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Messages - roadrunner

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Gear Talk / Re: Sleeping pads
« on: September 08, 2011, 12:55:30 am »
I rode the Santa Fe Trail Trek 3 times.  Every time it snowed overnight in Trinidad.  I suggest being prepared for unexpected freezing temperatures, with an insulated mattress and a sleeping bag that will keep you warm.  Other than Trinidad, the weather was usually mild.

The SFT Trek is probably the best organized tour available -- an intresting historic route, well organized, small enough group to get to know everyone, and an unbeliveable cost.

Routes / Re: Safe routes from central Arizona to Flagstaff
« on: August 17, 2011, 11:23:22 pm »
I rode from Flagstaff to Payson on the Lake Mary Road and AZ-87 about 6 years ago.  I don't recall the traffic being a problem.  Of course, I was going downhill on AZ-87.

Some alternative routes:
Payson to Flagstaff: From Payson, take AZ-260 northeast to the gravel road along the Mogollon Rim(General Crook Trail).  Ride that west about 20 miles to AZ-87, then go north to Lake Mary Road to Flagstaff.

Prescott to Flagstaff: Take AZ-89 north to Ash Fork (a nice scenic ride through Chino Valley and Hell Canyon).  Ride the I-40 shoulder 21 miles east to Exit 167 just east of Williams (you can miss 4 miles of I-40 by riding through Williams on Business I-40).  From Exit 167, ride old Route 66 roads to Flagstaff.  Route 66 websites give detailed directions and historical information on that section.  There were short stretches of gravel and rough pavement on old Route 66 roads, but a touring bike handled them fine.

Prescott to Wickenburg: The first part is not difficult-riding mountainous, wooded terrain, changing to open areas around Peoples Valley.  A long, screaming downgrade south of Yarnell to the desert. 

Wickenburg to Gila Bend: Continue the above route by taking the Vulture Mine Road south out of Wickenburg (some maps incorrectly show it as unpaved).  It's a beautiful Senora Desert route with virtually no traffic (and no services or anything else) to I-10.  Especially nice in the early spring when everything is booming.  Cross I-10, go through Wintersburg to Old Highway 87, going through Arlington.  That's another very low-traffic, paved road.  Due to summer heat, I'd skip this route in the summer.

Routes / Re: St George to Flagstaff
« on: March 27, 2011, 10:19:27 pm »

As I recall, the only services between the South Rim and I-40 are at Tusayan (just outside the park boundrary) and Valle, which, at 30 miles from the South Rim, is about half way to I-40.  So, essentially, there are two 30-mile stretches with no services.  From the AZ-64/I-40 interchange, it's only a mile or so into Williams, so that's not a significant detour for services.  There is a little general store/cafe at Parks (about the only thing there), about half way from Williams to Flagstaff on old Route 66 which makes for an interesting stop.  Sorry aobut the I-10/I-40 mixup; I live in southern Arizona not too far from I-10, so that's the interstate I usually deal with.


Routes / Re: Joshua Tree to Prescott?
« on: March 24, 2011, 10:52:30 pm »
I'm assuming you're referring to Joshua Tree National Monument in California.  I don't know anything about routes from there to the Arizona border, except that either California 62 to Parker, AZ, or I-10 to Blyth, CA, have little in the way of civilization and will be very hot and dry until late fall. 

I can provide some information on the Arizona part of your question, based on routes I've ridden from Blyth to the Grand Canyon.  From Blyth, ride I-10 frontage roads and shoulder (legal in AZ) to US-60 to AZ-71 (that route and on to Wickenburg is part of the Southern Tier).  If you take California 62 to Parker, ride AZ-72 to US-60.  Take AZ-71 to US-89, with a heck of a climb up "Yarnell Hill) en route to Yarnell.  US-89 is a very scenic ride through Prescott to Ash Fork on I-40.  Ride the shoulder of I-40 to Williams, then AZ-64 and US-180 to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon.

Gear Talk / Re: GEAR - It's adding up! Where can I compromise?
« on: March 03, 2011, 12:30:11 am »
The comments by Staehph1 and John Nelson are right on the mark, especially that going with top-of-the-line pricey items is usually not necessary.  Also consider that you’ll be carrying everything on your list for the 5+ months you’re planning to ride.  You’ll probably find, like most bike tourists, that you’ll soon be shipping many items home after a few days or weeks of riding.  The thinking changes from “what if I need this” to “what do I have to have.”
A few thoughts:  Why 4-5 tent ground cloths?  I used one of plastic sheeting for many tours.  It’s easy to get another if necessary.  Maps and questioning locals can replace the GPS.  Other items I’d skip: rain pants, brake pads (they last a long time and can be bought if needed), rolls of tape (wrap a couple feet of duct and electrical tape around your seat post).  If the degreaser is for hand cleaning, sunscreen does an acceptable job.  A Bic lighter will serve to light your stove and “survival” fire starting; if you want a backup, dip matches in candle wax and place in a film canister with a few vaseline-soaked cotton balls.
At the expense of adding a few ounces, I’d replace the small pump with a full-size one, preferably the Topeak morph with a gauge. 
One category you do not list is off-bike clothing.  I wouldn’t want to spend several weeks, not to mention months, wearing nothing but riding clothes and the same pair of shoes.  Consider adding a long-sleeve and short-sleeve shirt, a pair of nylon zip-off pants, a cap and some footwear (Crocs, flip flops, sandals).  The pants also serve as shorts, cold weather riding pants (over riding shorts), and swimsuit.

Routes / Re: St George to Flagstaff
« on: March 02, 2011, 10:55:53 pm »
Adv 911 -- I did a tour from Salt Lake City to Flagstaff (including a spur detour to Zion National Park) that included much of the area you're planning to cover.  Unless you've already ridden in Zion, I'd recommend taking Utah-9 through Zion, rather than Utah-389 (which I have not ridden).  The auto-free riding in Zion Canyon is spectacular, offset somewhat by the stiff climb at the east end of the park and the need to hitch a ride to get a bike through the tunnel.  (Getting a ride was no problem.)  I rode Alternate US-89 to Jacob Lake, which is a long climb, but not as difficult as I anticipated.  Then I took Alt 89 to US-89 to Cameron to the South Rim (another long, hot climb).

After a half day on the South Rim, I rode AZ-64 to I-10 to Flagstaff.  I chose AZ-64 over US-180 to avoid the heavier traffic and climbing on 180.  I don't know if that was a better choice, since 64 is a steady climb on a rather bland road to I-10.  I camped at a marginal Jellystone Park campground in Valle.  I rode the I-10 shoulder to Flagstaff (legal in Arizona).  Later I rode a much more interesting route -- old Route 66 which is present between I-10 Exit 167 (2 miles east of the AZ-64/I-10 interchange) and Flagstaff.  Whatever route you choose will be great.  Take sufficient water and sunscreen.

Gear Talk / Re: Biking Shorts/Pants
« on: December 20, 2010, 10:29:21 pm »
For utility (pockets), comfort, and my own preference for not wearing lycra on tours, I've settled on wearing biking briefs under nylon zip-off pants.  In warm weather, I ride without the "legs," when it's cool I zip on the legs.  At the end of a day's ride, I change from the biking briefs to regular skivies and wash out the briefs.

This combination reduces the amount of clothes needed.  One pair of zip-offs, a pair of regular nylon shorts, and two pair each of biking briefs and regular skivies is all I need, as far as pants go.  Nylon shorts can also be used as a swimsuit.

General Discussion / Re: DIY Tips
« on: December 20, 2010, 10:14:47 pm »
We can probably all benefit from others' experience and ideas.

Finding multiple uses for items cuts down the amount of stuff (and weight) to carry. 
a. Sunscreen does a decent job of removing greasy chain-residue from hands and legs.
b. A small squeeze-bottle of dish soap works for bathing and washing hands and clothes.  Refill it with hand soap in restrooms.

A 7" spike is handy for making holes for tent stakes in hard ground (using a rock as a hammer).

Gear Talk / Re: ToUrIng SHoEs
« on: November 22, 2010, 11:49:00 pm »
A differing viewpoint from the "clipless is the only way."  The best pedal/shoe combination I've found for touring and all-around riding is platform pedals with PowerGrip straps and stiff-soled running/tennis shoes.  The straps hold shoes securely to the pedals and are easy to get out of; the shoes are comfortable both on and off the bike, and there are no problems walking in dirt or mud.  I've tried many cycling shoes and haven't found any comfortable for all-day wear or walking significant distances.  With my size 12 shoes, it's nice not to need to carry another pair for off-bike wear.  It's a low-cost combination that's worked well for many multi-week tours.  The combination works with about any shoes (even Teva-type sandles for up to about 30 miles), avoiding the need to put on "riding shoes" for quick jaunts around town.  I made "platform" pedals by adding thin metal plates to cage pedals.

Routes / Re: Transamerica - First timers need help
« on: April 30, 2010, 10:36:28 pm »
I would recommend riding theKaty Trail to cross Missouri for several reasons.  A prime one is to avoid the never-ending short, steep hills that cover most of the state; surveys of some TransAm riders have rated Missouri as the toughest part of the route.  Also I found the Katy scenic, and and it's relaxing -- not having to deal with traffic and being able to communicate easily with other trail users.  The trail can get somewhat soft after rains and, when dry, will leave your bike dusty, but it's a great ride.  What ever way you get to the St. Louis area, you might want to take the Great River Road along the Mississippi north from there to about mid-Illinois, then head to your destination.  Southern Illinois is also very hilly.

Gear Talk / Re: Touring Shoes, Cleat Selection and Toe Clip Survey
« on: April 09, 2010, 11:18:50 pm »
I've tried several brands/types of touring cycling shoes, none of which were comfortable for walking and off-bike use.  I usually spend more time off the bike than on it when touring and don't want to carry an extra pair of shoes (other than flip-flops) for my size 12 feet.  The solution that works well for me is a pair of stiff-soled tennis shoes (mesh for hot weather, leather for cold) and Power Grips straps.  I added thin metal plates to cage pedals to distribute the foot pressure.  It's a low-tech system, but works great for me -- secure, comfortable, and no worries about mud or sand in cleats.

General Discussion / Re: Oregon Trail
« on: December 22, 2009, 02:57:32 pm »
Sidburg -- I did a self-contained tour of the Oregon Trail route in 2001 from Kansas City to Oregon City riding roads nearest the original trail.  It's a great route, with many historical sites, good scenery, and mostly light traffic.  "Traveling the Oregon Trail," by Julie Fanselow, is an excellent reference for touring the trail.  Written for driving the route, it describes the trail's history, has maps of the trail and nearby roads, and lists lodging, campgrounds, and restaurants in towns along the route.  The book is available from for about $10.

If you'd be interested in riding the trail on your own, I'd be happy to e-mail you the itinerary and journal of my tour.

Routes / Re: Washington DC to Chicago (or vice versa)
« on: November 20, 2009, 12:13:35 am »
Mitch -- I'm home now.  My e-mail address, which should show up on my profile, is  If you'll send me an e-mail with your address, I'll send you the itinerary and journal of the tour.

Routes / Re: Washington DC to Chicago (or vice versa)
« on: November 14, 2009, 08:59:27 pm »
mitch537 -- I'm traveling now, so will send you the information when I get home around November 21st.

Routes / Re: SE to NW or NW to SE - ?wind direction
« on: September 15, 2009, 06:01:34 pm »
The following website: (it's easier to Google "wind rose" and select this site than type it in) provides wind roses by month for many cities in the U.S.   A wind rose provides information on the proportion of time the wind is from each direction and and the velocities from each direction.  I've found it handy for planning tours.

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