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Messages - mattdwyerva

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Routes / Re: TA - Kansas US 54
« on: Today at 11:54:23 am »
Golly, all the Unbound youtube videos I have watched for amusement, and I totally forgot about the sharp KS flint.   Thanks for the reminder.   Currently, we use 40 mm tubeless gravel tires, but I may add inserts and/or use something like the new Schwalbe tubeless Marathons.  Not a lot of bike shops on rural western roads. 

Here is my current plan, and I would appreciate any critiques.

Each segment is about a week (about 300 miles), until life happens of course.  I show hotels not CG, because my wife has a Spec. Vado SL ebike  to charge (w/spare batts), and I removed Warmshowers locations because this is a public copy and I don't want to dox hosts.  I show mile markers every 60 miles under the theory that we will ride about 50 miles per day with one rest day per week.   I have mileage to motels noted from start of week.  I generally save weblinks in points of interest since way easier to use website for updates vs phone until day of arrival.   If I have no internet, I can't make a phone call either.  Once upon a time I used a paper Mobil East Coast map to ride from ME to VA, keeping an eye on the sun for direction :),  but times change.

Most of the route as pretty easy to lay out, although I have 4 other WB alternates for the Annapolis to the C&O trail portion, and I am not crazy about any of them.  I am showing with the 4 lane stroad option there, sigh. 

I have ridewithgps maps for these if someone wants to see them, but I would have to clean them up by removing warmshowers host locations, and I am still tweaking.   On shorter tours (e.g, DC-Pittsburgh), I use daily ridewithgps routes, but not sure I will keep things up to date on the road for months.   


Routes / Re: TA - Kansas US 54
« on: Today at 07:59:05 am »
Thanks for the feedback, gentlemen.  I will review the Ridewithgps route links, thanks very much. 

I don't like either rumble strip location.   One shrinks the shoulder to a dangerously narrow strip and the other discourages cars from giving you the lane. 

I did see the 2022 traffic count looks to be about 2500 vehicles per day west of Eureka ( 

Line of sight is long there, but I don't trust driver judgement at 65 (80?) mph. 

I street-viewed the segment and colored yellow the ones that we likely won't ride if possible.   

Everyone has different comfort levels, of course, and my comments on that link are only based on possibly street view images (no experience on road).   

Routes / TA - Kansas US 54
« on: December 10, 2023, 06:08:11 pm »
Looking at street view of US 54 thru Kansas as I plan our 2024 WB tour, and I see it often features the horrible rumble strips in the middle of the road, which make trucks and cars pass too close, imo.   Speed limit is 65mph.   On street view, I see some areas have large gravel shoulders which may be rideable instead of the paving.   Our bikes are set up for gravel roads, and we are used to them as well.   Of course, we could detour more difficult segments as well, moving onto parallel gravel roads and then coming back for services.  Or I can just suck it up and ride it, unhappily, but not sure my wife can do it safely for very long, which may be a problem. 

Street view -,-95.5243375,3a,90y,124.18h,92.68t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1ssICuodDNA5B-jkxl2On1iA!2e0!7i16384!8i8192?entry=ttu

Conditions vary of course, for example...
some gravel shoulder:,-96.4036432,3a,75y,297.89h,87.21t/data=!3m7!1e1!3m5!1sB6JjS9GgnSRtZ_3lTt2CWw!2e0!!7i16384!8i8192?entry=ttu

I am currently routing us via Katy Trail to Iola and then US54 to the TA.   So about 80 miles on 54. 

If you have ridden this, let me know what you think. 


Routes / Re: Trans Am Rockies Camping - Bears?
« on: December 10, 2023, 08:08:02 am »
Don, good to hear it worked for you.  Reviews on REI are not very positive, but I am considering it

Routes / Re: Trans Am Rockies Camping - Bears?
« on: December 08, 2023, 07:48:40 pm »
Thanks John, sounds reasonable

Routes / Re: Trans Am Rockies Camping - Bears?
« on: December 08, 2023, 04:44:45 pm »
Thanks, staehpj1.  Sounds good. 

I had raccoons steal a lot of food one night on a canoe trip way, way up the Allagash waterway in the distant past.    The only reason we had some left is they got into a fight over it and woke us up... so yeah, they can be a problem. 

Routes / Re: Trans Am Rockies Camping - Bears?
« on: December 08, 2023, 03:08:42 pm »
Yes, thanks. is an interesting site also, although maybe not up to date. 

My question is whether people bring canisters on the TransAm route.  Any thoughts?  Sounds like you hang food still as a tactic, where allowed by the park in question? 

Shen. NP allows hanging food, but I chatted with ranger there this summer who bemoaned the practice.   Lots of hikers on the AT and nearby trails and (black) bears are struggling. 

Routes / Trans Am Rockies Camping - Bears?
« on: December 08, 2023, 12:10:43 pm »
Are bear canisters used/required/wise for the TA in the Rockies?   I would guess that Yellowstone is the most likely problem area, but not sure.  Seems like most CG are very near paved roads on the TA, but not sure if that has proven to be adequate to discourage bears.  I know some CG provide storage spaces.

So, basically, should anyone riding the TA usually bring canister for these sections if they intend to use campgrounds?  I don't think hanging food is normal anymore, although I have done that. 


Routes / Re: TA to/from Boulder
« on: August 09, 2023, 10:58:58 am »
Found some options on which would work, and it occurs to me that we could rent a car/van in Pueblo probably and drive to/from Boulder which is pretty simple if bikes can fit in/on the car or if the bikes are dropped off at a shop for an overhaul for a week. 

Routes / TA to/from Boulder
« on: August 09, 2023, 06:03:18 am »
In 2024, planning on riding a cross country tour, mostly featuring Trans Am.  Possible time in Boulder CO for family reasons, and wondered if anyone had advice on ways to get from the TA to Boulder and back?

I see this question was asked in 2006 without replies.  I am wondering what roads are like for riding from Breckenridge or Pueblo to Boulder, or if I should look for outfitters to get a lift($?).

I'm live in Virginia, so I'm used to having route choices but small roads not so common out West I realize.  Probably riding 40 mm tubeless tires or 44's, so gravel/dirt is not terrible. 

Routes / Mid Atlantic Short Route Detour
« on: October 25, 2022, 07:32:48 am »
On the Mid Atlantic Short Route, info correctly notes that Whites Ferry is closed.  It has been closed for over one year and reopening seems unlikely in near term as there is a legal dispute. Google has ignored my edit to show it as closed as of this writing

I have a detour that you may wish to reference which two warmshower's guests said worked well.  It does include some gravel, but not a lot.  It's my backyard, so I know a zero gravel version and big gravel version as well, but this one is good for range of bikes, imo. 

Here is a link to it for consideration:

Routes / Re: Florence to Astoria
« on: August 15, 2022, 09:59:55 am »
Great traffic link thanks

Routes / Re: Florence to Astoria
« on: August 15, 2022, 06:41:43 am »
I'll play it by ear somewhat, but it's traffic similar?  I guess I can check street view a bit for sense of the road conditions (width, etc).  Does the interior route get logging traffic or is that more east of Eugene?

Routes / Florence to Astoria
« on: August 14, 2022, 08:37:58 pm »
Planning WB trip that may go thru Eugene OR on the Trans Am.  I see main ACA route to Astoria, but we're contemplating a detour to Florence, and going up the Pacific Coast trail as an alternate route (still going to Astoria).

I see many comments about the wind along the coast, and I see data on that, backing up the stories (

Other than wind, what are the prime considerations on choosing between these 2 routes? 

Connecting ACA Routes / Re: Trans Am planning
« on: August 05, 2022, 06:32:58 am »
I'll check it out, thanks.  We do have portable spare battery (2 perhaps) as mentioned in prior post. If a cafe is used to laptops, they may not object to us charging them.  Of course the cafe must be in a town for that to work, and we would be taking a 2-3 hour break in that case.

Yes, I understand it's "hilly". I have ridden some in the Rockies (eg, climbed Mt Evans, Icefields Parkway, Kootenai) and done countless miles on the Skyline Drive and the Blue Ridge Parkway near our home, often with my wife, and once with her on an old ebike.  I love riding in mtns.  Not everyone likes it. I've seen people crack up there - angry at the "hill" that never seems to end.  You go around a bend, and it continues upward.  Hard for some to calm down, accept the slow slow pace, and appreciate the beauty of the views at those times.

The Eastern Express is a good way to start building confidence and testing basics, I hope.   Less reason to go thru Afton VA, now that the wonderful trail angel, June Curry, has passed.  I am grateful that we got to know her a bit years ago.

I purchased ACA gpx data for route planning using ridewithgps, and used Frank Moritz data for E Express.  I can't share my map links due to ACA copyright of course.  We may take paper backups.  I once rode from Maine to Virginia using an East Coast map - not enough detail but all they had at the gas station in Maine

I have some test trips planned over the next year with my wife including the Skyline Drive (16 of the first 22 miles are uphill).  I never like brand new gear on tour if I can help it.  Supply chain may force me to break that rule for some things, but the ebike will be tested at least, as will we.  Either of one of us may fail, or life may intervene - I guess we'll see.

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