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Messages - raybo

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Routes / Re: Portland to Sun Valley, ID
« on: May 23, 2013, 11:05:36 am »
I rode from just south of Portland (Newberg) to Yellowstone through lower Idaho.  I didn't go through Sun Valley.  I rode to Stanley took 75 to the east toward Challis.  Had I gone south, I would have gone to Sun Valley.

I followed the ACA Transamerica route until Austin Junction, OR and then veered off south toward Vale.

Here is my journal of the ride.  It includes a map of the route I took, a daily journal and hundreds of photos.

I really enjoyed the ride.  I'm sure you will too!

Routes / Re: Hotels in Astoria, OR
« on: May 23, 2013, 10:53:23 am »
I stayed in a small, basic motel toward the end of town, not far from the bridge entrance.  They were one after the other there.  I picked the one I did because it was early in the day and I could get into a room there.  Others I tried, I would have had to wait.

I was allowed to bring my bike into my room.

General Discussion / My experience dehydrating food to take touring
« on: May 17, 2013, 10:49:45 am »
On my recently completed tour around Big Bend National Park in West Texas, I experimented with dehydrating my own food and taking it along for eating on the road. I dehydrated mashed potatoes, broccoli, and carrots. I also took dehydrated re-fried beans (this I'd taken before), textured vegetable protein (TVP) and nutritional yeast.

I had the potatoes, broccoli and carrots for two meals. The resulting stew was filling, tasty (with enough spices added), and lightweight. Unfortunately, the carrots were very chewy and the broccoli a bit tasteless.

The nutritional yeast was a great addition to the re-fried beans and make a great replacement for cheese. I will definitely take this on future trips.

I have written an article that covers all this is much greater detail, should you be interested in reading more.

For future tours, I will definitely be dehydrating some foods and packing them along for the ride!

I use a Camelbak and it gets heavy on my back.  When it is filled (about 2.5 liters or close to 6 pounds), it is uncomfortable on my back.  But, I drink much more water with it and I put all my valuables in it so I always have them with me.  I rarely run low on water.

I can't imagine not having some kind of pad to sleep on.  I use a thin Thermarest and was thinking of getting something even thicker.

Heavy cameras are a personal choice.  If you really value the photos it takes, carry it.  If you are only going to post the photos on your website, get a lighter camera or use a smart phone.

You clothes will get wrinkled and dirty no matter how careful you are.  I use gallon ziplock bags to hold my folded clothes in my panniers.  It helps but not much.

The amount of water I carry depends on the day I have planned.  I always ride with my camelbak and have a pretty good idea of how long I can go with a full pack.  I prefer not to carry extra water.  If possible, I plan to get water along the way.  Many times, I have stopped at a house and asked for water which has never been refused.  On a recent trip, I got water from passing motorists, both requested and not.  This is something you have to work out for yourself.

I don't lock my bike bags and I rarely let my bike out of my sight.  A quick way to do it is with zipties (need to be cut off).  There are lockable metal meshes you can get.

U-locks are heavy and unnecessary, in my opinion.  Here is an article I wrote about locking you bike on tour.

I either have electronics that use replaceable batteries (camera) or use available electrical outlets at bakeries, coffee places, restaurants, motels, or anywhere else to charge my iPhone and iPad.

Some articles you might find interesting:

Taking less weight on tour.

Bike touring trade-offs.

General Discussion / Re: Stanley, Id -93-loop?
« on: April 11, 2013, 09:16:19 pm »
I rode from Challis down to Arco (and beyond) in 2009.  I wrote a journal of the trip and here is the day I started south from Challis.  I got to MacKay and the next day went to Arco and beyond.

The journal entry has many photos of the entire route, several of which show the road, which didn't have any shoulder most of the time.  It also didn't have much traffic and I don't recall any problem (except wind and storm) riding it.

While this isn't the most exciting part of Idaho, it wasn't the worst, either.

This year marks that 10th year that I've owned my S&S coupled Waterford Adventure Cycle. A fabulous bike.

I wrote an article summarizing my experiences touring with a coupled bicycle.


Likes - Savings on flying with bike, being able to put in any vehicle, rides likes a regular bike.

Dislikes - Learning to put it in its box, having to travel with a 45 pound suitcase, dealing with the box once at the destination, having to carry a special wrench.

I realize other people find traveling with a regular bike fine and others swear by folding bicycles. I'm not proselytizing here. Only reporting on my experience.

Routes / Re: Pacific Cycle Route tour suggestions for visiting Brits
« on: October 18, 2012, 11:56:41 am »
It is hard to provide specific advice given the limited information you listed. Questions whose answers would help:

When in the spring are you coming?  Every time I've ridden SF to LA it has been in April.

Will you be camping or requiring motels?

Renting suitable bikes in SF will be easy if you can deal with road or mountain bikes.  Not sure of availability of touring bikes but there are lots of bike rental places in SF.

There is no reason to go north out of SF, though it is a beautiful ride.  You can pick a spot north of SF and possibly take a bus up the coast or rent a car one-way and drive there. 

One idea: Rent bikes in SF, take a bus (or two) up to Fort Bragg, ride down to San Luis Obispo, take the train back to SF, turn in bikes and go on your way.  This takes in the very best of the California Coast and is about 2 weeks of riding.  There will be hills, some long, some hard, but none any worse then what is in the UK.  As an example, I've ridden the Kirkstone Pass from Windermere and there isn't anything that long or steep on the entire route above.

Have a great time,


Routes / Re: traffic Between Boston and Penebscot Bay
« on: June 01, 2012, 12:32:19 pm »
Does anyone know how much traffic is on these route- want to ride up from Boston in Late summer to to Bucksport?  Will it be non-stop RV's etc?

You don't say which "route" your are referring to.  If it is the ACA Atlantic Coast route, I rode from Bar Harbor down to Boston mostly on that route. It mostly stayed off main roads and I don't recall much traffic except on roads with good shoulders.

You can read all about this ride in my journal where you can see hundreds of photos of this route.  I actually rode through Bucksport twice!

Routes / Re: Western Express Advice
« on: May 05, 2012, 02:11:01 pm »
Be prepared for lots and lots of climbing.  There may also be snow.

I rode from SF to Carson City.  Here is my journal of that ride.

The day from Placerville to Kirkwood was one of the hardest days I've ever had on a bicycle.

Have a great time.

Routes / Re: Route Advise Needed: Across Idaho
« on: May 05, 2012, 02:08:48 pm »
For scenery, I would suggest you take the rail trail from Island Park, ID to Ashton, ID (via Warm River), and work my way via county roads to Rexburg.  From there, take ID-33 to Arco, then US-93 to Challis, then ID-75 to Stanley.  From there, take ID-21 to Banks, down to Horseshoe Bend, over to Ontario, MT via ID-52 and county roads.

Then take US-26 to the ACA TransAm where it hits it near Bates.

I rode something like this route.  I deviated from the TransAm route in eastern Oregon at Austin Junction (just a cafe) and headed south instead of northeast.  I continued south to Vale, OR and then east through Idaho following the reverse of the route above from Horseshoe Bend to Banks (just a cafe) to Stanley (plan to spend a day here and make reservations before you get there) to Challis to Arco to Rexburg all on paved roads.  All the details with lots of photos are in my journal.

One thing not mentioned above is Swan Valley, a pretty place along the Snake River between Rexburg (big time Mormon town) and the Wyoming Border.

I stopped in Jackson and didn't ride (I drove with my wife) into the Tetons and Yellowstone.  Keep in mind there are mountains between Yellowstone and Idaho.  Going via Jackson and then south to Alpine goes around them.

Have a great time

General Discussion / New version of (free) bike touring game released
« on: March 24, 2012, 11:57:55 am »
I have finished updating Armchair Bike Touring, a free on-line bike touring game that I first released about a year ago.

If you aren't familiar with it, the game runs in any browser and is an attempt to simulate bike touring (without all that annoying thigh pain!). A player takes 3 increasing difficult bike tours (100, 200, then 300 miles) earning points (and getting assessed penalties) along the way. The original version has different terrains that go through various scenery in all kinds of weather. You have to deal with flat tires and broken spokes and make sure you eat enough food to stay energized and stop before you are completely exhausted. The new version incorporates stealth camping and taking side trips to see local attractions. I've written an article describing the changes for any one interested in more detail.

It is my guess that these changes should allow for higher top scores. But, there are pitfalls, as well, so who knows. I'll just have to wait and see if anyone is able to post a new top score.

In addition to working on browsers, the game works unchanged on iPads and similar devices, as far as I can tell.

I'd be interested in any and all comments that anyone might have about the game.

I rode from Bellingham to the turn off Highway 20 that goes to Whidby Island (the Pacific Coast Trail).  You can read about it here and see lots of picture of Chuckanut Drive.  I rode it in the rain.  I would very pretty then.  In the sun, it would stunning.

It was an easy enough ride (a fair about of up and down on Chuckanut Drive) though the shoulders varied a lot and riding on Highway 20 wasn't much fun.

Routes / Re: Vancouver to Los Angeles
« on: February 27, 2012, 01:01:08 pm »
I recently rode from Bellingham down to Newburg, OR (just south of Portland) (Journal here). I had great weather (I did it in late August) and enjoyed much of my ride in Washington.  I didn't really follow either ACA route in Washington, riding through the islands, down the Hood Canal, over to the coast and then down to Oregon. The time I spent on the northern Oregon coast (Astoria to Tillamook) was nothing special, with the exception that the coast from Cannon Beach to Nahalam Bay was spectacular.  I have no experience south of Tillamook, though I have heard it is beautiful.

I have also ridden from SF to LA many times as I live in SF and am from LA.  The first ride I did, I averaged 70 mile days (Journal here). It took me 11 days, though I had 2 rest days.  It was hard and I was often very tired at the end of the day. On other rides, I averaged about 50 miles a day and enjoyed my ride far more (Journal here).

To your questions:

1) 1800 miles in 21 days is too much, in my view.  I aim for no more than 50/day knowing I could do 70+ if needed. This also leaves you no time for mechanical failures or spending time somewhere along the way.  Also, riding to a strict schedule puts undue mental pressure on something that is supposed to be fun.  Frankly, I'd plan to do less than more. I aim for no more than 250 miles/week.

2) I have never ridden the AIDS ride but I have driven Highway 1 when they were on it and it was a steady stream of bike riders in all modes of dress and distress.  Frankly, unless you like being part of a larger spectacle, I'd avoid it as they will overwhelm the services along the road and road side.  They don't close the road. In the past, they have headed inland instead of riding the Big Sur Coast.  This makes sense as there isn't any camping place big enough to handle the hundreds of people on the ride on the coast.

3) I don't concern myself with costs when touring.  But, if you use warmshowers and couchsurfing (far more hosts) and stay in hiker/biker sites, your overnight costs should be minimal.  Also, there are many Subway sandwich shops along this route were for $7 you can get a day's worth of calories.

4) Don't miss Big Sur.  As someone earlier said, it is only a problem during big storms (which we haven't had this year).  If there is a slide before your trip, it might be a while before the road is reopened.  Check various biking forums for local reports should this happen.

5) Comments:
The further north you start, the more likely it is to rain part of the trip.  Be sure to carry raingear.
Most of the ride is on roads with little to no shoulder.  Take a rear view mirror and check it constantly.  Be ready to pull off the road, if necessary.
Carry name cards that provide ways for people to get in touch with you or follow your ride.  It is nice to hand something to someone you've made some contact with.
Take lots of photos.

Routes / Re: touring route for california
« on: January 21, 2012, 12:47:31 pm »
Making a loop starting and ending in San Francisco can be a challenge as you have to find a way to cross the bay.  That can be done on the Golden Gate Bridge, a ferry from Vallejo,  BART from Oakland or the road south along the Peninsula. While it would be possible to ride a loop that starts/ends in SF by using the GG Bridge and the Vallejo ferry, it isn't necessarily the best use of limited bike touring time.

Are you bringing bikes or renting them?

"Wine" country is not a clear destination as all of California seems to be growing wine grapes these days!  Do you mean Napa and St. Helena?  Or, do you just want to spend the day visiting wineries and sampling wine?  Riding from SF to Napa requires some local subtlety as there is lots of traffic on the direct routes and since Napa is a valley, non-direct routes involve some up and down.

One idea might be to ride from SF to Petaluma (1 day) and then ride from there to where you want to do your wine tasting. After that, if you want to ride on the coast, my recommendation would be to head toward the Russian River, say Guerneville to meet Highway 1 at Jenner.  You can then ride north as long as you want, turn around, and then ride south all the way to SF.

Highway 1 in this area is the only way for the communities on the coast to get goods delivered and there will be some semis on the road.  Since the road has no, none, nada, zippo shoulder, you will need to ride with a mirror and be willing to pull off and let some of them pass.  This should allow you to ride Hwy 1 without too much problem.  The views are well worth it.

Since you wish to stay in hotels, you will need to plan carefully as there aren't that many towns on this section of Hwy 1, the hotels are often high priced B and Bs, and reservations will likely be required (certainly on the weekends). You do know that June in SF is fog season?  It is possible that the time you spend on the coast will be cold and foggy.  Be prepared for that by carrying a couple of layers of cloths and some blinking lights.

Another idea might be to rent a car, drive to a nice town with an inexpensive hotel, spend a couple days there doing day rides, and then move to another town and repeat.  This lets you ride in the best parts of the area without worrying about fog or getting to a town with hotel vacancies.

Have a great time.  It is a beautiful part of the world.


General Discussion / Re: Shipping Bike to Virginia
« on: January 17, 2012, 11:38:38 am »
I've ridden through Yorktown.  Be aware that it is a small tourist town with few non-tourist services. It might be better to find a bike shop near Yorktown and then ride from there to Yorktown to start your TransAm.

I live in California, so have no local experience.  But, you might consider Newport News, which is a bigger town and appears to have several bike shops. The ride from there to Yorktown isn't far and you should be able to spend most of it in the Colonial National Historic Park.

Here is my journal entry for the day I visited Yorktown.


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