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Messages - aggie

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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.

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.

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). 

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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