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Messages - John Nettles

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Routes / Re: Gravel roads/ alternatives on the Pacific Coast Route
« on: July 25, 2017, 05:41:04 pm »
Try calling, emailing the reporter directly.  Ask if he will forward your phone number/email for you? 

I would suggest calling a few businesses in the area, i.e. Big Sur Chamber, Post Ranch Inn, etc.  and see if they have suggestions on where the trail is.  A trail shows up on Google Maps satellite view but doesn't reconnect.  The view also shows several dirt roads around the area you might be able to deal with.  Again, locals might know.

As far as camping, I would think that if you are off the road and being considerate, i.e. no fires, etc., that you could get away with it.  Probably still illegal but then they would have to get someone there to ticket you which is unlikely.

If you are trying to thru-ride, remember there are multiple slides.  Report back what you find out!  John

General Discussion / Re: Bicycle Dynamo Charger
« on: July 24, 2017, 06:49:02 am »
Frankly, I think the dyno is worth it (I hate not having backup systems), but you've got to be willing to play the head game.
Head game? What head game?

In the morning I plug my powerbank in and ride. I don't think about it again until I stop for the night.

Then I charge any device that needs it from the powerbank.

Or if mains power is available I connect my devices to a 5-port charger and top all of them up.

Exactly.  Only head game might be wishing it would charge faster but that is like wishing the wind would always be a tailwind, the roads are always downhill and newly paved, each campground has a nice level comfy shaded tent area with electrical, and dogs only want to play fetch with you.  If those are head games, I guess I am guilty.

Routes / Re: Two Weeks/Early Oct/900 miles max
« on: July 23, 2017, 08:28:35 am »
The usual suspects are a local bike shop (pay to have them assemble it as a thank you plus sometimes their shipping rates are less for the return), a hotel that you agree you will stay at on the night of your arrival and night before you return (they will probably save your bike box if you ask), or a WarmShowers member.

Have a great ride!

Routes / Re: Two Weeks/Early Oct/900 miles max
« on: July 22, 2017, 07:37:32 pm »
Sounds like you know the SW and TX.   Really appreciate the dirt route suggestions.   If you don't mind me asking, do you live in UT or just toured there a lot?
 That's quite a bit of specific knowledge and exactly what I was hoping for.  Thanks.

Between Jamawani and myself, we have probably close to 120k miles of touring.  I live in Tulsa, the other John (jamawani) lives in beautiful Wyoming.  Honestly, he knows more about the Western US than I do.

Routes / Re: Two Weeks/Early Oct/900 miles max
« on: July 22, 2017, 04:51:10 pm »
I would go with UT.  Also, some good dirt/gravel roads are Burr Trail Rd between Boulder, UT & SE to Bullfrog Ferry.  You could then go over to Natural Bridge and then for more dirt and a cool descent is to take UT-261 (OK, mostly paved but still a cool twisty dirt descent) to Mexican Hat, then down to Monument Valley (think western movies) down SE to Chinle National Monument, dirt to Window Rock, AZ.

If then you are rushed on time, take NM-264, R on CR-1, L on NM-118/Main Street into Gallup (Bus, Train but must ship bike separately).  If longer time, head SW via I-40 to Holbrook via Petrified NP, then AZ-377/260 toward Willow Springs Lake then partial dirt via NF-512 to Young, AZ-288 to AZ-188 to AZ-88 (more dirt) to Apache Junction, AZ to Phoenix for transportation home.

Whatever you choose, enjoy!  John

Routes / Re: Two Weeks/Early Oct/900 miles max
« on: July 22, 2017, 02:15:31 pm »
Like others, I would suggest southern Utah's National Parks.

If you do Big Bend, try to ride from Marfa to Marathon via Presidio and FM-170 directly along the Rio Grande.  Hilly (one is a beast!) but scenic.  Carry LOTS of water.  Low humidity and high temps that could easily top 90*F dehydrate you quickly so be sure that temp is OK for you.  The climb up to Chisos Lodge & CG is not fun but once up, it is nice area to hike.

If you are willing to do dirt, take Maverick Road toward Cottonwood CG is wonderfully shady and peaceful after a long dry day.

Best, John

General Discussion / Re: Bicycle Dynamo Charger
« on: July 22, 2017, 02:00:14 pm »
I am a user of both hub or only battery depending on the type of tour.  I have used a SON hub on my road touring bike and batteries on my off-road (non-pavement) touring bike.  I typically can charge around at least four 2,500mah AA batteries a day while road touring.  I can typically only charge up to two AA while off road touring due to slower speeds.

Since I carry way too much battery powered items (a 10k mah cache battery, a GPS, NiteRider 700 light used for a rear blinker, a satellite tracker (thank the wife), cell phone, micro flashlight, and a couple of small medical devices), I go through batteries like there are candy.  All of the above (or their batteries) can be charged by the hub.  I easily go through at least 4 batteries per day on average so the cost savings due add up on an extended tour due to them costing about $0.50 each when bought on tour.  Plus I don't have to worry about them being crappy no-name batteries that have been sitting on the shelf for two years in some village where they are my only choice.  Nor do I spend time looking for them.

For me, the hub allows me to charge and not have to carry a ton of batteries (they are heavy!).  I really do not like just trashing them by the roadside so the battery weight/space add up.  The bonus is that I can run the head and tail light in a heavy traffic urban area so drivers can see me better.  Like others, I use cafes, CGs, etc. to top off all the batteries and cache charger when possible.

The resistance is not noticeable so it works well for me, especially when compared to having to carry up to 16+ extra batteries.

While I would LOVE it on something like the Great Divide, the slower speeds really makes it hard to get any decent charging from a hub.

Decide what is best for you and do that.  Everyone has different needs/wants so there really is no "correct" answer.

Best, John

General Discussion / Re: GPS Tracker
« on: July 21, 2017, 10:08:28 am »
I have used the Inreach.  Expensive but highly accurate and the wife really likes that I can text her or she me.  Note that it can take up to 20 minutes (usually around 10) for each round trip message (question then response) though so ensure all your questions and answers are thought out.  Depending on the plan you select, you can track as frequently as 2-minute intervals.

It also has a cool map that tracks where you have been/are showing the speed and elevation.  It is highly accurate.  Once, I went off the road for a "nature break" and she wondered if I had wrecked or something since it was 20+ feet off the road.  The battery life is pretty good.  Two AAA rechargeable batteries last about 5-6 days on the 10-minute tracking mode assuming I turn the device off at night.

Consider where you tour is going.  If you will have cellular data service fairly often (say along the coast), I "think" you can get phone apps that will do the same thing.  However, if you do more remote touring, i.e. Great Divide, northern central plains, Alaska, etc., then a satellite tracker may be the way to go.  All depends on what you need.

My big gripe with the InReach is that you have to pay $25/year for the "subscription renewal" in addition to any plan.  Plus if you use the freedom plan (month to month), you have to pay $25 to start the plan again each time.  So in other words, you go on one 1-month (or less) tour a year, it is $50 plus the plan cost and then you can cancel the plan.  If you did say, two separate 1-month tours a year, it would then cost about $75 plus the plan costs assuming you cancelled the plan between the tours.  Considering all this is automated through the website, I think that is a bit steep.

However, for me, since my lovely wife wants to be able to get a hold of me no matter where I am, I am unfortunately forced to keep it.  Otherwise, I would seriously consider the Spot.

Routes / Re: Advice on route from NYC to Santa Monica
« on: July 17, 2017, 05:17:17 pm »
Guess I misread the time.  I thought 6 weeks but see it is 8 weeks.  Still, as you can see by the post above, not easy.  John

Routes / Re: Advice on route from NYC to Santa Monica
« on: July 17, 2017, 04:47:08 pm »
Are you planning on doing high mileage?  Touring across the country in 6 weeks is pretty aggressive.  Definitely riding across is doable but it would need to be fairly high mileage with few or no rest days.  Remember, the daylight is less than in the summer so unless you are able to ride sunup to sundown, it could be tough.

Not trying to be negative, just give you some things to ponder.  Best, John

Can't answer but those that can may need to know are you talking Banff, Butte, Helena, Lima, etc.?  I would think the places would have different dates and you would need to base the tour on the "snow date" of any part of the tour, not necessarily Banff.

I would suggest you look at WeatherSpark as they typically have very good averages and data available.

Best, John

General Discussion / Re: Waiting for a bike ride
« on: July 13, 2017, 02:36:30 pm »

If you have not done so, check out the maps online here at Adventure Cycling.  Also, check out Canada's Route Verte to see if they have anything around Toronto.  As far as the DUI, I doubt that would be an issue.  Assuming you have a valid Canadian passport, you really should not have any trouble.  Best, John

General Discussion / Re: 6 week trip from Seattle to Sant Francisco
« on: July 05, 2017, 12:19:52 pm »
When you say "next September", if that means September 2017, please note that the PC route thru the Big Sur area (great scenery) is closed until about late September due to recent mudslides taking out roads and bridges.  Anything in WA, OR, ID and western MT is usually very scenic.  Further south you get on the PC, the more urban it gets.  Hope this helps at least somewhat in your planning.  Best, John

Routes / Re: Denver, CO > Rapid City, SD
« on: July 04, 2017, 10:31:22 pm »
Sounds nice.  While I have not done that specific route, I have ridden in the area in August.  I would warn you to do some research on wind direction as late August can have some pretty strong winds and some times it changes 180 degrees from the day before.  Not sure, but it might be better to start in Rapid City and head south. 

Also, the route is not as populated of course as many parts of the country so not as many services so keep plenty of water and enough food to get to the next day,

The Mickelson Trail is probably 95% crushed limestone or similar.  It is nice and usually very rideable with 32+mm tires,  It may be paved in the actual larger towns but only for a mile or two.  I would suggest you strongly consider riding in the State & National Parks around Custer if you can.  Really nice country.  Hilly but beautiful.  Enjoy the ride!

Thought I would "bump" this back to the top in case others did not know about it.  Last year, Amazon gave ACA ~$2,000 from people who purchased stuff through Amazon.  It doesn't cost the purchaser anything other than a 1-time agreement to go through (is is still Amazon) instead of regular

If you buy stuff through Amazon, signup and get ACA free money.

Happy Trails, John

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