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Messages - John Nettles

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Routes / Re: Yellowstone and grand Tetons route
« on: July 01, 2021, 08:41:32 pm »
If you are NOT on a time crunch and you want the full tour, here is a route.

West Yellowstone > Ashton ID > Jackson (via the Yellowstone Bypass) > Jackson Lake Lodge > Grant Village > Madison Campground (Old Faithful and lots of geyers) > Castle Canyon > Do a 1 day out/back to Fishing Bridge back to Castle Canyon (great wildlife) > north to Tower Jct > Cooke City > Red Lodge (includes the stunning Beartooth Pass @ 11k' > Belfry > Cody > Thermopolis > Riverton (pretty scenic road) > Jeffrey City where you finally reconnect to the TA.

This would include numerous scenic sections along with a few major climbs but if you want it all, here it is. Obviously, it is much longer but hey, if you got the time, go for it.

Another option to consider later on is you like really nice scenery, ride from Saratoga, WY, to Centennial, WY then down to Woods Landing then to Cowdrey, CO, where you reconnect to the TA.  Note that this has a very scenic 10,900' pass but low traffic and very scenic with adequate services along the way.  Highly recommend as it is much more scenic than the TA and it has more services.  The downside is one major climb and it is a bit longer.

Tailwinds, John

Routes / Re: Yellowstone and grand Tetons route
« on: July 01, 2021, 11:14:23 am »
There are so few roads in Yellowstone and Tetons.  What are you trying to accomplish/see, i.e. scenery, hiking, just get through, etc.

The "traditional" routing is to follow the ACA TA to Teton Park Rd. just south of Jackson Lake Lodge, and take Teton Park Rd. to Jenny Lake (great campground, seriously one of the best) where a bike path take you all the way to Jackson. 

After doing the Jackson thing (it can be expensive place to stay overnight so consider a WarmShowers host), either backtrack the Jackson Lake Lodge turn off or take US-191 (bike path to Moose, WY) to the intersection with US-26 where you rejoin the ACA route.

A third alternative, if you are willing to ride on the interstate (legal), is from Jackson, head south on US-191 to Rock Springs then head east on Interstate 80 to Rawlins.  This gives you a lot more services compared to the TA route and the traffic on I-80 is really not that bad (less than a lot of large city roads) and it has a full shoulder.  There are some sections of the old highway that parallel it but check out Google maps to ensure you don't ride to a dead end.

Going back to Yellowstone, if you want to see more of Yellowstone, you might consider riding to Grant Village, then do a ride over to Canyon Village then back the next day.  This section has a lot of wildlife.

Tailwinds, John

General Discussion / Re: Best Tips for Cooking on the Road
« on: June 29, 2021, 08:13:52 am »
Patience is your friend when it comes to BBQ, because all the smoke should penetrate your meat and only then you will feel what is like to eat something amazingly good!

Surely you jest!  I smoke meat about once a week so am fairly familiar with what it takes to do decent BBQ.  My question is how the heck do you smoke meat while on a bike tour?!? How do you carry the smoker, charcoal, smoking wood, etc.?  Even if you are using a portable Hasty-Bake, you are talking some serious weight. 

Unless you are absurdly serious about BBQ, why bother?  Other than that, I totally agree with slow and low.  My favorite steak is a 1.5" Ribeye smoked for for 75 minutes @ 225* then reverse seared.  Light pink all the way with a crisp exterior.  You also have 12-hour pulled pork; a 90-minute smoked cherry pork tenderloin, or a spatch-cocked chicken.

Routes / Re: Sierra Cascades Mixie Alternative
« on: June 27, 2021, 09:08:11 pm »
Welcome to the ACA Forums and thank you for offing an alternative for people to consider.  However, promoting for-profit endeavors on this site that you have a personal interest in is discouraged.  Maybe I am wrong but it appears you (or someone else) wants $25/year for "access" to the alternative route. 

While I totally understand what it takes to develop a route (I have thousands that I have in various stages of "development" but without the website) and feel it is reasonable to be compensated, making your post (your first!) a commercial post (assuming you are the "author" of the TruLassen routes) is a bit tacky.  It makes it appears you are more interested in making money than helping others.  Most of the regulars on here freely give route suggestions to encourage cycle touring.

That said, I wish you success in your website and hope you become a regular contributor here at the ACA forums.

Tailwinds, John

General Discussion / Re: In need of a few hints for NT route and food
« on: June 15, 2021, 07:42:49 pm »
Cold food, and scented stuff like toiletries also need to be kept bear safe.  So cold food is a pretty imperfect solution if it is a solution at all in my opinion. 
I guess I didn't make myself clear enough.  I meant if no restaurants are available (which there are in Glacier NP), then eat (not store) the cold food for lunch/dinner but not keep overnight. Yes, I agree that all scented stuff should be kept bear safe but I guess I would just keep the pannier outside the tent or as you said, ask a car neighbor to keep it.  But since you would realistically only be in Glacier for 2-3 nights probably, that is not that big of a deal.  I personally would just eat out all meals while in Glacier.

General Discussion / Re: In need of a few hints for NT route and food
« on: June 15, 2021, 08:55:56 am »
I personally would leave the bear canister and eat in restaurants or cold food until you get out of Glacier Nat'l Park.  After that, you will not need a bear canister so save the weight/bulk and leave at home.

Also, be sure to check that the Blackfeet Nation area is open to non-Blackfeet.  I had heard at one point it was closed and there was a longish detour which may alter your overnight stays.

Have a great trip!  John

GPS & Digital Data Discussion / Re: Is gpx info working on my Bolt?
« on: June 13, 2021, 05:32:57 pm »
When I have purchased the route GPS data files, i.e. the route GPS data for the PPP route, it has always included the main track in each direction, any alternative tracks in each direction, and all of the service waypoints.  These are individual files and can be very easily edited on Garmin's BaseCamp.  They used to include route files but no longer.

As far as the limits, maybe that is user inputted data.  Of course there has to be some limit (12 trillion miles???) based on memory but my older Garmin 64s says it there are limits to its memory: .  After re-reading it, it does say it allows 200 tracks but doesn't say how long each can be.  It does say track logs have a 10k point limit after which point I "think" it auto-archives some older points or auto-adjusts some somehow.  However, since I am not the most technological guy around and I don't use tracks that much, I am not overly familiar with them, especially on non-Garmin non-handheld units.

That is why I still carry maps  ;)

Tailwinds, John

GPS & Digital Data Discussion / Re: Is gpx info working on my Bolt?
« on: June 13, 2021, 04:06:42 pm »
I actually had this happen to me early on when I started using a GPS.  I didn't load it right (thought I did), drove 2 days to the start, and then fired up and nothing.  Ever since, I always verify it is loaded and working. 

While I am unfamiliar with Wahoo, I would think it is very similar to the other brands.  For service waypoints, i.e. a campground, once the data is supposedly loaded onto the device, go outside and connect to the satellites.  Then do a "route" from where you are to the service waypoint, i.e. a hotel. If the GPS tries to direct you there, it is probably loaded fine otherwise the GPS would not be able to see it. 

To see if the track has loaded, just zoom the map out then over to Washington then down to where the route is.  The track should show on the device.  At least this is how I verify on my Garmin. 
Also, be sure to verify the limits on your particular device, i.e. 2000 waypoints, 100k track points, 200 routes of up to 50 waypoints each, etc.  If you exceed whatever your limit is, your device may give you an error message or something. 

Tailwinds, John

Assuming the info on Google Maps is correct, then US-70 is indeed closed through at least June 12th.  Not ideal by any means.

The older ACA data did have routes (when they were free); but the new ones do not.  I have no idea why they quit providing route waypoints other than I guess it is much easier to create a track since the waypoints would need to be custom named.

Steve, I have over 2200 routes (think of a smashed car windshield and each of the little cracks are a route that interconnects with another route) and over 50k waypoints that I have created over the past 12 years or so of creating routes.  If the conversion is VERY SIMPLE to do, I would consider it, especially once your app is completed.  I just don't want to have to re-learn a new system.  That said, I will take a look at Locus to see if I like it. 

Tailwinds, John


I am not a technical guy by any means.  However, I have been doing routes (not tracks) for 10+ years easily on my Garmin devices.  By routes, I mean what you say above.  I create up to 50 waypoints then connect the route as outlined in Garmin's BaseCamp and its predecessor MapSource. 

For me, the huge advantage of a route is that it automatically has turn by turn (TBT) alerts, at least on my various Garmin devices.  Another advantage of routes over TBT is that if I miss a turn in a city, it will automatically redirect me.  It will beep every possible turn so I don't ride too far out of my way.  Granted, on a bike, this is really not needed but I also use routes for various time when I am doing a route by car.

A tracks (breadcrumb) does not do TBT or reroute, again at least on my Garmin devices when used with BaseCamp.  I have heard it can but it sounds a bit complicated to deal with converting so it can give do TBT and as I said above, I am not the most technical guy around so I just stick with what I prefer. 

I know I am in the minority but until they make it EASY to create a track in BaseCamp which automatically has TBT, I will stick with routes.

Your project sounds promising but it would need to be able to also be used entirely when hundreds of miles away from cell towers, think northern Alaska, NWT, YT, etc. for me to use it.

Tailwinds, John

General Discussion / Re: Neck, arms and hands fatigue?
« on: June 01, 2021, 02:31:18 pm »
First, welcome to the ACA Forums.  It sounds like you have a great trip planned.

Based on your post, I am assuming you are doing the TransAm (TA) Route or something very similar.  If you are not doing the TA, I would strongly suggest you consider that or another ACA route until you get a month or two of touring in the USA so you are comfortable with going independent.  Yes, 3 months is a very reasonable time.  You very well may start out slow, i.e. 30 miles per day, but within a few weeks your body will adjust, even if you are overweight and/or not as fit as you could be. I have met dozens and dozens of 60+ overweight riders over the years who all basically say the same thing, the first few weeks are a bit rough as the body adjusts but then it gets good.  Do not be surprised if you lose weight AFTER you body adjusts.  You may even gain weight initially as your body freaks out to this new routine and thinks it needs more calories. I almost always gain a few pounds on tours less than 2 weeks long and lose weight on tours over 5 weeks long.

I would guess about 40% of the riders on the TA (or most long tours) are solo riders.  The TA is a very good route and you will most likely not have problems with animals or humans.  Do not believe all you read about in the news.  Americans are just like everyone else in the world in that they want to raise their family, go to work/school, and live their lives without too much interference.  Unfortunately, that does not sell newspapers so they have to sell the stuff that is "news worthy".  Assuming you do not go looking for trouble, you will be fine.

As far as traffic goes, the USA is a fairly large country so drivers are different in various parts of the country but generally speaking, the drivers on the TA are overall OK. 

As far as body soreness, without seeing you riding and your body position, it is difficult to give a proper reply.  That said, it is normal for your body to have sores as you described until your body "toughens up" which can take a week or so of daily riding.  If you are in a "racing position" you could aggravate the symptoms you described so you might try a more upright position as that reduces the force on the arms and wrists and straightens the neck some.

Tailwinds, John

I use the GPS Routes primarily (assuming the route not using bike paths, divided highways, etc. which throws off the GPS) but always verify with the maps.  I also familiarize myself with the maps that morning so I sort of know what to expect, i.e. I make a turn in Town X then go 18 miles before turning onto Road Y. 

I prefer Routes over tracks as, at least with my device (64s I think), I get a beep to notify me of an upcoming turn whereas the Tracks are silent.  This is my personal preference.  Others have the opposite preference.  Tracks are only my preference when using a lot of bike paths since my device's routing can not handle paths.

That said, as ACA says, do not rely ONLY on the GPS Routes. While not certain, I think some of the newer routes do not offer GPS Routes, only GPS Tracks.  For instance, on the PPP route, I have had to create Routes based on using the Tracks as no Route waypoints are included, only Service waypoints.

Speaking of which, I have found the Services data to earn a grade C at best.  They are frequently off by a block or more, missing key info, hard to search on outside the immediate area, and are not kept up to date. Why they don't keep the data up to date and give more info than the maps can, I do not understand.

In summary, both are good provided you know the pluses and minuses of each format and use them accordingly.

Hope you have a great ride, John

Classifieds / Re: FS: Two Like New Iron Case Bicycle Boxes
« on: May 28, 2021, 06:11:11 pm »
Joan, welcome to the ACA Forums!

Friendly suggestion is to include the dimensions and the zip code the boxes will be shipped from so people can get an idea as to shipping costs.

Tailwinds, John

Routes / Re: Southern Tier Supported
« on: May 28, 2021, 04:00:18 pm »
You might contact the Race Across America organization since their race is very similar to what you are considering.  I know I have seen them before doing what you want to do.  Whether it is legal or the wisest thing, I do not know.  I would be very concerned about the legalities if the car is rear-ended and the police decided that you were driving "recklessly".  I would guess RAAM would know the answer, at least on their route (not the ST).

Tailwinds, John

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