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Messages - adventurepdx

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Routes / Re: Pacific Coast Route
« on: December 18, 2011, 12:20:00 am »
S'pose I'll toss in my experience as well...The one thing you are guaranteed of, following the WA coast, is the likelihood of rain...IMO, the WA coast, such as it is, can be an amazing place. There are stretches of clear cut that will bore you and ancient rain forest that will amaze you. How much of this you get to see will depend on your time frame and willingness to explore.

I agree with cgargh. Going the "long way" around the Olympic Peninsula can be great, but the key thing is to plan on exploring off the route. My girlfriend and I did an Olympic Peninsula tour in July of 2010. It was awesome! We planned on exploring as much of the area as possible. There are not that many things in Olympic National Park easily accessible from US 101 (the main route). Lake Crescent, Lake Quinault, and the beaches around Kalaloch come to mind. Everything else is a 10 to 20 mile (15 to 30 km) one-way side trip off the route. If you don't take the time to take side trips to places like Olympic Hot Springs, Sol Duc Hot Springs, Ruby Beach, or the Hoh Rain Forest, you'll mostly see various stages of forest, a couple small towns, and not much else. (101 stays inland except for the section around Kalaloch.)

And we managed to hit it off with weather--we had no rain on the trip. That was late July, though. September should have some rain.

General Discussion / Re: 100 dollar bills too large?
« on: December 10, 2011, 10:06:07 pm »
A real problem with $100 bills is that they are the most widely counterfeited US currency.

I've heard the opposite. $20s are the most counterfeited.
I'm guessing the 20 dollar bill is the most counterfeited because pretty much everyone takes them, as anything over it elicits suspicion.

But back to $100 bills. One reason not pointed out why small businesses don't like $100s (or $50s) is because many don't have a lot of smaller change on hand (often to discourage hold-ups.) If someone walks in to a country store and only buys $4 of goods, then pays with a $100 bill, then the store would have to give out $96 in change. Then they'd have a $100 bill on hand and little change. The store could be a distance from the bank, or it's a weekend when banks are closed, or there's change in the safe that only the manager/owner has access to and she/he is not there that day, etc. That's why some stores don't accept large bills.

Routes / Re: Best way (cheapest) to get bike and gear to the route start
« on: November 20, 2011, 01:08:56 am »
Yeah it's weird.  The website says Providence definitely has checked baggage and I even called and they said bike boxes and checked baggage is available, yet when I go to the booking page for train trips...none of the trains offer checked baggage.  Couldn't get to the bottom of it either.

Train 67, a Northeast Regional, departs Providence at 10:22pm, arrives at New York-Penn Stn. at 2:20 am. Has checked baggage service. So you could get on that train and lay over for hours in New York, or ship the bike ahead of you, like a day in advance.

Routes / Re: Best way (cheapest) to get bike and gear to the route start
« on: November 18, 2011, 07:50:44 pm »
I have looked into Amtrak but for some reason the station in Providence, RI doesn't have baggage so I would need a ride to Penn Station in NY.

Are you sure about that? The Amtrak website shows Providence as having checked baggage service AND bike boxes for sale:

And if for some reason the site is lying, I can think of a closer station than New York Penn that has baggage service: Boston South Station.

One thing to note, however, the last time I used checked baggage on the Northeast Corridor north/east of NYC, they only have one train a day that offers checked baggage, and it's an overnight train. So you might have to go down to the station a day early to pack and ship your bike, so your bike will be ready and waiting for you in New York where you'd transfer to a Florida-bound train. Don't know if that would be better or worse than getting a ride all the way to NYC.

General Discussion / Re: Banff to San Francisco
« on: October 18, 2011, 11:07:59 pm »
syndrome, as for the camping, will you be staying in regular campgrounds or stealth camping? I'm figuring that a lot of the campgrounds in the high country will be closed in April. And have you done winter (snow) camping/tenting before?

General Discussion / Re: Banff to San Francisco
« on: October 16, 2011, 09:20:15 pm »
Banff to SF would be a lot of fun. I've done portions of what you describe.

However, how committed are you to starting in April? And how prepared are you for dealing with winter riding?
Banff and the Rockies are still going to be snowy and cool. Heading west from there you will will probably hit more snowy passes that early that early in the season (like Lolo). Not to mention that Going-To-The-Sun Road in Glacier Park (Montana) will most likely be still closed for the season. (This year it didn't even open until Mid-July!)

Once you get to the lower elevations on the Lewis and Clark heading towards towards the coast, things will be warmer. But spring comes late to the high country.

General Discussion / Re: Whitefish, MT lodging
« on: October 13, 2011, 11:14:03 pm »
Too bad the Bunk House Inn and Hostel didn't make it. Stayed there in '99 and '00. The owners were very nice.

Yeah, Whitefish could definitely use a hostel! The closest are the two hostels in East Glacier, sixty miles to the east and over the Divide. Seems like Whitefish/West Glacier would be a good spot.

When we passed through Whitefish in June on our tour, our Warmshowers host was overwhelmed by the amount of requests he was getting.

Pacific Northwest / Re: Pacific Northwest suggestions
« on: August 04, 2011, 02:34:49 am »
A week would give you enough time to leave the car in Astoria, Oregon and ride south down the coast. Depending on how you wanted to do it, you can make a complete biking loop, crossing the Coast Range east of Newport, head north up the Willamette Valley towards Portland, then back out to the coast. Or you could head further south to say Florence, bike east to Eugene, then take Amtrak to Portland and the bus to Astoria.

That's just one suggestion.

Pacific Northwest / Re: Skip WA portion of the PNW route?
« on: August 04, 2011, 02:25:02 am »
Anyone have any experience with the Amtrak "Coast Starlight" train that runs from LA thru SLO thru San Francisco all the way up to Seattle? Tips for taking your bike on that train?


Amtrak's official bikes on trains policy here:\\

The short version: Coast Starlight has checked baggage service. SLO and Seattle are checked baggage stations. You'll need to box the bike for the train. Service fee for boxed bikes is $5. You can find a box at a bike shop, or purchase one from the station for $15. (You might be able to snag a used box from the station for free, though. Never hurts to ask. Or check around the station, especially by the dumpster or laying against an outside wall.)

If you get the box from Amtrak, you'll just simply need to (a) turn handlebar sideways and (b) remove pedals. You should have appropriate tools (cone wrenches and/or allen wrenches) to do this, as the station usually doesn't. Get there at least an hour before train departure to box the bike and check the bike at the baggage counter.

The Starlight is a beautiful route. It frequently ran late in years past, but supposedly has improved. All bets are off if Union Pacific is doing track work.

Pacific Northwest / Re: Skip WA portion of the PNW route?
« on: August 01, 2011, 01:02:27 am »
Hmmm...I'd say start in Astoria. The Washington coast is in your backyard, so you can realistically do a Washington Coast tour anytime. If you have limited time to get to San Luis Obispo it'll shave off a few days. If you keep an average of 50-60 miles a day with a few rest days thrown in you should be able to make it to SLO and can take a train back to Seattle.

I haven't biked the Washington Coast south of Lake Quinault so I can't say how good it is. I have biked the entire coast between Astoria and SLO and know it is overall great.

Routes / Re: Route maps for cross Canada ride?
« on: July 31, 2011, 02:23:27 am »
I've got a copy of a book written by Elliot Katz about bike touring in Canada. It has various different tours in each province, and a "Cross-Province" route that can be linked up to create a cross-Canada route. The two drawbacks is the routings are nowhere near as detailed as either the Kirkendall/Spring Pacific Coast book or the ACA maps, so it won't tell you where services are. And it was published in the early '90s, not exactly up to date. Still, it's a start, so with some Google research one could craft a route. Check Amazon as it sometimes pops up there.

Routes / Re: Seattle to Anacortes, Pacific Coast
« on: July 31, 2011, 02:14:10 am »
I know this is a little late, but figured I'd throw out some more info in case other people in the future would need it.

From Seattle to Mt. Vernon, a town about 20 miles east of Anacortes, you can take Amtrak. It runs twice daily, and allows roll-on bike service for an additional $5.

Or, if ya feel like saving some money, you can take a Sound Transit commuter bus from Seattle to Everett station. From there you can hop on a Skagit Transit Route 90X bus that runs during commute hours Mon-Fri:

The riding from the Mt. Vernon Station to Anacortes is pretty straightforward. West on SR 536 then west on SR 20 across the big bridge, then after bridge/casino get onto March Point Road (the exit right after the bridge). This will go on for a couple miles, then turn right after the Park n' Ride near the coffee place. You'll come across a rail-trail that will lead straight to downtown Anacortes and then it's a few more miles on SR 20 Spur to the ferry teminal to San Juans/Vancouver Island.

You could also take Skagit Transit buses from Mt. Vernon to Anacortes if you like, though you'll have to transfer. And the bus service is limited, so timing is crucial.

Riding north out of Seattle to Anacortes isn't the most thrilling thing, as I've done it once. I used the Interurban Trail north, which varies from decent to annoying. Then I used surface roads to Mulkilteo where I caught a ferry to South Whidbey Island and then rode up the island mostly using SR 525/20.

I've never tried it, but the RSVP route brings you from Seattle to Burlington, just north of Mt. Vernon. It tracks to the east, so it's not the most direct route:

Deception Pass is cool for camping. The south unit (Cranberry Lake) has hiker/biker camping spots. Watch out for the raccoons, though. (They can be a problem at many places on the coast.) North of the bridge is Bowman Bay campground (still part of Deception Pass S.P.) which I liked much better. There's no hiker-biker sites, but most spots offer a great view of the bay, and there was less noise from the nearby Naval Air Station. The drone of jets was omnipresent all night at the hiker-biker spots at Cranberry Lake.

Routes / Re: San Francisco to San Luis Obispo
« on: July 31, 2011, 01:50:00 am »
I settled on the southerly route from SF only because it's a classic one, but I'm certainly interested in alternatives.  Only hitch is I have to start and end in San Francisco,
One option would be to ride north and into Oregon. 

Riding north would mean encountering the famed wind out of the NW as a headwind for the ride. Plus, the OP has only 4-5 days to do the ride. There isn't a heck of a lot of good transportation options north of San Francisco. There is an Amtrak Thruway bus that goes from the Bay Area to Eureka. This could be a workable option as Eureka to SF is approx. 300 miles, meaning it could be broken down into five 60 mile days.

If you wanted to ride a part of the Oregon Coast and had only four to five days to play with, you could fly/Amtrak into Portland, take a bus to Astoria, and then ride down the coast from there. You could either ride as far south as Newport, head inland from there to Albany and take Amtrak back to Portland, or go even further south to Florence and then inland to Eugene and then Amtrak back to Portland.

There was a post earlier this year with some good info:
and there's probably more from the past. Here's my response from this past thread with a little more info specifically catered to your questions/needs.

As aggie mentioned above, you can also take the Wave bus from Portland Union Station (Amtrak) to Tillamook. $10 one way, 2 round-trips weekdays/Saturday, one Sunday.

As for riding to the Coast, I HIGHLY recommend the Hillsboro-Astoria route to the Coast.  Hillsboro is a western suburb or Portland that can be reached by MAX light rail.  It's a 100 mile ride, low traffic, beautiful scenery!

So, if you think you'll be getting into Portland at 2pm and won't have the bikes ready until 4pm, you can hop on the MAX (our regional light rail system) from either PDX (Airport) or Union Station (Amtrak and Greyhound across the street) to Hillsboro, the suburb 20 miles west of Portland where this route starts. You don't mention HOW you'll be getting in though. Amtrak or Greyhound is downtown, which means about an hour transit time to Hillsboro. PDX is on the outskirts east of downtown, which would mean more like 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 hours to Hillsboro.

The first camping option is Stub Stewart State Park, 20 miles in. You can make it there in time. Key thing to note about Stub Stewart is there is separated and different walk-in and hike-in campsites. I prefer the hike-in, as they are cheaper and divorced from the main camping loops. You will have to navigate a 1/3 mile of gravel road, and the hike-in sites only have pit toilets and water spigots. (Flush toilets and showers are located in the main loops.) If you have the time and energy, you could push on to Vernonia, another 12 miles down the route. It's not as great of a campground as Stewart, but it makes a shorter day for the next day to the coast. You can also push onto Big Eddy campground, 40 miles in if you want to make the second day even shorter.

After Stub Stewart, it would mean an 80 mile day to the coast which is doable if you start early. There isn't much camping on this route. After Big Eddy, the last "official" campground (40 miles in), there is a horse camping site near Jewell that I've heard cyclists can use, but I don't know for sure.

One thing to keep in mind is services are sparse, so be prepared. There's fast food in downtown Hillsboro and grocery stores in Banks and Vernonia. Smaller stores with limited hours and selection are found in Birkenfeld and Olney. Water can be found in the stores/towns plus at the campsites and at the Elk Wildlife preserve in Jewell.

If'n you wanted other options to the coast, check this page here:

Hello forum-arama from East Glacier Park, MT! Here's the scoop on crossing the Continental Divide in Glacier Park in Montana.

Currently, Logan Pass on Going-To-The-Sun Road is STILL closed. When we were at Avalanche campground two days ago, the word from a park employee is that it would probably be a week to 10 days before they can open it. Although it's closed to cars, you CAN ride for 11 miles east past the road closure at Avalanche to Bird Woman Falls Overlook, past The Loop. But there is no camping past Avalanche and shuttle buses are taking people between Avalanche and The Loop on 10 minute intervals during the day, so you'll have to dodge them. There was also a rumor that they would do some paving/construction on this segment of the road while it's still closed, so if that happens, there won't be any bicycle access as well.

So, if you want to cross the divide anytime soon, you would need to take US 2 over Marias Pass, which is what we mostly did yesterday. Notice that I said "mostly".

About 15-20 miles east of West Glacier, near Stanton, we encountered construction. It was a chip sealing operation. (Fun!) We were informed that there was a seven mile segment of fresh chip seal and all traffic was following a pilot car through the construction zone. We were also informed that the chip seal was still loose, and the pilot car speed was 25 m.p.h., a speed we could not reasonably maintain on a bike even in perfect conditions. When we asked what provisions there were for bicyclist in this situation, we were told there were none.

So what did we do? Rather than turn around or scream at the heavens (which all sounded appealing) we managed to snag a ride from someone with a truck.

And also on the east side of Marias, there was more construction, this time about 3 miles of grooved pavement. Looks like the construction on both sides of the passes will be going on for a bit.

My word of advice: WAIT, if you can, for Logan to finally open.

And here's the link to the status of Going-To-The-Sun Road:

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