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Messages - Smudgy

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General Discussion / Re: What are the top 3 things we like about touring?
« on: December 17, 2020, 01:31:43 pm »
The top 3 things I like about bike touring? Easy....


I'll add that the people in Kansas were amazingly hospitable.

+1 I agree. One of the highlights of the plains are the people. Worth riding for that reason alone.

Did you know of the ferry that crosses Lake Michigan from Manitowoc, Wi to Ludington, Mi ? If you didn't want to go through the Upper Peninsula (U.P. , eh) because it's to far north and avoid the mess called Chicago (I used to live there) at the south end of the Lake, the ferry is not a bad option. I've taken it twice on bicycle and once on motorcycle.

Nebraska & Iowa are just so much better for crossing the Great Plains.

Pic - Nebraska Sandhills

I crossed Nebraska twice, I love the Sandhills. BTW, Iowa is not flat. Constant rolling hills.

Have you ridden the Northern Tier across Montana?  How does it compare to Kansas?  I enjoyed it.
I rode the Lewis and Clark in 2004. one of my favorite sections was from Williston, ND to Havre, Mt, then southwest to Great Falls. It felt like the movie Lonesome Dove following the Milk River valley. The scenery is very similar to Kansas. I especially like all of the small western towns along the plains, they're hard working ranching towns.

I enjoyed the video but after sharing it with my touring friends the consensus is never Kansas.

Never Kansas? Whaaat? You don't know what you're missing, or maybe you do. Driving a car or taking a bus across Kansas is truly torture, riding across on a bike is totally different. It's way harder! I agree with hikerjer and Willa Cather and I did fall in love with the prairie. I didn't always see it that way. So, I also agree that there are many more scenic places to ride. One question though, how does one get across the USA without going through Kansas or one of the other plains state? ??? 

In 2019, I rode a section of the TransAmerica Bike Trail from Pueblo, Colorado to Carbondale, Illinois. I made a video. A biker I met called it the dreaded middle third. He said it is because that is where most people quit. Kansas is too long, too hot, too windy and too boring. Maybe so, but I love the open spaces and small western towns on the high plains. In contrast the roads in the Missouri Ozarks are hilly and twisty. 3 or 4 days of hill after hill with 8-12% grades, most less than 2 miles. If not the hills, the scenery will take your breath away. Check it out.

General Discussion / Erie Canal Bike Tour. A great 5 day ride.
« on: January 26, 2020, 11:02:34 pm »
The Erie Canal Bike trail is a great 5 day ride from Buffalo to Albany, New York. This was my 3rd short bike tour of the summer of 2019. I made a video, I hope you like it. Please leave a comment if you do. See my other 2 videos: Natchez Trace Parkway and Ohio to Erie Trail.

Thanks to you all for watching and taking the time to comment. Sharing the trip with everyone is almost as much fun as the trip itself. Its not a professional video, but I'm glad you like it. My main goal is to promote bike touring and motivate people to get out and ride. I'm also glad you watched my other videos. Lake Michigan is a national treasure for sure. I must say though, the best beaches are south of Ludington. My favorite is PJ Hoffmaster.  New video coming out soon. Erie canal in NY. This coming summer, maybe the Pacific Coast Highway? Hope to see you on the road!!

General Discussion / Re: It's about the bike. It's about you.
« on: January 15, 2020, 08:43:16 pm »
I solo tour as well and so I have a lot of time to think. I sometimes marvel at my bike while riding. What an elegant machine, simple yet so well designed. Just chunks of metal welded together but converting power into motion allowing me to travel under my own power to just about anywhere. The bicycle has to be one of the coolest machines ever invented! 

The Ohio to Erie Trail is a great 4 or 5 day bike tour from the Ohio River in Cincinnati to Lake Erie in Cleveland. Its perfect for people that don't have 2 months of vacation time to tour across the country. Cycle along the Little Miami River, then through central Ohio and Columbus. From there, cycle through Amish country and past the Bridge of Dreams, Go north through the Cuyahoga valley and finish at Edgewater Park on Lake Erie. Talk about Adventure Cycling. I made a video, I hope you check it out. If you like it please leave a comment.

General Discussion / Natchez Trace Parkway. Did someone say short tour?
« on: December 31, 2019, 10:16:11 pm »
I rode the Natchez Trace Parkway in 2019. A great 7 day tour. I made a short video. I hope you enjoy it and please leave a comment.

Routes / Re: Best 5 day solo newbie ride?
« on: December 31, 2019, 08:15:10 pm »
Ohio to Erie Trail from Cleveland to Cincinnati takes about 4 or 5 days.
Erie Canal from Buffalo to Albany is another great 5 day tour.
I did both of these rides in summer of 2019. Great short tours. Videos coming.

Routes / Re: Looking for Route Recommendations for April
« on: March 26, 2019, 10:40:51 pm »
Another vote for Natchez Trace.

Routes / Re: Any words of wisdom for 2019 TransAm Solo Rider?
« on: March 26, 2019, 10:39:46 pm »
The usual stuff. Eat when you're hungry. Drink when you're thirsty. Rest when you're tired. Listen to your body.
Ride early in the morning. Seek shade midday. Carry extra water. Wear clean shorts. Take lots of pictures. Stop and talk to people.
Start with new tires. Carry an extra tube, patch kit, gear cable, brake cable. It could be a long way to the next bike shop.
Pack your stuff in plastic so it's waterproof, otherwise in a heavy rain water will find a way in.
Learn to enjoy the long uphills, there is a reward at the top. Don't try to "beat down" a strong head wind by struggling against it. You will tire long before it does. Just gear down a little. You'll still get there, it will just take a little longer. And when that wind switches around behind you it's gonna feel so good.   
Please don't "stealth camp". Trespassing makes us all look bad. But, I'm not your mother and it's your trip.
Did I leave anything out? Have an adventure, you're gonna remember it the rest of your life as one of the coolest things you ever did.
Go for it! I hope to see you on the road somewhere! 

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