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Messages - jamawani

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Routes / Re: Cross Country, combining routes
« on: January 17, 2018, 04:18:08 pm »
Emily -

You are most likely going to have to use Santiam Pass in mid May.
Opening and closing dates of McKenzie Pass - not as nice, somewhat busy, but o.k.

I note that your revised route puts you in low elevation Montana east of the Divide.
You will be missing all the spectacular wildflowers of the mountains.
Mid June is THE finest time to tour the Montana/Wyoming mountains for wildflowers.

You could head down to Yellowstone on the Trans-Am -
Then take the Wyoming Northern Tier thru the Bighorn Montains to South Dakota.
The Wapiti Valley east of Yellowstone is an amazing ride. As are the Bighorns,

The advantages of Wyo/SD  vs Mont/ND are many.
Wyo/SD has mountains, Black Hills - varied scenery.
Mont/ND has a bazillion miles of prairie - nice, but never-ending.

The challenge, is to do your own routing across SD and southern Minn.
But worth it.


General Discussion / Re: more photos
« on: January 11, 2018, 11:33:40 am »
Don't know what system or photo viewer you are using -
But, if you email it to yourself, it is often reduced automatically.

You can ship all your cold & cool weather stuff home once you get to Pueblo, Colorado.
(That will be just short of halfway into your trip.)
East of Pueblo you will pray for any relief from the heat.
East of central Kansas, you will also pray for relief from the humidity.

You can expect a few cool/cold snaps in the West in June -
Possibly the Cascades, Lolo Pass, Big Hole, MT, Yellowstone, and Hoosier.
The later in June you get, the less chance of anything serious.
You are, after all, Icelandic - but I have skied on fresh snow June more than once.

Whenever I tour in summer - I try to get 75% of my riding in before noon.
Then I chill out in a nice town park, library, or recreation area until evening.
The 2 hours before sunset is also a good time to ride - with light traffic.

Routes / US 2 Stevens Pass - Wenatchee to Sultan
« on: December 31, 2017, 10:49:48 pm »
Would love to hear your feedback on this route.
I will avoid my own opinion so as not to influence yours.
I've crossed the Cascades in Washington every possible way by bicycle.
But it's been some years since I did US 2.

Have you ridden Stevens Pass in the past few years?
What did you think of the traffic levels and shoulders?
Were you aware of back road options?
(Easy St, North Rd, Chumstick Hwy; east)
(Old Cascade Highway, Reiter Rd, Ben Howard Rd; west)

Oh, and rate the scenery, please.

Would you ride US 2 over Stevens Pass again?
If you've done other routes, how does it compare?

Happy cycling in 2018 - and thanks.

PS - I am discussing the route - not planning a January ride.

Routes / Re: Cross country in 8 weeks?
« on: December 26, 2017, 04:48:50 pm »
PS - Whether camping or staying in motels, stopping points do not come along at perfect 70-mile intervals.
Generally, it's easy to camp in the west, tougher in the east - easy to motel in the east, tougher in the west.
Sometimes you have to decide between 52 miles and 83 miles.

Routes / Re: Cross country in 8 weeks?
« on: December 26, 2017, 04:14:09 pm »
I've ridden cross country many times - and 8 weeks is entire possible.
Especially, if you are traveling light and staying in motels.

Here is a journal from my most recent trip - 2016 - Westport, WA to Sandy Hook, NJ.
It says "June 3 to Aug 2" but I took a week off at home in Buffalo, WY in the middle.
PLUS ++ I rode thru the Black Hills of South Dakota.

Actually, I would suggest a more northerly route for 2 reasons - -
1) More pleasant riding temps, esp. in the Great Plains.
2) Fewer dogs.

Do you want to go ocean-to-ocean? Or are Puget Sound/Chesapeake Bay O.K.?
How much do you need to stick by mapped routes - such as those done by ACA?
June & July would give you the longest - albeit hot - days.

Let's play with the math -
8 weeks = 56 days; maybe 58, but we'll leave two days for staging.
66 miles per day with one day off per week = 400 miles per week.
So you want to look at something approaching 3200 miles.
70 miles per day with one in 10 days off is 3500 miles max.
Since you live in the East, east-to-west may be more rewarding.

Doable, yes. Lots of wandering and dawdling, no.


Be glad to share a range of options and details -  jamawani(at)gmail(dot)com

General Discussion / Re: Across America 2018
« on: December 18, 2017, 03:45:51 pm »
Rudolf -

Be aware that 5/27 and 5/28 are part of the Memorial Day holiday weekend in the U.S.
Many parks and campgrounds will be full and services may be limited/closed.
(Victoria Day in Canada is the previous weekend - so if you stay in Canada until the 29th, you are fine.)

PS - In the U.S. dates are month/day - opposite of Europe.
So 07/06 is July 6th in the U.S. and June 7th in Germany.
Might save you some headaches with reservations.


General Discussion / Re: Across America 2018
« on: December 18, 2017, 03:39:45 pm »
Dear Saemi -

9 weeks is a pretty tight schedule for the TransAm. Possible, but.
That's 110 km per day, no days off, no margin for bad weather, bad stomach, bad bicycle.
You should also expect heat like you have never seen in Iceland once you leave the Rocky Mountains.
And heat & humidity in the East - like being in a steam bath all day.


One of the challenges if you go to Lexington is crossing the Kentucky River - not once, but twice.
Eastbound to Lex, crossing the river in Frankfort is no big deal and not too much of a grade.
But southbound from Lex is tricky. Tates Creek Rd used to be rural - now it's 4 lanes & busy.
But Tates Creek leads to the historic Valley View Ferry - 200+ years old.

Be prepared for lots of steep hills.

Here is a possible route via the Delmarva Peninsula.
Of course, you could head due west from Lewes to the Bay Bridge,
but then you would miss all the special things that this area has to offer.

Once you cross the Delaware Bay, you leave the North and enter the South.
There is an immediate different feel as soon as you get out of touristy Lewes.
The little back roads will have almost zero traffic - even the highway be light.
(Your nose will tell you occasionally that mega chicken farms serve the big cities.)

In the South, there used to be country stores every 5 or 10 miles at intersections.
One gas pump, essential groceries, and plenty of Coca-Colas - with a bench out front.
They are mostly gone - there is one just west of Millsboro called "That Place" - classic.

Millsboro, Snow Hill, and Pocomoke City are the major service points in between.
The route will take a day and a half - with camping or lodging at Lewes and Pocomoke CIty.
Pocomoke River State Park has magnificent coastal swamp forests - a feel for early America.

It will be tricky to arrange a crossing of the Chesapeake Bay via Smith Island but worth it.
Especially with your wife driving - the Smith Island ferries are passenger/bike only.
Also, the ferry to Point Lookout doesn't start up until late May - you would need to charter
BUT - if you can rent a car from Highlands, New Jersey to Pocomoke -
(Enterprise will usually work out a drop-off - even 10 or 12 miles.)
Then you could both boar out to Smith Island and over to Point Lookout.

Your wife could arrange another Enterprise car from Lexington Park.
But, who wants to drive - esp. park - in New York City or Washington, DC?
The bike route up from Point Lookout is sweet - crossing over to Alexandria, VA -
with a lovely bike trail into DC at the Lincoln Memorial.

It's been quite a few years since I lived in New York or biked the Chesapeake -
There was actually better ferry service 25 years ago - same in Britain, probably.
But if you are interested, Smith Island will make your East Coast leg magical.

Best - J

Is your wife going to rent a car for the first and last weeks?
If so, that allows for more options.

BTW - I lived and biked in Manhattan and the East in my youth.
It is not for the faint-of-heart. Especially in city traffic.

Do you want to bike ocean wave to ocean wave or just a close approximation?
Many of the Adventure Cycling routes start on rivers or bays near the ocean.
In the case of the ACA Atlantic Coast route, you start in Summit, NJ - 20 miles west of NYC.
(That elicits a "Huh?" from me but not from everybody.)

Another route - the East Coast Greenway follows the Delaware & Raritan Canal towpath.
It's a dirt/gravel path - lovely in summer, but a mud hole in spring.

Spring temperatures are moderate near the coast - cooling rapidly as you move inland.
(And southwest of Philly, the ACA routes goes well inland.)
On possibility is to stay pretty close to the Jersey Shore and take the Cape Map Ferry across Delaware Bay.
The Delmarva Peninsula has lots of quiet backroads (and chicken farms).
Crossing the Chesapeake Bay Bridge is usually a problem because it is closed to cyclists.
Cyclists have to beg a ride - but if you already have a car then you are sweet.

There are two possible ferry options out of Manhattan - both passenger only.
The Staten Island Ferry is classic New York.
You could rent a car on Staten Island - which would be required on the Outerbridge Crossing to Perth Amboy.
Or you could take the high-speed ferry to Highlands, NJ and enjoy Sandy Hook National Seashore.
(Which really and truly is sandy and lapped by Atlantic Ocean waves.)
Car rentals should be available in the Highlands area, too. Check Enterprise.

You could ride a number of beach strips - having to go back and forth to the mainland.
Although April won't be too busy, the Jersey Shore is pretty solidly developed.
Plus the prevailing spring wind is southwesterly.

I'd do a more inland route on lightly traveled county roads - veering back to the coast for the first night.
Then down to Cape May and enjoy the ocean either there or Cape Henlopen, Delaware.
(You would miss Philadelphia by following the Jersey Shore.)

The Delmarva Peninsula has some great, quiet backroads.
Consider taking in one of more of the colonial towns such as St. Michaels.
St. Mikes is a bit of a detour south of the bridge, but worth it.
If you really wanted to treat your wife - spend a night on Smith Island.
True Chesapeake fisherfolk culture. It would be the highlight of your east coast ride.

PS - Both ferries from Manhattan pass by the Statue of Liberty.

Have you ridden Hwy 92 in Nebraska? I have, numerous times.
Did you bother to look at the Nebraska bike map - or the Nebraska traffic map?

300 or 400 miles distance can make a big difference in traffic - even on the same highway.
Between Arthur and Stapleton, Hwy 92 has 100-300 vehicles per day - insanely low traffic.
As you get into eastern Neb., traffic increases, but there are shoulders.
Hwy 92 in western Iowa has moderate to moderate+ traffic - heavier in eastern Iowa.
Hwy 92 east of Greenfield has an AADT of only 1500 - east of Oskaloosa it's 4000+.
And Iowa has the fewest shoulders of any Midwestern state - making riding tougher.

Of course, near Omaha traffic is heavy - but the OP mentioned he is interested in cities.
As far as cities go, Omaha is one of the easier one - plus there's the bike/ped bridge over the Missouri.
(West of Lincoln, Nebraska has very few paved county roads.)

One of the problems with county roads in Iowa is that they are for county traffic patterns -
Thus, it is tough to find through routes consisting of county roads.
Also, county roads have very little grading and Iowa - esp. southern Iowa is one hill after another.

Here's the Iowa bike map (poor color choices for traffic levels) -


As for dogs - yes, Missouri has 'em.
I've ridden across Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Arkansas, & Louisiana - multiple times.
Minnesota and Iowa have few dog issues, the Southern states do.
It must be a cultural thing - but there really is a noticeable difference.

You offer very little info about yourself or experience.

1. How long to you plan for the entire trip?
2. What kind of daily mileage do you expect?
3. You mentioned cities/warmshowers - otherwise camping, motels?

Early April is early - especially in the Allegheny Mountains - cold & wet.
Many state and federal park facilities may not open before May 1.

May is the stormiest and wettest month in the Great Plains.
Be prepared for inclement weather - and shelter, if necessary.

June is still early in the Rocky Mountains - not if you are a Brit - but I know.
I have skied on fresh, deep snow well into June. Also, the winter's snows have not melted.

Check out the opening dates for Tioga Pass on the east side of Yosemite -
In dry years it is usually in early to mid May, but in snowy years it is well into June.

Finally, if you are hoping to fund part of your trip by charity appeal - think again.
People are deluged with charity requests and if they think it is a subsidy, it will not fly.


No need to go thru Missouri or Kentucky - dogs or no dogs.

From DC to Pittsburgh you can take the C&O and GAP Trails - or nearby roads if too wet.

From Pittsburgh to Chicago you can follow the historic Old Lincoln Highway - 1928 route.

From Chicago west you can cut across Iowa - again, via historic routes.

Highway 92 is a scenic route across Nebraska - cutting south to Ogalalla.

Highway 14 & US 40 combine for a good corssing of Colorado without too great an elevation.
(Fort Collins is a good base before you head west - allowing you to wait out any poor weather.)

Utah can be traversed by a combination of US 40, US 191, and US 6 - bike trail system thru Provo.

To access Yosemite, it is best to cross Nevada on US 6 - very remote. Ely & Tonopah are great.

You will have a murderous downhill all the way from Tioga to Yosemite Valley.
To avoid a monster climb out - take Hwy 140 to Mariposa.

Photo - US 6 in central Nevada in June

General Discussion / Re: Bike from NYC to Las Vegas?
« on: November 30, 2017, 07:00:23 pm »
Is this a commercial post?

I have lived in Wyoming for 27 years and biked throughout -
probably every paved mile and many unpaved.

What time of yer are you planning to do this?
Late June/early July is peak wildflower season in the high country - not too brutal yet in the Plains.
(Of course, temperature-wise, riding east-to-west works better.)

If you start in Jackson and are headed towards South Dakota, you have a couple of options.
You can either head north into Yellowstone and east via US 14/16 thru the stunning Wapiti Valley.
Or you can take US 26 over Togwatee Pass to Riverton then head north thru the Wind River Canyon.

With either of these options, you will cross the Bighorn Mountains - nothing to sneeze at.
US 14A has a brutal, death-defying climb - wouldn't be my 1st choice.
US 14 heads up thru Shell Canyon - quite lovely - then down into Dayton on crazy switchbacks.
US 16 heads up thru the magnificent Tensleep Canyon and has a more gradual descent to Buffalo.

(You can skip the Bighorns staying on US 26 to Casper - boring, hot, lots of traffic.)

US 14 and US 16 meet at Ucross and continue east to GIllette - then WYO 51 runs parallel to I-90.
At Moorcroft you can either take US 16 directly to the Black Hills - kinda meh, but with O.K. shoulders.
Or you can take US 14, WYO 24 to Devils Tower - a few challenging hills - but worth it.


I'll talk about South Dakota and Nebraska later.

Photo - Bighorn Meadows in Late June

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