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Messages - zzzz

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Routes / Re: What is Your Favorite Cross Country Route and Why?
« on: July 24, 2022, 07:34:52 pm »
I will to comment about loneliness on tour. This is extraordinarily per the individual. I am not antisocial but I always tour alone and I have never felt lonely on tour. Since I generally tour in September I see many fewer riders than most even on mapped ACA routes. When I rode from Banff to Fairbanks I saw 2 riders over 21 days.

When I’m on tour I’m in my happy place, soaking in the scenery, thinking about what the rest of the day holds, what I’ve seen so far, big climbs coming up….anything and everything. It is a mind cleanse!

And when I stop for breakfast, lunch, or dinner I’ve had some of the most interesting conversations with the local folks. How I understand my fellow Americans (and Canadians!) has undergone a sea change over my 6 long tours. I may still hold views completely different from them but I see their humanity fully. You mostly do not have these conversations when riding with other people.

I just wanted to encourage anyone who’s concerned about being lonely, you may find you love being alone!

General Discussion / Re: Transamerica help - May 2022 start
« on: April 19, 2022, 11:46:09 am »

You are flying! I pride myself on doing big days and I was averaging 100/day between Murhpysboro and eastern Va and and that stretch took me 12 or 13 days and you did in 10.

I believe the only pass that's flat-out closed in your near future is Independence Pass. Maybe Jama will get back on and give you some advice around that. Also at your pace Makenzie Pass in Oregon will still be closed as well. That's really a shame because Makenzie is one of the most  extraordinary stretches of road in the country but Santium Pass is an easy work around.

When I crossed the US I took the Western Express route between Pueblo Colorado and San Francisco and I enjoyed it thoroughly (the 2 routes intersect in Pueblo). The big passes on the WE (Monarch, Lizard Head, & Boulder) are all plowed year round. I love southern Utah and I think it's a fair trade off but you would miss the Tetons and Yellowstone.


General Discussion / Re: TAT and mental health
« on: January 26, 2022, 10:23:13 am »
Hi Tom:

I'll add 2 things.

Im not sure how bad your insomnia is, but I don't sleep well on the road at all. If I get 4 hours a night I consider myself lucky. doesn't affect me while I'm on tour. It's possible this is unique to me and I certainly pay the price when I get home. Being a guy "of a certain age" a middle of the night trip to the bathroom is a requirement and for the first 2 weeks that I'm back at home I'm so disoriented when I get up (presumably from weeks of short sleep) that I am completely disoriented in my own house. I've walked into walls, into doors, I actually keep a gate across my steps for fear of falling down them. But as long as I'm on the road, I'm fine.

I've always suspected that my ability to be unaffected on the road while way down on sleep reflects peoples innate ability to rise to what they need to do. This has also come into play w physical issues. I woke up one morning and got terrible back spasms in a very remote area on the Alaska Hywy (Summit Lake). For several minutes it was hard to breathe. But there was nothing to do but get on the bike and slowly/gently peddle and over the course of the morning it went away. People can be really resilient when there's little choice.

The other thing I'd add is what's the worst that's going to happen here? After 6 major road tours I decided to try my luck w the Great Divide which is a MTB ride. And it did not work out. Two weeks and 800 miles into the trip I came to the unmistakable conclusion that this was not good fit for me and I got off at the next big town. I was disappointed and a little embarrassed but that was it.

If the same happens to you, there is still the option of renting a car and seeing the places you intended to see. And you will be disappointed and a little embarrassed like I was. But you'll still have a great experience.


Gear Talk / Re: The shoe dilemma
« on: January 15, 2022, 08:33:38 pm »
I will throw this out there as a possible option for the OP.

Generally when I’ve been on a tour, I just ride w any incidental hiking done in the light running shoes i have with me. But a few years back I started a tour in Spokane that ended in Flagstaff and I knew I wanted to spend 3 days in Zion and do the 3 iconic hikes there and I wanted to hike to the bottom of the Grand Canyon. Before I left on the tour I packed up my hiking boots and addressed it for General Delivery to Springdale Ut and when I got to Zion I picked up my boots and went hiking. Because my boots aren’t that heavy and bulky (Merrill’s) I just carried them for the last five days of the tour for my hiking at the north and south rim.

So if you want to go on hikes spontaneously this won’t do you much good. But if your passing thru 1 or 2 or 5 spots on your tour that you’d like to take some time off the bike and get some hiking in, General Delivery can work pretty well.

Gear Talk / Re: Using a gravel bike for C2C ride - what am I missing?
« on: December 19, 2021, 08:07:04 pm »
To the OP:

My bike is probably pretty similar to your bike, it’s a road bike but it’s Ti w carbon fork, and I’ve taken 6 tours w it between 2 & 3 thousand miles each and in general it was fine.

I am of the UL packing school although at 15-20 lbs I’m not as light as some. When I took my first tour I had everything in the back. I was using the smallest of the Arkel canvas panniers and stacked the rest on the rack. I did have some front end shimmy problems on the fast descents w that set-up.

Since then I got a frame bag and these 2 little canvas sacks (I can’t remember who sells these) that tie to either fork leg. Neither of these adds a whole lot of additional volume in storage, instead I put the heaviest items I can fit in them to distribute the load a little better. So tools, spares, and toiletries go in the frame bag, food and extra water go in the forks bags.

That solved my occasional shimmy.

Routes / Re: Sierra Cascades
« on: November 21, 2021, 10:22:42 am »
Hi Bob:

I tour w a regular road bike that maxes out w 28mm tires. If I was to do it again I would have gotten a bike that accepts a little wider tire but it's been okay on all my tours. The road surface was for the most part fine w some short exceptions. Do not take the alternate route to Crater Lake. I do not have first hand knowledge but it's really for mountain bikes w very wide tires.

You say you're looking at Fresno and that should still allow you to take in Giant Sequoia, to me that was the last "can't miss" thing on the tour.

If you look at a persons post where their name is, the words Personal Message are there. Click on that and write your message.

Routes / Re: Sierra Cascades
« on: November 20, 2021, 08:49:06 pm »
Pete, I’ve been reading your posts for a long time, since I took my first tour in 2012 and your information sharing was a lodestar for me when I first started touring. I can honestly say that I never would have started touring (despite a lifetime of riding) if there wasn’t your guidance on how you can travel w 15-20lbs. And i did not think you were casting doubt on my honesty.

It occurs to me we literally had 2 different and opposite perspectives, I had to wrap up in LA 200 miles from the end in Mexico and you started at the Mexico end. I had only one afternoon where I was really suffering from the heat, it was at the beginning to the mid point of Monitor Pass and it is burned into my memory just how awful I felt until the elevation gain broke the heat. I suspect the heat you ran into from the start colored your perspective. As for Kelly’s journal, they ended their tour going south exactly where you ended yours going north.

I never did go off route for a room except 1 night I went 10 miles off route to South Lake Tahoe. It wasn’t intentional, I just made the turn and thought there has to be a hotel around here somewhere…..? and 10 miles later I was in SLT. It was actually a pretty lame side trip on my part. That said, there were some long tough days to get a room. I got to Winthrop after climbing Washington/Rainy Pass w over 100 miles for the day and every hotel was booked. I had to go another 10 miles to Twisp riding in the dark to get a room. The day that I referred to on my first post where I missed the Mt. St. Helens blowdown because I thought a 34 mile round trip was required, was another day where over a 100 miles was required to get a hotel room. And there were several days that I could have stopped at 45 or 55 miles at a town that was at the bottom of a really tough climb that was between me and the next town  30-50 miles down the road but I always seemed to elect to keep going rather then stop at 1 or 2 in the afternoon.

The ride was a beat down, certainly the way I did it, I loved it anyway. That was what was interesting to me about Kelly’s tour and her journal. She was not looking to challenge herself more then was required, she just wanted to do the route. I think she did have to go off route 3 or 5 miles to find more regularly spaced lodging. That was the reward for all her research, I was a slave to the sleeping guy icon on the ACA map.

Routes / Re: Sierra Cascades
« on: November 20, 2021, 07:11:55 pm »
You will notice that staehpj1 and my post line up fairly well about what’s in store for you, extraordinary route, a lot of climbing. We disagree a bit about the CC touring part. While going uphill has always been the one thing I’ve been pretty good at on a bike, and that was helpful for me, it is more possible to CC tour a large portion of this route then Pete believes.

Kelly Iniguez is a woman who goes on several significant tours a year. Her riding style is slow and steady on her recumbent, a 70 mile day is a really big day for her, most days are 40-50 miles. When she’s on tour w her husband he absolutely will not camp a single night. More then anything, when I have read her journals I have been taken w how well she plans her trips  and how that allows her and Jacinto to spend about 1/3 the money I spend a day on my tours.

She and Jacinto started the SC in Sumas (the Canadian border start) and ended in Truckee for 1386 miles in 30 days and slept in a bed every night. Because I’m a moron about all technical things I can’t link you directly to her journal from my iPad but if you type in: Kelly Iniguez The Granny Panties Tour Cycleblaze into google her journal will come up and you will find lots of useful information.

Routes / Re: Sierra Cascades
« on: November 19, 2021, 08:46:30 pm »
Oh! I feel super qualified to answer this one!

On September 1,2015 I started in Bellingham Wa, rode the the 35+- miles up to the official start at the Canadian border and then south to LA over the next 28 days. I  CC toured the entire trip except 1 night when I camped in a campground when I was caught in a storm going up a pass in Washington. But there’s some places on route that are pretty far apart between hotels and the route can grind you down. I did 700 miles the first week, 600 the second week/ 500 the third week, and 400 the forth week. That’s a little misleading because there was some things that took away from my riding time the last 2 weeks but still, I couldn’t keep up the mileage of the first 2 weeks.

I have started all of my tours as late in the year as is reasonable which September is for the SC route. On the plus side I dealt w very little extreme heat. The argument against this is that it’s the heart of the wildfire season.  And I did deal w some smoke along the way but I mostly threaded the needle. There’s no guarantees on this.

There’s a lot of climbing on this route so make sure you’re in really good shape before you start. This is not a tour you want to ride yourself into shape.

 As for specific suggestions:

1)if I was to do do it again I would take the day off at Chelan and take the boat ride to Stehelkin. It’s written up in the “Field Notes” on your maps, I skipped it and I’m sorry I did.

2) At the very beginning of SC 2/ map #17 you’ll come to an an intersection of Forrest Rds (FR 25 & 26) and a sign will say Mt. St. Helens 17 miles. I looked at that sign and thought I can’t add 34 miles to my day and kept riding on the route. BIGGEST MISTAKE IVE EVER MADE ON TOUR. it turns out if you just go around the corner you can see the blow down from the eruption. Do not make the same mistake!

3) On map #24 I made a detour off route at 20 then down to 242 and went up and over Mackenzie Pass. It added 40 miles to the day but it was well worth it. Most cyclists will argue it’s the nicest pass to ride in the country or maybe #2 after Logan Pass at Glacier NP.

4)the rim road at Crater Lake is worth it but after the tough climb up to the lake and the up and down of the rim rd you’ll be pretty beat. Then you have a giant descent. In the town of Prospect it shows a sign for Cyclist Only camping. The couple who own that ranch/farm also put in a apartment at the 2nd floor of their barn. If you don’t want to camp you can rent that for the night pretty cheap.

5) I lucked out on this one, w/o any specific planning I left Mt. Shasta on a Saturday morning and stopped Sunday night about 30 miles short of Quincy. The reason this was lucky was because there is a tremendous amount of lumber truck traffic on 89 during the week heading to a mill in Quincy so I missed most of it though I did get a sample of it for a couple of hours Monday morning. The road is narrow and windy w a limited shoulder and the trucks are loaded. I will say the driver were courteous.

6) I assume a big reason why you want to do this ride is because of the triple treat of Yosemite/Kings Canyon/ Giant Sequoia and they alone would be worth the ride. In particular I felt incredibly moved seeing the big trees. The tip I can give you here is some 100 miles south of seeing the General Grant and Sherman and taking in their magesty while surrounded by a couple hundred tourists there is a place called the Grove of a Hundred Giants. It’s not marked on the SC map, but it’s on the route about 3 miles south of Johnsondale (see map #57). I was the only person there among a grove of a 100 of the big trees. I just wondered around for a couple of hours taking it in. I did see it was hit by fire this year, I hope the big trees are okay.

7) Tehachapi Pass is one of the 7 wonders of the railroad world. When you’re climbing up to Tahachipi (map #60) you will see at least 1 train come thru (it’s a very busy set of tracks) , get off your bike and take a look at what they had to do with those tracks to get a train up that grade.

Okay, I’m tired of typing, feel free to PM me w specific questions or if the question are more general you can obviously ask them here on the forum.

Routes / Re: Interstate Alternatives
« on: October 12, 2021, 09:12:25 pm »
The trouble w commenting with anything one experiences on a route like this is your sample size is 1. I will defer to you as a local that I-84 at that stretch doesn’t always suck. The morning I was there it was nose to tail heavy truck traffic and the shoulder was covered in debris and the wind was howling out of the east. It’s not a long stretch but riding into a 30 mph headwind it wasn’t “fast” to get thru.

I actually really liked the SC route, it was one of my favorite tours but it’s not for everyone. And I presume you're referring to the alternate route near crater lake, I did not take that.

Routes / Re: Interstate Alternatives
« on: October 12, 2021, 08:40:20 pm »
Not to be a scold and it’s not an interstate per se, but Ca 58 as your nearing Tehachapi is part of the Sierra Cascades route and it is a major 4 lane highway at that point with as much traffic as any interstate. And as soon as you get on it there’s a big sign “No Bicycles on Highway”. Your only on it for 5-6 miles and I was passed by a police car during that time who apparently felt he had better things to do then hassle a cyclist. I only bring it up as the ACA maps are not always a guarantee that it’s legal to ride every mile of the route.

And speaking of interstates and the Sierra route, most of the little stretches of Interstate I’ve been on have been fine, however I-84 between Cascade Locks and Hood River Oregon was pure misery.

Gear Talk / Re: Best Water Bottle?
« on: September 22, 2021, 09:59:21 pm »
I normally just take 2 generic water bottles on tour and if there are long distances between stops i keep 2 of the Platypus water bags mentioned earlier.

But there’s something I did last time I took a route that I was likely to hit very hot weather and long days that might be of interest to you. I am normally quite the weight-weenie but on  that trip I packed 2 stainless steel 32oz thermoses. The brand I bought was Hydro Flask but they are probably  all the same. These things are pretty amazing, load them up w ice and set off across the desert and they still got ice in them at the end of the day. And you can’t break them and mine never leaked. I  still have my regular tepid water bottles in the bottle cages, breaking out the thermoses later in the heat of the day when the ice water really hits the spot.

I just weighed mine, 14 ozs a piece. I can’t tell you how I agonized over carrying 2 extra pounds! But there were many times on that trip where they earned their keep.

General Discussion / Re: Northern Tier 100+ miles a day
« on: September 13, 2021, 06:10:39 am »
Hi Dan:

Glad you posted the recap, I wondered how it was going for you.

And congratulations on the big ride. I look back on each of my trips as extraordinary experiences that were among the very best chapters in my life. I suspect you will too.

General Discussion / Re: Watch for sand on new pavement.
« on: September 11, 2021, 09:11:14 pm »
I had a similar situation one time and I had never seen it before or since on the many many other times I’ve encountered fresh pavement.

A few years back I rode the Sierra Cacades route from north to south. The road through Giant Sequoia NP was in the process of being paved and they were actively paving a really long stretch, maybe 10 miles, beginning at the 20 mile/ 4K foot downhill to Three Rivers. I was stopped with the rest of traffic  and the  flagger asked me to wait so all the cars lined up behind me could go ahead of me. When I started down the hill I was thinking I was going to have a blast on the fresh asphalt and giant decent and empty road ahead and behind me. But in several spots they had a light dusting of sand(?) and it felt like the road was covered in little ball bearings. When I hit those areas it took all my attention to stay upright.

I’ve thought back on that many times and wondered, was it sand or was it something else? Why were they spreading it on the road? And why have I not seen it anywhere else?

General Discussion / Re: Hillbilly dogs
« on: August 23, 2021, 11:42:48 am »
I think most of us (except Jamawani) have a sample size of one, we were at this specific spot, at this specific time and that’s what we know. I did the transam and there is only a single dog I remember.  He was a big boy and he seemed pretty vicious but eventually he tired out and went home.

If you do this trip you’re going to be on the road for 4K miles. There will be some number of incidents, some great, some not so great, along the way that there is no way to plan for. The very best thing you can do is get your attitude in the right place:

You’re on an adventure of a lifetime! And in the end, whatever You run into, you will deal w it and you will come out just fine.

I’ve taken 6 long bike tours and everyone of them stands out in my memory as among the best 4-5 weeks of my life. Whatever route you take, some days or some incidents will suck, I can guarantee it, but taking a big trip like that is  as life affirming a thing as you can ever do.

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