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Messages - Westinghouse

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General Discussion / Camping on bike routes
« on: October 10, 2008, 02:37:37 pm »
If you want to knock on doors asking poeople to let you pitch your tent in their yard, you can do that. It is not my style to do it that way. In all my touring I did that maybe three times, and I got acceptance each time. Instead of trying to micromanage before touring, just get out there on the road on a transcontinental bicycle tour and deal with it then and there. There are plenty of books on the subject of bicycle touring.

General Discussion / Camping on bike routes
« on: October 09, 2008, 11:47:29 am »
There are hostels. The one in El Paso charged about $20.00 a day, but it did not seem to have the atmosphere hostels are supposed to have. I cycled and hosteled around England, Scotland, and Wales for about 70 days, and hosteled through almost every country in western Europe also. In those hostels you met many other fellow travelers of the world. At the Gardner in El Paso I met one old dude who was afraid to tell anybody his name because he was paranoid about identity theft. At least there were some talkative people in the lobby one evening. I would walk into town center, have a meal with a beer or two in a bar-restaurant, and walk around.

The motels in the more remote areas of western states may be somewhat less expensive than those farther east, in Florida for example. I managed to find rooms for from $25.00 to $37.00. Use hostels when you can.

As for your question about stealth camping, it depends on which section of the tier you are in. Hwy. 90 running out of Jacksonville, FL all the way across the top of the state has myriad good places to just pull off the road, and lay it down for the night. In large sections of Texas, New Mexico, and  Arizona you will find the country and yourself separated by thousands of miles of barbed wire fence. There are places to stealth camp totally unseen, but, like myself, you might end up cycling till 4 a.m. looking for that one place. Sometimes you just have to take whatever you can get.

Planning your mileage like you said will not work over the long distance. It could land you you out in the middle of nowhere with no place to rack out for the night. Plan your trip according to the realities you encounter on the road.

The roads in Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana are really very rough in places, and this could reduce your daily mileage in some sections

General Discussion / California coast watch out..New bike on the way!
« on: October 15, 2008, 11:01:25 am »
There seem to be two different opinions on getting in shape for a long tour. One says you can get in condition on the tour, and after a few weeks you will be sufficiently strong to handle the rest. The other says to work out and get in shape before the tour. I try to adhere to the latter of the two. For example, I worked out in a gym three times a week for eight months before cycling from south Florida to New York City. The thing about getting in shape before touring is that it strengthens the legs and upper body. Toned, strengthened, stretched, muscles are more efficient and less liable to injury. Strengthened arms and shoulders alleviates the soreness that comes from the front-leaning-rest position over drop handlebars. And besides all that, it feels better to be exercised.

General Discussion / Trans-America 2010
« on: October 14, 2008, 11:21:12 am »
I have stuidied the transam route thoroughly in a book by Donna Ikenberry. I have not cycled it. Apparently there are many small towns with free or very cheap camping, showers, and municipal swimming pools. Those facilities would be very good in summer.

General Discussion / Transcontinental touring.
« on: October 27, 2008, 06:58:07 pm »
A transcontinental bicycle trail would run into some pretty substantial costs to build and maintain, but it would also create jobs for the building and maintaining.

General Discussion / Transcontinental touring.
« on: October 24, 2008, 02:24:21 pm »
Van Horn, Texas is on the S-tier. Two things I have noticed about Van Horn need to be mentioned. First, Van Horn used to have very reasonably priced motels, and was a good stopping off place for rest days. Prices went up when road work was being done in that area, and they have not come back down. For quite some time roads in that area were being improved, requiring many persons to be in the Van Horn area doing the work. Motel owners raised their prices significantly, knowing that the workers had no places else to go. After the workers left the prices stayed inflated. Second, I noticed it myself, and read about it in the journals of those who stayed to eat in Van Horn. People who eat in Van Horn's restaurants end up leaving the town with diarrhea, or with some mild form of dysentery. It happened to me every time I ate out there. After reading many journals by others who ate there I realized it was not just me.

General Discussion / Transcontinental touring.
« on: October 23, 2008, 01:12:51 pm »
When it comes to reaching the goal alive, I am sure that everyone would agree very much on that point. It is the one point on which everyone would agree, and it is the one point on which we do not have full control. No matter how safely you cycle it could still come out bad. Someone might just run into you. It happens. A person riding a bicycle was killed here just a few days ago. I knew a fellow (Gus) who was hit. Both his legs were broken and he required surgery to have them set. Another man, Arthur Hudson, was killed by an 18 year old guy in a truck. Every once in a while, even in this relatively sparsely populated area, somebody gets killed riding a bicycle. There are several others.

All I can tell you is to read books on cycling safety and take what they say seriously. Be very careful in traffic. You cannot always tell what a motor vehicle driver might do, but you can tip the odds in your favor by being a careful, defensive cyclist.

This message was edited by Westinghouse on 10-28-08 @ 10:13 AM

General Discussion / Transcontinental touring.
« on: October 17, 2008, 01:20:59 pm »
I think weight is an issue, and I say go as light as you can. But it is not an all determining issue as long as you can go enjoyably with what you are carrying. Keep it light. Why pull a lot of useless weight? What would be the purpose? An alcohol stove weighing a total of 20 ounces with fuel included is a better choice than a stove that weighs two pounds (32 ounces) with fuel that weighs 28 ounces. And that is only one item where weight can be pared. Keep reducing weight and the next thing you know you are carrying 25 pounds of weight instead of 35 or 40.

Mr Brent was saying something about the mosquito problem in summer where I was. Well, you can say that again. There were millions of the little blood sucking little demons from hell. And it was a pain in the neck dealing with them. There was almost no rain at all on that trip, and I hardly used the tarp at all. Mostly it became part of my pillow arrangement. But the mosquitos were everywhere. Here is how I dealt with them. I just lay out in the open. I sprayed myself with Cutters spray and rubbed it around on myself. Then I would light three mosquito coils, and place them so that the barely perceptible drift of the night  breeze would keep the smoke flowing across me. It worked, and the problem was solved, but my clothes held the distinctive aroma / odor of smoke.

General Discussion / Transcontinental touring.
« on: October 16, 2008, 03:20:11 pm »
Weight is not all that critical, but it is a factor. If you look to keeping your weight down, it is possible to reduce it by 10 or 15 pounds by being careful. If you get into a particularly hilly, rollercoaster like area like the Smokey Mountains or the road alongside the Mississippi river, you will definitely start feeling that weight. After a while it can really be a drag.

New touring cyclists often bring too much gear, and they end up mailing some home. There are things you think you cannot get along without at home which suddenly become useless ballast on a long cycling tour. Read books on bicycle touring. Look up web sites on the subject. Find out what experienced cyclists take on long tours.

General Discussion / Transcontinental touring.
« on: October 09, 2008, 06:34:04 pm »
Clothing appropriate for weather. Tent or other shelter, sleeping bag, maps. Some snacks depending on where you are. Water. A cook stove is not actually essential. A bike in condition to complete a long tour.
Enough money to complete the tour without having to stop and work. Also, do not go anywhere without tools, a pump, and a patch kit.

This message was edited by Westinghouse on 10-14-08 @ 8:14 AM

General Discussion / Transcontinental touring.
« on: October 07, 2008, 02:13:19 pm »
Weight should be kept at a minimum. Know your needs on the road, and carry the minimum that will meet those needs. The heaviest weight I ever carried was 65 pounds on a 4,500 mile tour through France, Germany, Czech, Poland, the former Soviet republics of Ukraine and Moldovia, then Romania, Bulgaria, Greece. Italy, and the east coast of the US from New York City to south Florida. Cycling days averaged at something over seventy.

Going across the USA in winter requires additional weight for cold weather. You can get by carrying thirty pounds, sometimes less.

I do not even use a tent anymore. All I carry for shelter is a 10 X 12 polyethylene tarp, camoflage pattern. String a line between two trees, throw it over the rope and peg it to the ground. It is certain shelter against the rain and snow. On cold nights, below freezing when the wind is kicking up, put the pad on the ground, fix up a pillow, lay the bag(rated at 20 degrees F or below) on the pad, and when you go to sleep just throw the tarp over the bag. It breaks wind chill and turns your 20 degree bag into a 10 degree bag, or so it feels anyway. When you choose a must-have item to take with you, think of where you might be able to get the same item in lighter weight.
Saving ounces on many different items adds up to several pounds lighter.

This message was edited by Westinghouse on 11-5-08 @ 1:18 PM

General Discussion / Transcontinental touring.
« on: October 04, 2008, 11:59:18 am »
Mileage can vary so much from day to day. You can be on the road at eight, and make forty miles by noon. Another day you can be on the road by eight, and not make forty miles until four p.m. Some days total fifty miles, another day 82, another day 67, another day 54, another day 91, another day 45, another day 120.

I did a 3700 miles bike trip across the USA in 66 days total, but 54 days of actual cycling. That averaged about 70 miles per day. I cycled from South Florida to Bangor, Maine in twenty days, averaging about 85 miles per day. My daily average on the pacific coast bike route was low by comparison because there were so many hills, but mileage did not matter because the scenery was so great.

I once did 250 miles with a lot of city cycling in two and one half days.

As for LA to New Jersey, you can take the Transam to Colorado and across to the Katy Trail, take it to the end, go north to Ohio where a number of bike trails can take you to Pittsburg. From there the tow paths will take you off road to Washington, D.C. You can get over to Delmarva and get the Lewes-Cape May ferry to N.J.

If you take the ACA trail you will most likely meet other cyclists.

This message was edited by Westinghouse on 10-27-08 @ 4:00 PM

General Discussion / Transcontinental touring.
« on: October 03, 2008, 10:50:35 am »
I did 2600 miles on the northern tier beginning in Seattle and then going to Ana Cortes. It was quite good. I got along the Mississippi, went south, and cut off to Chicago before getting to Davenport, Iowa. Something important came up, an emergency, and I had to cut the trip short.

There are two routes along the Mississippi. One is right on the river. It is full of short, steep, abrupt hills, and can be very difficult. The other is farther west and away from the river banks and not nearly as hilly. I got caught out in some really bad weather, and spent the night in the number 1 fire department in Minneapolis when the worst storm since the early 1800s blew through. It killed people and leveled communities.

There is a lot of very beautiful scenery across the northern tier. There are Glacier National Park, the Going to the Sun Highway, and Logan Pass at the continental divide all in one strip. There is a station at the top of Logan Pass. I got there at night, so it was closed.

General Discussion / Transcontinental touring.
« on: October 03, 2008, 10:38:15 am »
I have heard and read about the Katy trail. I did some research to link up bike trails across the USA. I found that from the east coast of Virginia one can cycle through a greenway at D.C., then to Georgetown, and follow a series of canal tow paths through Maryland and west across southern Pennsylvania to Pittsburg. Then there is some road cycling.

Once in Ohio there is a series of bike paths running roughly north and south. South of Ohio there is quite a bit of road travel. Then you get on the Kady trail which will run you south and southwest, and let you out near an entry point to ACA's Transam route. From there it is on to Pueblo, north to Denver, and then 10,000 feet into the clouds. From there follow the Transam route---AND YOU HAVE ARRIVED.

This message was edited by Westinghouse on 10-27-08 @ 3:59 PM

General Discussion / Transcontinental touring.
« on: October 01, 2008, 01:32:20 pm »
What this country needs is a good, dedicated, transcontinental, bicycle path. A good model for such a path can be found in the Tammany Trace running some 31 miles from Slidell, Louisiana to around Covington. It is about 12 feet wide, smooth asphalt, with picnic tables along the way. A transcon bike path would need to have basic shelters every so often, like the sort they have along the Appalachian trail.

Google Tammany Trace, and you can see pictures of it.

This message was edited by Westinghouse on 10-22-08 @ 8:52 AM

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