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Messages - jamawani

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Routes / Re: Mountain Home, Idaho to Bend and TransAmerica?????
« on: June 28, 2016, 07:48:02 am »
1) The Oregon Part -
In Oregon you have two choices - US 20 or US 26
a) Taking US 26 you connect up with the TransAm at Austin Junction.
There are stores at Willowcreek, Unity, and Austine Jct, and water at Brogan Park.
The is also a huge climb west of Brogan.
Pleasant, scenic, very light traffic.
b) Taking US 20 is more direct, but less scenic - esp. west of Burns.
You have three moderate passes between Vale and Burns - and a long downhill into Bend.
There are services at Juntura, Drewsey, Burns, Riley, and Brothers.
There is also a wonderful natural spring on the side of the road between Vale and Juntura.
The eastern section following the Malheur River is scenic - the western section, blah.
Only light to moderate traffic until you get near Bend.
I've done both -  prefer A.

2) The Idaho Part -
Two choices also, I-84 and service roads to Ontario or Highway 78 thru Grand View and Murphy.
a) The interstate section is doable and safe on the shoulder, but with the constant roar of traffic.
There are paved service roads for part of the way to Boise, but you have to get on I-84 for much of it.
There is a lovely bike trail system in Boise along the river and then busy streets to Nampa.
Then you can get onto US 26 into Oregon.
b) Some good friends did the Hwy 78 route and like it - but it can be very hot.
From Mountain Home head southwest on Hwy 67/167 to Grand View - not Grand, no View.
There are very limited services along this route - in Grand View, Murphy, and Givens Hot Springs.
At Marsing you can connect with Hwy 55, US 95, Hwy 19, and OR Hwy 201.
This route has very little traffic except Hwy 67 to the base and Hwy 55/US 95.
If the weather is not too hot, I would do B.

Best of luck.
I did

Connecting ACA Routes / Re: Walden, CO to Boulder, CO
« on: June 26, 2016, 10:37:26 am »
Highway 14 through the Poudre River Canyon has the least traffic of the trans-mountain routes and is spectacular.
You do have to thread your way down the Front Range - but much of it can be trails or wide shouldered roads - as John says above.

If you take Highway 14, you can also access the Never Summer Mountains via the Michigan Ditch Service Road just west of Cameron Pass.
(Although dirt, since it follows an irrigation canal, it is nearly level.)
Stunning country and a fraction of the numbers at Rocky Mountain N.P.

Routes / Re: Northern Tier - N. Dakota
« on: June 25, 2016, 02:08:52 pm »
I think Highway 200 is a much nicer crossing of North Dakota.

From Sidney, Montana, you can take Hwy 23/68 to a back entrance of Theodore Roosevelt N.P.
(It involves about 8 miles of unpaved riding)
Then US 85/ Hwy 200 south which has much less traffic because of the drop in oil & gas development and with shoulders.
Then Hwy 200 straight east across the state. This road has fairly low traffic counts and county seats and services scattered along the way.
(The Hwy 1806 option above Halliday is quieter, still.)
It also traverses two of the finest historic/park locations in North Dakota - TRNP and the Mandan-Hidatsa villages.
I believe the latter to be one of the most important sites in the northern Great Plains.
There's Knife River NHS with visible lodge rings and a recreated earth lodge -
And there is the Fort Mandan site near Washburn.

Here's the ND DOT 2014 Traffic Count Map -

Note - Oil & gas traffic in western ND has dropped by about half.

General Discussion / Re: Getting the bike to Banff for the GDR?
« on: June 12, 2016, 04:38:20 pm »
My vote - - German Democratic Republic

Tell your partner that touring is not safe. But then, nothing in life truly is.
In the long run, touring is safer than sitting on a sofa watching reruns of Mad Men.

There are ways to reduce your risk considerably -
With online resources, you can ride low-traffic roads as much as possible.
You can avoid those times of the day - rush hours -
and of the week - weekend party-time - that are riskier.

Camping is a pleasant component of touring - for most, not all, people.
Camping gives you more stopping options - especially in remote areas of the West.
In some national parks, you have to have reservations months, if not years, in advance.

Some campgrounds look like Walmart parking lots - but others are magical.
Don't know where you live - but is there a nearby park with hiker/biker or walk-in sites?
These take a little more effort, but are more often the picture-book experiences that many imagine camping to be.
Try a nearby single-night car camp so that extra stuff is close at hand.
Then perhaps a weekend by bicycle.

It could be that she is just not the camping type -
And age sometimes has something to do with it for some unknown reason.
(Not that there is any correlation between stiff joints, hard ground, and age - of course.)

Hope all goes well.  -  J

General Discussion / Re: How to figure average miles per day
« on: May 23, 2016, 08:42:51 am »
Lie - - lie outrageously.
For people who don't cycle there is no difference between 2 miles and 200.

General Discussion / Re: Aggressive Drivers During Transamerica?
« on: May 21, 2016, 11:11:54 pm »
Awol -

I see that you are new here - and thank you for posting about your own experiences and concerns.
I have been serious cycling -  commuting and touring - since my teens.
Since I am pushing 60, I can easily say I have 100,000 miles - at least 2/3s touring.

I have been hit by a car, sideswiped, has stuff thrown at me, and obscenities yelled.
It is part of who we are as a nation - and especially, to be viewed as "different".
To say that there are no risks would be absurd. But the risks are relatively small and outweighed by the benefits.

I was hit in my college years by a brand new driver - who wedged herself in a phone booth and was hysterical.
I went to the hospital for stitches and observation, but I think it took longer to get her out of the phone booth.
I have had stuff thrown at me - macho guys seem to like to toss soft drinks - ha-ha, so funny.
And I have been known to shout back at people yelling obscenities. (Which is not so smart)

There are ways to reduce the risk.
Fact is, it is more dangerous for a woman solo than a man - that is a reality of 2016 America.
My grad school roommate was in a relationship with a white guy and riding thru Tennessee -
Some rednecks slowed down beside and yelled, "Hey, n----- girl, your white boyfriend is way behind you."

And there are times in the week or holidays where it is best to quit early.
Depending on where you are riding - Fri & Sat late afternoon and evening may not be a good time.
And big drinking holidays - July 4th or Labor Day - can have lots of drunks on the road.

I may elicit some serious push-back on this one, but I have lots of touring miles all over the U.S. and Canada.
Not only are there more dogs in the South, I believe that the South is less tolerant of touring cyclists.
Outside of college towns, the South is more firmly wedded to the altar of the automobile.
Rail trails, wide shoulders, hiker/biker camping - tend to be found in the North and West Coast.
As is an attitude of tolerance towards people doing things - like bike touring - that some might never consider.

I know you mention the TransAm - which has lots of miles in Virginia, Kentucky, and Missouri.
(Southern Illinois and eastern Kansas have a pretty Southern feel, too.)
If you stay on  the TransAm, there will be more cycling support - regardless of region.
And you will encounter other cyclists almost every day.

Other touring cyclists are rarer on other routes - rarer still if you craft your own route.
There is a trade-off, however.
On the TransAm you will be two of a parade that has been going on for 30 years.
If you chose to craft even a portion of your own route, you are likely to have a different experience.
It would be the latter case where region plays a greater role in overall comfort.


Obviously, I would not be posting here after 100,000 miles if I didn't think it was worth it.
In fact, I will be heading out on a 3000+ mile trip in two weeks.
Yes, there is some risk, but the rewards so outweigh any risks.
Physically, mentally, spiritually - you will never be the same.

US 6, Stone Cabin Valley, Nevada

BTW - Have you looked at the website - Crazyguyonabike?
It is THE BEST resource for bicycle touring - with lots of journals from people who have done it.
Plus a forum for questions.

One of mine:


When you say spring or fall, I am not sure.
Some people do off-season rides - but the summer months work best for temperatures as well as length of daylight.
400 miles per week is 66 miles per day. (Don't you just hate miles? - 110 km) With one day off or two half days.
You need to plan in time off - for fun, hiking, bad weather, repairs, problems with the pipes, etc.
That said - it will take no more than 11 weeks to do the TransAm for most people.

And early May start from the east will get you to the Pacific by mid July - which is probably as early as you want to do it.
And early June start from the east will get you to the Pacific by mid August - which is probably the best timing E-W.
An early June start from the west can have some tricky weather in the Rockies - nothing too bad, just chilly and wet.
A late June / early July start from the west is probably the best time for the Rockies, but it will be hot in the Plains.

There are some excellent temperature and precipitation maps at the Oregon State Prism website.

What is it that you really want to see in America? Towns and cities, landscapes, national parks, kitsch?
Do you want to camp most of the time or will you be doing more lodging? Do you like wild camping rather than developed?
Are you willing to do some dirt roads? 25 mm tires are pretty narrow - plus you are only doing double chain rings, right?
I tour on a low-geared, loaded down mountain bike - so our styles may be quite different. But I can go anywhere.

The TransAm is a well-cycled route - but that has its drawbacks as well as advantages.
People along the route have seen so many cyclists that it is nothing new. But they are also pretty welcoming.
You can see a fresher America off the beaten track - more tolerant further north, less so in the Deep South.

There are places in Ohio where you can see the brick pavement of the Lincoln Highway - the first transcontinental road.
There are places in Wyoming where you can see the wagon ruts of the Oregon Trail - where came long before the Lincoln Highway.

It all depends what you want.
You did say 2017, right? So you have lots of time and flexibility.

Best - J

You left out an important element - - when do you plan on doing this?

The E-W or W-E argument has been going on since the Middle Ages.
In general, it doesn't matter - what matters is when.

Generally speaking, a May or early June departure will work better from the east - better weather earlier in the East.
Not only can the West have snow into June - but the accumulated snow from the winter has to melt.

You want to avoid the horrible heat and humidity of Kentucky and Virginia in July and August, if possible.
By September the East is more tolerable, so if you are starting later - such as July or August, then leave from the West.

It is very hard to avoid the killer heat in Kansas since it is in the middle of the country in the middle of summer.
I doubt that you have had any experience with this kind of heat unless you have been in Australia or Africa.
Ride early - at sunrise, drink plenty of fluids, quit at noon.  Or ride further north.

I see that you have already ordered the TransAm maps - and you will encounter the most other riders on that route.
I've ridden cross-USA a half dozen times plus lots of other long tours - not convinced the TransAm is the best -
But it is the grand daddy.

For example:
The TransAm has you riding through a zillion miles of flat agribusiness farms in west Kansas / eastern Colorado.
The Sandhills of Nebraska have never been plowed and retain much of their immense, natural expanse - like an ocean.

Pic - Loup River in central Nebraska

General Discussion / Re: Missoula MT to Sand Point ID
« on: May 12, 2016, 05:55:58 pm »
Do consider going off route a few miles to St. Ignatius and the Mission Mountains.
Mission Reservoir Campground just east of town has spectacular vistas of snow-capped peaks.
In town there is the historic mission - plus cafes and groceries.

In Plains you can camp at the fairgrounds right on the river - don't know how much they charge cyclists.
I've camped at other fairgrounds for free - the caretakers are pretty nice to cyclists -
"Just find a nice spot and make yourself at home!"

Even if you don't head up Thompson Pass Road -
Make sure to ride out over the newly renovated Thompson Falls bike/ped bridge.

Best - J

Routes / Re: Newbie, Summer 2016 - where?
« on: May 06, 2016, 04:05:58 pm »
So, what you have is two tours of about 1 month, each.
And you have to get to Globe, Arizona and back in July.
(I certainly would not want to be cycling in July in southern Ariz.)

Is there a place with cheap airfares to Phoenix that could act as a midpoint?
How about Portland, Oregon? Oregon is, unquestionably, the most bike friendly state.
You could drive/fly to Portland and do an Oregon loop in June.
Then fly to Phoenix for Globe and back to Portland.
Then ride up to Glacier National Park and end with Going to the Sun Road.
And take Amtrak back to Portland if your car is there or head straight back home.

Pic - Going to the Sun Road

B+ ; A- if you work real had.

But really, I'd be more concerned with wind than grades.
Which direction are you heading?? You do know about eastern Montana and North Dakota?
Those of us who have toured tens of thousands of miles will tell you -
The wind can kick you tail far more thoroughly than any grade.

Food Talk / Re: Eating well on tour.
« on: April 29, 2016, 11:11:41 pm »
If you happen to be in small towns with church potluck dinners, stop in.
It will not matter that you have nothing - although you can offer to help clean up or something.
Most of the time you will be welcomed and overwhelmed with good wishes.
Plus the food will be the best you can get for 100 miles.
Lots of salads and casseroles - not to mention a whole table of desserts.
(And they will probably load you down with stuff for the road, too.)

Pacific Northwest / Re: Weather related Norther Tier
« on: April 22, 2016, 05:58:36 pm »
You can expect freezing weather and/or snowfall any time after Labor Day anywhere west of Shelby, Montana.
September snows are usually quick and gone soon - but they get more frequent as you near October.
Not to mention that the days are getting pretty short and facilities are largely closed by Oct. 1.

I've lived and biked in Wyoming and Montana for the past 25 years.
I know most paved and many dirt roads in both states.

A few years ago a tweeted two guys thru the western part of the Northern Tier in October.

The earlier time frame is doable with planning for a few layovers in September.
The later time frame is pushing your luck - and likely to be increasingly cold, wet & miserable.

General Discussion / Re: East to West Transam start suggestions?
« on: April 16, 2016, 09:01:04 pm »
Norfolk International Airport is closest - (ORF)

Airport van shuttle - probably $50 + bike charge to Va Bch

It's been some time since I cycled in the Virginia Tidewater area.
It's tough because of all the rivers, bridges, tunnels - most of which prohibit bicycles.

I did a wide loop to the west - took the James River Ferry -
which will connect you to the Colonial Parkway to Yorktown.

If you wanted to do a more direct route -
you would have to shuttle across the Hampton Roads Bridge/Tunnel

There are a few threads about the various possible route here
and at Crazyguyonabike and Bike Forums.
All the routes have their challenges.

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