering if I can glean suggestions from the community on what riders think and act.  In the past, I personally carry appropriate gear for a level of slightly worse weather I would reasonable expect for the tour I am planning and then ask the locals (including internet surfing when available) as I travel to get daily updates.  At times I have found this to be tedious and simply look up at the sky every now and then.  In non really heavy rain and cold I ride. I avoid heat (above say 95) and cold below 32.  Does anyone carry a portable radio (portable -  :blush: duh! - or one with a really long extension cord - glad I proof read this first).  If yes, what are your recommendations for radios and what can one expect for reception, batteries are always an issue. Are the weather channel radios of value? Of course these options and actions are not mutually exclusive so all the above works too.  Other options? Suggestions.

PS:  Was wondering if I should ask this question on the forum, it seems like a no brainer and have been putting it off until I read Michael Deme's editorial "Bad Weather Blues" today, in the June 2008 issue (FYI - its not online yet).

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