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Messages - adventurepdx

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Routes / Re: Why does the PC route bypass Olympic Peninsula?
« on: August 15, 2016, 12:39:01 pm »
What it boils down to is route selection is somewhat subjective. We take in as much information as we can, distill it to what we've decided are the most important factors and determine a route from there...What you have to remember for this route in particular is that when it was developed in the 80's, there was a lot of logging going on in the area and US 101 carried much of that traffic with little to no shoulders. Safety is a large factor in our selection process, it won out over other considerations.

Thanks, Jennifer. Yeah, I understand that there's a lot of factors that go into route selection, and no route is going to be perfect. And things change.

But I'm definitely more interested in why the ACA Pacific Coast Route stays so far inland in Washington and does not see the Pacific Coast AT ALL in that state (but does see the Puget Sound.) And I know that route selection and planning is a big process, but is there any plans to reevaluate the route, esp. through Washington? Maybe have it hit the coast towards Aberdeen? Or another possibility is that the Willapa Hills Trail should be complete from the coast (Raymond) to Chehalis in the next few years, which would give folks a traffic-free route. I understand that some people are freaked out by the Astoria Bridge, but there is a bus option that runs over the bridge, or they could detour to the Westport Ferry.

Routes / Re: Why does the PC route bypass Olympic Peninsula?
« on: August 14, 2016, 12:58:01 am »
i disagree with  those posters who think the peninsula is not great unless you do the side trips.

Well, I guess we agree to disagree.  ;)

I will have to say that 101 was for the most part manageable on the west side of the Olympic Peninsula (from about Port Angeles down to Aberdeen), when it came to traffic levels or grades--no real steep or high areas for the most part. But for me, I could do that style of riding (quietish riding through rolling hills with a mix of forest and clearcut) in plenty of places down here in Oregon. If I go up that way, I want to see the highlights of the peninsula--and Olympic National Park--which means for me doing side trips.

Routes / Re: Why does the PC route bypass Olympic Peninsula?
« on: August 11, 2016, 03:53:24 pm »
Kirkendall/Spring has both an Inland route along the Sound to Shelton (where it turns West) and a Coast route using 101 around the Peninsula.  They take 101 around Crescent Lake which as you note is among the worst sections on the the coast.  There I'd instead take 112 along the Strait of Juan de Fuca as WA Parks does.

Yeah, I should have pointed out that "The Book" has both routings. The Book does use the 101 routing around Crescent Lake. In the first one or two editions of the book, they did use 112, but they modified it due to the increase in logging trucks at the time (early 90's?) Of course, the logging truck situation is more fluid than the constant stream of recreational traffic on 101.

In general there is nothing wrong with ACA's "I-5" route (though basically it's Cascade's long available STP route) and those of us who ride down there certainly ride all over that. It's just not the Pacific Coast in an area where actually riding along the Pacific Coast is an option and pretty great.

It would be interesting to see why ACA chose such an inland routing. I have a strong feeling it's because they wanted to avoid the Astoria-Megler Bridge across the Columbia, which is daunting for some (and would probably lead to complaints at ACA.) The ACA route uses the Westport Ferry instead, which is cool, but that section of US 30 from Westport west to Astoria is busy and can be hairy.

Routes / Re: Why does the PC route bypass Olympic Peninsula?
« on: August 11, 2016, 01:44:15 pm »
The WA coast is a far more rugged and wild coast then the tame (though wonderful) OR Coast. Only very Northern CA coast compares and is of course different.  And while there are plenty of places where the route ducks in from the coast it's not like you are riding on the beach the whole time on any stretch of the coast.  Not to mention there is a distinct difference between the northern and southern stretches of the coast and on the southern end you are pretty close to the water for long stretches if you use 105, 109 as well as 101. 

To be clear, I wasn't talking necessarily about the ACA route (WA Parks) nor even the Kirkendall/Spring "Bicycling the Pacific Coast" book, just about 101. I definitely think its worth getting off of 101 as much as possible, though even if you do, there are some pretty good stretches along 101 that are unavoidable, and a bit boring in my opinion. But to make going the "long way" around the Olympic Peninsula worth it, one needs to take the time to get off 101 as much as possible, and do the side trips into the Olympic National Park like at Hoh. But I feel like a lot of people riding this way just buzz down 101 because they're more concerned about speed and directness, and then miss out on what this area is about.

Finally even if you want to take the inland route along the Sound and Hood Canal at the very least the Coast Route should from Elma (where WA Parks inexplicably starts) take the back roads and 105 to the Coast at Twin Harbors State park and down the coast and along the bays to Cape Disappointment.  There is great views, great parks and great riding on this stretch and this isn't part of WA Parks, so no way to do all of the WA coast on ACA rates...  Why anyone would want to take the inland route near I-5 (which does have some nice places, but just doesn't compare) beyond being in a real hurry, is bizarre to me.

Yeah, I don't understand why the ACA route goes south from Olympia practically to Longview and then west from there, rather than west from Olympia. But then again, the Olympia/Longview routing is good knowledge for those of us riding from Portland to Seattle!  ;D

The Kirkendall/Spring book goes west from Olympia to the coast, though. And the combination of SR 6 and the Willapa Hills Trail west from Chehalis is another great way to get to the coast at Raymond.

Routes / Re: Why does the PC route bypass Olympic Peninsula?
« on: August 10, 2016, 01:58:12 pm »
What Jennifer says.

Also, I think most folks doing the Pacific Coast Route want a more direct routing, and going  the "long" way around the north and west sides of the Olympic Peninsula can add almost a week to the trip. It's faster to stay "inside" and follow the Puget Sound south towards Olympia and turn out to the coast there.

And the Washington coast is a lot different than either the Oregon or California coasts. In OR/CA, 101 or 1 stays fairly close to the ocean and beaches are pretty accessible. In Washington it winds its way many miles inland in many spots, esp. on the Olympic Peninsula. In SW Washington, there are numerous bays and inlets that US 101 winds around, so you'll see "water" but it's not the ocean. The one benefit to 101 in Washington is that it's quieter than 101 in OR and CA.

I biked around the Olympic Peninsula in 2010. It was a nice tour, but as I said above, 101 stays pretty far inland for most of the way from Port Angeles to Aberdeen. There is only one section that hugs the Pacific Coast, and that's only about 10 miles long. Also, while Olympic National Park is nearby, 101 only passes through it in a few spots, up around Lake Crescent (which ironically enough features the worst riding on 101) and that section on the coast at Kalaloch. If you wanted to access other areas of the park, like the beach at Mora or the Hoh rain forest, you'll need to be doing 20 to 40 mile round-trip detours to access these areas of the park. Most of the ride consists of looking at trees and hills and clearcuts, which isn't bad, but you're neither going to be riding directly through the Olympic rainforests nor seeing the Pacific from the saddle for the most part.

I'd like to go around the Olympic peninsula again at some point, but I know that in order to do more stuff in the park, I'll need to plan more time.

Routes / Re: Cycling from Portland, Or to Logan's Pass
« on: July 01, 2016, 11:34:11 pm »
I guess the question is "Where do you want to connect to the NT before Logan Pass?" Does it only matter that you get to the Northern Tier by Glacier National Park, or do you want to get to it as soon as possible?

The route that Carla proposed above would be good, as would be connecting to the TransAm from Portland, then getting on the Great Parks North route in Missoula. This would be a longer and more challenging way to get there, but another possibility.

If you want to hook up to the Northern Tier as soon as possible, you can get off the Lewis and Clark in far eastern Washington, say around Clarkston/Lewiston, and then head north towards Seattle on the quieter highways paralleling US 195. Until you hit the Spokane metro area it's really small towns with not a lot of services, but there's more chances of towns and services here than heading northbound west of here.

General Discussion / Re: Thank You card for hosts
« on: May 23, 2016, 01:05:07 pm »
That's a great idea!

In the past decade, I've only done one really long tour, and I made a card for that, though I didn't get around to it until we were 1,000 miles in! Better late than never.  ;)

This year I don't think I'll be on a bike tour that's any longer than a week or so. Maybe I'll make a generic card to give out.

General Discussion / Re: wild camping in WA, OR and CA
« on: April 14, 2016, 01:44:06 pm »
One big benefit of using the hiker/biker sites is at least during the busy season you'll run into other touring cyclists every night, so it's not like you're travelling alone, even when you are! In fact, if you ride at the same pace as others, you'll end up running into the same people every night.

Of course, if you like being alone, this might be a drawback...

General Discussion / Re: wild camping in WA, OR and CA
« on: April 13, 2016, 10:32:37 pm »
Right.  And showers were only a few quarters 10 years ago all through Oregon and Calif.  For me, that's reason enough to use the campground if one is available, and along the Oregon and Calif coasts, they are very available.

Yes, having the showers as well makes it a slam dunk for me! Though I will note that the showers at Oregon State Parks are free, and have been for quite some time. WA and CA do charge, though.

On an average 60 mile day (with a few exceptions) you'll pass at least one hiker/biker campground, if not two or three.

General Discussion / Re: wild camping in WA, OR and CA
« on: April 13, 2016, 06:34:29 pm »
For Oregon, I know that in some spots it is legal to camp on the beach. But there's a lot of parameters involved. Basically, any spot that WILL be legal to camp on the beach is going to not be easily accesible by road, and probably would mean shlepping a loaded bike along a beach for aways, or through the woods. I think the main idea of legal beach camping in Oregon in the modern era is to give folks who hike the Oregon Coastal Trail a place to camp every night, as there won't always be a state park campground around, esp. in the southern portion of the state. As such, the idea of the free beach camping is designed around through hikers, NOT cyclists.

Here's a good discussion about the legality of camping on beaches in Oregon:

To the OP, if you are willing and skilled in the stealth camping arts, there is nothing stopping you from doing that as you travel the coast. But most likely, you'll be camping illegally, even on the Oregon Coast.

And as others have said before, the frequency and cheapness of hiker-biker campsites along the coast means that you'll really want to be in the idea of stealth camping instead of using the designated spots. For example, I was out at my favorite hiker/biker site at Cape Lookout State Park last week. It's $6 a night (per person) and the campsite is literally a hundred yards from the actual ocean.

General Discussion / Re: Asking too Much?
« on: March 22, 2016, 01:11:14 pm »
I think a lot of what the OP wants hinges on what "local rides" mean. Now if it means roadie style club rides as others speculate, then yeah, a traditional touring bike probably wouldn't be appropriate. But when I heard "local ride", I thought more commuting, or non-competitive recreational rides. For those, a touring bike would be fine. For many years my Long Haul Trucker was my good bike, so I used it for touring, commuting, and other recreational rides. And it worked fine for my needs. Sure, a lighter road bike would have been better for some of the long rides, but I didn't feel that hindered by my choice of the bike.

It's easy to overthink things and feel we need a specialized bike for every different thing we do. But sometimes a good general purpose bike can cover a lot of those bases.

I've only done a little bit of the TA recently, but it was in Oregon last September. Where we were there were fire restrictions because of all the active fires in the state. This was for both the National Forest campsites and all the state parks. Many in our group had Trangia stoves, which was considered "open flame" by one of the camp hosts, so we couldn't use it there. Since you'll be heading east-west, you'll most likely be entering the west when fire season is going, and when there will be open flame restrictions.

So yeah, it might be wise to have a canister back up plan. If you were going west-east, it probably wouldn't be an issue. But I can't tell you for sure.

General Discussion / Re: So I bought a bike now which panniers?
« on: March 19, 2016, 12:49:11 pm »
Like one big pocket and complete waterproofing without added raincovers? Choose Ortileb.

Like lots of pockets to organize your stuff? Choose Arkel.

On a budget? Choose anything else.

Nicely put.

I would that Vaude also makes quality panniers similar in design to Ortlieb.

Agreed on the goodness of John's succinct rundown.  :D
Also to note in the Ortlieb-esque on a budget is Axiom. I had a few of their panniers and they were decent. They also make more Arkel-esque panniers, too.

General Discussion / Re: Bike shops near Seatac airport
« on: March 06, 2016, 01:38:12 pm »
A logistics suggestion from someone who tries to get out west every year and ships his bike: Are you going to be spending the night somewhere in Seattle? If so, you might want to consider looking for a shop that is close to where you will be staying rather than one close to where you will be landing. Seattle has a nice HI hostel in the thick of the city...Also, the hostel is about 2.0 miles from the Seattle REI. Some REI stores will receive and assemble bikes for people who are about to start tours...
If you decide to go that route, I would call sooner than later and get on the schedule. The Missoula REI wanted to have the bike in their hands at least 10 days before my arrival because it gets very busy around that time. I would also make hostel reservations early. When I stayed there in late May of '99 and '00 the place filled up. They are in a different location now, so it may be larger, but I wouldn't chance it.

All good points. I'll add that you can take light rail from SeaTac into central Seattle. The HI-Seattle is just a block away from the lightrail station. And yes, book your stay as early as you can!

General Discussion / Re: Rain gear in the summer: Why carry it at all?
« on: March 06, 2016, 01:34:48 pm »
OK, I'll bite! Here's why ditching rain gear wouldn't work for me, or why I wouldn't do it:
  • I've been on a bike tour in the middle of the continent (so not an oceanic climate) and dealt with at least one day of all day rain, if not more.
  • Sometimes there's no handy shelter available.
  • Sure, I could try to set up a tent fly. But what if we're talking about a good stiff wind? And setting up a tent fly takes longer than grabbing a rain jacket from a bag.
  • And most importantly, good rain gear is an extra layer for when things get cold or go south. When touring on the North Cascades Hwy a few years ago, we got rained on early into our ascent up Sherman Pass, which we never really dried out from. At the top of the pass which is 5575 feet, there was a roadside thermometer reading 40F/4C. Descending from the pass for the next several miles was cold enough, but would have been a lot worse if we didn't have the raingear for warmth and windbreak.

I know raingear seems useless if there's no rain, but it's great to have it if/when you need it!

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