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  1. #1
    Neil_B
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    OK, It's Not Cross Country, But....

    ...it's a start.

    My big tour in 2008 isn't going to be cross country, but instead, as training for riding across the US in 2009, I'm going to travel the Pittsburgh to Washington DC trail route the first week in June. The current plan is to drive out to Pittsburgh with Neil F. on Saturday, begin riding Sunday morning, and arrive in the nation's capital the following Saturday. We will camp as needed, with the occasional break in a hotel or a kind person's home.

    At the moment I'm 20 or so pounds over my summer weight, 40 some pounds from my goal weight, have never gone on a tour longer than four days, still don't know much about riding a bike, and have never been camping. And now I want to ride nearly 350 miles in seven days and camp:



    My motivation is back!

  2. #2
    The Site Administrator: Currently at home recovering from a couple of strokes,please contact my assistnt admins for forum issues Tom Stormcrowe's Avatar
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    Great! You'll also have a blast doing it, I'm sure
    on light duty due to illness; please contact my assistants for forum issues. They are Siu Blue Wind, or CbadRider or the other 3 star folk. I am currently at home recovering from a couple of strokes. I am making good progress, happily.


    . “He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.”- Fredrick Nietzsche

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  3. #3
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    Destroyer of Wheels Air's Avatar
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    Jealous - I absolutely want to do that route someday. Have a blast!

  4. #4
    Downtown Spanky Brown bautieri's Avatar
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    I've been eyeballing that rail trail for some time now. Best of luck and be sure to take pictures. I'm sure you'll have a blast and remember, camping is in tents (intense).

    Advice: pick up one of these bed rolls. It will make your stay on pointy uneven ground much more pleasant. The inflatable ones crush down taking up less space and offering more support than foam based egg crate pads.

  5. #5
    Uber Goober StephenH's Avatar
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    Suggestion: Go camping a couple of times before you go touring, get it sorted out what you need and what you don't need. You may be amazed at the pile of stuff you feel it necessary to bring, and helps if that amazement comes a month or two beforehand rather than the night before when you're packing.

    Years ago, I made up a checklist of all the camping stuff and I go through and check off what I need and don't need and what is packed and what isn't. Keeps you from getting a day down the way and discovering you forgot toilet paper or some other necessity.

    I've got a nice tent and nice sleeping bag, but also got a much smaller 1-man tent and a warm-weather sleeping bag that are much more compact.

    Sleeping on the ground (with a 1/2" pad)- I went camping in Guadalupe Mountains NP one time. First night, I woke up about every half hour. Second night, woke up a time or two. Thir night, slept right through, 12 hours. So part of the secret is just getting used to it.
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  6. #6
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by StephenH View Post
    Suggestion: Go camping a couple of times before you go touring, get it sorted out what you need and what you don't need. You may be amazed at the pile of stuff you feel it necessary to bring, and helps if that amazement comes a month or two beforehand rather than the night before when you're packing.

    Years ago, I made up a checklist of all the camping stuff and I go through and check off what I need and don't need and what is packed and what isn't. Keeps you from getting a day down the way and discovering you forgot toilet paper or some other necessity.

    I've got a nice tent and nice sleeping bag, but also got a much smaller 1-man tent and a warm-weather sleeping bag that are much more compact.

    Sleeping on the ground (with a 1/2" pad)- I went camping in Guadalupe Mountains NP one time. First night, I woke up about every half hour. Second night, woke up a time or two. Thir night, slept right through, 12 hours. So part of the secret is just getting used to it.
    Added suggestion: Go over to the Touring Forum and ask questions. Lots of experience and suggestions there, too.

    Further added suggestion: 350 miles in 7 days is about right for touring. When I tour, I try to keep it at around 50 miles per day. You are on vacation Don't race. Do some detective work beforehand, find some cool places you want to see and take time to see them! Although you will remember the ride, the extra bits...a neat museum, a talk with a kind stranger, a great meal, etc...will stick with you much longer then the pedaling.

    Stop. Smell the roses. Enjoy.
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  7. #7
    Senior Member neilfein's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
    Added suggestion: Go over to the Touring Forum and ask questions. Lots of experience and suggestions there, too.
    I've been spending a lot of time on the Touring forum lately; they've indeed been very helpful.

    bautieri, those bed rolls look like the bomb, but they're expensive! I figured around $20 for something like that.

    Neil and I both have tents, and I have a sleeping bag (Neil B. needs to get one, I think). He's the one who beat me over the head until I agreed to start camping on tour. I'm looking around my area for campgrounds to camp in to try the new gear out in, but I may just use the backyard when it starts getting warmer.

    Even though 50 miles/day for 7 days is a stretch, I'm not all that worried about the riding part of it. I've done a 5-day tour and Neil and I did a 4-day one together. We've learned a lot of what not to do... but I think we're getting into a rhythm. We have two more weekend tours planned before the summer, the one on March involving camping.
    Tour Journals, Blog, ride pix

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  8. #8
    Bikezilla Mazama's Avatar
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    Is that a car-free trail? Neat!

    Camping is fun. I'm sure there are stops along the way to pick up necessary goods.

    Have fun!
    14,000 miles and rolling...

  9. #9
    Double Naught Spy TrekDen's Avatar
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    Neil's On Wheels is coming to the 'Burgh for the start of the tour. Cool! I hope I'm able to get up there to say hello, and send you off with well wishes. I used to live right near the trails beginning in Pittsburgh, so if I can be of any help, feel free to ask.

    And may I suggest The Great Allegheny Passage Yahoo Group for up to date info on the Passage.

    Denny

  10. #10
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  11. #11
    Senior Member neilfein's Avatar
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    We already had one BFer offer to put us up, but we'd be happy to meet up with non-serial-killer-type folks along the way. Just sayin'...
    Tour Journals, Blog, ride pix

    I'm in the celtic folk fusion band Baroque and Hungry. "Mended", our new full-length studio album, is now available for download.

  12. #12
    The Site Administrator: Currently at home recovering from a couple of strokes,please contact my assistnt admins for forum issues Tom Stormcrowe's Avatar
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    Backyard for teh first night is a great start....

    You can learn how to set the tent up quickly.

    NOTE: Don't forget to seal the seams on your tents......you'll sleep a LOT drier if it rains

    Quote Originally Posted by neilfein View Post
    I've been spending a lot of time on the Touring forum lately; they've indeed been very helpful.

    bautieri, those bed rolls look like the bomb, but they're expensive! I figured around $20 for something like that.

    Neil and I both have tents, and I have a sleeping bag (Neil B. needs to get one, I think). He's the one who beat me over the head until I agreed to start camping on tour. I'm looking around my area for campgrounds to camp in to try the new gear out in, but I may just use the backyard when it starts getting warmer.

    Even though 50 miles/day for 7 days is a stretch, I'm not all that worried about the riding part of it. I've done a 5-day tour and Neil and I did a 4-day one together. We've learned a lot of what not to do... but I think we're getting into a rhythm. We have two more weekend tours planned before the summer, the one on March involving camping.
    on light duty due to illness; please contact my assistants for forum issues. They are Siu Blue Wind, or CbadRider or the other 3 star folk. I am currently at home recovering from a couple of strokes. I am making good progress, happily.


    . “He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.”- Fredrick Nietzsche

    "We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals." - Immanuel Kant

  13. #13
    Neil_B
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
    Added suggestion: Go over to the Touring Forum and ask questions. Lots of experience and suggestions there, too.

    Further added suggestion: 350 miles in 7 days is about right for touring. When I tour, I try to keep it at around 50 miles per day. You are on vacation Don't race. Do some detective work beforehand, find some cool places you want to see and take time to see them! Although you will remember the ride, the extra bits...a neat museum, a talk with a kind stranger, a great meal, etc...will stick with you much longer then the pedaling.

    Stop. Smell the roses. Enjoy.
    I agree with you about the Surley Long Haul Trucker For-, err, the Touring Forum. But I wanted to share details of my plans with my friends - both of them - on the Clydesdale Forum.

    And I am determined to get to see interesting sights along the trail, and nearby. Fallingwater, for instance. Sharpsburg battlefield. Harper's Ferry. Neil F. being eaten by a bear.....

  14. #14
    The Site Administrator: Currently at home recovering from a couple of strokes,please contact my assistnt admins for forum issues Tom Stormcrowe's Avatar
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    Bear Spray.......it works well!



    Quote Originally Posted by The Historian View Post
    I agree with you about the Surley Long Haul Trucker For-, err, the Touring Forum. But I wanted to share details of my plans with my friends - both of them - on the Clydesdale Forum.

    And I am determined to get to see interesting sights along the trail, and nearby. Fallingwater, for instance. Sharpsburg battlefield. Harper's Ferry. Neil F. being eaten by a bear.....
    on light duty due to illness; please contact my assistants for forum issues. They are Siu Blue Wind, or CbadRider or the other 3 star folk. I am currently at home recovering from a couple of strokes. I am making good progress, happily.


    . “He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.”- Fredrick Nietzsche

    "We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals." - Immanuel Kant

  15. #15
    Senior Member ?? Beverly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Historian View Post
    And I am determined to get to see interesting sights along the trail, and nearby. Fallingwater, for instance. Sharpsburg battlefield. Harper's Ferry. Neil F. being eaten by a bear.....
    Don't forget Kentuck Knob. It's another Wright house just 7 miles from Fallingwater. They're both very interesting.
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  16. #16
    Neil_B
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    Quote Originally Posted by neilfein View Post
    Neil and I both have tents, and I have a sleeping bag (Neil B. needs to get one, I think).
    Amazon says the tent and sleeping pad should be here probably Monday. The sleeping bag is on back order. Meanwhile, I have a Wal-mart bag.

    Quote Originally Posted by neilfein View Post
    He's the one who beat me over the head until I agreed to start camping on tour.
    No, my wallet did. The cost of the Christmas tour was obscene. If we wanted to continue to tour together I had to break you of your habits of hotels and expensive meals.

    Quote Originally Posted by neilfein View Post
    I'm looking around my area for campgrounds to camp in to try the new gear out in, but I may just use the backyard when it starts getting warmer.
    Not a bad option. It's not one I can use, since there's a dog living here. :-)

    Quote Originally Posted by neilfein View Post
    Even though 50 miles/day for 7 days is a stretch, I'm not all that worried about the riding part of it. I've done a 5-day tour and Neil and I did a 4-day one together. We've learned a lot of what not to do... but I think we're getting into a rhythm. We have two more weekend tours planned before the summer, the one on March involving camping.
    It's in April, Neil. You will freeze in a PA March. :-) The campground at Green Lane isn't open until April anyway.

    We've both learned, and learned from each other. I've become more patient, and Neil F. has become a little more focused on 'going the distance' instead of just riding around looking at stuff. When we first began to ride together on tours, I had somewhat greater experience pacing myself on long rides Part of pacing is knowing when to push on and when to linger. Neil's picking up on this.

  17. #17
    Neil_B
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    Quote Originally Posted by Beverly View Post
    Don't forget Kentuck Knob. It's another Wright house just 7 miles from Fallingwater. They're both very interesting.
    Yes, and Kentuck Knob is on the OTHER side of the trail from Fallingwater. Who knew there was so much to see around Ohiopyle?

  18. #18
    Neil_B
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    Quote Originally Posted by bautieri View Post
    I've been eyeballing that rail trail for some time now. Best of luck and be sure to take pictures. I'm sure you'll have a blast and remember, camping is in tents (intense).

    Advice: pick up one of these bed rolls. It will make your stay on pointy uneven ground much more pleasant. The inflatable ones crush down taking up less space and offering more support than foam based egg crate pads.
    You could join us on the tour. You aren't doing anything important in June, are you?

  19. #19
    Neil_B
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mazama View Post
    Is that a car-free trail? Neat!

    Camping is fun. I'm sure there are stops along the way to pick up necessary goods.

    Have fun!
    Here's the map page:

    http://www.atatrail.org/maps/map.cfm


  20. #20
    Super Course fan redneckwes's Avatar
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    I'd love to make that trip someday, Fallingwater + Some seriously amazing views..

  21. #21
    Neil_B
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    Quote Originally Posted by TrekDen View Post
    Neil's On Wheels is coming to the 'Burgh for the start of the tour. Cool! I hope I'm able to get up there to say hello, and send you off with well wishes. I used to live right near the trails beginning in Pittsburgh, so if I can be of any help, feel free to ask.

    And may I suggest The Great Allegheny Passage Yahoo Group for up to date info on the Passage.

    Denny
    I'd enjoy seeing you again, and if Neil F. can avoid repeating his stunt from Lancaster, I'm sure he'd enjoy meeting you again too. And I'm looking forward to seeing Pittsburgh again. Do they still have those little sandwiches with the cole slaw and fries in the middle?

    The biggest problem we have is getting to Pittsburgh. My car will not take a bike rack, and we probably can't get both bikes in the back seat of my Neilmobile. Besides, where would I park it in Pittsburgh for a week, and how would I get back to it? Amtrak's Philadelphia to Pittsburgh service doesn't have checked baggage, so we can't get the bikes on board. Flying is a possibility, but then we need to check our tents, clothes, bikes, etc. I'm not going to travel via Greyhound, or trust them with my bike. So we are probably going to have to rent a car with a bike rack and I'll drive across PA. Any suggestions for a better way to get to the 'burgh are welcome.

  22. #22
    Neil_B
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    Quote Originally Posted by neilfein View Post
    We already had one BFer offer to put us up, but we'd be happy to meet up with non-serial-killer-type folks along the way. Just sayin'...
    Yes, any sane posters who want to host the two Neils or ride with them, please let us know.

  23. #23
    Genetics have failed me Scummer's Avatar
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    Oh man... that brings back memories riding my bike with my ol' friend through south eastern France. Nothing but a sleeping bag, a few cloth and tons of drinking water. Riding for 2 weeks through the mountains.
    What a great time you are going to have. Camping and biking, nothing else needed in life to be happy!
    Gelato aficionado.

  24. #24
    Gorntastic! v1k1ng1001's Avatar
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    I wish I still lived in PA.

  25. #25
    Senior Member ?? Beverly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Historian View Post
    Yes, and Kentuck Knob is on the OTHER side of the trail from Fallingwater. Who knew there was so much to see around Ohiopyle?
    If you get to Ohiopyle at the right time you might be able to catch some kayak events. My daughter and I were there a couple years ago at a competition and watched the kayakers go over the falls Interesting but not something I would attempt
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