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Messages - Westinghouse

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Routes / Northern Tier next summer
« on: November 07, 2008, 11:05:44 am »
I did 2600 miles west to east on ACA's N-tier. I started around June if my memory is correct. In July there was no falling snow at all on that route in the Rockies, but of course it was cold at the higher elevations. There were still chunks of ice as big as  cars alongside the road at places, but weatherwise it was all right.

Routes / western express, grand canyon
« on: November 08, 2008, 10:43:04 am »
I have only read about the western express route. I have read in summmer it is remote and desolate for cycling in places but can be done. I have lived most all my life in the flatlands. I am not sure about the elevations on the western express. It is only my guess, but I would imagine the mountain roads in January would be impassable.

Routes / Europe North to South
« on: November 05, 2008, 04:41:07 pm »
On that tour in 1994 I cycled 660 miles from Brindisi, Italy to Milano along the east coast of Italy, and the west bank of the Adriatic sea.  Coastal Italy was very nice. It certainly was several rungs up the ladder of civilization than the former Soviet republics, Romania, and Bulgaria.

Routes / Europe North to South
« on: November 03, 2008, 07:46:44 pm »
I did a tour similar to the one you mention, except that I started south nearer Calais. I went through France, Belgium, Germany to Munich, and then over the Alps by way of the Brenner pass, and down into Venice.
After that I trained to Lancashire, England from Venice. Then I (we) cycled to the English lake district, and over to Stranraer, Scotland. We got the ferry to Larne in northern Ireland. Then we cycled the coast and Antrim and around to Londonderry, northern Ireland. After several days in Derry we trained back to the ferry, took ship back to Stanraer, and cycled back to Preston, Lancashire. From there it was the train on to London, and a flight back to Florida in the United States.

Traffic was particularly heavy in Belgium. All in all it was a good trip. I crossed the Alps on a Schwinn Le Tour bike with only two chain rings on the front. In those days I was not aware they made triple chain sets. I wish I could remember more details about it, but that was one trip on which my notes were sparse.

I do have a detailed bicycle touring journal of over 108,000 words, most of which happened in Europe. One afternoon in Poland I got pinned down by artillery fire, hand grenades, automatic weapons, and exploding mines about 6 miles west of Bojanow. Strange but true. This was August 31, 1994 when the wars of ethnic extermination were being carried out in the former Yugoslavia, very near to where I was cycling. That particular bike trip was the singular example of a very bad set of experiences, but realities at that time, not long after the fall of communism, were just all wrong. However, it is the  tour on which I have the most exhaustive description of day to day life on the road by bicycle. I am a writer, not a professional writer, but a writer.

Routes / Florida in February
« on: November 13, 2008, 01:36:17 pm »
I was just reading some directions that said to take highway 27. All I can say is that judging from my experiences with 27, it is one of the worst roads for cycling in the nation. The directions also said 27 has wide shoulders. It has in some places, but my experience taught me that the shoulders were so heaped and cluttered with debris as to make them useless for a bicycle. 27 may not be as I described it every inch of the way 24 and 7, but it was definitely the way I described it for a long distance until I could find a way off it. It could have sretches that are ok, and stretches that are pure hell and fury. I guess one might choose to take the bad with the good, but I will never cycle on 27 ever again.

Routes / Florida in February
« on: November 05, 2008, 04:33:27 pm »
Here is some good advice. Stay off highway 27, also known as 27/19/98. It runs northwest out of south Florida in the middle of the state. Saying that 27 and the drivers who use it in winter are not particularly bicycle friendly is a gross understatement. Side lanes are cluttered with rocks, gravel, sticks, broken glass, car parts, mufflers, pieces of metal things. You have to use the motor traffic lanes because of all the junk in the side lanes. The traffic is incredibly fast and furious with a constant annoying din, and large, very noisy trucks bearing down on you from behind all day. It is hell. Avoid it.

Routes / Florida in February
« on: November 03, 2008, 01:03:48 pm »
East coastal Florida in winter will have maximum traffic. Cycle the barrier islands as much as possible. Highway US 1 should be avoided when possible. The wind will be either warm, cool, or possibly below freezing. There are still north winds sweeping south that time of year; they begin around October.

The S-tier (not necessarily the one mapped out by ACA) from Jacksonville runs along highway 90. Ninety's terrain can be rolling, hilly, and relatively flat. It has nice wide sidelanes that are smooth. Trees and forests on both sides of the road can block off northwinds. There are many good places for stealth camping.

They are paving over an old railroad right of way to make a dedicated trail from Palatka to Lake City, roughly parallel with highway 100. It is still in the works, so forget about using it.

Stay off highway 27, also 27/19/98. In winter these roads are corridors of hell for a cyclist.

This message was edited by Westinghouse on 11-7-08 @ 7:50 AM

Routes / Florida in February
« on: November 03, 2008, 01:03:47 pm »
East coastal Florida in winter will have maxinmum traffic. Cycle the barrier islands as much as possible. Highway US 1 should be avoided when possible. The wind will be either warm, cool, or possibly below freezing. There are still north winds sweeping south that time of year; they begin around October.

Routes / Grand Canyon/Western Express
« on: November 03, 2008, 01:05:08 pm »
I am not familiar with that area for cycling.

Routes / Out in the sticks
« on: October 27, 2008, 02:35:35 pm »
I don't know anything about it.

Routes / Norfolk to San Antonio
« on: October 22, 2008, 12:11:52 pm »
Your chosen route may be very good. Because I am not familiar with the roads and terrain you mention, I will have to pass on saying anything at all about them. The Atlantic route to 90W in Jacksonville is the best I can come up with at the moment.

This message was edited by Westinghouse on 10-22-08 @ 9:12 AM

Routes / Norfolk to San Antonio
« on: October 20, 2008, 07:27:52 pm »
I would not know what to tell you about a trip like that. It seems like you might have to cross the Appalachians or Piedmonts unless you go south around the southern end.

Actually, you could follow the Atlantic route south to Jacksonville, Florida, and take highway 90 through to Austin. However, once you hit the border between Florida and Alabama, 90's surface and what side lanes still exist deteriorate quite a bit. Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana have very poor road surfaces compared to 90 in Florida. Sure, the road surfaces are improved here and there, but the picture is more what you might expect to encounter in developing and third-world countries. I think it has to do with the fact that that part of the country, mainly Louisiana, is a flood plain on top of 7000 feet of silt (New Orleans anyway). They have a gargantuan problem maintaining water levels, and controling the shifting of the mouth of the Mississippi river. The unstable, marshy, ground messes up their roads.

This message was edited by Westinghouse on 10-20-08 @ 4:30 PM

Routes / Southern Tier question.
« on: October 30, 2008, 01:43:24 pm »
Early in the winter of 1985 another person and I got caught out, I believe it was new years eve, at night in a serious snow blizzard. We had a tent and two sleeping bags. During the night I was really concerned about hypothermia. Neither one of us was able to sleep because of the cold. The next morning we got up. I had to use a screw driver to pic the solid pieces of ice off the brake calipers and the deraileurs to get them to move. I was somewhat miserable for four days after that. That blizzard hit us just east of Guadalupe Pass. I think there is a mountain there, el Capitanis, that is the highest elevation in Texas.

I do not know what the temperature got down to that night, but I would not be surprised to find out it was zero F.

Routes / Southern Tier question.
« on: October 28, 2008, 01:40:13 pm »
That Tammany Trail is really nice. You would never regret using it. If I do the S-tier again, perhaps this winter, I will definitely use it.
What I would like to see is a dedicated bike path like the Tammany race all the way across the United States, east to west. It might be very expensive to build and maintain, but the building of it would create jobs, and the maintaining of it would also keep people in jobs.

This message was edited by Westinghouse on 11-1-08 @ 11:38 AM

Routes / Southern Tier question.
« on: October 20, 2008, 07:04:43 pm »
Areas near the border of Mexico seemed safe enough, and the border patrol were seemingly omnipresent.

If you plan on slipping over the border and doing some of the trip south of the Rio Grande, perhaps you might want to think again. There have been many robberies and murders in Mexican border towns. I was cycling east to west from Florida, and I was about 80 miles (estimated) west of Van Horn, TX when a border patrol truck pulled in behind me and asked me to stop. This I did. Two officers asked me where I had started from and where I was going. Then they told me this. If anyone on this road yells for you to stop or motions to you in any way, do not stop; just keep right on going. Two persons had gone over the border shortly before then. They were found robbed and murdered, and those two were not the only ones who had run into serious trouble. I assured the border patrol officers I would not go over to anyone if they yelled or motioned to me to do so. Nobody ever did try to direct me in any way along that road.

Sure, we enjoy our cycling tours, and we intend to mind our own business, obey the law, and have a good time of it, but we cannot go blind to the fact that there are real dangers out there. Be careful.

This message was edited by Westinghouse on 10-20-08 @ 4:06 PM

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