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Messages - bbarrettx

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Classifieds / Jamis Renegade s2 Size Large 2018
« on: October 19, 2023, 03:56:06 pm »
This one did an OR-NJ cross country tour in 2018 and has been in the garage ever since. It's ready for another! Great high end steel feel with some carbon thrown in for weight savings. Fully set up with Ortleib waterproof bags and Specialized Handlebar Harness. Turnkey setup for $1200 or $800 for bike only. Bike is in UT. Will ship at actual shipping cost. Pics won't post. Feel free to email me @

General Discussion / Re: Your best single piece of advice
« on: June 04, 2023, 06:50:26 pm »
Ride eastbound?

Routes / Re: Illinois to Idaho
« on: October 16, 2020, 12:10:25 pm »
If you choose West Yellowstone instead of Jackson you'll head north and east out of Idaho Falls instead of due east through the Swan Valley. You can either head south through the park which will get you to the Tetons and back on the route I described or if you head east through Cody you'll be lined up to ride through the Black Hills of SD. That's a beautiful area to ride. From there you can find your way SE and still cross through N Iowa, avoiding the hills to the south.

I find WY to be most vulnerable to winds. They're most likely to be out of the west. If they do come from the east it's generally from an upsloping cold front which is typically a one day event. When we came across the Great Plains we had 5 consecutive days of 25+ mph winds from the NW. There's no way we would have even attempted to ride to the east on those days.

Routes / Re: Illinois to Idaho
« on: October 15, 2020, 07:37:21 pm »
Here's a route worth considering. We did this while crossing the country a few years ago but continued on to Madison, WI. The reason I would vector to N Iowa is that I've heard that the hills are relentless to the South. To the contrary, it's mainly flat up to the North. I can't speak for the roads mapped from Dana to Forest City, IA.

If you get to Idaho later than mid September you'll want to check the weather up in Stanley. That's a scenic area that you'll not want to miss but if it's too cold you can take US 20 through less scenic areas of lower elevation. I would also take the advice above that you'd be better served riding from Boise to Dana. The winds can be relentless in WY and the Great Plains, with no forests to block it until Eastern Iowa. You're much more likely to have wind out of the west than the east through these parts.

Good luck and enjoy.,+IL+61321/Forest+City,+IA/Winner,+SD/Kilgore,+NE/Casper,+WY/Jackson,+WY/Idaho+Falls,+ID/Stanley,+ID/Boise,+ID/@42.8485961,-110.6732413,5z/data=!4m56!4m55!1m5!1m1!1s0x880bed527c9ac977:0xf1a07ef38e3dc97!2m2!1d-88.9500761!2d40.9578103!1m5!1m1!1s0x87f17b161ca6f205:0xf9556adb362b1c71!2m2!1d-93.6371937!2d43.2624685!1m5!1m1!1s0x87817e2d64c04789:0x4d687af6be42713b!2m2!1d-99.8590069!2d43.3766665!1m5!1m1!1s0x8778951532e9d0d9:0x3666846823ae2793!2m2!1d-100.9557047!2d42.9383393!1m5!1m1!1s0x87609365c85e7a63:0x69cefc3917343e53!2m2!1d-106.3251749!2d42.8500769!1m5!1m1!1s0x53531a58fccf7f4b:0x3d1c01cbb13a835c!2m2!1d-110.7624282!2d43.4799291!1m5!1m1!1s0x5354594e739512b5:0x2311c9fc094c49c9!2m2!1d-112.0407584!2d43.4926607!1m5!1m1!1s0x54a8f65559fd639b:0xb9c8c4a2fb0a918b!2m2!1d-114.9351998!2d44.2155392!1m5!1m1!1s0x54aef172e947b49d:0x9a5b989b36679d9b!2m2!1d-116.2023137!2d43.6150186!3e1

In hindsight, the ferry seems like a really good option. I somehow got it into my head that taking the ferry would be akin to cheating, but my views have moderated on that. Another factor was that I have family in N Indiana lake country which set up nicely for a few days off in a nice setting.

Nice video. Great memories of a monumental mental challenge. It's the winds of KS that make it such a challenge and they seem to be more often out of the east than west. I crossed a few years ago through very north Nebraska/southern SD/and very north Iowa. It was much better than Kansas. We were headed for Minneapolis and onward to join the Northern Tier but could never get there because of crazy NW winds for 5 days. We ended up making lemonade out of our lemons and riding the winds to Madison and then headed south across IL, and east through IN, OH, PA, NJ. It's not a route that you'd typically draw up because you're trying to set up to get to either the N or S ends of Lake Michigan so you're usually vectoring NE or SE in the Plains to set that up. I think that's why most people end up far enough south in Iowa where they get hammered by the hills (mini Ozarks from what I've heard). We basically followed route 9 which had limited shoulders but almost no traffic, and the Iowa drivers are perhaps the nations most courteous. There's a surprisingly scenic and touristy lake area called Okoboji that appears out of nowhere. As you get 2/3 of they way across it's starts to get forested which makes for a great change of scenery. Some Amish/Mennonite communities in this part and even little surprises like a town called Spillville which reminded me of a village in the wine country of Provence or Tuscany. McGregor and Marquette are touristy but off the beaten path spots on the Mississippi River and then the climb out of the river valley through heavy lush forests on the Wisconsin side is quite scenic and a wonderful treat after several days in the arid Great Plains. From Madison it's a few easy days riding to hook into the Fox River Trail which will efficiently get you through the western Chicago suburbs and on your way to northern Indiana. Worth a look if you're seeking to avoid the relentless rollers of central and southern Iowa and the head case that is Kansas!

I've used the code on several occasions and have never been retroactively charged by Avis. I just used it last week for a one way rental from Gunnison, CO to Aspen for $40, saving me $160 vs the shuttle van from Crested Butte to Aspen. Although, I'm doing a one way rental in NJ next week and the code did not return a favorable rate there. If you're not comfortable using the code don't use it. I see no reason not to. I also have several corporate codes that save me $100's at higher end hotels. I'm happy to share those with anyone who contacts me directly. I prefer to travel smart...and I don't mind sharing the wealth.

If this doesn't find you too late, try this Avis AWD code. It's worked in the past to waive drop off fees. A515100.

Also, try, make sure that you check all of the boxes for memberships, etc. Their rates default to Priceline but are usually the best out there.

General Discussion / Re: hack hack
« on: June 01, 2019, 06:02:43 pm »
If the respiratory issues persist I'd try to get on Advair or equivalent. I finished up a XC tour last summer that had been halted in Wisconsin the previous summer due to my riding partner's injury, and I was quite ill with a respiratory illness for six weeks prior to the tour resumption. They got me all jacked up on Prednisone so I could train but it interfered with my ability to regulate heat and, of course, we had temps in the 90's for the first week. I also had crazy allergies, likely because I was coming off of Prednisone and my body was overreacting to everything. The only thing that worked for me was Advair. It's expensive, but it's what got me through the tour. I hope you heal up soon!

Routes / Re: Fast Trans-Am route ideas welcome
« on: February 28, 2019, 04:38:04 pm »
Great stuff. Gotta love the surprises like those Iowa hills. My daughter and I crossed the same summer but we stayed in the furthest north reaches of Iowa which was just flat and straight. You certainly covered some ground. I hope you were able to avoid persecution by the mileage police out here on this forum!

Best of luck with your project!

Routes / Re: Bike touring Colorado in April. Bad idea??
« on: February 28, 2019, 04:12:13 pm »
Good info re Amtrak, Aggie. I guess in a worst case scenario he'd have to ship his bike to a shop in Green River. Or could he have his bike in the passenger area after Grand Junction? Bummer that they discontinued train service out of Vegas but there are no lack of flights that would serve his purpose.

Routes / Re: Bike touring Colorado in April. Bad idea??
« on: February 26, 2019, 05:04:38 pm »
Good news and bad news. CO mountains not suitable for bike touring until late May/early June. Even if you get lucky with weather, the shoulders will be full of debris from snow mitigation. The good news is that you just stay on that train to Green River UT and you can do a spectacular tour through southern UT. You've got Moab, Arches NP, Canyonlands NP, Bryce Canyon NP, Capitol Reef NP, and Zion NP as well as Brian Head. It's probably too early to get down to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon but worth researching. This is beautiful bike touring country and you should have moderately warm days and cool nights. Just make sure to avoid Moab on the weekends as it'll be packed with Coloradans digging out from mud season. Vegas might even have a train route and that could open up opportunities to go Green River to Moab and then back up to Green River and down to Vegas. There's some interstate riding (legal) on I-15 south of St George but big wide shoulders when I did it many years ago. Well worth exploring.

Routes / Re: Fast Trans-Am route ideas welcome
« on: February 26, 2019, 04:41:54 pm »

That's an incredible pace, especially for a guy approaching 50 yrs old. I'm curious about your route and whether you ran into any difficult weather along the way. Also, you must have encountered days in the West where you had to bang out huge miles to get to a hotel. I'd love to hear more.

General Discussion / Re: Walking your bike
« on: February 11, 2019, 01:36:48 pm »

Jonathan, relative to your question on keeping the bike boxed for Amtrak, I had assumed that you could just check it as luggage which would be easier, but I have never taken a bike on the train. You should pose the question out here as someone will know the best way to handle it.

I have crossed twice but the crossing that I finished last summer was a route I designed with help from out here. It was close to the Northern Tier route and I crossed the Appalachians in Pennsylvania. That was considerably more difficult than the TA route through VA and KY. There are some steep climbs on those parts of the TA but nothing like PA. Your planned route sounds like it might be close to the Eastern Express which starts in Washington, DC and goes through southern PA. That route is known for less climbing but I still think the cold will be your biggest problem.

The TA starts south of DC and once you cross into the Shenandoah Valley of VA you will head south and southwest for a few days. I'll estimate that once you're in that southernmost point where you start to head more due west through KY the temperatures should be at least 10 degrees F warmer than PA. Maybe ever 15 degrees.

Not only will you be a few hundred miles south of PA but also keep in mind that PA and OH weather is very much influenced by the Great Lakes (Lake Erie in this case). It's just more cloudy and miserable through the majority of March. You might get cold weather in VA and KY but if it's cold there it'll be just brutal in PA and OH.

In the first few days of the TA you'll have to climb up and over the Blue Ridge Mountains but after that it's mostly just going to be up and down until you get to central KY. You'll have some elevation gain, but nothing crazy.

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