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Messages - MrBent

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Routes / Re: Reno to Yosemite
« on: September 25, 2013, 09:07:46 am »
Hi, Scooper:  Heading up the west side of the Sierras is much more complicated and, generally, considerably more traffic clogged.  California has as many people as the entire country of Canada, and I swear that on a weekend especially, they all seem to be out in their cars in the "Gold Country," which is the western slope you'd have to traverse to get to the Tahoe area/Western Express, which has its own problems.  Hwy 49 is the main west side road and, because of that traffic load, pretty nasty at times.  There are other back country roads, but I'm unfamiliar with them.  These would offer some brutally difficult riding, however, and some sections might be dirt.  Others on this board will likely know the country better than me.  On the Western Express, I was really unhappy with the Placerville to Fulsom section.  If you end up heading up the west side, at Plymouth, head up into the mountains towards Fiddletown Rd/Shake Ridge Rd. to connect to 88.  This will be steep but have FAR less traffic than the standard Western Express.

Hit Google Maps and have a great adventure.


Routes / Re: Reno to Yosemite
« on: September 18, 2013, 09:05:22 am »
What Gnarlydog said.  I've ridden the East Side (395) quite a bit.  One tight section to be wary of is just south of Topaz right around the CA/NV border.  No shoulder, tight curves, not a lot of fun, although there has been some road work in recent years, so the situation may have improved.  Current situation, Gnarlydog?

One workaround involves some tough cycling but also some of the best riding anywhere:  From the Minden area, go into the Sierras a bit and over to Markleeville then over and down Monitor Pass (that's the tough bit!).  It's super, super beautiful, and there's a fantastic campground just outside of town, which has a little market and a couple of restaurants.  Be warned, Monitor Pass is tough, but soooo beautiful.  Once you drop down to 395 you're past the narrows and the shoulder generally improves, although you will face a couple of narrow spots along the Walker River, as well.

Have a blast.  This is one of the great roads of North America.


General Discussion / Re: MN to AZ
« on: September 18, 2013, 08:57:38 am »
Congrats on taking control of your life.  A big tour will be one of the next best things you do in this life.  Study those links, do a little test riding, an overnight or two to checkout systems, then just go.  Bike touring is like sobriety:  It's best taken one day at a time.  Tourists sometimes burnout when they try to cover too many miles, do too many back-to-back days.  Try to set up the tour so you're not so tied to a schedule that you can't enjoy it to the fullest.

Get out there and ride--and report back.


General Discussion / Re: complete newb, GDMBR in 2014
« on: August 25, 2013, 08:18:14 pm »
Actually, Matthieu:  I think even ACA guided tours have had just this problem with trailers on fully suspended bikes.  Maybe some are more robust than others, and this would not be a problem, but this HAS been an issue for some--as in order a new frame from a town and wait for it to come and reassemble the bike kind of issue, and I would be very careful about setting out with rear suspension and a single-wheeled trailer for nearly 3,000 miles of dirt.


Routes / Re: What's the best cross-country route in the US?
« on: August 25, 2013, 03:13:32 pm »
Starting from Sante Fe in early November should be perfect.  It can still be warm by the time you hit the low desert in Phoenix, etc., but in general, you should have quite pleasant riding conditions.  Go do it.


General Discussion / Re: Complete newb, TA in 2014
« on: August 25, 2013, 03:07:57 pm »
+1 Novara Safari.  I've got a friend with one, and he really likes it.

I'm curious:  Why do you write off recumbents?  Good used ones can be had for the price range you're talking about.  Saddle sores, sore wrists/hands/neck will be a thing of the past.   I'd do a little more homework first.  I wouldn't have done two 3+ month rides now without one. 

Here's a good resource:

Whatever you ride, have a great trip!  It's one of the best things I've done in my life.


General Discussion / Re: complete newb, GDMBR in 2014
« on: August 25, 2013, 03:00:57 pm »
Why do you think your Specialized isn't up to the task?  If anything seems worn or in need of replacing, I'd do that and go for it as long as the bike fits you well and you're generally happy with it.  It's a hard tail?  If so, a BOB trailer would be the way to go for carrying gear.  I'd probably want a front shock, however.  Don't use a BOB if you have rear suspension.  The torquing will destroy the bearings and such--not cool in the middle of nowhere.  If you can, consider shifting the ride to late summer into fall.  You're more likely to avoid t-storms in NM that cause the Super Mud on the roads/trails.  Looks like nasty stuff! 


Sadly, chip seal is becoming a fact of life on a lot of US roads.  In riding the Rocky Mtns. from Jasper, Alberta, to Mexico, we encounter long, long sections of the stuff, sometimes with pretty large, sharp little boulders.  It flat out sucks.  It's cheap and fast, so get used to seeing more of it.  There was a HUGE outcry when Caltrans laid down a 20 mile stretch of this junk between Ragged Pt. and Cambria on the Pacific Coast route.  Supposedly, they're looking at ways to smooth it out.  Every official who okays a chip seal job should be forced to walk it--on his knees.  That would change things pretty quick.  Arrrrgh.


Hey, Fatcloud: 

Glad you made it.  Ironically, Hwy 89 from Tahoe City to Truckee is GREAT!  That's the only part, however.  About the first half is a separate bike path along the Truckee River, and then a good shoulder takes you into Truckee proper.  My wife and I plan to ride from The "Y"/Meyers up that west side of the lake in order to do that whole route I mentioned earlier.  Our plan is to do it mid-May, mid-week, before the heavy toursitas hit the road.

Keep the rubber on the road.


Routes / Re: Going To The Sun Road...after 4 PM
« on: July 16, 2013, 10:37:38 am »
We were stopped at Sprague traveling west in the afternoon and required to stop until 4PM.  So there are some west-bound restrictions.    The host at the campground--we had to hang out for two hours!--told us the fine is $200.  Of course, riding conditions were NO better latter in the afternoon on a Sat.  Stoooopid rule.  That ride pretty much sucks on weekends in the summer.  Way too many people.  Do your best to avoid weekends, fer sure.

I don't know how flexible you are in terms of "summer," but is Sept. viable?  Eastern Washington might have cooled off by then, and, likely, no bugs.

For perspective:  Yesterday, and the day before, and the day before, and tomorrow and the day after and the day after, on average, 88 people will die in car accidents.

Hey, FatCloud:  Do report back!  I think that route will be excellent.  Bring some water filtration/treatment system.

@Manuchao:  Glad you made it.  Yeah 89 generally blows.  I avoid that Walker Canyon in high summer.  I've only been there early in the season. 


Routes / Re: Southern Tier timing and direction
« on: July 02, 2013, 08:46:31 am »
Since I like to ride early, I find starting in the east to be an advantage for safety as well as enjoyment with the sun at my back.  Just another point to consider.

Staehpj1:  How hot/humid was the South in March/April for the last half of the ride?  I'm not a big fan of the heat/humidity, but this route does interest me.


General Discussion / Re: Route 66 Companion, August
« on: July 02, 2013, 08:38:48 am »
Congrats on graduating!  You do know it's going to be like the surface of the sun once you get in the Mojave Desert?  I've ridden much of 66 between Barstow, CA, and Ashfork, AZ, but I did it once in Dec. and once in Nov.  Unless you are prepared for serious baking misery, I'd suggest a different time or different route.  If you go, consider having the cash for motels at night and starting super dark early to get in miles.  You can ride late, too, but there will not be much shade for hanging out during the day.  I wish you all the best, but do be prepared for 100+ temps.


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