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Messages - John Nelson

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Routes / Re: Cycling Route 66 west from Flagstaff
« on: January 19, 2017, 12:26:42 am »
Follow the ACA maps and you'll be fine. Bicycles are allowed on some sections of the interstate and prohibited on others. The best way to sort it all out is with the maps. Even when allowed, it's best to avoid as much of the interstate as you can. You'll love the challenge of the Mojave Desert and Sitgreaves Pass.

Routes / Re: Another way to cope with dogs
« on: January 17, 2017, 04:41:26 pm »
The houses are often right up against the road - so the dogs are closer to begin with.
Boy that's the truth! Sometimes a dog sitting on its front porch is only 12 feet from where you are riding. I was constantly moving over to the far left side of the road to pass a house on the right and vice versa. Most of the time the dogs just sat there, but if they decided to take action, they were on you in a flash. The silent dogs are the worst--the ones where your first indication that they are there is when their head hits your pannier.

Nevertheless, I loved eastern Kentucky. I'm very glad I went through there. It was a great experience.

Routes / Re: Another way to cope with dogs
« on: January 17, 2017, 01:28:26 pm »
A good chunk of the TransAm lore would be lost if the Kentucky dogs were eliminated. Dogs can certainly be a problem, but it's another one of the exciting challenges of the TransAm. It's not an insurmountable problem. To me, Kentucky was an unfamiliar and mostly welcoming world, and I would not want to miss it.

Gear Talk / Re: Ultra light sleeping bag, tent and pad?
« on: January 17, 2017, 12:12:56 am »
Everything involves trade offs and you haven't given us enough information to know what your requirements are.

The problem with credit-card touring in the US West is that you can't always find some place to stay, and some of the places you do find will be expensive. So you have to carry camping gear anyway. And as long as you're carrying it, you might as well use it, especially in a camping paradise like the West Coast.

You will find a few simple dorm accommodations, but not many.

I just bought a blowup pillow.  I have not tried it yet.  It's packs to about 3 inches long--tiny little thing.  I'll be interested to see if that helps.
I absolutely love my inflatable pillow! Never again will I stuff clothes into my sleeping bag stuff sack.

Routes / Re: Deception Pass State Park, Washington
« on: January 12, 2017, 11:02:21 am »
To find the actual grade log into the "Ride with GPS" website, you'll have to sign up but it's free.
Mapping software often has problems with bridges. If you map a route across the Royal Gorge Bridge, the elevation profile assumes you rode 1250 feet down the canyon wall to the river and then back up the canyon wall on the other side.

Routes / Re: Deception Pass State Park, Washington
« on: January 12, 2017, 10:59:41 am »
I didn't see any signs restricting bicycles, so I decided to ride like hell.  I got about 50 yards before a pickup truck with a loudspeaker pulled up behind me and told me to get off the road.

Wow! Was it a police officer or some other official? I rode it back in '99 and '00. Probably less development back then, and both times were weekdays in late May, so the busy tourist season hadn't started, and outside of "rush hour."
I assume it was a bridge or highway official, perhaps an overzealous one.

For me, the key to sleeping comfortably is to have a good quality air mattress at least 2.5" thick. And yes, your tent is too heavy.

Gear Talk / Re: Camp Stove
« on: January 11, 2017, 06:05:35 pm »
A partially filled Trangia is harder to start.

One of the Vargo titanium stoves is probably perfect.
I use a Vargo titanium stove. I love it. It weighs 1.4 ounces and is indestructible. But you do have to know how to follow instructions. The instructions say to fill it--it doesn't matter whether or not you need that much fuel to cook tonight's dinner. Fill it anyway. A partially filled stove will not reliably bloom. If you don't need that much fuel, pour back what's left when you're done.

Routes / Re: Deception Pass State Park, Washington
« on: January 11, 2017, 11:48:57 am »
The bridge can also be very busy, and there is no shoulder.

And I have always wondered about this warning on the park's web site:

"Please note: U.S. Navy jets from nearby Naval Air Station Whidbey Island periodically fly over the campground while engaged in local training. Depending on the direction of the wind, their flight pattern may put them above the park, creating noisy conditions for campers. At various times during the day and night, the aviators may engage in Field Carrier Landing Practice for imminent operations aboard aircraft carriers. The park and naval station have been neighbors since 1942, and park staff stays in regular contact with officials at NAS Whidbey Island. We will do our best to notify campers of anticipated Field Carrier Landing Practice periods. Although State Parks cannot be responsible for the jet noise, we do share visitor concerns with our representatives of Naval Air Station Whidbey."

Anyone know if it's really a big concern?

First, the bridge. Yes, the bridge can be very busy. The lanes are only 11-feet wide, narrower than your typical traffic lane. There are no shoulders. There is a narrow sidewalk, just wide enough for one person, separated by a cable from the traffic lane. Two people can pass if they turn sideways. I didn't see any signs restricting bicycles, so I decided to ride like hell.  I got about 50 yards before a pickup truck with a loudspeaker pulled up behind me and told me to get off the road. It took me several minutes to unload my bike so that I could lift it up over the cable onto the sidewalk. Honestly, I think it would have been better for all if they had just let me proceed. The sidewalk was so narrow that I had to be careful when trying to walk the bike across. When I encountered a person walking the other way, I had to lean my bike against the railing and move behind my bike so they could pass.

Now the jet noise. Yes, it's deafening! I was camped on the island and they came over about every three minutes. Conversation had to stop for a minute to let each jet pass because there's no way you could hear anything with them overhead. It's very controversial, even among the island's residents. The bottom line seems to be that this is the price we pay for keeping our country safe.

BTW, if you camp on the island, keep an eye out for stinging nettles. Those things are nasty. My hands stung for three days afterwards.

Routes / Re: Place to finish WB Northern Tier ride
« on: January 09, 2017, 10:31:21 pm »
For me personally, I call it the "ocean" if it meets three criteria: (1) it has tides, (2) the water is salty, (3) you could get in a boat here and sail to Europe or Asia. The fact that somebody put a label of strait or sea or gulf or bay or ocean on it is of no matter to me. There's a whole lot of land that is east of Anacortes. I don't want to have to get past all of it just to claim that I got to the ocean.

Gear Talk / Re: Lightweight touring bike?
« on: January 09, 2017, 08:19:35 pm »
If you don't mind my asking, which mountains?  I found the Rockies and Cascades much easier than the Ozarks and Appalachians.
All of them, although yes you are correct that the Rocky Mountains have more gentle grades. I think the hardest hills I've ever climbed are in the Green Mountains of Vermont. It depends, however, on whether you prefer 5 miles at 13% of 30 miles at 6%.

Gear Talk / Re: Lightweight touring bike?
« on: January 09, 2017, 02:22:57 pm »
I've wondered about this for a while.  I'm old, slow, and heavy, so I've got gears down to 20 gear inches on all my bikes, even the one without racks, so I can climb some ridiculous hills when it's hot and I'm tired.  But some people recommend doubles for touring with light loads.  At what point of youth, fitness, and light load does a 27-30 gear inch low become a viable option for touring?
Triples are still widely available in touring and mountain bikes, but are getting less common in regular road bikes (the kind you need for lightweight touring). You can get a road bike with a compact double and put a long-cage derailleur on the back and get your gearing down to 27 inches. That's enough for most lightweight touring.

I had a triple on my road bike until it got run over by a car. The bike I replaced it with only had a double. I expected that to be a big problem because I often ride up and down the mountains, but we humans, even old ones, are pretty adaptable. Even though my gearing isn't quite as low as it was before, I'm fine with it.

Routes / Re: Place to finish WB Northern Tier ride
« on: January 09, 2017, 02:15:11 pm »
I went the other way, but same difference.

I rode out to the Anacortes Ferry Terminal, just because I'm a completionist and that's what you're supposed to do. You are absolutely right, however, in that there is nothing to look at there, and it would be quite a bit of work to dip your tire if that's what you had in mind.

I started (and you can end) at the Bellingham Airport. It's about a 45 mile ride from the Anacortes Ferry Terminal to the Bellingham airport along the Pacific Coast Route if you decide to go all the way to the ferry. You can skip the ferry and just turn right at Bay View and head straight for the airport, saving you the 33 miles of the round trip to the ferry and back. On this route, you'll pass right through Edison, which is as close to the water as the Anacortes Ferry Terminal is anyway.

Bellingham Airport is served by Frontier, which has attractive ticket prices and attractive prices for taking your bike on the plane. Although quite a few people dislike Frontier, I'm flown them a lot and never had any problems. Just make sure you understand their fee structure before you go so you have the option of keeping your fees low if that's important to you.

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