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Messages - LouMelini

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1
General Discussion / Re: Warm Showers
« on: March 12, 2022, 11:54:26 am »
Staehpj1: Nice comments. In my effort to be succinct, I should have clarified that not all guests can host due to housing or other circumstances that you mentioned.

2
General Discussion / Re: Warm Showers
« on: March 12, 2022, 10:55:27 am »
John:  thanks for asking. I have hosted people whenever possible soon after my first tour across the US in 1975. You have been touring for many years and may remember the Touring Cyclists Hospitality Directory that was started in 1976 or 77 (disbanded about 2004). I think your comments are appropriate but I am currently out of touch enough that I can't confirm nor deny your concerns.  I have not used or even looked at the forums of WS for a couple of years as they are rarely informative. In my time on the board, the primary reason for Randy leaving the board was burn-out. Though I have not spoken to him in many years, I still admire the work and dedication he put into the organization for nearly a decade. Since I left, I don't know enough of board politics to comment on the "coup" comment. My friend on the board left about 3 or so years ago. Our conversations were primarily grumbling about the host/guest issues inherent in WS. As you stated, at its core, WS is a good concept and as you said, the current concept is not going well, though at times the concept goes very well if hosts and guests understand and buy into the mission. In summary I think I am currently out of touch to comment further other than to say that the growth of WS created problems and the concept of free (lodging) is not without it owns creation of problems.

3
Gear Talk / Re: Chair
« on: March 12, 2022, 10:32:50 am »
My wife and I each have a chair (REI brand). Despite the weight concern, we find them comfortable, we can put the chairs in the shade or if there is rain, we can sit under a shelter. 

4
General Discussion / Re: Warm Showers
« on: March 12, 2022, 10:13:45 am »
As a former member of the board of Warmshowers (2012-2015), I find the conversations interesting. Currently I am very much out of touch with what is going on with the administration of Warmshowers (WS). I have only heard through another former board member that the website and apps have cost a lot of money.  I still donate small amounts, I host after carefully scrutinizing the profile of the guest, and my wife and I were guests to 2 wonderful hosts on a tour last year. There are issues with WS that has been described in the posts. In my opinion, the organization grew too rapidly during my time on the board. The "free lodging" attracted a lot of people that did not share the mission of reciprocity. At that time I was on the board, we were a volunteer group. The Executive director that created the website in 2005 put in hundreds of hours each year but burned out in 2014. We voted to pay him during his final year but that did not help. The replacement volunteer executive director did not work out and left the position within a year. Having a perfect guest/host mix in WS has been difficult. Those that post in the forums have a clear idea of what a good guest and host should be. Fees can control growth and perhaps mitigate problem guests on WS, but fees are obviously not popular. I don't know what the answers are to solve the problems of non-responsive hosts and guests that are primarily looking for free housing. I've been subjected to both. I hope to continue to be a good, but careful host, and a good guest.  To answer the original question posted, we only stayed at the home of a host once on our 2018 TransAm ride. The experience was simply OK as there are differences in hosting from people that have toured and from those that do not have experience traveling on a bike.

5
I am from Utah and have ridden in the parks you mentioned except for Cedar Breaks. There are no hiker/biker sites at Bryce, Capital Reef nor Natural Bridges. The state parks of Utah, despite requests, do not have hiker/biker sites nor no-turn-away policies. I have been accommodated in the state parks when full, but that is dependent on who is at the entrance station. With the current record-setting visitation, accommodation may not happen. There is always the option of sharing a site (see jamawani post). This could be a problem if campsites are priced for a set number of people and additional fees are assessed for additional campers in that site.

In the August of 2020, I made same-day reservations at the KOA in Cannonville, east of Bryce NP. Cannonville is about 9 miles from Kodachrome State Park, a nice destination. Ruby's is good as one person mentioned, though popular. The forest service campgrounds in the area fill quickly near Bryce. I have had friends stealth camp near Capital Reef. I know that the campground in Capital Reef is booked up for the month of April. My wife and I are staying at the Wonderland campground 4 miles outside of Capital Reef in Torrey. I assume June will be booked up as well when you travel through. It has been about 5 years since I last rode in Natural Bridges area. There are places to pull off the road to camp near Natural Bridges. Hanksville has a very nice campground at the junction of 24 and 95. Water will be an issue after Hanksville to Blanding. There is a perennial stream about 30 miles south of Hanksville at a roadside reststop. I've heard of people stopping there to stealth camp but I can't say if that is legal. The campground at Hite marina closed years ago, but aggie posted some current information. I was told one could obtain water at a ranger station at Hite but I don't know if that is still true. People are nice and will generally stop to provide you with water if absolutely needed. Hanksville is 4300 ft. and Natural Bridges is 6200 so you will have a steady climb on hwy 95.

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General Discussion / Re: New Executive Director
« on: November 19, 2021, 10:05:03 am »
Thanks for posting; wondering the same though I will continue to donate.

7
General Discussion / Re: coffee coffee
« on: October 31, 2021, 10:58:20 am »
hikebikecook: A cat hole is a good idea for the grounds. Maybe I will go back to my small MSR filter for pour through coffee. When bike touring I try to stay in campgrounds (parks, forest service or commercial) where I could easily dump grounds into a trash can. Thanks.

For Staehpj1 I should have said hazelnut flavored instant coffee in individual packets.

8
General Discussion / Re: coffee coffee
« on: October 31, 2021, 10:50:59 am »
staehpj1: I don't have a favorite. I use Necafe Classico or Taster's Choice as it is generally stocked in my local grocery. I liked Maxwell house instant but it is hard to find locally vs. back east on the AT. From Target, I buy the individual servings of Hazelnut flavor to mix in. That helps but instant is always a compromise between taste vs. the convenience of instant coffee while packing up in the morning. It is hard to recommend any particular instant as one person's choice is another person's awful as you experienced.

9
Gear Talk / Re: cooking System
« on: October 31, 2021, 10:17:27 am »
I cook in my pots using a GSI food scraper for easy clean-up. I use a titanium Kovea stove with a one-liter primus pot when touring without my wife. Julie and I use a snow peak stove (gigapower) with a 1.8 liter primus pot when touring together (and when we hiked the Appalachian trail). The pots have a heat exchanger that makes for a quick boil and acts like a wind screen. The downside of heat exchangers is that the bottom surface area of the pot is diminished. I need a stove with folding pot support to fit the one-liter pot. (snow peak also has a stove with folding support) For cooking, I like a stove that is beveled vs. a flame that shoots straight up.

10
General Discussion / Re: coffee coffee
« on: October 31, 2021, 09:51:25 am »
jamawani: thanks for the tip about Burlington. Unfortunately Julie and I went straight to Greybull (from Cody) on our September tour of the that part of Wyoming. I heard there is a great pizza place in Burlington as well.  I drink instant coffee, simple and quick; instant  makes me appreciate 2nd breakfast coffee in a cafe. I completely switched to instant on our Appalachian trail thru-hike when a campground host in Shenandoah made a big deal about coffee being a bear attractant.

11
Gear Talk / Re: Showers Pass Transit CC versus Elite 2.1
« on: October 27, 2021, 07:23:15 pm »
HikeBikecook:  Sorry to hear about your experience with the Showers Pass Elite with its Race cut. Julie and I use Marmot Precip jackets for our bike tours and have been happy with them. We also use our shells for warmth. I happened to find my current Precip as a close-out at a local climbing store for $50. Julie, however, has recently been unable to find a Precip that fits her (also in the typical touring woman in her 60's) due to the cut of the jacket. Precip jackets can be reliable up to 5 years (depending on use) in my experience before they wet-out though with tech-wash and such I can extend the life. I used an Arc'teryx Beta Hybrid for our AT hike-great jacket, especially at 30% off. Golden/yellow would best describe the color of both of my jackets. My requirements for rainwear jackets are water-proof (not water resistant), pit zips for ventilation, a hood, and bright color. We have one car so I ride year-round to my volunteer job (I'm 70 and retired) so the touring jacket gets a lot of use.

12
Routes / Re: Idaho Hot Springs route and parking help
« on: June 30, 2021, 11:53:28 am »
Where did you leave your car if it was not easy?  I should, but I have chosen to not do social media. Perhaps someday. I also hope to get back on that route.

13
Routes / Re: Idaho Hot Springs route and parking help
« on: June 29, 2021, 11:06:46 pm »
I assume, like I did, you had a great ride on the hot springs route. Yes, I am a volunteer writer for Cycling West. Thank you for acknowledging that you read the articles.

14
General Discussion / Re: Hosting Travelers
« on: June 26, 2021, 02:55:06 pm »
Westinghouse: When I was on the Warmshowers (WS) board, we had a dedicated "trust and safety" committee to deal with issues. We disabled a number of accounts due to reasons of exploitation and other issues. WS has not had the problems of Couchsurfing over the years. In one WS case about 8 years ago that claimed to be an Australian (?) bike traveler that had his wallet (money and ID) stolen. He used this scheme for a month or so in the Northwest to obtain money and lodging. Initially people went out of their way to help him. Finally as word spread on the WS forums he became banned and was no longer welcome by hosts. He tried to re-list on WS using other aliases but was spotted and had his profiles deleted.

 I am glad to see ACA have a relatively active forum. It seems Warmshowers communication is nearly 100% via Facebook so I am currently out of the loop of current issues.  It is always good to check for positive feedback on prospective guests as few post negative reviews.

15
Routes / Re: Idaho Hot Springs route and parking help
« on: June 26, 2021, 12:44:55 pm »
I've toured in the area twice. Once we left a car at the ski resort in Ketchum for the 2 weeks on the Hot Spring ride but that was in 2014 (talk to security). The second time the car was left at a campground about 5 miles west of Stanley (2017), $5/day fee. 

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