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Messages - geegee

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General Discussion / Re: Advice or Feedback for Pacific Highway Cycle 2014
« on: November 11, 2013, 09:02:00 am »
If you are spending time in Vancouver anyway, I would opt for riding north up to Horseshoe Bay to the Nanaimo ferry instead of riding south through the bland sprawl of Richmond. You'll see a bit more of BC as you cycle down towards Victoria, past Chemainus hopping into Saltspring Island to get to Schwartz Bay.

I've taken both the route around the Olympic Peninsula and the Puget Sound route through Anacortes/Port Townsend and they both have their merits. The Peninsula is a lot more rustic and nice if visiting Victoria is in your itinerary. The Sound route has more conveniences, and offers Seattle as an optional day trip.

General Discussion / Re: Hosting - WarmShowers
« on: November 06, 2013, 10:11:58 pm »
I've been hosting on Warm Showers for over 12 years now and I have had absolutely no problems with guests so far. I've also been a guest at other people's homes and they have been equally good experiences. I actually enjoy hosting more than being a guest.

When I look back at my travels, I have always felt so lucky whenever I've serendipitously met people who have provided me with hospitality and valuable local perspective. Hosting through Warm Showers gives me a gratifying feeling that I am passing on that good fortune to somebody else.

Some logging companies set up free campgrounds as some sort of goodwill gesture, sometimes with a bit of amusing propaganda. I've stayed in a few of them in Washington state and BC.

You probably won't come across a lot of public land heading up to Vancouver, but if you wander beyond to the rest of BC, state-owned wilderness in Canada is referred to as "Crown Land". It is legal for residents to free camp in Crown land, and technically non-residents need to purchase permit but hardly anybody checks for these.

General Discussion / Re: Natchez trace open?
« on: October 04, 2013, 10:45:07 am »
Thought of this thread when I saw this

General Discussion / Re: shipping bikes
« on: September 28, 2013, 06:50:36 am »
How are you getting to Tallahassee? Air Canada still has one of the most reasonable rates for taking bikes on flights. I flew from Ottawa to Haida Gwaii this summer and all I paid was $50. They require you to box your bike (maximum length 115 inches), but because the maximum weight is 70 lbs, I was able to stuff most of my gear inside with the bike and take the rest as carry-on, which meant that instead of paying $25 for a piece of luggage anyway, I only had to pay an extra $25 for it being oversized.

I guess the problem is that AC does not fly to Tallahassee. Could you consider leaving from Orlando or Tampa instead? A few years ago I rode from Orlando to Houston via New Orleans, you might be interested in this route:
I rode along the coast instead of the ACA Southern Tier.

General Discussion / Re: 2 or 4 panniers
« on: September 10, 2013, 11:49:25 pm »
I completely disagree that 4 panniers look better. I think having only rear bags looks more streamlined, and front panniers produce more drag against a headwind or sidewind. My view is less is better, each bag just adds weight so if your stuff fits in two and it feels right, go with that.  i also tour with mis-matched tires, 32 in the rear and 28 in the front.

General Discussion / Re: new to site
« on: September 09, 2013, 05:55:01 pm »
When I'm touring, I find that I am more likely to be the "victim" of other people's kindness and generosity, than being the target of ill intentions. I've gone through many dodgy areas without incident, including Croatia not too long after the war there, and slummy areas of large cities. On the other hand I cannot count the numerous times I've been offered free food or drink from total strangers, or given something extra in restaurants or stores.

Routes / Re: Canada: Any cross country routes?
« on: August 30, 2013, 12:05:07 pm »
True, which is why paved shoulders should not be promoted as purely an investment in favour of cyclists. For example, loose gravel is one of the causes of roll overs when cars drift off the road and drivers overcompensate on the steering. There is also no room for trucks with wide loads to travel on the highway — with the increasing popularity of factory built homes (partly because of the migration of skilled labour away from rural communities) we are going to see more of these monstrous transports using the road. Paved shoulders also make the roadway last longer by preventing edge erosion. And then there's the "small benefit" that cyclists become less of a nuisance to motorists :) At roughly $30,000 a kilometre to pave shoulders, the 1,500 kms of Highway 17 really should not cost more than 50 million, something that could see a return in investment within a decade. In the end, the government really has no good reasons not to pave the shoulders!

As this summer's ride was my second time going across the continent from British Columbia, I actually took the south shore of Superior route through Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Most of the roads are better, but in some stretches along M-28 not much better. The terrain is flatter but goes through mostly monotonous forested interior with rare views of the lake.

The cycling advocates in Sault Ste. Marie have mapped out this alternative route that avoids much of Highway 17 east of the city. I tried it for a abut 60 kms but reverted back to the highway when one part turned into a really rough road and I didn't find my way back on to it.

Routes / Re: Canada: Any cross country routes?
« on: August 30, 2013, 11:24:52 am »
I could not agree with  you more, Norsman, and I have and will keep on writing the Ontario and Canadian governments about this. I think with paved shoulders, cycle touring could bring millions of dollars to Northern Ontario's small towns. In my opinion, that stretch along Lake Superior is just as scenic as the Pacific coast in Oregon and Washington state. The coroner for the province of Ontario published a report last year stating that many of the cycling deaths could have been prevented had there been paved shoulders and recommended that the province invest in such infrastructure. It is important that we put pressure upon our government and put them to task on making this entire highway safer before increasing capacity and speed only on the busy segments.

Routes / Re: Canada: Any cross country routes?
« on: August 27, 2013, 11:58:59 pm »
I just finished my second ride across Canada, and this time, I used the Yellowhead Highway from the Pacific coast into the Prairies. I highly recommend this northerly route, the road is great for cycling with ample shoulders for most of the way, and the grades up the Rockies are not more than 6%.

Northern Ontario through the north shore of Lake Superior remains the biggest challenge of any true cross-Canada tour, as it is a hilly route with narrow shoulders. The traffic is relatively light though, and a with good rearview mirror and proper caution when large trucks are present, it is a very scenic route.

Here are some photos I took from the road on the western part of the route from the coast through the Rockies:

Hardly any traffic in the Queen Charlotte Islands:

Back in the BC mainland, the route through the Skeena Valley is superb, especially if you are there on a clear day:

Climbing into the interior:

I did get a bit of rain but not a lot

I was extremely lucky to have travelled through the Rockies on a stretch of clear cloudless days, with awesome views of Mt Robson:

Towards Alberta and up to the highway's highest point at Obed, east of the Rockies:

General Discussion / Re: Help Victoria Island BC
« on: July 10, 2013, 01:08:38 pm »
The bushes beside the bike paths around Victoria are usually dripping with berries in the summer, all free for the taking. I've cycled the length of the island up to Port Hardy and it gets more rustic and quieter as you head north. Past Campbell River, there are no shoulders on the highway but traffic is very light.

Routes / Re: Southern Tier timing and direction
« on: June 20, 2013, 10:42:25 pm »
I went across the southern USA in two halves, Florida to Texas, then California to Texas, and I found I got the best of tailwinds. Winds tend to swirl in the Gulf and as I rode along the coast it was mostly a grazing tailwind or a side wind. My observation in Texas is the wind mostly goes from south to north, so it's a wash going east or west.

When I rode eastward from San Diego, I remember going down the highway towards Ocotillo, screaming down the mountain with a ferocious tailwind and I had to constantly ride my brakes for fear of losing control from sheer velocity. All I could think of was pitying the poor cyclists heading west on this pass, with a double whammy of going uphill in gale force headwinds.

Since you are in Phoenix and have to get home in the end, why not consider riding from San Diego to Phoenix, then transport out to Florida to ride home again?

I cycled solo from Vancouver up to Fairbanks in the summer of 2008, awesome trip. Wind was really not a big factor. I rode up Vancouver Island to Port Hardy then took the ferry up to Prince Rupert and then on to Skagway. Going up White Pass to the Yukon takes you from sea level to 3,292 feet in 14 miles, but the views are spectacular:

I saw a few cyclists going the other way but none going my way, especially going up the Klondike and the rugged Top-of-the-World Highway. There are stretches of unpaved road, but if you go up that way, you'll ride high along the ridge of mountains to get to the northernmost point of entry by land back into the USA:

A water filter really came in handy as there were few services along the way so brought at least a couple days worth of dried food and took my water from rivers and streams. The river banks are steep and slippery, and the water often runs fast and silty so a cloth bucket came in handy to fetch water:

I remember when I got to Tok, AK it felt like such luxurious civilization. I enjoyed the Yukon the most, awesome landscapes and interesting people. I could have cycled down to Anchorage from Fairbanks, but as a treat I took the Alaska Railroad which is one of the must-ride scenic trains in the world.

General Discussion / Re: Pronounciation...
« on: June 15, 2013, 10:27:25 am »
The French will call them panniers if they are basket-like, such as the open top bags used for shopping. In French Canada, the closed saddle bags are called "sacoche".

Just like the derailleur/derailer pronunciation, it somehow depends on where you are from. My region with its strong French presence tends towards "pan-yay".

General Discussion / Re: 6 weeks from Vancouver - which route?
« on: June 08, 2013, 02:12:05 pm »
Six weeks can easily take you down the Pacific coast. From Vancouver, I would recommend riding a bit north to Horseshoe Bay and catch the ferry to Nanaimo. Personally, I find riding in Vancouver island a bit better than riding directly south from Vancouver. On the island, you can either ride to Victoria where you can catch a ferry to Port Angeles and cycle along the western Olympic Peninsula (skipping Seattle), or to ride Sidney and  island hop towards Anacortes to cycle through Puget Sound (where you can take a jaunt into Seattle via the ferry at Bremerton).

Depending on your pace, six weeks could also get you from Vancouver to Chicago, either on the Northern Tier Route or cycle the Trans Canada (BC highways 7 and 1) towards Banff and then connect with the Great Parks North route to the NT.

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