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Messages - jwrushman

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Routes / Re: camping on the Northern Tier
« on: September 12, 2022, 12:08:40 pm »
I enjoyed reading your blog. just curious why you decided to ride the older northern tier route to Wolf Point Montana from cut Bank?

Gear Talk / Re: Bluetooth speaker
« on: August 24, 2022, 09:02:46 am »
I ended up replacing it with the same speaker. I guess I shouldn't expect more than 5 years for an inexpensive speaker.

Except for in the noisiest conditions, the speaker has been adequate in terms of volume. In addition to directions, I have RideWithGPS. give me an alert every mile, just to make sure the phone hasn't fallen asleep.

Gear Talk / Bluetooth speaker
« on: August 03, 2022, 01:34:51 pm »
Over the past 8 years, I've been using the Buckshot 2.0 speaker from Outdoor Technology. They've worked well for me when bicycling, but seemed to die after 4 to 5 years - no longer charge, no longer maintain a charge.  Maybe that's the expected life for an inexpensive speaker, but I'm wondering if there's something that might work better.

   $30 or less

On uninteresting rides around home, I use it for listening to Pandora. When touring, I use it for turn by turn directions from Ride with GPS.  My Android phones speaker is just not adequate if there's much road noise / wind noise.


I'm sorry I won't be able to join you for a stretch of your ride.  We just adopted a new doggie.  Wife wouldn't be pleased if I were to take off for a week!

Will you be posting a journal someplace?  CrazyGuyOnABike?

GPS & Digital Data Discussion / Re: GPS or ACA app, or both?
« on: April 22, 2022, 05:27:38 pm »
For my modified Northern Tier, I purchased ACA maps and manually inputted the route into RideWithGPS.  I did this so I could use RideWithGPS's turn-by-turn directions - sometimes helpful, but mostly not needed.  And by entering the route into RWGPS, I became more familiar with the route and was aware of congested areas where I'd need to pay better attention.   I do not have a Garmin so I don't know if it would be beneficial, but I managed quite nicely with my Android phone.  I've not used OSMaps but imagine it can be used for navigation similar to RWGPS.  I also had ACA's Bicycle Navigator app but mostly did not use it.  I found the paper maps and RWGPS to be very adequate.

General Discussion / Re: TAT and mental health
« on: January 25, 2022, 08:46:48 am »
And doing the trip solo would raise additional issues.

   - No one to bounce ideas off.  "Should I take this shortcut?"  "Is the weather going to get worse?"  Should I stop for the day or ride another 15 miles and hope to get to the campsite before it gets dark?"

   - No one to monitor how you are doing, physically and mentally.

I used to hike solo, but not so much anymore.  Having a hiking buddy is good for the conversation and camaraderie, but more important, it (usually) prevents me from doing something stupid!

General Discussion / Re: TAT and mental health
« on: January 25, 2022, 08:34:04 am »
Regardless of your medical condition, many factors are present that could make insomnia worse.

   - Travelling in a foreign country.

   - Being on an epic physically and mentally demanding adventure.

   - Expectations from the local charity.

   - Having a fixed time-table to complete your trip

   - Crazy times (socially and politically) in the U.S.

   - Doing this in the time of a pandemic!!!

I don't have bipolar.  I'm not usually prone to insomnia.  There were not infrequent nights I'd be tossing and turning in my sleep, thinking about the upcoming day(s), how ill-prepared I am, and on, and on....

Routes / Re: The Thompson River Backcountry Drive - NT Alternative
« on: October 18, 2021, 03:58:15 pm »
I cannot comment on the route you're considering.  In my opinion, the entire Northern Tier from Glacier to Newhalem was amazing!  I had never been to that part of Washington State (and Montana and Idaho) and was awed by the beauty of the region.   Have you been to this area before?

Routes / Re: NT Alternative between Cut Bank and St Mary in MT
« on: October 18, 2021, 03:50:32 pm »
"...But Many Glacier is so much better - and right there where IR 464 comes out at Babb..."

Major bummer!   If I had realized how close I was to Many Glaciers, I would Definitely have made the ride up there!  I was there probably 30 years ago.  It was spectacular!  And I'm sure it still is!

CircleSpinner, if you can arrange your ride to manage a stop in Many Glaciers, go for it!

I rode to St. Mary and on to Rising Sun on July 2.  The traffic was moderately heavy outside to St Mary and inside of the park and heavier inside - it was what I expected for July 4th holiday week.  But I lucked out and was able to get a cabin (due to a last-minute cancellation).

Routes / Re: NT Alternative between Cut Bank and St Mary in MT
« on: October 16, 2021, 09:48:54 pm »
Two years ago, I took Rte 2 from Cut Bank to Browning and East Glacier.  From there, I took Rte 49 to Kiowa and Rte 89 to St. Mary.

From Browning toward East Glacier the traffic volume was a little higher, but there was a good shoulder and a passing lane for the long uphills.

Route 49 was narrow,  hilly, and winding with no shoulder, but the scenery was lovely. If I recall correctly, the road was closed to large vehicles, and I suspect the locals took another route.

General Discussion / Re: The best music for touring
« on: October 01, 2021, 07:42:40 pm »
On training rides at home, I often listen to music, but not when I'm out of my home turf.  I feel that the music disconnects me from the cycling experience and the environment. 

However, on the hours long rides up the Washington passes on the Northern Tier, I did listen to music, mostly to distract me from my huffing and puffing.  The music that worked best for me was a downloaded double album of Benny Goodman's greatest hits.  Being a double album, it didn't repeat too often.  Most of the tunes were up-beat and kept me moving.  And I don't think it would offend anybody, like Led Zeppelin might.

General Discussion / Re: Northern Tier East to West June - August 2022
« on: September 26, 2021, 08:04:30 pm »
If you're still looking for riders in April, May, please re-post this.  I did the NT in 2019 but may be interested in joining you for a week. 

Are you going to do the NT as-is, or start in Rhode Island?  Cutting across Ontario and Michigan, or going south through Ohio and Michigan?  Camping?

General Discussion / Re: Gear list: am I on the right road?
« on: August 11, 2021, 05:35:18 pm »
Ear plugs - weighs next to nothing and will help you to ignore the bear, road noise, raccoon, noisy campers, mountain lion, chipmunk, outside your tent.  (I have a vivid imagination).  (And am a light sleeper).

A watermelon-and-a-half too heavy :(

General Discussion / Re: Laundry
« on: August 01, 2021, 02:49:13 pm »
"The Scrubba - patented washboard-in-a-bag design"

They've gotta be kidding!  $55 for that?!

(George, I hope it's not your products.  If so, my apologies)

I may not say this artfully, so please excuse me if it seem offensive.

Preparing for a long distance bike ride is a challenge for anyone.  And if you're new to bike touring, that's more challenging.  And if your new to longer distances (you say you're doing 20 miles a day now), that's more challenging.  And if you're not from the States, that too brings new challenges.  As a white, middle-age, male, Merican, I can "wing it" and (hopefully) not get into too much trouble.   Besides the bike touring, getting comfortable to how "things are done in the States" may prove to be as much an obstacle. 

Have you spent much time in the States?  Might you consider an organized tour? 

I rode solo doing a modified Northern Tier.  I had to drop out in 2018 due to diverticulitis.  Riding solo gave me the flexibility to due what I wanted and allowed me to drop out without impacting anyone else.  But for you, a group may be very beneficial.  You do have the benefit of youth.  Your body is less likely to crap out compared to us older folk.

Good luck on your adventure.  I look forward to reading your journals. 

Last advice - Try to get out on some overnight excursions (or two nights) from home.  I found it the best way to find out what equipment I could leave at home.

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