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Messages - jamawani

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Routes / Re: Two Weeks/Early Oct/900 miles max
« on: September 27, 2017, 11:52:32 am »
I have a few suggestions, only -

Yes, there are a number of out-and-backs
1. It's the only way to get to the North Rim
(Well, there is a way west of Highway 67, but some folks almost died last year getting lost.)
2. Monument Valley - You can do a sunset ride from Kayenta, then a sunrise ride back
Would reserve -
3. Coming into Chaco Canyon from the south - other routes are extremely remote and poorly marked
(Accessing the park using dirt tracks to/from Lake Valley or Pueblo Pintado is illegal - unfortunately.)

About a week to Monument Valley and a week to central New Mexico.
Your weather should be ideal - normally dry and sunny time of year with crisp nights.
It will be cold at night on the North Rim, but fine elsewhere.

If you have the time - I have continued the route past Cuba to Pojoaque.
There are bus connections from both to Albuquerque.
Cuba is rather nondescript - but San Ildefonso and Pojoaque are old pueblos.
It is a tough-ish but gorgeous ride up over Valdes Caldera - then a wail downhill from Los Alamos.
(Los Alamos was where the Manhattan Project came up with the atomic bomb.)

Better service from Pojoaque (Blue & Red routes) than Cuba (Route 8 )

The coordinated Rail-Runner / Rio Metro bus system will get you to ABQ airport from all over northern NM.

Routes / Re: Two Weeks/Early Oct/900 miles max
« on: September 27, 2017, 10:38:25 am »
Have you been to the Grand Canyon before?
If not, then you should toss out any options that skip the Grand Canyon.
Bryce is nice, but not if it means skipping the Grand Canyon.
And the North Rim is just the finest place for cyclists - with magical hiker/biker camping.
Services remain open until Oct. 15. Limited from up to Oct 31.
You could always hike down to Roaring Springs and back.

Don't worry too much about snow, but be prepared.
Snow will melt quickly from paved roads this time of year - and turn dirt roads to glue.
Simply adjust your route accordingly. But you do need warm/dry clothing and tent.

NOAA snow cover maps:

There is almost no snow in southern Utah - looks like only at 8000, maybe even 10,000 ft.
And that is only a dusting - with deeper amounts on north-facing slopes.


I would avoid most dirt roads on the Navajo and, most definitely, the Hopi Reservations -
Unless you check locally, first - often, backcountry riding on rez requires a permit, esp. if camping.


Looked at all three maps -

Would suggest -
St. George, Zion, Kanab, North Rim Grand Canyon
North Rim, Lee's Ferry, Tuba City, Kayenta, Monument Valley
Monument Valley, back to Kayenta, Chilchinbito, Canyon de Chelly
Canyon de Chelly, Sawmill, Window Rock, Crownpoint, Chaco Canyon
Chaco Canyon, Cuba, Albuquerque. (Cuba-ABQ by bus or shuttle?)

Routes / Re: Western Express EB start end of this month
« on: September 19, 2017, 12:08:08 am »
October in the Great Basin and the Rockies??
It's not the altitude of the passes that matters.

Routes / Re: Two Weeks/Early Oct/900 miles max
« on: September 14, 2017, 11:40:17 am »
Agreed, Paul -

It's hard to have a bad day in Southwest when you don't have to show up at the office.
And if you have strong headwinds - just change your plans.
There's so much to see and do.

I am like you about riding in the evening.
It is my second favorite time of day. (But I am an early morning person, too.)
In national parks like Yellowstone - with dedicated hiker/biker camping -
you can ride with little traffic and magical lighting until sundown and into the twilight.
In fact, the best way to see Yellowstone in the summer to ride ride mornings and evenings -
then take the better part of the day to hike and explore.

Best wishes for a great tour. J

Routes / Re: Seattle to Astoria
« on: September 13, 2017, 09:55:27 pm »
PS - Pronunciation Guide

The town of Cathlamet and the river and valley named Willamette are NOT from the French.
Nor should they be pronounced "Cath-la-MAY" or "Wil-la-METTE" - - yikes!
They are Chinookan words with the middle syllable stressed - rhyming with "God damn it!"

So it is "Cath-LAMM-it" and Wil-LAMM-it".

Most Chinook and Salish names have stressed middle syllables.

Routes / Re: Seattle to Astoria
« on: September 13, 2017, 09:44:10 pm »
Jeff -

If you are leaving from Astoria on June 1, there is only one pass that you have to be concerned with - McKenzie Pass in Oregon which is east of Eugene. At the pace you describe, you should not be hitting McKenzie until June 10-12. In previous years the pass usually opens by mid June unless there is major construction or a massive snowpack. In addition, cyclists are often permitted to use the road a couple of weeks early. So there is a good chance you will be able to cross McKenzie Pass. If McKenzie is still closed, the detour is via Santiam Pass 0 a little further, a little lower, a good deal more traffic, but with shoulders. No problema.

As for Seattle to Astoria -
The ACA Pacific Coast map section between Centralia and Longview is rather meh. And Hwy 4 between Longview and Cathlamet is somewhat busy and narrow - but scenic. (I did graduate research in Cathlamet.) A more direct route is to cut west from Elwa to South Aberdeen on back roads, then US 101 South to the Astoria Bridge. The Astoria Bridge is 4 miles long (6.5 km) without shoulders - some cyclists take the bus across, instead.  Two good extras on the US 101 option - a) Take Hwy 105 from South Aberdeen to Westport and then follow around Willapa Bay, the Willapa Bay ride is stunning. b) Instead of taking the Astoria Bridge, ride east on Hwy 4 thru Skamokawa to Cathlamet and take the ferry across the Columbia River. Skamokawa has a county park with the finest views of the Lower Columbia, you can ride along the river's edge thru the Columbia White-Tailed Deer Refuge, and Cathlamet is an old river/fishing town.

And bears -
I never worry and have ridden solo up to the Yukon and Alaska, lived in Wyoming for 25 years. Two key points, though - 1) Never, ever eat in your tent - even if you are not going to be in bear country for weeks. 2) Always store your food and aromatic items in bear boxes or hanging from poles. Carry 50 ft. of nylon cord and learn how to hang when boxes/poles not available. Even if you don't take these precautions, your risks are minuscule. However, if a bear does learn to steal human food, it will be destroyed - - not you.

Have a great trip.


Routes / Re: Two Weeks/Early Oct/900 miles max
« on: September 13, 2017, 01:20:14 pm »
I am a Wyomingite - but I have biked the Four Corners area many times.
Including once in October - but that is only one time.
Also, have family in New Mexico and have hiked, biked northern NM lots.

In most areas that are not altered by local topography there is a strong SW prevailing wind.
There is, however, a return flow in the predawn/early morning that is NE, albeit weaker.
Outflow winds from a distant thunderstorm can produce winds from any direction.
Fall cold fronts and storms can produce easterlies - but are rare and usually quick.

Of course, no set of wind data will guarantee the direction of winds for any particular period.
You can have a week of easterlies where everyone in little towns says, "This never happens!"
It's happened to me more than once and I have to keep a game face as I fight the wind.

If you have a day with forecast tailwinds, you can laze about and do just about anything.
If you have a headwind day, remember, early morning up to noon is the best riding time.
Also, winds drop in the evening - but your daylight/twilight is shorter.

Have fun!

PS - If you have time and can do dirt, I would STRONGLY suggest including Chaco Canyon.
Oldest, largest Ancient Puebloan ruins - very few visitors, camping, fantastic night skies.

Pic - Pueblo Bonito at Chaco Culture NHP

Routes / Re: Two Weeks/Early Oct/900 miles max
« on: September 13, 2017, 09:18:24 am »
Few places have such clear prevailing winds as does the Four Corners region.
And that wind direction is west-southwest.

It is spectacular country and you will have a fantabulous ride - -
But you should expect headwinds east-to-west.

30+ Year Wind Rose for October, Gallup, NM

Routes / Re: TransAm Alternative
« on: September 05, 2017, 07:06:21 pm »
Cumberland Gap

Rather than you biking to Charlotte - have your friends/family meet you at Mabry Mill or Fairystone.

Routes / Re: TransAm Alternative
« on: September 05, 2017, 06:04:05 pm »

I can tell you that US 25E is a nightmare in places.
Plus you have to find a way to get thru the tunnel.

Routes / Re: TransAm Alternative
« on: September 03, 2017, 07:45:17 pm »
It's a good thing you are going west-to-east - since Oregon & Montana have terrible fires and smoke now.

I think you have only about two more weeks on the TransAm - but I don't know your pace.
You are about 800 miles from the end - 400 miles per week, 66 miles per day, 6 days per week -
With a day off per week for rain, rest, delay, change of plans, etc.

That said, there are a few shortcuts that you can take -
Basically, it is to head nearly due east from Damascus, Virginia - where there is a great hostel.
The Virginia Creeper Trail is a fine ride from Abingdon - then further east the High Bridge Trail near Farmville.
In between you can ride a section of the Blue Ridge Parkway to Mabry Mill -
Then largely follow Hwy 40 (fairly light traffic) to Charlotte Court House.

After the High Bridge, you follow back road into Petersburg with lots of Civil War sites -
Then follow stay south of the James river to the ferry at Scotland.
You end by riding the Colonial Parkway from Jamestown via Williamsburg to Yorktown.
So you end up at the same exact spot as the TransAm.

Plus you can wait another week before final decision.
I've ridden much of the southern Virginia, but it's been a few years.
Guessing it might save about 100 miles.
More details if you are interested.

There are multiple bridges out and road damage.
As I noted earlier, back roads will likely be low on the list for repairs.
Any bridges will take 6-12 months, minimum.

Places like Navasota in Brazos County (on the ST) did get heavy rains and damage.
It will probably be a week or two before the damage is cataloged.

I also rode Feb/March. And I thought the days were pretty darn short then.
I have lots of experience summer touring - so it was a big adjustment for me.
It's just harder to get the miles in.

And you will be riding during even shorter days.
But your temps should be ideal for this route.
It may still be hot in the Imperial Valley - but pleasant in the high country of AZ/NM.
You may have a few crisp nights, but I doubt you will hit 18F - more like 28F.

What you are more likely to encounter are impacts from Hurricane Harvey in Texas.
Plus, there may be additional hurricanes on the Gulf Coast.
For cyclists that may mean closed stated parks and, perhaps, closed rural roads.
(Priority, of course, goes to repairing and opening major highways.)
Keep informed about any closures.

3055 miles is still about 400 miles per week over 8 weeks.
You are not likely to have much rain in the West, but will in the East.
So you cannot plan on having every single day as a riding day.
I would guess an average of 66 miles per day - with just a few days off or half days.

Doable, but you will have to keep your focus.
That means you have to start early and keep lunch/sight-seeing to a minimum.

General Discussion / Re: Vancouver to San Francisco in October 2017
« on: August 26, 2017, 03:32:03 pm »
Fire and Rain - James Taylor

General Discussion / Re: Vancouver to San Francisco in October 2017
« on: August 26, 2017, 10:09:48 am »
It is the peak of fire season - with Santa Ana winds.
And it's already been a bad fire season in the West.
Early rain/snow would be helpful in the Sierra Nevada -
But if not, then the fire risk is high.

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