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Messages - jamawani

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I just spoke to the ranger at the Amador Ranger Station of the Eldorado N.F.
She said that Omo Ranch is open all the way to Hwy 88.
And I called El Dorado County Roads to double-check.

No snow, no damage closure like Shake Ridge.
They may be patching a few potholes, but that is all.

Also, no snowpack indicated  below 5000 ft.

Bicycle Route 66 / Re: Best Time to Ride East-West?
« on: April 24, 2017, 08:41:14 am »
There are more ways to get to LA than Route 66.

The US 6 route goes Chicago, Omaha, Denver, Price, Tonopah - then south from Bishop to LA.
Instead of heading south then west - it heads west then south.
Staying further north, it is cooler and misses most of the Mojave Desert.

Loup Loup Pass is closed due to a major washout.
Detour EB - From Twisp Hwy 20 then Hwy 153 to Pateros, US 97 to Brewster, Old 97 to Hwy 20 4 mi S. of Okanogan
Detour WB - Hwy 20 4 mi S. of Okanagan, Old 97 to Brewster, US 97 to Pateros, Hwy 153 to Hwy 20 & Twisp

* Given the damage to paved highways, I would not attempt an early season detour on dirt forest roads.
Not only will they be snowy/muddy, but they will have big washouts, too.

The North Cascades Highway remains closed and will likely be quite late opening this year.
Too often, easterners and folks from overseas just don't realize how long winter remains in the Northwest.
Not only is there the possibility of snow into June, but the heavy snowpack this winter has to melt out.

OKANOGAN – Work is under way to repair washed-away portions of Highway 20 over Loup Loup Pass, but motorists will have to take the long way between the Okanogan and Methow valleys for several more weeks.

From Washington State DOT

SR 20 is closed in both directions from four miles west of the Loup Loup Pass summit at milepost 211 to Rock Creek at milepost 223 due to water over the roadway, mud slides, and road repairs. Currently there is no estimated time for reopening and no local detour available. Motorists can use SR 153 through the Methow Valley as an alternate route.

Updated: Sunday April 23, 2017 1:33 AM

North Cascades Highway -

Pass is closed for the season. Spring clearing work is underway and could take as many as 8 weeks to reopen due to the volume of snow.
Not Available
Restrictions Eastbound:
Closed for the season
Restrictions Westbound:
Closed for the season

Umm - - Rams Horn Grade outside Volcano exceeds 10% in places. Only 2 miles but killer.
(not me)

I would suggest a return to the old Mormon Emigrant Trail, except it will probably be snowed in until July.
A better option might be to go via Shenandoah and Omo Ranch Road - -
or the old Omo route as per ACA 2 years ago?

I anticipate that facilities - i.e. campgrounds, etc. will be very late opening this spring.
Given the focus on road repair, any campground damage repair will probably be put on hold.

Routes / Re: Help Building a Trip
« on: April 19, 2017, 02:41:14 pm »
Just FYI -

Missouri ain't flat. The goat hills are killer.
My first x-USA trip I was expecting light riding and was rudely awakened.
(Along with some choice language, too)

Routes / Re: Help Building a Trip
« on: April 18, 2017, 11:34:38 am »
Have you considered head directly west from the Chicago area across Iowa and Nebraska?

The Sandhills of Nebraska are THE most beautiful way to cross the Great Plains. Plus empty roads.
Because of the sand, they were never plowed - so you have empty, natural grasslands.
Not mile after mile of wheat fields with mind-numbing straight roads.
Basically Hwy 92 from Broken Bow to Ogallala:

You could then swing down into northeast Colorado from Julesburg to Walden and reconnect with the TA.
US 138 and Hwy 14 have very light traffic, High Plains camping near Briggsdale.
Fort Collins is an awesome college town - with all needed services.
Then the Cache la Poudre Canyon will blow your socks off.
Just over Cameron Pass is a canal service road that takes you deep into the backcountry Rockies.

Routes / Re: Lewis + Clark to Trans Am West to East in May?
« on: April 15, 2017, 07:37:31 pm »
Hi El -

I live in Wyoming - have lived here for almost 30 years and have toured all over the region.
You are right when you say starting in the West in early May can be iffy. Can be more than iffy.

Early May starts on the Trans-Am tend to work better east-to-west -
Or west-to-east starting in the Bay area of California then heading across Nevada.
I have been snowed in - heavily - in early June in the Cascades.
Last year I got snow & cold in western Montana in mid June.
And I have skied on fresh snow in late June in Yellowstone country.
I even got some snow in lower elevation on the Calif/Nevada border Memorial Day.

Then again, you might just dodge the bullet and have great cycling weather in May and early June.
But I doubt it. It's like trying to draw on an inside straight in poker - the odds are against you.
Plus, this year has been a snowy/wet winter and spring in the West.
That usually portends a cool, wet summer with a late start.

Here is a trip I took that somewhat follows the Western Express route - starting in mid-May in the Bay area.

You might get a few cool snaps and a snowflake or two, but there's lower elevation options where you can wait it out.
Plus, you could include a side trip down to Grand Canyon via the North Rim - which is da best.

I would urge:
a. A late May start west-to-east, if possible.
b. An east-to-west trip with an early May start.
c. An early May start using the Western Express.

Best - J

General Discussion / Re: Filling in the Gaps
« on: April 14, 2017, 10:35:27 pm »
Speaking of old - - -
Are you old enough to remember cyclists camping at Cape Meares?
There was only one spot at the picnic area for hiker/bikers only - no other camping.
So at night, you had the whole park to yourself.
I think I camped there in 1988 or 1989. Wow!


Wait - - I see you answered the same question 4 years ago.
Things like old campgrounds get lost in the tides of history.
Not like it was a transcript of the Lincoln-Douglas Debates or anything.

In a similar vein, the Alaska Highway has been rebuilt over the past 20 years.
New, straighter roadbed. Wide forest cutbacks so the low winter sun can hit.
But the old highway wound along creeks and around hills - much more intimate.
I've ridden both - but can never ride the old highway again.

General Discussion / Re: Filling in the Gaps
« on: April 14, 2017, 03:47:18 pm »
You are welcome -
I hope you have a fantabulous trip.
I am happy for you.

General Discussion / Re: Filling in the Gaps
« on: April 14, 2017, 03:09:00 pm »
Well, I'm probably a whole lot older and have been touring since the Middle Ages.

In the olden days, we would come into a little town and just scope it out - -
Ask some people where their favorite place to eat was.

Electronic media is fine, but it has changed the way we do things.
We probably pedaled a few extra miles -
but we also found great places that way, too.

General Discussion / Re: Filling in the Gaps
« on: April 14, 2017, 01:57:16 pm »
But the "gaps" are what it is all about . . .

Routes / Re: Colorado Springs to Minneapolis route?
« on: April 12, 2017, 01:52:43 pm »
I have posted often that Googlemaps is not always your friend.
I suspect that your primary route you posted includes sections of US 81 in Nebr and US 75 in Iowa.  Yeeech!
Also, since most roads in the Great Plains follow section lines N-S or E-W, diagonals are rare and often busy.

One of the finest riding areas of the Plains is the Sandhills of Nebraska - and a S-N route can be stunning.
The Sandhills are a huge natural grassland that has never been plowed - remote, serene, amazing.
The little towns are 25 or more miles apart and they have only the barest necessities - but are great places.
Plus the Sandhills tend to be 5 degrees cooler with significantly lower humidity.
(All that irrigation for corn crops ends up in the air.)

Here is a suggested route from Julesburg, CO to  Valentine, NE -

Niobrara Bridge -

US 138 & US 30 are O.K. - light traffic and easy riding.
NE 61 north of Ogallala gets better, very little traffic, rollers.
NE 92 east of Arthur - even better - it's the rollers that make the scenery
Whitman Road - one-lane paved through magical country - the finest riding in the Great Plains
NE 2 - east of Whitman (only water available) - O.K., but after Whitman Road, hey.
NE 97 - another fine ride with almost no traffic, stock up in Mullan - pop.500
Great rail trail bridge over the Niobrara River just outside Valentine.

Remember, shade is rare in the Great Plains in mid-summer.
Start super early on hot days and quit by noon - maybe a few more hours in the evening.

Nebraska DOR  County Maps website -

PS - You are not imagining 300 miles per day are you? I also don't think 30 mph is anywhere near realistic.
I plan 10 mph, average, with stops. Lightweight touring 12 mph. Killer pace 15 mph.
And if you get a headwind - subtract 2 mph off of all of those.

Routes / Re: Northern Tier to Transamerica
« on: April 05, 2017, 11:52:20 am »
If you do not need to stay on ACA routes - consider crossing Nebraska.
I have 100,000 miles touring and have done both Kansas and Nebraska.
No comparison. (And, technically, it fits the definition of "connector" NT to TA.)

Yes, you will encounter other cyclists and designated facilities on the TransAm -
But most Nebraska small towns have free/cheap camping and you will meet other cyclists, too.
Once you get west of Wichita ("West of Wichita" - sounds like a C&W hit song, eh?)
The TransAm is straight, flat (imperceptibly uphill westbound), hot, and windy.
The US 20 route across Nebraska goes thru the Sandhills region.
This area was never plowed - so you see natural grasslands.
The road curves gently around the hills - plus it's 5F cooler on average.

I do not know why Adventure Cycling does not have an east-west route across Nebraska.
I have been suggesting it for some time.

Of course, that would also mean crossing Iowa and half of Wyoming off-route, too.
Iowa has lots of options - and Wyoming's highways have far better shoulders than Colorado's.

If interested, would be glad to provide careful details. - - J


Pic from 1988 - North Loup River in the Sandhills

Pic from 2016 - Riding US 20 in the Sandhills

General Discussion / Re: Canada: Bug seasons
« on: April 04, 2017, 02:58:31 pm »
There are no bugs in Canada - only predators.

Routes / Re: Gravel Roads/Alternative Routes along the Northern Tier
« on: March 31, 2017, 11:53:52 pm »
I've ridden the western half of the Northern Tier many times - albeit stitched together with other segments.
Probably done all of the official route when you combine them - but I think the route has changed a bit, too.

Not much gravel west of the Cascades - there are 4 options between Sedro-Woolley and Concrete.
1. WA 20 - fairly busy state highway with good shoulders.
2. Cascade Trail - unpaved, can be pretty mushy, esp. in early season.
3. Lyman Road / Cape Horn Road via Rasar State Park - quiet, pleasant, current ACA route I believe
4. South Skagit Road - truly lovely, more remote, tough bridge out of S-W - former NT route?

Skagit County Bike Map -

From Tonasket to Kettle Falls -
Nice, mostly paved route via Chesaw and Curlew - very quiet back roads, camping, but limited services

Very nice camping at Starvation Lake - WDFW managed - 12 miles east of Colville
Pine needles and quiet, I was only one there, of course, you might get a crowd, but doubtful

3 excellent options in Montana - can't do all 3, though
1. Yaak Valley - Turn onto CH 508 just inside Mont. - paved, services at Yaak, comes out near Rexford
Incredible riding along Yaak River for miles - big climb and descent to Lake Koocanusa
2. Fortine-Wolf Creek Road (FR 36) - paved, almost zero traffic, mostly private forest with occasional logging truck
Little hamlet of Trego has great cafe with outdoor deck. Not as primitive, but very nice riding off main roads.
3. Grave Creek / Trail Creek Rd - via Timothy Meadows - paved most of the way up - then dirt or mud or snow
Unlikely to be open, esp. with late snows, I did it when closed and had to work my way over snowpacks - but very nice.


I'd be wary of remote gravel/dirt roads early in the season if you are unfamiliar with the region.
You can get stuck in the muck up to you axles.

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