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Messages - Westinghouse

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General Discussion / Re: Trans America Trail The Eastern Third (video)
« on: October 22, 2021, 11:18:54 pm »
Despite the pandemic, I was able to get some touring in this summer. Just wanted to share it with y'all through video. If you have nothing better to do, check it out and let me know what you think. Thanks.

That is a good video. I watched and listened.

General Discussion / Re: Best book you've read on bicycle travel
« on: October 22, 2021, 10:34:05 pm »
The classic Miles to Nowhere by Barbara Savage.  Just a really good book.

Same here. I read it six times.

General Discussion / Re: Northern Tier East to West June - August 2022
« on: September 24, 2021, 07:44:46 am »
No, not me. You will find the northern tier route very good for cycling. I did 2600 miles of it in 1987, west to east. I flew to Seattle from Florida to avoid the head winds I hear about. There were some strong following winds. How strong? Like tearing along at 30 mph and going over hills and rises hardly needing to pedal. I would say the winds were 40 mph, maybe stronger at times. That did not go on for a long time, but I would not have wanted to go against it. You most likely will not need cold weather gear till after the foot hills, out west. You will be climbing a long time, sweating hard, and going into high altitude cold. Use breathable fabric for your jacket and pants. If not, you will be soaked, cold, with no way to dry and get warm.

General Discussion / Re: Finding accommodation
« on: September 24, 2021, 07:14:49 am »
Just google for hotels, motels and hostels for whatever town. It works, but sometimes less expensive options might not be listed, for which there may or might not be good reasons. The international youth hostel association or the one in the USA should have a list. I cycled and hosteled all around England, Scotland and Wales and much of western Europe. The books for hostels gave much information, not just about the locations of hostels, but also about phone numbers, open and closed seasons, directions from bus stops and train stations, rules, availability of food and more. I found European hostels more in the spirit of traveling on one's own steam than American hostels. In American hostels I saw almost nothing of hikers and cyclists. One had a rule of no Americans without a passport showing international travel within the past six months. Another had bad attitude characters hanging around. You have to make your choices when you get there. I saw the differences between the American hosteling scene and that in Europe. In Europe hostelers were bicycle tourists, hikers, and tourists using trains. Intended for those traveling by foot or bicycle, when a cyclist or hiker and a motorist showed up at the same time and only one bed was left, the bed went to the cyclist or hiker. In the USA hostels cater to young tourists, often foreigners, who travel by bus, train, rented cars and airplanes. Hostels are places where young travelers newly seeing the world gather with others of their age and experience. It matters not how you travel, whether you just cycled 10,000 miles and need a place to say in the city, or whether you just drove 10 miles from the airport. The idea of long distance cycling and hiking seems to be lost to so many people.

General Discussion / Re: Hillbilly dogs
« on: September 09, 2021, 03:42:56 pm »
Here is a detailed answer about dogs. I wrote it on another thread for a disabled veteran planning a transcontinental bicycling tour on a recumbent bike.

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 and sound 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. For those dogs I would seriously recommend using a flame thrower. I have never encountered dogs anywhere even remotely that ferocious in the USA. Thank God for that chain link fence. Those were raised to be extremely murderously violent.

 Stiff-soled shoes are what you need. The PCBR is hilly, and wait till you get to Legget, California. It's all steep switchbacks up, and a thrilling long freewheel down. Check your brakes. Grinding uphill is where you feel the big difference between athletic shoes and cycling shoes. There are many steep horseshoe bends, and there is "the hill." You have seven devils road. It is up and down like a roller coaster.

General Discussion / Re: What cyclists see, and nobody else.
« on: September 04, 2021, 02:10:08 am »
Bungee cords were the most numerous items of all, by far. I thought to myself, if I could collect them all, I could make money selling them at the flea market. Many times there were packs of new cords unopened, as if they fell off a truck. Wrenches and gadgets and cell phones and jewelry and shoes and diapers and plastic bags full on who knows what and snakes and the dried bones of foxes and bob cats, the faded old back-pack left behind a guardrail post, the dragon fly on the tip of the limb, the odor and sight of carrion and a lot more line the roadsides.There is something else the cyclist sees that motorists do not. He sees people describing obviously hilly roads ahead as flat.  I know why they say hilly is flat, and it is an interesting observation of human cognition.

General Discussion / Re: Laundry
« on: August 10, 2021, 10:41:18 pm »
Once in a while I used a sink or shower to hand wash. Mostly I used a coin laundry. Once I went nine or ten days with no shower and wearing the same clothes. I got used to it. After a while it felt fine. Someone offered me a shower in a hostel in Lviv, Ukraine. The rest room was so filthy nasty I took a look, got a whiff, turned around and walked away. I would go a lifetime unwashed if a pig sty like that were the only place to wash myself.

General Discussion / Re: British rider doing Trans AM 2022
« on: August 08, 2021, 12:13:42 am »
Use the city and the state and you cannot go wrong.  There is a book titled, "The History of the English Language." It was published by the BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation). It covers the etymology of American English. I read it and about 50 other books on English. I wrote about 350,000 words in that subject alone. The book has your screen name, RiffRaff. They say it originated in the culture of the Mississippi river in the 1800s. The various classes of people who traveled the river got named according to their status and wealth and the lack of them. The richest and best dressed travelers were often seen on the top decks of steam boats. That was where the smoke stacks were, also called falutes in those days. These people were referred to as high falutin.This term is used today to refer to a person who is above it all, or better than others. Many others could not afford the passage. They might not have been fit for decent society. They might have been the scallawags, the drifters, the uneducated, in and out of jail. These people built or bought or stole wooden rafts. They steered and paddle their ways. The words riff raff had to do with their mode of transportation and themselves. They were considered rabble and malefactors on rafts. Not all of the raft riders were bad people. Take Huck and Jim as two exceptions to the rule.

General Discussion / Re: In need of a few hints for NT route and food
« on: August 07, 2021, 11:43:07 pm »
In case you have not started by this time, here is some advice. Try, if you can, to keep out of the convenience store trap. I got caught in it many days in my years of bicycle touring. There may be many long extents of roadway where the horribly, malnutritious c-store non-food is the only edible you will get into your muscles and blood stream for days. It is dirt in your gas tank. Some stores do it up for eating more than others, and many have only what would kill you if you were to eat only it for years.  It might be helpful to plan your itinerary around towns that sell fresh fruits and vegetables, legumes and whole grains. Those maps from adventure cycling association would have that ready-made. As for myself, I would get the information online and write it down.

General Discussion / What cyclists see, and nobody else.
« on: August 01, 2021, 11:58:57 pm »
What you see when you pedal a bicycle across the continental United States.

There were items of clothing, bungee cords, hypo-needles, a kitchen sink here and there, mufflers, condoms,

a deer cut in half, dead dogs and various road kills, and at the bottom of a drainage ditch a rolled up carpet

with legs sticking out of one end. I got the hell out of there and did not look back. It was December 1984 just

east of No Trees, Texas. It was a bicycling tour from FL to CA. Even more chilling, we spent a sleepless night

in a small tent in a blizzard. I had to chip ice off the components to make them functional.

General Discussion / Re: Best Tips for Cooking on the Road
« on: July 25, 2021, 05:07:40 pm »
This is a very interesting subject with a lot of people's good advice, great stuff.

I'm not a cook by any stretch of the imagination, and neither is a friend of mine who is an avid backpacker, and he told me just to go to YouTube and search: "cheap food for backpacking".  So I watched all of those, and basically do that type of food.  I use freeze-dried low-fat milk for my cook cereal.  I did take eggs once because I found they're good for about 24 hours not in the fridge.  I try to find stuff high in carbs for energy which that cheap Walmart method is pretty good at finding that source.

It was 1981 in Northern Ireland. 10 republican men were on hunger strike in prison. I think it was H block in her majesty's prison the Maze. The best known "blanket man" was Bobby Sands. He survived nearly 70 days without eating any food whatsoever. It was a national outcry when he died. I read 100,000 people attended his funeral. The other nine starved themselves to death in protest. Generally speaking, you can go about two months with no food at all, but after a month or so, health and strength decline greatly. It is a horrible way to die. But anyway, two months is about it for no food at all.

Yes, that freeze dried food is too expensive. I do not like it, either. One thing about the high carb foods for backpackers. That is meant for being on trails for days at a time away from sources of other food. When cycling over the road long distances there are usually always stores and restaurants. You do not need that Wal Mart stuff. You need fresh fruits and vegetables, live vitamins, minerals, enzymes and protein and more. Man cannot live on carbs alone. You will need real nutrition. Backpacker food may be good for a carb load, but be sure to get the other foods regularly.

Did you know you can starve to death if you ate nothing but protein foods like lean meat?  I watch that Surviving Alone contest show, and the people they put on are really good, and considered professionals at surviving alone in the wild.  The contest is who can last the longest, and they check your weight every week and if you lost too much weight and are in the danger zone you're pulled from the game and it's over for you.  The longest anyone has ever gone on that show was 72 days, and though they won, they had lost a lot of weight, because all they can find in the wilderness is live meat, plants and nuts are not plentiful enough to survive.  Not sure what that has to do with our discussion, I just found it fascinating that not even highly trained survivalist can last long, probably around 80 days before they would die.  The biggest problem in the wild is finding enough carbs to have energy.

Anyway, I haven't gone long enough to worry about the fruit and vegetable thing yet, but you are correct you do need that on a long tour, however, a human can live a normal life with eating very little in the way of fruits or vegetables.  Some societies have lived in areas where they never ate any fruits or vegetables, but their lives are not as long as those that do.  But if necessary even on a long tour in the backcountry away from restaurants and Walmarts and you would be just fine without fruits and veggies.

There are freeze-dried veggies you can find, like this:

I can't eat dark leafy veggies like Kale due to that's one of the things that produces kidney stones in me, so I avoid it, once in a blue moon I'm ok, but not eating it regularly.  Also, I have to restrict my protein level somewhat too, because too much protein can cause kidney stones in me as does nuts.

Some cheap freeze dried store-bought food like cup a noodles have dehydrated veggies like peas.  There are health and natural stores that sell veggie chips.  Also, you can buy green veggie powder supplements but those are a bit pricy but you can get a lot of veggies that take up a very small amount of space.  If a person insists on taking fresh veggies then do know this, that for some reason organic veggies tend to last longer without fridging than regular veggies, someone may want to confirm if that's true, but that's what I've heard but it doesn't make any sense to me as to why that would be the case.  Seaweed is another good source of veggie that doesn't take up much space, but I'm not sure if I can consume that due to my kidney stone issue, the last thing I want on a tour or camping trip is that mess!  The kidney stone issue is why I carry so much water, around 175 ounces, and between drinking it and using it to cook with I can go through all of that in a 24 hour period because even on a normal no riding bike day I try to drink at least 6 16 ounces of water, that's 96 ounces right there, and that's not riding a bike day!  So you can see why I need to bring so much water, which is why I try to go to places that have either a camp store or stores nearby so I can buy more water, it's also why I carry a small Sawyer water filter just in case.

So there are ways to get veggies into your diet even if there are no stores around to buy the stuff, carrying fresh veggies takes too much space in a pannier, and there is the question as to how long they'll last, and the reality is you're not going to die unless the tour is going to last 20 years or more and never be near any stores to obtain it along the way, so people would be more than fine going for 6 months out in the boondocks away from fresh veggies and fruit, which I don't think anyone either backpacking or on a long off-road bicycle trip would be anywhere near that many months without getting a hold of fresh veggies and fruit.

I wrote a manuscript about my world bicycle touring. It is about 120,000 words. I have it right here. I wrote it from field notes in 1994, and revised it in 1997-1998. If I ever do become properly ambitious about anything in life, I might publish it some day.

General Discussion / Tip for safer cycling. Tip for cleaner cycling.
« on: July 25, 2021, 01:31:19 am »
First, the tip for safer cycling on sidewalks. Technically, cycling sidewalks may be an infraction in some towns, and where there usually is pedestrian traffic it makes sense not to do it. However, in many places you never see people walking on sidewalks. Everybody drives. For example, there is a three mile stretch of sidewalk I cycled more than 200 times. Not once did I encounter a walker, ever. In such places as these it is perfectly acceptable and much safer than using the roadway, especially where there is heavy traffic and no side / bike lane. This tip is useful under certain circumstances, and here those circumstances are.

It is a four lane roadway with a median with no crossing. You are on the sidewalk moving against traffic. For example, you are going north and traffic is moving south. There are stores and strip malls and restaurants and what have you. They all have parking lots where cars can enter from the road, and exit from the lots onto the road. A car pulls out to the stop line or partly onto the sidewalk. The driver is waiting for traffic to clear so he can enter the roadway. Because he knows people do not use the sidewalks, he has his head cranked around 180 degrees away from you. He might have no idea you are there at all. You might think it is OK to go in front of him and keep going because he is stopped. Well, what I have seen many times is this. He keeps his head facing only in the direction of oncoming traffic. He sometimes lets off the brake and moves forward to be nearer the edge of the road for when he makes his move to drive. If you are there you can get hit.

If the driver looking in the opposite direction has a passenger when stopped you will see the passenger alert the driver who will turn his head in your direction. Before that he does not have any idea you are there. Beware of this situation if you get in it. The pattern is for the driver to pull up, looking in opposite direction from where you are, and jockeying forward once, twice maybe three times and then taking off when traffic clears for him with no clue you are there unless he has a passenger who alerts him. Cycling in front of him could be hazardous. I have seen this pattern so many many times. If the windows are darkly tinted you cannot see whether he can see you or whether or not he has a passenger.

Second is cycling with cleaner air. This rule applies for any kind of road that has sidewalks that allow for making the adjustment. You are cycling north in some place with steady, bumper to bumper traffic much of which can emit illegal concentrations of poisonous exhaust fumes. The wind is blowing west to east and you are on the east side or road. All the way the wind blows the fumes onto you. You can get onto the west side sidewalk or path. That way the wind hits you first and the traffic second. That way you get clean fresh air, and the pollution is forced away from you by the wind and not onto you. I have make the adjustment many times when I knew I would be in heavy traffic for a while. It makes the difference between getting clean fresh air in you lungs, and having to suck up fumes from every car and truck that passes.

General Discussion / Re: Daytime Lights in Montana
« on: July 09, 2021, 02:39:40 pm »
When it comes to politicians and legislators, animals have the advantage over humans. Animals do not allow the dumbest to lead the herd. A special permit to cycle across the state? All that would make cycling safer, maybe. Maybe if drivers get their faces out of their cell phones, stop driving drunk, and keep their eyes on the road, they might even see those lights and reflectors and vests and bells and whistles and whatever.

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