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Messages - John Nelson

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General Discussion / Re: Paying for the trip?
« on: October 13, 2013, 10:54:58 pm »
Have you seen this thread which asks a very similar question five days ago?

You will also get this question from time to time while you're out on tour.

Routes / Re: Southern Tier March 2014
« on: October 13, 2013, 10:14:50 am »
100 Km per day is well within the range of most touring cyclists, and is a quite typical touring day distance. Two rest days a week is above average--one rest day per week (or fewer) is more common. Ten weeks should be sufficient. Starting on March 6 puts you near the tail end of the Southern Tier season. It should be fine, but you will probably encounter some hot weather in the last half of your trip.

Routes / Re: south carloina to florida,florida to new orleans
« on: October 11, 2013, 11:29:48 am »
There are many web sites that will give you historical weather data (high temperature, low temperature, precipitation, sunrise, sunset, wind) for any location you choose. Enter the cities you plan to go near and look at the date you plan to be there. Here's one site to get you started.

General Discussion / Re: Day Jobs?
« on: October 09, 2013, 04:57:05 pm »
I combine vacation with unpaid leave. I try not to push my luck by asking for leave every year. I think larger employers are usually better for this, as the larger staff provides more options for accommodating your leave. It also helps to announce your intentions well in advance to give them plenty of time to plan for it. And I typically do just that, "announce" my plans rather than put in a request. Requests can be delayed and/or denied. "Announce" your plans and they just seems to be just one of the many constraints that the company must plan around.

Routes / Re: Trans America Route Kansas camping
« on: October 08, 2013, 04:04:15 pm »
Camping is allowed in the little park in Rush Center. Not much there except for a water pump and some grass. When I stayed there, I asked at the fire station next door to the park and they let me sleep on the floor (they also have a bathroom and shower). They used to open the community center across the street to touring cyclists, but they don't do that any more after a bad experience.

Really, there's not much in Rush Center. I have a hard time believing that anybody would bother you if you set up a tent on pretty much any open piece of ground there. For further ideas, ask at the gas station in the center of town. There are always a few old guys sitting around there talking. Or ask at the bar and grill next to the fire station, which is pretty much the only place to eat in town.

General Discussion / Re: coast to coast touring 30 days?
« on: October 06, 2013, 12:34:38 am »
One problem with campgrounds, or motels for that matter, is that they don't occur at exactly the intervals you want. So if you need to average 100 miles a day, you'll have some 70 mile days and some 130 mile days, because that's just where you'll be able to find a place to sleep. If you're willing to sleep by any random spot by the side of the road, whether completely legal or not, you'll have more flexibility. Since you're under tight constraints, I'd try to plan out the whole route in advance including researching places to sleep along the way.

Some people tolerate heat better than cold, and others cold better than heat. You know which group you fit into. I rarely get overheated while riding because you have a constant self-made breeze. If you don't like the heat, you can start at first light, which also helps avoid the winds too. Anyway, the closer you can center your trip on June 21, the more daylight you'll have. Riding in warmer weather also allows you to take a lighter and smaller sleeping bag.

Remember that crossing the continental divide is a trivial part of the climbing you'll do. With the exception of the center of the country, there are hills pretty much everywhere. I wouldn't go out of my way too much to find an easy crossing of the continental divide--it's just not worth it to avoid a few hours of climbing. Many cyclists feel that there are a lot of places more difficult than the Rocky Mountains.

Also, if you go in the summer, you can ride Going To The Sun Road through Glacier National Park, probably the most spectacularly beautiful road I've ever ridden.

General Discussion / Re: coast to coast touring 30 days?
« on: October 05, 2013, 11:37:50 pm »
Do you have to go in April or September? I'd recommend June or July, because the days will be much longer, making the trip more feasible. Have you planned the route? What does the mileage come out to be?

A strong 30 year old with proper training can surely do 30 back-to-back 100-mile days. But you need to get in great shape before you start so you can hit the ground running. I'd suggest at least a few months of 200-mile weeks of training--as much to train your butt, back, neck and arms as your legs. Train at least one day a week fully loaded. Train at least two days a week on long, steep hills. If finances allow, I'd suggest staying in motels and eating in restaurants (or out of grocery stores) the whole way. Adding the stress of tearing down and setting up camp and cooking your meals each day will make a hard trip harder. Skipping cooking and camping will also help you keep your load lighter.

Routes / Re: Did you ride the Northern Tier self-contained?
« on: October 04, 2013, 12:49:55 pm »
I rode the Northern Tier, with the North Lakes and Lake Erie Connector variation, solo and self-supported in the summer of 2012. If you PM me with this persons email address, I'd be glad to contact him.

General Discussion / Re: Saddle bags
« on: October 04, 2013, 09:57:38 am »
Ortlieb Frontrollers are 25L a pair. Ortlieb Backrollers are 40L a pair. The Ortlieb medium handlebar bag is 7L. That adds up to 72L (4394 cubic inches). That's plenty. Since you said you travel light, you can probably get by with less, but if you want to be conservative and have some extra room for contingencies, then I'd shoot for something in this neighborhood. This should allow you to get everything except your tent (and maybe even your tent if it is small) inside a pannier. And you'll have room for a couple days worth of food and water too.

Connecting ACA Routes / Re: St. Augustine to Cave-in-Rock
« on: October 01, 2013, 10:18:08 am »
"Better" is subjective, as is "scenic". Do you need a route that is "a bit more direct"? Are you time-constrained?

Personally, I'd take the ACA routes, but I like all the planning that ACA has done for me, and I like the fact that it keeps me off dangerous roads as much as possible. But if you would like a more direct route and/or one with more unknowns, try asking Google maps to give you the "avoid highways" driving directions.

General Discussion / Re: Saddle bags
« on: October 01, 2013, 10:13:36 am »
Collect all your gear. Put it in one or more cardboard boxes to measure its volume. Add a bit more for carrying extra food and water where required. I prefer to have more room than I need, but you must have the discipline not to fill it up just because it is there. More room than you need allows you the flexibility to add extras when required, and it also simplifies packing and looking for things.

Routes / Re: Pacific coast
« on: September 29, 2013, 03:23:39 pm »
If they are on the ACA Pacific Coast Route, rest assured that this route keeps them off of 101 as much as possible, and they are already on the least-traveled roads in the area. If they are not on the ACA route, send them the maps.

Gear Talk / Re: My "new-to-me" bike!
« on: September 28, 2013, 04:35:26 pm »
Somehow this thread turned into a clipless pedal debate. It's pretty simple actually. if you like them, use them. If you don't like them, don't use them.

General Discussion / Re: Motivation: why ride?
« on: September 27, 2013, 09:53:57 am »
I think the answer is difficult because, for most people, the answer is a combination of many different reasons, with different priorities depending on the day and person. It's pretty much everything: fitness, health, weight control, wind in your face, the outdoors, seeing, hearing, feeling, smelling, achievement, challenge, feeling of exertion, social interaction, random interaction, thrill of speed, relieving stress, appreciation of a fine machine, sunshine, environmental concerns, beating others, beating yourself, smug superiority, chance to think, conquering nature, wildlife, etc.

Yes, probably most cyclists stop at those places, if they are open when they pass. I did not stop at the cafe in Jeffrey City the first time I was through there, but did the second. I did stop at the store in Muddy Gap, but I only got there 10 minutes before they closed so I almost missed it (and they didn't have a log as far as I know). I did stop in Rand, but that store is only open a few days a week (and I didn't see a log either).

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