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Messages - Figaro

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1
Routes / Re: HWY 9 -- El Paso to Hachita?
« on: January 09, 2021, 04:39:29 pm »
Thanks for the info John. Looking at google maps, it seems there are dirt/sand roads running parallel to the paved road for nearly the entire length. Since I'll be on my bikepacking bike, I guess I can always ride off the pavement if I choose. If my plan A doesn't work out (Prudhoe Bay, AK to Antelope Wells, NM) then this may be my Plan B...El Paso to Hachita, then North on the GDMBR to Montana, then East South/East back to Lexington, KY. Everything right now depends on Covid and how open/closed things are.

I drove the stretch about 7-8 years ago.  A quiet road west of Columbus (all services).  Between El Paso & Columbus the traffic picks up the closer you are to El Paso.

Other than Columbus and El Paso, there are no services, including water.  Hachita might have water but it was definitely a dying town when I went through.  Be prepared and carry plenty of water, enough to get you Columbus to your next supply spot!

NOTE:  If you are planning on doing the GDMBR, consider starting in Douglas, AZ and use the Geronimo Trail to get to Animas from the south and then work your way over to the GDMBR, either via Lordsburg (services) or Hachita (original route).  Both would meet up around White City.  The Geronimo trail is quite nice.

Tailwinds, John

2
Routes / HWY 9 -- El Paso to Hachita?
« on: January 08, 2021, 10:08:56 am »
I'm looking at several options for a bikepacking tour this summer depending on how Covid plays out. One of my options is to fly to El Paso and ride HWY 9 to Hachita, NM and pick up the GDMBR north from there. Anyone have experience they can share about that stretch of highway? Doesn't look like a bad stretch of road from Google maps. Thanks.

3
Routes / Re: Staying or Camping in Yellewstone Park doing the TransAm
« on: January 08, 2021, 10:02:42 am »
I did the TransAm in 2018 East to West. I camped in Colter Bay campground on July 3rd, the did 93 miles on the 4th riding all the way through Yellowstone. I got a hotel in West Yellowstone on the night of the 4th of July without a reservation at Al’s Westward Ho Motel.

4
I did the TansAm with a Trek 520 touring bike and the traditional pannier and handlebar bag set-up. It was ok. This year I bought a Cutthroat gravel bike and have set it up with what I would call a cross between the traditional touring set-up and bikepacking set-up. I like this much better and plan to use it on the Great Divide Route, but if I do the TransAm again, or another road tour, I would still prefer this set-up vs the touring bike/pannier set-up.

The basics of this set-up is BarYak on the front as the foundation of what you see there. Tailfin on the back for the rack--it also has mounts for panniers, but I don't plan to use them. In fact, I've recently used those mounts with some custom made brackets to mount water bottles, small dry bags, etc, like you would traditionally see on the front fork of a gravel bike. With this set-up, everything feels like it's part of the bike--it's very solid.


5
General Discussion / Re: A Bicycle Chain
« on: September 30, 2020, 10:57:49 am »
Yea, so far its worked for me, but once of these days if/when a chain breaks on me, I'm sure I'll think, why the heck didn't I change that chain a thousand miles back :-)

Figaro, your method probably works. I could go longer on a chain, even fully loaded. We did the TransAm in 2018, swapping chains in Newton, KS. Probably not needed but peace of mind. Two replacement chains does seem a bit excessive.

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General Discussion / Re: A Bicycle Chain
« on: September 30, 2020, 10:40:31 am »
I did the TransAm 4,300 miles on a fully loaded Trek 520, then another 2k + miles on the same chain. A guy I rode with off and on during the TransAm put 2 chains on his bike during the trip -- unnecessary in my mind, but peace of mind for him. But then again, I change the oil in my car about every 6k, instead of 3k like the places I pay to change my oil recommends. I think a lot of people change chains and cassettes far more often than needed, but to each his/her own.

7
General Discussion / Re: IRC 90 psi tire versus Schwalbe marathon.
« on: August 21, 2020, 08:30:20 pm »
I used Marathon Supremes on my TransAm, running on a Trek 520 Touring bike. Loved them and would highly recommend. I'm running them now on my Trek Domane just because of the dependability...no flats in over a year. This year I bought a 2020 Salsa Cutthroat GRX 600 gravel bike for the Great Divide. However, I like it so much that when I do another cross country trip I will use that bike. I run Graveking SK Plus 43mm tires on it--good for pavement and gravel. 

8
Routes / Re: Southern Tier this Fall--departure date?
« on: July 18, 2020, 06:44:46 pm »
Quote from: Pat Lamb link=topic=16568.msg86305#
Finally, delaying looks like a wise move for the politicians to start listening to the doctors and epidemiologists and start implementing productive protective measures.  No guarantees -- who ever heard of smart politicians? -- but there are a lot of dumb ones blathering on right now.  It would suck to come down with a nasty case in the middle of a tour, and suck big time if you ended up in a parking lot because the local hospitals were full.

Didn’t think about some businesses being closed earlier...thanks for that.
As for the state of affairs with Covid and how “open or closed” things are, that could still be the one thing that causes me to not do it this fall. Last time I checked ACA still has a sold out Southern Tier tour scheduled to leave in Mid Sep heading East. If that gets canceled the it may influence my decision as well.

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General Discussion / Re: Bike recommendation - Southern trail
« on: July 18, 2020, 10:18:07 am »
So did they close the Great Divide because of C19?  My understanding it's not closed, and that cyclists and hikers are scarce which means you have ZERO chance of getting Covid 19 in the great outdoors where nobody is around.

Sounds like a smart ass question, so here is my smart ass reply...Canada was (maybe still is) closed. I don't think anyone is afraid of getting covid in the great outdoors, but some of us--it seems the vast majority of us--exercise good judgement.

10
Routes / Southern Tier this Fall--departure date?
« on: July 17, 2020, 06:34:13 pm »
The southern tier is looking like a go for me this fall. I have the option of leaving pretty much anytime from 1 sep to 1 nov. I'm planning East to West and taking 25 to 30 days. I'll be staying in motels/hotels most of the time, but will probably camp a few times. I can handle heat better than cold. If you were doing this, when would you start? I'm thinking around mid Sep.

11
General Discussion / Re: Bike recommendation - Southern trail
« on: July 15, 2020, 06:34:48 pm »
I did the TransAm two years ago on a Trek 520 and it was ok. In Feb of this year I bought a Salsa Cutthroat with the intention of doing the Great Divide this summer, but Covid spoiled that. However, the cutthroat is a great bike. I picked up the GRX600. It's full carbon and is a complete pleasure to ride. Since I had to put off my GD ride this summer, I'm thinking of doing the Southern Tier later in the year--Sep or Oct. I just sold my 520 last week and will be doing all future touring--road or off-road--on the cutthroat and just change the tires depending on the type terrain I'll be on. Lots of choices out there, but hard to beat this one in my opinion. Of course, I think these are pretty much sold out just about everywhere now, but if you run across one it's definitely worth considering. 

12
General Discussion / Re: Trans Am Bike.
« on: July 15, 2020, 06:24:47 pm »
Very doable. 54 days in 2018...here is my day-by-day journal. http://steveacrossamerica.com

13
Routes / Re: Riding from Greenville, SC to Columbus, GA? Yes or No?
« on: June 20, 2020, 07:23:04 pm »
I rode from Myrtle Beach, SC to Dickson, TN last year. Started on June 16th. I mapped my entire route just using Google Maps using the bike option. Day 1 I made it to Santee, SC -- about 139 miles. Day 2 I stopped in Augusta, 102 miles. Those first two days were really good riding conditions. From Augusta to Atlanta was a PIA, but once I got to the West side of Atlanta and hit the Silver Comet trail it was fantastic riding.

14
Routes / Re: Southern Tier in Sep -- Plan B
« on: June 20, 2020, 07:11:35 pm »
Just finished looking at the maps to get a rough idea of daily distance with the idea of staying in hotels/motels as much as possible. At the mileage I'm planning to do, it looks like there will be no shortage of them -- I'm almost tempted to not carry a tent and sleeping bag, but probably will just to be on the safe side.

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Routes / Re: Southern Tier in Sep -- Plan B
« on: June 07, 2020, 12:05:15 pm »

As far as wind and choosing direction of travel...  I wouldn't even factor that in on this route.  I didn't think it was that big of a factor in my trip there or on other trips across the country or parts of it further north.  Surface winds tend to be a crap shoot and really don't follow the prevailing westerlie pattern that folks expect.

Yea, I went East to West on the TransAm in 2018 and I think there is (at least in my experience) something to the idea that winds will predominately be coming out of the SW, W, or NW most of the time. I enjoyed a tailwind a few times, but I believe I would have enjoyed those more had I been going in the other direction. Regardless, I don't let wind direction factor into my decisions.

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