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Messages - adventurepdx

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You will want to note that that area is closed to public access because of the Elwha dam removal project. I think that Olympic Hot Springs Road is supposed to remain closed until the Glines Canyon Dam is fully removed (in 2014, I think).  Lake Mills (and Lake Aldwell) are not really "lakes" any longer....

I was wondering about that. I rode up there in 2010, the last year before the dam removal started It would be interesting to go there in 2014 or so to see the dam-less canyon!

Looking at the map, it looks like you could still access the two campgrounds before the dam, but getting to Olympic Hot Springs isn't possible without backcountry hiking. And I'm sure the Park Service wants it that way, as they've pretty much resolved themselves of any responsibility or liability for those hot springs.

Routes / Re: Montana 83 riding conditions?
« on: February 01, 2012, 02:49:30 am »
Hmm...somehow I don't find the Oregon Coast as bad as johnsondasw or Mr. Bent, but maybe it's because a)I live in Oregon and b) I used to live outside of Myrtle Beach. Any ugliness on the Oregon Coast pales in comparison to that sprawltastic landscape. (And Oregon does have zoning in the form of the Urban Growth Boundary around urban areas, for what it's worth.)

Yes, there is some ugly areas, like north of Tillamook for a bit, the area along 101 between Warrenton/Astoria and Seaside, and (especially) Lincoln City. But you can avoid much of the ugliness around the first two places mentioned by taking alternate routes. And there's enough positives for me interspersed in there to take my mind off the bad, like Manzanita, the Three Capes Scenic Route, Slab Creek Road, and Otter Crest Loop.

I wish the Oregon Coast could be as quaint as it was 50 years ago. But it's a popular area, and things change, not always for the better. People are drawn to the coast. But I think there's enough good around all areas of the Oregon Coast to make a ride worthwhile. Especially if you can manage to go in the shoulder season.

Routes / Re: Montana 83 riding conditions?
« on: January 30, 2012, 11:12:11 pm »
Thanks for that traffic flow map--very useful.  The traffic load on the much praised Oregon coast in the summer?  Some places with 5--10,000 vehicles.  Lousy cycling, if you ask me.


Well, the Oregon Coast is popular for a reason--the beauty. And since 101 is the only route that goes down the coast, and everyone (not just cycle tourists) wants to go to the coast...

Still, there tends to be more shoulder than not. Plus there's lots of facilities for cycle touring, like hiker/biker sites for $5-6 spaced about every 30 miles down the coast. This is why the route remains "praised" despite heavy traffic. And the best way to avoid traffic is ride it in September after Labor Day. The traffic drops dramatically but the weather is still good.

Second the Spring/Kirkendall book. Though I would still recommend using either the ACA maps or other maps in conjunction, as they are easier to navigate from en route. The Oregon Department of Transportation prints a Coast bike map that was just updated, and this new edition is definitely an improvement on the older one!

Routes / Re: Montana 83 riding conditions?
« on: January 30, 2012, 04:36:21 pm »
We managed to squeak into the last spot at Lake Alva.

Do you know if the loons were nesting there? There used to be a pair that came back to Lake Alva every year.

Oh there were loons, alright. But not the avian type.  ;)

Honestly, we got there late enough in the day and were too preoccupied with camp stuff that we didn't have a chance to notice much else. We did take a quick walk down to the lake, but I don't recall anything.

As sort of addendum to my post above: if I were to try riding 83 again, I would aim for Monday-Thursday. I get the impression that this area is a popular spot for folks from the Missoula area. The lack of shoulder, high speeds, and winding road coupled with recreational vehicles is not a good combination for bicyclists on the weekends.

Routes / Re: Montana 83 riding conditions?
« on: January 30, 2012, 04:01:59 pm »
I guess Montana 83 has light long as you don't hit it on a holiday. Or even slightly before a holiday.
Last year we turned onto 83 from Missoula to Glacier on the Thursday before the Independence Day weekend. I thought we'd be okay since it was Thursday, not Friday. Fat chance. And of course it was the worst type of traffic to deal with in this situation: RVs, camper trailers, and boat trailers. Plus, the Forest Service made had the brilliant idea of closing the main campground in the area for "repaving of the parking lot" during this weekend, so all the smaller ones were already packed. We managed to squeak into the last spot at Lake Alva.

Past Lake Alva, conditions improved significantly. But the stretch from Lake Alva south to the SR 200 junction was not fun. I thought maybe it was bad just because it was a holiday, but my friends toured through there later in July and had a similar experience (though their experience with the Ranger station was much less positive than ours):

Sorry for being a downer. But I will say the scenery is beautiful, especially as you get closer to Swan Lake.

Yes on waterproofing any/everything. Ortliebs would be a good investment for that time of year!

Olympic Hot Springs Road from the 101 junction to (what's left of) Lake Mills is flat to rolling. Going beyond Lake Mills to Olympic Hot Springs is a constant steep upgrade, at least 8% if not more. I didn't take the side trip to Sol Duc so can't speak for that. The side trip to La Push is fairly flat, and the road to the Hoh Rainforest is rolling.

Routes / Re: Another Great Parks North Ques...
« on: January 29, 2012, 10:05:57 pm »
Hey Scott!
My girlfriend April and I rode out this way last July as part of our cross-con trip. I can give you my impression of Canmore-Waterton Lakes via the east side, but don't have the experience of the west side to compare.

We used Great Parks North from Glacier NP to Waterton Lakes NP,* then north up to Pincher Creek and Alberta Route 3/Crownsnest Highway. We diverged from the Great Parks North route just west of Lundbreck and headed north on Route 22, the Cowboy Trail and took that north to Black Diamond where we headed east to Okotoks and then Calgary. You could continue north on 22 from Black Diamond and then either take 1 (Trans-Canada Hwy) or 1A west into Canmore.

22/Cowboy Trail was some nice riding. Alberta's major highways all feature nice wide and paved shoulders, yet traffic was pretty moderate here. The terrain is rolling, with a couple of climbs, nothing too bad. Scenery is a mix of grasslands and ranches with some woodland interspersed, and great views of the Rockies. And there are a couple campgrounds along 22, the bigger one being at Chain Lakes.

The one thing to note about this route is the lack of services for the most part.  There are no towns between the 22/3 junction and Longview, which is about 110 km or 65 miles. No people either but lots and lots of cattle! You would need to stock up on stuff at Lundbreck (but since it's a very small town, the best supplying up is in Pincher Creek with a supermarket and Wallyworld) including water. There are a couple campgrounds along the route, but the one furthest south has non-potable water. Chain Lakes has potable water, a soda machine, and a snack bar that is open sporadically. The Bar U Ranch, a historic ranch site, is south of Longview and has gift shop and snack bar as well.

And you would pass by a mile or so long fence with hats on the posts.

Here's basically what the Cowboy Trail looks like:

1A west of Calgary wasn't bad. There's a section of no shoulder for about 15 miles we were warned about, but barely any traffic (as most through traffic uses the Trans-Canada west of Cochrane) so not too bad. A few places to camp along the route as well.

The other route between the Crowsnest Hwy and Canmore would be 40/Kananaskis Trail, which is west of 22. It's supposed to be more rugged and hilly, with a long section of gravel and even less in the way of services. But it's supposed to be really beautiful. Next time if I go through this area I might try it.

*Even though the main part of Waterton Lakes is a bit off route, I would advise you to take the detour, it's worth it!

r2thekesh, going north from Vancouver to Powell River takes 2-3 days at that mileage. It isn't boring, though you don't get many great views of the water. Going down Vancouver Island isn't bad either. But there are no ferry options between Langdale (port of entry to the Sunshine Coast) and Powell River to Vancouver Island. So you'd basically have to turn around if you got bored/tired of it.

As veloveg says, there will be plenty of rain in March, but if you can deal with that, you should be fine. Some campgrounds might not be open yet, so be prepared. As for Olympic National Park, much of the good stuff is anywhere from 10 to 20 miles one-way off route, so if you want to see all of this stuff, be prepared to take it slow through this area and do a lot of side trips.

There are several good breweries along the coast! I'm not too familiar with anything in Washington in that area (I'm guessing Port Angeles will have something), but there are a few good ones to recommend when you get to Oregon: Fort George in Astoria, Pelican Bay in Pacific City and Rogue in Newport.

Routes / Re: pacific coast- astoria, OR to San Diego, CA
« on: January 26, 2012, 10:51:01 pm »
I haven't toured the Pacific Coast in April, but my roommate did years ago. (Actually, he started in late March, but still...) He encountered quite a bit of rain on the trip, at least the Astoria/San Francisco portion. April is a transitory weather month on that part of the coast: expect to see rain. You might luck out and get more nice weather than not, but chances are you'll be running into a few storms coming from the south (headwind) or days that go through a cycle of clouds/wind/hail/rain/sun/repeat about every two hours. The weather will be cool: probably a high of 50-60F (10-16C) and lows around 40F (4C).

Looking at the raw numbers you could pull off three weeks of 60 mile days , as it's about 1,200 miles between Astoria and San Diego. But this won't allow for any time off, so you can't wait out a day if the weather's bad, mechanical issues, or if you wanted to take a day off to either rest or see stuff, like explore San Francisco or hike in the redwoods. Do you have to do it in three weeks? If you have the flexibility I'd suggest budgeting for longer. Or if you have only three weeks to spare, maybe a shorter route, say Astoria/SF.

General Discussion / Re: Favorite Eating Spots
« on: January 26, 2012, 02:07:51 am »
On the NT in Washington, the food co-op in Tonakset (in the Okanogan Valley) was definitely an oasis.
And it's right on route!

General Discussion / Re: Must have iPhone apps
« on: January 26, 2012, 02:02:21 am »
I have an iPod Touch, but the apps are the same.
I second track my tour. And warmshowers! And the HI app.

My favorite app was the sunrise/sunset one. It is really useful to know exactly when the sun is going to set! Mine was different than the one shown by Joe B, but any that you find should work. At least find one with GPS ability, because there can be areas without cell reception and/or wifi.

Other useful to semi-useful ones:

Amtrak: If you're going to use the train in the US.

USPS: Locates nearby post offices, provides hours, even tells you where blue mailboxes are! Can also calculate postage.

Bike shops USA: locates bike shops within a certain radius.

Oh, Ranger! Park Finder: finds state/national parks in the area. Can be filtered to find which ones offer camping.

Free Wifi: maps out where free wifi hotspots are. Because using an app to find wifi isn't useful if you don't have wifi, it saves information.

REI: because you know you'll end up there at some point!

Allstays Camp/Tent: This one you have to pay for (it's $5 I believe) but will show where tent camping is available. I found it was so-so. The good: it saves info so you can use it while off-line. The bad: not as extensive as I hoped it would be. I found it was more useful to pick up a free lodging/camping publication from the state/provincial welcome center. Yeah, it weighs more. But there were times I found things listed there that weren't on the app. And when you leave the state/province you can recycle it.

Moon: Moonrise/set, what phase it's in, etc. Not essential, but I found cool.

Connecting ACA Routes / Re: Seattle to Northern Tier
« on: January 24, 2012, 01:35:29 am »
Glad to hear that it all turned out well, Matt!
That route from Seattle to the NT looks interesting, esp. since it uses the east side of the Metro area. Have to try it out sometime.

General Discussion / Re: TRANSPORTING A BIKE ON A BUS
« on: January 18, 2012, 02:34:55 am »
For those folks suggesting train: as far as I know, the only (only) Amtrak train that crosses the US/Canada border that allows trains is the Cascades train that runs from Vancouver BC to Seattle/Portland/Eugene. That's it. (VIA Rail does not cross the border.) No train that departs from Toronto or Montreal will get you across the border with a bike. That includes the Adirondack (Montreal-NYC), Maple Leaf (Toronto-NYC), or the Vermonter (bus from Montreal to St Albans, VT, train rest of way south Springfield-New Haven-NYC-DC). The Vermonter used to have a baggage car that allowed unboxed bicycles along with skis, but it got dropped many years ago.

If you got to either Albany or Buffalo, you can take the Lake Shore Limited, which has baggage service for a boxed bike. But you'd still have to get to Albany or Buffalo first.

More on bikes and Amtrak here:

General Discussion / Re: Crossing Canadian Border
« on: January 16, 2012, 02:58:51 pm »
I've crossed the border many times and have had the gamut of experiences from good to bad, nice border guard to surly. And that's for both US and Canadian officials. Sometimes border guards at rural less-trafficked crossings tend to be real nice, and sometimes they're real jerks. There doesn't seem to be any "rule" that if you go with a "smaller" crossing you'll get better service, or vise versa. And this goes for crossing on bike, in a car, or on a train/bus.

My bit of advice (other than seconding mdxix re: green food) is have your itinerary through Canada formulated in your head before you get to the border crossing. From what I gathered through travelling 'cross the border is that Canadian Customs/Immigration is most worried about you coming into the country, staying indefinitely, and mooching off of their social services. They want to hear that you'll be in Canada for x days, and only x days. So be ready to answer how long you'll be in the country and where you plan to exit back into the US. I know things can change a little, but having an itinerary you can rattle off makes them feel more confident about you being in their country. If you are flying or taking the train out of the country, it's good to have a printed itinerary or ticket to show them (if they ask.)

Also: don't make them suspicious that you'll be looking for work in Canada. If you say that you are unemployed or "freelance" anything you may face resistance.

You will definitely need a passport or passport card to enter into Canada and to return into the US. The passport card is a drivers license sized card that can serve as passport while travelling by land or water to other North American countries. And it's a lot cheaper than a regular passport. But it is only good for surface transport to a country like Canada, so if you had plans to fly out of Canada at the end, you'll need a regular passport.

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