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Messages - adventurepdx

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Routes / Re: Sierra Cascades-Oregon section: Windigo Pass question
« on: August 19, 2013, 07:14:53 pm »
I believe I've read reports that indicate the dirt sections are pretty awful to near unrideable when wet.

And pretty awful to near unrideable when dry as well.

I attempted Windigo Pass last month (July). I was coming from the north. The first four miles of gravel are ok, but when I turned the corner onto the true Windigo Pass Road, I was confronted with pumice. I attempted to ride it for a couple minutes, but I didn't get far, between front wheel digging in and rear wheel spinning out. I decided to turn around. I ran into some fellow tourists a couple days later in Diamond Lake and they said they actually did ride it a few years back and considered it a nightmare.

As for traffic, there wasn't anything for the most part on the section I did. (If there was, I may have hitched a ride!)

My advice: skip Windigo Pass.

I doubt gear creep will be a problem, I'm a minimalist backpacker and invested a lot of $$$ in lightweight gear a few years ago, that I plan to keep for a long time.  My base gear weight (no food and water) is around 22 lbs, and that simply won't go up because I hate lugging any more weight than that around on my back (or my bike).

Then have you considered a bikepacking setup? Meaning: a rackless setup with framebag/saddlebag/handlebar bag? If you don't have a lot of gear you can probably make that work. No panniers means no heel strike, which means you can either continue using the cross bike you already have or get another cross bike.

And another option to throw out: You can get a longer rear rack, like a Jandd Expedition. This means you can position the panniers a bit further back, lessening heel-strike issues. (Of course, this can create other issues.)

Routes / Re: Oregon route 20
« on: August 04, 2013, 04:40:21 pm »

Routes / Re: Camping supplies near Mt Vernon Amtrak?
« on: August 04, 2013, 04:39:21 pm »
Hey Steck, when you say "camping gas" do you mean canister fuel? The blue Camping Gaz or the more generic type? If it's the latter, Fred Meyer is a Northwest grocery store/hypermarket chain that has a limited camping selection. It's geared more towards car camping, but they do sell backpacker stove canister fuel. The nearest one to the Mt. Vernon Amtrak station is in Burlington, about 4 miles north.,+WA&daddr=Fred+Meyer,+920+South+Burlington+Boulevard,+Burlington,+Washington+98233&hl=en&sll=48.457897,-122.345467&sspn=0.186015,0.308647&geocode=FcvM4gIdOlG1-CHNYxWBIUo1HSmrfW-ir26FVDHNYxWBIUo1HQ%3BFSaK4wIdala1-Cl9TlSPuW2FVDE88SVPWo3F1A&oq=mt+vernon+amtr&dirflg=b&mra=ltm&t=m&z=13&lci=bike

Did you need other gear?

And I don't recall any outdoor/camping stores in Mt. Vernon.

General Discussion / Re: North Nevada & Utah in summer
« on: July 02, 2013, 01:31:34 pm »
...where I can find alcohol for my Trangia Camp Kitchen. I try at Walmart but they have only propane and other fuel. Which is the name of the product here in the US?

Besides looking for denatured alcohol in hardware stores, big box stores, or the Walmarts of the world, look in gas stations for "HEET". It's methyl alcohol and comes in a yellow bottle. (It's important that you get the one in a yellow bottle. Sometimes they have one in a red bottle, but that has isopropyl alcohol in it as well, which doesn't burn as well.) It's usually by the motor oil and all that stuff. That's what I use for my Trangia.

I'm planning to ride around Mt Hood in a couple of weeks and have hear conflicting opinions on the I-84 sections and specifically the Tooth Rock Tunnel. Anyone have thoughts?

First off, which direction are you heading on 84, westbound or eastbound? Only the eastbound section goes through the tunnel, and I would definitely NOT ride it as there is no shoulder there. But the old Historic Columbia River Hwy is closed to cars and bypasses the tunnel. That's the preferred bike routing through there. (You'll have to navigate a large flight of stairs, though.)

I would use the Historic Columbia River Hwy as much as possible between Troutdale and Hood River. With it, you get to stay off 84 except for the last 10-15 miles east of Cascade Locks, and a section around Bonneville Dam. (As for the latter, they are finishing up a section of the old highway from Yeon State Park and Bonneville. It should be done very soon.) And all sections of HCRH east of Bonneville are closed to cars!

If you haven't already checked it out, you should look at the Columbia Gorge Bike Map put out by ODOT:

If your heart is set on riding 84, it's not too bad (besides Toothrock Tunnel.) The shoulder is pretty wide except for right around Shellrock Mtn (which is unavoidable as the old road is not open around there.) Expect a fair amount of debris in the shoulder, though.

I was thinking of riding over Lolo Pass rather than route 35 to Government Camp. Anyone have thoughts on Lolo Pass and the possible dirt sections (also conflicting reports).

Lolo Pass is a great route! Quiet and scenic. It can be steep in sections, and the west side will have high tension powerlines overhead. The "dirt" section is about 5 miles of gravel road. I found it rideable with only a few parts where the gravel felt loose. And it wasn't bad for descending, either. Of course, people's tolerance of gravel roads vary widely. I have 700X35C tires on my touring bike, so if you had 28mm wide tires you might not enjoy it as much.

Here's a few photos from Lolo Pass Road.

Routes / Re: Bus from Portland to Astoria
« on: June 29, 2013, 12:50:23 pm »
One more thing - are there lockers available for at the train or bus stations for something pannier sized?

Union Station does not. I know that Greyhound used to have lockers but am unsure whether they currently do.

Routes / Re: Bus from Portland to Astoria
« on: June 28, 2013, 02:21:37 pm »
Another thing to note: You'll need to buy a bike ticket for $5 for that bus, boxed or unboxed. This one is a strange rule. And by "strange", I mean that every time I've taken the bus from Astoria TO Portland and bought a ticket at the Astoria transit center, they tell me I don't need a special ticket for the bike and the bus driver doesn't care. But that one time I didn't buy a ticket in Portland for the trip TO Astoria, an Amtrak ticket agent came out and demanded that I do.

Routes / Re: Bus from Portland to Astoria
« on: June 28, 2013, 02:16:32 pm »
If you need a good book for the tour, definitely stop at the giant, independent book store in town. Can't remember the name, but it's famous.

That would be Powells at W Burnside and NW 10th.

There is also a big outdoor store in the downtown area. Can't remember the name of that, either...

Are you thinking of the REI at NW 14th and Johnson?

On a touring bike over very, very hilly terrain so I only average about 14 miles per hour.

Only 14 miles per hour?  :o

Routes / Re: Riding west to east along the northern tier
« on: June 14, 2013, 12:58:07 am »
We're planning to leave in the middle of May. Is cold weather clothing/gear required? What kind, how much?? We have big agnes sleeping bags rated at 15degrees. What type of clothing should i consider, rain gear/winter clothing?

Mid-May is a bit on the early side for the Northern Tier. Rainy/Washington Pass, the first pass you'll run into eastbound, closes each winter. Depending on how much snow the Cascades get, may not be open by the time you depart. My girlfriend and I did parts of the Northern Tier in 2011, and Rainy/Washington did not open until May 25. That year had high snow levels, though.

As for rain/cold gear, YES. Weather can change dramatically in the mountains, and May is still early spring depending on where you are. You may see snow/get snowed on at higher elevations. And even if it's not snowing, it can get cold. When we summitted Sherman Pass around mid-June it was 38F/3C and raining at the top of the pass. Not fun.

Gear Talk / Re: stability
« on: June 13, 2013, 03:35:30 am »
Stability, well I found myself not being able to go as fast as I would have liked with sideways wind gusts.

I'm no expert, but I think you found your problem there. Crosswinds are always a pain and there's not much you can do about it. I still would recommend wider tires, maybe 28-32mm at least.

Pacific Northwest / Re: Kelso/Longview to Astoria
« on: June 03, 2013, 12:37:06 pm »
I've never been across the Lewis and Clark bridge (at least via bike) so I don't hold any specific grudges against it. . . what is so bad about it?

For me, it's not just the fact that it's narrow, busy, and has a good climb on each side. It's the woodchips and other logging debris that litters the narrow shoulder. I got a flat on that bridge years ago because of the unavoidable debris. (Well, you could avoid it if you wanted to get into that busy lane...) I don't hear this complaint from STP riders, but I'm guessing that they get around to sweeping it right before the event.

Another thing to note: The Westport Ferry is a pretty cool experience. If you choose to go that route, make sure you check the schedule, as it only runs hourly.

Pacific Northwest / Re: Kelso/Longview to Astoria
« on: June 03, 2013, 03:11:39 am »
Max! My question for you is: Do you need to get to Astoria in a day? And are you set on de-training at Kelso? (Okay, I asked two questions, so sue me.)

If you were coming down from the north, you could get off at Centralia, WA and then ride out using SR 6 to the coast and pick up 101 at Raymond. SR 6 has some rolling hills but is a relatively easy and pretty quiet way to get out to the coast. This routing would of course be longer at about 110 miles, so it would be a two day ride. Here is the rough route:,+Centralia,+WA+98531+(Centralia+Amtrak)&daddr=Astoria,+OR&hl=en&sll=46.71747,-122.953062&sspn=0.006341,0.013797&geocode=FR7ayAIdmuKr-Cnxe4bAKl6RVDEI8cTGuFEV1A%3BFWzFwAIdK3ye-CmL-5UJRHuTVDG_ihuh8XLd9w&oq=astor&dirflg=b&mra=ls&t=m&z=9&lci=bike
(Note: Google Maps routes you on the "Willapa Hills Trail". Much of this trail is not improved and there are lots of washed-out or unrideable bridges and rough surfaces. Best to stick to SR 6.)
You could camp at Bruceport County Park outside of South Bend, which would be about 70 miles from Centralia.

If coming from the south, you can get off at Portland and take "Route One" from this link out to Astoria:
Also about 100 miles, but can be broken into two days.

If you do want to get out to Astoria in a day, and want to de-train at Kelso, I'd probably go with option one that you listed as it's the fastest. All of those options use high-traffic roads that sometimes lack shoulders, and you will be hitting a few good hills that you really can't avoid.  I despise the Lewis and Clark Bridge, but others find it less odious. Option two might be the least hilly, though.

There are many sanctioned campsites on the Icefields. Stealth camping is typically frowned upon and/or illegal in National Parks (unless it's backcountry, which the Parkway is not.) There is also numerous hostels along the parkway, which are great lodging options. More on them here:

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