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Messages - Pat Lamb

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Routes / Re: Place to finish WB Northern Tier ride
« on: January 09, 2017, 08:04:50 pm »
I rode out to the Anacortes Ferry Terminal, just because I'm a completionist and that's what you're supposed to do. You are absolutely right, however, in that there is nothing to look at there, and it would be quite a bit of work to dip your tire if that's what you had in mind.

Not to qiubble too much, but they had an excellent frozen cheesecake dipped in dark chocolate at the cafe...

And there's a decent view of the Sound if you just go around the hill a mile or so.

Of course, you have to be a dedicated cycle tourist to think the Yorktown Monument is all that special at the eastern end of the TransAm.

Routes / Re: Place to finish WB Northern Tier ride
« on: January 09, 2017, 10:48:55 am »
What are you looking for in a place to finish?  Downtown Anacortes is perhaps a mile from the ferry terminal, so you can backtrack there for transportation, housing, and food.

Gear Talk / Re: Lightweight touring bike?
« on: January 08, 2017, 08:22:06 pm »
Get a bike with low gearing no matter what.  Triple crankset.  Or one of those compact cranks with big cassette cogs.  Or maybe one of those mountain bike double cranks with a tiny inner cog.

I've wondered about this for a while.  I'm old, slow, and heavy, so I've got gears down to 20 gear inches on all my bikes, even the one without racks, so I can climb some ridiculous hills when it's hot and I'm tired.  But some people recommend doubles for touring with light loads.  At what point of youth, fitness, and light load does a 27-30 gear inch low become a viable option for touring?

General Discussion / Re: Finishing my TransAm ride - Where to Start
« on: January 07, 2017, 11:56:04 am »
IIRC many of the town parks close for cyclist camping after Labor Day.  In addition, many of the state parks are going to be cutting back hours and services then, although that only applies to Missouri and Kentucky.  Ergo, if you're planning to camp in those locations, it might be better to start early to mid-August.

Otherwise, I'd agree with jama on temperatures.  If you can push the end to middle to late October, you may have some stunning leaf displays in the eastern Appalachians.  Or maybe not.  The fall colors vary much more in the south than in New England.  Also, you're losing daytime riding hours after August.

General Discussion / Re: Finishing my TransAm ride - Where to Start
« on: January 06, 2017, 11:05:03 am »
If you're one of us who "rides into shape," starting in Garden City will give you a week of flat riding, and a week of (mostly) gradually increasing hills, before you hit the Ozarks and, later, the ridges in Kentucky and Virginia.  The scenery does change (and improve) as you go east.  It's not all wheat fields!  There's also corn fields!

Routes / Re: Help with route
« on: December 30, 2016, 11:10:32 am »
This question pops up every year or so.  It'd help if you could narrow the route down a bit.  In general, from Nashville, you're going to have to cross the Tennessee River, and 1-4 ridges.  There's generally more ways over the Tennessee ridges than over Lookout and Sand Mountains in Georgia and Alabama.  So, let me list river crossings from west to east.  BTW, I consider all the four lane roads in north Alabama highly unfriendly to dangerous for cyclists except perhaps between 8:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. and during Alabama football games.

One of the nicest river crossings is the Natchez Trace in NW Alabama.  From there you can build a decent route until you go down the mountain to Gadsden, but then pick back up and perhaps go to the Chief Ladiga/Silver Comet rail-trail.  This dumps you on the west side of the Atlanta/Marietta urban area, though.

I'd skip the river crossings in Florence, Decatur, and Huntsville.  You might be able to cross the Wheeler Dam bridge below Rogersville if traffic's light, since they closed the paper mill.

Guntersville has nice bridges, but you'd have to endure about 5 miles of high speed traffic either side of the river itself.  From downtown, go left past the state park and up Sand Mountain.  You can work your way around to Piedmont and Chief Ladiga, or north towards Rome GA via Centre (very low traffic except in peak fishing season).

I'd skip the bridges at Scottsboro because there's only one viable route up Sand Mountain.  Even though there's two lanes going up, it's normally got heavy, high speed traffic.  There's a few ways across the mountain, and from Ft. Payne on the other side you can climb Lookout Mtn. a couple different ways.  Stevenson has a narrow bridge, but usually has less traffic climbing the ridge.  From there you can go down into Trenton, which has a somewhat viable route up Lookout, since the curves tend to keep motorist's speed down.  Across the mountain there's generally good sightlines, but what's a shoulder?

The bridge at South Pittsburg is great, but you've got a few miles of narrow, winding roads on the other side before traffic lets up.  The bridge at Haletown, TN has just been rebuilt, and there's a couple decent ways to get into Chattanooga from there.  You can also go down to Trenton and go up Lookout Mtn. there, and either cross the mountain or go down to the Ft. Payne - Rome route.

Chattanooga has two good choices, Market St. and the old Walnut St. bridges.  You'll probably have crossed Suck Mtn, and the Cumberland Plateau before that.  Getting out of town to the east is a challenge, but south is workable.

I'd skip the Watts Bar Dam bridge.  TN 58 bridge in Kingston, ditto.  Loudon's U.S. 11 bridge was built before the interstate, so it's plenty big enough, but that's getting a fair bit north and east.

Which way do you want to go?  Let me know and I'll see if I can give you more specific suggestions.

round rock house in Kentucky
Huh? Where is that?

You didn't see that?  :)

I think it was somewhere west of Sonora (aka where the route crossed one of the Kentucky state parkways), east of Madrid.

If you can take a day off in Canon City, CO, plan on rafting the Arkansas River through the gorge.  For extra fun, ride the train first so you can see what you're going to go through.

Plan on a soak at Hot Sulphur Springs, CO ($), and/or Saratoga, WY (contribution).

As you climb Togwotee Pass, keep your fingers crossed for clear weather just over the top for a view of the Tetons.  It's the most magnificent view I know.

Take another day to ride the bus around Yellowstone (especially to the canyon!), or take a 2-3 days to see it on the bike.

There's a railroad bridge between Troutville and Blacksburg, VA, that looks to me like it was inspired by the Lord of the Rings.  See if you agree.  Also, you'll want to take a picture of the round rock house in Kentucky.  Everybody does!

General Discussion / Re: How to transport bike box?
« on: December 27, 2016, 10:14:39 am »
I'm with sleepy (zzzz) on two points.  First, even though there's a back way out of Dulles, it'd be a whole lot easier to go to a local motel via cab or (free?) shuttle and ride out of there the next morning.  Second, you should have little to no problem getting the front desk to help ship the bike the next morning (or shortly afterwards).  There just aren't any Bates Motels left in the high-priced area of Dulles.

Routes / Re: Camp Pendleton - access North to South for touring cyclists
« on: December 16, 2016, 09:58:52 am »
Your best bet would probably be to find an active or retired military man who lives in the area and who's also a cyclist.  Ask them if they'd do a day ride with you through the Camp.

(Don't look at me, I haven't been within 500 miles of the place for nearly 20 years!)

Gear Talk / Re: Front rack and fender question
« on: December 12, 2016, 10:00:07 am »
You can mount both on the most convenient eyelet..It's really best if you put the rack right next to the fork, since there's less shear stress on the long bolt that way.  You'll want to bend the fender stays out slightly (do it near the fender, so you don't have to bend them that much) to go outside the rack mount.

General Discussion / Re: How to transport bike box?
« on: December 09, 2016, 01:25:23 pm »
BTW, I avoid going to a UPS store and having them ship.  Both times I did that the price was crazy high despite it being the same size and weight as when I paid way less via a bike shop.

The UPS Store is a retail affair, and they'll charge a lot more than if you take it to the UPS facility (where trucks drive in and out).  I think pricing is generally facility cost < pickup cost (from home or business) < store.  Unfortunately, UPS seems to choose the most remote spots imaginable to site those facilities - even worse the REI!

Gear Talk / Re: Rain Jackets
« on: December 08, 2016, 09:20:56 am »
The DC will probably be better for packability -- you don't really want to wear it all the time!

I've got their commuting jacket (wore it to work this morning!).  Love the bright color and reflective stripe, but it's pretty bulky; I don't think I'd pack it for touring.

The only other plus for the Elite is the color; I suspect the plum on the Double Century won't be as conspicuous as the yellow Elite.

General Discussion / Re: Lions and tigers and bears oh my!!!
« on: December 06, 2016, 10:41:48 am »
Bears: Do not store or prepare food, or eat, in your tent.  Store it properly (bear bag or bear lockers).  Stick to designated campgrounds in National Parks (which is required by regulation).  If you follow posted signs in bear areas, your chances of being eaten by a bear drop from unlikely to really, really remote.

Bison, elk, moose: read the brochures you get when you enter Grand Tetons/Yellowstone, and follow directions.

Lions: There have been a few confirmed sightings of mountain lions in the east in the last few years.  If you see one, you're really lucky.

Dogs: I'm a fan of Halt! pepper spray on a handlebar mount to deal with eastern Kentucky dogs.  Practice a time or two so if you're surprised by a charging dog, you can deter it by squirting in the right direction.  Get off the bike for a better aim if you have time.  Mount the Halt! in central Virginia and keep it available through Missouri, just in case.

Turkey: make sure your heart is in good shape, because if one moves in the ditch while you're passing, it'll scare the **** out of you.

Snakes: stay out of brush, and if you hear rattling, go the other way.

Turtles: if you see a green turtle with a long neck and tail, stay away from that snapping turtle.

Cows: if you can get past them, see if you can shoo them back into the fence they came out of.  Make sure you close and latch all farm gates, not that you'll have much call to go through them in the first place.

Recreational Vehicles rented by people who drive small cars back home: these are the worse killers in Yellowstone, and don't make the news because they're so common.  Wear bright colors, try to get off the road by late afternoon, find something else to do if it's foggy.

Despite this long list of things to worry about, don't worry about them.  Deaths are so rare they make the news in Britain, apparently.  Injuries are probably more common, but there's a large number of people who ride across the country, go visit the highlights of the tour, etc., that come out of it just fine.  If I had to make a list of things to worry about, it would start with how to drink enough water, how to ingest enough salt, what to eat, where to sleep, have I pumped up my tires lately, is there enough brake pad left, etc., etc.  Lions, bobcats, and bears are right above how do I secure and transport that half pound gold nugget I might find lying beside the road on my personal list.  Hey, it might happen!

General Discussion / Re: Trans am route, map or gpx Garmin.
« on: December 06, 2016, 10:04:54 am »
If you don't know how to read a map and follow written directions, go with a GPS.

If you do use the maps, do supplement them with state maps (as mentioned earlier).

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