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Messages - indyfabz

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General Discussion / Re: Bicycle Dynamo Charger
« on: July 20, 2017, 04:16:40 pm »
If you're going to hit diners for a meal every day or every other day, you can plug things in then (think GPS with internal battery, or cell phone).  If you're going to hit a motel, B&B, or warm showers host every second or third day, plug everything in there. 

Don't forget private campgrounds and even some state parks. They often have outlets in restrooms and other places.

Routes / Re: TransAmerica - Types of roads
« on: July 20, 2017, 04:12:11 pm »
Traffic volume on some roads can vary with time of year, time of day and/or day of the week.

The path Carla refers to it quite nice. I have ridden it several times, including last year. Sure beats the highway, especially during rush hour. In 2014 I came upon the aftermath of a head on collision on the highway.

And keep a look out for new bike paths that may have been added. I was on portions of the Northern Tier route last month. I was pleasantly surprised to find a path along MT 37 approaching Eureka where the shoulder on the highway ends. Also, there is a path along U.S. 2 (you get on Old U.S. 2 for a while) taking you into W. Glacier that I don't remember from when I was there back in 2009.

What camera did you use for taking the pictures - they look great and full of color. Did you process the pictures or just uploaded them?

The camera is a Sony RX100 II. I did do some enhancement. For nearly all the photos I let my iMac do it automatically.

Been thinking about it, but I have to stick around here for at least another 3 years for pension purposes. Too much to lose leaving before 55.

NFDR 228 on the Western side of Koocanusa is much better than 37.  Ride it next if haven't ever.
I was originally going to go to from Yaak to Libby and take 228, but only a month or so before the trip I found a Crazy Guy journal written by a guy with details about a paved route between Yaak and the bridge across the lake that some local told him was a classic. Ended up taking that. It is a fantastic ride. I don't think I saw a half dozen moving vehicles between Yaak and the bridge. Here is the map for that segment:

Not sure I ever want to ride it in the other direction like the group in the journal. The climb is shorter in that direction but, on average, much steeper.

The tent pads at Whitefish Lake S.P. are still pea gravel (same at Wayfarers S.P.) but are fine as long as you have a ground sheet. And for those who remember train horns at Whitefish, there is now what is known as a Quiet Zone at the railroad crossing near the park entrance. Trains no longer blow their horns. You can still see and hear them at the park, but the noise didn't both me.

Food Talk / Re: Sports/Endurance Drinks on Tour?
« on: July 17, 2017, 07:20:34 am »
I took individual 3 packages of Perpetuem for a two week tour last month for specific days when there was nothing on route. Ended up using two of them. They were very useful, but I would not try to carry enough for a multi-month trip. 

Routes / Re: Denver, CO > Rapid City, SD
« on: July 15, 2017, 11:05:12 am »
If you want the "scenic route" to Rapid City, get off the trail at the Englewood trail head and ride to Cheyenne Crossing then over to Savoy and down Spearfish Canyon to Spearfish, where there is a wonderful municipal campground. From there, take either I-90 or E. Colorado Blvd. to U.S. 85. That will take you through Deadwood then to U.S. 385 which will take you to Nemo Rd. Nemo is a great ride (and mostly down hill in that direction) and will take you right into Rapid City. To save time, you could skip Spearfish and simply stay on the trail to Deadwood and do the rest of the above to Rapid City.

If you want Mt. Rushmore, get off the trail south of Hill City and take SD 244. That takes you right there. Then from Keystone take SD 40 to S. Rockerville Rd. to U.S. 16. S. Rockerville was pretty and had little traffic.

General Discussion / Re: 6 week trip from Seattle to San Francisco
« on: July 11, 2017, 01:24:55 pm »
Crater Lake can be quite nice in September. Rode up to it twice (once from Diamond Lake and once from Fort Klamath), around and down during two Cycle Oregons. If you do go around the lake definitely go out to Cloud Cap Overlook. IMO, best view of the lake. If you head to Prospect from there, the descent it fun.

General Discussion / Re: What state is your favorite to ride in?
« on: July 11, 2017, 01:15:53 pm »
can't imagine you really experienced that  :'(
I have had all those things happen to me at one time or another while on a bike.

I am happy to see that at least three states have outlawed "rolling coal."

Gear Talk / Re: Tent ground cloth?
« on: July 10, 2017, 04:10:52 pm »
I would not dream of pitching my BA Fly Creek UL 2 without something under it. My Seedhouse SL 2, which has a tougher floor, got a few holes in it after not all that much use.

I simply use one of those blue, plastic "tarps" you can find many places.

Gear Talk / Re: Best Brake pads
« on: July 10, 2017, 04:06:13 pm »
I switched to Kool Stop Salmon pads a few years ago and love them. I tour and commute on my LHT. Even with the constant slowing/stopping at intersections during my rides around town, they last a good long time.

Created a photo album:

The best way to view them is to click on the first one and advance manually using the arrow on the right. Unfortunately, Flikr's editor is being replaced so I have not yet been able to add descriptions.

General Discussion / Re: Amtrak roll-on in Seattle
« on: July 06, 2017, 02:21:58 pm »
Buy a second hand duffel bag and put all your equipment in it. Makes transporting the lot easier. Toss it when you are done with it. Or you may be able to give it away like I did when I got off the Vermonter in Brattleboro, VT with my bike for the start of a tour.

Was there something that prevented you from boarding the first coach behind the baggage car and walking on the train to your particular car?

Last Saturday I finished a wonderful, two-week loop tour from/to Missoula, with nights in St. Regis, Wallace (ID), Thompson Falls, Cabinet Gorge, Troy, Yaak (2), Rexford, Whitefish, Glacier National Park (2), Bigfork and Seeley Lake. I will update this thread with a photo album in a week or so but I wanted to convey some thoughts while they are fresh in my mind.

While planning the trip I focused on the roads and trails I planned to ride. When actually out there on the road, I quickly realized that the rivers and lakes I casually paid attention to during the planning stages were dominating the days. Rivers of note included the Clark Fork, St. Regis, Kootenai, Bull, Yaak, Flathead and Blackfoot. Major lakes included Koocanusa, Bull, Flathead, Swan, Seeley and Salmon. And countless creek crossings were a daily occurrence.

Some highlights of the trip:

1. The portions of the Olympian and NorPac Trails that I rode--from De Borgia to Lookout Pass—and then the screaming descent down I-90 to Mullan to pick up the Trail of the Coeur D ’Lane to Wallace, ID.

2. Wallace to Thompson Falls via Dobson, King’s (unpaved) and Thompson Passes. Worth the effort.

3. The unadvertised hike/biker sites at Thompson Falls State Park. They are actually day use picnic areas that they put hikers/bikers in. They are the best sites in the place.

4. Blue Slide Rd. to the Trout Creek area. (A must ride over MT 200.)

5. MT 56 through the Cabinet Mountains and my lakeside site at U.S.F.S. campground Dorr Skeels at the head of Bull Lake. Amazing sunset conditions.

6. Yaak River Rd. to Yaak for two nights at U.S.F.S. campground Pete Creek, and then the climb and descent to MT 37. Beautiful every inch of the way and about as far off the grid as you can get without being in the backcountry.

7. The fried chicken at the Frontier Bar in Rexford and splashing around in Lake Koocanusa.

8. The new hiker-biker sites at Whitefish Lake State Park and Wayfarers State Park, complete with tent pads, bike racks, shelters, repair stands, power outlets and bear lockers.

9. The back way via North Fork, Blankenship and Belton Stage Rds. to/from W. Glacier (glad to see there is a bike path from Lake 5 Rd. to W. Glacier) and, of course, the ride up to Logan Pass and back down.

10. Middle Rd. between Columbia Falls and MT 35.

11. The lack of rain. Had an overnight shower in Whitefish and brief drizzle the morning I was preparing to leave Glacier. Other than that, it was bone dry.

Lowlights included:

1. U.S. 93 south of Fortine, with its traffic and sketchy shoulder in many places. A stretch south of Twin Bridges Rd. just outside of Whitefish is in particularly horrible shape.

2. The earlier miles of MT 83 south towards Seeley Lake for the same reason.

3. Trying to ride a portion of an abandoned Milwaukee Road right of way only to find the last mile through a ranch blocked off by a barbed wire fence, forcing me to backtrack to I-90 and adding 8 miles to an already long first day of 76 miles.

4. The heat. Most days reached into the lower 90s with blazing sun.

No bear or moose sightings, but I did see countless whitetails and a few mulies, a half dozen bald eagles, numerous ospreys, a doe elk on the NorPac Trail, a big horn ewe with young ones in Cabinet Gorge, a large, red fox, one fat hoary marmot and what I believe was an ermine.

Routes / Re: Denver, CO > Rapid City, SD
« on: July 05, 2017, 02:28:30 pm »
and takes you through the Mickelson Trail, which I have no idea what to expect (gravel/paved) from a quick Google Maps search.
Try looking at the official trail site:

I rode nearly all of it 2 years ago. It's beautiful, but not a "warm and fuzzy" trail like the GAP. Aside from a total of a total of a few miles in Deadwood and Custer, it's not paved. Surface varies between dirt, gravel and even sand. Trail conditions can change due to weather activity. I had to lift my bike over a downed tree near Mystic and skateboard through some washed out areas caused by heavy spring rains. It's also not flat. There are some significant grades for a rail-trail in places. While getting water is not a problem thanks to the cisterns nicely spaced along the trail, outside of Deadwood (the northern terminus), Hill City, Custer and Edgemont (the southern terminus), food sources are very limited. There is a bar/restaurant somewhere off the trail in Rochford and another once in Prichard. IIRC, neither is open on Sunday.

With all that said, It's a fabulous ride. I got on the trail at Engelwood after riding Spearfish Canyon and rode to Hill City, where I camped at Crooked Creek, which is just south of the center of town and which you can access right from the trail. The next day I finished up in Edgemont, where there is a municipal campground (with showers) at the south end of town.

Due terrain, trail surface, cattle gates you have to open and close and the numerous bridges (which you should slow down for due to possibly uneven transitions), budget more time than you may otherwise think you need.

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