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Messages - Pat Lamb

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16
You mention taking the "scenic route" from Tellico Plains into Nashville... any specific road/hwys that make up this route?

I was thinking of the 600k route the Brentwood (TN) randonneurs (ultra cyclists) ran some 5-10 years ago.  I may have the cue sheet on some computer, just not this one.  Their current permanents surely cover some of the route, but I suspect there's a gap between Vonore or Madison and Pikeville or Dunlap, TN.  I do recall it crossed Watts Bar Dam, which opened my eyes wide when I saw it.  On reflection, though, the Kingston bridge is even more narrow, which leaves reasonable ways across the Tennessee on a bike lacking between the old Walnut St. bridge or Market St. in Chattanooga and the bridge in Loudon.  (I've never crossed the new bridge at Birchwood.)  You might want to touch base with the Brentwood people to see if they have an archive of the route or better recommendations.

Quote
What insight do you have regarding the Southern Crescent train?

Not much, to be honest.  My niece took it a few times when she was in college to get between Birmingham and maybe Lynchburg?  It goes through Charlotte, IIRC, on the way, and then goes down to New Orleans.  Check Amtrak's web site for schedules, prices, etc.

17
I'll throw out some random route thoughts -- pick and choose.

First, on the general season.  Many campgrounds are going to be closed, bathrooms locked, and water turned off.  As a practical matter, I'd suggest approaching this as a bed-and-breakfast or motel-to-motel trip.  That means that even though it'll be cool, you'll have to carry more water than you will need to next summer, because resupply will be problematic.

The Blue Ridge Parkway may be closed at any time if there's any freezing precipitation.  Still, you may catch a warm and clear stretch of weather where it'll be gorgeous.

From Lake James, if you do decide to ride the Parkway, I'd climb up to Little Switzerland.  You'll have a long day's ride into Asheville, another good ride over to Balsam Gap (?) on U.S. 19/74, and then a relatively easy day to Cherokee -- you could stretch it down 19 into Bryson City.  Robbinsville is a good day's ride, then over Cherohala (if it's open!) to Tellico Plains.  It'll be about a week into Nashville from there; you could take the scenic route, or do a few days' ride going south on the Natchez Trace and back.

Roads in the mountains will be narrow, and some will have lots of traffic.  Did I mention it could snow?  You might not want to be on the roads after it snows.  Even though N.C. does a good job of plowing, there'll be a while where the snow melts, covers the road, and re-freezes at night.

Can you ride, or catch a ride, over to Charlotte and take the Southern Crescent train south from there?

18
Routes / Re: Cumberland Gap closed to cyclists.
« on: November 08, 2017, 05:20:42 pm »
Erm, wrong gap.  Cumberland Gap is several hundred miles south of Cumberland, MD -- think the far southwest corner of Virginia going into Kentucky (just like D. Boone did 250 years ago).

19
General Discussion / Re: Bike Computer
« on: November 07, 2017, 05:05:45 pm »
Just about any bike computer should last you the full trip.  That's assuming it costs less than about $50, paradoxically, more expensive computers use GPS or have whizz bang feature which mean you'll have to recharge them more frequently.

My preference is something like the wired Cateye Strada with Cadence.  It's virtually waterproof, and if you get some dielectric grease from an auto parts store to put on the mounting contacts, it'll last 10 years with a battery change every 2 years or so.  I like the cadence feature because if I'm not spinning, my knees tell me about it -- especially through the Virginia/Kentucky/Missouri mountains.

20
Routes / Re: Western Express Trail/Grand Canyon Connector in winter
« on: November 07, 2017, 09:42:06 am »
Look up the fate of the Donner party.

Do you feel lucky?

21
General Discussion / Re: Absolute necessities?
« on: November 01, 2017, 10:01:13 am »
I also wont leave home without GPS.

It's a wonder I'm back home.  I left without a GPS.  (But I did take American Express!)

22
Gear Talk / Re: Best Touring Wheelset
« on: October 18, 2017, 09:57:57 am »
I wouldn't change anything for touring (assuming your frame has 130mm/road spacing).

Now if this is your only bike, you might want to look at lighter rims, with skinnier tires, for non-tour riding.  The bike will feel surprisingly lighter and more responsive when unloaded.

But for spare touring wheels, you've got the closest thing to a "standard" for bulletproof wheels already.

23
Food Talk / Re: to cook or not to cook?
« on: October 16, 2017, 09:54:18 am »
I'll ask a local when I eat out, then discover that non-franchised, "best kept secret", amazing bistro or the like!

Bistro?  You tour where there's a bistro??  Heck, I thought a Subway or Pizza Hut was fine dining most days!

24
General Discussion / Re: Amtrak - Vancouver (Canada) to Seattle
« on: October 10, 2017, 09:55:11 am »
Could the train carry two more boxed bikes as luggage?

25
General Discussion / Re: Appropriate Tires for GAP/C&O
« on: September 28, 2017, 10:12:15 pm »
I rode part of the C&O a few days after rain with 32s.  I'd have preferred something wider, especially with the slick mud.  I never went down, but I felt pretty smug about staying up going through some of those puddles.  Dang, I'm good! kind of thing.  Not to mention the buzziness of the gravel sections. 

If your bike will take 35s, go wide!

26
Routes / Re: TransAm Alternative
« on: September 05, 2017, 10:47:27 pm »
How would it affect your mileage if, instead of your proposed detour to Charlotte (really??), you did something like the following:

Stay on the TransAm through Kentucky to Meadowview, VA.  Take U.S. 11 north to Rural Retreat, go over the hill and rejoin the TransAm up to Ft. Chiswell.  Take U.S. 52 down to Hillsville, then U.S. 58 over past South Boston to join your proposed route.  Advantages: the TransAm is probably better for cycling through Kentucky than what you've got laid out.  Most of the traffic has moved to 77, leaving 52 lightly traffic'ed.  58 is a more direct route than dipping a couple hundred miles south to get to Charlotte and return.  FWIW, Mom's cousin and her husband drove 58 across Virginia a couple years ago and reported it was much more relaxing than the usual I-81 to I-64.

27
Routes / Re: Suggestion: Painted Blazes on the GDMBR
« on: September 05, 2017, 03:58:11 pm »
The two issues I see with the blazes suggestion are the need to set up and support volunteers to paint and maintain the painted blazes, and the problems with vandals.  I'm thinking particularly of one spot on the AT where some local youfs had painted brown blazes over every white blaze that was visible from a clearing, and additional brown blazes on every game trail and clear spot in the brush.


28
Routes / Re: TransAm Alternative
« on: September 04, 2017, 05:45:39 pm »
It's tempting to look at the overall maps and think, "Why does this route do those big swings north through Kentucky and Virginia?  Isn't there a more direct route?" especially when you've got some of the steepest climbs of the TransAm in the 950 miles left.

Unfortunately, I don't know the roads of eastern Kentucky well enough to lay out a route through the state that eliminates that northern bulge.  If you ever fly over that part of the state on a clear day, you'll wonder, "How does the water run out of here?  There's no direct path anywhere!"

Jamawami laid out one general direction through Virginia, though I think the best route out of the toe is to take the U.S. 11/I-81 corridor.  You could cut off 20 miles or so and go up 11 from  Meadowview to Rural Retreat, although missing Damascus is an unfortunate consequence.  I don't know of a good route east of Roanoke; 460 goes towards Farmville and Richmond, but avoid that road during rush hours.  220 would be foolhardy for a cyclist, and there's not many alternatives from the Blue Ridge Parkway down to Boones Mill.  Alternatively, U.S. 58 goes east from Damascus, and it fairly lightly traveled for the first 60 miles or so.  You might find a route from roughly Martinsville up toward Farmville and then east towards Richmond.

What happens if you're not to salt water by 9/17?

29
General Discussion / Re: Avoiding highways
« on: September 04, 2017, 05:20:59 pm »
I hesitate to bring this up because it always attracts inflamed opinions.

"Vehicular cycling" works well in many of the situations described by the O.P.  It involves a mindset that a bicyclist is a vehicle, and is entitled to use a traffic lane.  It's supported by the uniform vehicle code that's part of traffic law in 49 states.  And riding as a vehicle allows a cyclist to use far more roads and routes than any other alternative.

It takes a bit of work to develop the confidence required to "take the lane," that is, to ride in a lane of traffic vs. looking for a shoulder or off-road path.  If a cyclist is unable or unwilling to make that mental shift, he or she should look for off-road routes, such as the rail-trail networks of Minnesota and Wisconsin.  Even there, though, it's often necessary to ride on a regular road to reach food, water, and camping or lodging, unless you're doing an out-and-back day trip.

30
What you are more likely to encounter are impacts from Hurricane Harvey in Texas.
Plus, there may be additional hurricanes on the Gulf Coast.
For cyclists that may mean closed stated parks and, perhaps, closed rural roads.
(Priority, of course, goes to repairing and opening major highways.)
Keep informed about any closures.

Perhaps I'm a bit more sanguine, but I'd expect a lot of repairs to have been finished.  Starting in the west, I'd be surprised if OP arrived in the impact zone before December; that's three months for things to be repaired.  I'd expect the biggest impact over 200-300 miles of the worst hit area to be in low-cost "housing."  Cheap motels and campgrounds will have displaced people, rescue workers, and (re)construction workers.

Trying to flip back and forth between the ST map and the rainfall totals maps (see, for example, http://mashable.com/2017/08/28/harvey-houston-floods-nws-adds-new-color-maps-rainfall/#wTPf81R8ZmqZ), it looks like most of the ST only got a foot of rain or so.  That's a run-of-the-mill flash flooding kind of rain, in an area that gets floods fairly regularly, so that area is likely to recover quickly.

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