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Messages - sam21fire

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General Discussion / Re: Biking Zion, Bryce, GC
« on: December 24, 2010, 12:05:11 pm »
I've ridden (and driven) through that area many times and it's fantastic on a bike!  North Rim of the GC doesn't open until some time in May depending on the snow and weather, Bryce is the same and both are pretty high in elevation so snow can fall late into the spring.  In the summer the area around Zion and GC's South rim are HOT and don't have many water supply points between major towns. Don't trust the "villages/outposts" that are on the map to be open or have water available.  The climbs eastbound out of Zion Canyon and from Cameron to Desert View Point at the South Rim are pretty tough.  The Park Service has placed some significant restrictions on bikes going through the Zion Tunnel; you'll need to make arrangements to have someone haul your bike through the tunnel unless you make "other arrangements" (the rangers at the tunnel work normal 8-5 duty days).  Late summer/fall in that area has major thunderstorms with flash floods.  North Rim and Bryce in mid Oct depending on weather.

Other than those details riding in that area is normal touring...challenging, beautiful, good shoulders, bad shoulders, good traffic, bad traffic etc etc.  Expect all the usual issues with being around major tourist areas if you go during the summer.

Have a great trip!


Gear Talk / Re: Shaking on the downhills
« on: November 01, 2010, 11:07:54 pm »
I had this same problem but noticed that the amount of shimmying was different on different trips.  I found that two things seemed to contribute to the problem... slightly loose front rack bolts (the mid-way or top bolts vs. the lower bolts) and unbalanced weight loading between the panniers.  When I tightened the bolts properly and paid closer attention to the balance the shimmy disappeared.  I figured this was a much better and easier solution that finding my fork was misaligned.

Good luck!

Routes / Re: Mexican excursion from Southern Tier
« on: April 03, 2010, 12:55:48 pm »
I know this post is a bit old, but recently the Department of Defense issued an order forbidding active duty U.S. military member from going to many border towns on the Mexico side across from Texas unless they have a family emergency.  US State department dependents in that area are being encouraged to return to the U.S. side.

Routes / Re: Pacific Coast or new Sierra - Cascades route?
« on: April 03, 2010, 12:41:02 pm »
Everyone has some very good points for both routes, but I have to repeat the temperature factor for the inland route; I've been through that area in the summer and some parts of that route (especially South of Yosemite) aren't "very warm"...they're HOT!  Expect daily temps in the 90-100F range and very low relative humidity.  South of Bakersfield/Lake I you won't see daytime temps below 100F (normally run 100-105F, "cooling" to 90F at night) until you climb up to Big Bear.  South of Julian area you'll get back into the "hotter'n hell" range again.  New tourist? Go for the coast.  Experienced touring in the desert? Go inland.

just my 2 cents...


Routes / Re: Warning Alert: Southern Tier, Mexican-American Border Aareas.
« on: February 23, 2009, 11:38:18 am »
Just an addtion to the above, tourist areas along the border are NOT considered safe in any way.

Routes / Re: Warning Alert: Southern Tier, Mexican-American Border Aareas.
« on: February 23, 2009, 11:36:58 am »
I work for a Department of Defense agency and can confirm and add to this message...  All DoD employees (civilian and military) are mandated to obtain written permission from their Major Command (MAJCOM) and a comprehensive Force Protection briefing before traveling to areas in Mexico along the US/Mex border, ie; Tijuana, Nogales, Juarez, etc.  I've read the classified reports of events that have been going on for the past 6-12 months and I won't go, or allow my family to go, anywhere near the border.  Your nationality, race or experience will not provide any protection and could actually make you more of a target.

Urban Cycling / Urban Touring
« on: January 07, 2007, 09:14:36 pm »
Ok, cool!  I suppose I should look them up in my bird book so I'll recognize one if I meet one. Thanks!

Urban Cycling / Urban Touring
« on: January 06, 2007, 06:13:32 pm »
At the risk of sounding un-worldly, what is a "merganser"?  Are they tame? Soft and cuddly? Edible? lol


Gear Talk / Journal entry device
« on: January 02, 2007, 12:17:57 am »
Oh, almost forgot... you can get cool fold-out keyboards that will connect to the Palm and they cost $100 US or less.

Gear Talk / Journal entry device
« on: January 02, 2007, 12:16:53 am »
Here's an idea that I haven't tried yet, but it sounds like it should work...

Use the Palm Tungsten and save your log as an MS Word doc, saved onto an SD card placed in the Palm.  When you get to a library, carry a card reader w/ a USB cord, use this to access your SD card, then just load the document to email or your web site.  

There are obvious hurdles to this idea, including library staff freaking out if they see you connecting peripherals to their computer, but might be worth the effort.

You may also be able to upload the document thru the Palm if you subscribe to a wireless service found at coffee shops.  Not sure how long it would take though.

This is something I've thought of also so I'm interested in hearing how well they work (my next ride isn't until Jul 07).  

Good luck!

Gear Talk / solar battery charger
« on: January 18, 2006, 11:00:13 pm »
Yeah, I used one on a 14-day trip last summer.  The model I've got is about 5"x6"x2", the solar cells are on the lid, and it will charge most battery sizes although I only used AA's (also for my camera).  It worked pretty well for me; I kept it strapped to my rear rack while on the road and set it wherever when I was in camp.  The only problem I had was that occasionally the batteries would bounce out of the electrical contacts.  Simple solution was a small piece of cloth or foam rubber to keep the batteries in place.

Good Luck

Gear Talk / Which panniers to buy???
« on: March 14, 2005, 05:36:27 pm »
I've also used the Arkel panniers quite a bit and love them!  Also, their customer service is outstanding.

Good luck, and maybe I'll see you out there since I'll be riding a short part of the Pacific Coast mid summer also.


Routes / Hwy 1 near Big Sur open!
« on: July 14, 2008, 12:08:01 pm »
I just checked the Caltrans road information site and it appears that Hwy 1 is now open through Big Sur.
Have a great ride!

Routes / Amtrak to Oakland for Pacific Coast Route?
« on: July 14, 2008, 12:14:30 pm »
Hi Brent!
I've done this very route a couple of times.  I usually catch the train in LA.
The Emeryville station is reasonably close to a BART station. Take BART in to the City and get off at Embarcadero (sp?). This will put you near Fisherman's Wharf.
Another option is to get off at Martinez, then ride across the bridge just to the west (forgot the name) and around the North side of the bay to cross the GG Bridge.
Something to keep in mind for your planning is the Amtrak Rider's Rule (at least on the west coast) ie; Amtrak is always late, and if they're not late, they're VERY late.  The scheduled arrival in Martinez is something like 1030 pm, but I arrived closer to midnite!
This year (early Sep) I'll be taking the San Joaquin train from Bakersfield which is scheduled to arrive in Emeryville about 430 pm (630 pm??), find a cheap motel, then hit the road early the next morning.
Good luck and have a great ride!
btw, direct email is if you have more questions on this.

Routes / ROUTE 66
« on: November 03, 2007, 08:11:38 pm »
I work (FD) in the area of Rt 66 in the CA desert and drive parts of it pretty regularly... and I'm thinking about a West-East Rt 66 ride myself.  Some parts between Barstow CA and the Colorado River/Needles are decent to ride on, while others are marginally maintained. Another important issue to keep in mind is that when the Interstate bypassed the small gas stations, resteraunts etc along Rt 66, most of these places closed.  Today there are very few resources available to the public (food, water, shelter from the sun/wind, etc).  The good news is that along many stretches you will only see a few cars every hour so you won't be forced to ride on a bad section of shoulder for long.
And of course, riding along there in the summer is just short of insane.

Good luck!

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