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Messages - indyfabz

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General Discussion / Re: Pronounciation...
« on: June 14, 2013, 04:34:39 pm »
You say toe-may-toe, I say toe-ma-toe. I don't think anyone cares if you are slightly off from the "official" pronunciation. But FWIW, I say usually "pan-yeas," as in Yea! We won!

The campground in Worthington State Forest on route adjacent to the Delaware Water Gap Nat'l Recreation Area is $25 for non-New Jersey residents. Camp Taylor, next to the Lakota Wolf Preserve that I took a detour to, was around $30, though you get a discount on the price of admission to see the wolves. Driftstone on the Delaware, on route south of Portland, PA, is a staggering $42 before 9/1, $38 afterwards. (Closes for the season on 9/15). Delaware River Family Campground, on the NJ side of the river south of Columbia, NJ is $41. Dogwood Haven in Upper Black Eddy, PA, just off the route from Milford, NJ, was $15. The owner is a nice guy. He gave me that rate last year because I came by bike. Gave it to me again this year. YRMV. In general, I would expect to pay between $30 and $35 at least at private campgrounds in Lancaster County, south of Philadelphia.

Routes / Re: Riding west to east along the northern tier
« on: June 14, 2013, 10:34:18 am »
Found this:

I took it near the summit of Washington Pass.

Routes / Re: Riding west to east along the northern tier
« on: June 14, 2013, 10:26:00 am »
+1 on what PDX says. As noted, I got snowed and rained on crossing Rainy/Washington and Sherman. Both times it poured a cold rain between Sedro-Wooley and Rockport. Somewhere at home I have a photo of the large sign for Washington Pass nearly covered in snow. Those conditions are quite dramatic scenery-wise, but they can become dangerous when you start to descend.

Allso, leaving mid-May will substantially increase the chance that Going to Sun Rd. over Logan Pass in Glacier National Park will not be open, especially if the road reconstruction project is still going on. For example, as of today, the road is not open fully open to cars. There is a chance that hikers and bikers can cross the pass today through the weekend:

In 2009, the last time I was there, Logan Pass did not open until late June. A year or two after that, it did not open until some time in July. While a July opening is rare, late June is a distinct possibility. A mid-June opening is what you should count on. Even if the snow and debris has been cleared and the guardrails put in place, the NPS may keep the road closed up to a specific date to allow for uninterrupted construction activity.

It would be a shame to miss GTS. I have ridden up to Logan Pass three times. Its always a thrill. The alternative (U.S. 2 over Marias Pass) is a long slog and not particularly scenic. It also leaves youi with a pretty taxing day to get back on route if you want to follow the portion of the route into Canada to Waterton Village, which I highly recommend. Even if Logan Pass is not fully open, it would be worth going into the park, making camp at either Avalanche or Sprague Creek Campground and riding as far up the west side as possible.

Routes / Re: Planning trip from NY to Ca
« on: June 13, 2013, 02:41:41 pm »
I plan on spending a week in Colorado at my pals apartment. Then taking off to San Francisco from there. I'm not entirely sure what I'm up against during November and where exactly I'll be while enroute. I'm still working on that and have been reviewing the map a lot.

You keep saying November, but you are starting in late October. The portion of the TransAm from the eastern end to Pueblo is about 2,200. If you average 71 miles/day every day for a full month, with no days off for rest, mechanical problems and/or bad weather, you won't get to Pueblo until late November. Add another week of chilling to that and you are talking about hitting the western mountainous part in December.

If Amtrak has a freight service then that is news to me.

It does, but not between all points:

Regular bicycles and unicycles may be shipped on Amtrak Express. Bikes must be securely packed in a box; you may bring your own box or purchase one at the station (call ahead for details and to make sure that boxes are available). Bicycles are generally exempt from Amtrak Express size requirements."

You can only bring your bike on board with you between stations with checked baggage service. I suspect the same rule applies to Amtrak Express service.

IMO, if you are brining more than you can carry with you on the plane you are likely bringing too much. Use one pannier as your carry-on (or tape two together). Put the rest of the gear in a duffle and check it. Mail the bag home when you arrive. The only thing I would ship is my stove and fuel bottle to eliminate the risk of confiscation by the TSA.

Having your gear ahead of time gives you an opportunity to become familiar with it, and I doubt the checked baggage fees will be less than the cross country shipping fee.

As for the bike, with what most airlines are charging now, it's often cheaper to ship the bike UPS or FedEx. We typically go throuigh a LBS. Seems like they can get you a better commercial rate. While it adds costs, we have our LBS box our bike, ship them to a LBS at the start and have them assembled and tuned there. Saves us work, which is nice when you have just spent over half the day travelling and have to hit the road early the next morning.

For all, it's my understanding that Southwest recently uppped its bike fee to $75.

I live in Philly and am very familiar with the Atlantic Coast route from around Otisville, NY down to Conshohocken, PA and possibly a bit south of there. (I don't have the map for the section south of Conshy.) Just rode the stretch  between Port Jervis, NY and Philly earlier this spring as I did last year. These were taken between Port Jervis and Milford, NJ, with a detour en route to a campground and wolf preserve:

Feel free to send me a PM if you would like detailed info. on the route, sights, services, etc.

Routes / Re: Riding west to east along the northern tier
« on: June 12, 2013, 04:51:43 pm »
In your opinion, what kind of daily mileage can be expected when crossing through Washington and those first set of mountains?? I'm really intimidated by the idea of tackling huge hill climbs right from the beginning.

I'll defer to the other posters who've done it west-east (we rode west) on the approach to the first passes.  From there on, figure a pass a day until you get to the Columbia River.

I found out west that I usually ended up riding from one town to the next.  It could be done differently, especially if you're willing to load up on food and water -- again, YMMV.

Yes. A pass a day is how it works out unless you do some massive a mileage days. That's because, aside from Waucunda/Sherman, there is some noticeable mileage between the climbs. The decision is where you stay in between. For example, when you come over Washington Pass, you can stay in Winthrop or further down the road in Twisp. Staying in the latter will mean a shorter day when you climb Loup Loup but more miles after Washington Pass. Same with Loup Loup. You can stay in Tonasket, where Waucunda starts or stop short of there, making for a longer day when you climb that pass but fewer miles after Loup Loup.

Personally, I like getting as close as possible to the start of the climb. Less warm up but more energy. A few years ago we climbed Pipestone Pass on the way to Butte, MT. We stayed in Twin Bridges the night before. That meant some 15 or 20 miles of warm, shadeless, rolling riding before the climb. I think that contributed to the difficulty we had with what seemed on paper to be nothing very difficult.

On that note, I forgot to mention that from Colonial Creek, you get no warm up. You turn right ouf the campground, cross the bridge and hit what is probably the steepest sustained section of the climb. Several of us actually took laps around the campground to warm up our cold (literally) muscles.

Routes / Re: Planning trip from NY to Ca
« on: June 12, 2013, 02:42:34 pm »
How cold do you like it? For example, the average high in Durango, CO in November is 45. The avergae low is 21.

Routes / Re: Riding west to east along the northern tier
« on: June 12, 2013, 02:34:41 pm »
Thanks for the great info!!

In your opinion, what kind of daily mileage can be expected when crossing through Washington and those first set of mountains?? I'm really intimidated by the idea of tackling huge hill climbs right from the beginning.

I did the entire NT once and the section between Bay View and Glacier National Park a second time. Both times I started in Seattle and rode north for three days to join the route just east of Anacortes. Left Seattle both times around May 25th. Here was the daily itinerary in WA for both trips (excluding the two days from Seattle to Bay View):

Bay View, Rockport, Colonial Creek Campground, Witnthrop, Winthrop, Tonasktet, Republic, Colville, Ione. From there, it was into ID.

1. Between Sedro Wooley and Conrete, the S. Skagit Highway was a marvelous ride. Like being in a rain forest, but with a frightfully cold rain.

2. Howard Miller Steelhead Park in Rockport has Adirondak shelters, which is nice if it's wet, which is a distinct possibility in May. Bought groceries in Concrete. There was a great dive bar right above the campground.

3. +1 on staying at Colonial Creek. There is camping in Newhalem, but that's right where the hills start. There are two shorter climbs and two descents between Newhalem and Colonial Creek. The climb to Washington Pass is long enough. No need to make it longer. If you stay in Rockport you will have a short day to Colonial Creek, which means you will be well rested for the next day's climb. The official route between Rockport and Marblemount is nice. There was zero traffic both times and no hills.

4. Take plenty to eat and drink for the climb to Washington Pass. There are no services whatsoever on the way up virtually none on the way down until Mazama. (I believe there is a USFS campground along the descent, but I don't know if it has water.) We supplied at the small stoe in Newhalem on the way to Colonial Creek. Don't know what sort of grocery selection they are currently carrying. The first year I got rained and then snowed on before Rainy Pass and through to Washington Pass. My fingers froze on the descent. The second year I brought an extra pair of winter gloves so I would have something dry to put on for the descent. Weather tunred out to be much better, but you should be prepared for anything.

5. The first time, between Mazama and Winthrop I took the official route which uses some road with the name Goat in it. The second time I stayed on SR 20. The former way is prettier but had some ups and downs. SR 20 was easier.

5. Winthrop is a nice place for a day off. There is a releatively new bike camp there. The KOA was also nice. Right next to the river. There is a brew pub in town.

6. Loup Loup wasn't that hard of a climb. It's relatively easy early on. The latter part is the most difficult. The descent has sections of 8%. The stretch between Okanogan and Tonasket was very warm and dry both times, and there is no shade. Water up in Okanogan.

7. Waucunda isn;t that hard either. You will feel cheated on the descent as you don't get a very long stretch of steep downhill. Ther fairgrounds in town was a nice place to camp. Cheap with hot showers. I understand that a couple near town has established a sort of bike camp.

8. Sherman Pass starts out steep then relaxes (even goes down a bit) then turns up again. Both times I felt like I climbed forever. Maybe I was just tired from the previous two days. The first year I woke to snow flurries in Republic and rode through snow on the descent. Saw a moose. The second year was cold but dry. There is a cool old CCC camp historical site on the right during the descent that is worth stopping for. In Colville I stayed at Benny's Colville Inn both times. Nice place with a pool and hot tub.

9. Colville to Ione is a short day, which meant a long day to Sandpoint. Ione was not that nice a place. The first year we (I was with a group) camped in the city park and saw a few drug deals being made between people in cars. The second time I camped a few miles north at a dam site that had a free campground. I felt isolated and uneasy. If I were to do it all again, I would pass on Ione and press on to Usk, where I think there is a campground. If it's no longer there, I believe there might be a place on the SR 20 side of the river. You can cross the river via the bridge at Usk.

10. Unless things have changed, do not be tempted to take U.S. 2 from the Newtown area into Sandpoint. There was a lot of traffic, including trucks, and little or no shoulder in places. Stay on the official route. The old U.S. 95 bridge that is now a bikeway into Sandpoint is neat. There was no camping in Sandpoint. The second time I stayed at Springy Point along the shore of the lake. Nice place for a two-night stay but not near anything. It's a several mile ride into town proper.

If you are worried about doing the Washington Pass climb so early on, you might consider starting in Seattle like I did. After a short ferry ride you can follow ACA's Pacific Coast route north to join the NT route. That would allow you to stay at Fort Worden S.P., which is a nice place that happens to have served as the military base in the film "An Officer and a Gentleman."

Probably more than you wanted to know. Feel free to send me a PM with more questions. A few years ago I did the section between Glacier N.P. and Eureka, MT so that's fresher in my mind.

Routes / Re: Suggestions needed for favorite 7-day trip in US
« on: June 07, 2013, 09:49:32 am »
If you can swing a few more than 7 days, in 2011 we did a nice loop out of Missoula. Followed the TransAm route for a few days then went over the Pioneer Mountains Scenic Byway to Wise River and Divide, thence to Twin Bridges, where there is a very nice bike-only camping facility. From there it was on to Butte and then Philipsburg, which is very cute. From there, there are a couple of options to get back to Missoula. Only catch is that there is a 20 mile stretch of unpaved road between Melrose and Twin Bridges that is somewhat rugged in a few places, but we managed easily on our LHTs. Worth the extra effort, IMO.

There is also the loop out of Whitefish that goes into B.C. and Alberta and then back into Montana and over Going to the Sun Road in Glacier National Park.

Send me a PM if you would like details.

This is not related to cog size but to the manufacturers driving choices. The basic bike computer really only needs to tell me what my total mileage and days mileage and time of day are. Not all the splits, cadences and heart rate etc. I found my Planet Bike computer going blank while on a rainy day ride the other day. I just want something rugged, reliable and simple. Any suggestions?

I will throw this in the mix in case it might be helpful to you in selecting a model...

When I shipped my bike to Missoula for the start of a tour I asked the shop to throw on a basic computer like the one you describe. They did. A Sigma. Cost me $25. Not long into the first day of ridin I noticed that the day mileage counter had reset to zero. It happened a few other times that day. It was driving me crazy. Thought the thing was defective. I finally realized what was going on. I put my left foot down when I stop temporarily for things like photos. The computer was mounted on the left side of the stem. The one button the computer has is located on the bottom edge, not on the face of the unit. The weight on the front of the bike often caused the bars to turn to the left, which caused the button to press against my leg for several seconds. Pressing the button for several seconds resets the day mileage counter unless the computer is in the time of day or odometer function. Not a very good design, especially since if you stop for an extended period the unit goes to sleep. When you wake it up by starting to ride, it automatically goes to day mileage function. You have to remember to change the function or risk having you mileage zeroed.

Gear Talk / Re: Bio Lite Stove...
« on: May 22, 2013, 10:26:06 am »
I think there was some talk about it over on IIRC, someone there also said it was good for base camp cooking and/or large groups. Another comment was that you have to continually feed it.

Query: What happens when you don't have a good wood supply or what there is is soaked?

Routes / Re: Route help needed from Ashland, OR to Shasta
« on: May 20, 2013, 09:31:13 am »
OR 66 to U.S. 97 to Weed then College & N. Old Stage Rds.

Interstate riding, while often not pleasant, is sometimes a necessary evil, at least if you want a direct route. I rode some busy parts of I-90 in MT and a stretch of I-80 in WY and lived.

+1 on the pedals, shoes and cleats. E.g., My Shimano MT-33L MTB shoes were probably around $50 a few years ago. Got a disocunted paid of Shimano SPD pedals earlier this year for around $50.

Why carry a spare chain? Learn how to make temporary repairs and bring the necessary tool and extra links to do so. In all likelihood, if you start out with a new chain I don't see much of a chance of any problems. I crossed the country with 12 other people. That represented over 55,000 bike miles. Not one broken or damaged chain.

+1 on the "locks." A fairly light cable and small lock are all you need to deter oportunistic theft. And keep in mind that a u-lock doesn't come in that handy outside the urban setting. I personally think many people have an unrealistic notion of the risk of theft. When I carry a lock I find I rarely use it. During my last week+ tour (10 days) I used my lock 3 of the 7 nights I spent outside. Would have been 2, but the Missoula KOA seemed somewhat accessible to the general public.

I see a budget for fron and rear panniers but only one rack. Four panniers requires 2 racks.

Come up with a budget for clothing and things like gloves based on where and when you will be travelling. Nothern Tier in May? You are going to want/need cold/wet weather gear.

What tools are you considering? I have never toured with more than a chain tool, tire levers, spoke wrench, a set of allen wrenches and the screw driver and knife in my Swiss Arm knife.

$20 says you will lose your constant fear of theft once you are in the element.

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