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Messages - jamawani

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Bicycle Route 66 / Re: Welcome to Bicycle Route 66!
« on: October 04, 2014, 02:26:23 am »
BG -

As I have said many times before, a route that attempts to follow Historic Route 66 religiously will be very disappointing for cyclists. The two main reasons are 1) There are many places where I-40 or other interstates have been built over the old route with no parallel route - so you have to ride on the interstate. 2) Where there is a parallel road, it is often a service road to the interstate with all the noise and ugliness of the interstate - plus often a pretty lousy riding surface.

I have argued for a route that attempts to recreate the "feel" of Historic Route 66 in New Mexico and Arizona rather than the actual physical route. (Not to mention that the physical route changed many times.) This would involve, perhaps, riding from Abiquiu to Cuba to Crownpoint to Gallup, then riding via Window Rock and Second Mesa to Tuba City and the Grand Canyon.

Routes / Re: Western Express to Los Angeles
« on: September 22, 2014, 10:45:41 am »
US 6 used to go all the way to L.A.  Now it is truncated at Bishop, Calif.
Riding thru Vegas is tough - tougher recently that I-15 had major washout damage.

If you choose to go via US 6 - stay on the Western Express to Ely.
Then take US 6 via Tonopah to Bishop - - even more remote than US 50.
Then follow US 395 and/or side roads to Hwy 14 - runs along the eastern escarpment of the Sierras.

Hwy 14 has some expressway section with parallel service roads.
Then Soledad Pass Road to Santa Clarita.


Or you can turn south at Tonopah and ride thru Death Valley - still hot.
Reconnecting to US 395 and Hwy 14.


Or if you are in a hurry -
From Cortez, Colo - head west on McElmo Road to Bluff, Utah.
Then take US 163 thru Monument Valley - tough but very scenic.
Then US 160 to Tuba City and US 89 / Hwy 64 to Grand Canyon.
Continue on Hwy 64 to Williams - then you have to ride I-40 a few miles.
Get on to Old Route 66 thru Peach Springs to Kingman -
Then take Old Route 66 over the pass to Oatman and Needles.
Another short stretch of I-40 - then Old Route 66 via Amboy to Barstow.

These are the best preserved stretches of Old Route 66 - lots of roadside history.
BUT, BUT - - you need to be aware of temperatures and water in the Amboy stretch.
The Amboy Café is kinda reopened - you should be able to get water, but check first.

The TransAm route through Yellowstone is closed for construction for the remainder of this year and, likely, for a chunk of 2015 over Craig Pass from Old Faithful to West Thumb. It is possible to detour via Canyon and Bridge Bay - - which is 30 additional miles. (It's actually a pretty nice route.) This route will remain open until November 3 unless - and quite possibly - closed earlier due to snow.

I have biked in Yellowstone since 1987 and it has gotten increasingly bike unfriendly - while the administration always bewails the crush of cars. Meanwhile - the NPS has constructed a cloverleaf interchange at Old Faithful so the thousands of onlookers can zoom away as soon as the geyser erupts; there are 40-foot pull-thru parking places at all of the major attractions; 4 people in a car pay $25 - but 4 cyclists pay $12 each or $48.

I have follow park activities carefully- especially cycling related activities. I toured in the park in late July. Never did I see anything related to earlier closure of Craig Pass or alternatives for cyclists - online at the park website, posted at ACA (which would have been a nice thing for the NPS to do), or posted within the park itself.

After 25 years of bike touring, I have to say that the National Park Service is, fundamentally, aimed at automotive visitors with their ever larger RVs and need for auto services. After all, everything is political and car visitors vote - especially retired folks in RVs. Whatever the various superintendents at Yosemite, Grand Canyon, or Glacier say about traffic - they really don't mean it.

General Discussion / Re: Riding on the US Interstates
« on: August 30, 2014, 07:36:29 pm »
I live in central WA state and have ridden at least hundreds, perhaps thousands of miles on I-90 near my home.

But the I-90 bridge over the Columbia at Vantage is an example of what many people are talking about - a death trap. No shoulders, heavy traffic, high speeds and high winds at times.  Still waiting for the old railroad bridge at Beverly to be opened for cyclists - but will probably die first. Wouldn't it be nice to have a ferry from the old highway landings? Old Vantage Highway on the east side is stunning. I've hitch-hiked across major rivers about a half-dozen times. Have thought about doing so there.

It's tough to find a good place to cross the Columbia in central Washington - obviously Wenatchee is a good choice - and thus, I will often plan my route using the limiting points - river crossings & mountain passes.  Another possible crossing of the Columbia is at the Hanford Site east of Yakima - narrow but not that much traffic.

General Discussion / Re: Riding on the US Interstates
« on: August 26, 2014, 06:10:27 pm »
I have more than 100,000 miles of riding over the last 30 years
and I must disagree with you.

I am saddened by Joanna Abernethy's death.
She represented what is best about all of us.

But the answer is not riding on interstates.
Staehpj1 is right - many states permit interstate riding.
But it surely is not a pleasant experience -
The traffic, the fumes, the noise - all for a wide shoulder littered with stuff?

A cyclist was recently killed on a 4-lane highway in Colorado with wide shoulders.
The driver was intoxicated and drifted off the highway.

You are never going to have perfect roads and perfect drivers.
It would be nice if cycling routes had low traffic and good shoulders,
but highway departments put shoulders on busy roads, not empty ones.

I have been hit twice and have been lucky.
Both times were on city streets at fairly low speeds.
I prefer low traffic and scenic roads for the quality of the riding -
but I also feel they are safer.

Many times they are winding, low-speed, and not very direct.
People in a hurry will usually not be driving on these roads.
I also advise people to avoid cycling during peak times of holiday weekends -
when the likelihood of drunk drivers is greater.

Generally, I avoid night riding when on tour -
because even with a headlamp and rear flasher - I am less visible.
Drivers don't expect to encounter a cyclist on a rural highway in the middle of the night.

I don't have any pat answers for you -
Joanna's death is a tragic loss - yet one more cyclist.
And far too many cyclists have died.

With slim budgets and expanding costs,
I don't see highway departments building more cycling facilities.
Two things are helpful that don't cost much - -
First, the posting of "Share the Road" signs
which let people know that cyclists use the roads, too.
Second, a "3-Foot Passing Law" -
which, if enforced, means drivers give cyclists room on the road.

It's not much, but it's a start.

Routes / Re: Adventure Cycling Maps - Missing Routes ?
« on: August 22, 2014, 05:02:12 pm »

Routes / Re: before I'm 70
« on: August 20, 2014, 09:51:07 am »
Hi High -

The appropriateness of a route can vary depending on your age, level of experience, and time of year.
I'm guessing that you are in your 60s, live in the East, and are planning on riding east to west.

I've ridden cross-country a half-dozen times - all on routes I planned - but have done most of the TransAm.
There's nothing wrong and much right about planning your own route - but not on Google, necessarily.

Early May can be chilly and wet in Upstate NY and western New England - it was this year for sure.
Large metro areas are, for the most part, tough to ride through - college towns have all cyclist services.
Once you get west of the Missouri, there are some major WTF sections - the problem with Google maps.
South Dakota - lots of remote dirt roads. Wyoming - dirt road west of Sheridan, nonexistent road in Yellowstone.

But the biggie - the biggie is in southern Idaho and northern Nevada where you are on two-tracks.
Now, if you have experience on remote BLM land with no water, no cell coverage, and no markings -
Then yes, you might be able to do it. Otherwise, it is classic Google crap.

The I-80 section in Nevada sucks - legal to ride Interstates in the West, but why?
Then it has you on remote dirt roads in the Carson Sink - brutal heat and sand - think Donner Party.
Finally, US 50 over the Sierras has heavy traffic and is a poor choice for cyclists.


Nearly every state has county road maps and traffic count information on their websites.
Google is not your friend. Especially in the West where it is notoriously bad.
You can make your own route, but you will need to more footwork.

Routes / Re: Connector Advice: WE to Northern Tier
« on: August 15, 2014, 03:16:29 pm »
Scott -

Why did you take US 30 in eastern Nebraska?
The linked map above clearly shows it as red.
Sorry you had a tough time of it, but yeah, I know US 30 sucks.
The worse stretch, between North Bend and Fremont,
does have a parallel gravel road on the other side of the RR tracks -
the Old Lincoln Highway.

Crossing the Missouri River is tricky in the Nebraska/Iowa stretch.
The roads leading up to the Decatur bridge are pleasant, but the bridge is steel grate and narrow.
The US 30 bridge at Blair is great, but the road on the Iowa side sucks.
The new pedestrian bridge in Omaha is amazing, but getting to it thru Omaha is a total hassle.
The new Hwy 92 bridge is excellent with good approaches - still a lot of urban Omaha.
The Bellevue Bridge is ancient and narrow, but has a fabulous campground on the west side.
The Plattsmouth Bridge was redone and still narrow, but with low speed limit and good approaches
   (The new US 34 bridge to the north will make this bridge a backwater.)
The Hwy 2 bridge is wide and modern although Hwy 2 itself is too busy for my pleasure.

As with most things bike touring - there are always compromises that have to be made.

My vote? The Plattsmouth Bridge.

Connecting ACA Routes / Re: Options along the TransAm in Kansas
« on: August 13, 2014, 11:30:20 pm »

US 50 has far more traffic. And the towns along the TransAm are used to cyclists and very welcoming.
KS 96 has, on average, about 1000 vehicles per day across western Kansas.
US 50 has at least 2000 in most places and more than 4000 near the larger communities.

Personally, I prefer Nebraska - but if you are riding across Kansas, the TransAm is best.


Hwy 153 is now closed with fires entering the town of Pateros.

US 2 is also closed around Leavenworth

I suspect that WSDOT may begin to limit eastbound traffic on Hwy 20 at Rockport since there is no paved open road option east or south of Winthrop.

From Twisp there is an easy detour via Pateros and Brewster -
(Doesn't mean going up into Canada or such)

From Twisp:
Hwy 153 South to Pateros (a couple of backroad options, too)
US 97 from Pateros to Brewster
Old US 97 from Brewster to south of Okanogan
Hwy 20 continues into Okanogan

The owner of Kurt's General Store in Paulina is really helpful - -
Anyone needing info should call - 541-477-3311
He has contacted to school principal and the gym will be open to cyclists.

More info on the Paulina Detour - -

Kurt's General Store in Paulina is open 8 to 8, 7 days.
Camping is permitted at the rodeo grounds in town.

Total distance 136 miles -
Paulina is 56 miles from Prineville, 80 tough miles from John Day
Starr Springs Campground (NF) is 15 miles south of John Day on US 395
2000 foot climb from John Day to Starr Spgs on US 395

Don't know the hours of the little general store in Post.

Heading west - the Izee Road Junction is clearly marked for Paulina:

Detour from John Day -
South on US 399 to Izee Road to Paulina
West on OR 380 (Paulina Hwy) to Prineville

Not that much further - pretty remote - limited services in Paulina & Post
General stores in both communities.

Please Note - most of the land along the route is private and fenced.
Also there is extreme fire risk - - thus, don't stealth camp.
Folks in Paulina will probably be accommodating.

Southwest / Re: New Mexico - northwest region
« on: July 18, 2014, 01:48:43 am »
I have toured Chaco Canyon as part of longer bicycle trips a couple of times.
I tour on a Trek 8000 - but you can do it on a Trek 520 with care.
(I took some insane two-tracks from the west on one trip.)

I'm not sure what your overall route is - -
But there are only two entrances to Chaco Canyon - north and south.
The highway from Cuba to Crownpoint is paved and quite good.
There are little stores at Torreon and Pueblo Pintado.
You can also get water at a number of Navajo chapter houses.
The road from the south is usually far better.
It may vary, but the north road usually has horrible washboards -
And you have to access the north road from a busy US 550.
Not to mention that the south road goes by stunning Fajada Butte.
The turnoff from IR 9 to the south road is at an abandoned trading post.
There is potable water and camping at Chaco.

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