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Messages - sdotkling

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Routes / Re: Atlantic Coast advice
« on: February 12, 2020, 09:07:50 pm »
Worthington State Park is also famous for its fearless (and huuuge) skunks, who have learned that no one will stop them from eating crumbs that fall off the campsite picnic tables. If you happen to be sitting at the picnic table at the time, that won't bother them at all. Just don't make any sudden moves.

Routes / Re: NYC to Schenectaddy
« on: February 12, 2020, 08:41:38 pm »
Why doesn’t anybody think of the east side of the Hudson? From Manhattan: The NYC Greenway bike path up to the GW Bridge, then over the Henry Hudson Bridge ( if it’s open to cyclists by then; otherwise, cross Spuyten Duyvil on the Broadway Bridge) to Van Cortland Park and the South County Trailway up through Westchester. There’s a 2- or 3-mile gap between the end of this paved bikepath and the North County Trailway, but if you can stand a few minutes of gritty suburban riding, you’ll be rewarded with a 30-mile car-less route up to Brewster NY. From there, it’s up NY 22 to Pawling, west on NY 55 until you hit NY 82. Go north on 82 for like ~40 miles, nice road, curvy and mostly green, until 82 morphs into NY 23 and crosses the Hudson at Catskill. Take a right after the Rip Van Winkle Bridge, taking 385 up through Athens and Coxsackie and then picking your way along River Road into Albany. Continue north and you’ll hit the Mohawk River and Erie Canal Towpath, then west to Schenectady. Have a good ride, and enjoy the beer in Saranac Lake!

Routes / Early March for Napa and North?
« on: February 05, 2020, 02:27:36 pm »
Hi All:
Time is tight these days, and the only week I can get away is the first one in March. Would rather avoid going to the South, since the last time I went was pretty scary. (What is it about spandex that makes people in pickups go crazy?) California seems much more simpatico, and milder than New York. I've pedaled through quite a bit of Contra Costa County and over the Carquinez Strait up through Napa over the years, so I thought a Napa-to-Mendocino-to-SF route sounded like fun. But what about the weather? Motels are on the agenda, since camping would seem to be pushing my luck. I'm expecting some rain, that's okay, but endless rain and wind doesn't sound too thrilling. Has anybody ridden through the area in early March? Thanks for the tips.

Routes / Re: Adirondack Loop route surface
« on: December 05, 2019, 02:31:12 pm »
Yup, all paved. And not a December thing, unless you're extremely hardy and have pedal cleats on your snowshoes. I did it in September, and it was E-M-P-T-Y. Short season up there.

General Discussion / Re: Using a Bump Box while biking
« on: December 05, 2019, 12:41:25 pm »
Ran across a guy a couple of summers ago on the Blue Ridge Parkway. He was riding from New Orleans to Philadelphia, I believe, doing 90-120 miles a day on a lightweight road bike, with absolutely no gear except what fit into a small seat bag. In response to our astonishment (we each had 35 pounds of the usual touring stuff) he told us of his drop-shipping scheme to hotels all along the way, cost be damned. After those 14-mile hills in North Carolina, that idea sure sounded good to me.

Routes / Re: Bike route from Erie Canal to Albany Airport
« on: April 25, 2019, 04:36:14 pm »
The Buffalo train station is not actually in Buffalo, it's in the sad little industrial suburb of Depew. I Amtrak'd it from NYC to Buffalo, through Albany (the Albany Amtrak station is, sigh, not in Albany, but in Renssalaer, across the river), my bike in the baggage car. My train arrived at 12:30 a.m., and I had to ride 2 miles past darkened warehouses to a motel.

I was joining my son at Lockport as he was coming east from Chicago. He got around Buffalo by going well to the north of the city, on good roads, he reported, crossing not at the Peace Bridge but one or two bridges further north. Might want to consider that.

When shipping a bike with Amtrak, make sure you remove all your lights, speedometer, gizmos and bags. They have a tendency to "fall off."

Routes / Re: Erie Canal Camping
« on: April 25, 2019, 04:18:32 pm »
Yup, ditto. I did the Canal a couple of times over the last two years, camping at a few locks. One lock (east of Lockport but not as far as Rochester) was adjacent to a town park, so we had a bathroom, and a restaurant a couple of blocks away. Other locks were just an expanse of grass. No reason to be nervous, since there were usually people around. In the places without water, I just packed some in...and took a bath in the canal after dark. Cold, but it worked.

I also agree that the canal towpath, while fun to ride in places, can get old. Thankfully, there are plenty of parallel, quiet roads to alleviate the boredom and go faster. Check out the Chicken Riggies in Utica, a local dish, as well as the uniques Utican take on pizza (they make it upside down.)

Routes / Re: bicycling NYC to Montreal
« on: April 25, 2019, 11:09:38 am »
Another suggestion: From midtown Manhattan, take the Hudson River Greenway Bike Path north, along the west edge of the island, past the George Washington Bridge.When the bike path ends, you'll be on Dyckman Street in northern Manhattan, and you'll need to cross Spuyten Dyvil, probably on the Broadway Bridge. Go north along busy Broadway to the Bronx and Van Cortland Park, a mile or two.
Here you can pick up the Westchester South County Trailway, a bike path that runs north. It is not a continuous trail (yet) but after a couple of gaps which you'll have to pick your way through, you'll be on the North County Trailway, which runs about 40 miles north-by-northeast to Brewster, New York. By this time you are well out of the city and into the exurbs. Find NY Route 22 in Brewster (or parallel routes, there are a few) and take that about 75 miles north, until you cross Interstate 90, and then keep going. Choices abound: take a right at Route 22 at Stephentown, NY and you'll go to Williamstown, MA--nice road, by the way--and then North Adams, MA. Continue north to Vermont 100 (I think that's it; it runs along a small, fast river, another nice road) and eventually make your way to Burlington, Vermont. Alternatively, don't turn at Stephentown and 22, keep going north another 10-20 miles to Hudson Falls, NY, where there's another break in the mountains that brings you into Vermont. This way you'll parallel Lake Champlain all the way to Middlebury, then continue to Burlington.
There's a nasty 10 miles to the north of Burlington that I haven't ever seemed to find an alternate to--fast and busy, little in the way of shoulders--but you'll make it, I'm sure, to the causeway that connects North and South Hero Islands and goes further north into Canada. From there, powered by poutine, you will fly into Montreal along the Richelieu River and related byways. Have a good time. The food in Montreal is awesome. Check out Schwartz's for the best pastrami sandwich in New York City...except it happens to be in Montreal (where they insist on calling it "smoked meat.")

Crossed the Peace Bridge middle of last summer, Buffalo to Fort Erie, and I was expecting a hassle. But there was none. The American Customs people were completely uninterested in me, since the heavy trucks going into Canada were much more beguiling. The Canadian authorities were almost as blasé, showing my passport and answering a few questions ("Do you have firearms? Do you have liquor?") was about the extent of it. I had to consider whether the 4 ounces of Jack Daniels in my camping gear qualified as "liquor", but I decided it didn't.
One trick to know, though, is how to get out of the Canadian Customs plaza on a bike, which wasn't very obvious: Take the first hard right after speaking to the Customs booth person, and go up the hill to the nearby local street. A couple of local guys showed me how to do it, and I was grateful. The ACA route picks up once you cross the bridge over the toll/customs plaza.

Routes / Re: New York State Bike Route 5 versus Erie Canalway Trail
« on: December 05, 2016, 03:01:42 pm »
I just did this ride last summer, as part of a New York to Chicago ramble. I found the Erie Canal vexing. The path varies in quality, the route it follows is circuitous, and the signage stinks. The route vanishes with depressing regularity with no clue what to do. The stretch you speak of isn't quite that bad, but still...I rode Conojaharie to Lock 20 along the Canal, but abandoned it shortly thereafter, taking sparsely traveled, smooth country roads west past Lake Oneida. Approaching Syracuse got very suburban shopping mall 6-laney; not good, but I managed. I stayed to the north of the Syracuse suburbs along so-so roads, which improved the closer I got to Rochester, where the Canal improved, near Palmyra.

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Routes / Re: Adirondack Park Loop
« on: August 13, 2016, 09:29:58 pm »
Just did this trip last year around the same time. Nope, those are the campgrounds you'll find along the route. You should also note that, depending on how business is going, the private campgrounds might close early for the season anytime after Labor Day...or stay open until Columbus Day. Call ahead! But you can also wild camp anywhere in the State Park without getting into trouble. Lakes are everywhere, so nice wild campsites are abundant.

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General Discussion / Re: What to do with a bike box?
« on: August 10, 2016, 03:54:13 pm »
Ah, but there's another solution, though pricier. Pick a bike shop at the end of your route, and ship them the box. Offer to pay a symbolic amount for storing it (this does not work with small urban shops that are squeezed for space.) Then hire them to clean, tune up and pack your bike to ship home.

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General Discussion / Re: Pocono Mountains in Pennsylvania
« on: August 10, 2016, 07:35:22 am »
Tell us more, please? Not knowing much about you, it's hard to respond. If you're an 80-year-old, who only now decided he'd like to go on a bike ride, 20 miles might be right. But that's only a couple or 3 hours worth of pedaling even at a leisurely pace.

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Routes / Re: Western NY to NYC and the Atlantic route
« on: December 23, 2015, 02:05:35 pm »
I suggest that the way to get from Chicago to New York (I am planning a similar trip, but backwards, in the summer) is via Buffalo, and the Eerie Canal bikeway or roads that parallel it. (The bikeway itself runs all the way to Albany, 380-something miles, but it tends to get dull after a while.) Approach New York City not from the west, but from the north. Take the Canal Bikeway to Rochester, then head southeast on 96 to Ithaca (great college town, great food, great beer), then southerly to Owego and on to Binghamton. Due east to Deposit, New York, then the Delaware River Scenic Route to Port Jervis. Very nice riding, beautiful, cool and hilly and generally calm, with good roads (paving crew is a good job in those parts, so they pave and re-pave a lot.) Port Jervis to New Paltz through the Shawanagunk Mountains (a lovely valley road most of the way, once you get out of Port Jervis and nearby towns.) New Paltz--another nice college town--to Poughkeepsie across the Walkway Over The Hudson, a pedestrian bridge that everyone has gone wild over in those parts. Cut across Duchess and Putnam Counties to Brewster (more nice roads) and there you'll pick up the North County Trailway, 40-odd miles of rail trail that goes straight down into the close-in New York suburbs. North County Trailway becomes the South County Trailway which --with one notable nasty gap you will have to pick your way through in Yonkers--drops you in Van Cortland Park in the Bronx. From there, look for the High Bridge to cross the East River into Upper Manhattan, then the Hudson River bikepath from the top of Manhattan to the bottom. Welcome to New York. If you are looking for a suitable beachy end to the trip, put your bike and gear on a Long Island Railroad train and go to Montauk and the Hamptons. Nice riding out there, too. (The city to Montauk is a favorite 100-miler for some, but much of it is too gritty for my taste.)

Routes / Re: Need to book ahead on Blue Ridge Parkway?
« on: March 09, 2015, 02:17:46 pm »
Just did a chunk of the Blue Ridge last April-May, before the campgrounds opened for the season. There are truly almost no services on the Parkway, except for the Mt. Pisgah area. Carrying enough food is a challenge, but water is the bigger challenge. Bring a filtration kit and look for the occasional seep coming off the roadcuts. As far as stealth camping, if one is willing to drag the bike (and any sign that you exist) a ways off the road, there is plenty of opportunity. Look carefully for tamped-down footpaths through the foliage and you'll often find a rough campsite at the end of it. But don't have a fire and don't leave anything behind....and hang your food well away from your sleeping area. Bears.

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