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Messages - staehpj1

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General Discussion / Re: Finding accommodation
« on: November 28, 2021, 08:01:44 am »
I generally found that wramshowers hosts didn't usually work out very well for me, mostly because they typically wanted/need some notice about when/if you would be staying with them.  That is reasonable enough, but I much prefer a flexible schedule and don't know which towns i will actually stop in until the very last minute.  If you plan ahead and stay with a shedule that may not be a problem.  For me it was enough of an issue that I pretty much gave up on using them other than once in a while, usually at the arrival in the city where I would be starting a tour and therefore would know when I would be there.  They also can come in handy for things like a place to leave a box or case or other logistics.

Another problem was that many hosts did not respond to emails.  So I guess you need to contact a lot and hope a few get back to you.

One onther thing is that I would imagine that the pandemic may have had some impact on how many folks are opening their homes to strangers.  I have not been touring during the pandemic so I have no first hand info on that though.


I feel like i should plan to be slower through the Daniel boon stretch.

Since im on a time limit and have no experience a shorter distance will be my safety net

Recommend: Try a couple of weekend overnights - perhaps with an experienced bicycle camper - to see how it goes.
His Knoxville to Berea stretch sounds like a nice short streatch for a first tour.  He will never be more than a couple hours drive from home if he need to call for someone to bail him out.  Also there are car rentals quite a few places along the route according to google.  Worst case I have hitched rides that far and an obviously broken bike is a great way to assure getting a ride.  So in the case of a mechanical, making it obvious that there is a mechanical issue generally means someone will be pretty quick to offer a ride.

General Discussion / Re: Southern Tier in Winter
« on: November 25, 2021, 08:23:15 am »
I was looking at this too. Here are my concerns / questions.
1. Day length. The solstice (12/21) is the shortest day of the year and as you get away from the solstice the days get longer. Before the spring equinox (3/21) your getting less than 12 hours of daylight. So lets say you leave in Feb., you're probably looking at 10 hrs, or less of daylight. Is that enough time to get your miles in without rushing through the day?
In mid February the days were about an hour longer than in the late Fall early Winter.  Remember that this is the south (closer to the equater) so the days and nights are closer to the same length than further north.  So while the days are short it isn't as bad as it would be along say the northern border.
 Still the late winter is much better than the early winter.  As far as whether it is enough daylight to get long mileage in...  I found that I generally knocked out longer mileage than I did on summer tours on other routes.  That probably had more to do with the rather boring scenery though.  I am pretty sure I did more 100 mile days on this trip than on any other and wasn't particularly making any effort to do so.  There were also plenty of 80 and 90 mile days.  I was packing very light so that helped, but the route lends itself to long days and late winter days are plenty long enough unless you hang out in camp all day.

2. Cold mornings. Even if the daytime high is in the 60's, morning lows might be in the 20's or 30's. So, it might hit 60 for only a couple of hours around the middle of the day. How uncomfortable are the early mornings and the early evenings?
I like cooler weather so that that into account, but only found a few mornings were actually very cold.  I rather enjoyed the weather and found it much preferrable to dealing with summer heat, but that is me.  There was frost quite a few nights, but it didn't dip far into the 20's often and it warmed up fast when the sun came up.  There was one night in the teens.  This was mid feb - mid mar.
3. Distance between services in the SW. I'm not interested in stealth camping at all. Camping in the desert in Feb. sounds cold. Are there enough motels close enough together in the SW where one could sleep indoors every night, or are there stretches where camping is a must? If I slept indoors every night, I wouldn't worry much about night time low temps. Those early morning (sunrise) temps. could be tough.
Not sure about sleeping indoors every night since I wasn't looking for motels all the time, but I'd guess it would be possible with some planning and some long days.  I did zero "stealth" camping, but some improvised camping in places like the ocasional Texas roadside picnic area or wild camping in plain sight.  The majority of the time I used camping sites listed on the ACA maps when I was on the route.  I did go off route some and found places easily enough.  I did get rooms here and there and managed to stay with hosts a few times.
4. Am I crazy? You don't have to answer that. I think I already know the answer.
You may be crazy, but not for riding the ST in winter.  Late winter to early spring is the best time in my opinion.

If you really hate chilly weather you may find my comments are not in line with your preferences, but even the hot weather loving south Florida kid who I rode with on and off on the ride managed okay.  He did think the weather sucked though, but his idea of a nice day is 100+F.

Here is another possible option.   How about flying or driving a rental car to Cincinnati and then riding home?  That way you can have a flexible amount of time to finish the ride.

I usually ride toward home to get air travel out of the way up front.  I figure that I always know when i will start a tour, but don't like to have a locked down schedule.  I am typically doing this for longer trips so it may have less benefit for a 6-8 day trip than for a multi week or multi month one, but it just might be something to consider.

Btw, not too long ago we were shocked at rental car prices.  It seems that they didn't refresh the fleets during the pandemic and prices were through the roof.  My wife paid $600 for a rental that was $200 before the pandemic.  Also in some times/places folks couldn't get cars.  Things may or may not be back to pre-pandemic prices/availability, I have not checked lately, but I'd check before assuming all is normal.

General Discussion / Re: Southern Tier in Winter
« on: November 21, 2021, 10:34:03 am »
I would like to start in San Diego next January. Some suggestions?
I know that in NM I can find snow, but my doubt is abount campground. It's easy to find? They are open also in this season?
All informations are welcome, also some address and place where stay.
Thank you all.
I started in mid February and had no problems.  I generally relied on the places listed on the AC maps where I followed their route.  At times I improvised the route a bit and generally found places to stay without much difficulty.

Routes / Re: Sierra Cascades
« on: November 21, 2021, 10:26:37 am »
One problem -- 700 x 28 tires is the max. Now I could get a modern "endurance" or "gravel" bike, but (a) I'm cheap and (b) it would be like abandoning an old friend. Sooo, how are the roads in general?
My memory is hazy since it was 11 years ago, but the only really poor surface I remember is a long stretch of road construction that I'd expect would be done long ago and even there we managed okay.  I think my daughter probably was running 28mm tires even though on a bike that would accomodate much wider tires.  Not sure if I was running 28mm or 32mm, but in either case i'd have considered them fine.  Others may not have.  Just as a frame of reference I started the Southern Tier on 23mm tires because I wanted to wear them out and put 25mm tires on halfway when they were showing cord.  I actually enjoyed riding my old 1990 Cannondale Crit bike although the 23mm did buzz quite a bit on the Texas chipseal.  I'd take that bike again with 25mm tires, but 28mm would probably be a smarter choice.  I am probably an outlier in my willingness to run such skinny tires.

You mention carrying 13-15 pounds.  A few pounds may or may not make a big difference.  If you choose an entirely different bike or tire size because of how you pack it may be a pretty big deal, so I'll ask...

Is that including water and food?  Carry what you want/need, but if you want to, that could certainly be trimmed especially if it doesn't include food and water.  I have camped and cooked with a base under the lower number in that range and could camp and cook and include two full water bottles and a day of food and still be under that range if I wanted to or needed to.  My current gear favorites the base gear totals is 8.5-9 pounds (add almost a pound if taking a the Whisperlite or SVEA instead of the pop can stove).

I know that I could easily get down to 4-5 pounds of gear and bags for CC touring even for contitions where I might get below freezing overnight temps and need some clothing for fairly cold weather (that would include clothing as warm as what I carried on the SC and on a winter Southern Tier).

A lot of how acceptable those choices would be may have to do with what you do with your off bike time.  I pretty much ride, eat, rest, sleep, or do outdoor activities like hike.  I never feel the need to dress up and don't mind being in riding clothes most of the time.  Slippng on a wind shirt or a tech tee and running shorts off bike is about as dressed up as I get.  If it is cooler maybe tights and a kayaking sweater, possibly with an UL windshell over them.

If you want/need to dress up more my approach probably won't work.

General Discussion / Re: New Executive Director
« on: November 21, 2021, 07:33:34 am »
I didn't find anything that said he departed.  I did see an article that said she took over as Editor-in-Chief of Adventure Cyclist Magazine.  So that may be all that happened.  It makes sense that what you see could be explained by that new role for her.

Maybe someone who knows more could further clarify.

Routes / Re: Sierra Cascades
« on: November 20, 2021, 07:49:41 pm »
zzzz, to be clear, I believe you I am just surprised.  I am sure you managed fine cc touring the route.  FWIW, I suspect  I would be unable to manage the distances required to get between lodging in that terrrain, but have no doubt that you did or that someone younger and fitter may be able to.

I wasn't particularly looking for where lodging was available, so there is that.

I wonder, did you often need to go off route to find lodging?

General Discussion / Re: About trailering one's pet dog while touring?
« on: November 20, 2021, 11:58:56 am »
I ran into several hikers thru-hiking with their dogs when I thru-hiked the AT. Dogs are not allowed in places like the Smokies due to bears, so you have to kennel and shuttle your dog. However, many dogs had foot issues, especially on long stretches of granite ledges (New Hampshire & Maine) and areas with lots of sharp rocks (PA). I can only guess how hot pavement would be for a dog that has to get out and trot along side you uphill on a 90 degree day. Some hikers used Cordura booties to save their dogs feet. Biking is a little easier than hiking since you are most likely not dealing with climbing ledges or long traverses across granite side slopes, but blacktop is a typically a lot more unforgiving than trail running for a dog.
I've heard of folks using dog boots and even of gluing on leather pads with CA glue for AT thru hikes.

Dog's susceptibility to pad issues varies from dog to dog.  I've had some that frequently had problems.  My current one never so much as cut a pad in all the years I have had her.  She has run and hiked on all kinds of unfriendly surfaces and walks on hot sun baked Tallahassee asphalt as if it were cool grass.  I try to steer her to the shade or roadside grass, but she mostly doesn't seem to care.

My current pooch seems to have cast iron pads.  The one three dogs before her was the exact oposite.  Hot surfaces, sharp rocks, broken glass, snow, and ice all were terrible for one and a non issue for the other.  The other dogs I have had were somewhere in between.

General Discussion / Re: About trailering one's pet dog while touring?
« on: November 20, 2021, 11:03:13 am »
On a little differnet note...  I have spent many miles on the trails with my dog.   I lost track of how many trail miles we ran together at 10,000 miles and suspect the actual total is now something like 20,000 miles.  Neither of us run any more in our advanced years (her coming up on 13 and me at 70), but those were some happy times together.  She has also run along with me on my mountain bike on the trails a bit back in the day.

No one brought it up in this thread, but I often have read folks mentioning suggestions of their dogs running along when they tour.  Just in case anyone is considering that, I'll preemptively put in my 2 cents worth.  I have found that on the trails a healthy young dog is alot faster than me on steep climbs and a lot slower on steep descents.  On a road tour climbs can be quite a few miles long and the incompatibility of paces just becomes a huge deal.  I'd suggest that if you want a dog to walk/run along that you get also walk/run.  Quite a few people have walked or run across the country and if you really want to go with your dog that might be a better fit.  Otherwise you really need to adjust to each other's paces to a huge degree.

I think if I had better known when she would have become less able to manage that kind of activity I might have planned a thru hike or a coast to coast walk with her while she was able.  These days I worry that longer walks around the neighborhood or even any walks on hot days might be too much for her.  Usually she has the good sense to choose when to take longer or shorter walks so I generally let her choose.  Since she had her spleen out last spring she only has much energy on cool days and even then it is slow walking with lots of stopping.  Hard to imagine it is the same dog that used to run 18 miles and come home still wanting to play.

Routes / Re: Sierra Cascades
« on: November 20, 2021, 08:29:47 am »
My comments apply only to the southern half of the route.  We started from San Diego and flew home from Reno.  So I only saw the portion in between those points.

After reading zzzz's answer I am hesitant to post mine.  I would have said it was next to impossible to credit card tour the Sierra Cascades route, but zzzz apparently managed to do just that.  I am surprised to hear that.  I found that in places any services, even water, were pretty far apart and the terrain was exceedingly difficult with many LONG STEEP climbs so long mileage days would not be easy.  I found it difficult to make the distance between ant kind of stops without trying to find lodging.

I started in San Diego on June 4 when it should have still been cool and there was an early heat wave. The amount of climbing was insane.  Between the heat and the climbing it was easily the most difficult tour I have done.

Taking the CC approach would make the climbing a bit easier than a fully loaded approach, if you can manage to find places to get a room like zzzz did.

It is not a tour to be taken lightly.  Make sure you are in good shape and ready to do a lot of steep climbing.

That said it was through some beautiful country.

Btw, if you haven't been and won't get again soon, it is worth taking some time in the Yosemite Valley.  We stayed the max allowable time in Camp 4 to hike and sightsee.  I don't usually take days off, but the valley was worth it.   It might be hard to get a room there unless you book way ahead.  Camp 4 is first come first served after one night in the staging camp for backcountry hikers, but I guess not an option for you.

Routes / Re: Brit riding across the US
« on: November 19, 2021, 09:14:36 am »
Going W-E you should consider when the snow and ice is out in the Cascades and the Rockies.  A good marker for that is when McKenzie Pass opens.  You can detour to Santiam Pass since they keep that open all winter, but riding McKenzie is worth doing and you really don't want to be in the mountains too early.  Snow and cold weather could be dangerous if there too early.

I'd suggest timeing the start to correspond with the opening date for McKenzie Pass to bikes.  It typically opens to bikes a couple weeks before it opens to cars and if you catch it then it is a great time to ride it.  The thing is opeing dates will vary year to year.  The year we rode the TA we started June 11th and hit McKenzie Pass on June 16th.  The pass was open and we had no cars yet that year on that date, but some years the pass may not be open yet on that date.

Snowpack and spring thawing will affect the date, so it is a moving target, but they do make some predictions as the date approaches.  Info is available at:

As I said if you miss the date by a bit and the pass isn't open there is Santiam Pass, but don't try to go too early.  Spring snow and cold isn't unusual and it can be bad enough to be dangerous so don't fudge on the date and try to go W-E real early on the regular TA route.  I'd suggest early June at the earliest and I'd be inclined to push it back a bit if I knew I needed to in order to ride McKenzie Pass.

Routes / Re: Brit riding across the US
« on: November 19, 2021, 07:56:51 am »
I have not ridden Route 66, but I have crossed much of the general area that it covers.  I have ridden the Trans America and the Southern Tier.  I have also done a number of other ~1000 mile or more sections of the country, so I have some general notion of what much of the area is like.  In addition I have driven across the country a few times.  So my knowledge of the routes isn't perfect, but may be at least useful.

My general impression is that The TA is a wonderful sampling of what the rural US is like.  You will see "fly over land" and meet the folks who live there.  You will also see of the natural beauty that the country has to offer.  RT 66 offers a much more limited sampling.  My personal preference was to go W-E, but your proposed May start would require a E-W travel if doing the TA.  Nothing wrong with that though other than that the steepest climbing is in the east, despite the fact that the mountains are not that high.

General Discussion / Re: About trailering one's pet dog while touring?
« on: November 18, 2021, 09:03:55 am »
Having owned dogs for many years I cannot think of one that would have enjoyed long days in a trailer.
I chose not to address that part in my first post.  I have backpacked with my current dog when she was younger.  She did well and I think she enjoyed it.  She had run many thousands of trail miles with me so the trail part was easy.  She had great trail manners and she was well enough trained that I could point to where I wanted her to sleep and she would settle in there for the night.

I think that with some consideration for her needs she just might have enjoyed touring.  She always wants to be at my side and wants to please so she will do whatever she thinks I want her to.  A little approval and she is happy.  So she probably would have been okay with some form of tour.  Not my typical style of touring mind you, but maybe some modified form of it.  I really don't see cranking out long days day after day with her in the trailer as being fair to her.  These days I have my doubts that she'd enjoy any form of tour, she hates to have her routine changed in her old age.

Another dog may have entirely different needs.  I do recommend considering your dog's needs over your own first.  Then consider whether you really want to haul not only a dog, but also food and whatever else the dog needs.

General Discussion / Re: About trailering one's pet dog while touring?
« on: November 18, 2021, 07:55:29 am »
Any thoughts (pro and con : ), tips and/or true life adventure accounts of
trailering one's pet dog while touring?
I thank you.
I love my dog.  We are inseparable at home, but I leave her home when I tour.  Hauling a 70 pound dog just isn't for me.

That said I have met a few folks who did manage to successfully tour with dogs.  I say tour, but the two guys I am thinking of were more or less living on the road full time.  Both had a trailer.  One had a Saluki Greyhound mix that rode in the trailer, but was kicked out to run along up long hills.  The other guy had two medium to large dogs that rode in the trailer or ran along depending on the terrain.

Both were in a mode of staying multiple days in one place.  I suspect one may stay multiple weeks at a time without going far, bouncing around warmshowers hosts in the same city and staying as long as his welcome lasted (I met him when he was a guest with us).  So I think he was essentially homeless and it may be a stretch to call what he did touring.  The other guy probably rode much farther and settled for a while when he liked a spot (I met him when we camped with him).

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