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Messages - Westinghouse

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General Discussion / Tour Planning - Ten months out
« on: December 28, 2008, 06:52:24 am »
You can follow highway 2 for quite a long distance on your proposed route. ACA has maps for what you want to do. I would take a look at those maps. They contain information  that may prove to be invaluable to you.

I did 2600 miles of the N-tier in  1987, west to east. I flew from Florida to Seattle, cycled to Ana Cortes, and began from there. I did so because of what I had heard about prevailing winds. I can only tell you from what I remember, which is not very much as this was not a journaled tour. Wind, as I remember it, was not that much of a concern until I had gotten out of the mountains, and down into the foothills. There in the foothills I do vividly remember very strong winds blowing from west to east. The land was rolling. It was like being on a moped or something. Much of the time I could not even get torque in my highest gear. I would not attempt to pedal against such forceful winds. That is about all I can remember about that.

This message was edited by Westinghouse on 12-28-08 @ 4:00 AM

General Discussion / Tour Planning - Ten months out
« on: September 30, 2008, 01:42:41 pm »
To tell you the truth, bicycle touring the way I do it does not require long term planning. Load the panniers, grab some road maps, and you are on your way, but then I have put in a lot of miles bicycle touring around the world. For a true beginner it might seem more complicated. After you get the hang of it you just go.

If your proposed tour is a long one, I recommend you change all these components with new ones:

1. wheels
2. tires
3. tubes
4. chain
5. freewheel
6. front chainrings
7. front and rear deraileurs
8. brake pads
9. brake and deraileur cables
10. handlebar padding

I have two new Shimano deraileurs waiting for my next long tour.

General Discussion / Tour Planning - Ten months out
« on: September 26, 2008, 12:44:07 pm »
It is a good idea to have some idea of what services will be available to you along various points on your route. If you do not carry sufficient food and water, there may be long distances between supplies.

I cycled through Texas hill country in summer. I checked the map and saw there was a string of small towns on my route, so I carried supplies sufficient only for getting from town to town which would lighten my load. What I found out was that these little towns as marked on the map did not eally exist. They were only names on a map. There I was on 100 degrees F, without food and water and fifty miles to the nearest actual town, and even that was only a crossroads with one piddly little store and a few houses. If not for some kind people who gave me a bag of turkey sandwiches, cookies, and bottles of water, I would have been in a fix. By the way, some days on that tour I drank three gallons of liquid per day. I cycled from Florida to Los Angeles, California. LA was an offensive, unfriendly place. I was glad to leave there.

General Discussion / Favorite book
« on: September 26, 2008, 01:13:38 pm »
Miles from Nowhere by Barbara Savage. I have read it cover to cover six times. As a matter of fact, in a few steps I could reach over a grab it right now.

General Discussion / Meeting People on Tour
« on: October 15, 2008, 11:09:46 am »
I had some unusual chance meetings of the same person on the PCBR. First, I went to camp at the Elk Prairie campground. The HB section held about six people that night. One was a younger fellow who brewed up Cappuccino coffee in a special little, light-weight coffee maker. The following morning I packed and left. I rode south and came to a small town with rows of small  shops and stores. I went into one of the restaurants to get a cup of coffee, and there was that same person who was at the campground. Two or three days later and farther south I came to a town with various stores. I went into one of the stores, and saw that same person again. Days later I saw that same person again somewhere else farther south.

It was no big deal, but I thought I would mention it.

This message was edited by Westinghouse on 10-15-08 @ 8:10 AM

General Discussion / Meeting People on Tour
« on: October 08, 2008, 03:33:05 pm »
If you cycle tour in places where you can expect to meet other cyclists, such as specially mapped, long-distance bicycle routes, you are more likely to meet other cyclists, and then have something to socialize about. I have gone across the US six times by bicycle. Rarely if ever did I see anyone else doing what I was doing. Sometimes I saw nobody else doing what I was going. Even on well established routes like the northern tier and southern tier I met only a few who were supposedly going the full distance.

Traveling cross country by bicycle can be good for some conversation almost anywhere you go.

General Discussion / Meeting People on Tour
« on: September 30, 2008, 01:55:10 pm »
I cycled the pacific coast route. Some people seemed friendly. Others definitely were not friendly. Some seemed hostile. It was a fantastic tour despite some of the people I met along the way.

Crossing the USA east to west did not bring me into contact with any really great social situations either. Sure, the loaded touring cyclist draws attention when he pulls into towns, but he gets exactly the same questions every time, and has to repeat hundreds of times across America. I do not exactly consider that a social life. Here are the questions---How far have you come on that bicycle? Where did you start your trip? How far is that? When did you begin? Where are you going? How long do you think it will take? How many miles do you do in a day?
Have you had many flat tires? You've got a long road ahead of you.

It is the same thing over and over, almost like a broken record with a few variations.

To me, bicycle touring is a personal matter, not a big get to know you across the country. Some of the people I have met along the way were not particularly nice at all.

General Discussion / Pacific Coast Route Advice
« on: November 06, 2008, 10:47:53 am »
I do remember the great scenery on the PCBR. Stunning, majestic, and magnificent are three words that come to mind. It was the best or second best tour I had ever been on to that point, and it remains that today. Traffic picks up south of San Francisco. Some cyclists told me they would cycle only as far south as San Francisco because of the many traffic incidents between cyclists and motor vehicles south of the big city. I got through unscathed, but there was definitely an incident between me and people driving truck-mobile home combinations south of San Francisco. Other than that one incident, nothing else very dangerous happened.

General Discussion / Pacific Coast Route Advice
« on: November 05, 2008, 04:16:43 pm »
I don't remember.

General Discussion / Where to camp
« on: September 30, 2008, 12:50:02 pm »
The northern tier of the ACA route has plenty of forest and open space where you can find great campsites near clean-water streams. It can be very difficult finding an area to free camp in the northeast USA from coastal Virginia to well north of NYC, but there it is possible to find hostels. South Florida offers an interesting variety of stealth camp sites, even down south in the Keys, but be careful in the everglades. They have fifteen foot alligators that travel considerable distances across dry land looking for something to eat.

I cycled till four in the a.m. one time because all the land was fenced off right up to the roadway, and there was no way to get off the road and into the woods. That was in Texas. I had the same problem in Arizona where fences cut me off everywhere from wooded areas.

Stealth camping can present its problems and limitations, but that is the way I do most all of my overnight sleeping, with breaks of from two to four days occasionally in motels. It is a great deal less expensive than all motel (credit card) touring, and less expensive than renting sites at KOAs. The big downside of stealth camping is sometimes not getting a shower for five to seven days at a time. Stealthing it makes you tougher. It gives you a rough edge that you need. It feels good. There is too much softness and that---let's do it the easiest way---attitude. Stealthing it is more in line with that old pioneer spirit that pushed human populations from the eastern seaboard, across the Appalachians, into the midwest, and across to California, Oregon, and Washington.

General Discussion / Where to camp
« on: September 29, 2008, 12:24:11 pm »
Going through Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona I would sometimes cycle late into the night because there were no places to pull over and sleep at all anywhere. Fences were everywhere. There is no way I climb a fence to camp. There just were not many really nice places to free camp. You have to sleep.

Coastal California has plenty of nice places to camp. So do Oregon and Washington. Highway 90 in north Florida has quite a good selection too.

General Discussion / Where to camp
« on: September 26, 2008, 12:28:52 pm »
I have done a great deal of long distance bicycle touring, and I camp, but not the way litespeed camps.
Almost all my camps are stealth camps. Never stayed in a KOA but their showers are nice. In north Florida on highway 90 there are plenty of treed areas. However, getting out in the western states presents a problem for free camping because most of that part of the country is on the other side of a barbed wire fence.
My camps. go up at or after dark and they disappear the next morning. When a day or two of rest are in order I check into the cheapest motel anyone  can find. Cheap can mean neat, clean, well kept, TV, AC, heat, but quite small. Cheap can also mean dirty, neglected, rotting carpets on the floor, peeling paint, and some really dubious characters hanging around.

Most of the camp sites I have found over these past 10 years in the USA left much to be desired. Often they were cramped, small, uncomfortable places just big enough to get into and lie down. I always stay out of eyesight when I camp. There are too many out there who would do a person wrong. Rarely have I found the ideal
free area in which to lay it down for the night.

But when I cycle I rough it and rack out wherever I can as long as it is safe to do so.

General Discussion / Eating and spending on a two month biking spree
« on: January 01, 2009, 01:50:12 pm »
Oh well. Sleeping alonside the road and eating out of supermarket dumpsters is, in my opinion, not the way to get things done. I camp in the woods, stay in motels, and eat from food stores, front door entry, and restaurants. However, I hear they throw away perfectly good food from supermarkets. Be that as it may, if I had to rely on that for touring, I would just stay home.

General Discussion / Eating and spending on a two month biking spree
« on: December 27, 2008, 09:21:24 am »
I was wondering the same thing. Whatever happened? I have always tried to keep my touring expences down by stealth camping, and using less expensive motels, but I have never taken to going through supermarket dumpsters for food. My only sources of food have always been food stores and restaurants. I would never sleep along the side of the road. However, they can do their tour any way they want.

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