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Messages - indyfabz

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Routes / Re: To many choices
« on: July 07, 2014, 11:32:11 am »
There is a Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox statue in Bemidji, MN on the Northern Tier route.

The world's larget purple spoon on MT 49 in East Glacier Park, MT, thought I would not skip Going to the Sun Rd. so see it.

Routes / Re: I Just Flew in From Missoula and...
« on: July 04, 2014, 12:01:07 pm »

Click on the first one and advance manually. If you use the slideshow function you get that annoying "Ken Burns Effect."

Routes / Re: Bakersfield California to Darby Montana
« on: July 02, 2014, 03:33:55 pm »
Early quit no doubt. :)

BTW...Tim Carey, the Travelling Bike Nurse, who you may know (I know some of your staff does) is an aquainance of mine. Early this month he rode up north into Canada. Not sure if he's still north of the border or headed back here.

Routes / Re: Bakersfield California to Darby Montana
« on: July 02, 2014, 09:08:42 am »
Hey Indyfabz

First, I'm bummed that we missed meeting in the office while you were in Missoula!

Second, I think you must have an older TransAm #4 map. Once the bike path was completed, we changed the route to do just as you suggest below:

The official AC route gets off the trail and crosses the river onto East Side Highway at Stevensville. No need for that. The East Side Highway is busy and has no real shoulder to speak of. Stay on the trail towards Hamilton.


Great. Mine may be from 2010 or 2011, unless I a used the one from 15 years ago.

As I think I noted in my trip report, United Airlines is to blame for my late arrival. I did stop in on 6/28 around noon. Only two people in the office. Already making good use of my Bikelingual bandana.

Routes / Re: Bakersfield California to Darby Montana
« on: July 01, 2014, 10:08:36 am »
I see that the 95 - 12 - 93 are official adventure cycling routes, so that's good news, but none of the other ones are.

Just rode from Missoula through Darby last week. Heading east on 93 at Lolo, a bike trail begins just after the gas station on the right. Definitely take that. 93 is busy and loud. Not long after I got on the trail I came to the scene of a head on collision on 93. The official AC route gets off the trail and crosses the river onto East Side Highway at Stevensville. No need for that. The East Side Highway is busy and has no real shoulder to speak of. Stay on the trail towards Hamilton. In Victor, you have to jog to the right for a bock or so of street riding, then you jog left at the cafe/mercatile (big breakfasts there) to get back on the trail. When you come to the road that crosses the river towards Corvalis, cross the intersection then cross 93 and you will pick up a trail on the other side of 93 that takes you nearly all the way into the center of Hamilton. Be careful in Hamilton. The shoulder on 93 goes away for a while and traffic can be heavy depending on the time of day.

For the final leg to Darby, I highly recommend taking Old Darby Rd. instead of 93. As you head out of the center of Hamilton on 93, you will see a green sign poiting left for Skalkaho Rd. Make that left, crossing 93. Not long aftrer that, Skalkaho curves to the left. Bear right onto unsigned Sleeeping Child Rd. then, after a few miles, make a right onto Old Darby Rd. where Sleeping Child Rd. begins to climb. (There is a cool bike shop down a dirt driveway to the right shortly after you get onto Sleeping Child called Red Barn Bicycles. As it's name implies, it's in a red barn. Nice group of people and worth a look.) Old Darby has about a 7 mile section that is unpaved, but it was not rough when I rode it. And it's quiet and very pretty back there. After you cross the river (Fishing access site on the left after the bridge. Nice place with a picnic table by the water to take a break in the shade.) Old Darby crosses 93. You can either make a left on 93 to Darby or cross 93 to stay on Old Darby, where there is a final short stretch of unpaved road before the pavement picks up again. When Old Darby ends, make a right onto 93 and you will practically be in the center of Dabry. I would stay on Old Darby as it is quieter.

Routes / I Just Flew in From Missoula and...
« on: June 30, 2014, 04:08:53 pm »
...boy are my legs tired.

Reprised a loop from three years ago with a few modifications/new roads thrown into the mix.
Highlights of the trip include:d Gibbons Pass from Sula to Jackson, the lovely view from Big Hole Pass and descending out of the Pioneer Mountains to Wise River in rain, hail and even some wet snow, on the way to Divide Bridge Campground (saw about a dozen GDMR participants); the rough, unpaved but isolated and beautiful Melrose Bench Road between Melrose and Twin Bridges, which is not for those with loose teeth, skinny tires or flimsy wheels; two relaxing days at the Twin Bridges Bike Camp, where I crossed paths with Cycle Montana and took a 21 mile spin to Sheridan and back; Pipe Stone Pass, which is harder than it looks on paper, on the way to Butte; the Pintler Veterans’ Memorial Scenic Highway up to Georgetown Lake and then down to the pleasant town of Philipsburg; panning for sapphires at Gem Mountain and the wet and wild ride over narrow, twisty, unpaved Skalkaho Pass to Hamilton.

I inadvertantly tossed my daily mileage log, but there this is the approximate breakdown:
Missoula to Sula: 83 miles
Sula to Jackson: 67 miles
Jackson to Divide: 76 miles
Divide to Twin Bridges: 34 miles
Twin Bridges to Butte: 47 miles
Butte to Philipsburg: 57 miles
Philipsburg to Hamilton: 64
Hamilton to ACA Headquarters: 43

Travel got off to a rough start. Unbeknownst to me, my 6:00 a.m. flight from PHL to CHI had been cancelled the night before due to weather in the Midwest and I had been rebooked PHL-IAD-DEN-MSO. Fortunately, the flight to IAD left at 6:14, so there was not much of an additional wait, but I had a 4 hr. layover at DEN, so I didn’t arrive at MSO until 5 p.m., well after the original 12:45 p.m. arrival that I had booked. By the time I could get a cab to the KOA, it was nearly 6 p.m. (I am wondering if I should move to the area and start my own cab company.) One of the reasons I chose to ship my bike to/from the Missoula REI is that you can literally see the back of the store from the campground office, and they are open relatively late. My fully-assembled bike, stove and fuel bottle were waiting there for me. I also picked dup some last minute supplies, like fuel. At $40 for assembly and another $40 for re-boxing, I feel I got a good deal compared to locally, where a LBS boxing will run you about $75.

The original riding plan was to spend one night in Twin Bridges, ride to Ennis the next day and then on to Butte. That would have necessitated an 86 mile day to Butte with a 4 mile, 4% climb early on, Pipestone Pass late in the day and likely lots of headwind riding in between. Seemed like the waste of a good hotel room in Butte (the Hotel Finlen rocks!) so I took it easy and ended up in Butte with plenty of energy to enjoy a good steak at Casagranda’s. Gem Mountain was fun. Walked away with a total of 15.02 ctw in small sapphires. Not going to retire on that, but it was still worth the $20 for the bucket of gravel.

Biggest disappointment was not seeing many exotic critters. I did catch a glimpse of one Dahl sheep. Other than that, there was nothing notable of the four legged variety. Birds were a plenty, including cranes, herons, a few vocal owls and what looked like ospreys. On the road to Twin Bridges I startled two Common Snipes, which proceeded to put on a noisy show for me.

I will post a link to photos once I have uploaded them to Flickr. Send me a PM if you would like route details. With some planning and alternative overnight stops, this route can be done as a “credit card” tour. It would be unwise to attempt it with skinnier tires and/or less than sturdy wheels without a few route modifications. (I rode 37c Conti Top Contact IIs While there is a paved, parallel alternative to Gibbons Pass (Lost Trail and Chief Joseph Passes), avoiding Melrose Bench and Skalkaho Rds. would require route modifications which, in my opinion, would significantly detract from the nature of the route. You might also have to do a bit of I-90 riding to escape Butte. There is a series of frontage roads that you can use to avoid I-90, but there is a mile or so of unpaved riding that might be dicey on anything less than 32c tires, but maybe not.

One day heading east in central MT on the Northern Tier I sustained a speed of 32.5 mph for several miles before I became winded and had to drop back down to 28.5 mph, where I could pedal without going into the red zone. The road was flat except for one bridge across the railroad. Whilew we did have some easterly winds in MT and ND (as I did when I did another ride in ND), thw winds in MT and ND were mostly out of the west and could get opretty strong. Ride early and take rest if they get bad.

General Discussion / Re: Fighting off boredom?
« on: June 30, 2014, 03:56:19 pm »
I just got back from 9 days of riding in MT. (I am about to post a trip report in the "Routes" sub-forum.)

Others have pretty much covered it, but I want to offer something from my recent experience. I had a lot of hill most days. Between but breaks, photos, stopping for snacks, grocery shopping, etc. I could usually count on 10 mph on average. Sometimes it was less. Sometimes more. If you do about the same, a 60 mile day=6 hrs. on the road. If you hit the road at 8 a.m., you get done at 3 p.m. barring any delays. Throw in time for relaxing a bit once the biking is done, setting up camp, changing out of your riding clothes, taking a shower if one is available, exploring a town if you stay in one and things like grocery shopping, and its going to be 5 or 6 before you know it. Dinner and dishes and it's now 7. Cleaning your bike/lubing the chain if it has rained a lot. Answering questions from curious campers. There is a lot that will take up time. And when it's time to relax, you relax. I like to build a fire and read. Took "Flowers for Algernon" on my recent trip. Loved it. I did use the computer at a local library twice. Didn't really have the patience for it. I spend the work day in front of a computer and I don't feel the need to be "connected" when I am on the road. I have a sumb phone which I use to check in with the GF every night and that's about it.

General Discussion / Re: Viewing elevation profile of tours
« on: June 30, 2014, 10:31:57 am »
Given your criteria, you can probably count out the Allegheny Mountains Loop. The Potomac, of course, would not be a problem.

Routes / Re: Yellowstone Camping
« on: June 18, 2014, 11:02:40 am »
From the NPS site: "Campsites are available by reservation and on a first come, first served basis."

That's a 180 from when I was there 14 years ago. Back then, I stopped in the W. Yellowstone office of the company handling reservations and was told that, as a cyclist, I could not make a reservation but that I would not be turned away. Stayed at Madison the first day. They put me in a little cyclist area. The people running the place were nice. They had a double burner butane stove and some assorted utensils and condiments, all reserved for cyclists. One woman working at check in loaned me a book showing hikes in the area. Not too far away is the start of a nice hike up to a fire tower.

At Coulter Bay I was given an individual site. I returned from a campfire presentation to find that the company running the campground had also put some "hikers" in my site. They were not really hikers. They were kids who worked at the businesses in the area who had the next day off and wanted to camp, but since they arrived on foot, they were considered "hikers" and were not turned away. They were very inconsiderate. Made noise late until I told them to put a sock in it. When I woke up the next morning there were empty soda cans and some food left out.

I would try to make a reservation if you know you are going to be somewhere on a certain date.

My pleasure. I would hate for someone to climb away from the river for no reason. It can get very steep in that part of NJ.

Saw this during that ride:

May see some of you on Thursday. Landing at MSO around noon for the start of a 9-day loop on Friday. Don't know if I will be back by 1 p.m. the following Saturday.

General Discussion / Re: dogs and security
« on: June 12, 2014, 09:27:21 am »
Yes. Go to the fourm index:

In the upper right hand corner search for "dogs".

Plenty of threads on the issue.

A good, loud yell or a squirt to the face with a water bottle has never failed me. Show them you are top dog.

Was out riding Saturday. Somewhere between Milford, NJ and Carpentersville, NJ there has been a minor slide at a culvert. The road is blocked to cars with Jersey barriers and there are detour signs posted. We ignored the signs. The short, damaged section of road is easily passable and not dangerous. If you are towing a trailer (Earlier in the day we saw a tandem towing a trailer cruise through Belvidere) you might have to un-hitch to get around the barriers or else push up the railroad embankment, but I would ignore the detour signs, especially since the detour likely involves some tough climbing. The area did not appear to be an active work zone so there is no telling when the road will be repaired. A similar (but more severe) slide at Carpentersville a few years ago took months to repair.

Routes / Re: Cross VT Trail
« on: June 05, 2014, 02:20:53 pm »
Haven't ridden it, but one tool for finding campgrounds along the way is Google Maps. Pick some intermediate points along the route and search Google Maps for "campgrounds near [name of town]". If nothing shows, zoom out. For example, if you do the above using Marshfield, you get several results in the area, including some in Groton State Forest.

OP, I take it when you say "Credit Card Camping", you mean staying indoors at hotels and the like, not actually camping. (Though I would love to see someone tour by actually taking a credit card camping tour and set up tents inside motel rooms each night.  ;) )

Or one could actually camp at private campgrounds pay for each night with a credit card.

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