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Messages - John Nettles

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Routes / Re: Going off course around Yellowstone or not thoughts
« on: July 02, 2016, 12:59:29 am »
The bypass might be a little less stressful but you will miss a lot.  And if you haven't discovered it already, you really do see more by bicycle than when in a car.  I would vote for YNP and then go down to Jackson and back to Moran Jct as that is a very scenic section most of which is on a bike path.

Routes / Re: Northern Tier - N. Dakota
« on: June 25, 2016, 12:31:02 pm »
Also, the average annual daily traffic (AADT) is less than 10,000 vehicles per day.  With 4 lanes of traffic and a full shoulder (granted ruble strips in places), it is not horrible.  Yes, a quiet tree-shaded 500 AADT road with a 3' shoulder meandering along a clear river would be better but none exist in that area.  Unless you are willing to do gravel roads, there is not very many decent alternatives.  Enjoy the ride!

Only thing I would add about the GPS is that if you do not use a GPS, be sure to get a good WIRED bike computer and have it calibrated and verify it is accurately calibrated as you will need to know the distances between turns.  Computers can be really off depending on the wheel size you use versus what was set at the factory.

About 5 years ago, I started to use a GPS.  It does make it pretty dang easy as once the routes are downloaded, you basically just follow it.  I definitely always have a map as a backup however.  The downsides are plenty.  You use a lot of batteries and you basically need to re-input the ACA data before you leave since they have way too many way points so it beeps constantly if you don't.  I use rechargable batteries (maybe a set of 3 per 2 days) but then you have to always be looking for an outlet to charge the rechargeables.  You need to remember to take it in with you at restaurants, etc. in cities (small towns are typically fine) so it is not a tempting theft target for a kid.  A definite pain at times but makes like easier in other aspects. 

A wireless computer occasionally goes crazy from some temporary electrical interference such as crossing a transmission power line showing you have a top speed of 124mph (more like 21), have traveled 89 miles (when you have done 23), etc.  While this is relatively rare, I think wireless computers are relatives of Murphy's Law as you do not realize it has gone crazy until it is too late to reset it.  Once a wired computer is calibrated it will not need to be re-calibrated unless you change tire size substantially, i.e. a 7000cx25 typically has a smaller outside (tread) diameter than say a 700cx35.  However, if you use the same model tire if you need to purchase a new one, this should not be a problem.   While it may be slightly off if you use a different model of the same size, it should be pretty close.

Finally, if you're wife is like mine, you may need to have a satellite tracker so she can see where you are.  Though totally unneeded and of little help typically for touring cyclists, there are two brands; SPOT and InReach.  There are also smartphone apps which use your phone's GPS and its data plan to due the same thing.  However, you definitely will hit dead zones out there (Verizon is the best carrier for rural coverage) so that will not always be tracking.  All methods allow others to track where you are 10 minute increments (this can be changed) via a website.  It is pretty neat and my family and friends like traveling with me via this.

SPOT is definitely cheaper but the service (tracking) is not quite as good (though typically good enough).  Also, there are numerous reports of poor customer service but that may have improved recently (unsure).  The InReach uses better tracking technology and allows you (with a much more expensive plan) to free-style text back and forth with her via your smartphone.  I think the SPOT only allows a couple of pre-programmed text messages. 

While I personally do not enjoy the headaches associated with a tracker (remembering to turning on/off), since my wife is paranoid about me being killed (like a tracker will help then), a tracker is a requirement she has in order for me to do my many solo trips.  A small price to pay to tour.  I personally think it is because she thinks I will be hit by a car, raped, murdered, and then eaten by a bear so she wants to be able to custom text me afterwards to see where I stashed the life insurance policy, so I have the InReach.

Best, John

Again, Pete gave sound advice.  One thing to also consider is the time of day you ride.  If you are an early riser and on the road early (before 8:00am), you are better off riding E-W as drivers will not be blinded by the sun so they can see you easier.  Also, if a very early riser, you may well be done before the sun is at its hottest so it will stay off the face & eyes.  The reverse is true.  If you are a very late leaver (my son typically breaks camp at Noon! or later), riding W-E would be better for the same reasons above.

Best, John

Totally agree with Pete.  I have done the TA and a somewhat modified AC and the TA was the hands down winner.  Honestly, assuming you have the time, if you can do the AC or any multi-month tour, you can do the TA or any other multi-month tour.  It boils down to what your preferences are for 95% of the tours (assuming you have time and money).  This is 35+ years and tens of thousands of miles of loaded touring speaking. 

Best, John

Bicycle Route 66 / Re: 66 in Tulsa is dangerous
« on: June 07, 2016, 09:29:44 pm »
Yep, the hardest (westbound) is probably between Harvard and the river.  While it sucks you got hit, at least you are fine overall.  Obviously, most major roads in any major town are a lot like this one, i.e. lots of traffic, no shoulder, etc. so I wouldn't overall say 11th Street is the worst I have been on by any means but yes it does suck, especially fully loaded.  Problem is do you follow Route 66 or do you go another safer route which would materially change the route?  My vote would be for a safe route and lots of GPS way points showing where the R66 sites to see are so you can take a side road to them.  Obviously, there are areas they reroute due to safety.

On the positive side, Tulsa is seriously looking at making R66 much more biker friendly, i.e. making it a two lane road with divided bike lanes or something similar.  While that does not help you right now, hopefully they will get it done sooner rather than later.

Again, if you need anything, feel free to contact me.


Bicycle Route 66 / Re: 66 in Tulsa is dangerous
« on: June 07, 2016, 06:07:15 pm »
sorry to hear of your accident.  I live in Tulsa and mostly agree.  You don't say where specifically on 11th but, yes, in some places it is a main road that I would not ride either.  My guess is that you didn't even get to the hardest part based on the picture.  The problem is 11th is Route 66 and does have a lot of neat old Route 66 icons, buildings, and such.  If you go over 1/2 mile to a city road bike route, you miss the majority of it.  Catch-22.

At least you survived westbound Route 66 east of Claremore.  I would not ride that either.

If you are still in Tulsa and need some assistance (place to stay, getting to/from transportation, etc.), feel free to contact me privately.


Classifieds / Re: FS: 2015 Co-Motion Divide Bike
« on: June 04, 2016, 08:02:16 am »
Can you post some pictures?

Routes / Re: Great Parks South Sec. #1
« on: April 24, 2016, 09:10:30 pm »
If I remember correct, the prohibition was recently lifted after a court battle.  Perhaps others can help answer if bikers are prohibited any long.

Routes / Re: Texas to DC
« on: April 24, 2016, 09:07:38 pm »
Since this is your first time touring, you might want to ride north to Kansas (I can help you with a route) then connect with the TransAm route in Girard, KS, and head east on it until the Blue Ridge Parkway.  From there, go north on the Skyline Road to Front Royal, over to Purcellville, VA, and take the bike path into DC.

The TransAm is the original route and probably a couple of thousand ride across it.  Since you are not overly experienced, you should avoid doing Route 66 to save a few miles as parts of it are a bit heavy traffic and/or no-shoulders.

Are you mostly camping, staying in motels, eating out, cooking your own food, traveling solo or with other buddies, etc.?  These answers can help with route suggestions.  Believe it or not, 74 is not uncommon when it comes to bike touring.  I regularly do tours with people in their mid to late 70s.  As long as you are in fair shape (but great shape helps!) and more importantly know your limits, you will do fine.

Best, John

Routes / Re: where can I buy aca maps.
« on: April 21, 2016, 08:16:37 am »
I have seen them online at other places, CycloCamping I think, eBay, etc.  And once in Jackson, WY (used copy) way back in early 90s.

As Indyfabz says they can be shipped to any post office box care of General Delivery so they are waiting for you.

However, if you do this route, I would plan on at least week to receive them due to the USPS.  A few years ago, I ordered an ACA map for my son who altered his route.  I ordered on a Monday, mailed from Missoula (of course) to Salt Lake City, UT, and was supposed to get there on a Thursday for a Friday pickup.  It had to be rerouted THREE times before it caught him in El Centro, CA (where he left the ACA route to go into Mexico toward Cabo San Lucas, arrgh).  It kept missing even though ACA mailed the same day I ordered it (ACA Store staff are great!) and every time had at least 1 "buffer" day for the USPS to deliver based on their schedule..  Lesson:  Order so it has at least three buffer days to arrive.

Routes / Re: Great Parks South Sec. #1
« on: April 19, 2016, 11:58:11 am »
While I have not ridden through Black Hawk/Central City, I have ridden through Dillon & Frisco (and lots of other places).  Even though the directions sound hard at times, it typically is easy to do once you are onsite.  Additionally, I have found it helps immensely by looking at a Google street view map in advance so I can visualize what they are saying.

You will do fine.

I crossed a few years ago here but I accessed Crump Park via Metal Museum Drive as I was coming from the south and then heading west.  Can't say is still feasible now.  I would avoid doing at night or within an hour of dusk or dawn.  Seemed a bit sketchy to me but it worked.

Routes / Re: Rte 66, East to West, beginning June 1...
« on: April 04, 2016, 08:36:09 pm »
It is doable BUT:  Expect 95+ degree days everyday after OKC (85-90 before then).  Easily can top 100.  Start at dawn (not 7:00am), quit by 1:00pm and you will be fine.  Plan on lots of hotels unless you like to sleep in upper 70s to low 80s temps.  When a cool day does occur, it is almost always because a cold front is bringing rain.

It goes get cooler further west but at higher elevation.  Obviously, drink a TON of water, i.e. your pee should not be yellow but clear.  Eat potato chips or other salty items to keep your electrolytes up.  You will have some headwinds until you get to OKC as the wind is frequently out of the SSW to SW.

Worst case?  Move to Canada and rent your brain out to the hockey leagues.  If you come through Tulsa (and I am not touring myself up north), I can give you a night inside as we are about 1 mile or so off Route 66.

Best, John

Routes / Re: TransAm question
« on: April 01, 2016, 09:19:32 am »
You have looked at the route network, correct?

Some start from Florence, OR.  You can also do a slight short cut from say John Day to Jackson (but you miss a lot of incredible scenery).  Another option is to start from Astoria and do the L&C route to Kooskia, ID and switch to the TA.

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