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Messages - aggie

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226
Routes / Re: Nevada and Utah 2011 ? Advice & tips please
« on: November 23, 2010, 06:17:57 pm »
The best place to start is in St. George, Utah.  You can get there on Delta from Salt Lake City or on United from Los Angeles.  This puts you much closer to the parks.  April should be a good time to go.  It shouldn't be too hot or cold although it could be either. 

Adventure cycling has two maps you may want to look at - Grand Canyon Connector and Utah Cliffs Loop.  The cliffs loops has about 50% off road riding.  Another map you may need is the atlas by DeLorme.  You can make a nice loop through all the parks in southern Utah from St. George using paved roads.  There are plenty of campgrounds so you shouldn't need to make reservations but they are always advisable if you are going to stay at a campground at a National Park.  If you go off road be prepared to take several days worth of food and water some areas are pretty remote.  One dirt road that is awesome is Hell's Backbone outside Boulder, Utah.  Another neat road is the Burr Trail that goes from Boulder into Capital Reef National Park.  You can then head south to Bullfrog and visit Glen Canyon Lake and the National Recreation area. 

A large from St George could take you through Zion NP, Bryce Canyon NP, Capital Reef NP, Canyonlands NP, Arches NP as well as the Glenn Canyon National Rec Area and the Grand Staircase National Monument.   The route I'm thinking about is about 1000 miles that is most road riding but about 25% is off road.

227
General Discussion / Re: Southern Tier...Food storage at night
« on: November 22, 2010, 09:00:51 pm »
Bears aren't a problem on the Southern Tier.  Not aware of any animal - food issues on the Southern Tier. 

228
Routes / Re: Distance between places to get water - southern tier desert
« on: November 18, 2010, 10:49:59 am »
The ACA maps do a pretty good job of pointing out the distances between water stops.  As I recall the furthest I traveled without a water stop was about 70 miles.  As far as difficulty goes, it just depends on what type of riding you like.  There are a couple of pretty good climbs so if you don't like climbs that could be the most difficult spot.  For me it was riding through Phoenix.

229
General Discussion / Re: Desert Pedaling Southern Tier
« on: November 18, 2010, 10:43:52 am »
It's hard to say if you'll hit any snow.  The weather is what it is.  Your biggest chances for snow will be in the mountains of New Mexico (Emory Pass) and Arizona (around Globe).  It is also possible to have snow in California.  It just depends on how cold it gets when a front goes through. 

230
General Discussion / Re: Desert Pedaling Southern Tier
« on: November 13, 2010, 10:36:10 am »
If you're doing the Southern Tier in the winter time cold will be an issue at the higher elevations.  It may snow at some of the passes.  You shouldn't have any problem finding a place to camp.  If it gets late you can almost always find a spot to get about 50 feet away from the roadway to pitch a tent.   If you like to use campgrounds you will find the ACA maps list a lot of them.  They generally are well spaced but there are some areas where there is a bit of distance between them.  Also at higher elevations you may find campgrounds closed for the winter.  Wildlife is not an issue.  You will be climbing some mountains in NM, AZ, and CA but the roads are pretty good.  As long as you stop at the various markets and fill up with water you should be ok.  I use 4 water bottles and found I could make it to a store to fill up before I ran dry. 

231
Routes / Re: Death Valley Jan/Feb 2011
« on: November 12, 2010, 02:18:18 pm »
This is the rainy season with fronts coming in from the Gulf of Alaska.  The weather can be quite variable.  It can be warm and pleasant one day and cold, wet, and windy the next.  There are several roads that are paved and many that are not.  There are several places to stay in the park.  This is the parks website and it should have all the information you need.  http://www.nps.gov/deva/index.htm

232
Routes / Re: Southern Tier January
« on: November 02, 2010, 08:09:02 pm »
Don't forget that the winter time is also the rainy season.  At higher elevations you could run into snow.  I know someone who rode out of Tahoe during a snowstorm.  He didn't have any real problems but he was sure happy he had fenders.  They may be an essential piece of equipment if you need to ride everyday rain/snow or shine.

233
Gear Talk / Re: Touring Tent Talk
« on: November 01, 2010, 08:26:18 pm »
You may want to check out the tents at REI.  They have a pretty good selection and a mostly knowledgeable staff.  If one isn't near you, you can go online to see what the have.  I'm sure there are some other online suppliers that have a good selection.  Once you think you have found a good one you can always check this forum to see if any members have used it and what they think.

234
General Discussion / Re: Pulling a BOB Trailer with Carbon Bike
« on: November 01, 2010, 08:19:05 pm »
I used a Bob with my Trek 5200 and it worked.  I did find that if I stood up and pedaled it felt a little "squishy" (technical term).  I may have been carrying more stuff than I really needed so that may have added to the feeling.  I highly recommend that you use the biggest tires you can use on the bike.  I found I was blowing out the sidewall on my rear tire way too often.  Either that or carry a spare or two.  Once I blew the tire at the AZ-NM border.  It was a long way to the nearest bike shop.  The bike should be fine.  I hope you have a triple you'll need it to pull the extra weight up the hills.  Wheels will give you more issues than the bike.

235
General Discussion / Re: travel in march in the south...
« on: October 31, 2010, 12:41:18 pm »
If you are looking for some variety I might suggest starting in San Diego, CA.  It is a good climb out of San Diego heading towards Phoenix on the Southern Tier route.  Then if you want to climb you could then do the southern sections of the Sierra Cascades route.  You could then loop back to San Diego or the Los Angeles Area. 

The later in March you go the better the weather.  If you go early you run the possibility of snow in the mountains.

You could also ride the hill country of Texas (around San Antonio). 

236
General Discussion / Re: Riding Route 50 in NV & UT in June
« on: September 19, 2010, 11:13:17 pm »
Depending on how far you can ride each day you should be prepared to have enough water to last for about 70 miles of riding.  It is most likely going to be hot so an early start is highly recommended.  There isn't a problem finding water stops between Carson, NV and Fallon.  The route also doesn't have any major climbs.  From Fallon the next water stop/lodging is at Middlegate which is over 50 miles if I remember correctly.  There are also a couple of passes to climb.  After Middlegate the next water/lodging is in Austin in about 60 miles and several passes.  There was a store at Cold Springs (between Middlegate and Austin) but it burned down several years ago and I don't know if they have rebuilt it yet (13 miles)  The next water/lodging after Austin is Eureka which is a little over 70 miles with several climbs.  Again after Eureka the next stop/lodging is Ely and several climbs - 70 miles.  After Ely it is about 65 miles to Baker with a tough climb up Sacramento Pass.  Baker did have a small hotel and grocery store.  It's about 80 miles between Baker and Milford, UT.  Again there aren't any water/lodging stops in between.  Other than the places I mentioned you won't find any other accommodations.  It's a great ride but be prepared to carry lots of water and at least 1 days food.

237
General Discussion / Re: Amtrack confusion - policy vs reality?
« on: September 11, 2010, 11:15:54 am »
A check of prices for UHaul finds that it isn't cheaper than Amtrak.  It may be faster but it is anything but cheaper.  Don't forget to add the price of gas.  At $3 per gallon the vehicle will get about 10 miles per gallon so the cost will add up quickly.

238
It looks like your best bet would be to take the Northern Tier and connect to the Underground Railroad (UR).  Then connect to the Great Rivers which connects to the Southern Tier.    You could also connect to the Trans Am from the UR and then take the Western Express.  The Western Express connects to the Grand Canyon Connector (connects to ST) or go all the way to the coast and catch the Pacific Coast.  It just depends on whether you are interested in scenery or just the shortest route.

239
Routes / Re: Choose 1 of these 2 for kick starting the Southern Tier
« on: September 08, 2010, 11:32:05 am »
If you are thinking about leaving from San Diego you could take the train from there to your destination in Texas.  You will change trains in LA.  Getting a sleeper may be more expensive but it is more comfortable than the coach cars and your meals are included. 

I'm not sure why people seem to think the Southern Tier is all desert.  Yes there is some desert but not the entire route nor even an entire state.  West Texas is arid but definitely not a desert.  I say more wildlife in West Texas than anywhere else.  After you leave Del Rio you get into the Texas hill country.  It is then green all the way to Florida.  I enjoyed West Texas if for no other reason than the wide open roads with little traffic. 

Just for info on riding time.  I rode from El Paso to San Antonio in 10 days and another 10 days to Baton Rouge.  I averaged about 60 miles per day.   I would avoid riding through the state parks near Bastrop, TX.  They charge bicyclists even if you are just riding through.  If want need to camp there ok but you pay either way.  Take hwy 95 from Bastrop to the 153 and rejoin the route.  The parks also have some very steep hills (short) rough road and blind curves.


240
General Discussion / Re: Amtrack confusion - policy vs reality?
« on: September 08, 2010, 11:06:17 am »
I'm not sure about the distance between Yuma and the Maricopa (Phoenix) station but the station is open most of the day.  It is open from 0715 to 1445 hrs and from 1715 to 0045 hrs according to the website.  As was mentioned above I wouldn't risk the good will of the conductor.  The station is about 30 miles south of the Phoenix airport. It is slightly closer to Tempe.   If you rent a car you should be able to drop it off at the airport or possible Tempe.  (Arizona State University)

Amtrak will charge you $15 for the box and $5 to ship.  It is a big box so you don't have to remove the wheels.  You will have to remove the pedals and depending on your handlebars - either turn or remove and strap to top tube.  If you're really tall you may have to lower your seat.  Then roll your bike into the box and tape it up.  At every station I've been at Amtrak provides the tape as well.

Good Luck.

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