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Messages - litespeed

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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.

Routes / Circling nj
« on: February 17, 2007, 09:48:15 am »
I don't recall riding the Garden State Parkway near Gretna or how I got across the Mullica river there. I might have ridden the shoulder of the Parkway for the 2 miles or there might be another  bridge. I don't really remember but I don't recall any problems there. I did ride 9 all the way from Cape May to South Amboy where I got the ferry to Manhattan. It gradually turns into a freeway after Toms Ferry but is perfectly rideable. I recommend this route all the time.

Routes / Circling nj
« on: December 07, 2006, 12:05:13 pm »
Google "bicycling new jersey". There is a ton of stuff available. I recommend US9 from Cape May to South Amboy or at least to Toms River. The southern portion below Toms River is great cycling with big shoulders and plenty of facilities. You can avoid the Newark area by taking the ferry from South Amboy to 34th St. in Manhattan, going up Broadway (Easy. Just get in the bus lane and hammer) to the George Washington Bridge and crossing over to 9W - a good cycling road with little traffic. There is a bicycle trail on the Pennsylvania side of the Delaware River in the Frenchtown/Trenton/Phila. area. Brace yourself for some fairly tough climbing in the Greenwood Lake (on the NY line) area and along the upper Delaware River. New Jersey is a fine bicycling state. You'll have a fine trip.

Routes / So Tier San Diego to Phoenix
« on: December 02, 2006, 09:19:47 pm »
I've done El Centro CA to Tuscon AZ. I just rode the shoulder of I-8 when I had to and parallel roads when I could. I don't know the AC route but there isn't much alternative to this. It was a pleasant enough ride although 2004 was a rainy year. Interstate 8 is lightly travelled but don't even think about I-10 between Phoenix and Tuscon (Illegal for bicycles anyway). Non stop heavy traffic day and night. But you will probably be getting off at Gila Bend and going up to Phoenix. I went this way because it was late in the year and I wanted to stay as far south as possible. You shouldn't have any trouble finding motels.

Routes / Safety of Pan American Highway
« on: November 05, 2006, 10:19:57 am »
I wouldn't worry too much about safety in Mexico. They'll think you're a little screwy but no one will bother you. You don't say how much of the Panamerican Highway you plan to do. Alaska to Tierra del Fuego or just south from Arizona? The nice thing about Latinamerica is that you can get a bite to eat and lodging most anywhere as long as you're not too fussy. Most people skip Colombia - fly from Panama City to Ecuador. In Centralamerica Guatemala is the most interesting country, Cost Rica the most pleasant and Honduras the poorest.

Routes / Mentor,OH to Greenwich CT
« on: November 09, 2006, 11:16:36 pm »
Your trip has two things going for it. Northern PA is fairly scenic and pleasant cycling and you will have virtually no cities or even major towns to skirt. I avoid major cities unless I have to get something done. I have cycled northwest PA and did just fine. You will have some climbing but nothing like western NY state (The Finger Lakes region is very tough). Going straight east to Connecticut should be a very nice ride. Wouldn't mind doing it myself.

This message was edited by litespeed on 11-20-06 @ 2:31 PM

Routes / East to West in March
« on: October 26, 2006, 11:36:34 am »
March is a bit early. April or further south would be a lot better. I think you'll be surprised at how changeable the weather will be, especially as you get to the center of the country. In any case, bring warm clothing and a good sleeping bag. I use two sleeping bags - a lightweight one and a very lightweight one. I use them alone or together, depending on the weather.

Routes / northern tier
« on: October 19, 2006, 06:49:10 pm »
I learned the hard way to eat well. Get your fruits and veggies. Don't try to eat out of convenience stores. Oriental buffets are the best. Or good home cooked meals at cafes and restaurants. If you can't get a well rounded meal pick up a couple of apples at a supermarket. And eat all you want. Overeating is not a problem. I have NEVER eaten powerbars and the like and never will. I'd rather eat sawdust.

Routes / northern tier
« on: October 19, 2006, 06:40:20 pm »
I have crossed the country 5 times, more or less. Mostly east to west. I've never done the Northern Tier exactly, although I've come close. A detour I'd recommend would be to take the huge ferry across the middle of Lake Michigan between Manitowoc, Wisconsin and Ludington, Michigan. It's a nice break. And be sure to stop in Reed City, MI. Their municipal campground is one of my favorites.
I consistently do 100+ mile days with little problem and I am well in my 60's. Also I have a fairly heavy rig - 80 pounds total bike fully loaded. If I get wasted, or just want to take in the sights, I take a rest day.
I see the Northern Tier route hugs the shore of the Great Lakes. Good idea. Going through the Finger Lakes region of upstate New York state can be very tough with endless steep climbs and descents.
I stay at KOA's if possible. Consistent quality with no unpleasant surprises.

« on: February 20, 2007, 11:47:30 pm »
The main problem with old US highways is that they were laid out in pre-freeway days and go right through the middle (right in front of city hall) of every town and city on the route. Also I think you'll find that US40 disappears (is usurped by interstates) for various stretches. Still, it would be an interesting trip. I have actually considered doing it myself.

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