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Messages - litespeed

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Routes / Re: roads in south carolina
« on: March 04, 2015, 01:39:43 pm »
The roads in South Carolina are pretty tough for cyclists. The main problems are US17 and Alt17 southeast of Charleston and Summerville. Really, really bad two lane blacktop with no shoulders and heavy, high speed traffic. This area has to be skirted to the northeast. After numerous trips up the east coast I finally worked out a fairly safe route through SC. Here it is going northward:

I cross the Savannah River from Georgia on the old GA25 bridge near Wentworth and continue to US17 and about 8 miles north to Hardeeville. This stretch of 17 is a shoulderless parkway but not too bad off-rush-hour. From Hardeeville (good, cheap motels) continue north on 17. There is little traffic as it parallels I95. After Ridgeland 17 becomes one with the interstate but the frontage road is off to the left just before the interchange. Follow this about 10 miles to the interchange where 17 goes east. Continue on 17 to Alt 17. Take this north to Walterboro. KOA at Yemassee. From Walterboro go a few miles east to Sidneys Road just past the airport. Go north on Sidneys Rd. to SC61.

Take 61 east to 17 near Charleston. It is somewhat congested as you approach 17 but cycleable. Then go east on 17. Pick your way through the city (mostly poor residential but not dangerous) to the Arthur Ravenal Bridge with its superb bike/hiker trail. At the end of the bridge turn right on 703/Alt17 to avoid the bad stretch of 17 through Mount Pleasant and go to Rifle Range Road on your left. Go NE on Rifle Range Rd. to Porcher's Bluff Road, turn left and go on to Morgan's Point Road. This goes right by a KOA and on a few miles, paralleling 17. Eventually you have to go left and onto 17 but by then there is cycleable shoulder. Just continue on 17 to Myrtle Beach and North Carolina.

Routes / Re: New York - Virgina Beach
« on: February 18, 2015, 06:55:37 pm »
You could take the train from Grand Central Station in Manhattan to Long Branch. I did the reverse once. With a bicycle I think you have to do it non-rush hour.

General Discussion / Re: circumnavigation of the U.S.
« on: January 07, 2015, 11:46:38 am »
"What do you mean by "Louisiana is a tough bicycling state"?"

Well, Louisiana is loaded with heavily trafficked, high speed, shoulderless two lane roads - even worse than Alabama and Mississippi. You need to be especially careful to avoid them. Avoid US190 at all costs, except for the far western part.

Routes / Re: New York - Virgina Beach
« on: November 14, 2014, 09:59:19 am »
Well, thank you for the advice and new route. I will try it on my next ride up that way. Riding along the beach/waterfront is always a joy. Despite the dense population New Jersey, my home state, is a fine bicycling state.

Routes / Re: New York - Virgina Beach
« on: November 10, 2014, 08:47:00 am »
As I pointed out in my posting I know about having to detour in the Mullica River area. The detour really doesn't add that much time or distance. The only problem is that the roads between New Gretna and Egg Harbor City are poorly marked but I had no real problem, at least heading northward. The traffic on this detour is very light, almost nonexistent. It can even be a bit eerie.

Before they built the new bridge for the Garden State Parkway I used to simply ride the shoulder of the Parkway for the 2 1/2 miles where it is one with US9. I was passed by police cars, both state troopers and local cops, while doing this. They paid me no mind at all. If the new bridge is finished you should be able to do this once more unless there are signs forbidding bicycles.

Routes / Re: New York - Virgina Beach
« on: November 08, 2014, 06:18:22 pm »
I have bicycle toured up the east coast  to NY and NH from my home here in Florida numerous times. Here is my route. It's a lot easier and quicker than yours.

Take the ferry from Manhattan to Atlantic Highlands NJ or the train (non-rush-hour) to Long Branch. Then just go down US9 to Cape May. It can be done in two days even with the detour through Egg Harbor City and Mays Landing. It's a fairly good bicycling road with plenty of services. I use the campground in Bayville, just south of Toms River and right on 9, and the one near downtown in Cape May.

Take the ferry from Cape May to Lewes and continue to the Chesapeake Bridge Tunnel. Motels enroute in Ocean City MD and Onley VA. and camping in Pocomoke State Park. Call ahead an hour or so for the free ride across the bridge in a maintenance pickup truck. This puts you right in Norfolk.

General Discussion / Re: circumnavigation of the U.S.
« on: November 07, 2014, 09:49:14 am »
I did a circumnavigation of the 48 states in 2004 - counterclockwise from my home in Florida. I did it in five stages. I get frequent flier miles from my brother so I did it in five one-month stages - storing my bike and flying home for two weeks between stages. Florida to New Hampshire; NH to Casper, Wyoming; WY to Florence, Oregon and San Francisco, CA; CA to San Antonio, TX; TX to home.

For various reasons I started too late and hit some cold weather on the last two stages but nothing I couldn't handle. I finished up in December. I didn't follow any planned route - just winged it. I recommend the ferry across Lake Michigan, US14 from Wisconsin to Yellowstone, US 26 and 126 across Idaho and Oregon and the coast route in Oregon and California. I cut inland at Guadalupe, CA because of the increasing number of pesky homeless bums in the campgrounds as I headed south. Also make sure you go along the Galveston waterfront as I did instead of going through Houston. Louisiana is a tough bicycling state. You might want to rigorously follow the ACA route there. The Gulf Coast is generally delightful but congested around the towns and cities. US 90 is an alternative but not nearly as pleasant and scenic.

2004 was a rainy year. It was the main reason I went to Ortlieb panniers and handlebar pack.

General Discussion / Re: Riding on the US Interstates
« on: September 07, 2014, 10:33:00 am »
As a general rule you can ride the shoulders of interstates (well away from large cities) west of the Mississippi. I once rode interstates most of the way from southern California to San Antonio TX. In states like Montana, with no large cities, you can ride them most anywhere. It is often convenient and sometimes there is no choice.

When I finally decided to wear oversize shoes and keep them plenty loose I pretty much got rid of foot pain. I also set my SPD cleats as far back on my shoes as possible to take the pressure off the balls of my feet.

General Discussion / Re: Bike / Hike Campsites on southern PCR
« on: July 24, 2014, 03:36:08 pm »
The major problem in the parks on the southern California coast is not lack of camping spots it is the "homeless" (to use a polite term) stumbling around. The last time I went down the coast they were such pests that I cut inland at Paso Robles to get away from them.

If I sound unsympathetic it is because I got to really know them after I got out of the army. I spent a few years knocking around the country, staying in cheap rooms and working out of rent-a-drunk labor outfits and government employment centers. I always had a buck in my pocket, clean clothes on my back and a roof over my head because I was willing to work at whatever I was offered. I never met any homeless person who was "down on his luck" or mentally ill. They ALL had simply made a life decision to beg, drink cheap wine and use drugs instead of work.

General Discussion / Re: dogs and security
« on: July 24, 2014, 03:09:49 pm »
My favorite trick is to swerve back and forth if there is room to do it safely. This really confuses the dogs. I have had them run into signposts, telephone poles and culverts, get all tangled up with each other and go down in a tumbling, dusty heap, even just trip all over themselves. They can't handle a swerving target.

Routes / Re: Virginia
« on: June 24, 2014, 09:21:49 am »
Swerving back and forth (if traffic allows) really confuses chasing dogs. In doing so I have gotten them all tangled up in each other, had them run into ditches, trip all over themselves and once even had one run head on into a signpost.

Gear Talk / Re: solo bike security
« on: April 07, 2014, 05:57:08 pm »
I pack a beefy Bell cable lock. I generally lock my bike to something if it will be out of sight. I sometimes don't bother if I am just zipping into a convenience store. In campgrounds I lock it to the bench on the picnic table and place the tent so I can see it while inside. The more I bicycle tour, the more casual I have gotten about security. A loaded touring bike is a very specialized item. Some 99% of the population would really have no use for my bike or gear. What would Joe Average do with it? Sell it on ebay?

Still, it is the most valuable thing I own that isn't cash or real estate so I guard it well.

Routes / Re: Wind Direction Going Cross-Country
« on: April 03, 2014, 11:19:44 pm »
The preceding "prevailing winds in July" map gives you a pretty good picture of what winds to expect but any front rolling through will change the wind direction. For instance I once fought northerly winds going northward in the eastern US but it was a very rainy year. Also I once fought SE headwinds going all the way across Colorado and half of Kansas until a front came through and gave me a tailwind from Dodge City to Wichita then little wind at all after that. I have also had to lay over a day to wait out strong headwinds once while going westward in the Texas panhandle and once going northward in the Outer Banks. Sometimes you just have to hunker down for a day or two. On the other hand, there will be days and even weeks of bicycle touring where wind simply isn't even a factor.

Be sure to take advantage of a good tailwind. I remember a howling tailwind pushing me the 115 miles from Lordsburg NM to Las Cruces. I used my big chainring and arrived at the KOA in Las Cruces at 3:00PM. What a day!

Routes / Re: Yellowstone to Rapid City, SD
« on: November 14, 2013, 10:37:52 pm »
I rode Mt. Rushmore to Yellowstone on US16 and 14 (and some stretches of interstate) nine years ago. I made it all right. There are some lonely and some difficult stretches but nothing unsurmountable. Descending east down out of Yellowstone is narrow, winding and shoulderless. Try to hit it at low traffic times if possible. Climbing over the Bighorns will give you serious bragging rights. Climbing up on 14A is 10% for 13 miles. I understand 14 is marginally easier. There is nothing at Ucross so water up between Sheridan and Clearmont. Ditto between Spotted Horse and Gillette. There is also nothing (that I recall) between Lovell and the Bighorns. Going through Greybull and Buffalo on 16 might be easier.

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