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Messages - fahrrad

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  When we road trip we each put a set equal amount in a 'kitty', say $300 each. Everything gets paid out of that pile along the way. When it's depleted we do it again. Small town diners and rural stores like cash. I've never bike toured with a card. Maybe y'all can load a debit card that way, beforehand, and use it for everything. Personal groceries and snacks can be separate.

Routes / Re: Best 5 day solo newbie ride?
« on: January 02, 2020, 11:40:26 am »
  John's suggestion is a good one. If you'd like to travel to a different region perhaps the Natchez Trace would do. At a bit over 400 miles it can be done in five days and has all the amenities nearby. I think doing a rail trail might not prepare you for cross country roads adequately, as they are flat and traffic free. Good luck and have a great ride!

Routes / Re: Southern Tier, Heading West, Novemberish...
« on: October 03, 2019, 01:31:17 pm »
    I've crossed into Mexico at Ojinaga, just west of Big Bend National Park. I found it peaceful, much less congested than Ciudad Acuna (at Del Rio). It would enable you to see the park and ride those beautiful west Texas roads down there, something Southern Tier riders mostly avoid. There is a big well stocked supermarket in Ojinaga that all the Border Patrol agents shop at. Just a suggestion- have a great trip.

Routes / Re: Bear Spray necessary on TransAm route?
« on: October 03, 2019, 01:17:45 pm »
   I've seen this debate before on various sites for any number of routes and I wonder if anyone knows of a bicyclist ever having used their spray on a bear? I haven't carried spray myself but would contemplate including it on an off road tour. I've encountered black bears in the Appalachians on my bike but they are very skittish and easily 'shouted' away. Can you use that stuff on dogs also?

Routes / Re: Southern Tier in Summer
« on: October 03, 2019, 01:05:53 pm »
  I agree with Bobby- if you live in the south it is no problem. I'm in south Texas and ride all summer long, but I'm used to it. I don't believe in afternoon breaks- it just prolongs the journey and I don't like sitting around doing nothing on a tour. It is much warmer when you stop riding and lose your breeze. Summer tours in the south become a quest for water and you'll want to carry lots of it. You could bring an umbrella for the western half, for breaks. Camping is tough but not impossible and you'll need to alternate your shorts as they don't dry overnight due to the humidity. Otherwise summers are so much more fun than other seasons: less rain, no extra cold weather gear, and long sunny days.

Routes / Re: Texas Hill Country - A few questions
« on: March 24, 2019, 11:39:47 am »
  I agree with TCS- Austin's outskirts are a miserable sprawl you'd have to plow through. A shuttle sounds like a fine idea given your short time frame, putting you right in the heart of the hills. Don't forget Luckenbach- it's just outside Fredericksburg and fun if you land on a weekend. Good luck!

Routes / Re: Fast Trans-Am route ideas welcome
« on: February 02, 2019, 12:54:46 pm »
  You should look up the RAAM website (Race Across America). It kicks off June 11. You have a 'team' with a support vehicle and a time crunch- I think you should go for it. If there are four of you willing to pull off a ride like this, do it! You don't necessarily have to enter the race but you could certainly use their framework as a guideline for your endeavor, or at the very least use their route. It sounds like a challenge you'll remember for the rest of your days whether you make it or not. Good luck to you all!

  There is a great book titled "Over the Edge: Death In Grand Canyon" that compiles all the recorded deaths occurring in the region, from early adventurers to casual tourists. It is a sobering read, told mostly according to park personnel archives, and it will leave you with a new-found respect for the rangers, the rules, and most importantly Mother Nature. Rule #1: carry water. Rule #2: carry extra water. The old saying 'To be old and wise you must first be young and stupid' holds true for many, myself included. I shudder at some of the decisions I've made traveling through the years.

General Discussion / Re: Free Ranging Dogs and the Cyclist
« on: September 08, 2018, 02:41:48 pm »
   I agree- it's just a game for them. I've always just managed to outrun them myself. I don't know how one manages to pull out all this gear to use on them while hammering down for a getaway. I was exploring the Pine Ridge Indian reservation in South Dakota for 4 days a few years ago during a tour and their dogs were literally hunters, all wild, bounding across the grasslands at a distance, pacing me and closing in to intercept me at some point ahead. It became a fun challenge to keep an eye on the horizon, ready to sprint at the first sign of those dusty animals. I think if speed isn't an option yelling is the best way to cope.

Gear Talk / Re: Front and rear lights
« on: July 21, 2018, 06:27:43 pm »
  It's all about those Lumens I reckon. I had two rechargeable tail lights on my last tour (along with a headlight I sent home early on) that, combined with my phone and battery pack, became such a chore to keep charged. Every cafe stop entailed searching the walls to 'top up', every older budget motel had maybe one outlet, involving hourly shift changes for all the units. Using the high function got me maybe 1.5-3 hours of flash, often leaving me dark, more often finding me saving their use until I found myself on dicey roads. If i was on a wide shoulder I left it off to save power. I had an Iphone that didn't like interchanging cords and plugs with non-Apple gear.  I guess I just don't like complicating my fun. If you feel you want a tail lamp, buy the brightest beast you can afford- so many are just too feeble to make a difference in direct sunlight. I swore my next tail light would be a AAA battery type, just to make the ride that much simpler. You won't want to be squatting outside a thrift store power outlet in Spigot, Kansas waiting for a $14 light to recharge...

General Discussion / Re: Camping in Churches
« on: March 08, 2018, 10:14:36 pm »
  I like camping behind churches, often entering 'churches near me' on google maps when I roll into a small town, though they're usually on the outskirts as you ride in. I never ask and never stay if people are present because it becomes a big ordeal as we all wait for someone in charge to make the decision, followed by visiting time. I choose my site and swoop in at dusk, setting up my tent behind the church itself. I find they almost always have decent lawns (look for sprinkler heads) and there is usually a picnic table or pavilion along with a faucet and even an outside outlet for phone charging. Nine times out of ten I roll out in the morning with nobody the wiser. I've had church members and police pop in on me a few times, with never a problem. Rural churches are empty six nights a week, with rarely a phone number posted anyway, and seem to all have some brush or woods within walking distance for facilities. The same goes for volunteer fire departments- always empty, always a picnic table and faucet out back. Looking for a camping spot right at dusk is often the funnest part of the day; daylight is fading fast and the pressure to find your spot is on. Don't forget schools as a last resort- stay away from the buildings though. Remember, you're on a bicycle, probably the most harmless stranger one could meet.

  Thanks for your responses- there is so much to North America I reckon I should go west, saving a repeat for a few years from now, when my recollections have faded. I was sorry I missed the Rockies last trip, and those Parkways aren't going anywhere. Thanks.

  Hello all, new member here. In 2016 I did a big loop of the US and Canada, beginning and ending in San Antonio Texas, that included the Natchez Trace and Blue Ridge Parkway as well as circling the Great Lakes in Canada. This summer I'm off again and I can't decide whether or not to retrace this route (more or less) or head out West. I find myself reminiscing on so much of that tour that I'm tempted to just do it again. Has anyone done a tour twice? Was it fun? As fun as you'd hoped? I will ultimately tour elsewhere eventually (don't we all?) but that trip was so cool. I wonder if I'm setting myself up for a 'been there seen that' letdown. I'd enjoy any opinions and thoughts on this please.

Routes / Re: Cross-country US entirely via US 83
« on: December 30, 2017, 01:26:59 pm »
  Bobbie: I did ride IH27 from Amarillo to Lubbock for some speed (it takes me 4 days to get in/out of Texas when I tour) but otherwise just the small lines on the map. There is the huge seldom visited MidAmerica Air Museum in Liberal, Kansas that was pretty cool. I also hit a bunch of small town local museums that were fun, filled with donated dusty items from area families, always staffed by cute little old volunteers eager to show off their heritage. Most town parks are campable, and I slept behind numerous churches as well. Any crossroads towns have small motels to choose from. I actually paid $22 for a sweet room located near one of the BNSF railroad switching stations. Minot has a decent bike shop with touring bike experience, plus the most amazing junkyard just west of town, filled with model Ts and more. I branched off on HWY2 from there, to see the fracking mess. Good luck on your trip! Regardless of conditions I promise you won't be sorry you rode this swath of America; I never saw another cyclist the whole time and loved the solitude.

Routes / Re: Cross-country US entirely via US 83
« on: December 26, 2017, 11:29:10 am »
 Hello I just came almost that same route N>S last summer, on a big loop around North America. I turned south from near the Canadian border and plummeted straight down, zigzagging my way home to San Antonio. This was at the end of September and I had a strong headwind almost every day the entire way. One day a week I got lucky with a tailwind, always accompanied with thunderstorms. Its pretty bleak out there, verrry flat, but I found I enjoyed the landscape very much. You'd be going in Spring and I don't know if the winds reverse seasonally so I can't help you there. I will say that adhering to one road is no different than dicing to the left or right a few miles so try to be flexible. That headwind can really suck the spirit out of your trip though. South to North sounds like more fun. Good luck!  -Allan

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