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Messages - litespeed

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Routes / Re: route from MN to CA mostly on bike paths
« on: November 04, 2013, 11:22:04 am »
Minnesota and Wisconsin are loaded with bicycle trails - much more than most states. Your most direct route to California would be through South Dakota, Wyoming, Utah (or southern Idaho) and Nevada (or southern Oregon). There are few bicycle trails in these states. You might join Rails-to-trails to find out where the trails are.

I would suggest heading west on US14 and doing a somewhat northerly route. This would hit such scenic hotspots/parks as the Rapid City area and Jackson/Yellowstone.

Routes / Re: Ride across Nebraska route advice
« on: October 24, 2013, 09:32:21 am »
Your biggest problem will be goathead thorns flatting your tires. Make sure you stay on the pavement to keep punctures to a minimum. And have good, thick tire liners.

I crossed Nebraska E to W a few years ago on 34, 30 and 26. Plenty of south winds and usually good shoulders on the main roads. I had no trouble finding accomodations - plenty of campgrounds and motels - and meals. Very friendly people. I got a flat near Lincoln and four cars stopped to offer help, including a trooper.

General Discussion / Re: Natchez trace open?
« on: October 15, 2013, 07:28:54 pm »
I just biked up to Natchez, planning to do the Trace. I got as far as Rocky Springs. I was able to camp at the campground but all the bathrooms and office were locked up and the water turned off. There was a trail crew camping out there using a standpipe - the only water. They let me pitch camp that night but I was told that all facilities would be closed to everyone the next day. So I left the Trace at Jackson and came back home to Florida.

Routes / Re: Florida
« on: September 03, 2013, 10:25:15 am »
I live in Holiday, FL, about 30 miles north of St. Petersburg. I know (bicycle touring) Florida north of St. Pete like the back of my hand but have never bicycled south.

You could probably go to, say, Sarasota and on down the Gulf coast to the Tamiami Trail (US41), across the state and on down to Key West. There are intermitent trails alongside the Overseas Highway. The Sunshine Skyway (I-275) south out of St. Pete is closed to cyclists. This is a trip I have had in the back of my mind for years. Unless you have a tolerance for heat you should do it in the dead of winter. I have lived in Florida since 1976 without air conditioning so am well acclimated but northerners often have a hard time here.

The west coast is, frankly, a lot more scenic and interesting than Florida. If you could do a trip there between Labor Day and mid-October you should have a fine, if physically demanding, tour. This would avoid the summer crowds and the winter storms.

Routes / Re: New York to Chicago routes?
« on: August 24, 2013, 10:10:44 am »
The states you will be going through generally have good roads with adequate shoulders. There are also plenty of facilities - state parks, campgrounds, motels, restaurants, etc. I have done this route a couple of times. Just make sure to pick your way around  the cities - particularly in Ohio. I have also found that the parks/campgrounds tend to get raucous on weekends if they are within 100 miles of a large city. City people tend to make a lot of noise and smoky campfires.

You will get in some climbing - plenty of short, steep climbs as far as northern Ohio. You can avoid a lot of this by going the Erie Canal bike route then clinging to the shores of the Great Lakes.

Apparently the US17 "Blue Bridge" over the St. Mary's River (FL-GA line) is down for lengthy repairs. Poo. This will somewhat interfere with my impending ride up to Savannah. I usually get there in the late afternoon so I suspect that I could sneak/clamber my way through but it would be a gamble. 

I will probably take 108 west to Hillard and Folkston. Then I'll stay there the night, not having enough daylight to get to the KOA at Kingsland. Then 252 back to 17 at White Oak the next day and on north. This will add 20-30 miles to my trip.

A bike shop in St. Mary's (Camden Bicycle Center 912 576-9696) is offering free shuttles up I95 around this obstacle. I might give them a call before I leave.

I am 72 with genetically low blood pressure and VERY low cholesterol and an affinity for plodding away at hard, endless, tiresome tasks - ideal for long distance bicycle touring. As for diet I eat out (don't camp cook) but usually manage to get reasonably proper meals. That's what Waffle House's, oriental buffets and Subway's are for. I usually knock out 100 mile days. If I get tired I take a rest day.

After a tour I feel great although I have never specifically checked my BP or cholesterol upon returning home. I think bicycle touring is a healthy lifestyle. One big advantage of cycling is that it is not weight bearing and therefore easy on the joints. My brother and sisters (all younger than me) have all had joint replacements (hips and knees) but, as the only touring cyclist, I have been spared.

Whichever route you take, don't even think about riding 191 between Bozeman and the intersection with 287 (just north of W. Yellowstone). It's bad news - narrow, winding, shoulderless, hemmed in by the river and cliffs and full of impatient truck drivers. I rode 191 northward a few years ago and really regret not turning off at 287.

Routes / Re: Cape May, NJ Ferry
« on: May 29, 2013, 08:14:41 pm »
Not at all. Once a local cop passed me and another time a trooper went by me. Neither gave me a second glance. But once they started building the new bridge there was no shoulder so I had to detour. Been going through Egg Harbor City and Mays Landing ever since.

I have done St. Augustine Beach northward up the coast more times than I can count. Here is my route as far as Wilmington NC: Ride A1A north to and through Jacksonville Beach. Then go on to the Mayport Naval Station and take the ferry across the river.  Continue to Buccaneer Trail and take it till it ends at Amelia Parkway. Go left and go on to A1A right by the bridge. Go west to US17and head north. This is a good, albeit not very scenic, bicycling road.  You can skirt around Savannah by taking Dean Forest Road, SR307, to Port Wentworth and go over the old bridge. From Hardeeville SC continue on US17 and the old highway alongside the interstate until it ends. Then go over I-95 and up through Yemassee (KOA) and Hendersonville to Walterboro. From Walterboro go out 17 a few miles to Sidney's Rd. and go up it to 61. Ride 61 into Charleston then left on 17 and over the bridges. Immediately after the Arthur Ravenal Bridge turn right on 703 to Rifle Range Road and take it through Mt. Pleasant.

This all sounds a bit roundabout but the stretches of 17 and 17A south of Charleston and Summerville and 17 through Mt. Pleasant are truly bad stretches of road - high speed narrow two lane, totally shoulderless and heavily trafficked.

After Mt. Pleasant get back on 17 and follow it to North Carolina. You can avoid the worst of Wilmington by taking 211 to delightful Southport and taking the ferry. Then go up through the beaches to Oleander Drive and skirting around Wilmington to the east. Of course, if Wilmington is your destination you can plan your approach according to exactly where you want to go.

Gear Talk / Re: Underwear
« on: May 19, 2013, 09:42:26 pm »
I wear MB shorts with separate padded lycra shorts under. I like having pockets available. When buying shorts I always search out MB shorts with detachable padded inner lycra shorts. Then I can mix and match. I only pack two sets. And always get black or, at least, a dark color.

I have heard that the lycra inner shorts make fine swimwear although I have never tried this.

I wear long sleeve Under Armour jerseys. Red is the brightest color they have available.

Routes / Re: Cape May, NJ Ferry
« on: May 19, 2013, 09:17:02 pm »
I have ridden the Lewes-Cape May ferry and gone up US9 a number of times in the past 10 years. Originally I just went right up 9 and rode the Garden State Parkway shoulder for the 2 1/2 miles over the Mullica River near New Gretna. Then they did a multi-year rebuild of that bridge. I then detoured, taking 50, 563 and 542 through Mays Landing and Egg Harbor City. This is a peculiarly lonely stretch of road with very, very little traffic. Also poorly signed.

This detour also avoids the truncated US9 near Ocean City.

The ferry is flat huge (but very comfortable) for such a short run.

There used to be a ferry from South Amboy to Manhattan but that ceased. I now get off 9 at Toms River and go to Long Branch for the train (bikes allowed non- rush hour) or Atlantic Highlands for the ferry.

Gear Talk / Re: do I have too much crap?
« on: May 02, 2013, 12:09:47 am »
My total touring weight - bike and everything on it - is about 75 lbs. I pack no cooking gear and usually no food - just the occasional subway. Tent, sleeping bag and Thermarest pad are in a small duffle crossways on the rear rack. My Ortlieb panniers are only partially full except for the front left one (clothing and toiletries) that goes to the bathouse with me. I am not a real weight watcher. My tool bag is about the size of a football and, I admit, contains a few things that I have never used but you never know...

General Discussion / Re: The importance of always wearing a helmet
« on: May 01, 2013, 11:49:05 pm »
I always wear a helmet. I have crashed at least twice where I have been saved from serious head injury by my helmet (which had to be replaced a couple of those times).

That said, I once had a very rare accident in which I would have been better off without a helmet. It was at a spot on a sidewalk/trail where a telephone pole guy wire infringed on the right side. I was used to dodging it but once got distracted dodging glass on the sidewalk. The guy wire snagged my right shoulder and helmet, jerking me backwards and slamming me to the ground. I remember briefly looking up at my bicycle. It shattered the helmet and cut my shoulder. Very embarrassing.

As I said, this was a very unusual occurrence. I still wear a helmet whenever I'm on a bike.

Routes / Re: Help addressing Gettysburg
« on: March 16, 2013, 07:27:13 pm »
I've been to Gettysburg a couple of times. Both times the weather was rainy (the first time it really poured) so I passed on the KOA and got a motel a block from the visitor center. As I recall it cost me $60, a bit pricey, and was perfectly comfortable.

I'd love to go back when the sun is shining.

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