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Messages - bbarrettx

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This thread kind of fizzled out but if you're still planning the same flight to JFK I would do this, just to give yourself a chance. I'd leave the bike in the box and take the bus to Penn Station. From there I'd take the train south. Amtrak runs a bus spur to Virginia Beach which isn't far from Yorktown and the start of the TA. You'll be maybe a month early starting the TA but you could still get reasonably mild weather in VA/KY in March and could avoid snow and ice altogether. If you start from Sandy Hook you're two months early. I grew up 5 miles from Sandy Hook and the rivers are sometimes still iced over in early March just to give you an idea.

The TA to Western Express really is a great route and so much easier to navigate than planning your own route through those areas you suggested. I've done it both ways and always recommend the TA. Good luck.

General Discussion / Re: Miles per day in different parts of the country
« on: December 13, 2018, 11:54:38 am »
Agreed with all above. Relative to your question regarding distance on the flats, all wind conditions remaining equal you can probably cover about 20% more distance on the flats than in Rocky Mountain valley/pass conditions vs about 30% more  compared to PA/VA/Appalachian riding. One important thing to note is that on the TA you won't see a forest from Pueblo to the Missouri border and if the wind happens to be against you it's going to work you harder than any pass in the Rockies, and typically all day. For me, that was the biggest challenge of the TA. I've crossed twice and I do definitely suggest going west to east as it typically helps you in very wind prone areas like WY but do not think that you won't get hit with aggressive, mind numbing headwinds along the way. Last summer I followed a blog of a couple going west to east on the TA and they reported strong headwinds every day on that entire stretch from Pueblo across Kansas. Once you get to certain density of trees in MO that problem disappears. You just have the crazy grades to deal with there, but I'll take those any day compared to headwinds across eastern CO and KS. Enjoy the trip and post out here if you're going to do a trip blog.

Routes / Re: Wretched road Missouri 221 transamerica route options
« on: August 01, 2018, 10:28:14 am »
Isn't there a bridge across Missouri? Did you miss it?

Routes / Re: Berthoud Alternate Loop
« on: June 17, 2018, 04:41:40 pm »
I live in CO at moderate altitude and I think it'll be tough. In my experience it's not possible to acclimatize by coming in a few days before the tour. That said, some people seem to adjust much better/quicker than others so if you put yourself in that category you might be ok. Here's my experience in this regard:

I was about 4400 miles into a 4800 mile tour and had to leave the tour temporarily at Lake Tahoe for 8 or 9 days to go to sea level. I was in excellent touring shape and in my mid 20's. We had ridden probably 15 big mountain passes in the Rockies, Cascades, etc throughout the previous 2.5 months. When I arrived back at Tahoe I was toast on the climbs. I even had to hitchhike up Tioga Pass (10k ft). My tour partner, who rode in my wake the entire tour and didn't return to sea level, was way ahead of me and had no issues getting over Tioga Pass.

Your proposed tour sounds like a nice loop. I just think you might get beaten up a bit by the altitude. I'd plan accordingly. Good luck and enjoy the scenery.

General Discussion / Re: Wildfires in Colorado
« on: June 16, 2018, 06:13:41 pm »
Big rains forecast over the next 3 days should tamp the fires down. The big one is close to Durango. I'm not sure where the route goes but my guess is Highway 50 near Montrose and Gunnison. If that's the case you should be fine and if the rains come as expected you might not even encounter smoke.

General Discussion / Re: Weather apps
« on: April 25, 2018, 04:05:16 pm »
Thanks for all of your input. I'll give these 3 a look.

General Discussion / Weather apps
« on: April 24, 2018, 03:07:00 pm »
I'm looking for a good weather app for touring. I'm using something called Weather Live now and also have the NOAA app. These work fine but just checking to see if there's an app that I'm not aware that checks all the boxes for bike touring. Thanks in advance for any insights.

Routes / Re: Northern Tier: West to East or East to West?
« on: April 19, 2018, 10:25:59 am »
RS, thanks for the clarification on the windmills. That makes sense.

Jamawani with the hard data above. Always a great resource. I recall that he has several of these west to east tours under his belt. And if he says that the wind blows left to right in Mondale Country I'd take his word for it ;).

What stands out to me on those wind roses is that those demoralizing, front induced, knock you on your ass winds have more of a tendency to be from somewhere out of the west.

Routes / Re: Northern Tier: West to East or East to West?
« on: April 18, 2018, 07:49:34 pm »
I did a route that runs a bit south of the NT last summer and based on my small sample size I would suggest a west to east tour. The areas of real concern are the great plains where there's just nothing to block or even temper the wind. You'll be north of where we were but it's the same general feel. WY, NEB, SD and Iowa we were impacted by winds every day. We had one day in central WY (Shoshoni to Casper) where we had straight tailwinds and rode 100 miles with 5 hours in the saddle. I wouldn't have wanted to ride against those winds. That was WY and maybe not unexpected but we had 5 or 6 consecutive days through eastern SD and Iowa where winds were at least 20 mph out of the NW all day (late June). I remember remarking to my tourmate that if we were headed west on any of those days we probably would have just stayed at the campsite. Our goal was to get up to Minneapolis which was going to require heading NE out of Sioux Falls, SD but every time we turned north we were slowed to 5 mph by the crazy crosswind/headwind. For several days as we got pushed eastward we would occasionally try to head north with the same result. We ended up making lemonade out of those lemons and followed the winds to Madison, WI where we rented a car to get back to Minneapolis where we had a flight to catch.

This is a small sample size and perhaps not representative of average conditions but I can tell you that we would have been hard pressed to even ride for at least 5 consecutive days if we were headed west. We also ran into a couple in ID who had ridden east to west and almost abandoned their tour in SD because of winds. One other interesting takeaway was that as we rode through northern Iowa just south of the Minnesota border we were going through massive utility wind farms on and off for at least two days. All of the windmills were positioned to the NW which led me to believe that that was a common wind direction. The only question on that is if those positions are permanent or are they actually able to adjust the angle of the turbines. If they are adjustable then ignore that thought!

You'll be north of where we were and maybe less vulnerable to winds in MN vs Iowa as MN seems to have more trees but ND and Montana are pretty exposed. One other thought is that those sustained strong winds we had were driven by a cold front and it just seems that cold fronts generally don't come out of the east except for upsloping events in the Rockies. That could be totally wrong but it's my perception.

Having done the TA west to east several years ago combined with my experience last summer on a northerly route I'd suggest going west to east. As you already have, you'll hear a lot to the contrary out here in terms of surface winds but I'm just giving you my two cents based on recent experience.

Best of luck with your decision and your tour!


Routes / Re: Oregon in late May vs Western Express
« on: April 11, 2018, 07:46:34 pm »
Another route you might consider is to cut off the coast in Reedsport, OR and head over to Crater Lake and drop down into NE Cal through Klamath Falls. The climbing might be easier than in CA. If you want more coast riding you can continue south on the coast and still cross east through Klamath Falls. The general conditions on the coast at that time of year are strong northerly tailwinds if the weather is nice but if it's raining it's likely to be the opposite. You could let those conditions guide your planning. I did got stuck up in Crater Lake area in a snowstorm in early June one year and had to hitch a ride with a garbage truck which was my only way to get into the closed park, but that was atypical June weather.

I haven't ridden the Western Express but have toured up in UT in early June and, yeah, it's going to be hot. The lack of shade will get to you and you'll be close to the solstice so it'll mean relentless sun. Lots of snow up there in the Northern Rockies but the TA would probably be a more comfortable route if you're considering it. If you do take Western Express the Crater Lake cutoff might get you out to the desert sooner and might give you marginally cooler days.

Routes / Re: Madison WI to Northern IN
« on: April 11, 2018, 09:53:19 am »
Thanks for all of your help here. It's much appreciated. Old Plank Road Trail looks like a good option in combo with the other trails to the north. I will grab the Chicagoland map as well.

Routes / Re: Madison WI to Northern IN
« on: April 10, 2018, 02:53:51 pm »
I’ve ridden the lakeshore through Chicago and the Fox River Trail to the west.  Both have their attractions.  On our second trip, we rode Madison-Palmyra-Lake Geneva-Fox River trails, then ~81st St. to the lakeshore, then east to Laporte In.  Not a bad route.

The one using Fox River Trail looks like a good option. Since we don't have a need to visit Chicago do you think it might make sense to continue SE From Oswego To Joliet and continue east towards IN from there? I'm guessing 81st might be more urban riding or is there an eastbound trail in that vicinity?

Routes / Re: Madison WI to Northern IN
« on: April 09, 2018, 12:33:27 pm »
We're headed to Sea Bright, NJ which is the north end of the shore in central NJ. I'm open to any suggestions regarding PA. My guess at this point is that we'd stay north of Pittsburgh and probably go through State College and Lewisburg and then head towards the Lehigh Valley before entering NJ a bit north of Princeton. Thanks for any info you have!

General Discussion / Re: Across America 2018
« on: April 06, 2018, 12:35:54 pm »
SaemiVald, I think you're going to have a great trip and you'll find, barring crazy headwinds, that your mileage goals will be easy to meet with the relatively long Summer days (not as long as Iceland though!). I'm going to be finishing up a cross country tour that was cut short last year starting in late May in Wisconsin but will be on the Northern Tier. Too bad as we'll miss the opportunity to spit in each others faces as we grind past each other in full tuck position grunting like Andy Hampsten on the Passo Duran;).

Relative to warnings about "Trump Country", that's perhaps a little more nuanced than many would have you believe. I rode through these areas last summer and the people were awesome.

The story of the 2016 US election is a very complicated one that many on the left haven't fully accepted and I'd like to give you some background. We had a president for eight years who was an absolutely world class orator but basically did nothing for the middle class in rural America. There were a lot of misrepresentations about policies which were supposed to help these folks but instead did the opposite. The media, loving the world class orator, did little to focus on his policy faults and people started to rightfully distrust their message and began to question whether the Democratic party had their best interest in mind.

As we approached the 2016 election during primary season there were two very pivotal things that occurred. The liberal media, in a likely effort to get Hillary elected, did everything they could to cover Trump as much as possible while ignoring his Republican competitors. After all, there was absolutely no way that Trump could prevail over Hillary. The media even had negative stories on Trump that they buried during the primaries but somehow surfaced once Trump was nominated as Hillary's opponent (see NBC News/Access Hollywood). Additionally, having now created this Trump phenomenon, the media and the powers that be in the Democratic Party decided that they needed to derail Hillary's populist primary opponent (who might have had difficulty defeating Trump as a Socialist) so they did things like give Hillary debate questions in advance of debates. Meanwhile you had the FBI helping cover up for Hillary with her classified email server scandal which would have landed most folks in jail.

So here we are in November 2016, we have a disgusted rural/middle America which is reeling from at least 16 years of poor executive leadership and a financial recovery which seemed to have passed them by. In addition you had a real sense of cynicism towards the dishonest mainstream media and even trusted entities like the FBI. Thus the perfect storm for the folks to give a big middle finger to the establishment. Most people I know who voted for Trump (including myself) voted for him not by embracing the man or his values but because the alternative was unacceptable and it was time for change. The swamp needed draining. Trump is hardly an ideal man or an ideal president and the people who voted for Trump understand that. That's the important nuance that you need to know when alarmists might try to warn you about "Trump Country". These people in general don't embrace Trump's rough edges, they were fed up and decided on a different route. I'm confident that you'll come to the same conclusion as I did about "Trump Country".

Amusingly, the warnings about "Trump Country" are the same type of virtue signaling that you get from those guys looking down their noses at you for planning high mileage days. Take them for what they're worth.

Cheers and enjoy the tour!

Routes / Madison WI to Northern IN
« on: April 06, 2018, 11:16:46 am »
We're planning on leaving Madison. WI in late May to complete a XC tour we started last summer. We're headed to coastal NJ and the plan was to ride up through the UP of Michigan and continue to Niagara Falls using AC routes and head SE from there. We encountered some pretty crazy winds in the upper midwest and great plains while crossing in late June last year which made any northbound riding a 5 mph proposition so we continued east riding 25 mph tailwinds and ended up in Madison instead of Minneapolis. We're hoping that these winds wont be around in late May but it's not unrealistic that we'll encounter really bad conditions that time of year so I'm trying to work on a contingency plan which would take the southerly route through IL, IN, OH, and PA. I have a decent idea for routing from northern Indiana to NJ but I'm looking for guidance from Madison to northern Indiana. The town that we're shooting for is Syracuse, IN which is 30-40 miles SE of South Bend. I'm assuming that it makes sense to stay pretty far west of Chicago but perhaps there are decent biking corridors through the close in western suburbs. Any guidance you have on this route would be much appreciated.

Just a note that we don't plan on using the AC route from Chicago to NYC as it winds too far south for us.

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