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Messages - John Nettles

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Routes / Re: Miami to Bakersfield, want'n to stay out of Texas
« on: December 14, 2014, 02:06:29 am »
Short answer is yes.  I have toured both in Texas and Oklahoma and both are fine to tour in.  If anything, I have found the opposite to be true in that small town police are helpful.

Routes / Re: HWY 75 - Alligator Alley
« on: December 09, 2014, 04:38:27 pm »
You might consider taking the ferry from either Fort Myers Beach or Marco Island directly to Key West then riding back up the Keys.  I rode US-41 years ago and while OK, I would not do again.  I did the ferry (but reverse) and enjoyed it.  Bikes are easily done on the ferry.  Hope you enjoy the ride!

Routes / Re: US Route 83
« on: November 29, 2014, 12:58:23 pm »

Your P.S. makes me believe you won't be employed by the Great Plains tourism bureau :).  I know you truly do love the Great Plains but dang you made it sound like a ride through hell.  I'm still chuckling.

Routes / Re: US Route 83
« on: November 29, 2014, 10:39:19 am »
Last week, I DROVE US-83 between Carrizo Springs and Laredo.  It was Monday afternoon.  Traffic was really heavy.  While there was a 3' shoulder, it was just too much truck traffic and cars trying to pass for me to want to tour on it.  Traffic was almost continuous.  So that you know, I have toured extensively for 35 years and am not easily frightened.  All that said, it is ridable, just certainly not enjoyable or overly safe.  Sorry for the non-glorious ending to your tour.

As a side note, why go North to South when the winds definitely tend to be S-N?  I did a tour from Brownsville to Winnipeg several years ago and had many more tailwind days than headwind days.  Plus if you start in early to mid May, you might be able to time it so you have consistently decent temperatures as you ride north.  Just a thought.

Like the cue sheet :)

Routes / Re: Southern Tier, highway 78 Glamis to Palo Verde, Ca
« on: November 21, 2014, 10:59:01 am »

Gotta admit, I have toured the TA, PC, NT, AC, ST, GPN, LEC, and several other 30+ days tours in my 35 years and 50+k miles of loaded touring and have never seen a repeated "coordinated" effort.  I am not saying these repeated occurrences did not occur to you (only you and the "criminals" were present) but perhaps you should re-evaluate the effort it would take to do this.  And I do agree that it happens occasionally by happenstance to ME.

Heck, if I were driving and to time it so I pass another car when a cyclist (who is not participating in this effort AND is crossing an expansion joint at the precise time) is in the between us AND to make it happen hundreds of times strains credibility.  Please note I am NOT saying this does not happen but in all my tours, I have it happen once or less per week of touring and never the same trucks over and over.  Disclaimer:  I do not track when I cross expansion joints but will unfortunately probably begin doing so.

What gets me is how the EVIL dogs out there ALWAYS attack in pairs (one on each side) and ALWAYS on the uphills, in the rain, against the wind, while crossing expansion joints.

Let's go ride and find some dogs and truckers!  Back to the original thread now.

Routes / Re: Best Recommended Routes
« on: October 29, 2014, 07:29:44 pm »
I am not overly familiar with the "snow dates" of the northwestern states so will let others give the dates.  From there, if you add up the various segments (each route has a break down of each segment) between Tampa and say Washington and take that number and divide by 55 (to cover the extra rest days in the NPs), you will get the numbers of days minimum you will have to start.

For instance, say the snow date is September 10th on average.  You would probably want to be out of the Washington mountains by September 1st in case of snow (or be prepared to hunker down in a good tent or motel until it warms back up).  Then say it takes 150 days to get from Tampa to Washington.  That would mean you would need to start approximately April 1st.  However, you then need to balance that out with arriving too early in Canon City, CO (case of the Colorado Rockies).  Not before June 1st for sure, probably more like June 15th.  You will definitely have snow at the passes but they should not be blocked.  It WILL be cold at night.

One thing to consider also is to reverse your route and/or starting from different locations, i.e. start from San Diego, May 15th and go clockwise.  You will just need to play with your speed, route, and weather (can you tolerate 30 degree nights?? to get something you can live with.

Happy Trails.

Routes / Re: Best Recommended Routes
« on: October 29, 2014, 03:49:01 pm »
Since it appears this might be your first tour, I would suggest taking the ACA routes.  You can take the Florida Connector to the Atlantic Coast to the TransAm.  Hang a left and go to Missoula.  Connect to the Great Parks North to Glacier National Park then onto the Northern Tier to Anacortes.  If you have time, do a tour around the San Juan islands.  Do the Pacific Coast or the Sierra Cascades (tougher) to where you connect with the Western Express (not going to San Diego).  Connect up with the Grand Canyon Connector (be sure to see Zion & Bryce NPs while in the area) to the Southern Tier.  Once you get to Pensacola, stay near the coast (off the Southern Tier) using Florida's many rail trails when available back to Tampa. 

One thing to seriously look into is the timing.  You are going quite far between Tampa and Seattle and then looping back and you want to be sure you do not get stuck in winter weather somewhere.  You did not say how many miles a day you would do (50-55 miles per day on AVERAGE is reasonable) so difficult to gauge your start date based on late fall weather.  You will need to get a good idea as to your starting date so you are not snowed on in Washington.  Be sure to buffer about 2 weeks in case of a early winter storm.

Enjoy the ride!


Routes / Re: contemplating riding TransAm in many questions!
« on: September 29, 2014, 12:07:30 am »
Search the forums for the large number of answers related to E-W vs W-E (short answer, both are acceptable).  You can ship the bike to the start and you bus, rent car, or ride to get there.  Same thing at the end.

Always have some backup emergency food as small town America is slowly dying off unfortunately and therefore the grocery that was open last month may have finally closed.  The ACA maps are good and show the services and the addendum are kept fairly up to date.

Yes, you will meet other riders going your direction but it will probably only be for a few days before one of you takes a break or keeps going.  It will happen but not every day.

Two to three bottles is most common.  You are in Kansas and you know what summers can be like.  You can plug in several places along the way (cafes, CGs, CS, etc.) but consider getting a "power pack" (external battery).  Also, just keep it turn off and check it periodically 4-5 times a day and the battery will last a lot longer.

Remember, tens of thousands have done this over the history of the route so if tens of thousands could do it, chances are you can too.  On the plus side, we don't have to educate you/reduce your stress about tornadoes  :D.

Go over to and review the vast bank of journals on the TransAm.  Almost any question you have will be answered after reading a few of them.

Routes / Re: Crescent City to Seattle weather
« on: September 07, 2014, 04:35:09 pm »
I can't answer definitively but I will say I departed the US/Mexican border on July 4th many moons ago headed north for Vancouver and I will not make that mistake again.  Note that I was a very strong 23yo rider at the time and it was work on numerous days.  I would be pedaling in my low gears into the wind as riders coming from the north who were COASTING from the wind would shout "Great day for a ride!"  I would mumble something about flat tires being visited upon them repeatedly.  I doubt they heard it above the wind.

Unless you do not have a choice, I would highly recommend doing N-S.  Not only is the wind predominantly more in your favor typically but you also have the ocean on your side of the road.  Doesn't sound like 20+ feet would matter but I was continually darting across the road (usually to take a break from the wind).  If you do not have a choice, just plan on some shorter days.

Hope you have a great ride whichever direction you go!

Routes / Re: Great Divide Rooseville, MT to Helena, MT
« on: August 28, 2014, 10:29:43 am »
Does your question concern the Flathead Lake area itself?  The GD does not follow the highway (nor Flathead Lake) but is up in the mountains on forest roads that parallel to MT-83. You can ride MT-83 (part of the Great Parks route) but the GD is on MT-83 maybe 2 to 3 miles total on MT-83.  There are other sections of pavement you mentioned that total up to 10% of the overall mileage between Roosville and Helena.  Also, the GD has only a few miles on MT-200 as the route stays on county & forest roads that are close to MT-200.

Routes / Re: Adventure Cycling Maps - Missing Routes ?
« on: August 22, 2014, 11:14:52 am »
I will let ACA give the official response but I would guess that with limited resources, they try to get the biggest bang for the buck.  Since it is pretty hard to get lost on a rail trail and there is already some maps available, they may choose to concentrate their efforts developing new and/or unpublished routes.  However, there are a lot of "missing" routes, too many and too subjective (what is great to you?) to list. 

Routes / Re: before I'm 70
« on: August 20, 2014, 10:03:25 am »
I would guess he is from New Zealand based on the map was a .nz address.  Other than than, I definitely agree about using each state's traffic count and/or bicycle maps typically available through the state's department of transportation to make your own route.  Google is really only good for short, commuter trips, if that.

Highland, perhaps if you indicate what you are looking for, i.e. mountains, wide-open "western" view, Northeast quaint villages, largest ball of string in the world type stuff, etc. you might get a few suggestions.

ACA has a lots of maps and for someone outside the country it may be a good starting point and then ask about connector routes between certain section.

If I am mistaken about you being from NZ, I apologize.

Classifieds / Re: Beckman front touring rack, panniers and rain covers
« on: August 17, 2014, 09:07:29 pm »
Are these still available?

Routes / Re: Kentucky and Virginia trans am shortcuts
« on: August 15, 2014, 09:04:39 am »
I know how you feel as I have had several trip where I am time-crunched at the end.  It makes for a much less enjoyable trip.

I think you had the right idea, but the wrong route.  Perhaps if you cut the corner by going from Elkhorn City, KY to Christianburg, VA, you would cut about two days off by following the route.  Go to Google Maps and drag the "Yellow Man" over so you can see what roads are paved.  There are a lot of smaller state highways and county roads (not 460) which you can take.  By using streetview, you can spot check the road to see if you like it.

You could do the same from Christianburg to Richmond.  A quick glance makes VA-24 to Rustburg, VA (heck of a name for a town) a bit promising.  Again, just look for roads you like.  You can try the "bike route" mode but be sure to check the route via Streetview and/or satellite view as it likes to route onto busy roads then onto gravel roads.  Just spot check the route, make adjustments, and keep pedaling.

Best wishes on a successful (and quick) ending. 

Nice route option.  How much hike-a-bike and/or bushwhacking is there?   

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