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Messages - bbarrettx

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General Discussion / Re: Across America 2018
« on: March 31, 2018, 07:45:29 pm »
My experience exactly. Thanks for your post.

General Discussion / Re: Across America 2018
« on: February 26, 2018, 06:07:17 pm »
I don't really understand the special kind of virtue signaling of people bragging about their wondeful experience doing low mileage touring in response to folks who want to cover more distance in a day. To each his own. If someone is capable of riding good distances and wants to plan their tour that way does that mean that they're spitting in peoples' faces? Someone might want to look into a Prozac prescription.

General Discussion / Re: Across America 2018
« on: February 25, 2018, 01:46:11 pm »
I'd disregard the alarmists who are saying that 9 weeks isn't enough time. If you're younger and in good shape that's a very reasonable timeline. I did the TA plus additional miles to get up to the NJ shore in 51 days. 4419 miles. Your goal is absolutely realistic. Enjoy the tour. Cheers.

Routes / Re: Westcoast to Colorado: Western Express or Transamerica Trail?
« on: February 11, 2018, 06:14:30 pm »
All good ideas here. One other thought, considering the timing of your trip and length of time you have, would be to start in Vancouver. BC and ride up to Jasper, AB and then ride through the beautiful Canadian Rockies from North to South, that connects you to Glacier/Waterton National Park on the Canada/US border which is a few days ride from Missoula, MT and the TransAm trail which you would follow down to CO. You could also do this from Seattle though Vancouver would set you up better and it's perhaps the nicest city in North America. Oregon, while beautiful, is going to be hot and dried out east of the Cascades that far into the summer. Same with most of the TA sections through ID. It'll be cooler and more scenic up in Canada. I wouldn't try to avoid Breckenridge area in CO because of crowds. It's scenic and late summer traffic isn't crazy plus there's a great bike path system. From there you cross Hoosier Pass at 11,500 ft which is a simple climb from Breckenridge (9600ft) despite the altitude. That's the high point of the TA trail and shortly after that you'd probably want to head over to Buena Vista which would present you with different options to get to NM. I've ridden the TA as well as the suggested route through Canada and live in Colorado and I'm happy to provide more insights on this if you'd like. Cheers!

Routes / Re: Route advice - Oregon to Maine
« on: November 09, 2017, 12:45:46 pm »
I'll add a few more notes on this route on the sections that we followed for self supported folks. Without a sag wagon in tow I'd opt for a different route from the coast to Sisters on the other side of the Cascades. Even though we avoided highway 20 out of Newport for about the first 15 miles we did eventually end up climbing on 20 for several miles and it's like riding on an interstate highway. It looks like Howard found some much better back road options to the north but riding through Corvallis sets you up awkwardly for the 60 or so miles between services (most of it climbing) over Tombstone and Santiam passes. I rode the TransAm 30 years ago and, while longer, it's just a better route through these mountains. Starting in Astoria will get you a few days of riding on the coast with a much easier ride over the coastal range or if you're pressed for time then starting in Florence (south of Newport) would be better (it's an option on the TA maps). If the road is passable then Mackenzie Pass is the far superior route but if the pass is closed and you have to take Santiam Pass at least you have services along the way as you won't be climbing Tombstone. Santiam Pass is effectively the merger of three highways and a major trucking route. In late May the shoulder was still covered in gravel which they use for traction during the winter months. This meant that we were often forced to ride out in the lane as trucks flew by at 60 mph. To be avoided if possible, even if you might have to slog through a few hundred yards of snow at the top of Mackenzie.

Other observations:

In Idaho, HWY 55 between Horseshoe Bend and Banks can get busy with weekend traffic. Shoulders are tiny and traffic is fast through a windy canyon. Best to not find yourselves out there headed north on a Friday afternoon.

We rode from Garden Valley, ID to Stanley in a day and that turned out to be a big grind for loaded cyclists, especially with bad winds for the final 20 miles. There's one lodge about 5 miles out of Lowman but nothing else. Best to start in Lowman and not Garden Valley to chop about 30 miles of climbing off of your day.

We had originally planned on riding through Ketchum/Sun Valley like Howard did. We didn't because of time constraints and rode from Stanley to Mackay in a day with unfavorable winds. They took the correct route. Sun Valley and Craters of the Moon is a better option for self supported cycling.

Again, for self supported cyclists, the stretch from Arco to ID Falls is a hydration challenge. There's a rest area with water about 10 miles out of Arco but from there you're on your own. There are some never ending climbs and the 20 mph crosswind wasn't much fun. Not a tree ever in sight so don't expect shade. We were fortunate to have a car pull over and offer us water about 20 miles before ID Falls.

From Swan Valley, ID you have the option of riding over two passes to get to Jackson or an easier route that's about 20 miles longer. We were told that Teton Pass was very steep so we thought we'd save our knees. We didn't anticipate 20 mph headwinds from Alpine to Jackson though. That was our intro to the winds of Wyoming. Watch out for that if taking the longer route though we ran into a cyclist who said that the prevailing wind through that canyon is usually a tailwind. If there's any way to check the current/forecasted wind out of Alpine from Garden Valley that would be helpful. If it's out of the south then avoiding Teton Pass on loaded bikes might be a good call.

This route in the section that we followed it from the OR coast to central WY offers a bit of a shortcut for those riding the TransAm route but you do spend a lot of time on the TA route. I recommend having at least maps 1 and 2 from the TA. They're full of invaluable info like the free hostel at the church in Dayville, OR or camping next to the firehouse in Crowheart, WY (map 3 maybe?).

Routes / Re: Route advice - Oregon to Maine
« on: November 08, 2017, 10:44:23 am »
Excellent blog. My daughter and I were a few weeks ahead of you following almost the exact route from Newport to Shoshoni. Smart of you to avoid Highway 20 out of Newport as that had a lot more traffic than expected. We were self supported which made for some challenging days early on. Day 2, from Lebanon, OR to the Suttle Lake Lodge about 5 miles east of Santiam Pass was a pretty crazy day. We had 50 degree sleeping bags and it was in the low 30's that night so we had to get a roof over our head. It seemed like we climbed about 50 miles that day. I recognize the watering hole in Unity where we also spent the night. We had been told about the killer tailwinds from Unity to Vale but sadly we had headwinds that day with no vegetation to block the winds. We ride along the Payette River was stunning and the Garden Valley to Stanley ride over the Sawtooths was gorgeous. We had 6 feet of snow at Banner Summit. We didn't ride through Ketchum but instead from Stanley to Mackay. This was another one of those days with 50 plus miles between services. Having sag support on days like those would have made life a lot easier! Our intent was to ride through Yellowstone and east to Cody but we got word of the big snowstorm approaching so we decided to try to get the Dubois on the east side of the Continental Divide to avoid the storm. Unfortunately we had 40 mph headwinds climbing up Togwotee. We stopped at a lodge about 10 miles before the top of the pass for lunch. By the time we finished lunch it was snowing. It snowed for the next 36 hours. It was nice to have a roof over our heads but that's where I got my bout of food poisoning. The stories go on but we decided to continue on the more southerly route so we went Shoshoni to Casper and then pushed out through northern Nebraska and through southeast SD continuing through the northern tier of Iowa. We had planned to ride up through Minneapolis but we had at least 5 consecutive days of 25+ mph winds out of the NW and every time we made an effort to ride north it was like riding into a wall. We continued due east as we had no other options, crossed the Mississippi and landed in Madison, WI in late June. Unfortunately my daughter was diagnosed with dehydration induced Rhabdo in Madison and we had to cut the trip short but we'll be back out in Madison in late May 2018 to finish the trip. We're headed to NJ and will either cross through the UP and southern Ontario into Niagara and down through the Finger Lakes or we'll cross through Indiana, Ohio , and PA. It'll all depends on the winds once we arrive in Madison! Thanks for sharing your blog. As a guy in his early 50's that type of tour looks very tempting! Cheers.

Routes / Re: Las Vegas to Salt Lake City
« on: November 07, 2017, 05:45:42 pm »
I did a 4800 mile loop tour in 89 that started and ended in Vegas. As far as I know, all of the roads are the same, just more heavily traveled. You'll probably want to check out the Hoover Dam which is a short ride from Vegas. From there you'll double back a few miles and take 564 which stays pretty close to the West shore of Lake Mead. You'll continue on 169 to Glendale where you'll hook into Interstate 15. Not the ideal road in terms of traffic but it's legal as there are no other options and the climb up into through a small section of AZ is quite scenic. St George is a nice little city. North of St George you'll jump off of 15 and take 9 east through Zion NP. The scenery is stunning. Worth a day or two to take in. From there you'll continue east to the junction of HWY 89 (they shuttle you through the tunnel). If you have time on your hands you can ride down to the north rim of the Grand Canyon by heading south. This diversion might add 3 days to the trip but well worth it. From the 9/89 junction follow 89 north and then 12 to the east. This will get you to Bryce Canyon NP where you'll want to spend at least a day. Continue following highway 12 as it heads north Escalante, Boulder, and over a stunning pass down to Torrey. From there we headed east through Capitol Reef NP and over to Green River and then Moab. That would take you pretty far out of the way so you'd probably be best heading north and west on 24 and then 89 to Provo. I don't know these roads but it looks like nice country. Best time to do this route would be maybe mid April to late May or Mid September through late October. The N Rim of the Grand Canyon doesn't open until early June if I remember correctly. It's beautiful country. Enjoy!

Routes / Re: Best route from SW Kansas to Salt Lake UT?
« on: May 21, 2017, 10:52:12 pm »
Yes. You'll have a big climb out of Kremmling. Have a great trip.

Routes / Re: Best route from SW Kansas to Salt Lake UT?
« on: May 16, 2017, 03:55:05 pm »
Southern Utah will be pretty hot once you get into June. I'd take the Transamerica to Rabbit Ears Pass in Colorado and then 40 west to Utah.

Routes / Re: Salt Lake City to New Jersey
« on: May 15, 2017, 05:33:50 pm »
Indyfabz has it right. That blue route is the new Chicago to NYC route and that will get you over to NJ and it looks like it connects with a green one that might get you to your destination. I don't recall exactly where the TA heads east of Highway 11 in VA but I know it's north of Roanoke which is very close to where you see Blacksburg on the map. You just need to follow 11 up to where it intersects with the NYC route. It looks like that route follows my course in South Central Pennsylvania. Through Gettysburg and then Lancaster. Nice hills but nothing like the more difficult north/south trenches to the north.

Even if you're leaving from Ogden I'd avoid 40. That southern route is the way to go. Moab and Telluride are both worth dropping in to. Crested Butte is maybe 15 miles north of Gunnison on that route but another great town worth exploring. Salida also worth a visit. If you can't find a good route from Ogden down to Moab then I'd do a one way car rental and start in Moab.

Routes / Re: Salt Lake City to New Jersey
« on: May 14, 2017, 09:16:34 pm »
Hi Ziggy - I've been on the sidelines relative to touring for many years but will be jumping back in in 9 days starting a cross country tour from OR to NJ following a more northern track. I did the TransAmerica Trail many years ago and would highly recommend it. I actually cut off the TA in Virginia and finished on the NJ Shore where I lived at the time.

From SLC you would have two options. You could head south and hook in with the Western Express which I think connects with the TA somewhere around Pueblo, CO. I don't know that exact route but I've ridden Moab to Telluride and then Montrose to Salida to Canon City and on to Pueblo and I'd highly recommend that. In Pueblo you would connect with the TA and ride that to somewhere near Staunton, VA. At that point you continue on Highway 11 up into Pennsylvania. If you're interested in the specifics after that let me know and I'll give you my route which took me through center city Philadelphia and on to NJ. One other note on that route is that you'd need to find your way from SLC to Moab and you'd have maybe 20 miles on interstate highway 70 out of Green River, UT. I rode that many years ago and it was no problem with a wide breakdown lane.

The other less scenic but quicker option would have you taking Highway 40 from the SLC area to Rabbit Ears Pass east of Steamboat Springs, CO and hooking up with the TA there. Early May vs late May in the CO Rockies can be quite different. If you're leaving before late May I'd suggest the Moab to Pueblo option. I'd probably avoid the highway 40 option altogether unless you're looking to save some time. I'm just not familiar with the SLC to Green River route so maybe someone else can make some suggestions on that.

Even though late May is better than early May in the CO Rockies I was once snowed in for a day in CO around June 10 so no guarantees there.

Let me know if you decide to take the TA and I'll give you some guidance from PA to NJ shore. Any particular area in NJ where you're headed?

Routes / Re: Getting Across South Dakota
« on: February 28, 2017, 02:14:43 pm »
Love the picture. Great info on Teton Pass and commuters. That's what's going on in Sun Valley as well from the South. Will hit that in the pm if possible. Any of the diversions that you mentioned were just the result of an analog guy using a digital system! I was just trying to follow the main roads and didn't even look at the turns. It was more of a macro effort to view the route in large scale.

As for Yellowstone, we're veterans of Old Faithful having visited multiple times between Sun Valley and CO. We'll likely just stay on the east side and head out towards Cody. Are there any roads out from Cody to Devil's Tower that won't be on the Rand McNally?

You had asked about Sun Valley in a previous post. We'll be staying with some friends out there for three nights.

Routes / Re: Getting Across South Dakota
« on: February 27, 2017, 05:28:31 pm »

Thanks for pointing this out. I'm new to these GPS services. From the coast to ID it looks like I'm just on roads that I can follow with my old fashioned Rand Mcnally. From there to Devil's tower I was trying to follow your suggested route but I never looked at the turn by turn guidance. Let me know where I went wrong there and through SD if you could. Then the section from Minneapolis to Buffalo was just rough as I'll be getting the AC maps. I appreciate all your help with this. My last days of touring were when a Cat Eye cyclocomputer and FM Walkman were considered high tech so any guidance you have relative to the technology end of this would be awesome.

Routes / Re: Route advice - Oregon to Maine
« on: February 27, 2017, 02:22:53 pm »

Here's my route from Newport to SV. You could continue through the Sawtooths for what is probably the quickest route to Yellowstone. The TA is your other option but as I mentioned above it will add a decent amount of miles because it heads up to Missoula.

For the section from Minneapolis I haven't purchased the maps yet but we'll be generally following the AC lake route through the UP and then over to Buffalo. The individual road routing on this segment is just a guesstimate until Buffalo. From Buffalo we'll follow NY Bike route #5 and then cut south to Ithaca east of Rochester. NY 5 does present an option for you all the way to the Mass. state line or you can cut off and head NE to Saratoga and then cross Southern VT and NH which would all be very nice riding. Here's what we have out of Minneapolis:

Routes / Re: Getting Across South Dakota
« on: February 25, 2017, 06:56:24 pm »
This depicts much more than South Dakota but here's what I came up with based on advice from those on this thread and traffic count maps.

Will be using AC maps from Minneapolis to Buffalo.

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