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Messages - ChromolyWally

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General Discussion / Re: Computers and the bike
« on: November 09, 2011, 01:08:37 pm »
I've carried a netbook on three tours so far.  At 3 pounds it's worth it to me.  Did a tour before that with just a smart phone, and although it did the job, it was much easier and more convenient on the netbook.  I used it for CrazyGuy, e-mail, news, finances, and entertainment.  I had about 20 movies on the netbook's hard drive, which came in handy from time to time.

General Discussion / Re: Pacific Coast 2012
« on: November 09, 2011, 12:47:11 pm »
I've done the Oregon and Northern California sections twice.  First start was August 10th, 2008, second was September 17th of this year.  Got rained on both times, but much more so this year.    Also had some foggy days, as well as a few with a lot of sun.  As far as traffic, I was hoping for a big decrease by starting in September but was quite disappointed.  There was still a lot of traffic, especially in Northern Oregon.  It did lighten up once I got South of Coos Bay. 

If you've never ridden it before, it's a spectacular ride in terms of scenery.  I think people usually take a month or so to do the whole thing.  It would take me about 6 weeks.  I like days off.

General Discussion / Re: Hello. I am new to the forum
« on: November 05, 2011, 02:30:24 pm »
Welcome to the forum.   Sorry to hear about the loss of your bike.  I've lost two myself, one to theft and the other got swallowed up by a river near flood stage.   Not a good feeling, but maybe an opportunity to get exactly what you want this time.  Best of luck.

Routes / Re: Pacific Coast in January-February
« on: October 08, 2011, 05:06:28 pm »
I just finished a truncated tour of the Pacific Coast (Oregon to N. Cal) and got exactly two days of those famous tailwinds.  Every other day was a head wind, or calm.  And I got rained on about 30% of the time.  Riding it in Jan/Feb is about the last thing I'd want to do, but to each his/her own.

Personally, I'd much rather plan a route around AZ that time of year.  My first tour took place in AZ during early February, and the weather was great (60s to 70s), with the exception of one rather nasty storm that lasted one day.

The following is a quote from (reports), describing a typical January 31st in Astoria, OR.!reports;a=USA/OR/Astoria;tr=1/31


This report describes the average weather conditions at the Port Of Astoria Airport weather station on a generic January 31. It is based on a statistical analysis of the historical records from 1974 to 2011. Earlier records are either unavailable or have been deemed to be too unreliable to include in this analysis.

The temperature typically varies from 40°F to 48°F and is rarely below 31°F or above 55°F. The coolest hours of the day are from 11pm to 9am with the coldest at 7am, at which time the temperature is below 46°F three days out of four. The warmest hours of the day are from noon to 5pm with the hottest at 3pm, at which time the temperature is above 45°F three days out of four. The day has gained half its heat by 11am and lost it again by 7pm.


The sky is typically overcast with 99% of the sky covered. The sky is 93% covered (mostly cloudy) or cloudier three days out of five. There is little variation in the cloud coverage over the course of the day.


There is a 69% chance that precipitation will be observed at some point during the day. The average liquid-equivalent quantity of precipitation is 0.28 inches. Among only those days for which there is at least some precipitation, the average is 0.40 inches and the total rarely exceeds 0.85 inches. When precipitation does occur it is most often in the form of moderate rain (49% of days with precipitation have at worst moderate rain), slight rain (31% of days with precipitation have at worst slight rain), heavy rain (7% of days with precipitation have at worst heavy rain), and slight snow (6% of days with precipitation have at worst slight snow). Precipitation is observed with more or less equal probability throughout the day.


The wind speed is 8 mph on average and is rarely outside the range 2 mph to 16 mph. The wind speed does not vary substantially during the course of the day. The wind is most often out of the east (31% of the time). The wind is least often out of the north west (3% of the time) and north (4% of the time).


General Discussion / Re: Great Music For My Tour? Suggestions?
« on: October 03, 2011, 12:37:18 pm »
Depending on my mood at the time I like:

Dire Straits - On the Night album
Stevie Ray Vaughn - anything
Green Day
Hayes Carll
David Gray
Sarah McLachlan
Norah Jones
Van Morrison
Blue Oyster Cult

... and the list goes on.

I've been listening to music while riding for nearly 20 years.  Not always.  Much of the time I enjoy the quiet, but sometimes I want to get pumped.  Nothing gets the endorphins flowing like hard riding and good music.  About the only time I don't feel safe listening to music while riding is on shoulder-less fast roadways where I really need to hear something coming up behind me.  In areas of heavy traffic, I don't find that it matters.  Cars and trucks are coming up behind me incessantly, and music is a welcome relief from the constant whining of tires and thunder of loud engines.  I'm already keeping one eye in the mirror and the other on the road ahead anyway.

Edit:  Just read about 20 pages of your journal.  Very inspiring and admirable.  Love the photos as well as the very good writing.  I see that you're religious.  I'm not, particularly, but thought you might also get some inspiration from an artist such as Amy Grant.  I used to enjoy one of her albums - I think it was called Heart in Motion.

More power to you - may the wind stay at your back, and the roads rise to meet you.

General Discussion / Re: pacific coast route weather/october
« on: September 17, 2011, 02:35:40 am »
I'm starting from northern Oregon tomorrow.  Heading down to L.A. somewhere. Wouldn't you know, forecast for tomorrow and Sunday is rain.  Looks ok after that in the near term.  But it's always a gamble on the coast, especially the further north you are.  I ran into a 3-day winter-like storm in mid August 2008 near Newport, Oregon.  It can rain any month of the year.  Oct on the CA coast can be beautiful, or you could hit rain there too. Just prepare for rain and enjoy any sun you happen to get.

One place I like to go for weather guesses is    Search for weather in whatever city you're interested in, then under the "More" tab click on "Reports" for a rather detailed guess (along with the probability) on what the weather will be for any given date, based on decades of data.

Gear Talk / Re: MTB or Toruing bike for touring with bob yak
« on: August 23, 2011, 04:08:42 pm »
I usually start a tour weighing about ten pounds over twice the loaded rig weight, and end the tour 5 to ten pounds under.  Wish I could keep that weight off between tours.

Gear Talk / Re: MTB or Toruing bike for touring with bob yak
« on: August 22, 2011, 12:45:03 pm »
I've only toured on an mtb with panniers and it works so well I see no need to look into a touring bike, or a trailer.  The mtb is rigid frame, an old Specialized Hard Rock 7-speed.  Stock gearing.    Out of curiosity I once weighed my racks and panniers (Ortlieb Front and Backrollers) to compare them with the weight of a trailer (BOB Yak Plus) and the Yak was heavier by 4 pounds.  I am not by any means an ultralight tourer and have no desire to become one (bike, bags, gear, food, water, and the kitchen sink, usually weigh in at about 80 pounds), but an extra 4 pounds is too much for me, especially when panniers already work so well.  If I had a lighter bike that might not handle the weight of the panniers so well, I'd definitely look at the Yak though.  To each his/her own.

General Discussion / Re: What I Learned - My First Long Distance Tour
« on: July 18, 2011, 12:06:15 pm »
Great list of advice.  I would probably just add one thing, which is more pre-tour than the tour itself.  Know your route.  Meaning, know what kind of hills to expect, what kind of weather conditions, etc.  From that information you will know how much training you need to do, if any.  Long tour with unlimited time?  Might be possible to train on the tour itself by starting out slow with short days, taking frequent days off, and building as you go.    If time is more limited, and/or if you're way out of shape, pre-tour training would be highly recommended.

Gear Talk / Re: iPod charger for your bicycle
« on: July 13, 2011, 07:54:24 pm »
I use a New Trent iCruiser IMP1000 USB battery pack to recharge my smart phone, GPS, and mp3 player.  Works great, fits easily in my handlebar bag, fully recharges devices many times before needing a charge itself.  Allows me to go up to a week without grid power.  Tried solar but couldn't find anything that would work reliably with my phone, and didn't want to go the dyno route.

General Discussion / Re: Just the Bear essentials
« on: July 12, 2011, 04:01:51 pm »
REI has an interesting article about bears along with a list of some places where the canisters are required.  Probably is not a complete list.  Best practice is to check with the federal authorities that govern the specific locations through which you plan to pass.

My closest encounter with a bear was when one entered my brother's car near Emerald Bay (Tahoe), opened my cooler and ate nearly everything in it.  This campground had bear boxes, but they were totally full.  We put the cooler inside his Prius, closed all vents and windows, and covered it so it was out of sight.  The bear actually opened the door by the door handle.  The car was unharmed, other than food and bear fur all over the inside.

General Discussion / Re: The evil plant!
« on: July 09, 2011, 02:09:36 pm »
My experience with Slime was not as good as yours.  Two of us were touring on an unpaved rail trail.  My friend had slime, I had thick tubes and liners.  He got 5 flats, I got none.  The slime did nothing for him but ooze green goop all over, making it impossible for us to get a patch to hold on the tube.  Thankfully we had spare tubes. YMMV, I guess.

General Discussion / Re: Just the Bear essentials
« on: July 08, 2011, 07:16:01 pm »
As horrific as this is you still have to remember this is the first fatality since 1986 if I recall.

It was the first grizzly-related fatality since 1986 within Yellowstone's boundary.  But there have been other fatalities outside of Yellowstone, including two last year in two separate incidents outside of the park's boundary.   One of those happened just days after I left the area.  I know it's unlikely to be attacked by a grizzly, but they still make me nervous.

General Discussion / Re: The evil plant!
« on: July 08, 2011, 01:40:54 pm »
When I saw the title of this thread I was sure it was going to be about poison oak/ivy, the bane of my existence.

Long ago I was commuting home from work and had to cross about 5 feet of dirt/grass (so I thought) from the road to a dedicated bike path.  Normally I would have been on that bike path sooner but traffic prevented me from getting on at the usual location.  I picked up 14 goatheads in that 5 feet.  Flattened both tires.  That was the experience that taught me to always carry spare tubes.  Didn't have enough patches to fix all that, ended up walking the bike home, about 6 miles.

General Discussion / Re: Just the Bear essentials
« on: July 05, 2011, 07:19:44 pm »
I live in the forest outside of Grants Pass.  Have never seen a bear around here, although I know they are around.  Have found scat on our property, but only once in three years.  Rode the Pacific Coast a few years ago - zero bear encounters.

Sounds like you are planning on taking Hwy 199 to the coast from here.  Be aware that much of the California section is shoulder-less two-lane road with lots of turns and a good amount of truck traffic (55 mph).  Can be done but it won't be relaxing by any means.  I wouldn't want to try it myself.

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