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Messages - indyfabz

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From the Logistics section of the web site for the route maps:

"The Great Divide Mountain Bike Route is extremely hard on equipment. The weight of your gear exponentially multiplies the stress of riding steep, fast, rough downhills. Wheels, tires, and drivetrains (chains, cassettes, bottom brackets, chainrings) take a lot of abuse and might need replacing along the course of the entire route."

Gear Talk / Re: Trek 520 for off-road
« on: June 12, 2017, 06:09:56 am »
some of the bridge crossings had big lips to them.

The Mickelson Trail in SD is like that. There are countess bridges. You run a risk not slowing down in case there are big lips like there were when I rode it in 2015. It's a minor bummer because there are some significant grades on part of the trail and I ended up having to slow down often and then get back up to speed.

Routes / Re: Does anyone still use paper maps?
« on: June 12, 2017, 06:06:23 am »
Many state DsOT have maps. Some states like IA also have bicycle maps.

Routes / Re: Best route from Going to Sun Hwy MO to Mt. Rushmore SD?
« on: June 11, 2017, 08:29:12 pm »
It's up hill from Hill City to Crazy Horse. I didn't go inside because I had to make to the end of the trail in Edgemont that day. If you want to go in, at the top of the hill you will pass under the road that leads to the monument. Can't miss it. It's a short, concrete-lined tunnel. You can "bushwhack" off the trail to get to the access road.

Routes / Re: Best route from Going to Sun Hwy MO to Mt. Rushmore SD?
« on: June 09, 2017, 07:31:15 am »
You can see Crazy Horse from the Mickelson Trail south of Hill City, but it's out of the way if you are heading to Mt. Rushmore. I recommend taking the trail up the hill to see Crazy Horse and then ride back down to the Hill City area and head for Rushmore. It's not that far to Crazy Horse.

From the trail in 2014:

BTW...Plows have reached Logan Pass from the west side in Glacier. I plan to arrive at the park on 6/27 and ride up and back down the west side the next day. 

Routes / Re: Best route from Going to Sun Hwy MO to Mt. Rushmore SD?
« on: June 08, 2017, 01:16:08 pm »
BTW...The route linked to above is close to what I used to get between Spearfish and Hill City. Also, I spent a couple nights in that area and did a loop day ride to Mt. Rushmore. Rode Hill City-Keystone Rd. to Keystone from the service entrance of the KOA near Hill City. I also rode it from the KOA the next day when I headed back to Rapid City. That road is REALLY nice. I think I saw one or two cars each time.  Much less traffic than SD 244, which I took to get back to the KOA (and no real hills to speak of, unlike SD 244).

Leave a while before the tourist train between Hill City and Keystone and stop along the way for a photo op. Much of the rail line crisscrosses the road, just don't try to beat the train to the crossings.

When you get to Keystone you will have a stiff but relatively short climb up to the monument. If you go around the side of the monument on SD 244 you get to see the profile view:

General Discussion / Re: It Ain't Summer in the West
« on: June 08, 2017, 08:07:07 am »
FYI...The west side crew has reached Logan Pass in Glacier N.P. and will plow the parking lot and then head east towards the Big Drift. It's been relatively warm there as of late. Currently 59 at 6 a.m. in W. Glacier. 61 here in Philly at 8 a.m.

Gear Talk / Re: Trek 520 for off-road
« on: June 08, 2017, 08:02:23 am »
It will almost certainly be fine. I have an LHT that I have ridden on surfaces worse than your average rail-trail.

And washed out sections on the Mickelson Trail:

Run Continental Top Touring II in 37c, which is overkill for a good rail-trail. Did the GAP trail as part of a cross-PA tour using the same tire but in 32c and was fine.

Routes / Re: Best route from Going to Sun Hwy MO to Mt. Rushmore SD?
« on: June 08, 2017, 06:39:04 am »
Yeah. Mt. Rushmore was underwhelming and mobbed. This photo from my 2014 tour in the Black Hills doesn't capture the true nature of the crowds:

I almost got whacked in the face by a couple of selfie sticks.

If you find yourself in Spearfish, SD, where there is a fabulous municipal campground (but it's not free), Spearfish Canyon is a great ride. U.S. 14 Alt. from Spearfish to Savoy then continue on to Cheyenne Crossing. Continue north on U.S. 14 Alt./U.S. 85 to N. Rochford Rd., where you make a right then take the second left onto Brownsville Rd. to the Engelwood trail head of the Mickelson Trail to Hill City. That section is remote with some harder than you might imagine climbs for a rail trail. Besides the water cistern at the trail shelter in Rochford, there are no services until you hit Hill City other than a bar/restaurant in Rochford. Crooked Creek Campground just south of the center of Hill City is right along the trail, but it's not free. From there, you can tale U.S. 385/16 to SD 244, which will take you right to Mt. Rushmore and then to Keystone, a horribly tack tourist town with things like fake gun fights. 

BTW...Not sure the Centennial Trail is completely rideable.

Routes / Re: Pacific Coast Road Quality
« on: June 07, 2017, 06:57:32 am »
Good lord. When I was a svelte 6' 2", 180 lbs. back in the early 90s I experimented with 18c tires for unloaded road riding. The experiment lasted about 3 weeks.

General Discussion / Re: Another Beginners Question
« on: June 05, 2017, 08:35:55 am »
If you have a link you can point me to, that would be awesome.

There are subcatagoires for gear, etc., on the menu on the right.

Routes / Re: Trans Am or L&C westward of Missoula, MT?
« on: June 05, 2017, 06:37:08 am »
As noted, you have to take a spur into and back out of Missoula if you reach Lolo via the TransAm. Look at the interactive map for details.

McKenzie Pass rocks. The entire upper portion is all lava rock, and at the pass there is an observatory made of lava rock that you can walk up. Another bonus is that east to west is an easier climb that the other way.

Check out the new Chicago to NYC route maps if you really want to start in NYC proper. You could ride the NYC to Philly portion and connect with the Atlantic Cost route there. From downtown Philly to the main Atlantic Coast route is nearly all trail riding.

When are you planning all this?

Routes / Re: Best/easiest route from the Pacific to Michigan
« on: June 03, 2017, 08:01:14 am »
Only you can determine what will work for you. Just keep in mind that ruling (i.e., maximum) grade is not the only issue. The length of the climbs are an important factor. For example, Sherman Pass in WA is almost 18 miles measured from the center of Republic. The final 10 miles averages close to 5%.

BTW...When are you planning on leaving? I am planning to be on parts of the Northern Tier later this month. MT 56 between the junction with MT 200 and U.S. outside of Libby on June 21/22 (camping along MT 56). I will pick up the Northern Tier again near Rexford, MT along Lake Koocanusa on June 25th and follow it to Glacier National Park. Plan to ride up and back down the west side of Going to the Sun Road on June 28th, staying at Sprague Creek Campground, before doubling back and heading south to Missoula.

Routes / Re: Best/easiest route from the Pacific to Michigan
« on: June 03, 2017, 06:45:13 am »
I'd go as low as possible without having to mortgage the farm unless you are traveling very light. You may have done Lincoln Gap, but it's not 30 miles up like the North Cascades Highway.

General Discussion / Re: TransAm guided tour
« on: June 01, 2017, 02:12:42 pm »
I would not let cost be the driving factor. You want to enjoy yourselves. If you don't think you will enjoy carrying your own gear, selecting places to sleep each night (and ones where you feel safe), possibly not having a shower and/or flush toilet some nights, figuring out where to eat each day and, if you cook most days, shopping for groceries (and possibly carrying them a ways to camp), then going self contained simply because it's less expensive might take much of the fun out of the trip.

I did a few supported tours before my first self contained tour. I have done a few supported tours since starting self contained touring. As noted, they both have their pluses and minuses. A supported tour takes much of the load off a participant (pun intended), but they also come with their own challenges, especially if they are large. (Spend a week with 2,200 other people on something like Cycle Oregon and you will know what I mean.) In the end, you need to decide what style your believe will be the best match for you.

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