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Messages - John Nettles

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Routes / Re: Cross-country US entirely via US 83
« on: December 23, 2017, 07:26:44 am »
I have did a similar route a few years back, Brownsville to Winnipeg.  However, I did not use US-83.   A couple of thoughts to consider.  Note, you do not say how many miles you plan to average per day so I will assume 55 overall, i.e. 60 per riding day and a break every 10th day, taking about 5 weeks.

Unless there is some major reason you are going N>S, I would highly suggest reversing the direction.  First, the temperatures would be more more consistent.  Minot (nearest major town to Westhope) averages about 58* (all temps in Fahrenheit) in late April.  Five weeks later in early June, Brownsville averages 92*.  However, starting from Brownsville in late April, the temp averages average 85* (but starts getting into the high 70s before you leave TX) with Minot in early June averaging 73*.  These are the highs.  It is not uncommon for the lows up north in the spring to dip into mid-30s.  Bit cold for me personally if I can avoid it.  You could adjust the starting time S>N to target your ideal temps easier.

The winds are overall much more out of the south so by much easier/happier going S>N. Guessing an overall average of about 12-15mph.  Note however that when spring cool fronts move through (typically knocking of 10-15 degrees), the winds are out the northerly direction and typically bring rain.  Additionally, springtime is the main time of year for violent storms in the Plains.  There are several forum posts here and on regarding tornados and hail.  You should review them.  Not trying to dissuade you from riding in the spring, just be prepared.

Minot weather info:

Brownsville weather info:

I see from your duplicate post over on CrazyGuy, you are fixated on this route.  As far as US-83 ONLY goes, why do that, other than ease of navigation?  Parts of it have very heavy traffic.  For instance, while I have not ridden US-83 SE of Lardeo, I did drive it once specifically doing route research and decided that it was definitely not a favorable road to ride on.  TONS of speeding semi traffic.  Everyone going 10mph over the already high speed.  Mind you, I have 40 years experience and there are only a couple of handful of roads I definitely would not ride and this is one of them.  Obviously, this excludes prohibited and/or known extremely heavy traffic roads.  Consider going "off route" but parallel so you can get substantially less traffic at times.  Not saying you have to do the entire route non-US83 but parts would be advisable.

I would encourage you to research each state's average daily traffic count and/or see if they have a state bicycle map.  For instance, type in South Dakota bicycle (or average traffic count) map and you will get valuable info to see if US-83 is right for you or you need to adjust your route.  I "think" all the states involved have traffic counts but I know some (Oklahoma) do not have bicycle maps.

Whatever you choose, enjoy the ride, John

Consider using Strava to look at what the locals do.  Note though that the results can be heavily skewed as it my understanding the results are self reported, i.e. a rider submits the data.  There one very frequent rider riding the same route can show a "popular" route, even though that route may not be optimal for touring cyclists.

As Jamawani noted Tates Creek Road is 4-lane (with a shoulder) for ~9 miles from Lexington center before becoming a rural road with no shoulder.  Strava shows it to be a popular road, however, Chinoe Road seems to be more popular and when cross-referenced with Google Map's Streetview, Chinoe seems quieter and having wide lanes in places but is longer.

Hopefully a local will assist with specific directions, but in the mean time, you can choose a route that best meets your needs, i.e. quiet roads but longer vs. busy roads but direct, etc.

Hope you have a great ride, John

Routes / Re: Route 66 - 2018 - Who & When?
« on: December 14, 2017, 04:38:56 pm »
I have no idea on the exchange but you are dealing with Amtrak.  I looked at two separate tickets.  First, DEN>EMY then next monring EMY?LAX.  Again, a layover in EMY.  I am not shocked about the non-driving (my son only drove until about 19) but as an old fart, I can't see how I would do it  ;D .  Best, John

Routes / Re: Route 66 - 2018 - Who & When?
« on: December 14, 2017, 03:15:59 pm »
I understand.  In case you did not know, you could take a train with a roll-on bike but it would require a layover in Emeryville, CA, and would get you within 15 miles of Santa Monica or less than a couple of blocks from the route ending at LAX Union Station.  You could also consider a one-way car rental is about $200-$350 (depending on # of rental days) or so to Santa Monica with a 1-2 day drive.  I very well may be on a tour when you are in Tulsa (assuming Chicago departure), but feel free to hit me up.  Best, John

Routes / Re: Route 66 - 2018 - Who & When?
« on: December 14, 2017, 07:24:53 am »
I'm not riding it in 2018 but I live in Tulsa and we host quite a few riders each year through WarmShowers.  Nearly all of the E>W riders wished they had gone the other directions due to the headwinds.  Mind you, they hadn't even gotten to the stiff headwinds of Texas yet, just the "easy" stuff in Illinois and Missouri.  We get riders anytime between mid-April through mid-November and the winds are a constant complaint.  The only time you get a tailwind in this part of the country is if a cold front is moving through (nice in summer!), but that usually brings rain also.  Can't win it seems E>W.

If you are flexible on your starting point, I would suggest you consider W>E due to the winds.  Whatever you choose, I hope you have an enjoyable ride!  Best, John

Not many paved roads in SD.  You can look at the state's Bicycle Map and/or Traffic Count maps to help you decide.

The most common route is the direct route which heads east from Rapid City on SD-14 and basically stay parallel to the interstate until you get to I-90 Exit 90 where you then ride on the interstate (legal in SD) to Wall.  Relatively, not much traffic on the interstate and you have a full-width shoulder.  At Wall, head south into the Badlands on SD-240 toward Interior.  At Cedar Pass, head north toward the interstate and go east on SD-248 (basically parallels the interstate) until SD-47 east of Reliance.  Here get on the interstate again and exit into Oacoma where you take SD-16/Business I-90 into Champlain where you join up with the L&C route.  More traffic & services, less scenic.

Another option is to start out same way but at Murdo, SD, head south on US-83 to Valentine, NE and jump on either the Cowboy Trail (the country's longest UNPAVED rail trail) or US-20 which basically parallels it to Norfolk, then continue east to Onawa, IA & the L&C route.  More rural, less traffic and services.

Whatever you choose, enjoy the ride! John

Routes / Re: Routes suggestions for seniors returning to cycling
« on: November 27, 2017, 06:14:06 pm »
I understand.  You also have a great bike path that goes from Glenwood Springs to Keystone that is on a paved, separate path or the interstate frontage road.  Obviously, it is not flat but is something to consider for later on.  At least you are acclimated compared to us low-country people :),  Best, John

Routes / Re: Routes suggestions for seniors returning to cycling
« on: November 27, 2017, 10:31:29 am »
Good for you!  I regularly tour with a couple in the mid-70s and they are stronger than I am!  My late father-in-law toured until 90 (albiet then it exclusively supported tours on bike paths in Europe along rivers, but still).

I would suggest Florida for beginner winter time rides.  They have several long paved paths so you could do multiday trips without really getting off the path that much.  Plus only the overpasses are the hills.  Pretty flat overall.

For summer, if you want a non-supported but bike paths area, consider the area Spokane, WA to Coeur d'Alene, ID area.  You can see bike paths on Google Maps when you click the "staked lines" to the left of the search window and click Bicycling.  We did a loop tour in the area a couple of years ago and it is quite scenic.

For a supported tour, there are LOTS to choose from.  Cross-state rides tend to be somewhat less expensive than commercial but have less/no indoor accommodations if that is highly desired.

Routes / Re: Going to the Sun
« on: November 05, 2017, 06:06:51 pm »
You don't say which direction you are traveling.  I have ridden it twice, once in each direction both times in August.  East bound is time-restricted, i.e. must finish by a certain time when climbing to Logan Pass but no restriction on the descent, has a LONG time to see the scenery since you are going slowly uphill, and the eastbound side of the pass is not super scenic, nice but not as nice as the west side.

Westbound riders have not time restriction in either direction so you can start whenever, even late in the day. The climb is a little easier since you start ~1,000 higher.

I personally liked westbound as I could take my time climbing (way out of shape at the time), and I stopped super frequently on the downhill to see/photo the scenery.  There just seemed to be more places to stop on the westbound side though never much space in either direction.

Whichever you choose, enjoy the ride, John

Routes / Re: ride along hotels or B&B
« on: October 30, 2017, 11:45:55 am »
If you are looking for specific recommendations as to routes, please give us all the pertinent information, i.e.miles per day you ride, number of days you want your tour to be, type of tour (cultural, scenery, flat, mountains, beach, etc.).  Best, John

Routes / Re: San Fransisco > Sierra Cascades > Portland > Astoria
« on: October 29, 2017, 01:17:48 pm »
And you will get a ticket if they catch you stealth camping.  I got one for $75 back in 1987 so I would hate to know what it costs now.  Just stick to the Pacific Coast and then most of your problems are solved.

GPS & Digital Data Discussion / Re: GPX for North Star II guided ride?
« on: October 24, 2017, 12:32:48 pm »

You offer good advice!

Could you clarify what you mean by sketch, i.e. locals who may be sketchy, the road surface sucked, services were closed/closing/unrealiable, etc.???

Best, John

GPS & Digital Data Discussion / Re: GPX for North Star II guided ride?
« on: October 20, 2017, 01:21:05 pm »
The "classic" route (based on the founders route during Hemistour of ACA) is from Anchorage (I would do Prudhoe Bay myself) to Tok to Chicken, AK, to Dawson City, YT, to Carmacks to Watson Lake (via Ross Lake but I would prefer Whitehorse  & Carcross to Watson Lake).  Then south into BC along Kitwanga then east to Jasper down the wonderful Icefields Highway.

It has a mixture of paved and gravel.  If you want more gravel, you can do a one-way detour (hitch or fly back to Dawson City) from Dawson City to Inuvik, NWT. Another cool detour is from Dease Lake to Telegraph (gravel).  For fantastic views of bears eating salmon as they swim upstream, take another deour to Hyder, AK (down by Kitwanga).

Again, the MilePost has detailed maps of what is gravel and paved, etc.  I would highly suggest you by a copy (a year or two old one would probably work but a business or two might be closed/open) and plan away.

BTW, yes, you will see LOTS of trees and if you go to Carcross even the world's smallest desert. 

Enjoy the ride, John

GPS & Digital Data Discussion / Re: GPX for North Star II guided ride?
« on: October 20, 2017, 10:32:54 am »
There are very few roads up that way so a GPS really is not needed unless you are using it to mark distances traveled.  The best guide by far is the "Mile Post" which is a very detailed guide to all roads in Alaska and BC, AB, YT, NWT parts of Canada.

Best, John

Thanks for replying so soon!  I guess I am just nostalgic but after doing both routes, I prefer the original (especially west bound/downhill) as it is MUCH more scenic and the climb from Lordsburg to Silver City on the new route was actually pretty tough, for me at least.  However, Lordsburg does offer a nice stopover if needed too.  Thanks again, John

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