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Messages - aggie

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General Discussion / Re: Amtrack confusion - policy vs reality?
« on: September 07, 2010, 03:21:18 pm »
I've ridden that train several times and Yuma is a very quick stop.  They do not even open the baggage car.  Your only option may be to see if the conductor will allow you to bungie cord your bike near one of the doors.  Then when the train gets to Tuscon get a box and put your bike in the baggage car.  If you are nice and plead your case they may open the baggage car so you can fasten it to a wall.  Unfortunately what the phone person said is their policy but again the train conductor may make an exception.  But be prepared either to ride to Tucson and/or box the bike in Tucson.  Good Luck.

Southwest / Re: Lordsburg, NM to Deming, NM
« on: September 03, 2010, 04:23:03 pm »
Unfortunately there isn't much between Lordsburg and Deming.  If you want to stay on paved roads you are limited to the I10 or its frontage road. 

I've ridden Hwy 24 from Torrey to Hanksville and found that to be an excellent road with little traffic.  Even though there wasn't much of shoulder the virtually non-existent traffic made the ride very enjoyable.  The only thing I didn't like was the wide spread use of chip seal.  It is NOT a bicyclists best friend.  It would seem that the easiest way to create a good path is to add very wide shoulders that are paved.  I say wide because if they add rumble strips cyclists need sufficient room to ride safely.   Ideally you will be able to have a separate paved bike path but that may not be possible in all sections. 

The section between I70 and Hanksville has the most RV and trailer traffic with many heading to Lake Powell.  That may be the best place for a separate paved bike path.  I don't see a problem with motorcycles using a trail only atv's.   Since atv's are much wider than a cycle with panniers "gates" should be able to be constructed to prevent ready access but with the wide open nature of much of the road they can always get around a "gate".   It may be best just to have signs that say motorized vehicles are prohibited and have the highway patrol ticket any vehicles that are on the path.   When I rode the route I didn't many atv's or motorcycles.

Routes / Re: Southern Tier: West to East starting early Sep
« on: August 28, 2010, 07:18:13 pm »
It starts to cool off in September so the humidity/heat tapers off.  The later you go in September the more pleasant it should be.  (Of course weather can be a bit unpredictable.)  It should be within your favorite temps.  I did it in July/August and they were having record heat.  The back roads of the Southern States can be pretty nice and I wouldn't worry about the wind direction.  You won't have any mountains to climb only some rollers.

Amtrak sells a bike box for $15 (plus $5 to check it).  On most bikes all you have to do is remove the pedals and turn the handlebars (I remove mine and zip tie them to the top tube).  Unless your bike folds up you will have to check it.  I've done it about 6 times with no problems.  You do have to start and stop your trip at a station that has baggage service though.  You can carry on your panniers.  If you have two sets tie them together so they are just two pieces of luggage.

You could place a wanted posting in the gear section for maps of the Southern Tier.  You should be able to get the maps you need at a reduced price. 

Routes / Re: Southern Tier: West to East starting early Sep
« on: August 28, 2010, 11:24:29 am »
Where to take the train to will depend on the scenery you want to see.  I've taken the train to El Paso and gone east from there.  You could also go to San Antonio or Houston.  These stations offer baggage service since you will have to box your bike.  Going to Austin will require a train change in San Antonio.

The humidity after San Antonio is the killer.  I didn't find the heat so much of a problem as the humidity.  I was soaking wet about an hour after I started riding. 

If you are a member of AAA you can get some good state maps and plot out your own route.  I recommend you avoid Hwy 190 as I found it loaded with traffic and not well maintained in many areas.  You said you didn't want to spend the money on ACA maps but they provide a good route with information about potential stops along the way. 

Routes / Re: Bicycle tour from UT to Cal
« on: August 25, 2010, 03:15:20 pm »
The best route may be to take the Grand Canyon Connector to the Southern Tier.  This isn't the most direct route but it will mostly keep you off the highest traffic roads.  Unfortunately there aren't a lot of paved back roads that will get you from St. George to San Diego.

Routes / Re: Amtrek
« on: August 15, 2010, 11:05:35 am »
The following page lists Amtrak's policy on bicycles:  You will note that there are 8 routes that provide racks for bicycles.  Some may require a reservation as described in the policy.  The timetable for each route will also list all the stations that have baggage service.

Routes / Re: Amtrek
« on: August 14, 2010, 11:44:52 am »
I also had a similar experience on the CA Surfliner.  First the station was out of bike boxes so I had to get a box at LA's Union Station (had to go there anyway).  When I tried to get aboard the train all the bike spots were full (surfboards).  The conductor then had me put the bike in an unused baggage area.  It worked out great.

I've always taken my trailer on the train.  I have a BOB and use the Ortlieb Big Zip bag.  The trailer and some gear easily fit in the bag and since it weighs less than 50 lbs they take it as baggage.  Never had a problem shipping it that way.  The baggage car is a little hard on the bag though.  I guess that since the bag rests on the wooden floor and there is a lot of vibration it rubs small holes in the bag. 

Routes / Re: Amtrek
« on: August 12, 2010, 05:31:32 pm »
You should be able to do a search for Amtrak and see what has been said in previous posts. 

I've traveled several times by Amtrak.  I find it easier and more relaxing to travel by train.  Amtrak sells a bike box that makes it easy to transport your bike.  I haven't had any problems.  If Amtrak goes to your destination and you have the time I recommend it over flying.

Gear Talk / Clothing to keep you warm and dry
« on: August 11, 2010, 11:18:08 am »
I was riding in Oregon this summer and it highlighted the problem of finding clothing that will keep me warm and dry.  The weather on the Oregon coast was cool and damp.  While it didn't rain it was so moist that there was a constant drizzle in some parts of the ride.  I can't seem to find the right combination of clothing that will keep me warm and dry.  I have several jackets that are supposed to "breath" and let out moisture but they don't work for me.  I can open all the zippers (openings) and I wind up just as wet inside the jacket as I do on the outside.  At times it was so bad I had a stream of water running down the inside of my arms. 

Anyone have any suggestions for clothing (or combinations of clothing)  that will keep me dry both inside and outside?

General Discussion / Re: Amtrak from Boston to Chicago
« on: August 05, 2010, 09:57:53 pm »
I've traveled several times on Amtrak with my bike.  Amtrak now charges $5 for the box and $15 handling.  As mentioned the box is large and easily accommodates most bikes.  I bring zip ties to secure my handle bars to the top tube and a pedal tool to remove and put on the pedals.  So far I haven't had a problem.  It sure beats the airlines.  I've even heard that some stations even have some tools for bikes but don't count on it.  Since the bike is considered baggage you can only ship and pick up the bike at a station that offers baggage service.

Gear Talk / Re: What trailer???
« on: July 29, 2010, 10:33:08 am »
If you decide to get a Bob Trailer it isn't very hard to ship it.  I use an Ortlieb Big Zip.  It easily holds my Bob with room for other gear.  The bag is easy to fold up and carry as you ride so it is available at your destination.  It can also carry stuff while you ride.

General Discussion / Re: Getting Starting: Self Contained Touring
« on: July 29, 2010, 10:24:25 am »
I rode across AZ pulling a Bob trailer with my Trek 5200.  The Bob uses a skewer so you don't have to clamp the chain stay.  The only time it seemed "off" was when I stood up while climbing.  Keeping the load in the trailer as light as possible should help that.

General Discussion / Re: Camping in Pismo Beach?
« on: July 21, 2010, 07:11:28 pm »
It does appear that Pismo Beach state park doesn't have hiker/biker sites.  They do have campsites available but the price is $25-$35.  Better than a hotel.  The web site does recommend reservations.

Connecting ACA Routes / Re: Southern Tier
« on: July 20, 2010, 09:52:26 pm »
I'm not sure there is a best way to cross the LA basin to get to the Southern Tier.  The most direct route is to get to the Palm Springs area.  In North Palm Springs you can take Dillon Rd all the way to Indio to connect with Interstate 10 east.  That will take you to Blythe where you can connect to the ST.  This isn't a very attractive route.  You can follow the Pacific Coast route to San Diego and connect to the ST there.  It is a much nicer route.  Not sure there are any campgrounds in the Santa Monica area.

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