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Messages - LouMelini

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Jamawani, as usual, posted good advice. There is a primitive campground (Sheffield) with pit toilet, bear boxes and a nearby stream one mile south of Flagg east of route 89 (191/287), that may be useful to you. I got there late and had to share a site. Food and filling up with water at Flagg is convenient. Hiker/Biker sites in Yellowstone are still operational.

General Discussion / Re: Waterford/Gunnar Closes
« on: June 02, 2023, 05:10:16 pm »
Thanks for posting this. I and my wife have owned multiple Waterfords over the years, road, touring, cyclocross and hard-tail mountain bike from a bike shop where my son worked. We visited the Waterford factory once during a Wisconsin bike tour and as you said Richard was gracious and enjoyed our visit.

Danny: I read and re-read your request, though I am not completely sure how to reply.  I have over 2 years of bike travel and backpacking experience (mostly with my wife) that includes 2 rides across the U.S (each 70 days or so) and a near 6-month thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail. The first time I rode across the U.S. was in 1975 when I was 24 and the 2nd time was in 2018 when I was 67. So I hope to reflect back to my ride when I was young (like you I assume), but give "fatherly" advice from my older ride across the U.S. I have had deep respect for jamawani's posts over the years in the forums. His advice to you, as always, is very good. My wife and I would concur when he says "I recognize your energy and commitment" and to take advantage of the opportunity you have.

I do not know what your time frame is for your ride nor how long you plan to ride each day. Remember, at the end of the day, you will be a bit tired, hungry, thirsty, dirty and may need to have a plan to find lodging along with laundry duties and perhaps some bike maintenance. Interviewing someone for a graduate school internship may not happen until you satisfy your hunger, thirst, etc. In my experience hosting Warmshowers guests that have similar goals that you have, the guest needed an extra day with us stay to accomplish the interviews/goals. You may need to plan for extra time.

"Interview folks along the way about their connection to place and their environment" sounds a bit vague, but that may be purposeful to allow you to not be locked into a specific topic. Does your graduate program require a more specific goal, perhaps talking to people in rural America such as Scott City/County in Kansas (like jamawani I rode through there) that are in charge of issues such as water quality and pollution from farm runoff or trash disposal and recycling (which probably doesn't happen in rural communities). This would probably require you to contact the city manager to set up appointments. I also do not know if your background is living in an urban, suburban or rural community. Simply documenting the contrasts you see in the environment of urban, suburban and rural communities may be an enlightening project for a podcast/blog.

I hope that I am providing an answer to your not tell you what to do. With regards to your request for "trails to take" I will add that the Adventure Cycling bike routes such as the TransAmerica, are helpful and time saving, but in this day and age one can 'google' places to stay and for obtaining food.

Julie and I wish you luck and hope that your project goes well.

General Discussion / Re: Gravel Bike for CX
« on: January 16, 2023, 06:08:39 pm »
I have raced cyclocross since 2004. There was a time I was pretty good in the over 55 category (the oldest local category) but I am now 72 racing against youngsters. I plan on riding a gravel bike for the next race season. I will put on lighter wheels but mostly at this time of my life, I am there for the socialization. As you race more you will find tires that you like. As a beginner you will go crazy trying to micro-manage the choices. Depending on mud, sand, cold, steepness of hills, and twists and turns of each course, it seems each tire has its pros and cons. Not knowing where you are from, how much mud do you expect to encounter, and will running through the mud be a better option. Go race and learn what upgrades you need, but mostly enjoy.

General Discussion / Re: Getting to Your Starting Point
« on: October 18, 2022, 03:35:05 pm »
Jamawani: You have said in other posts that you are from Wyoming, and I am assuming western Wyoming. There is a bus service, Salt Lake Express that I have used several times on tours here in the west. The bus serves Las Vegas and Reno, northwest to Boise, north to Ketchum, Idaho, Jackson Wy., Butte, Great Falls Montana, Seattle and Spokane, and of course most of Utah including Moab. Great service. Call to let them know you have a bike ($10 surcharge). I have not had a problem loading my unboxed bike onto the back of the bus in in a trailer they will pull if the bus service knows that you have a bike.

General Discussion / Re: extremely new to cycle touring
« on: September 08, 2022, 06:54:52 pm »
My only experience in Europe was a 2-week tour along the Danube and a few other places in Southern Germany in 2011, so my information may be dated. The Danube (Danau in Europe) is one of many bike trails in Europe that you will find through EuroVelo. There are 13 routes. If you are going alone or with a small group that is one resource to use. Unless you have language proficiency, I would concur with Pat and look into a packaged tour or some type of guide service. Despite assurances that we would find a lot of English speakers in Germany, that turned out not to be true. Julie and I struggled, even with her ability to speak and understand some German. Accommodations along the Danube were good. Stealth camping in Germany is illegal. There is more information on my Germany tour in titled "Tales from the old Country".

General Discussion / Re: Tents and panniers
« on: August 05, 2022, 11:28:44 am »
CrepitusCritch: I have about 25,000 miles of bike touring and nearly 4,000 backpacking, more than !/2 with my wife Julie. No matter what stove, fuel system, tent, sleep system, light or heavy weight or somewhere in between did I wish I had done things differently. Every trip was in some way unique and memorable. That is why I keep doing more trips. If you love your Trangia 27 then use it. Using a lighter cook set or no cook set brings a different experience, nothing good or bad. On one trip Julie and I did, she did not want to take a stove in order to experience German food, our only overseas tour. I did not like German food but the bike tour was still memorable and I ignore the the issue of the stove. You will not make a right or wrong answer, just experience a different style of your bike tour.

General Discussion / Re: Tents and panniers
« on: July 09, 2022, 08:04:08 am »
if I recall correctly, WalMart was my primary source of canister fuel east of Breckenridge area of Colorado on the TransAm. We went west to east and had quite a few canisters as we headed towards Kansas.

General Discussion / Re: Tents and panniers
« on: July 04, 2022, 06:01:45 pm »
I use a 2-person tent when alone, 3-person when traveling with my wife (We did the TransAmerica in 2018). The extra room is luxurious and the weight penalty is not much. I leave my panniers on my bike. I have Ortlieb security cables, but I rarely use them. A stove is a must for me. My set-up is a bit lighter than your set-up, but for a TransAmerica ride you will enjoy the additions. Good advice posted by the other contributors to your question. You will add or deduct stuff during the course of the ride and make it your set-up that works for you.

General Discussion / Re: What's your strategy to stay dry?
« on: May 29, 2022, 11:33:02 am »
I think the replies you have received are good. There are some personal variables to consider. I use a rain jacket fairly soon in rain. The jacket has pit zips that help immensely to dump heat yet keep me dry. I put that on much sooner than my wife Julie as she tends to overheat in a rain jacket and would rather get wet (depending on how hard it rains and air temperature). We also use fenders on our bikes that help reduce spraying of water from the road. Since you are already on tour I hope you made that decision.  I agree with steahpji about wool and John Nelson about putting wet clothes in a pannier with the caveat of waterproof panniers. How we carry wet stuff has a "it depends" decision making process. I like to stay warm as Donald Stewart mentioned as I am just over 130 pounds and in my early 70's, so staying warm in soaking rain is not going to happen. Julie and I tend to carry more clothes than most people in the forums so we always have dry stuff.

General Discussion / Re: Warm Showers
« on: March 12, 2022, 11:54:26 am »
Staehpj1: Nice comments. In my effort to be succinct, I should have clarified that not all guests can host due to housing or other circumstances that you mentioned.

General Discussion / Re: Warm Showers
« on: March 12, 2022, 10:55:27 am »
John:  thanks for asking. I have hosted people whenever possible soon after my first tour across the US in 1975. You have been touring for many years and may remember the Touring Cyclists Hospitality Directory that was started in 1976 or 77 (disbanded about 2004). I think your comments are appropriate but I am currently out of touch enough that I can't confirm nor deny your concerns.  I have not used or even looked at the forums of WS for a couple of years as they are rarely informative. In my time on the board, the primary reason for Randy leaving the board was burn-out. Though I have not spoken to him in many years, I still admire the work and dedication he put into the organization for nearly a decade. Since I left, I don't know enough of board politics to comment on the "coup" comment. My friend on the board left about 3 or so years ago. Our conversations were primarily grumbling about the host/guest issues inherent in WS. As you stated, at its core, WS is a good concept and as you said, the current concept is not going well, though at times the concept goes very well if hosts and guests understand and buy into the mission. In summary I think I am currently out of touch to comment further other than to say that the growth of WS created problems and the concept of free (lodging) is not without it owns creation of problems.

Gear Talk / Re: Chair
« on: March 12, 2022, 10:32:50 am »
My wife and I each have a chair (REI brand). Despite the weight concern, we find them comfortable, we can put the chairs in the shade or if there is rain, we can sit under a shelter. 

General Discussion / Re: Warm Showers
« on: March 12, 2022, 10:13:45 am »
As a former member of the board of Warmshowers (2012-2015), I find the conversations interesting. Currently I am very much out of touch with what is going on with the administration of Warmshowers (WS). I have only heard through another former board member that the website and apps have cost a lot of money.  I still donate small amounts, I host after carefully scrutinizing the profile of the guest, and my wife and I were guests to 2 wonderful hosts on a tour last year. There are issues with WS that has been described in the posts. In my opinion, the organization grew too rapidly during my time on the board. The "free lodging" attracted a lot of people that did not share the mission of reciprocity. At that time I was on the board, we were a volunteer group. The Executive director that created the website in 2005 put in hundreds of hours each year but burned out in 2014. We voted to pay him during his final year but that did not help. The replacement volunteer executive director did not work out and left the position within a year. Having a perfect guest/host mix in WS has been difficult. Those that post in the forums have a clear idea of what a good guest and host should be. Fees can control growth and perhaps mitigate problem guests on WS, but fees are obviously not popular. I don't know what the answers are to solve the problems of non-responsive hosts and guests that are primarily looking for free housing. I've been subjected to both. I hope to continue to be a good, but careful host, and a good guest.  To answer the original question posted, we only stayed at the home of a host once on our 2018 TransAm ride. The experience was simply OK as there are differences in hosting from people that have toured and from those that do not have experience traveling on a bike.

I am from Utah and have ridden in the parks you mentioned except for Cedar Breaks. There are no hiker/biker sites at Bryce, Capital Reef nor Natural Bridges. The state parks of Utah, despite requests, do not have hiker/biker sites nor no-turn-away policies. I have been accommodated in the state parks when full, but that is dependent on who is at the entrance station. With the current record-setting visitation, accommodation may not happen. There is always the option of sharing a site (see jamawani post). This could be a problem if campsites are priced for a set number of people and additional fees are assessed for additional campers in that site.

In the August of 2020, I made same-day reservations at the KOA in Cannonville, east of Bryce NP. Cannonville is about 9 miles from Kodachrome State Park, a nice destination. Ruby's is good as one person mentioned, though popular. The forest service campgrounds in the area fill quickly near Bryce. I have had friends stealth camp near Capital Reef. I know that the campground in Capital Reef is booked up for the month of April. My wife and I are staying at the Wonderland campground 4 miles outside of Capital Reef in Torrey. I assume June will be booked up as well when you travel through. It has been about 5 years since I last rode in Natural Bridges area. There are places to pull off the road to camp near Natural Bridges. Hanksville has a very nice campground at the junction of 24 and 95. Water will be an issue after Hanksville to Blanding. There is a perennial stream about 30 miles south of Hanksville at a roadside reststop. I've heard of people stopping there to stealth camp but I can't say if that is legal. The campground at Hite marina closed years ago, but aggie posted some current information. I was told one could obtain water at a ranger station at Hite but I don't know if that is still true. People are nice and will generally stop to provide you with water if absolutely needed. Hanksville is 4300 ft. and Natural Bridges is 6200 so you will have a steady climb on hwy 95.

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