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Messages - kd_ca

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If you feel like passing me information, I would love to exchange with you (maybe privately that's better). I am starting the planning for San Diego - Baja California. Then I want to skip Mexico because it scares me. Guatemala to Panama. And after Colombia to Chile. If we are still alive and well (I am 64 years old...) I will fly to Beijing and back to Venice on the Silk Road.

For Equador, best to avoid for now. My wife and I met some refugees a month ago in North or South Carolina. They told us that we whites (read gringos) are easily kidnapped. They clearly told us to avoid.

Rooting for Ecuador to stabilize by next year, just so that the selfish me can ride my bike there.  I did meet some Argentinians last month that had come through Ecuador and said they didn't have problems. I couldn't reconcile how they came through with the border situation.

Seem like you are undertaking an epic trip from Beijing.  Doubt I have the tenacity and patience to put up with the Chinese control of foreigners in their country, from all the accounts I've read.  You can't even bike within X miles of their borders, must travel on bus.

Last year I met a German couple (in their early 80s) in Middlegate NV doing the Western Express. Anyone who has done the Western Express likely remembers Middlegate on Hwy 50 in NV .  So don't give up hope just yet !!

General Discussion / Re: COPA Airlines Bicycle fee $177
« on: June 05, 2024, 03:12:51 pm »
I'm learning to decipher these airline luggage lingo. 

I'll be catching a flight to central Asia on Emirates + FlyDubai where they don't charge for luggage that meets the included allowance (number of pieces, weight & dimensions). Bike Box at 101 inches exceeds the included allowance of 62 inch dimensions, but is within the 23kg weight limit and 118 inch dimension limit, so I will have to pay extra for the oversize bike box. My return will be FlyDubai+Emirates, so need to check FlyDubai's fees too.

Hi @kd_ca,
If you want to hear my opinion too, voila.

In South America I did only two days on the Peru Divide (but I want to come back next year) due to illness. I did Carretera and Tierra del Fuego. As well as a 6000 m volcano and the Salkantay Trek. In the U.S. I didn't do the GDMBR, but I visited about 45 states, rode the West Coast, the Southern Tier and the East Coast. In Utah and Colorado many passes with road bikes.

GDMBR vs. the American South? Impossible comparison, I love the West of the U.S., but it can never compare to the beauty of the Andean Cordillera, the culture and the people you meet there.

Is it worth doing the GDMBR? If you don't know where to go anymore, if you want to have a top-notch sports performance, if you want to see among the most beautiful views in North America, the answer is yes.

And with my answer I hope I am not too insulted....

Not at all insulted.  Thank you for taking the time to provide honest input, as it really helps me make a decision.  I've been trying to inform myself on GDMBR as it seemingly gets the most coverage on social media. Its good to hear input from another with experience in both geographical area.  Looks like I'll save GDMBR for the very end of my biking adventures.  Next stop Tajikistan & Kyrgyzstan. 

I "loved" Northern Peru (Cajamarca to Huaraz, including Huascaran loop and Tablachaca river valley) the best, on my Peru, Chile & Argentina rides. Didn't do any hiking / trekking as my mind tells me you are on ride or a hike but not both.  Part of my gauge is how often I take pictures / video to share with friends & family.  East of Conococha, (Peru Divide),  I was lucky if I felt like taking more than 1 pic a day, especially after having come from the North (IMO, out of this world, not enough SD card storage, and the Quechuan villagers are so Tranquilo).   Will be going back next year, if the Ecuadoran land borders are open again.

In the last 9 months have completed most of Northern Peru, criss-crossed the passes between Chile and Argentina down to Ushuaia, in the Andes mountain routes and often in the 14K to 16K ft elevation range.

Am thinking of the GDMBR but am curious if anyone has done these S. American routes and how it compares to the GDMBR ?

General Discussion / COPA Airlines Bicycle fee $177
« on: June 02, 2024, 03:24:12 pm »
Been doing some international bike touring and feel like COPA Airlines charges quite a bit for bicycle fee.  When I bought ticket online and checked out their website about sports luggage etc, no mention of the $177 fee.  Bike box was 22Kg (under < 23kg limit), Lima Peru back to USA. 

2023 Dec LATAM charged me $80 for bicycle fee from Santiago Chile back to USA and their charge was indicated on their website .  I have no issue with upfront disclosures.

General Discussion / Re: Bike Box for travel
« on: May 31, 2024, 11:54:08 am »
My local REI sells cardboard bike boxes for $25.  I hope other REIs do the same.  Dimensions are : 62" x 34" x 11".  After some disassembly (pedals, seat, rear rack, rear derailleur) my Bacchetta Giro 20 ATT recumbent fits.  Finally a bike box that fits my SWB recumbent.   At 107" combined it is within the American Airline limit of 115".  Yahooooo!  Pacific Coast Route here I come!

The bigger / sturdier the box, the heavier it is. Are you still under the 50lb limit ?

General Discussion / Re: GDMBR cell phone company ?
« on: April 20, 2024, 10:23:17 pm »
As far as I'm aware, US providers do not offer roaming on their prepaid plans.  If you have a post-paid plan, then you get roaming.  In rural US areas, the main providers are Verizon and AT&T.  Look at coverage maps of each provider and see what works for you.

Routes / Re: 3-4 month USA 2024
« on: August 07, 2023, 03:18:42 pm »
Consider adding the Western Express to your choices.  It might have more elevation gain and be a little more formidable than the other choices you have listed, but is worth it, IMO.

General Discussion / Re: ShipBikes is back!
« on: July 20, 2023, 07:34:27 pm »

Southwest Airlines web page currently says this ( Bicycles over 100 pounds in weight and 81 inches in total dimensions cannot be checked as baggage and can only be shipped as Cargo if the Customer is a known Shipper.

Is this new? It’s hard to get a bicycle in 80 inches or less. Their 80-inch rule eliminates Southwest for me.

I flew last week and in Boston, the checkin counter did not weigh or measure the box, only asked for payment credit card and asked me to put it on a large trolley at the end of the checkin counter.  I got the bike box from a bike shop (so I am assuming its a standard size bike box) and it had dimensions of 58 x 30 x 9 , 35lbs .  No issue checking in. 

I've heard Alaska Airlines is also friendly to bike boxes but don't have first hand experience to share.

General Discussion / Re: ShipBikes is back!
« on: July 20, 2023, 01:48:38 pm »
Getting bike box to the airport wasn't a problem.  Bike box was 58 x 30 x 9 , 35lbs and fit in a car with back seats down.  Easily managed on a luggage trolley at airport.

Bikeflights website quoted me Ground (7 days) at $176 , 2 - 3 day Air at $350 and 1 - 2 Day Air at $468.

In my case, Southwest fee of $75 and bike traveled with me on the same flight was an easy choice

General Discussion / Re: ShipBikes is back!
« on: July 18, 2023, 02:01:56 pm »
Southwest Airlines allow a bike in a bike box as one of two the checked bags that is included in your fare.  They charge $75 due to dimensions exceeding 62 inch limit.

General Discussion / Re: cost per day to tour
« on: July 18, 2023, 01:56:02 pm »
I did my first cross country tour for about $10/day when I rode from Oregon to Maine in 2016. I spent a lot of nights camping behind fire stations, in city parks, behind churches and occasionally used WarmShowers. Since then I’m at about $25/day. I like the comfort of developed campgrounds with hot water and showers and I now prefer to be alone after a long day of touring. I expect to spend about $20/day next month when I ride the Katy Trail since most campgrounds are $5-$10/night.

I don’t eat a ton while I’m on the road. Oatmeal/coffee for breakfast, fast food when available for lunch, noodles or something of the such for supper.

Sometimes when I have a layover in a city I’ll volunteer at a soup kitchen. For a few hours of work they’ll feed you at the end.

I eat a lot more on the road as I noticed on my recent cross country (San Francisco Bay Area to Maine) in 66 days (completed a few days ago).  Based on my recent trip,
1) Firehouses are becoming iffy on allowing you to camp behind the firehouse.  Twice I have been suggested to go camp at the local walmart (small town).

2) Due to homelessness epidemic, cities (small and mid-size) are becoming stricter on overnight camping at city parks.  While some parks may not have a sign stating "No Overnight Camping", the police use the Park Rules of "Park Closes at Sunset" to enforce no overnight camping and make you move on.  Happened to me a few times, e.g., Canon City, CO & Yates Center KS. At Yates Center, cop woke me up at 1am, ran my ID, and told me he was giving me a pass for the night.

3) You must have access to better camping resources than I did on KATY trail.  The cheapest I could find was in Boonville MO at $10 night at a mosquito infested place with adequate dog poop in the primitive / tent camping area and quite a distance from any stores since there is no drinking water at campground, Herman MO at $15 night and that was a nice town park.  Nothing in $5 range that my resources indicated.

General Discussion / Re: cost per day to tour
« on: July 13, 2023, 10:37:44 pm »

So what was your average per day costs?

For the coast to coast trip I just finished,  total amount spent / days on the road = $75

General Discussion / Re: cost per day to tour
« on: July 10, 2023, 07:25:12 pm »
Almost finished a solo self supported a cross country trip, San Francisco to Maine.

Breakfast burrito: $5 - $8
Little bottle of chocolate milk: $2 - $2.75
Bananas: 59c to 79c per pound

Lunch Dinner:
Subway foot long: $13 - $17
Fried chicken dinner for one from supermarket deli: $8 - $11
Boxed salad for one : $4 - $6
Boxed cut fruit for one: $3 - $6

Wash: $3
Dry: 25c for 8 - 10 min

Campground Fees for primitive/tenting sites:
Private owned: $25 - $50
State owned: $1 (Nevada) to $20 (NY state) to $30 (CA,  CO)

Sometimes you have to pay the admission fee for the park in addition to Campground fee

Low end $110 - $150, inclusive of tax. The included breakfast at these low end motels is not helpful  to the nutritional needs of a long distance cyclist. Most often I see donuts, bread, bagels, coffee and juice from concentrate. Rarely have I seen eggs, meat, waffles or milk

Hostels; $35 to $50, exclusive of tax

The rain these last few days has in New England states is causing quite a bit of disruption.

I am stuck in Woodstock VT ,due to the storms,  and was going to hit Kancamagus hwy in NH and then join up with the Remaining  Northern Tier section 11, going west to east. Quite a few road closures,  mud slides and flooding not being reflected in the online reports. Am contemplating abandoning section 11 and riding south of the white mountains in NH towards Portland ME

Also low end motels (< $150) appear to not have vacancies.

If you are about to embark on section 11 in New England states, it is very wet and IMO, online weather reporting is not sufficiently reflective of the real conditions.

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