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Messages - jamawani

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Rep. Barry Usher, MT-40, is one of the sponsors of this bill.
Here is a letter I sent him:

Dear Rep. Usher - T

The anti-cycling bill (LC-2196) you are sponsoring in one of your first acts as a legislator indicates how little you know of the law as it pertains to state and federal highways. Your bill violates numerous aspects of federal highway legislation in place since at least the early 1990s. I suggest you look up multimodality and bills such as ISTEA, SAFETEA, and MAP-21. You will discover that states must include multimodal transportation options to receive federal highway funds. Failure to do so - let alone banning bicycles from a large portion of the Federal Primary and Federal Secondary systems - would result in immediate violation and a restriction or outright embargo of funds.

I have bicycled nearly every paved road in Montana from Libby to Sidney and in between - not to mention quite a few dirt roads. I know eastern Montana well, having taught at Miles Community College. The Adventure Cycling Association, one of the leading bicycling advocacy organizations, is headquartered in Missoula. I am stunned, You talk about self-reliance, but the reality is that Montana could not begin to cover the costs of its highway system without massive federal subsidies. If this bill were to pass, despite all odds, I would argue that the first funds cuts be applied to US 87 and US 12 in eastern Montana. And I would laugh as the roads crumbled.

Sincerely, John Egan Buffalo, WY


Here is his legislative email address:

I believe that in today's environment, you have to call "stupid" by its proper name - loud and clear.
"Nice" just ain't gonna cut it any more.

Various national parks restrict bicycles as RVs grow bigger every year - and ARE accommodated.
The Whittier Tunnel in Alaska used federal funds and still has no bicycle accommodations - 15 years later.

You may also wish to encourage Mr. Usher to get on a bicycle, himself.
And include this image with your encouragement.

Routes / Re: Tour de SRAM USA 2017- unique cross-country route
« on: January 19, 2017, 12:43:39 pm »
It's only a 70-mile savings, but that's more than 1/2 a day at 125 miles per day.

Routes / Re: Tour de SRAM USA 2017- unique cross-country route
« on: January 19, 2017, 11:54:20 am »
DS - Sent you a private message - you should have a notification.

Routes / Re: Another way to cope with dogs
« on: January 17, 2017, 01:57:10 pm »
We have discussed the dog issue in Kentucky on the TransAm numerous times in the office, and have listened to various solutions. The most suggested one has been to change the route. The difficulty in doing that is that we can't guarantee a cyclist won't run into dogs if we move the route to Maryland or West Virginia or Pennsylvania or North Carolina. Rural areas are more likely to have dogs that are left to run loose. Dogs are used as an "early warning" if someone approaches a house, and are used to protect property. As someone said, this happens in other states, and not just in the Appalachians.

Carla - I have 100,000 miles touring and I must say that while there may be dogs in many rural areas, they are worse in the South, and worst in Appalachia. I am a historian of rural communities and have spent plenty of non-cycling time in rural Kentucky and West Virginia, as well. I believe that there are two reasons that help create a more serious dog problem for cyclists in Kentucky.

First, physical. Eastern Kentucky, West Virginia, and western Virginia have limestone topography with deeply incised valleys or "hollers". The houses are often right up against the road - so the dogs are closer to begin with. And because there is so little buildable land, the country roads are a solid string of little houses.

Second, cultural. Poverty. Many of the coal areas were classic "company towns" where the miners' families didn't own anything and were in hock to the company store. If you don't own the house, why put up a chain-link fence? Especially if you don't have the money to begin with. Then you add loss of jobs and the meth/oxycodone epidemic and it makes for a challenging environment.

I biked cross country this past summer thru Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, and Penna and cannot recall a single instance of being chased by a dog. Yes, that is one person. But when I biked thru south Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi a few years back, I had to deal with dogs every day - many times packs of roaming dogs. When I got to the courthouse in one Alabama town, I mentioned that there had been a pack of about 10 dogs out in  the county and I asked what I should do. She said, "Jus' shoot 'em." Without so much as a raised eyebrow.

That, to me, indicates a mindset where people don't care if their dogs get hit by cars or if they chase cyclists.
And that's why it is far easier to cycle outside of the South.

Best wishes for the new year - John

Kentucky County Overdose Death Rate - National Rate in 2010 - 12 per 100,000
Thus, parts of Eastern Kentucky have an overdose death rate 5 times the national average.
(Southern West Virginia is worse.)

Routes / Re: Tour de SRAM USA 2017- unique cross-country route
« on: January 16, 2017, 07:45:33 pm »
DS -

Mid to late May is a good time to push off from California, but you may not be aware of the climate regimes in the West.
Imagine a bookshelf with fat, hardback books - yeah, I know, books are so 20th century.
Along I-70 in May there's not much difference in temperature between St. Louis, Indy, and Columbus.
Sure, there can be storms in one place and not another - but the weather is similar.

In the West climate zones shift radically on a west-to-east axis.
It can be 60F in San Fran, 90F in Sacramento, 40F with a chance of snow in the Sierras, and back to 75F in Reno.
Further south, it can be pleasant in Ventura - and broiling in Needles - then chilly in Flagstaff.
Attached Prism Climate Map - Oregon State Univ.

Because you will be in the Mojave in late May - you should expect high temps in the 90s - even 100+
But when you get to Flagstaff - you can expect low temps near freezing.
Western Regional Climate Center data -

I am not sure what your specific stopping points are along the way.
Not sure why your endpoints are Morro Bay and Wrightsville Beach, but I'm sure you have your reasons.
I did see SRAM offices in Colorado Springs, Chicago, and Indy.
Can't tell if Flagstaff, Omaha, Charleston, WY, or Raleigh are fixed points.
(From the map, it seems that Raleigh is.)

What are the places you must hit in the West?
Because there are much better ways to do it.
And why miss the Grand Canyon or other spectacular regions of the West, eh?

Here's one example - East of Colorado Springs:
Take Hwy 94 due east to
US 40 east into Kansas to
Hwy 25 to Colby
Low traffic once you get 20 miles east of the Springs.
Enough small towns for the essentials.
Way more scenic than a service road next to I-70.

Best - J

Routes / Re: Tour de SRAM USA 2017- unique cross-country route
« on: January 15, 2017, 09:56:02 pm »
Are you using Google Maps? Because it is not your friend.

Just a quick peek indicates you are routing yourself on some dirt, remote roads in New Mex.
Also, they are on Navajo tribal lands with access only to tribal members or with a permit.
Google Maps doesn't know these things.

I agree that all that I-40 riding will suck. Plus the service roads along I-70.
A snout full of fumes and the constant roar of traffic.



What the heck are you planning on doing in the eastern Mojave - from dirt road to two track in summer heat?
Why aren't you using Old Route 66 in western Ariz then Hwy 64 up to Grand Canyon and Hwy 264?
You cannot bicycle over Mosca Pass - the trail is foot only. You can do Medano Pass further north.
But do you know what you are getting into?

I am very concerned that you are an Easterner without a clue about the West.
That is a recipe for serious, serious trouble.

Routes / Re: Another way to cope with dogs
« on: January 15, 2017, 08:30:54 pm »
I agree.

Now that June Curry is gone, there is little reason to traverse the hills and hollers of Kentucky and Virginia.
Anyhoo, you don't even end up on the Atlantic, but on the river bank in Yorktown.

Since most people tour in the summer, I think it makes far more sense to ride thru the Midwest.
Monroeville, Indiana is probably the most welcoming town for cyclists in America.

I've got more than 100K miles riding - mostly touring - and have ridden most routes. (More than once)
Midwestern towns are more open and tolerant - and the dog issue is rare on rural roads.
I remember one time in Mississippi, the owners actually laughed as their dogs tore after me.
And, now, Appalachia is facing an epidemic of prescription drug abuse - it's just depressing.
(Sadly, I have seen the "Appalachification" of Midwestern towns over 30 years as they lose jobs and hope.)

And Nebraska beats Kansas hands down for touring across the Great Plains -
Sandhills gently curved roads vs. 200 miles of straight and flat.
Just my 2c.

Pic - On the historic Old Trail Road in northern Indiana

Routes / Re: Solo Trip Across America
« on: January 15, 2017, 11:00:29 am »
National Parks in Summer -

Be aware that Yellowstone and Mount Rushmore are both zoos in the summer.
Based on your departure date, they should be a little better by late Aug / early Sept.

Many people on touring websites diss Yellowstone - I do not agree.
But you have to plan carefully to avoid the worst traffic times.
Since there are hiker/biker campsites at every campground, you can ride fairly late.
I keep my distances low and ride early in the morning - then a little in the evening.
That way I ride when the roads have much less traffic and can also see more wildlife.

If you look at a map of Yellowstone, you can see that the main roads make a figure-8 loop.
The top loop is smaller than the bottom. Mammoth, near Gardiner, is on the NW of the top.
Canyon is on the E where the top and bottom meet.

I suggest a route from Mammoth to Norris to Canyon to Lake.
There will be some construction on the road to Norris - there is always construction going on.
(Millions of vehicles and only a few months each year of construction season)
Mammoth Campground sucks - in a loop in the road - noisy and not very scenic.

The Upper Terrace at Mammoth has an incredible view above the main springs -
And the Upper Terrace Loop makes a nice, quiet get-away.
Indian Creek is a very nice small campground with excellent hiking opportunities.
Still, you may want to overnight at Norris.

About Old Faithful - it is a carnival with a zillion cars in the parking lot.
They even have a highway interchange to accommodate the massive traffic.
Norris Geyser Basin is equally spectacular - but has moderate visitation.
If you camp at Norris, you can visit in the evening or early morning - best times.

If you must go to Old Faithful, I would base at Norris and do an out-and-back day ride.
The Gibbon River is pleasant and the road is good.
The the road along the Firehole River is beautiful - make sure to hit the other geyser basins.
The Old Faithful Inn is a landmark - but, yikes, the oodles of tourists.

From Norris there is a one-way back road via Virginia Falls which is quite nice - and uphill.
Then you coast down to Canyon Village - which has private hiker/biker sites, showers, and services.
Give yourself time to do some hiking along the canyon rim - esp. on the South Rim from Artist Point.

Next up is Hayden Valley - the Serengeti of America - you will see large herds of buffalo.
The views are expansive, but the road is old and narrow with a good deal of traffic.
Early morning would be the best time for this stretch.
Then you follow the Yellowstone River to Lake.

Lake / Fishing Bridge / Bridge Bay is the last developed area before heading east out of the park.
I love to sit on the benches on the lakeshore in front of the historic Lake Hotel looking out on the lake.
Bridge Bay campground is O.K., but it has about 400 campsites with huge RVs in most of them.
There is NO tent camping from Bridge Bay to Newton Creek because of grizzly bear restrictions.
(Remember - NEVER eat in your tent - for the entire trip - and store all food and scented items in bear boxes)


If you give yourself a few days in Yellowstone, you will enjoy it far more.
You will not need to rush or fight traffic and you can see so much more.

Best - J

Pic - Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River

Routes / Re: Solo Trip Across America
« on: January 15, 2017, 09:09:39 am »
Arlington? Shoot me. And I do apologize.
Yes, Arlington is a tiny spot in southern Wyoming near Laramie - where I did grad work.
And BURLINGTON is the little community west of Otto.
Burlington - not Arlington. Sorry.

General Discussion / Re: Trangia Stove / Meths
« on: January 14, 2017, 11:04:55 pm »
Speaking of terms that have different meanings - I would avoid using "meths" because in the U.S. the term "meth" is associated with the epidemic of methamphetamine. You mention "meth" and you may have a park ranger searching all of your belongings. Just FYI.

Routes / Re: Solo Trip Across America
« on: January 14, 2017, 10:59:54 pm »
Hi Lucy -

When? Seasons do matter in the northern U.S.
Skill level? Planned daily distance? 4400 miles in 11 weeks could be tough for a novice.
Pavement? Bike trails? Some unpaved? Even a little flexibility allows you to escape busy roads.

I live in Wyoming, have biked nearly every road in the state. 7 times X-USA.
And many more times in the western U.S., Canada, Yukon & Alaska.
So, I have a few miles of experience. (Plus Europe long ago.)

There is an excellent route across northern Wyoming from Cody thru Ten Sleep and Buffalo to Devils Tower.

I take exception in a couple of places.
Instead of going thru Greybull, take the back road via Burlington (cafe, store, camping) and Otto to Basin.
From Manderson to Ten Sleep, take Hwy 31 and Nowood Road - shorter, low traffic, scenic.
If you are willing to do dirt - Crazy Woman Canyon to the Great Plains is spectacular.
From Hill City, SD - you can continue on the Mickleson Trail to Crazy Horse then back.

Will you be going thru Yellowstone - coming in from where?
I would strongly urge you to visit the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone and Hayden Valley.
On the eastern edge of Wyoming, Devils Tower is a famous landmark with nice riverside camping.

Be glad to share any info -


Pic - Bighorn Mountains in Late June

Routes / Re: Place to finish WB Northern Tier ride
« on: January 09, 2017, 10:43:12 pm »
I think I have a similar definition of "ocean" as you do.
I need to see the curvature of the earth and waves coming in.
Different strokes - but that's what matters for me.

Routes / Re: Place to finish WB Northern Tier ride
« on: January 09, 2017, 10:39:07 pm »
How daring are you? How flexible?

I finished yet another (bad habit) coast-to-coast this past summer.
And, yes, I wanted to go from the waves of the Pacific to the waves of the Atlantic.
Westport, Washington to Sandy Hook, NJ.
You know you can bike camp at Sandy Hook and watch the sun rise over the Atlantic?

Back to daring -
You could continue from Anacortes to Port Townsend, Port Angeles, all the way to Neah Bay.
I have done that before - spectacular out at Cape Flattery.
Tough, but stunning riding west of Port Angeles. And the Makah Museum is worth it.

But I might suggest an earlier veer off the NT route -
Are you aware of the great Missoula Floods of the last ice age?
They created Grand Coulee and other massive gashes in the earth in central Wash.

From Republic, you would head due south to Grand Coulee Dam on Hwy 21 and Manila Creek Road
Then follow Grand Coulee SW via Coulee City and Ephrata to George, Washington.
Tricky crossing the Columbia River - two ways, both a bit challenging from Exit 143 -
a. Get on I-90 and zoom downhill to the bridge - shoulders until the bridge, then none.
(But you are going downhill on the bridge westbound)
b. Take Old Vantage Highway down to the river thru Frenchman Coulee
Truly, truly spectacular - but you have to hitch across the river at the boat ramp.
The boat ramp has moderate+ usage and I have hitched across lots of rivers.

From Vantage, head west on the Old Highway to Ellensburg - early, to avoid the wind.
Then turn south thru Yakima Canyon - great riverside camping - to Selah.
Two ways to cross the Cascades - US 12, very nice - or Hwy 410, even nicer.
Because Tipsoo Lake with views of Mount Rainier is at the top at Chinook Pass.
Then it's serious, mind-blowing switchbacks down.

US 12 to Chehalis has good shoulders, moderate traffic, and lots of empty backroad sections.
West of Chehalis the Willapa Hills Trail is nice all the way to Doty then Hwy 6 to the coast.
You hit Willapa Bay at Raymond and then Hwy 105 to Westport -
with a paved dunes trail and ocean views for the last 2 miles.

(Bear in mind, as you get further west, you will likely encounter stronger headwinds.)


Republic to Anacortes - 270 mi., +14882 ft.

Anacortes to Neah Bay - 170 mi., +7955 ft.

Total - Republic to Neah Bay - 440 mi., +22837 ft.

Republic to Westport  via Hwy 410 - 483 mi., +18659 ft.

Republic to Westport via US 12 - save 17 miles and 1000 ft.
(But you miss Tipsoo lake in August - which is unthinkable.)

Don't get me wrong - The North Cascades are lovely and I have biked it multiple times.
And the San Juans are lovely and Neah Bay is lovely, too.
But it does get a little tricky and trafficky heading all the way out to the Pacific from Anacortes.
And the route to Westport is really sweet, as well.

- - Just some ideas - -

Pic -

Frenchman Coulee and Old Vantage Highway

Routes / Re: Place to finish WB Northern Tier ride
« on: January 09, 2017, 07:42:49 pm »
You do get an unobstructed view of the Strait of Juan de Fuca from Iceberg Point on the south end of Lopez.

Routes / Re: Place to finish WB Northern Tier ride
« on: January 09, 2017, 11:36:00 am »
No, no, no, no, no - - -

You want to get ON the ferry and go to one of the San Juan Islands.
In fact, visit more than one - once you pay the fare, it's free island to island.
Make sure to leave no later than 2:00p to get camping on the islands.

San Juan Island is the main island. Friday Harbor is a party place - loud and wild.
The county park on the west side of the island is on the water looking west for the sunset.
And there are hiker/biker sites - but they fill early in summer.

Orcas is almost as busy as San Juan - with a couple of big resorts.
The main state park is on the opposite side of the island with big climbs.
I don't find Orcas especially great for cyclists.

Shaw is tiny and remote with a small county park.
Nuns from a convent used to staff the ferry dock - it was a great sight!
But there are practically no services once you are on the island.

Lopez is my super-choice - combining the best of both worlds.
There is a west-oriented county park and a state park on the east side.
The small community has a cafe/bakery and a general store.
And riding on the island is sweet.

Good Ridin'
Best - J

Pic - MacKaye Harbor on the south end of Lopez

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