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Messages - litespeed

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Routes / Portland to Portland
« on: February 27, 2007, 10:51:09 am »
US14 from Yellowstone to Wisconsin is also a good bicycling route for what you're doing. It runs you through Yellowstone, the Big Horn Mts., the Black Hills (Mt. Rushmore) and the Badlands. It's a good bicycling road.
You can avoid the Chicago area by taking the very nice ferry from Manitowoc WI to Ludington MI.
On the other hand, doing the northern tier gives you a chance to jog up and take in Jasper and Banff parks in Canada - arguably the most spectacular scenery on earth.
By all means start out by going up the Colombia River gorge and enjoy those mighty tailwinds.

This message was edited by litespeed on 3-1-07 @ 12:32 PM

Routes / Bike Around America
« on: February 25, 2007, 12:49:27 am »
You really don't want to go north up the west coast. You will be fighting relentless headwinds. Better to go in the opposite direction. Get a copy of "Bicycling the Pacific Coast" by Tom Kirkendall and Vicky Spring.
Also, you might consider cutting down from the Northern Tier and going along US14 out west. This will route you through the Badlands SD, The Black Hills (Mt. Rushmore), the Big Horn Mts. and Yellowstone.
Also you might consider the ferry between Ludington MI and Manitowoc WI. A nice ride and avoids Chicago.
I also recommend the east coast detour along the Outer Banks, NC.

This message was edited by litespeed on 2-24-07 @ 8:53 PM

Routes / Help! Southern Tier Advice/Shortcuts!
« on: February 24, 2007, 11:58:18 pm »
Going through southern Louisiana might be all right if you can get through New Orleans with no problems. You could continue on US90 and parallel the interstate or take 14 through Abbeville. Roads that parallel interstates are generally pretty tame and have lots of facilities.
In 2004 I crossed Louisiana west-to-east. I rode US190 as far as Livonia where I cut north to the Mississippi River ferry at Fayetteville and on east on state 10. I was lucky to survive. 190 is about the worst cycling road I've ever been on - narrow two lane blacktop with no shoulders, even narrower (and long) bridges and fast, heavy traffic. Avoid 190 at all costs. It is even worse between Slidell and Covington.
Going through Orange and Beaumont is a busy pain in the butt but not unbearable.
I was strongly advised to avoid Houston so I went along the coast and through Galveston. I recommend this highly. Bopping along the Galveston waterfront was one of the highlights of my trip - miles and miles of beautiful esplanade.
You can continue on to San Antonio through Lake Jackson and Victoria.
Texas highways are among the best cycling roads in the country. You almost always have wide, paved shoulders or light traffic.

Routes / Help! Southern Tier Advice/Shortcuts!
« on: February 21, 2007, 11:08:55 am »
Sure. You could save some time by riding the shoulders of Interstates 8 and 10 in Arizona, New Mexico and Texas (outside of major cities) but why bother? Two months is plenty of time for the trip. Also, you would be well advised to stick to the AC route through Louisiana as going through New Orleans or riding 190 is not advisable, to put it mildly.
The AC routes meander quite a bit in the east but out west are a lot easier to follow. I recommend US90 across Florida - not as scenic and with less facilities than coastal 98 but a better bicycling road.
Personally, I never use the AC maps. It takes an hour or two out of the day just puzzling them out. I actually met a touring cyclist in New England who lost it using them. People thought he was nuts and called the cops.

Routes / Southern Tier May-June
« on: February 20, 2007, 02:50:17 pm »
That sounds like a good time of the year to do the southern tier. If you don't like the heat you might consider a bit earlier. But not much.
Theoretically you should have more tailwinds going west to east but you never know. I once fought light-to-moderate NE winds crossing Texas west-to-east and SE winds sometimes blow off the Gulf. But I have also fought fierce headwinds while going east-to-west across the Texas panhandle. Going west-to-east across southern New Mexico I had blissful tailwinds for a couple of days.

This message was edited by litespeed on 2-20-07 @ 10:57 AM

Routes / transamerica
« on: February 11, 2007, 12:45:12 pm »
In the high mountain passes you can get snow as late as June but it's unlikely to really stop traffic or be much below freezing. Since you want to start as early as possible I would suggest May 1 as a good starting date from the west coast.

Routes / Northern Tier
« on: February 08, 2007, 11:48:27 pm »
Go to the Glacier Park web site - and put "camping" in the search box. You'll get all the information you could possibly want. It's a great web site.
This will be a real detour for you but the Going-to-the-Sun Highway is one of the scenic wonders of the country. I'll do it again one of these years.

Routes / Going through Canada
« on: February 06, 2007, 11:11:23 am »
It's ALWAYS a good idea to have a passport.
And to take it with you whenever you travel anywhere. You never know what's going to happen. I know many people who've missed out on going somewhere good because they didn't have a passport or couldn't get one fast enough.

Routes / Northern Tier into Portland, OR
« on: February 03, 2007, 05:41:30 pm »
30 days from Michigan to Portland OR is certainly doable. I have done similar distances in a month but I am used to 100+ miles a day. I would recommend the ferry from Ludington MI to Manitowoc WI then right across the middle of Wisconsin. You can roughly follow US14 across southern Minnesota, on to Pierre SD, the Black Hills and Yellowstone. You will have the climb (and descent) of your life over the Bighorn Mountains.
Then, after the obligatory stop in Missoula, you can either climb over Lolo Pass (shorter route) or take the easier Hiawatha Trail and tunnel to the north. Then it's US12 to the Colombia River. You can either fight the headwinds down the Gorge or stay on 12 to Portland.
This trip covers a beautiful part of the US. You'll have a fine trip.

This message was edited by litespeed on 2-4-07 @ 6:53 AM

Routes / Northern Tier into Portland, OR
« on: February 03, 2007, 11:58:03 am »
I've crossed the northern part of the country east to west twice. Different routes. Both times I finished up in Oregon - once near Portland and once in Florence. I don't use ACA routes. The route through MI, WI, MN, SD, northern WY, ID and Oregon was the more interesting. It takes in The Black Hills (Mt. Rushmore) and Yellowstone.
Going south of the Great Lakes and on through Iowa, Nebraska and southern Wyoming isn't nearly as pleasant or interesting. Iowa, with its bad roads (unpaved shoulders) should be avoided.
Brace yourself for fierce headwinds in the Colombia River Valley. It isn't called the windsurfing capital of the country for nothing.

Routes / Tuscon, AZ to Grand Canyon May or June?
« on: February 03, 2007, 06:16:16 pm »
I know you can ride the shoulders of Interstate 8 but not (very heavily trafficked) Interstate 10. Interstate 10 has good parallel roads but going east to 79 and through Florence would probably be a lot more scenic and peaceful.
Bicycling in May would run a higher risk of getting caught in snow and cold at higher altitudes and June would be hotter. It's a matter of what worries you most.

This message was edited by litespeed on 2-4-07 @ 6:48 AM

Routes / San Francisco to San Diego ride
« on: January 22, 2007, 10:46:42 pm »
I forgot. Get a copy of "Bicycling The Pacific Coast" by Tom Kirkendall and Vicky Spring. A good, comprehensive guide.

Routes / San Francisco to San Diego ride
« on: January 22, 2007, 10:43:33 pm »
I assume you are talking about going down the coast - beautifully scenic and plenty interesting but the weather during the winter can be rough with storms rolling through. There are plenty of state parks for camping but the further south you get the more obnoxious, stumbling winos you'll encounter. They love the state parks too and can be hard to ignore although they will do you no harm.
The motels just south of Hearst Castle compete vigorously and are surprisingly cheap by California standards. You might treat yourself to a night there and a tour or two at the Castle.

Routes / saddles for touring
« on: January 26, 2007, 11:56:26 am »
I wouldn't use anything but a Terry Gel Touring saddle. And I'm not alone in this opinion. I've met a lot of people using them and they are unaminous in their praise. They are very comfortable and last forever. You can get both men's and women's models. It's the only saddle I've used that doesn't cause me pain or numbness.

Routes / Road tourists: gravel roads?
« on: December 09, 2006, 11:44:45 am »
For non-paved bicycle travel it's best to have tires no smaller than 28mm. I have 37mm tires on my touring bike. It will go most anywhere. If your rims are too small a set of custom wheels are a good investment.

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