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Messages - aggie

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General Discussion / Re: Recent Amtrak experience
« on: June 10, 2022, 10:35:16 am »
I have to agree on the excuses all businesses are giving for their p-poor customer service.  Convenient excuse to ignore customers - just take their money.

Unfortunately for this trip I injured my knee so I am forced to go home early.  I will be checking my bike in Whitefish all the way home.  We will see what happens when the boxed bike arrives in LA Union Station for transfer to the Surfliner.

General Discussion / Recent Amtrak experience
« on: June 08, 2022, 07:35:07 pm »
I made reservations for a trip from Fullerton, CA to Whitefish, MT about six months ago unaware of changes Amtrak has made to taking a bicycle on this route.

I was informed there wasn’t carry on service from Portland on train 28 so bike needed to be boxed.  I was not aware boxed bicycles are no longer available on the Pacific Surfliner.  I was told to carry it on and box it in Los Angeles (couldn’t even box it myself as the train doesn’t take them). The train from Fullerton was a little late so when I arrived in LA I was told there wasn’t time to box it and get it on the train so I carried it on again.  I was told I could box it in Portland - wrong.  Again told I couldn’t box it.  They made an exception and let me carry it on if I signed a damage waiver (no damage).  I was also told they don’t check baggage to Whitefish.  Yet when I got there they had baggage service.  At every station I was told something that didn’t happen at the next station.  Changes made because of Covid has negatively affected their service.

Don’t get me wrong I love traveling by train and have taken many trips.  Although I am not sure I will use them again.  Maybe less of a hassle flying.

Gear Talk / Re: Trek Domane AL5 Suitable for Touring
« on: May 02, 2022, 11:25:00 am »
Old Man Mountain has a rack that attaches to a thru axle.  If the Domane has thru axles you should be able to get racks for the front and rear.  Old Man Mountain sells the thru axles you can order at the time you order the racks.  They claim you can put up to 70 lbs on the thru axle mounted rack.

I was out riding within 6 weeks after my replacement.  Did physical therapy to get range of motion back and keep from losing too much muscle.  Did a 3week tour 4 months after. 

GPS & Digital Data Discussion / Re: GPS or ACA app, or both?
« on: April 22, 2022, 07:42:02 pm »
I’m doing part of the GDMBR in June.  In the past I’ve only used paper maps.  I really like all the information they provide.  However, for this trip I downloaded the ACA maps to my Garmin as well as having the paper maps.  The downloaded version seems pretty detailed.  Hope it helps me avoid wrong/missed turns.  I will also be trying out the Garmin Inreach mini 2.  Trying to keep in touch even when there is no cell service.  (Peace of mind for the wife.)

General Discussion / Re: Wind on southern tier tomorrow
« on: March 29, 2022, 07:24:46 pm »
Last time I rode Hwy 90 there was a lot of chip seal.  Texas seems to love the stuff.  It made riding slower.  Add the headwind and you will have a VERY long day.

Routes / Re: Katy Trail (Connections to/from St. Louis/KCMO)
« on: March 25, 2022, 11:26:33 am »
I rode from Clinton to St Louis a couple of years ago.  I didn't go all the way to Machens as I didn't like the look of hwy 67/367 to get into St Louis.  I finished the trail in St Charles and used the ACA map (Great Rivers South - St Louis Spur) to ride into St. Louis.  It does take you within a block or two of Amtrak in St Louis.

Midwest / Re: IOWA
« on: March 23, 2022, 11:05:45 am »
Another good website for camping is:

Gear Talk / Re: Quad Loc Phone Holder?
« on: March 04, 2022, 11:08:01 am »
Have you gone to their website?  They sell a universal fit case as well as cases for IPhone, Galaxy, Pixel, and Huawei.  I have a case for IPhone and it is very secure.

Years ago I rode with a group going through the Utah National parks and we camped at the Glen Canyon National Rec Area in Bullfrog.  In the morning we took the ferry across the lake and rode back out to hwy 95 just a few miles from the entrance to Natural Bridges.  Very pretty ride with little to no traffic and of course no services.  Don't remember what month but the campground wasn't very busy.  It is a long shallow climb up from Bullfrog to hwy 95.  There is also a hotel in Bullfrog with a restaurant.  Not sure what is happening there with the drought and the very low lake water level.  Their website will say if the ferry is running. 
(It is currently not running due to low water levels.  Not sure if there will be enough spring runoff for it to reopen.)   Definitely not the way to go if the ferry is closed.  This is the current info on Hite: 
    Ticaboo Store and Registration Office: open 10am-4pm, closed Tuesday-Wednesday
    Convenience Store Fuel – open 24 hrs self service
    Hite Primitive Camping Areas – Primitive camping on beaches or in primitive environments. No designated campsites. Upper camping area closed.

General Discussion / Re: Amtrak Bike Travel
« on: February 01, 2022, 10:41:48 am »
I may have assumed the train to Whitefish from Portland offered roll on bike service.  Amtrak has still made changes making travel more challenging.  For instance on the Pacific Surfliner it used to offer baggage service at several stations and box your bike.  That service is no longer offered.  I want to use a bike with 2.25 inch tires but Amtrak only allows 2 inch tires for its roll on service.  Before Covid I could box my bike and check my bag in Fullerton on the much more frequent trains.  Now it can only be done when I arrive in Union Station LA.  There is also a short window of time between my trains.  I was told by an agent I have to take the bike to the baggage office which opens at 9:30 am.  My connecting train leaves at 9:50.  Fullerton is not the only station that has eliminated baggage service and/or reduced staffing and hours.  Also in the past it was easy to check a particular trains schedule to see if it offered baggage service.  That is near impossible now. 

I hope the money they receive helps to restore service so it is more customer friendly.

I am just pointing out some changes.  Amtrak is still my preferred method of travel with my bike and gear.

General Discussion / Re: Amtrak Bike Travel
« on: January 29, 2022, 05:46:02 pm »
Amtrak is struggling to adapt to the increase in cyclists bringing their bikes.  I will be taking Amtrak in June but because of Covid they have made changes that make it more difficult to bring my bike.  I will be traveling through Portland, OR to get to Whitefish, MT.  The train to Whitefish from Portland no longer provides bike service so I will have to box my bike.  Unfortunately because of cutbacks due to Covid Amtrak no longer offers baggage service on the Pacific Surfliner so I can’t box my bike at my starting.  I will have to carry my bike on then go to the baggage department at Union Station in downtown LA.  There I will have to box it up in the short window of time between trains.  COVID has really caused them to reduce service.  It will be a long time if ever before they restore the service they had before Covid.

General Discussion / Re: GPS navigation apps/info?
« on: January 21, 2022, 06:58:55 pm »
I just downloaded the ACA GDMBR route on their app for my IPhone.  There are sections of the GDMBR without cell service and I'm not sure how the app works without cell service.  I know I will have to carry a battery to charge my phone battery.  I also downloaded the Ride with GPS GDMBR map to use on my garmin.  It is about 4 years old so not sure how many changes have occurred on the maps since then.  I plan on having all three with me when I do the route later this year (June?).

South Atlantic / Re: February cycling
« on: November 23, 2021, 10:47:18 am »
Southern Arizona is a great place to ride in the winter.  Take a look at the Tucson area.

Heading south past Guadalupe is Hwy 166.  You could take it until it meets Hwy 33 then head south to rejoin the route.  I drove 166 several years ago and it didn’t have much traffic.  Not sure about the total mileage of the detour.

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