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Messages - adventurepdx

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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:

We just crossed Rainy and Washington Passes on Washington Route 20/North Cascades Highway on Saturday. The road has been plowed nicely and is clear. But there is still plenty of snow up there! We started to see snow around 3000 feet, by 4000 feet there was snow everywhere. And at Rainy Pass, elevation 4,855 feet the snow on the sides was a wall over three feet tall! It made a very handy bicycle stand.

Now if only Going To The Sun road will be plowed by the time we get there...

Just got the "official" word:


DATE/TIME: May 25, 2011, 12:05 p.m
DESCRIPTION: SR20, the North Cascades Highway, has been opened.
LOCATION: SR 20 from milepost 171 to milepost 148 North Cascades Highway
START: May 25, 2011, 12:05 p.m.
Est. END: Unknown
CONTACT: NCTMC  (509) 667-2802

Wednesday’s noon reopening of the North Cascades Highway marks the second latest since the highway opened 39 years ago.  The latest ever was June 14, 1974, and the next latest, surpassed by this year, was in 1976 when it reopened on May 21.

Routes / Re: Portland to Boise
« on: May 12, 2011, 07:25:23 pm »
I have no experience with US 20 but have ridden US 26 from Prineville to Austin (where the TA uses OR 7 to get to Baker City.) Yes, there's plenty of passes but it's beautiful scenery. The Painted Hills country is awesome--it's a great side trip when you're in the area. Shoulder is minimal to non-existent between Prineville and Dayville, but it doesn't matter since traffic is minimal to non-existent. Passing cars and trucks gave me quite the wide berth.

Gear Talk / Re: Pannier that converts to knapsack?
« on: May 11, 2011, 03:21:48 am »
Check out North St. Bags from Portland:

General Discussion / Re: Gotta eat, but don't want to cook/boil
« on: May 06, 2011, 08:49:13 pm »
One thing worth considering in the "To cook, or not to cook?" debate:
Are you a "I can and will eat anything/everything" omnivore, or is your diet more selective and limited?

If you are, I can see how it can be easy to go without a cooking setup and rely on stores and restaurants. But if you have dietary restrictions or food allergies, it can be tricky in many areas of the country. I'm a vegetarian. Bringing along a simple camp stove and all that gives me options in areas where veggie eating is slim pickings. When I biked across central and eastern Oregon last year using the TransAm route, oftentimes the ONLY thing I could eat on a menu besides an iceberg lettuce salad was grilled cheese and fries. That gets old fast. My girlfriend is vegan, and I doubt she would have been satisfied with iceberg lettuce sans dressing.

One of my favorite memories from our tour last summer around the Olympic Peninsula was making pancakes in camp. We like to cook, so it's not that big of a deal for us to spend the extra time to make a nice breakfast before rolling for the day.

I know that a camping stove takes up room, but not that much. I'll gladly take cooking equipment on my tours.

Jennifer--Thanks for the info!  Forgot about the discount.

I was at an Earth Day event today and came across a booth for the Better World Club.
For those who don't know, it's an alternative to AAA, offering the same services. 

The special thing about them is they offer bicycle roadside assistance as well.  You can get it as an add-on to a regular auto membership, or just do a bicycle membership, which also includes membership to LAB.

At $40/year for bicycle only, it seems like it can be a good deal. It could come useful in touring. But does anyone out there have a membership?  What's your thoughts?

Routes / Re: seattle to portland
« on: April 14, 2011, 07:24:18 pm »
PeteJack, thanks for the tip!  Didn't think of the ferry hop from Vashon to Bremerton to Seattle.  I'll have to look into that!

Routes / Re: Best Pacific Route
« on: April 14, 2011, 07:21:35 pm »
I also did the Pacific Coast in September-October (Tillamook OR-Cambria CA) and can say that starting after Labor Day is a good way to avoid the heavy traffic and still retain good weather.  You'll have a shorter amount of daylight, though.  I didn't find the northern 2/3s of the Oregon Coast to be overly sprawl-tastic, but then again if I was around in the 60s/70s to see it in a less spoiled state, I might have a differing opinion.  At least the "meh" section from Astoria to Seaside can be bypassed.  Lincoln City, however, cannot.

And maybe it's just me, but I sometimes like wet, drippy campgrounds.  Maybe because I'm an Oregonian?

Routes / Re: portland to the coast
« on: April 14, 2011, 07:12:17 pm »
Relevant thread over here:

And to repeat what I said on the other relevant thread:
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!
It uses either low-traffic country roads and highways, and also a paved off-road path.  Services are sparse, so you need to supply up in Hillsboro (at the start), Banks, or Vernonia.  Small stores with limited hours in Birkenfeld and Olney.  There's a couple climbs, but nothing monstrous.  And a few camping options so you can break it into two days.  It's the way to go if you want to avoid high traffic on US 30 or 26.

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