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Messages - David W Pratt

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General Discussion / L Route des Bleuets Trip Report
« on: August 04, 2022, 07:46:40 pm »
Recently, I rode the Route des Bleuets, the Blueberry Trail, around Lac St. Jean in Quebec.  I started in Burlington Vermont and rode up to Montreal, stayed a couple of days and then took the train to Chambord, a small town on the lake, and rode around it clockwise.  Then I took the train back, and rode back to Burlington.  It was 400 miles of riding, 640 kilometers, and I took two weeks.  Customs was not a problem, either way.  To get in you have to register through ArriveCan, an App for your phone.  Strangely, as soon as you cross the border the land gets flat, a condition we have only heard about in Vermont.  Lots of people seem to speak much more French than English, but I got by.  I got Canadian money at a couple of banks in Vermont before I left, but used my Visa card for almost everything.  There were plenty of campgrounds on the way to Montreal and around the lake, all of them had mostly (99+%) RVs.  Saw lots of other bike riders, including lots with loads on their bikes.
The train to Chambord leaves from the Gare Centrale in Montreal and you can check your bike. It got into Chambord at 12:45 am so I just cowboy camped in a field.  If I were doing it again, I would call Bernard Renauld (415-265-1998).  He is renovating an auberge at the railroad station and might have room.  Say hi from me if you go.  The station seems to be closed, but you can reserve a seat by phone for the return.
Most of the campgrounds have stores and restaurants, I only used my stove to make tea in the mornings.  There are also tons of hotels, motels, etc.
It was very dry, I was almost never sweaty, and there was hardly any dew in the tent most mornings.  It was low 50s F in the morning and low 80s in mid afternoon.  A few thunderstorms came through, but not bad YMMV.
The street and road signs are excellent.  The road atlas I had was not so good.  Some of the roads it showed were un labeled, and others had labels of other roads obscuring them.  The Bike Quebec (Velo Quebec) is an atlas of the bike routes, of which there are lots.  For some reason the road atlas does not show the bike routes and the bbike atlas does not show the regular roads, that would be too easy.  Montreal is very bike friendly, so much so lots of people want to keep your bike there.  Secure storage at night is a must.
The feeling was very much going somewhere different, just  50 miles from Burlington Vt.
Happy to answer any questions.
Bon voyage!

General Discussion / Re: GAP and C and O Toe path
« on: August 04, 2022, 07:21:26 pm »
When I did it, I stayed in the Maple Festival Campground in Meyersdale and the lady who ran it gave me a phone number for a guy who ran a shuttle around the Paw Paw Tunnel.  I called him from Cumberland and he met me at a gas station and took me to Little Orleans Campground.

General Discussion / Re: Tents and panniers
« on: July 24, 2022, 03:33:19 pm »
The comfort of a tight dry tent on a stormy night can be worth a lot of weight and $$$.  I am very happy with my NEMO Hornet.  It is pretty light, sets up easily, and has weathered several thunderstorms and kept innumerable mosquitoes off of me.  It is nominally a two person tent, but they would have to be petite and intimate for that to really work.
I just did the Route des Bleuets, and only used my stove for making tea in the mornings, but the weight was not a problem.
In general, it is easier to take a pound off the biker than off the bike or the baggage.
Weight is the enemy of speed, not distance.  If the TransAm takes an extra week, so what?

General Discussion / Re: GAP and C and O Toe path
« on: July 24, 2022, 03:22:55 pm »
I did it last year about that time, it is a great ride with great places to stay or camp.
If you want to perform a little mitzvah while you ride, take some nice heavy chain lube for the pivot joints on the pumps at the hike/bike campsites on the C&O.  It will make your pumping easier, and that of those who follow you.
Have fun!

Classifieds / Re: For Sale Bruce Gordon Touring Bike
« on: June 24, 2022, 06:02:32 pm »
Not my size, and I have a 1992 Rock and Road that I love.
It is stable and responsive, unladen, or with full, kit for self-contained touring.
Mr. Gordon was a genius at designing and building bikes.  If this bike size is close for you, I would suggest that you give it a try.
Just my unsolicited $0.02.

General Discussion / Re: The road is flat. It's what?
« on: June 24, 2022, 05:53:57 pm »
I often ask directions from locals, and then double, or triple, check them with other locals.
Bike touring has been a powerful spur to learn my local geography so I don't appear as gormless as some I have met.

Routes / Re: Route ideas for 300+ miles in May
« on: March 13, 2022, 04:34:21 pm »
Oh, in Mayat first I thought you wrote Day.  Blame my old eyes.  The GAP and C&O are just about 300 miles and well supplied with services.  You could do it any way, from 100% self-contained to shuttle supported, inn to inn.  Spring would be lovely on that combo.
Good luck.

Classifieds / Re: WANTED - Underground Railroad Paper Maps
« on: March 06, 2022, 07:37:12 pm »
I think I still have a copy of the Pittsburgh Spur segment if you are interested.

Gear Talk / Re: Breaking in Brooks B17 Imperial
« on: February 04, 2022, 03:54:55 pm »
Is it the saddle you break in, or your rear end?

General Discussion / Re: Solo Trip Cooking Logistics
« on: January 21, 2022, 06:35:00 am »
Lots of great answers, based on experience.  If you take a weekend trip or two, you will find out what suits you.  Often what you love at home does not appeal on the road, likewise, I eat stuff on tour I wouldn't feed to the dogs at home.  When camping, I use couscous because it cooks faster than anything else, never have it at home.
Have fun.

General Discussion / Re: Solo Trip Cooking Logistics
« on: December 26, 2021, 04:51:04 pm »
Two things I do, YMMV. 
I disconnect the stove and fuel canister.  One trip I left  them connected over night and ran out in a few days.  I think there must have been a tiny leak even with the valve turned off.  Subsequently, the fuel lasts a lot longer.
For pasta, I use couscous, it cooks very quickly, thus saving food.
On a trail like the GAP or the C&O, you could easily buy as you go and/or eat in restaurants, etc.  They have lots of services.

General Discussion / Re: Camping Permits
« on: December 12, 2021, 03:23:05 pm »
National Parks now use a web based system for reservations.  You have to use it even if you are at the park and they have vacancies.  I found it difficult, but people tell me it is easier if you have the app for it installed on your phone.  My advice would be to do that prior to leaving.

General Discussion / Re: coffee coffee
« on: November 25, 2021, 06:02:01 pm »
If you want to carry cream with you, Mr. Canalagator, get the little, single serving plastic cups some restaurants use.  Yo have to carry the empties, but those weigh very little.  They keep without refrigeration.  I drink my coffee back, but I've used the coffee creamers to enrich couscous.

General Discussion / Re: Best book you've read on bicycle travel
« on: November 14, 2021, 07:56:34 pm »
An atlas.

General Discussion / Re: Cooking on the Road
« on: November 07, 2021, 06:34:37 am »
I have found that some dried meats from a European deli keep as well as sausage.  I carried some on a trip from Buffalo to Pittsburgh, and then on to DC and they held up fine.  At one point, I washed them off and let them dry again.  I would slice off some and drop it in boiling water for a couple of minutes, and then add couscous.  The couscous cooks very fast, thus conserving stove fuel.  At the end, I would add some cut up fresh vegetables and it made a fine dinner.  I think the products were Polish, or maybe Croatian.  The meat is not like freeze dried, it is still a little pliable and perfectly edible as is, sliced off the block, like saucisson.

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