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Messages - adventurepdx

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Gear Talk / Re: Abbreviations
« on: April 26, 2012, 12:11:49 am »
Regarding barcons, from Sheldon Brown:
Sun Tour trademark for derailer shift levers which mount in the ends of (usually) drop handlebars, replacing the normal end plugs. More formally known as "handlebar-end shifters" or "bar-end shifters," but not simply as "bar ends."

So it's a genericized trademark, not an abbreviation. Sort of how Band-Aid is shorthand for any type of adhesive bandage, though Band-Aid is owned by Johnson & Johnson.

SAG-Support And Gear.

General Discussion / Re: Vancouver BC to Seattle Route
« on: April 24, 2012, 09:39:10 pm »
Yep, if you have the extra time, do it. If you are going to Vancouver Island you can also check out some of the Gulf Islands, sort of the B.C. equivalent to the San Juans. (Note: This statement isn't meant to be demeaning or anything, just trying to make a comparison.) Salt Spring Island is nice. And riding down Whidbey Island and taking the ferry to Mukilteo is great as well.

General Discussion / Re: Woman Cycling Alone
« on: April 12, 2012, 01:29:00 pm »
I don't know if this response helps any but I'd like to see craigslist create a category entitled "Bikeshare" (the bike counterpart to "rideshare") so cyclists going the same route can connect.  I submitted my suggestion to craigslist but got ignored...

Crazy Guy on a Bike has a "companions" section in their classifieds:

And so does this very website!

General Discussion / Re: Student Bicycle Survey! -- Please help!
« on: April 11, 2012, 08:23:54 pm »
I took the survey. But honestly, isn't this marketing research for Trek?

Agreed. So many Trek specific questions towards the end.
Also find it interesting how "touring bike" is not listed as a "bike type" option, yet you are posting this on a touring bike oriented forum.

Routes / Re: Which Route to Take
« on: April 11, 2012, 04:57:10 pm »
In New Mexico the continental divide on I-8 is just a sign on a flat stretch of highway.

I think you must be referring to I-10, as I-8's eastern teminus is at I-10 between Phoenix and Tucson.

Finally, if the mileage works out for you, consider staying at Rockport the night before Colonial Creek. Howard Miller Steelhead Park has Adirondack shelters, which is nice if it's raining. (Reservations recommended, at least for weekends.) From there, it's a short, relatively easy day to Colonial Creek. Good rest for the legs before the next day. Not sure if there are groceries available in town. You could carry from Concrete. Marblemount, a little futher east, has more services.

I second that. Steelhead Park also has hiker/biker sites right next to the Skagit River. I remember there being limited, "country-store" selection of groceries in Rockport (where Steelhead Park is located), Marblemount, and Newhalem. Newhalem is the "last chance" market, but it closes pretty early, around 5 if I remember correctly.

As for "is there water near the side of the road"question, I do remember one waterfall that was easy accessible (see photo below), though it may dry up later in the season, another creek in which I dipped my hat and bandana, and a river crossing with bridge. So there are possibilities to use a water filter.

Routes / Re: Spokane - Missoula - Spokane Loop
« on: March 29, 2012, 05:04:00 pm »
a. Getting from the North Idaho Centennial Trail to the beginning of the Trail of the Couer d'Alene.  Alternatives appear to be US-95 west of the Lake of the Couer d'Alene or Highway 97 east of the lake.

My girlfriend April and I rode between Spokane and Missoula via Couer d'Alene Trail last summer as part of a bigger trip. I thought the Trail was great!

Getting between the Centennial Trail and the Trail of the Couer d'Alene we used the Idaho 97 routing. We thought it was good. A few things to note about it:
  • To get from the end of the Centennial trail to ID-97 you'll have to ride on the shoulder of I-90 for a couple miles. There didn't seem like any other way to go that didn't involve bushwacking or swimming. At the end of the trail there is a part of the chainlink fence bordering I-90 that is "bent". You can move this section to get onto the freeway.
  • 97 is windy/rolly with small climbs (500 or so feet) on either end of the windy/rolly section. We were warned about traffic and poor sight distances, but found the road was fine. There really wasn't much traffic on it. And the road was quite scenic.
  • There's a nice USFS campground a couple miles south of the I-90/ID-97 interchange. (Beauty Creek)
  • You'll get on the trail in the town of Harrison, which is several miles east of the western terminus of the trail. So if you wanted to ride the whole trail you'll have to do an out-and-back from here.

b. Between the east end of the Trail of the Hiawatha and St. Regis, MT., are frontage roads passable for touring bikes with 35 mm tires present or is riding the I-90 shoulder the way to go?

As Carla pointed out, you'll have to use the I-90 shoulder.
We used I-90 from Mullan, ID (east end of the Couer d'Alene trail) to Missoula for the most part. Where we could get off the interstate and use parallel roads we did, but there are sections where it didn't seem possible, like the 30 odd miles from Lookout Pass to St. Regis. There is the old rail-grade that goes over Lookout Pass that we could have possibly used, but since no one could give us a straight answer as to what condition it was in (we knew it was unpaved, but didn't know how graded it would be) we just took I-90 over the pass.

More about the trail can be found in this thread:

My wife and I are not the speediest climbers and are a bit worried about having enough time to make it from Colonial campground to Washington pass in one day.  If we just poop out, is there anywhere on the way up to get water, or to bivouac for the night if need be?

I don't remember any campgrounds or water sources after Colonial Creek. As Fred pointed out, you might luck out and get water from people in cars. And if you have a water filtration system there are numerous streams you can use. There is a pit toilet between Rainy and Washington Passes, but no water.

As for camping, it could be possible to stealth camp off the road. But two important things: Camping outside of official campgrounds is not permitted in National Parks, and you'll be in North Cascades National Park on the climb. And there will probably be snow on the side of the road in higher elevations, even in mid-June. The snow will be deeper the higher up you go.

To give you an example, my girlfriend April and I crossed Washington/Rainy last year on June 11th. This was two weeks after the passes opened, and it was a very high snowfall winter. We started to see snow on the side of the road around 3,000 feet in elevation. And at either pass the snow was several feet deep. I'm not saying it will be the same when you cross, but there can still be snow up there!

This was at about 4,000 feet.

Rainy Pass, elevation 4,855 feet. Snow taller than our bikes.

Routes / Re: L&C; St. Louis, MO to Hartford, IL
« on: March 29, 2012, 04:21:38 pm »
2. I have always wanted very much to do a train-trip in the USA and now the L&C trail gives me the chance to do this. Since the finishing point of my journey is Pittsburgh, PA, I would like to take Amtrak's "Empire Builder" to Chicago and from there head to Pittsburgh. The most convenient places for me to get aboard would be either Havre, Malta or Glasgow, all Montana. Can anybody suggest, which of these places is the most pleasant (town, surrounding, campgrounds)?

The bigger issue is not whether one town is more pleasant than the other, but where you can get on with a bike. Havre is the only one of those three stations that has baggage service, so if you are bringing a bike on board, that's going to be your only option. You'll also need to box your bike. (If you have a folding bike, you can board at any station, baggage service or not.)

Havre is the largest town on the Hi-Line in Montana, so it would most likely have the most services and options.

Getting back into the U.S. via Chief Mountain is no piece of cake. Rode that direction in '09 as part of a loop from Whitefish . There is a very stiff climb of about 6 miles that starts not far from the road that takes you into Waterton Village. Then there is another climb up to the border crossing. When you finally make it to U.S. 89, you will likely have a major headwind to St. Mary.

We rode that way last year, but going north. So we came down that hill into Waterton Village. I remember looking back up at it and being thankful that we went down, not up. And yeah, that area is pretty windy.

The point of all this being that regardless of which direction you opt for, you are going to do some climbing relatively early on. In the end, it's a beautiful route no matter which way you ride it.

We traveled eastbound from Whitefish, went over Marias Pass (Logan was closed), then used MT 49/US 89/Chief Mtn. Hwy. to get to Waterton and ultimately the Canadian Rockies parks. The two days we spent on 49/89/Chief Mtn. were tougher than the Marias Climb: lots of up and down. 89 between the junction of 49 to St. Mary was either climbing or descending with no flats. Chief Mountain was also challenging, though from the looks of things heading north may be slightly easier than south.

I may be misinterpreting this, but Amtrak doesn't serve Missoula. And in case you don't know, if you want to travel on Amtrak with your bikes, you need to find a station with checked baggage service. Shelby has it.

Missed that one. For ending around Glacier, the two most convenient Amtrak stations with baggage service is East Glacier and Whitefish. (East Glacier is only open during summer months.) Shelby is a bit further east and in the High Plains at that point, about 70 miles east of the park.

I wish Amtrak went through Missoula and also by Yellowstone. Hopefully they'll reinstate the North Coast Hiawatha line that went from Seattle to Chicago via southern Montana and North Dakota.

I have gone west to east twice. Both times I left from Seattle around the 25th of May. While, long the climb up the west side of the Cascades is not grueling in terms of overall steepness, and there is at least one section of downhill on the way to Rainy Pass and a short section after Rainy before you climb again to Washington Pass. As mentioned, Colonial Creek is a good jumping off point (and very pretty). If you stay at Newhalem you will enounter some good ups and dows before the climb starts in earnest, which it does right after Colonial Creek. From there, its about 32 miles to Washington.

I second camping at Colonial Creek. If I remember correctly, it was 6-7 hours of climbing from the campground to Washington Pass. There's a few campgrounds after the screaming descent down the east side.

I rode much of that route last summer, heading eastbound from Anacortes and diverting from the NT in the Idaho Panhandle and NW Montana. I don't know if wind direction really makes a big deal on this section.

However, I think the bigger concern is mountain passes. There are two passes that are regularly closed due to winter because of snow: Rainy/Washington Pass on SR 20/North Cascades Hwy in Washington State, and Logan Pass/Going-To-The-Sun Road in Glacier. Each of these closures are at the end of your trip, no matter which way you choose. Last year Rainy/Washington opened around May 25 and Logan around July 10! These were both late openings for the respective passes, but it's something to keep in mind. Rainy/Washington tends to open earlier than Logan, so it might be prudent to head eastbound. Even if Logan is still closed by the time you start in mid-June, it could open by the time you get there.

General Discussion / Re: Liability
« on: March 22, 2012, 09:14:53 pm »
How many people are going? Are people paying you, i.e. are you acting as a "tour guide"?

I'm not that savvy to the areas of liability, but I think these two things are big factors for liability concerns.

Routes / Re: Weather in October
« on: March 21, 2012, 06:31:09 pm »
I rode from San Francisco to outside San Luis Obispo (between SF and LA) in October of 2006, and the weather was pretty darn fine. Rained once from what I remember. Yeah, there could be fog, but generally weather in October is still good. Highs 60s-70s F (15-25 C).

I wouldn't call the route "beginner" however. No mountains but lots of hills. I don't think it would be that big of a deal if you went easy on the first few days and then worked up to longer days from that.

Both times I took the train into Seattle, stayed at the HI hostel in town, took the ferry the next morning and then rode to intersect the NT a little ways east of Anacortes. The first night I stayed in some state park (think it was called Kitsap). Second night at Fort Worden. Third night at Bayview State Park, which is on the route. between Anacortes and Sedro-Wooley. At the time, most of this in on AC's Pacific Coast Route and may still be. Not the most scenic of routes, but convenient. And I got to hang in Seattle.

On that tip, for those wanting to ride from Seattle to Anacortes, this is what we did last year: We headed north through Seattle neighborhoods and then caught the Interurban Trail North on the north side of the Ship Canal. This trail mostly follows an old rail line and winds its way through the suburbs to the north. It's pretty well signed though meandering at points. We got off the trail outside of Everett and rode to the Mukilteo Ferry Terminal, and caught it over to Whidbey Island. Whidbey Island is pretty with lots of hills.  We mostly used SR 525 north towards Coupeville, then used the ACA Pacific Coast Route, Section 1 to get to Anacortes. (SR 20 is less hilly, but the ACA route avoids a particularly unfun section through Oak Harbor.) Camping can be found at South Whidbey Island State Park and Deception Pass S.P. Or, if you are on warmshowers, you can stay at the "Bike Shack" on the south part of Whidbey.

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