Relocating and restarting after changed life

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thehistorian
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Thanks, edmonds59 and other friends. I need the income to pay cburch for a burger at OTB.


thehistorian
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Mick, do you mean the Adventure Cycling Association? Yes, I know about their routes, and I will probably use part of one of them.


thehistorian
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My proposed route:

From Meyersdale on the Great Allegheny Passage, to Mckeesport, then on roads/SVT to the Montour Trail. From the Montour to the Panhandle, then on road from Weirton, WV, to the river crossing at East Liverpool. From there it’s a straight shot across the Buckeye state to West Laffayete, IN. Here’s the route I drafted last year.

http://www.bikely.com/maps/bike-path/383993

From there it’s up to Michigan, where a friend has offered me the use of his backyard. Then across to Holland, where I’m going to spend a couple of days with the former 500 pound guy who showed me change was possible. Matty’s taken up cycling, has posted here a couple of times, and is going for his first century in June. I’ve promised to help him prepare, which includes joining him on a long ride. Also, if time and circumstances permit, I’d like to see Chicago.

Then I head north to the ferry, cross Lake Michigan, and wind up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. From there I don’t have a hard and fast route across the West. Google’s bike mapping feature wants to route me on every bike route it can find. I know when I reach Washington State I can pick up the John Wayne Pioneer Trail across much of the state, and then follow local trails into Seattle.

If I’m not thoroughly sick of cycling by this point, a Bike Forums poster has offered me the use of his sofa for a few days. That means a trip down the Pacific coast to California. From CA I can take Amtrak back to Pittsburgh at a surprisingly reasonable cost.

Total miles, just about 4000. Total time spent on the road, about 90 to 120 days, depending on my speed and how many ‘off’ days I take. I should average about 300 miles a week, with at least one rest day in every seven.

My camping plans are to use free sites whenever possible. Many churches and towns allow camping for bike tourists in their yards and parks. Also, I’ll make friends with Warm Showers’ list of hosts and members of the Bike Forums/Clydesdale and Athena Forum community.

Bike will be Notung, the Long Haul Trucker, modified with touring bars. I’ll haul a trailer, since I pack heavy. I have most of the gear I need for the trip.

Estimate cost for the trip is 2000 US dollars. This is based on data from CrazyGuy journals, touring websites, and other sources. I expect the biggest expense is going to be food. Of course, I’ll need money set aside to cover expenses at home too. My belongings, whatever I keep, is staying with a friend who said he can bring them to Pittsburgh when I need them.


ejwme
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McKeesport -> Montour seems like a fantastic place for a BPGH/Flock all day escort.


thehistorian
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Dream starts May 1. Even if all I have is two dollars and a Clif Bar. If I get hungry on the Montour I suppose I could eat a Bike Pittsburgh message board poster. I should be eating low fat anyway….


Mick
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@thehistorian

Mick, do you mean the Adventure Cycling Association?

Indeed I do.

When I first saw that name, I thought it was another silly commercial operation (“AD-venture!!”), but their routes have gotten good word of mouth from folks I trust.

Their trans-america route (from 1976) goes through Missoula, Montana, which has their headquarters. I bet they would give you a free cup of coffee if you stopped by.

Aside from anything else, following their routes guarantees that you will run into other long-distance cyclers. And less of the “WTF?” reaction as you travel through small towns and such. My buddy Mike, for example mentions a town in Indianna on ACA’s Northern Teir route that has a hostel that is free for travelling bicyclists. (not your route, I know.)

Start May 1st? be prepared for serious rains.

http://www.weather.com/weather/wxclimatology/monthly/graph/15213


thehistorian
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Mick, since after IN I’m headed north to MI, I might pass through that town. Also, nothing is set in stone. Even when I’m on the road.


edmonds59
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Missoula MT is a great little town and worth a stop. However, if you do any of the TA route, I found south-eastern Wyoming and all of eastern Colorado to be awful, dry dust and rednecks. And then there’s Kansas. But somewhere along the route you have to cross a big band of nothing. I have no idea if it’s better to go farther north.


thehistorian
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Tabby
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lol, indeed you are. I wonder if they will be prepared for you.


ejwme
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Every time I see someone in camo I flash to Robin Williams in Good Morning Vietnam. “I can’t SEE you!”


thehistorian
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I’m not a hunter, but the clothing is durable, in my size, and cheap at the end of the season. Also, it’s street wear in much of “Westsylvania”, I’m told.


thehistorian
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Tabby, I doubt many people are quite prepared to meet me. Words don’t do my sheer unadulterated awesomeness justice. :-)


HiddenVariable
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I’m not a hunter, but the clothing is durable, in my size, and cheap at the end of the season. Also, it’s street wear in much of “Westsylvania”, I’m told.

are you sure you’re not thinking of pennsyltucky?


thehistorian
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HiddenVariable, aren’t they the same thing?


thehistorian
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I’ll be giving a talk at Bikesport in Trappe, PA, in March on “Cycling Through Physical Challenges.” I have no intention of droning on for an hour about myself, but intend to cover the topic in general, and then talk about my ride. I’ll let yinz know how it goes.


Pseudacris
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That’s great. I’m sure you’ll be encouraging more people to ride. Good luck with your presentation!


gimpPAC
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As I understand it, it’s “Philly in the east, the Burgh in the west and Alabama in the middle…” But other than the city limits or the burbs, yeah you’re pretty much right. :)


thehistorian
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I’m as close to Reading as Philly, so I’m on the Alabama state line.


StuInMcCandless
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On this end of the state, the line is a lot closer in than that, just one or two townships past the city limits. We even have a town that has separate American Legions for white and black service members (Sewickley, Post #4 for white, #450 for black). (Unrelated but illustrative story.)


thehistorian
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OK, for some specifics on my trip planning so far. Here’s what I have as far as an itinerary for the start of the trip:

May 1 – Meyersdale to Confluence, stay at Outflow Campground. Easy first day.

May 2 – Confluence to Round Bottom hiker/biker site. Easy second day.

May 3 – Round Bottom to Pittsburgh. Stay with a Warm Showers or Couchsurfing host.

May 4 – Pittsburgh to Beaver Creek State Park, Ohio.

May 5 – Beaver Creek State Park to Stow. Bike Forums member hosting me.

Anyone have any suggestions for a route from Pittsburgh to Beaver Creek State Park, and possibly from the part to Stow?


edmonds59
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I’ll start thinking about your route when I have some time. After just a quick look at the route suggested by Google maps, that may not be the most pleasant, esp from Coraopolis to Rochester, along the river is not very nice. Google shows a trail along there, but I think it is only proposed. Probably just want to go over-land.


thehistorian
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While we are on the subject of routes….

I’d proposed Confluence to Round Bottom and Pittsburgh to Beaver Creek State Park above, but the alternate is Confluence to Dravo, and then Dravo to the free campsite on the Montour Trail. Following this alternate route means leaving from the Montour campsite, taking the Panhandle Trail to Weirton, riding up to whatever river crossing, and then on to Beaver Creek. Does anyone like this alternate route better, and why? It’s flatter, but I’m concerned it’s going to be a very long, long day.


BradQ
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No matter what you should stop in Pittsburgh. You’re going to end up getting put up with a good meal and shower.

I will say that Roundbottom is a pretty killer campsite, one of my favorites. No water there no matter what the map says. Stop in Connelsville and pack it in, that’s the last place for water if I remember right.

If the weather is shitty that particular night, about 9 miles past Roundbottom is Cedar Creek which has real toilets, water and most importantly a lean-to with a fireplace that makes for a comfy night.


edmonds59
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I would say no to riding the Panhandle to Weirton, that would cause you to ride north along the Ohio river to get to Beaver Creek, I’ve driven along that road, not nice.

I think something like your first course is better.

Not able to comment on the trail east of Pgh.


thehistorian
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BradQ, thanks, but my concern is that I might have a person or two with me. Housing me is one thing, housing an army is another. :-)

Edmonds59, thanks for the comments on the alternate route. Another concern was the hills on the Detour, err, Montour Trail. I’ll stick with the Pittsburgh route.


ejwme
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Hmm… I’ll point out that May 2nd and May 3rd 2011 are Saturday and Sunday, respectively :D

thehistorian – you can always simply request that the army house themselves as best they can. Armies are resourceful like that.


HiddenVariable
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keep in mind that the third amendment allows us to refuse to quarter soldiers in time of peace, and in time of war, but in a manner prescribed by law.


thehistorian
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Sorry ejwme, they are Sunday and Monday.


ieverhart
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you can always simply request that the army house themselves as best they can. Armies are resourceful like that.

This reminds me of my quest to become the nation’s leading expert on Third Amendment jurisprudence.


thehistorian
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BradQ, it’s set. I’m in Pittsburgh May 3. I get to pick out my steam grate for when I show up broke at the end of August. :-)


Steven
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Another concern was the hills on the Detour, err, Montour Trail.

They’re hills by rail-trail standards, but probably wouldn’t be too challenging to most long-distance cyclists. Perhaps the most difficult one westbound, the climb at Piney Fork, ascends 104 feet in .4 miles. By comparison, one of Pittsburgh’s streets with a bike lane on it climbs 121 feet in the same .4 mile distance (Forbes east of Margaret Morrison).

The second-worst westbound hill on the Montour (the driveway at Lindenbrooke) is steeper, but only a tenth of a mile long.

Oh, and May 2nd and May 3rd 2011 are a Monday and Tuesday. A trip from May 1st-5th runs Sunday through Thursday.

See http://www.timeanddate.com/calendar/?year=2011 or http://www.printable2011calendar.com/preview/2011-05 for instance.


thehistorian
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Thanks Steven, I misread the post I was correcting.


ejwme
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thehistorian – on the calander I pushed the down button thinking it would go forward into the future, but it went back to 2009 (why does my mind always work the opposite of the people who set up the GUIs?). 2011 (the up arrow), according to microsoft, has may 2 and 3 as Monday and Tuesday. These are less convenient. I suggest either doing your ride to a more convenient 2009 calander, or perhaps setting up some form of tesseract :D Mastering cycling via tesseract could help a great deal in the Rockies.


thehistorian
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ejwme, your suggestion would be more workable, except that I have a hard enough time moving forward, let alone backward.

As it stands May 1 ‘works’ since it means I can get everything out of my current place by April 30 and not have to pay rent for May. This also pushes me to get everything sold, given away, or put in storage by then. As Samuel Johnson said, the knowledge that a man is to be hanged in a fortnight focuses the mind wonderfully. I’m already selling stuff on eBay, giving items to Goodwill, and taking my CD collection to Princeton Record Exchange next week.


ejwme
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Nice – paring down is tricky. Beware the “put in storage”… My MIL has had stuff in “temporary storage” for something pushing 15 years now.

I suppose Sunday, May 1, 2011 is the day then ;) But if you do master traveling via tesseract, could you let me know?


thehistorian
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Fifteen years is a long time to be storing my spare socks and underwear. I suspect I’ll need my stuff well before then.


joeframbach
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By then the underwear won’t fit anymore, isn’t that the plan?


thehistorian
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Hmm, good thought joeframbach. I expect I should lose some weight on the trip, although I’m not riding with that goal in mind. I lost about ten pounds on all my long tours, and my three weeks of vacation in Westsylvania last year. I plan on being down to 260 when I start, and I suspect I might break 240 by the time I’m done. (As of this morning I’m 281.6.)


helen s
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I had a friend who gained about 15 to 20 pounds riding across the country one summer. Turns out she could not just eat anything and everything she wanted.

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