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Messages - John Nettles

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Routes / Re: Northern Tier vs. TransAm
« on: January 02, 2017, 12:12:08 pm »
I strongly prefer the TransAm over the NT.  However, which ever route you choose, be aware that if you will be west bound, some of the western mountain passes may still be closed when you get there if you are east bound. Granted, there are alternatives but still be sure to look ahead to save some miles.  Also, if you have the time and you are doing the TransAm, a brief loop up to Glacier is great.

Routes / Re: Help with Route Planning From KS to CA
« on: December 28, 2016, 11:24:15 pm »
While John is correct that big towns or cities are typically a pain to get into and out of and best avoided, Denver may be a different beast.

If you ride to the airport ENE of town, you can take a shuttle train to downtown Denver (you are able to roll your bike onto the train).  Then you could take the bike routes (some are separate paths out to Golden where you can make your way to Idaho Springs via side roads and a short (legal) section of I-70 (use Google Maps/Bicycling to see bike routes).  Then you could take the Great Park South route over to Silverthorne to connect to other routes.  NOTE:  This is a high traffic route but if you MUST go to Denver, there is a way.

You could also take a shuttle from Denver to Silverthorn and bypass a LOT of climbing and time (recommended for beginners).

If you give more info such as time of year, are you camping or hotels, cafes or cooking, your daily distance, ability at altitude, etc., perhaps you could get better answers.

Happy Trails, John

Routes / Re: What is Your Favorite Cross Country Route and Why?
« on: December 16, 2016, 10:35:19 am »
Indyfabz, you are cheating!  I didn't know we could combine the routes  :D

Routes / Re: What is Your Favorite Cross Country Route and Why?
« on: December 15, 2016, 01:30:02 pm »
If you are talking about ACA routes, then the TransAm hands down.  I have done most of the routes and still prefer the TransAm over the others.  The reason is that it changes about every 7-10 days in geography or similar.  Tired of the cool ocean breeze, get into eastern Oregon.  Tired of the pine trees, add some geysers and mountains of Yellowstone & Tetons, etc.  Just a very good route.

However, since I have been touring for closing on 40 years (started young) and I have done most of ACA routes, I have been doing mostly my own routes lately.

Best, John

Routes / Re: Southern Tier
« on: October 17, 2016, 08:40:31 pm »
If you mean is the ST paved, yes it is.  Also, since you are on a MTB bike, you might consider turning left at Roosevelt, AZ onto AZ-88 toward Apache.  It would make your ride a little longer and it does have some graded gravel but it has WAY less travel.  Do a google streetview to see what I mean.

Try to stay warm and I hope you enjoy the ride.  John

Routes / Re: Underground Railroad Route??
« on: September 11, 2016, 11:11:58 pm »
While I have not done the UGRR yet, you might want to add some qualifiers such as if you do 55 miles per day on average, only going to Cincinnati, and want to see a lot of the spring blossoms, etc.  Technically, you could start in Mobile at any time of the year as it is warm enough.  It is the points further north that may cause the trouble.  Just some thoughts.

Routes / Re: Israel?
« on: September 09, 2016, 01:16:41 pm »
Here are some journals from CrazyGuy

Hope that helps.  John

Routes / Re: connecting the Eastern Seaboard route with the Northern Tier
« on: September 05, 2016, 08:51:40 am »
If you head west out of Washington and do not want non-paved routes, do not take the C&O or the GAP trails which are dirt or fine gravel most of the way.  You might consider just flying up to Portland, ME and doing the whole thing. 

Routes / Re: Southern Tier route - how bad is Baton Rouge?
« on: September 02, 2016, 11:46:03 pm »
I would just call a bike shop in BR or send a question to a WarmShowers host. 

Routes / Re: Southern Tier route - how bad is Baton Rouge?
« on: September 02, 2016, 10:42:52 am »
If you mean from the New Roads junction (LA-10 & US-61) south into Baton Rouge, it is not that bad.  Lots of traffic on US-61  but it is on a 4-lane divide highway with a wide shoulder that has a non-interferring rumble strip.  Four of us did it and it was no big deal.  We rode it on a trip from New Orleans to Tulsa and we would do it again.

Once in BR, the traffic is worse and the shoulder ends so that wasn't overly pleasant so we went through the neighborhoods instead. 

As a side note, due to the recent flooding, be sure to verify your accommodations have openings as the construction workers and displaced home owners may take up a lot of the occupancy.


Routes / Re: Shipping a bike to Montreal
« on: August 22, 2016, 08:50:36 am »
Look for a warmshowers perhaps.  Also, most hotels will accept packages if you are staying in the hotel.  Just call in advance to confirm.  John

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

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