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Messages - John Nelson

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Routes / Re: Neah Bay to Port Angeles
« on: November 28, 2021, 07:48:31 pm »
I'll let some local give you first-hand knowledge, but here's what I see (from someone who has never been on this road).

Good news: Google street view shows the road to be beautiful. I can see why you'd want to ride it. The Washington DOT shows the traffic volume to be low, somewhere around 1000 cars a day depending on location. As you get closer to Port Angeles, the traffic volumes increase, but the shoulder gets better.
Bad news: Google street view shows the highway as narrow, without shoulder and winding. Generally looks like a nightmare for cycling. The Strava heatmap shows that it is not heavily used for cycling, but it does get some usage, and it is in a remote location so you wouldn't expect much anyway.

It’s 300 miles. Allow 6 days. But plan out your overnight stops to make sure that’s realistic.

Routes / Re: Brit riding across the US
« on: November 19, 2021, 12:55:21 pm »
Wind is always a fun topic. In some places, its direction and intensity is pretty predictable, e.g., in Wyoming you can expect it to come from the west. In most places, however, it depends on the month of the year, so you should check the historical data for each location for the month you will be there.

Furthermore, the wind seems to laugh at the historical data. You can have a strong headwind one day and a strong tailwind the next. But a fact that we cyclists are reluctant to admit is that on most days, there isn’t a significant wind in either direction.

Routes / Re: Brit riding across the US
« on: November 15, 2021, 08:34:16 pm »
RT 66 route has pretty limited services in spots. If you are riding alone you will be a lot more "alone" than riding something like the TransAm Route.

Yes, Route 66 has limited services in spots, but so does every other route, including the TransAm. I wouldn’t let this be the deciding factor.

Route 66 does have the additional challenge of the Mojave Desert. I personally enjoyed that challenge, but you will want to be careful about what time of year you do it, especially if you don’t tolerate extreme heat well.

If you fancy enjoying the company of other cyclists, nothing beats the TransAm. I’m a huge fan of the TransAm, especially for first timers, but I know that many Europeans love the romance of Route 66. Most people doing Route 66, whether on a bike or in a car, are not Americans. Many Europeans are fascinated by the American Southwest.

Route 66 offers an interesting collection of vintage motels, bridges, gas stations and general weirdness. TransAm offers the best of the charm of small town America and the kindness of strangers. And the TransAm gives you Yellowstone National Park.

General Discussion / Re: Cooking on the Road
« on: November 12, 2021, 11:41:26 am »
The last freeze dried meal I cooked on the trail was bad enough that I dug a hole and buried it.

You clearly weren’t hungry enough.

General Discussion / Re: Cooking on the Road
« on: November 11, 2021, 09:32:32 pm »
I don't generally eat freeze-dried meals, but I usually carry one. Occasionally you find yourself in camp with no other food, no food sources nearby, it's already dark, and you thought you were going to pass a store or restaurant in the last 20 miles of the day but you didn't. In those cases, that freeze-dried meal is heaven.

General Discussion / Re: Cooking on the Road
« on: November 07, 2021, 08:10:38 pm »
There is enough good food you can find at regular grocery stores that will pack just fine that is nutritious without resorting to Cheetos and the like crap.

On the TransAm, I think I got all the way from Yorktown to Missouri before I came across a "regular grocery store" on the route.

Routes / Re: Interstate Alternatives
« on: November 04, 2021, 01:51:28 pm »
“Thanks to the Interstate Highway System, it is now possible to travel across the country from coast to coast without seeing anything.”--Charles Kurault

Thanks for the quote. It's a good one (for those of us old enough to remember Charles Kuralt, who, IMO, was the highlight of the CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite).

Routes / Re: Interstate Alternatives
« on: November 04, 2021, 12:22:50 pm »
In my experience, you are much more likely on interstate shoulders to get flats from the wires from exploded truck tires. They are common, nearly impossible to see, and seldom stopped by even the best tires. Besides, nothing interesting ever happens on the interstate, and interesting things happening are one of the best reasons to tour. Few people do a bicycle tour just to get from point A to point B.

General Discussion / Re: A weighty question
« on: October 25, 2021, 06:21:43 pm »
I bought a Garmin Express Edge

AFAIK, “Garmin Express Edge” is not a thing. Garmin Express is an app on your computer or phone. Garmin does make a set of devices called Edge, but you don’t know much about it without the number that comes after the word Edge.

Anyway, 1.5” of paper is a lot, probably more than you want to mess with. But relying on your Garmin alone is probably not a great idea, especially for someone “very uncomfortable with tech stuff.” At a minimum, I’d carry state maps with enough detail to show the roads you will ride.

General Discussion / Re: Best book you've read on bicycle travel
« on: October 24, 2021, 01:02:28 am »
I also enjoyed Miles From Nowhere, but I would have a hard time saying exactly why it is so good. Perhaps the tragic fate of its author adds to its mystique.

attaching with bungee cords
While bungee cords are a modern convenience miracle,
if one breaks as you are in motion and entangles in your spokes
it may not be good.
I'd encourage you to consider good straps
in lieu of bungees?

I enthusiastically agree!! How many bungee cords do we see lying on the shoulders of the roads we ride? Where did they come from? Straps are much safer and much more adaptable. Yes they take a couple of extra seconds to apply.

General Discussion / Re: Trans Am nights with power in camp
« on: October 14, 2021, 10:13:14 pm »
On the TransAm, I slept indoors over half the time, and I didn’t use motels. That includes churches, fire stations, Warm Showers, hosts identified on the maps, etc. I had access to power on all those nights.

Most campgrounds and parks also have an outlet somewhere, although they may not be near your tent. That’s in bathrooms, power poles, buildings, etc. Those outlets often don’t provide much protection against theft, although I doubt many people want to steal a CPAP. If I have to recharge at an outlet that I can’t keep an eye on, I might prefer to charge a power bank. It wouldn’t be the end of the world if a power bank was stolen.

There will of course be some nights without access to power, but that’s not too often. Maybe 10 to 20 percent of the time.

If you are testing bike stability, make sure you do a fully-loaded ride up and down the steepest hills you can find.

1. Freestanding is nice, but not a showstopper. Freestanding does not mean that you don’t need to stake it. It only means that you can move it after setting it up. Even under pavilions, you can tie your tent to something. Take the tent you have.

2. I prefer a click-stand to a kick-stand. One or the other makes loading the panniers easier.

3. I prefer a lightweight “keep honest people honest” lock, and then be careful where you leave your bike. No matter what, some acceptance of risk is required. Just keep it reasonably low.

4. I leave my panniers on my bike at night and keep the bike close to the tent. In bear country, I put all smellies in one pannier and hang it from a tree far from my tent.

5. I strongly recommend front panniers for better bike handling, unless you go ultralight. Yes, there is a weight penalty for this, but it’s worth it.

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