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Messages - Haven

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General Discussion / Re: Advice on Heading South in Winter
« on: November 16, 2012, 02:08:32 am »
Thanks for all the quick replies, everyone!  With what I've read from you, I'm planning to take Amtrak right now, unless I can turn up a ride-share opportunity online in the next few days.  I'll probably have to disassemble the hardware of my panniers (see attached photo) and stack them, but then I'm thinking I'll be able to fit the empty panniers and their respective gear into a large (disposable) duffel to be checked; I'll just keep my chrome bag and guitar as carry-on.  I guess I'll spend the travel time getting in the right mindset, reviewing the route maps, and setting some things up with friends and on CouchSurfing-- not to mention starting my blog on CrazyGuyOnABike. I don't really mind downtime while traveling, as long as it's more comfortable than riding a Greyhound (ugh). ;)

Routes / Southern Tier Connection Advice (LA & NM)
« on: November 15, 2012, 12:48:32 pm »
Hi! I'll be doing the Southern Tier this winter East->West, and was wondering if folks had advice/routes mapped for how to safely detour from the ACA route into (and back out of) New Orleans and Mescalero, New Mexico.  I'd also love to hear any favorite places folks would recommend in either area, and memorable places I should check out just off the route anywhere along the way.  I'm a huge fan of hiking, camping, and climbing (where there's equipment to rent-- hell if I'm going to haul all that gear on my bike!), especially in wilderness areas.

Thanks in advance!

General Discussion / Advice on Heading South in Winter
« on: November 14, 2012, 05:08:24 pm »
Hi Everyone!
I'm new to the forum and new to bike touring-- though I have been a bike mechanic with Nice Ride Minnesota and a commuter/alleycat racer for some time-- and I have an urgent question:

I'm planning to snowbird from Minneapolis and do my first bike tour down on the Southern Tier route this winter (as in, starting in less than a month), but I can't for the life of me figure out how to get somewhere warm enough to start from.  We just had our first (albiet briefly) lingering snowfall here for the season, and the temperatures are regularly dipping below freezing now, so I don't feel confident about riding out of town on my bike in a couple weeks.

I was initially planning to take Amtrak to the Southeast and start down in Jacksonville by the East end of the Southern Tier route, but despite the low price of the train fare, I'm not sure it will work; it seems taking a bike (much less a touring bike and a set of large panniers) on Amtrak is quite difficult. I'm not shy about assembly and disassembly of bikes, but I'm a little leery of stripping parts off to fit my baby in a cardboard box and having to partially reassemble her upon arrival in a strange city.  I also don't know how I would manage to bring my panniers aboard; they're a full set of "kitty litter" box panniers, and are quite bulky even when empty. I had considered removing the mounting hardware and stacking them together and packing their contents into a large duffel bag, but again that sounds like a huge hassle to deal with upon arrival in Florida.

If anyone has either any advice on taking Amtrak with a loaded bike, or on alternate means of transportation-- ride-sharing websites, car rental feasibility, et cetera-- I'd really appreciate it.


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