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Messages - jamawani

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Routes / Re: Parks Peaks and Praires ?
« on: September 16, 2020, 05:17:18 pm »
I live in northern Wyoming and know all of the route.
This year we had snow on Labor Day - a little in the valley - a foot in the mountains.
Although that is a bit earlier than usual, you can expect Sept. snow and/or cold.
Usually the bad weather only last for two days - then it's gorgeous again.
If you allow "sit out" time in your schedule, then Sept. is possible.

By October conditions are riskier - you might need to thread the needle.
Still doable, but only for those highly prepared for serious weather.
You could have a lovely week in October - or you could freeze to death.
That's Wyoming.

Routes / Re: seeking best route from west coast to east coast this summer
« on: September 13, 2020, 11:25:23 am »
These are the guys I generally ignore.
First post - nothing in the profile.
No info offered in the post, either.
Kinda like a "drive-by" posting.
A beginner often doesn't know what they don't know, or not even what questions to ask.  I give them some slack, even guide them down the learning path.

Well, the OP still stands at one - count it - one post.
As a lifelong teacher, I have found that simply giving the person the info is of little effect.
It is quickly ignored, forgotten, or lost.

The internet has both helped and harmed.
Any person with basic familiarity with the internet would know where to start looking.
Also, just a little casual research online would give someone the outlines of how to ask.

I am reminded of the famous question asked of librarians.
"I need to read a book."

Routes / Re: Denver - Anarcortes - San Francisco
« on: August 26, 2020, 01:23:44 pm »
Yes, John -

You have the general route.
Map -

The South Entrance Road up to West Thumb is steep with no shoulder and drop-offs.
Also, it can be very hot.

The best time to ride it is early evening when the traffic dies down and the pines provide shade.
(In July in Yellowstone, the sun does nt set until 9p and twilight lasts another 45 minutes.)
Even though Lewis Lake has mosquitos, I prefer it over the massive number of people at Grant Village.

A super early start the next morning allows you to explore the empty geyser walk at West Thumb.
Then it is still early for the road - with shoulders - along Yellowstone Lake to the Lake Hotel.
BTW - There is an almost totally empty old road to Gull Point where you can absorb the lake views.
The causeway on this old road is another peceful, empty spot.
After Bridge Bay - another massive campground with no privacy -
The is a unmarked bike trail that leads to the Lake Hotel and Lake Village.

The views here are spectacular - and the hotle is my favorite in the park.
I love having breakfast, lunch (usually) or dinner in the glorious dining room.
There's a little camp store as well for essential supplies.
The lakefront here is one of the most splendid vistas in the world.

Next up is the ride along the Yellowstone River and thru Hayden Valley.
I would wait until laer in the day, if possible, since traffic can be bad and the road is narrow.
I would use midday to explore the Fishing Bridge area - the museum and lakeside trails.
The Upper Yellowstone River is one of the Blue Ribbon rivers of the West.
Even if you don't fish - take time to turn off and enjoy.

Then comes Hayden Valley where you will sees herds of Buffalo - at a distance, please.
Cars have to use pull-outs, but you can find a hilltop away from the crowds.
If you are only staying one night at Canyon, then do take South Canyon Drive.
The view of the falls from Artist Point is busy, but worth it.
No one takes the trail that heads along the canyon's edge - but there are no rails, either.
(If you are staying two nights, I'd come back the next day.)

North Canyon Drive is another zoo and is an indictment of the park service and the American public.
It should be closed to all private motor vehicles and open only to shuttles, bicycles, and pedestrians.
But such is not the case. And you have to deall with the crowds to see the views.
Also, N. Canyon Dr. is the easiest way into Canyon Campground.

Canyon Campground is large, but most hiker/biker sites are off by themselves.
Be bear aware. Never eat in your tent, don't use a tent you've eaten in.
Store all your food propery and sleep in clothes that haven't been around food.
>>> You'll be fine - don't worry.
Canyon has all services and excellent ranger programs.
It's really worth two nights and magnificent hikes all day.

The Canyon-Norris Rd. is meh - just a connector with small shoulders.
A bit of a climb up and then a huge downhill - 45 mph - to Norris.
There are beautiful hiker/biker campsites at Norris.
Even if full, there should be a "No Turn Away" policy.
Norris Geyser Basin can also be very busy in the middle of the day.
There are so many trails and boardwalks that you have space even at noon.
But an early morning or evening hike is surreal.
(I much prefer Norris to Old Faithful.)

The Norris-Madison Rd has been recently rebuilt with small shoulders.
It's an easy ride along the Gibbon River past Gibbon Falls to Madison.
Madison Campground has a long tradition of ACA cyclists.
You are almost guaranteed to have cyclist company - maybe connect up for a few days?
Madison also makes a good base for a lightweight run to Old Faithful.
If you do - take the old road up the Firehole River - early if possible.
I would take Fountain Flat Drive and the trail up hill -
Make sure to climb the hill by Grabd Prismatic Spring to get the full colors.
There's a bike trail into Old Faithful - Warning! Insane crowds.
Then on the way back, take the quiet Firehold Lake Dr.

The West Entrance Road is scenic, with shoulders, and very busy.
(The is a short stretch of quiet, old road along the river.)
West Yellowstone is a zoo where you can buy little wooden bears made in China.


This is all from memory.
I am fortunate enought to have ridden the park for 30+ years.
Including spring rides when the roads have just been plowed, but are closed to cars.
How lucky is that?

Routes / Re: Denver - Anarcortes - San Francisco
« on: August 26, 2020, 09:12:24 am »
I've lived in Wyoming since 1990 - soon after my first X-USA bike trip in 1987.
I started out in Jackson with the amazing Tetons and all the tourist.
Now I live at the base of the Bighorn Mountains - peace, quiet, and beauty.

I have biked every road in Yellowstone - many times.
The park is quite busy in summer - whether in July or August.
September used to be the month for locals, no longer.

The key really is to ride very early or in the evening.
Not only is there very little traffic, it's the best time to see wildlife.
Spend the middle part of the day exploring and hiking.
All campgrounds except Slough Creek have hiker/biker campsites.
These are reserved and held only for non-vehicular travellers.
So, you can confidently ride late I have discovered.

If you take a look at the Yellowstone map you will note a "Figure 8" road pattern.
The ACA route goes straight from the South Entrance to the West Entrance.
You miss practically everything except Old Faithful - which is a zoo.
I suggest a larger circle on the lower loop.
That way you get to ride along Yellowstone Lake, the Yellowstone River,
Hayden Valley's buffalo herds, the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone,
plus you can backtrack a little up Firehole Valley to Old Faithful.

Avoid the huge campgrounds like Grand Village and Bridge Bay.
Lewis Lake is so-so and a mosquito haven every time I have been there.
Canyon is large, but the hiker/biker sites are private. And the hikes!!
Norris is simply lovely with the extra of evening hikes in the geyser basin.
Madison has little privacy, but is an ACA staple. The river is lovely.

Don't let the nuber of tourists discourage you.
There are ways to have the park almost to yourself.
Remember - 98% of the tourists rarely stray more than 100m from the parking lots.
Have fun planning.


Pic - Soda Butte Creek near the Northeast Entrance

Routes / Re: Denver - Anarcortes - San Francisco
« on: August 25, 2020, 09:42:58 pm »

Fire is a natural part of most ecosystems in the American West.
It has been exacerbated in recent years by inappropriate development and climate change.
This year has been a particularly bad year for fires.
Current fire map:

The worst months for fires are August & September.
Even if there are no fires in the immediate vicinity - you have an orange-brown haze.
Kinda like London fog, except hot, gritty, and bone dry.
And you can't see the mountains.

I would suggest a July/August trip - even a late June start.
Much better weather - and wildflowers in the mountains.

General Discussion / Re: A musty item -
« on: August 24, 2020, 06:21:45 pm »
Gotta be those wet socks from the week before.
Wrapped up in a plastic grocery bag.

General Discussion / A musty item -
« on: August 24, 2020, 06:20:21 pm »
What item did you find at the bottom of your pannier
that elicited an "Ewwwwww!" from everyone within 100 yards?

Routes / Re: The Great Divide MBR with kids on Hase Pino Tandems
« on: August 15, 2020, 02:18:05 pm »
Bas -

Yes, western China is a thing.
But were the kids with you back then?
Still, sounds like you would be fine with much of the GDMBR.
Only thing is that tandems are super on the flats, not so good on steep climbs.
There is no law against pushing in my religion.

I suggest Jasper rather than Banff for two reasons.
1) Jasper is a fabulous town, Banff is a zoo - like Mallorca.
2) There are great fire roads that lead back to remote wilderness campsites.
In the U.S. you cannot bicycle on backcountry trails in the national parks.
This is a unique opportunity in the Canadian Rockies.
One of my favorites is Athabasca Bend in Jasper N.P. - - Pic below.
You are on a horseshoe bend in the river with magical mountain views.

Maybe a third reason - primitive hostels.
There are 6 or 8 basic hostels along the way.
They are usually in lovely locations away from the crowds.
Reservations advised - but you can get then a week beforehand.

(Gawd, I really hate Banff.)
(Also, the Icefields Centre is a rip-off.)

The old highway is available for the northern and southern sections.


South of Sparwood the route is mostly BC forest roads.
Any of the roads on the GDMBR can have washed out bridges or slides.
You should be prepared to ford small streams, if needed.
By July the water levels are down, but early June can be tricky.
I did have to move a few logs to get across a small stream on this section.
I was younger than and could drag and heave them by myself.

You should have forest roads all the way to Akamina.
The portion over to Waterton is a bike trail.
BUT - - -
Akamina is a fairly accessible wilderness park.
Nothing like the crowds at Waterton and Glacier.

Years back there used to be a border crossing on the Flathead.
Even when it was open there were only a dozen or so cars per day.
It was closed after 9-11.

South of Glacier NP there are not many great dirt road routes.
The Bob Marshall Wilderness occupies most of the Divide down towards Helena.
I would skip Helena - from Ovando down towards Phillips & Anaconda.
(Hate to miss Butte, though - - such a historic and hard-hit city.)

The Pioneer Mountains Parkway is sweet.But the real treasure not on the GBMBR
Is the Gravelly Range crest - ride in spectacular meadows on the ridgeline.
May be very windy and you have to be aware of storms.
Camp anywhere you like - - then drop down to the Rodrock Lakes.

Some lovely dirt roads in the Grand Teton area.
(I used to live there when it was less visited.)
then I might suggest ending in Salt Lake rather than Denver.
The Greys River Road is wonderful riding down to the Utah/Wyo line.

The stretch of the GDMBR thru the Red Desert in southern Wyoming is tough, tough.
Very remote, no services, no water, no shade.
It is spectacular country - but in a subtle way - nothing eye-popping.

With adequate time you could hit the Uinta Mountains and then Park City.
Or if you were running tightcut over to Logan, Ogden, of Salt Lake directly.

Just some ideas. - - J

Routes / Re: The Great Divide MBR with kids on Hase Pino Tandems
« on: August 15, 2020, 09:42:05 am »
Goedemorgen Bas -

Welcome to the forum here.
I think it is wonderful that y'all are cycling with your kids.
Children who travel and experience different cultures are given a wonderful gift.
A gift which will last throughout their entire lives.

I have lived in Wyoming for the past 30 years.
I never cycled the GDMBR - per se - but many parts and many similar sections.
I have also cycled the Ardeche in France - the most "remote" part of France.
And Limburg in the Netherlands - the "wild" Netherlands.

The GDMBR is a whole other animal - far beyond anything in western Europe.
Speaking of animals - you will need to use strict bear camping procedures.
The Canadian and Northern Rockies have grizzlies, black bears, wolves, and mountain lions.
I have biked thousands of miles in the region - solo - and have done so without fear.
But I have been rigorously bear aware and have had a few encounters.

I am not sure if you understand the level of remoteness - - being Dutch.
Whether on the Baltic or Brittany coast - you are never more than 10 km from a village.
And you are probably never more than 1 km from a farm house if you need help.
In central Wyoming you can be 100 km from anything - food, shelter, and especially water.

You ask about the condition of the roads.
Many of these roads receive zero maintenance - they are just tracks.
Some years they can be o.k. - other years they may be badly rutted.
If an oil company needs the road, it may be improved.

Otherwise, a road may be brutal - there's no telling.
But there is a designation used by two federal land agencies - the USFS and the BLM -
(United States Forest Service & Bureau of Land Management)
"4-wheel drive required; high clearance" tells you the road is BAD.

The Canadian section is the least remote and best maintained.
I have ridden most parts and that would be my suggestion.
Maybe start in Jasper rather than Banff and ride the Icefields Parkway for starters?
(I would stay on the Icefields Parkway, not the Forest Trunk Road, way better.)

From Banff switch to dirt to Kananaskis and over Elk Pass.
I was the only person in Elk Lakes Park once - definitely camp there.
I would take the Flathead Alternate which runs along the spine of the Rockies.
But not continue to Roosville - instead head south to Akamina-Kishinena Park.
There is a bike trail over the continental divide into Waterton National Park.
Which would be a fine place to end the trip.

The further south you head - the more difficult the GDMBR becomes.
I think it would be pretty hard on young children.
The dust alone in summertime can be choking.
And there are days with no shade to be found anywhere.

It may be impossible to control descents on some sections in Colorado.
Especially with kids in front - steep, rocky, unstable.
And the caliche in New Mexico becomes glue after it rains.
It locks up your chain and gears - it sticks to your shoes.
You can't even walk with 12 cm of glue on your shoes and slide down.

So there.
Bears, thirst, blazing sun, and killer mud.
I hope I have been encouraging.

Tot ziens - John

PS - On one trip, I rode over Elk Pass with a couple on a tandem.
I was able to ride - - they had to push.

California / Re: bike on Amtrak - California Zephyr
« on: July 28, 2020, 09:49:59 am »
A cardboard box with nylon straps to make carrying easier.
Then save the nylon straps for camping / tie-down use.

Nyimbo -

I'm glad you have thought about your support net.
It does sound like you have safe back-ups and they are nearby.
For many people heading out on big trips, I doubt that is the case.
I hope you have a great trip.

PS - You do know that Amtrak can be horribly late, no?
Last trip took Amtrak twice - one was on time, the other 6 hrs late.

The rental car to Astoria is the least of your problems.

What if you get sick in Bandon? Not deathly sick, just pretty sick.
Where are you going to stay? After an overnight in the local hospital?
No motel will take you. Nor will you be allowed in a campground.
No airline will fly you home - nor Amtrak, nor Greyhound.

What would you do?

General Discussion / Re: Greater Yellowstone Trail
« on: July 12, 2020, 07:05:32 pm »
Nothing to write home to Mom about.
I used to live in Jackson and have biked most sections at one time or another.
There are much better loops in western Wyoming / eastern Idaho.

Teton Pass - Hwy 22 is very steep and very busy.
Victor & Driggs - Newer trail sections, but valley very developed.
Targhee National Forest - trees and more trees, minimal views.
(Mesa Falls is nice, but you have ile aftr mile of just trees.)
Reas Pass - the old railbed is brutal, don't think it has been improved.


A far more scenic and rewarding route might be:
1. Jackson - GTNP - Buffalo Fork - Togwotee Pass - Brooks Lake
2. Brooks Lake - Union Pass Road - Green River Lakes
3. Green River Lakes - 40 Rod Road - Bondurant - Granite Hot Springs -
4. Granite Hot Springs - Hoback - Fall Creek Rd - Jackson


Late September can be lovely - late Septermber can be brutal.

Routes / Re: lewis and Clarke route Lewiston to Kaimah
« on: July 05, 2020, 06:56:25 pm »
I did the US 12 route many years ago and it was pretty hairy.
Sometimes there's a little sholder, other times absolutely zero.
Plus they have those cement Jersey barriers so you are trapped.
Traffic is moderate plus, including quite a few big trucks.

I can't speak for the alternate.
I know it is more miles and a lot more climbing.
Traffic may be a little less on US 12 this year because of Covid-19,
But that would probably make it like I had years back. No fun.

General Discussion / Re: Great American rail trail
« on: July 03, 2020, 07:42:40 am »
It's largely in the imagination of Rails to Trails.
And in their marketing office, too.
Anyone can take a marker to a map.

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