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Messages - adventurepdx

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Pacific Northwest / Re: How to find camping spots
« on: June 21, 2023, 12:35:00 am »
I've tried a number of other apps for campsites, but have not found them useful.

I'll second the advice of using Google Maps, but I will share one app that I have found useful: Allstays Camp and Tent. It does cost some $$, but it's a one time nominal fee--I bought it back in 2011 or so when I did my Cross-Con Tour, and it still works for me (and yes, I've switched devices!) It's got a nice map interface and breaks down campgrounds by type: National Parks, State Parks, National Forests, BLM, County/Municipal, Army Corps of Engineers, and private. It gives a basic overview of each campground's amenities. Unfortunately it doesn't indicate hiker/biker sites, but I don't know if any app does.

Pacific Northwest / Re: Starting a tour in Portland, OR
« on: April 17, 2023, 10:09:17 pm »
Hello there, markusl!

As someone who's lived in Portland for over 20 years and has done a bunch of touring around these parts, I usually recommend people use transit if they want to get towards the coast. It's not that riding west from downtown (ish) Portland through the westside suburbs is impossible, but it's often not that fun: You'll have to get over the Tualatin Mountains, aka The West Hills, at the very beginning, and they rise suddenly and steeply right outside of downtown. The couple best routes over them are also the ones people drive over, so they are busy. And getting through the westside suburbia is just not that exciting unless you wind through a lot of the quieter streets, which don't make for straightforward navigation. Many of the busier streets have bike facilities, if you want to go that route, but riding on four-to-six lane boulevards, even if there are bike lanes is not my idea of fun. YMMV.

It's pretty easy to take the MAX light rail from central Portland and get off at its western terminus in Hillsboro. That's where you can start my favorite way to get to the North Coast (Astoria to be specific):

There's some other good info on biking to the coast here, all starting at the Hatfield station in Hillsboro:

Also worth noting, if you don't have the time or want to get to the coast faster: There are a few bus options from Portland to the coast, one goes to Astoria and Seaside, another from Portland to Tillamook.

Hope this helps!

You cannot check from Whitefish to the Portland section.

You can't bring an unboxed bike from Whitefish to Portland on the Empire Builder, but you can box a bike and check it from Whitefish to Portland.

Routes / Re: Cambridge to Boston?
« on: September 28, 2022, 03:08:22 pm »
I assume that after 20 years, mforrington has found his way home.

I know 2012 feels like a long time ago, but it wasn't that long ago.  ;)

General Discussion / Re: Pacific Coast from Vancouver, BC
« on: August 30, 2022, 08:54:17 pm »
There are hostels in seattle.

There are also hostels in Vancouver, BC, where they'll be landing. Seattle is a two to three day bicycle ride from the Vancouver airport. So I don't understand why you are mentioning this, especially since the OP didn't explicitly say they'd bike through Seattle.

General Discussion / Re: Big bikes on Amtrak?
« on: August 14, 2022, 04:25:04 pm »
My two cents:

  • 2.6" wide tires would be pushing it for the hooks in the baggage car, but may still work, esp. if you've deflated the tires a bit. I've used 2.35" wide tires on the hooks before and they'll fit. However, my bike has 26" wheels instead of 29"
  • The length of bike may be more critical to fit into the hooks. I haven't had a chance to look at the positioning of the hooks in the baggage cars up close to see.
  • One thing often forgotten in the conversation is weight of bike. There is a 50 pound limit on bikes, and if you are doing the unboxed bike service, you'll need to be able to lift the bike to the baggage handler in the baggage car. The baggage car's floor is usually about five feet from the ground, meaning you'll need to lift the bike over your head. (Some stations that see a lot of bikes, like Portland OR, will make it easier by having a baggage trailer (about three feet off the ground) between you and the baggage car. But don't count on it.)

If this was me, I'd "bite the bullet" and box the bike.
  • Use the Amtrak provided box, as it's the roomiest bike box you'll ever find.
  • It may actually be cheaper to box the bike. The current fee for an Amtrak bike box is $15, and the checking fee is $10. You should be able to check the bike from Fayetteville to Grand Junction, and that means you'd just pay $25 total. (Mind you, you would not have access to the bike again until Grand Junction.) If you do "roll-on" service, you'll be paying the bike fee for each segment of the trip. If you are using three train segments (Fayetteville-DC/DC-Chicago/Chicago-Grand Junction) you'll most likely be paying $20 per train, which adds up to $60. (And you'll have to physically retrieve your bike from the old train and load to the new one, twice.) I'd check with your local station first about if they can check the bike from Fayetteville all the way to Grand Junction.

General Discussion / Re: Pacific Coast from Vancouver, BC
« on: July 13, 2022, 05:28:06 pm »
I don't have any suggestions for a near-the-airport in Vancouver. But my suggestion would be to get on the public transit (Skytrain) that goes from the airport right into downtown Vancouver. There'll be more options and you'll be in the heart of the city.

General Discussion / Re: Pacific coast season
« on: July 03, 2022, 06:10:56 pm »

I rode the coast straddling the Labor day weekend so I saw both before and after.  Traffic was lighter after than before.  I really didn't find it that bad in either case though.  That was 10 or so years ago though so traffic is probably a bit heavier now.

Traffic has gotten worse in ten years, especially since pandemic. There were a lot of RVs and the like on the road the last two summers.

I generally preferred to stay on 101 where possible unless there was some specific reason to do otherwise.  A couple places where I was advised to take a more scenic route I regretted it when it wasn't particularly scenic, just more indirect and or hillier.  In at least one case it probably was scenic at one time, but the trees apparently grew up obscuring the overlooks over time.

I can't think of many instances (at least on the northern/central Oregon coast) where I would have preferred to stay on 101 instead of the alternate. Even in Lincoln City, where the "preferred alternative" is indeed hilly--101 here was thick with aggressive traffic that did not appreciate me cycling through. (Going mostly east of Lincoln City via the east side of Devil's Lake is the best option, but if you have lodging in Lincoln City you might not be able to do that.)

Yeah, taking Slab Creek Road (old 101) instead of new 101 over Cascade Head is more indirect and you don't get an epic view, but neither do you on new 101. Instead I got a peaceful ride on a quiet road through a nice forest. There's not many alternates like this, but I appreciate what I get. But to each their own.

General Discussion / Re: Pacific coast season
« on: July 03, 2022, 02:44:13 pm »
My two cents:

August is a great time of year, weather wise in the Pacific Northwest. So you'll have ideal weather if you start then.

But if I was doing the tour, I'd start in September, right after Labor Day. September is still a good weather time on the coast, though later in the month you might see a bit of rain. Early October can be good too. And the traffic drops off quite a bit too, and things are less busy all around.

The traffic gets a better after labor day when the RV traffic dies down, but It shouldn't be a huge deal unless you are particularly traffic sensitive.

I don't consider myself "particularly traffic sensitive" as I ride my bike most days in a city and have done tours in high traffic areas. But traffic on US 101, especially in Oregon, can be thick. I did a tour of the Oregon coast last August and this is what I had to say about it afterwards:

What gets old, and what brings down the rating (of this tour) is the riding experience. If there was ever a popular touring route with the biggest dichotomy between destinations and the ride, it’s gotta be the Pacific Coast Route. There are some truly sublime moments of biking, but most of the ride (in Oregon, at least) is on US 101, the only coastal through-route. It’s busy enough in the winter, but in the middle of summer it’s basically a wall of traffic. There is usually a wide shoulder, but the constant drone of passing vehicles can wear. Then there’s the moments where that shoulder disappears and you hope the vehicles can pass safely…In any case, it’s touring like this which makes one consider off-road bikepacking instead.

Now I don't want to scare of the OP or anyone considering this tour, but traffic on the Pacific Coast Route is definitely a thing, especially these last few years due to pandemic. That's why I recommend going a bit after peak season. But if you do ride during the middle of summer, I'd highly recommend getting of 101 or 1 where you can.

There are eight cages on various bikes where I might want to carry coffee, times $25?  No thanks.   All the manufacturers need to do is make their mugs an eighth of an inch smaller diameter.  Perhaps the Travel Kuppe will be wildly successful and the other guys will catch on.

Have you tried the Klean Kanteen, Hydro Flask, and/or the Stanley mugs that have been mentioned? I've gotten these into other cages too.

Once you’ve bent the cage, regular water bottles don’t stay in well.  Believe me, I’ve been looking for years, they all were too big.

What kind of cage do you use? If it's aluminum, they aren't going to be as pliable as steel ones, which can bend back and forth.

I use Velo-Orange's Retro cages, which nicely adjust to the diameter of the bottle:

The Stanley that Ty0604 mentions works. I have one as well.

The insulated mugs offered by Klean Kanteen and Hydro Flask also fit in bottle cages well. I also use them.

General Discussion / Re: Free Air
« on: February 28, 2022, 05:52:01 pm »
Yeah, me too.  If you have higher volume tires a higher pump is in order.  I have found it a little annoying to fully inflate my MTB tires from flat with my mini pump.  I most often have toured on fairly skinny tires though so the smaller pumps are usually fine.

I know that in Ye Olden Days of Touring, bike frame pumps were not that powerful, and the only way to increase the power was to increase the length of the pump. I'll admit there is something aesthetically pleasing about a frame pump tucked under the top tube, and they can come in handy during a dog attack.

But the mini foot pump with hose and pressure gauge is just so much better, and not that expensive--you can get a good one for $40 to $60. I'd rather have a pump that's not a chore to use instead of finding a gas station to keep my tires inflated.

That being said, some of the new mini pumps are actually really good. I have a Leyzene Pocket Drive that I got because I needed a small pump. I had to use it once, and I was amazed at how fast it inflated!

General Discussion / Re: Free Air
« on: February 28, 2022, 12:07:10 pm »
I haven't used "gas station air" in forever. I'm more of a fan of buying a decent portable bike pump. The "mini-floor" models can get you up to full inflation pretty quickly. Not as quick as a compressor, mind you, but pretty quick. And mine has a gauge on it so I know how much air I need.

If you do use the gas station air and have presta valves, remember to bring an adaptor!

General Discussion / Re: Does size matter?
« on: February 02, 2022, 05:38:54 pm »
Adventure,I know some about the various sizes.  It  was my understanding the big difference between the 650s was the rim (thus the tire probably) width.  I am/was currently running 700 on my Americano but the Thorn has 559 as does the Beckman.  One thing I did not like about the Co-Motion is that it could not take tires wider than 37mm.  When I was doing mixed surface tours on it, at times I really wished I could have gone wider on the gravel roads.

I know that there are more width choices in 700C/29" tires these days, but a lot of the bikes designed for 700C wheels can't handle bigger tires. I had a circa 2008 LHT with 700C wheels, and despite "Fatties Fit Fine", 35mm was about as wide as I could get. (This was mostly due to my front Jandd rack, so if I switched to a different rack I may have been able to increase width somewhat.) And for the longest time, 35mm on a 700C wheel was considered "fat". Bikes designed with 650B or 26" wheels were usually (though not always) designed for widths north of 35mm.

Sounds like you want wider tires. I'd go for the option where you can get the widest possible. I got my custom Bantam built around 26"/559 wheels that can take tires up to 2.4" wide and don't regret it one bit.

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