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Messages - jfitch

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General Discussion / Re: GDMBR Canada Map Availability
« on: February 08, 2012, 08:57:30 pm »
"The narratives are text files of the directions as presented on the maps. You can then do as you wish with them: change the font size, print in grouping for daily mileage, etc."

Are downloadable narratives available for all of the routes? I just bought the western two sections of the NT, and I'd love to have text files of the narrative that I could reformat, etc. I don't see a place for them on the website.


Routes / Re: Montana 83 riding conditions?
« on: January 30, 2012, 10:12:16 pm »
We rode 83 from Bigfork to the junction with 200 on July 5 & 6, 2010 ( The traffic was remarkably light for the day after July 4th, and was no problem at all. The scenery was fantastic. I wouldn't hesitate to ride 83 again. FWIW, YMMV.

General Discussion / Re: For those who like odd scenes from Google Earth
« on: December 15, 2011, 08:11:06 pm »
Is this for real? I mean, it looks like the building is built on top of part of the tail.

Gear Talk / Re: shoe covers for cold weather
« on: December 13, 2011, 11:19:41 pm »
"You just need to get the booties a couple sizes bigger than the shoes.  I have the Lake winter boots in the SPD mountain bike version.  Size 10.  I use size 13 Performance neoprene booties over them."

Alll well and good if you wear size 10. But if you wear size 13 to begin with, just try finding size 15 booties.

Routes / Re: Pacific Coast in January-February
« on: October 05, 2011, 10:28:12 pm »
Motels will usually be available. But be prepared for rain. Lots of it. And be aware that the usually reliable Pacific Coast tailwind (if you're going from north to south) become a headwind during storms, which usually come in one after the other all winter. That means with the rain, you'll also usually get headwinds. January-February are high rainfall months in a fairly high rainfall area.

Routes / Re: Ojo Caliente
« on: August 18, 2011, 02:39:34 am »
In July, we rode from Taos to Abiquiu as part of a 10 day loop through northern New Mexico and southern Colorado. We passed by Ojo Caliente just to the north, on Highways 285, 111, and 554. All of these were good roads, with light (285) to very light (111 and 554) traffic but with little in the way of services. You can read two journals about this trip at, and

GPS & Digital Data Discussion / Re: combining Garmin maps
« on: June 24, 2011, 11:48:46 pm »
After reading the discussion here ( I'd be extremely wary of using the Garmin rails-to-trails product.

General Discussion / Re: Amtrak Bus and Bikes
« on: June 07, 2011, 12:11:50 am »
"Knowing the way these things work you'll probably have to put it in an official Amtrak box at Martinez"

Last summer a friend and I took Amtrak from Martinez to Whitefish, MT. I used an Amtrak box. He had his boxed by our local bike shop in one of their used boxes. Amtrak didn't care.

GPS & Digital Data Discussion / Re: Advice for a GPS Newbie
« on: March 08, 2011, 11:52:51 pm »
Well, Garmin's website says the battery life for the 605-800 series in "15 hours typical". That would last me, touring, about 2 days max, given a typical approx 6 hour riding day. With the Legend, even with Alkaline AAs, I get twice that. A set of lithiums lasts for about a week, being run all day. And if the batteries run down ,they're instantly replaceable, from spares on hand or any convenience store, without the inconvenience and delay of recharging. The 605-800 series may be very good, but to me, a mere 15 hour life in a non-replaceable battery is a deal breaker.

Also, I think its worth emphasizing that you do NOT want to ride a bicycle on Highway 12 between Fairfield and Lodi (Rio Vista is about halfway between). There are narrow to no shoulders, heavy fast moving traffic, including many big rigs, often reduced visibility from tule fog, and a nasty accident rate. This is one of the most dangerous roads I know of on which to ride a bicycle.

I agree that Montezuma Hill Road is nice. The best way to get to it is to ride on the bike path on the north side of Hwy 12 to the east end of Suisun City. The path begins near the pedestrian overpass between Fairfield and Suisun. When that gives out, you'll have to ride on 12 for a couple of miles (this is the least dangerous part of Hwy 12). Turn left on Branscomb road (and be careful crossing the highway), then right on Creed Road, and right again on Denverton Road, which will take you back to Hwy 12. You'll cross Hwy 12 to continue on Denverton Road for about a mile before you are returned again to Hwy 12. Then you'll have to ride on 12 for about a quarter mile before you can turn right onto Shiloh road. After a while, turn left onto Bird's Landing Road, then right on to Montezuma Hill Road, which will take you all the way to Rio Visto.

Having never ridden past Rio Vista, I'm not sure what the best way is from there, but it isn't Hwy 12. Probably north from Rio Vista up the west side of the river to the ferry to Ryer Island, and then route through Walnut Grove, Thornton, and then across the central valley between Galt and Lodi towards Ione.


That would be Fairfield, west of Davis, not Fairview, right?

GPS & Digital Data Discussion / Re: Advice for a GPS Newbie
« on: March 07, 2011, 08:40:21 pm »
Disagree, for touring. The Edge has pitiful battery life. Unless you know you'll have access to power for recharging every day, I would recommend one of the eTrex series that takes AA batteries, such as the Legend HCx or Vista HCx or 60CS. I can get nearly a week out of one set of lithium AA batteries in my Legend Cx, riding all day.

General Discussion / Re: Must upgrades for LHT
« on: January 17, 2011, 08:47:13 pm »
I would replace the stock cantilevers with V-brakes. It made an immense difference for both me and my wife. I'd also put on lower gearing, but I'd consider that optional rather than must. You can't have gearing that's too low on a touring bike.

Gear Talk / Re: Is it worth changing tires?
« on: December 02, 2010, 10:12:03 pm »
FWIW, I've been running Schwalbe Marathon Racers on my LHT since May. I've put on just over 3,000 miles in that time, about 1,750 of them fully loaded, with only 1 flat, from a Michelin wire. The Racers are the tire in the Marathon line that Schwalbe rates the best for speed. They feel significantly livelier than the XR's they replaced. I'd have no hesitation getting more Racers in the future.

Gear Talk / Re: Chain Rings
« on: June 21, 2010, 12:32:55 am »
I run a 20-34-46 front end (a 94/58 BCD TA Carmina crank) with a 12-34 cassette (Sheldon Big Dozen with a 34 in place of the 32) with Shimano bar end shifters and derailleurs. My Tiagra front and XT rear derailleurs handle this just fine, so long as I respect the no big-big combination and no little-little combination rules. I do have a dog fang chain watcher on the front. I've never thrown the chain, or lost it between the chain rings. FWIW.

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