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Messages - John Nettles

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Routes / Re: Meeting other riders or loose group riding the Trans America
« on: December 09, 2020, 10:00:33 am »
I would have to ship ....  pay $150 per leg per bike to fly on US airlines.

To clarify, it is per direction, not per leg.  A direction can be made of one multiple legs but is only one direction.  The counter of the carrier you start the direction on typically charges (or not) for the entire directions flights, regardless of the number of legs, carriers, etc.   

For example, say you are going from Minneapolis to Paris on Air France then connecting to Frankfurt on American.  If you showed up at the Air France (free) counter in Minneapolis for your Air France flight to Paris, then you would NOT be charged by American in Paris.  Conversely, say you started on American and connected to Air France in Paris or anywhere for that matter.  American would charge you the $150 for the flight regardless if Air France does not.

The exception to this rule is if you are using separate tickets for each portion.  Under the 1st scenario, the bike would fly free from Minneapolis to Paris and then you, with your totally separate ticket on American, would very likely be would charged for the bike (and your luggage) for the Paris to Frankfurt portion on American.

However, if you had your flights entirely on Air France, then you would be charged whatever Air France charged you, if anything, in Minneapolis for the duration to Frankfurt.

When flying with a bike (or even luggage), it really does make sense to ensure you check the luggage costs.  It does not matter who tickets the flight but which carrier you start the direction on.

Hope this helps, John

Gear Talk / Re: How much does your sleeping gear weigh?
« on: December 09, 2020, 08:21:12 am »
To me riding a light relatively unencumbered bike and sleeping in a real nice sleeping bag with just enough space to sleep was great.
Pete, I just noticed you must have an older photo as part of your profile as that is definitely not a unencumbered bike  ;) .

Tailwinds, John

Gear Talk / Re: How much does your sleeping gear weigh?
« on: December 09, 2020, 08:12:24 am »
I use down bags and invested in a Feathered Friends 30 degree...
The Feathered Friends bags are very nice but very pricey.  We have one and it is the second one.  The first was replaced for free and even upgraded after THIRTY years because the Gore-Tex had de-laminated.

We also like Western Mountaineering bags.  They too have a great customer service attitude so much so that they will repair or replace a bag even if you bought it used on eBay.

49 big an issue should I expect winds to be in the Columbia River Gorge? A lot I suspect?
While I have not ridden it, yet, the Gorge supposedly has winds from the west during the summer time according to which is a database of climate data.  Great site; check it out.

Plus you would have generalized headwinds  (NNW to SSW) from Missoula to the Ocean at least.  Of course, this is historic 30-year averages so there is a definite possibility that the day you are in the Gorge, you have a tailwind. 

That said, I could swear I have read somewhere that the winds in the Gorge are from the east either in the late spring or early fall but can't find the info to back that up now. Maybe call someone local like a local firehouse and see what they have to say.

General Discussion / Re: Cell Phone Coverage on the TA
« on: December 07, 2020, 10:12:11 am »
Another option if you have certain Android based phones is to look at Google FI.  Last time I used it (2019), it used a wide variety of networks internationally but in the USA, it used a Spring/T-Mobile/US Cellular mashup.  The rates are something like $15/month plus $10/gigabit of data (prorated) with a cap of $60 on data. 

Google FI really shines if you go international as it is the same rate regardless.  We were in Central America for a month and the phone bill with extensive use was $100 total for two phones and unlimited data.  My son travels the world for 4-5 months a year (currently in Colombia) and he uses it and pays about $85 with unlimited talk, text, data, worldwide. 

You do need a phone that is Google FI compatible (see their website for details) but there is only a month to month contract so you are not locked it.  I normally just pause mine when I am not traveling internationally.  When I do travel, I forward my normal number to the Google phone number and it works seamlessly.

I have no idea how it would do on the TA but would assume just as well as T-Mobile. 

Tailwinds, John

General Discussion / Re: Cell Phone Coverage on the TA
« on: December 06, 2020, 01:14:18 pm »
I sort of wish ACA would alter the  type of "activism" they do and concentrate solely on bicycle touring activism, i.e. get towns to offer camping, develop a map or database of good (or horrible) cell phone coverage along ACA routes, etc.  These things no one does but there is a definite need.  I do think the "young  riders" program they promote is a great idea.

Since you have already been to Yellowstone/Tetons several times, then by all means bypass the detour.  The PPP is a great route, especially west of Rapid City.  Be sure to plan some extra time to hang out in the Custer State Park area of South Dakota, another gorgeous area that is relatively unknown.

The PPP will have much more variety of scenery and POIs but does include some major climbs.  Definitely more scenic in my opinion. 

I would suggest the PPP then pick up the TA to Missoula.  However, when you go through Yellowstone, consider doing a dip down toward Jackson if you have the time, i.e. at Fishing Bridge, head to Jackson then double back to Fishing Bridge as the road between Fishing Bridge and Canyon Bridge has some great wildlife and scenery.

The NT is nice but not my favorite route.

I could see the PPP surpassing the NT in ridership in a couple of years once word gets out.

Tailwinds, John

Routes / Re: Meeting other riders or loose group riding the Trans America
« on: December 04, 2020, 02:32:33 pm »
My guess is it is very similar to hiking a major route like the AT.  I never count on it but always enjoy it while it lasts, even if just for an hour or so. 

Routes / Re: Meeting other riders or loose group riding the Trans America
« on: December 04, 2020, 02:14:01 pm »
You should definitely meet other cyclists assuming you are riding in the summer time.  The problem is how you define "link up".  Most likely, if you come across another person or group, they are riding at different speeds or styles, i.e. fewer or more days off, otherwise you would not meet that much or keep leap frogging each other.

When I have ridden the major routes, I usually link up with a person or group I met for only 2 to 4 days at most.  Again, the reason is I am either riding faster or slower or one of us wants to take a day off or fewer miles or whatever. 

I would suggest you use the "Companions Wanted" at ACA or CrazyGuyonaBike and see if you can find a buddy to go with you.  Both are free.  I believe you can also send in your request to ACA and they will put it in the magazine but look in the magazine for the parameters.  Just use CGOAB's classifieds.  Avoid the Forums there.  I no longer participate in the CGOAB Forums as I got sick and tired of Neil's hypocritical attitude and toxic atmosphere of his Forums. 

Tailwinds, John

General Discussion / Re: Best Tips for Cooking on the Road
« on: December 02, 2020, 11:19:59 am »

Couple of questions.  1) How do you get the inside of the flask clean?  By flask, I assume you mean a wide-mouth thermos as a flask has a small cap on top since I "think" a flask carries liquor in your pocket.  Regardless, do you carry a brush or what?

2) How do you carry the honey?  In little packets or a bottle or ???  I would be worried about it leaking and getting over everything.

Tailwinds, John

General Discussion / Best Tips for Cooking on the Road
« on: December 01, 2020, 10:57:43 am »
After being motivated by this thread , I wanted to know what everyone's best tip is for when you are cooking on the road while bicycle touring. I will start. 

1) Use a paper grocery sack as a clean and disposable "food preparation" mat or place mat. 
2) Add dried WHOLE milk (found in Mexican grocery stores) to Knor Pasta Sides which really improves the flavor.  Dried whole milk is much better than the usual low-fat or fat-free dried milk. 
3) Use an egg protector and carry fresh eggs.  The raw eggs will stay fresh at least a week if you coat the shell with a thin layer of coconut oil (mineral oil will work too).

What tips can you share?
Bon Appetite, John

General Discussion / Re: Newbie bicycle tourists, Don't get fooled.
« on: November 29, 2020, 08:16:11 pm »
I would agree that any functioning bike can be, and probably has been, used to do a tour.  I have personally met two people riding old Huffy bikes they bought from walmart.  While I do have an expensive touring bike, I can tell a difference of how they ride.  Like you I am not able to scientifically quantify it but can tell you that a high end bike does indeed ride better, makes the handling better, carries the load better, etc. than even a "ordinary" touring bike. 

I would caution you though that while I agree with most of your qualities of "what touring is all about", there are others who may have vastly different qualities and needs, i.e. they enjoy seeing the world or parts they are unfamiliar with; they enjoy the pace of touring vs. a car or plane or hiking; they are carrying a ton of gear due to an worldwide adventure or just like to bring the kitchen sink with them; they like to go fast and light; they like to have extreme reliability where-ever they go; they want to be physically as comfortable as possible; etc.  No one quality is better than others; they are just different.

Personally, I am fortunate enough to have any bike out there.  However, my last new bike was in 1990.  Since then, I have only bought high quality bikes (and most equipment) used for a minimum 50% of the list price.  I once got a 6-month old Thorn Nomad MkII with 1100km (less than 700 miles) on it for ~58% off the new price.  My current "most favored" bike I got at 51% off new.  My mantra for beginners or for those who have a restrictive budget (or even those who don't) is to buy quality gear used. The quality lasts for years or even decades.

All that said, I totally agree with you that almost anything that will work, works.  It is just a personal value choice as to what is important to you.

Tailwinds, John

General Discussion / Re: Newbie bicycle tourists, Don't get fooled.
« on: November 29, 2020, 11:53:42 am »
While I agree with all you say (that it is possible to tour with the equipment you described), I would say it is better to have purpose built equipment.  As with anything, a better tool makes life more enjoyable.  Do you NEED better bike/equipment?  No, but it sure makes things nicer.   It is a lot like being in riding shape before a tour.  You don't have to be in great shape (I usually am not) but it does make it easier and more enjoyable if you are.

I would like to know who thinks Ortliebs are indestructible?  I have found they are not by any means.   

Out of curiosity, what do you normally ride on tour and what is your normal equipment?

Tailwinds, John

General Discussion / Re: Cooking on the Road
« on: November 27, 2020, 12:48:00 pm »
My problem with a lot of these cook books is that they are more 4 or more people and/or use semi-exotic (from a rural grocery store view) ingredients.  I also use The One Pan Gourmet by Jacobson as it sizes the meals smaller, i.e. 1-2 people.

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