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Messages - Stevenp

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General Discussion / Creating a Journal: Ideas and hints for a good one?
« on: February 14, 2011, 05:04:48 pm »
I have learned so much through these forums and they are such a great place to share information so I thought I'd run this question by everyone also.

I am at the point of starting up my journal for my Across The U.S.A. trip that will begin in July and I am wondering what the best way of doing it might be. Now, I know that Crazyguy... has journals that many use and I have also seen them on separate blogs. What do you think?

Also, when telling the story on the road with a camera as I go, what are some things to think about or to do, or not do in my journal as I go?

Any thoughts on any of this based on your experience?



General Discussion / Re: Luxuries
« on: February 10, 2011, 09:37:36 am »
If I were to dedicate one of the states to fishing and buying the fishing license, which state would that be? Maybe it would be worth a fishing license or two.

I will be starting in S.Carolina and ending up in Washington, then turning slanting south and over again.

Montana, Oregon, or Colorado? or are there others you'd recommend?

General Discussion / Re: Luxuries
« on: February 07, 2011, 03:14:10 pm »
Great topic!

I am yet to go on my first Xcountry trip from east to west. I am considering a gps, but it doesn't feel so much like a luxury item, more than a necessity for me. I have considered a time or two whether to take with me a fishing pole, like a smaller pole, not the regular poles.

Has anyone done that and was it worth it? I'd be interested (on one of your sidenotes) if you have had fishing pole experience?

General Discussion / Re: Surly LHT: Need help setting my bike up
« on: February 02, 2011, 11:10:30 am »
PP pal, like the gorilla torch!!!!  My suggestions:

1. Camelback100oz
2. Mud guard to attach to front fender

9. Minoura LH-50 Besso Light Holder and adjustable stem

I like that spider-looking light holder, but I have considered it for holding the camera for taking pictures with me in them. Can I use that for both a camera and a light?

What's with the Minoura LH-50 Besso stem? What's the point of having it?

Then also, the Camelback—is it advantageous to have both the water bottles and the camelbak?

As for the mud guard, I have been told it is just adding more weight to the bike and that it isn't worth it. The back of the bike is protected by the panniers, but do you really think a mud guard and fender are worth the extra 5 lbs on the bike?

Routes / Re: Getting Across The Desert
« on: January 28, 2011, 12:55:12 pm »

Great site! Thank You!

I chose to purchase the Surly rear rack. I love it! I think I am also planning on purchasing the Ortlieb Bike Packer Plus Waterproof Rear Panniers. I still haven't decided on whether to purchase the front rack and panniers, still considering.

Gear Talk / Re: Bike w/panniers Or BOB IBEX Trailer
« on: January 24, 2011, 10:06:34 am »
I have also just been studying this question for myself. After a lot of research the answer seems easy and obvious that panniers are the way to go.
If they designed trailers with the wheel centered under the weight to displace the weight of the trailer, than I would reconsider, but all the good models I have studied have the wheel behind the weight which adds weight to the bike.

Panniers all the way!


Routes / Re: Getting Across The Desert
« on: January 23, 2011, 04:23:19 pm »
Oh, alright. Thanks for helping me grow with my Touring lingo. :) No, I haven't looked into that option. In fact, i plan on camping most of the way simply because I want this to be an achievement also, no easy way.

I do have a question in regards to racks. I am a couple of days away from buying my Surly LHT bike and having it fitted already with the Surly front and rear racks. I'm wondering if it is overkill to purchase the Surly racks—each for $130, so I would be spending $260 just for the front and rear Surly racks. I know I can get much cheaper racks than the Surly ones, but I want your opinion on whether you think they are worth the price.

Should I spend the money for the Surly f/r racks, or save some money by buying cheaper racks?


Routes / Re: Getting Across The Desert
« on: January 22, 2011, 11:50:17 pm »
No. At one point I was looking into the idea of making my trip a fundraiser, and thus raising funds for myself, but I decided against that. It seemed that it would cause too many restriction in my trip, and 1 restriction to me is too many. I would like to plan a couple of places to stop and share my story, but I am supporting my trip 100%.

In fact, i just sold my furniture set today and will be purchasing my Surly LHT along with the Surly front and rear racks. I can't wait!! Things are coming together well and I have learned so much already. I approached the local bike shop and offered a free employee to the owner in exchange for learning how to work on a bike and fix everything. I hope to know a bike quite well by the time i leave. I already have half of the funds for the trip and still another 6 or so months to go. I think I may plan on "suping" up my bike in a few ways too before the trip.


General Discussion / Re: Surly LHT: Need help setting my bike up
« on: January 20, 2011, 09:56:13 pm »

Did you get the 700cc or 26"?

It's pretty much a nobrainer about getting the 700cc for cross-country, right? I'm planning on getting the 700cc.

Thanks so much for all of the input. I have plenty of information to go off of now in making decisions for my bike.

Happy travels!

General Discussion / Re: Surly LHT: Need help setting my bike up
« on: January 20, 2011, 09:47:57 am »
Great information!

A couple of questions that come to mind right away would be:


ALSO, If I wanted to give my bike some personality with color or anything else, being that my bike is all black, what are some common ways people go about doing that? You know, maybe just some color throughout the bike or spokes...etc?

Thanks for this great information!


General Discussion / Surly LHT: Need help setting my bike up
« on: January 19, 2011, 01:18:48 pm »
I am biking across the country on a Surly LHT in mid-July. I have a list of things i need to add to the bike to make it complete and ready for the long trip and wanted any expert advice I could get on the following items:


Mind you, I'm not looking for you to help me with every item, but if know of something you would definitely recommend, I want to hear about it.

Thanks for your help!

Routes / Re: Getting Across The Desert
« on: January 18, 2011, 07:20:24 pm »
Now THAT would be an interesting ride! :)

Anyone try using Google Earth to find routes?

Routes / Re: Getting Across The Desert
« on: January 18, 2011, 03:01:19 pm »
This is like Disneyland for my planning. I love these forums!

I live here in Minnesota. Part of my journey across the country is to get a sampling of different areas as part of my consideration on where to live next, being I am wanting to leave Minnesota.

I hear you on the deserts. I am strongly second guessing the desert Idea. Now, I do plan on studying the path to take very closely and determine what to do. I have considered the idea of leaving from MN and starting my trip that way, but not sure because I really do want to go to California and I really do want to end up in S. Carolina where my parents live.

I guess I need to study where the deserts begin and end, and that will be a good start. I also like the mountains! I want to be inspired by my trip, more than anything. I am planning on 4-5 thousand miles before I am done. I'd say that's a good figure for 3-4 months of travel with enjoying the scenery, wouldn't you say?

Do any of you know of some good sites that will help show me the terrain of the USA? Something that will help me plan out the months of travel. I would even consider riding over and then heading back to catch things i missed in my first pass.


Very cool! You guys are so helpful. Every time I come back on and see the responses it brings a smile to my face and I am encouraged!

Westinghouse, The route has got me scratching my head a bit. I can tell you some points of what I want to experience and see what sort of help you can give me with that.

1. I will start on the Pacific coast in California (I need to experience riding the coast for a few days)
2. I must go through Sacramento
3. I want to go through some of the California Parks to see them
4. I would like to go where Nevada and Arizona intersect (Lake Mead) and experience the desert and some of the amazing views around there.
5. I want to experience Colorado and its beauty
6. I want to end up in S. Carolina

This is where I'm at so far with deciding the route. I have been going through books and finding places I MUST see along the way. This isn't a race for me, but a time of deep thinking and preparing for the next phase of my life. I want to experience the desert but it also scares me a bit. I know there is a lot of homework i need to do about desert travel.

So, that's where my planning sits as of today.

Again, thanks for all of the great feedback!!!


I believe I have been convinced to purchase the Surly LHT. From all of the feedback I have received it seems like the obvious choice for me. I would still be interested in hearing if someone's opinion differs from that.


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