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Messages - jamawani

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Early June is early - especially in the northern Rockies.
I live in Wyoming and have skied on fresh snow as late as June 22nd.
Plus, there's all that snow to melt out - esp. if it's been a snowy winter.
And you are heading north to south. (Although elevation decreases from south to north)

June 1 Average Hi/Lo

58/33 - Lake Louise
61/38 - Kananaskis
64/39 - St Mary
68/40 - West Glacier
71/43 - Missoula
64/32 - Wisdom
64/32 - West Yellowstone
56/29 - Yellowstone Lake
67/34 - Jackson

I had mixed snow/rain at lower elevations coming into Missoula this past summer on June 14.
Two days later, I offered a hot lunch at the Potomac cafe to a Divide Race rider who was almost hypothermic.
Now, granted, you might just have fine weather - but it's 50/50 in my experience. Esp. at altitude.

As for campgrounds, many do not open until mid to late June.
Here are the Glacier and Yellowstone campground pages -

Most importantly, Going to the Sun Road often does not open until late June.
It would be a shame if you missed this spectacular ride because the road was still closed.


You can do an early season ride, but be prepared for cold, wet, even snowy weather.
You will need to plan more lodging, but these fill fast during bad weather.
The dividing point between late spring and early summer weather is about June 15 in the northern Rockies.
A later start might allow for a much more enjoyable trip.

General Discussion / Re: Lions and tigers and bears oh my!!!
« on: December 05, 2016, 06:07:45 pm »
PS - Article on how to hang your food.

I always pack 50 ft (15m) of good quality cording plus a carabiner.
Learning how to do this takes a few tries - but will give you greater confidence, too.
Nearly all developed campgrounds in bear country have bear boxes or hanging poles.
It's only when you random camp that you will need to do this.

PPS - NEVER eat in your tent.

General Discussion / Re: Lions and tigers and bears oh my!!!
« on: December 05, 2016, 05:50:30 pm »
80% of the time effectively applied choice words do the trick.
10% of the time the dogs flee as soon as you jump off.
10% of the time it takes some real effort on the ground.
Watch their ears - as soon as they drop, you have them.
(If you keep pedaling, they will just keep chasing.)

The above numbers apply only to loose dogs - which is nearly all of them in E. Kentucky.

There a some black bears in the Appalachians in the East - not too many, not really an issue.
There are both black bears and grizzlies in Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho.
I live in Wyoming and have cycled solo on remote dirt roads and have never had a problem.
But I always practice bear-country camping techniques.
Colorado and Oregon have only black bears - but wilder than their eastern cousins.

I will tell you that I am pretty certain that I have had a grizzly circle my tent on at least two occasions.
You can hear them snorting and the tracks are the size of dinner plates. But I was in the backcountry.
Nothing is 100% - but you could get hit by a bus the next time you cross the street, too.
If you are uneasy, make sure to camp in developed campgrounds in the Rockies.

Really, there is nothing to worry about - either with dogs or bears.

BTW - the same food cautions apply to raccoons - which are numerous everywhere.
They will rip your tent open to get to any food you have inside.

General Discussion / Re: Lions and tigers and bears oh my!!!
« on: December 05, 2016, 05:28:00 pm »
The dogs are probably worse than ever - been a few years since I have cycled eastern Kentucky, but things there are not good by any stretch of the imagination. Poverty, loss of coal mining jobs, prescription drug epidemic. Bootleggers have long ago switched from moonshine to pot - and dogs guard their plots. You can have packs of dogs come out after you. In rural Alabama a couple of years ago, I rode into the county seat and complained to the deputy about the problem. She said, "Jus' shoot 'em." I think my response was a stunned, "Oh!"

More important than pepper spray is an attitude of control. Yes, I've had some opera training, but if you blast their ears - with language that would shock your grandmother - they will always back down. I also ALWAYS jump off my bike in the direction of the dogs - not the other way. Plus, having a full-sized metal pump is nice, too. Dogs always freak out when you hold it by the bottom end and swing it with the pump flying out. I've ridden 100,000 miles and never been bitten, never used pepper spray - but I have been pretty hoarse from time to time.

About the bears - always ride and camp with a younger person. Bears have a great sense of smell and can tell who is the tender morsel. If you plan on dispersed camping, know how to hang your food properly and cook/eat 100 meters downwind from your campsite. Finally, NEVER eat in your tent - throughout the entire trip. The peanut butter sandwich you ate in your tent last week will still be a neon sign for Mr. Bear's nose even though you can't smell it.

General Discussion / Re: Which Route Would You Suggest?
« on: December 04, 2016, 03:48:51 pm »
Mr. Jammer -

Why miss Going to the Sun Road - esp. in August?
Which would mean from Missoula heading east on Hwy 200 across the Continental Divide -
Then taking US 287 & US 89 north to Glacier National Park.
I would strongly urge heading up to Many Glacier first before riding west.

I have ridden both Hwy 83 on the west side and US 89 on the east side.
US 89 has wide-open vistas of the Front Range -
Plus riding east-to-west on Going to the Sun had better lighting a.m. and p.m.

Then the Northern Tier makes sense afterwards.
Can you do dirt? Trail Creek Rd from the North Fork to Fortine is sweet.
Super quiet paved option  - Trego to Libby  - Trego/Fischer River Rd.
Another option is via the Yaak Valley.


So that's the 2nd half. BTW - Are you locked to ACA maps?
The loop around the Olympic Peninsula is only so-so.
Nice views of Juan de Fuca on Hwy 112 west of Port Angeles, but rugged.
Also a few ocean views near Kalaloch on US 101 - but not many.
Mostly tunnels of trees, moderate+ traffic, and logging trucks.
(I'd take the Elma alternate and use the miles elsewhere.)

Be aware that Mount Rainier N.P. has no hiker/biker campsites - sucks.
In August the park is really busy and campsites are at a premium.
Also, park roads are narrow and have a great deal of traffic - including wide RVs.
One option is to use FR 52 from Ashford to Packwood and camp just outside of Longmire on N.F.
Then you could out & back if you wanted to do a run to Paradise.
Tipsoo Lake at Chinook Pass is lovely, but will be busy - then a killer downhill on Hwy 410.

Yakima and the Yakima Valley down to Pasco will be brutally hot in August.
I would suggest heading north on Hwy 821 in the Yakima Canyon.
This is a stunningly beautiful ride with lots of campsites.
From Ellensburg, you can head east on the Old Vantage Hwy - little traffic.

Here's the deal at the Columbia River. It's a tricky crossing on I-90.
No shoulders on the actual bridge part and fast, heavy traffic.
But I am suggesting this route so you can see coulees from the Missoula Floods.
Great gashes in the earth ripped by floodwaters at the end of the Ice Age.

There's a campground, motel, and store at Vantage on the west shore.
If you hang at the marina just north of the bridge, you can hitch a boat ride.
Why? Because the Old Vantage Hwy on the other side - 4 miles north - in unbelievable.
If you allow enough time, someone will run you upriver to the developed put-in.
And if you can camp in Frenchman Coulee - 3 miles up - all the better.

Then take Frenchman Road to Potholes Reservoir - store/state park.
From there head southeast on McManamon Rd thru the Drumheller Channels - more Missoula Floods.
To Othello - a majority-Hispanic ag town characteristic of Eastern Washington.

From Othello head south on Hwy 17 then east on Hwy 260 thru Connell and Kahlotus.
Then Hwy 261 to Palouse Falls - more Missoula Floods - which will blow your socks off.
Then continue on Hwy 261 to US 12 and the L&C route into Idaho.

Best - J

Warning - From Naches to Orofina will likely be quite hot in August.

Pic - Frenchman Coulee and Old Vantage Highway

Ah, yes, spending a day with maps - both paper and electronic - is a great part of the process.

Thanks Snowy -

Hey, what is it that you want out of this trip?
Have you been to the States before? Do you want to hit some of the spectacular parks?
There are plenty of lodging options near the great parks - but they also tend to be sold out.
Also, the couple who run the Westwinds Motel in a small town will be glad to see you -
While the summer employee at a resort lodge will just yawn and tell you they are full.
Still, biking Going to the Sun Road - for ex. - is truly unforgettable.

For the purpose of discussion, let's say you will have from June 10th to July 20th.
June can be tricky in the American West. I've skied on fresh snow even in late June in Wyoming.
Plus, if it's been a snowy winter, there's a winter's worth of snow to melt out.

As far as the central part of the U.S. - the Great Plains - Nebraska sure beats Kansas.
On the TransAm in eastern Colorado and western Kansas you have 300+ miles of oppressive flat.
The Nebraska Sandhills are gently rolling and have much of their grass cover rather than square wheat fields.

One possibility is to fly into Seattle and take the morning ferry to Friday Harbor in the San Juan Islands.
You can spend the afternoon tooling around the island and overnight in Friday Harbor.
(This will allow you ferry rides at the beginning and end of your trip.)
Another ferry the next a.m. will take you to Anacortes and the start of the Northern Tier.

I would suggest the Northern Tier from Anacortes to Glacier National Park.
Then US 89 makes a fine ride along the Front Range all the way down to Yellowstone. - read backwards

From Yellowstone, you could either head due east over the Bighorn Mountains to the Black Hills -
Or you could cut southeast thru Wind River Canyon to Casper and via US 20 into Nebraska. (More direct)
US 20 really is a pleasant way to cross the Great Plains - and I have ridden the Plains many times.

It's about 2150 miles from Anacortes in Washington State to Sioux City on the Missouri River.
(About 200 miles longer that the route I did this past summer)
Which would mean about 3563 miles, total, if you then did a straight short to the east coast.

ZZZZ is right about the distance between lodging in the West.
But there are some excellent place to stay 20-30-40 miles outside of the major national parks.
One way to do Yellowstone would be to stay in Gardiner - then ride to Pahaska Tepee.
Leave early when traffic is light - then spend the middle of the day hiking along Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone -
Then ride late afternoon and early evening to Pahaska - it's a wild downhill from Sylvan Pass that will peel your ears back.
(Of course, you always have to be attuned to the weather, too.)


I've ridden Nevada many times and love it - but it is extremely remote and challenging from the get go.
The Northern Tier is moderately remote, too, but with more services.
The route I took last summer misses the national parks but has plenty of services.

Just some ideas - there are many ways to slice the pie.

PS - Whether you fly into Seattle or San Fran, you will need a little time to acclimate.
Gaining 8 hours in a 10 hour flight plays tricks on your body.
So if you stay up until 9 p.m. and get up at 5 a.m. you can be raring to go.
A ferry ride and low-key day make sense on day 1.

Snowy -

If you are hoping to ride x-USA in fewer than 60 days, then you need as direct a route as possible.
It's more than multiplication - i.e. 50 x 80 miles = 4000 miles.
There's weather, mechanical issues, unexpected illness - they can and do happen.
And you don't say anything about your touring experience, so it's hard to say.
Will you be mostly camping or motels every night - i.e. not carrying camping gear for lighter weight.
Also, you are likely to encounter 40C temperatures in the Great Plains - have you ridden in that?
All of these things make a difference.

I have 100,0000 miles experience, mostly in North America - you don't have to stay on ACA routes.
But that means you have to do a good deal of advanced planning.
My most recent trip is here:
Mike's 3 trips offer possibilities - but he rides on  some pretty busy roads.

The WE makes a good start - there's a lovely hostel in Golden Gate National Recreation Area on the other side of the bridge.
And the ferry ride across San Francisco Bay is a great way to start a big bike tour.
But the WE - or any central California route - has big climbs by the third day out.
(Or do you want to see Yosemite National Park?)

In a similar vein, the Seastreak Ferry from Highlands, NJ makes a good ending and easy way into Manhattan.
There is a small walk-in camping area at Sandy Hook in the Gateway National Recreation Area.

The WE is a direct route across Nevada, but I ride more northerly in Utah via US 6 to Provo then to US 40.
The combination of US 40 and Hwy 14 makes a direct and scenic route across northern Colorado.
Nebraska is easy cycling - I've done it many times - most small towns have free or cheap camping.
Here is a state cycling map -
(Most states have similar maps - Iowa -

The Northern Tier segment between Muscatine, Iowa and Monroe, Indiana is a straight shot.
And you might consider riding part of the historic Old Lincoln Highway in Ohio -
Strip maps -
This was the first transcontinental highway in the U.S. - the Ohio sections are mostly back roads.

Pennsylvania also publishes strip maps of a number of routes -
The west-east choices are S in the south, V in the middle, and Y in the north.
Sometimes the highways are busier than I like - but the routes are direct.

You should be able to but together a 3500-mile route - 7 weeks - 500 miles per week.
Hope that helps.

45 days?

General Discussion / Re: Which Route Would You Suggest?
« on: November 10, 2016, 03:30:18 pm »
I'm going to take your two major parameters and go from there - -
August & New to touring

Since you said you hiked the Appalachian Trail, I suspect you plan to do a lot of camping.
Adventure Cycling is a good source - esp. if you need the reassurance of a designated route.
But there is no need to stick to a set route - as you probably know.
I also think that 5 weeks is way too short for a cross-country ride unless you plan to ride 100+ miles per day.

That said, where is the best weather in August?
Three areas - the Northwest, the northern Great Lakes, and northern New England.
The East Coast, the South, and the Midwest are hot and humid and just plain nasty.
The Southwest is dangerously hot - 45C hot - with the occasional monsoon storm, but otherwise dry.

1) You could do the Pacific Coast - from Seattle down to L.A. in 5 weeks.
It is one of the more popular routes with lots of hiker/biker camping in parks along the way.
The roads are reasonable, but there will be traffic.

2) I think a Rocky Mountain ride would be fabulous - say from Glacier N.P to Santa Fe.
If you can do two countries - I would suggest from Calgary, Alberta to Santa Fe.
Incredible scenery and national parks all along the way. But it would be starting with a bang.

3) Another option would be to do a ride from Seattle or Portland to Denver.
From the Pacific you could ride east to Glacier N.P. then south along the Front Range.

I am a Westerner and find the open spaces of the West so much nicer.
The distances can be intimidating to more civilized types - but not to Aussies.
I will leave it to others to talk about the Great Lakes or New England.

Pic - Going to the Sun Road in Glacier N.P.

General Discussion / Re: The Schwarzenetruber Amish.
« on: November 08, 2016, 01:26:40 pm »
Zero - Thank you for your thoughtful post. Freedom of belief is one of the bedrock values of American political society. Of course, it has been applied selectively over the past 240 years - especially if you happened to be black or female or Jehovah's Witness. But little by little, we seem able to recognize that my freedom of belief and your freedom of belief are one in the same. For some Amish congregations, the bright orange reflectors contradict all of their beliefs about arrogance and pride. Is it a risk for them to travel without the reflector? Yes. Are there compromises that the Amish themselves might offer and the state ought to hear. Absolutely. Does that religious protection allow me to drive my truck without headlights. No. And I see no contradiction there at all.

Routes / Re: Route 6 east to west
« on: November 01, 2016, 11:52:25 am »
With the online tools now available, there is no need to restrict yourself to a single choice.
This is especially important because sections of US 6 are profoundly dangerous.
One of the most dangerous highways in America is US 6 between Spanish Fork and Price, Utah.
Same goes for other stretches mentioned above.

US 6 is magnificent across Nevada - albeit extremely remote.
US 6 used to end in L.A. - but a much easier routing is from Ventura to Santa Clarita.
Then you can follow the old road thru Lancaster and Mojave to US 395.
US 395 is busy, but has good shoulders all the way to Bishop and the current endpoint.

As for Colorado, unless you plan to go thru Denver, I would avoid it.
You can take a combination of US 40 and Hwy 14 reconnecting in Sterling.
At Cameron Pass there is a forest road leading into the backcountry of Rocky Mountain N.P.
(If you wish to do any wilderness hiking and camping - but it needs to be June or later.)

East of Lincoln, Nebraska US 6 gets much dicier.

Routes / Re: Louisville, KY-Virginia Beach,VA route advice.
« on: October 31, 2016, 12:16:24 am »
The North Line Trace provides a low-traffic direct route just south of the NC/VA border and ready access to Virginia Beach without the issue of getting thru the Norfolk metro area and the bay tunnels. On the west end there is a pretty nice link via Grayson Highlands to the Virginia Creeper Trail and Abingdon, VA.

General Discussion / Re: Which Airport?
« on: October 29, 2016, 04:33:27 pm »
The nearest airport is Newport News - only a few miles away.
Norfolk is a bit further away and across the harbor.
Richmond is still further, but perhaps, easier connection than Norfolk.
But I don't think any of these have non-stop flights from London.

Washington metro area has 3 airports - Dulles, Reagan, and BWI.
Although BWI is furthest away, it has a direct Amtrak rail link to Williamsburg, VA.
Reagan means shuttling stuff downtown to Union Station.
Same for Dulles which is way out from DC.

Of course, Dulles has the magnificent Saarinen-designed terminal.

Routes / Re: Pacific Coast Route
« on: October 19, 2016, 03:33:33 pm »
How soon the rainy season starts varies from year to year.
(This year has started with a bang in N. Calif and S. Oregon.)
But it always starts sooner in Washington, then Oregon, then N. Calif, then S. Calif.

The only problem with Sept & Oct is the risk of fire.
After a rainless summer, the forests and chaparral are tinder dry.
Combine that with hot, dry Santa Ana winds in S. Calif and you can get some big fires.

Article on the massive Cedar Fire in October 2003 -

Daylight hours also decline rapidly by mid-September.
A six-week tour beginning August 15 might work a bit better.

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