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Messages - jamawani

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PS - If you are riding cross-country - then why not get a look at the Pacific Ocean, eh?
Hint, hint - - Plan B above.  Plus there great camping on the Columbia River at Skamokawa Vista Park.

Is there any reason that you absolutely have to cross this bridge in particular.  It's been a while since I rode it, but I can remember it as hair-raising.  I think they improved it since then - - but not much.  I think the "improvements" consisted of narrowing the lanes 1 foot so that you are not quite as freaked out.  But the traffic is really bad on the bridge, too.

You know that you can stay north of the river by riding down the Washington side.  You can either cross over on I-205 so that you can ride the Old Columbia Gorge Highway or stay on the Washington side on Hwy 14.  There are other back ways on the Washington side.

OR - -

You can catch a bus out of SEATAC to, let's say, Aberdeen, Wash - then ride down US 101 and inland via Hwy 4.  There's a wonderful back road along the Columbia between Skamokawa and Cathlamet - then the Cathlamet Ferry across the Columbia and US 30 on the Oregon side.  US 30 is pretty busy, but has good shoulders.

Fairfield - yep.

And no, you don't ride on Highway 12 - nota bene - Montezuma Hills Road.
Then you take the ferries across Cache and Steamboat Sloughs.
The nice thing about ferries is that you have little through traffic.
(And what little traffic there is comes is a small lump.)

From Walnut Grove you take Twin Cities Road (E13 and Hwy 104) east - NOT Hwy 12.
It's a bit busy with development around Galt,
but by the time you get to the country store at Herald it thins out.
Plus you get to ride thru some of the last large acreages of open grasslands in the Valley.
(Yeah, there are the decommissioned nuke cooling towers.)

From Ione you can either go up to Plymouth where there is camping
then continue on a very gradual climb via Fiddletown and Shake Ridge Rd.
Or you can take the back road to Sutter Creek - historic and pricey -
Then take Shake Ridge Road all the way -
or go via Volcano and the killer climb up Ram's Grade.

Both options are about the same distance - 25 miles less than the WE.
Rio Vista makes a good 1st night out.
Then it's 60 miles to Plymouth/Sutter Creek,
another 60 to Sorensens on the east side of the Sierras,
and another 60 to Dayton State Park in Nevada.

*Since I am posting this for early departures - i.e. May -
It should be mentioned that the high country campgrounds and lodges do not open until Memorial Day at the earliest.

The detour suggested combined with the regular Western Express involves about an additional 1500 feet of up and down over the Sierra Ridges in order to get to Highway 88.  Also the total distance between Fairview (on I-80 west of Davis) and the Highway 88 junction with Omo Ranch Road is 145 miles.

Yes, the American River Trail is lovely and Davis is a great college town.  But Sacramento is a big city to ride through and the current route has you on or parallel to I-80 for a lot of miles.  Hardly stunning scenery.

Why not route via Rio Vista, Ione, and Sutter Creek?
Montezuma Hills Road is one of the greatest rides in the Bay Area.
(Plus is has a huge windfarm on the ridge lines.)
The Delta ferries and back roads along the rivers and sloughs are lovely.
Hwy 104 head thru natural grasslands and by the defunct Rancho Seco nuke plant.
Then Sutter Creek and Sutter Creek - Volcano Road are some of the best in Gold Country.

Bike shops aren't as plentiful but there are enough along the way.
Traffic is lower than many of the roads in the Sacramento area.
Camping is generally available - but not around Sutter Creek.
(To camp in the foothills - go via Plymouth - county fairgrounds - and Fiddletown.)

Just wondering since Mormon Emigrant Trail won't be open for a long, long time.

Howdy -

Well, it's March in the West and it has been a doozy of a winter in the Sierras.
I am always telling people from back East that May in the High County is still winter.
That is especially the case this year in the Sierras.

I anticipate that the Mormon Emigrant Trail on the Western Express route
will not be snow-free until after Memorial Day - possibly mid-June.
Carson Pass has almost 10 feet of snow - as do most locations in the Upper American Basin.

The current addenda for Section 1 has the following detour:

On maps 6 and 7 the Mormon Emigrant Trail is closed during winter months and usually opens in May or June. Call the El Dorado Sheriff Dept. at 530-621-6600 to find out if the Mormon Emigrant Trail is open. There is an alternate route in listed in the riding conditions. This is an improvment on that one, with a shorter alternate and less climbing. From Placerville ride east on Main St. In 1 mi. it becomes Broadway. 2.5 mi. later it becomes Newton Rd. After 5-6 mi. turn left onto Pleasant Valley Rd. 1 mi. later turn right onto Mt. Aukum Rd. After 6 mi., turn left onto Fairplay Rd. In 3-4 mi., turn left onto Omo Ranch Rd. After 9-10 mi., you will rejoin the route on SR 88. (Jul 2005)

But Mt Aukum Road is a bear.
(I'll continue in the next thread since the text box is doing weird jumping.)

A ferry is the civilized way to cross the Mississippi.
Pausing at the river bank - loading the ferry - watching the river ripple by -
These allow you to experience the river in ways that no bridge can do.

Routes / Re: St George to Flagstaff
« on: February 26, 2011, 06:25:27 pm »
Dear Holier - -

A friend was a ranger in the inner canyon -
She quit.  She got tired of evacuating people out who didn't know what they were doing.
And, yes, some of these people didn't make it.

So EXCUUUUUUSE me for posting -
Since you didn't even bother to post the particulars of your experience.
Perhaps you might learn to do so initially in the future.

Routes / Re: St George to Flagstaff
« on: February 26, 2011, 04:41:32 pm »
I have crossed the canyon many times - but in involves hiking the North Kaibab and either the South Kaibab or Bright Angel as well as shuttling your bicycle on the shuttle service.

First - the North Rim doesn't open until mid-May.
Second - the shuttle service usually doesn't start until after Memorial Day.
Third - the shuttle service does not normally offer this service.
You need to know precisely what you are doing and make special arrangements.
Fourth - you must get a backcountry permit to camp in the canyon.
(These are very hard to get on short notice.)
Fifth - Or you can stay at the Phantom Ranch bunkhouse.
(This is almost impossible to get on short notice.)

If you take a bicycle on the canyon trails - not only are you crazy,
but you will be arrested, fined, and your bicycle will be impounded.

Considering that you do not seem to know the particulars of hiking/biking in the Grand Canyon -
I suggest that you enjoy biking from rim to rim via Lee's Ferry.
US 89 between Lee's Ferry and Cameron can be busy with narrow shoulders.
Caution is advised.

You have until May 7 ???

Check the opening dates for the various roads in Yellowstone and then get back in touch with me.
Not to mention that you may encounter blizzard conditions in the Bighorns.

Routes / Re: Setting out from New York City.....Good idea or not?
« on: February 20, 2011, 06:44:56 pm »
You can take the SeaStreak Ferry from Manhattan to the Highland Shore of Jersey and find bike shops, beaches, and a paved bike trail, too.  Take the JFK Express into Manhattan from JFK - then enjoy whatever you wish in Manhattan before heading down to the Battery and the ferry pier.  On your ferry ride, you will pass the Statue of Liberty and go under Verrazano Narrows Bridge.  Avoid the late afternoon rush hour on weekdays.

Routes / Re: Gt Divide ground conditions
« on: February 18, 2011, 11:44:40 am »
When are you doing this?

June may be summer in Britain, but it is not in most of the Rockies.
I disagree with the north to south direction that ACA suggests.
Starting in the north in early summer is just after the wettest period of the year in Montana
not to mention that heavy snows have just started melting the previous month.

On the other end, the monsoon season in the Southwest usually begins in July.
It is usually in full swing by August.
The caliche soils of some of the dirt roads turn into glue.

An early June start from the south end is way better.

I say this as someone who has not ridden the GDMBR per se -
But I have done many different sections as part of my 100,000 miles touring.
(Mostly in the American and Canadian Wests - including lots of dirt)
I used to live in Jackson, Wyoming - and know all of those roads well.
(I saw you posted something about Gros Ventre Road.)
My sister lives in northern New Mexico and I have lots of experience there, too.

I would have to look, but I have precipitation charts posted somewhere -
that show how Montana has peak precip May/June - much lower in Aug -
while New Mexico has peak precip in August - very little in early June.

Trust me - from someone who has had to carry a "locked-up" bike -
You do not want to get caught in wet caliche - it is like cement.

Routes / Re: pinedale wyoming/ hiway 191 riding
« on: February 18, 2011, 10:09:45 am »
I have ridden that stretch many times.

The road generally has good shoulders, but as you mentioned, traffic is more than I like due to energy development in the area.  Still, it is way less than most people from outside Wyoming deal with on a regular basis.

(I hate this website because it locks up at times and prevents you from continuing your message.)
But here is the website for WYDOT traffic count.  It is mostly in the 2500 to 3000 AADT.

About wind -
The Wyoming wind season lasts from January 1 to December 31.
Other than that, predictions are risky.
Actually, in that area of Wyoming in summer - winds are usually from the SSW moderate+.
So you should expect sidewinds on this stretch blowing you towards the traffic lane.
Nothing extreme, but caution is advisable - and second thoughts if the wind is brutal.
(Wind usually is light in the morning, picking up after noon, then dropping in the evening.)

How are you getting into Colorado?
There's a great route between Rock Springs and Maybell, CO -
But it has about 22 miles of dirt.
Very empty - scenic - lovely.

General Discussion / Re: New Mexico The Bicycle Friendly State
« on: January 30, 2011, 02:50:11 pm »
Do you know what New Mexico's state mineral is?
Broken glass.

The American Discovery Trail is more a hiking than biking trail - especially in Colorado - as it goes through numerous wilderness areas where bicycles are prohibited.  Remember also - it includes a lot of high country that doesn't melt out until June or July.  I went through Schofield Pass in late June and had to use a rock pick to get through avalanche routes.

Early April ain't exactly the best time to be riding in Colorado - Moab country would be ideal.  But if you do ride in Colorado, I would suggest you stay as low as possible.  And be aware that all public lands facilities - like campgrounds - will still be closed.  The direct route along the Colorado River has many stretches where you are forced to ride on the interstate - others parts have you on service roads with scenic views of the interstate and the railroad.  

Or you can ride on US 50 to Delta and then over McClure Pass and down the Crystal River to Carbondale and Glenwood.
Or you can take Hwy 65 over Grand Mesa - but that is likely to be iffy in April.  Could be stunning and nice.  Could be a blizzard.

Routes / Re: Getting Across The Desert
« on: January 17, 2011, 10:33:09 pm »
But I'm weird that way, I think many would not agree.

I agree.

I think the best tour starts where YOU want to start and goes to where YOU want to go and ends where YOU want to end.  If that means starting on the coast of Oregon and ending at Big Bend National Park in Texas and winding every which way in between - - well, why not?

If one is planning a gross-country tour starting in August, I think it far better to ride west to east starting in the Pacific Northwest.  This would be a perfect time frame to ride from Puget Sound to Glacier National Park(Possibly the Northern Tier or a lower elevation crossing) - then down the Rockies as you suggest - perhaps exiting the Rockies into South Dakota and the Black Hills before continuing east.  (By late September it is best to skedaddle into lower elevations.)

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