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Messages - mucknort

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General Discussion / Re: Lost Camera on the MRT on 15
« on: March 09, 2013, 03:02:10 pm »
Best wishes on recovering anything! This is why I use a number of smaller memory cards while on trips, instead of one huge one. I also try to frequently upload photos, while on tour, to something like or in case of camera loss.

General Discussion / Re: Beginner out and back camping in NW?
« on: February 25, 2013, 01:27:25 pm »
I'm in the same predicament, except for the early retirement thing.  I wish I knew that area.  I'm in SoCal, so we have lots of options, but lots of traffic too.  Good luck with your search.  I'll be watching this thread with great interest.

If by "same predicament" you mean that you'd like to take your wife on a simple overnight tour, here's some thoughts. Don't know where in SoCal you are, but there's a series of excellent bike maps available online or from most bike shops. They are called Franko's Maps, and there's a guide for Orange County, LA, San Gabriel, and other parts of CA.

They show decent bike routes on streets, but also note the many dedicated bike paths in SoCal. I would pick one for a day trip or even for an overnighter. For example, you could drive to the trailhead for the Santa Ana River Trail at Yorba Park in Anaheim, bike the 25 miles or so with your wife down to the ocean, then head left or right along the coast and stay at a hotel in Newport Beach or Huntington Beach, next day bike back up to your car. Lots of other similar trips using other river trails that would keep you from much car traffic.

Here's a link to further info on the Santa Ana River Trail:

General Discussion / Re: Traffic conditions around the ACA routes?
« on: February 25, 2013, 01:00:29 pm »
Regarding the Coal Truck comments. While riding a modified Northern Tier route, my family and I always waved to the logging trucks driving toward us in the Northwest. Since these truckers are usually driving a loop these these same trucks that would be approaching from behind in a little while.  It seemed that this behavior led to trucks giving us wider room when passing, and often we'd get honks or waves from the passing trucks. I feel that by giving friendly waves to oncoming trucks, they possibly were noting our presence on the road through their radio communications to other trucks. If nothing else, I think we might have been spreading good karma for other cyclists. We certainly got positive responses from the oncoming truckers.

What I found interesting was the high number of "comments" posted that trash her opinion/position. In many other instances, the opposite is true.

I've had good luck and good coverage with Tracfone also. Study their phone choices carefully. I bought the LG800 that includes triple minutes for the life of the phone ($20, 60 minute time purchase buys 180 minutes, etc...) without looking up a promotion code.

The LG800 is my current phone. It works great and I love the triple minutes. Looking up a promotion code always gives 30-60 minutes of additional minutes.

General Discussion / Re: Bicycle Touring vs Backpacking
« on: February 14, 2013, 02:15:14 pm »
Wow, what a can of worms!  What I've noticed of people in general is a tendency for westerners to ..... and easterners to feel ......

Well, I've toured extensively in the NorthEast-MidWest-West. Yes, there are differences regarding availability of camping, types of roads available and their quality, but I've mostly found that  vehicle drivers are tolerant to welcoming of cyclists on tour. I have not toured in the Southeast, a good deal because of the stories I've heard regarding the intolerance of a large enough number of vehicle drivers toward cyclists. For me, this is a much bigger issue over campsite availability/road quality/etc.

General Discussion / Re: Bicycle Touring vs Backpacking
« on: February 12, 2013, 01:10:24 pm »
What a great question!
I really can't choose one over the other.
-Backpacking is slow, Biking covers more ground.
   -Still, compared to driving, biking is slow/ hiking is much slower. You explore your environment in either enhanced or super enhanced.
-Biking allows you to have access to civilization (if needed), Hiking removes you from civilization. (Both can be good.)
-Biking allows you to connect with other human beings in a very personal way along the journey, Hiking can cut you off from human contact completely. (Both can be good.)
-Both are human powered and are excellent for body/mind/spirit. (But no more so than kayaking/canoeing.)
-Both should be required subjects in all elementary/high schools. (In my humble opinion.)

Yes, as someone that grew up B.C. ( Before Computers or Before Cell phones) I also lament the demise of pay phones.

But, as mentioned, the cheapest/most simple option is to buy a Pre-paid phone/minutes. There are many available, but I have been very happy with Tracfone. They are available online or from many U.S. department stores. A basic phone costs around $20 and then you buy a minutes/time length card. Typically they give you 90 days of usage and 60 or 120 or 200 minutes of talk time. If you use up your talk time (or your usage time) you just buy another card for more time/minutes. The cards cost from $20 to $40 and you can get bonus minutes if you google "tracfone promo codes". If you are traveling from outside of the US, they don't ask for any personal or citizenship questions. Pretty simple and I found their coverage is very good over most of the U.S..,or.r_gc.r_pw.r_qf.&bvm=bv.42261806,d.dmQ&fp=b10553b1cd972faf&biw=1373&bih=855

Youth Bicyle Travel / Re: taking the family across the country?!?
« on: February 08, 2013, 03:04:07 pm »
According to bill's profile, he has not logged into this site since 23 minutes after he made his one and only post 11 months ago.

Always a bummer when we get hit and run posters, asking their one big question and then seeming to disappear. He did say he was thinking of doing this trip next year or the year after or the year after or... (I guess that's part of the package with long distance bike touring, something that many dream of, but few ever actually do. When I'm touring, I always get comments like, "Gosh, that's something I've always wanted to do." or, "I was gonna do that with my kids, but then they got too old."

I saw it had been a while since his only post before I posted, but took the time to write anyway, hoping/thinking it might benefit some other reader planning a family bike tour. It's not like our replies are only seen by the Original Poster of each topic.

Youth Bicyle Travel / Re: taking the family across the country?!?
« on: February 06, 2013, 11:04:09 am »
Okay, its winter of 2013, but hopefully this adventure is still on your agenda...

We homeschool our son, as well, and took 4 months to go from Boston to Seattle in 2011. Our son was 11 when we started but turned 12 during the trip. My words of advice are GO FOR IT!!! And possibly sooner rather than later. Though your youngest will be in better shape the longer you wait, you risk losing your oldest to other interests, etc.

I, too, went with a nervous wife. She rode across the US twice in her twenties, but it was a far different experience riding as a Mom. She worried before the trip and worried during the trip. (She's glad we did it after the trip.) My three points of advice for this:

1. We took the League of American Bicyclists Safety Course a few months before our trip. This made a huge difference. The course gave us all fantastic advise and practice for riding safely on the road. I'd been riding and touring for over 30 years before the course and even I learned a great deal. The course really helped improve our son's riding on streets and roads.

2. When we started the trip, we always rode in this order: Me - front, Son - middle, Nervous Mom - back. We made it to the far side of NY State and Mom had a meltdown at a campground saying how nervous it made her feel watching her son on the road and worrying about his riding. For the next day, and the rest of the trip, we switched the order to: Me - back, Son - middle, Not-so-Nervous Mom - Front. This made a HUGE difference for her (and us).

3. We put all the appropriate safety gear on each of the bikes (as was reinforced at the safety class). Each bike had a flag, flashing front and rear lights, an ACA safety triangle, and a mirror. Cars gave us a wide berth 99% of the trip. Safety gear isn't a guarantee to be accident free, but if one of us had been hit by a car, we'd never be haunted by the thought of, "If only we'd been riding with _____________ safety gear, things might have turned out differently."

We wondered if our 11 year old would make it on his own (he was super head-strong about wanting to do the ride on his own), and were prepared to buy a tandem mid-trip, if necessary. He did start out pulling his own BOB trailer, but in WI we shipped that home/bought him small panniers/shifted much of his gear to my wife and my trailers. That would be one suggestion, to be the pack mule yourself and let your wife and kids have lighter loads. At least at the start. Another suggestion is start slow and then pick up. Our first week we rode less than 20 miles a day, second week less than 30 miles a day, and so on until the second month and beyond we averaged 40 - 60 miles a day. Once in a while we did 70+, but that was rare. We also took rest days to see fun things, stayed in hotels occasionally, and stayed with warmshower hosts (all of whom loved to see a family on tour, as most of their visitors are usually adults).

Oh, and read through the section of links I found on the web related to family touring:

And get inspired by reading Joe Kurmaskie's books on his coast to coast adventures: Mud, Sweat and Gears & Momentum is your Friend

General Discussion / Re: Cross Country on a recumbent bike
« on: January 30, 2013, 03:44:16 pm »

  Depending where I am after I finish the Army I will start there and make my way around the US. I would really like it if there were other riders with me. So please if you have anything to add or say please do and I would really like to hear from everyone their thoughts and ideas.
3 thoughts:
1. Thanks for your service to our Country.
2. You should post your plan and check for other's plans in the "Companions Wanted" section of this forum:
3. You're choice to tour on a recumbent bike is most excellent! I did many tours on a traditional touring bike and have now toured 1000's of miles on a recumbent. Either way I have loved touring, but the recumbent allows me to tour w/o butt/back/wrist/hand pain and gives me a better view of the scenery. I'd never-ever go back to an upright bike for touring.
Good Luck!

Every one of the locks operators let us set up a tent. Most, especially the lock operators on the east half of the state, let us use their employee bathroom/shower.

Check out the website:

Folks there volunteer their home for bike tourists to stay while on tour. Membership is free and looking at the map for Las Vegas, I see 4 hosts around the airport.

Gear Talk / Re: Which Schwalbe
« on: April 25, 2012, 11:34:32 am »
I don't know about the math, but Marathon Plus tires brought my family and I across the U.S. with no flats and no complaints.

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