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Messages - valygrl

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Routes / Re: Using Beartooth Highway as a connector
« on: May 18, 2012, 12:04:54 pm »
Oh - heh, I rode on 90, oops :)

Routes / Re: Using Beartooth Highway as a connector
« on: May 16, 2012, 01:16:55 pm »
Hopefully Jamawani will chime in.

I rode in the area a few years ago with a guy who has ridden the Beartooth Highway about 10 times, he said it is incredible, but you have to be prepared for weather any time of the year.   Sunlight Basin/Chief Joseph Highway to Cody is also spectacular, and a bit lower so if there is weather that would be a good option (I rode that one, and I would recommend it over heading through Yellowstone, it is empty of cars and stacked with scenery).

Having said I haven't ridden the Beartooth, here's what I would do:

I have ridden this route from Tensleep (I came out of Yellowstone at Cody) to the black hills, and it is great.  I rode over the Bighorns eastbound from Tensleep to Buffalo (awesome) and also westbound from Sheridan to Shell / Greybull (also awesome, slightly less spectacular).  I hear (but have not done) that the road up into the bighorns from Lovell is incredibly steep, so you might consider if you want to go that way or not, depending on how much you like steep.  Other hightlights of the route are Devil's Tower, quiet roads to Belle Fourche, and SPearfish Canyon.   THe stretch between Buffalo and Gillette is pretty empty, there are just enough services but be sure to take plenty of water.

In any case, do go through the bighorn mountains, they are the best.

Routes / Re: San Francisco to Vegas and onwards to WE/TA
« on: April 11, 2012, 08:24:48 am »
Check the weather - my sister told me it's pouring in SF which *might* mean snowing in Tahoe.

Routes / Re: Weather in October
« on: March 24, 2012, 10:07:18 am »
I also have done SF-LA at the very end of October, and the weather was perfect.  Gorgeous route.  Definitely not for a totally-beginner bike rider, but perfect for a totally-beginner tourist.

General Discussion / Re: Campgrounds and bear boxes
« on: March 16, 2012, 01:15:10 am »
So, yeah, another data point here, and I've ridden most of that route.

yes there are bears.  no there are not always boxes.  but you will always find something to do with your food pannier(s).  Bathroom, dumpster, another camper's car, etc.  Don't bother with the canister if you will be in camp grounds.

If you are going to wild camp and don't plan to be around people/facilities, though, it might be worth bringing.

Routes / Re: Weather: Transamerica E to W for fast cyclists
« on: February 22, 2012, 09:42:20 pm »
It's been a low snow year in the Rockies.  The TransAmerica passes you will be using in Colorado will be open - they don't actually ever close - and the roads will be snow-free unless it's actually snowing when you are there (possible at any time of year).  That said, if you mean you would be in the Rockies either 5/26 or 6/2, I would choose the later date.  We will still be getting snow through March/April, and the later the better in terms of more stable and warm weather in the CO mountains, and especially in Yellowstone - which is probably going to be the coldest place on the trip.  If you plan to camp in Yellowstone, you might be still too early for many campgrounds to be open.

Do bring real rain/cold weather gear, expect thunderstorms mid-day on the tops of the passes, but you'll probably have gorgeous spring-like weather most of the time. 

Here's some info about Yellowstone winter road conditions:

General Discussion / Re: Cost - WE to TA
« on: February 16, 2012, 06:57:58 pm »
We see this question so many times - I'd be really interested to hear how much you end up actually spending after the fact.

My touring style is nothing like yours so I can't add anything useful to you.  Other than, maybe, don't expect low calorie intake (and low quality food) to work very well on a bike tour. 

Routes / Re: Bighorns
« on: February 13, 2012, 12:48:03 am »
I liked Tensleep Canyon better as well.  Haven't been on the north/western bit through Lovell yet, but I did the Rangely-Shell Canyon way westbound and the Tensleep way eastbound.  Scenery is great both ways on the east side, but in the west Tensleep feels more wilderness-y, whereas shell fells more heavily used and slightly less remote/more industrial. 

General Discussion / Re: Keeping bike on a rack.
« on: February 11, 2012, 08:24:00 pm »
Thanks for the reply, drfloog.

I echo what John Nelson said "Have a blast and don't die."  -- and also, if it was me and I had some time off in the beginning of March, I would go to San Diego or Tucson and save the continental divide for a warmer time of year.  I'm not going to belabor the point any more, but I do want to make it.


General Discussion / Re: Keeping bike on a rack.
« on: February 11, 2012, 10:19:34 am »
Hey, I've seen a couple of your threads - do you live in Longmont?   (I do - well, between Longmont and Boulder.)

I'm really not sure how to respond to you, as you are asking pretty basic questions, yet contemplating doing a trip that is pretty well outside of what makes sense with the weather/seasons around here.  Just curious, knowing a little about you might help people make more informed replies.  LIke, do you know all about winter camping already, and realize it's still winter here, vs. thinking that March = Spring and it's going to be nice weather and green grass and dry roads.


General Discussion / Re: Keeping bike on a rack.
« on: February 11, 2012, 10:12:09 am »
March is usually the snowiest month of the year.  We've had a very snowy February.

I assume you are planning on back-country snow camping?  I don't think any of the regular camp sites will be open.  Pay attention to the avalanche forecasts.

Also, looks like Bear Lake Road will be in for some improvements this year and will be closed starting in February (?).

It would be a good idea to call and talk to someone on site before committing to your plan.

Gear Talk / Re: removing tabs on fork
« on: February 10, 2012, 12:39:02 am »
+1, but in many years of hauling bikes quite a few of which were made before lawyer lips were used, and some with them filed off, I have never had a problem with a fork coming loose from the rack.

Last year TWO of my friends' bikes with filed-off lawyer tabs unclipped from roof racks.  One was on a car I was riding in, and I know it was racked carefully (though I didn't do it myself).  Luckily someone in another car warned us before the bike fell over all the way, but it was leaning on my bike when we pulled over.  The other bike wasn't so lucky, it tipped over the side of the car, held on by it's rear wheel strap, the tip of the fork broke off, and there was some other damage to the bike. 

Both bikes had carbon forks, FWIW.  Personally after seeing/hearing about this, I wouldn't file them unless it was on a race bike where a quick wheel change was actually important.

Routes / Re: Best way from SW Colorado on TransAm to Denver
« on: February 02, 2012, 02:44:22 pm »
Wow, thank you everyone for all of the suggestions.  I'm going to dig out my road atlas tonight and see if I can plot out all of your comments.  Valygrl, can you tell me more about the best riding spots? Are you saying the best riding is on the western side of the Rockies?

I just meant - the mountains in colorado.  The riding in the front range (east of the mountains, the area defined by Springs -Denver - Boulder - Ft Collins - and north to the WY border - is pretty much the terminus of the plains.  Immediately west, you get into the mountains.  So from Denver, don't go straight up the front range all the way to Wyoming, make sure you cross into the mountains - Poudre Canyon or Rocky Mtn National Park from the Ft. COllins area, or up the I-70 corridor (back roads) to either Berthoud Pass (40) or all the way to Summit County (around Dillon-Frisco) before heading north.

Routes / Re: East to West TransAm to Southern Tier
« on: February 02, 2012, 11:56:52 am »
Gotcha, that makes sense.  GC Connector is high, and quite far west.

Personally, if you can stomach the plane fare (not too bad, esp. if you can use Southwest or Frontier) I would start in San Francisco (Western Express) or San Diego (Southern Tier) and just go all the way across, but that's my bias towards riding in the west.   But if you like riding in the southeast, your plan makes sense, and you'll probably just have to wait and do what the weather tells you on the spot, rather than planning it.  Every year is different.

Routes / Re: East to West TransAm to Southern Tier
« on: February 01, 2012, 08:59:11 pm »
ARe you talking about doing the whole TA to OR and then back on the ST?

I think if you start 9/1 in the east, you are going to be running into snow in the CO rockies and serious snow/bad weather past there in Yellowstone and west of there.

You *Might* be able to make it all the way on the Western Express, but late October in the Sierra is hit or miss, and the days will be short & getting shorter, which will make high miles/day challenging.

Or, are you talking about going part way, then hanging a south before you hit the Pacific?

Either way, not sure what to tell you other than I think it's a bit on the late side for a TA that includes the Rockies, unless you are very very fast.

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