Looking for Touring Companion(s) - West, Canada & Alaska
Is there anyone interested in spending 13 weeks on a bike this summer?
Figure we'd start about May 20 to Aug 20. Follow the good weather from California to New Mexico then up the Rockies into Canada and out to the Pacific at Prince Rupert. Take the ferry to Haines then do the Yukon and Alaska - including the Denali Highway and Denali Park. This route tends to follow nice weather and often has prevailing tailwinds - but no promises - just averages. I tour on a mountain bike and do maybe 33% dirt - more when I want to get away from the crowds - less when it's been raining for a week and everything I have is muddy. I also do considerable backcountry hiking in Yosemite, Grand Canyon, Glacier, Banff, Jasper, Mount Robson, Kluane, and Denali. I have a fairly good raft that I like to send to a post office along the way to do some rafting. Maybe some canoeing in Grand Teton Park on Leigh Lake. We might go caving at Great Basin - I don't know if they still offer a technical tour or not. I'd also like to do Telkwa Pass this year from Smithers to Terrace - really remote.
I'm 48 - have been touring for 20 years - have decent equipment, but don't sweat about the details. I don't use an odometer because I'm not into counting miles. I am no speed demon, but take lots of breaks and wander off the planned route early and often. I'd say a full tour day is about 75 miles - less the first week as we get our cycling legs. My touring style is laid-back. I like to visit towns and communities along the way. I always have at least one day off per week - often a couple of half days, too. I stay in a motel/hostel about once a week - organized campground maybe three days per week - and remote camp the other three. I really prefer the latter since campgrounds tend to have loud campers who bring along everything but the kitchen sink and play their radios/DVD players all night. Trust me - there's nothing like a soft sunset in the Red Desert in Wyoming with a meadowlark providing the only sound for miles around.
Well ... I'm hoping to spend 6 or 7 weeks on a bicycle this summer from mid-July to early Sept travelling from somewhere in California, possibly into Arizona, or possibly up the west coast to BC, the Vancouver area, or possibly veering inland through Idaho and hitting Alberta. I won't know till I get closer to the actual date of departure, but I know there are some places I do want to see.
If that's you and your bicycle in the picture, may I say ... you travel HEAVY!! WOW!! I thought I carried a lot of stuff!! That's me on my 3 month Australia tour at the end of 2004 with my fully loaded touring bicycle: http://ca.pg.photos.yahoo.com/ph/mac...ca.jpg&.src=ph
Well, if you check the picture I posted, you'll see I've only got panniers in front, no rear panniers. And not only that, but those panniers aren't full. The only time they were full is when we bought groceries for the night and I had to tuck bread or something in there.
I ended up tossing and mailing back a number of things too. Also, throughout the 3 months over there I had a couple of people (my cycling partner, and a friend in Tasmania) pick through my stuff and tell me what I could keep and what I could really do without. On my next tour, I'll be carrying even less.
It really does make a difference in speed - especially when climbing!
The ARE as big as rear pannier. The WERE rear panniers but part of the paring down thing I did in my first week in Australia was to get rid of my front panniers and about 10 lbs of stuff. We debated about leaving them on the back, but that left the bicycle rather unbalanced, so we put them on the front and I liked that much better. It was a little scary on one particular descent when I felt like the rear of the bicycle was going to flip over my head, but other than that, it worked great. The bicycle was very stable.
Late July and August in Arizona? And you're from Canada??
Actually I recall you said you toured in Australia - so maybee you're used to the heat.
But there are better places to tour than Arizona in August.
Also, if you head north on the Pacific coast, you'll be encountering headwinds all the way.
It's the interior that has south winds, but also the heat.
One possibility would be to start in Flagstaff and head up the Wasatch in Utah to Wyoming and Montana.
Or better - Santa Fe - and run up the Rockies to Canada. That's if you want to go south to north.
As for my gear - - if you notice the back rack - I have all my tenting stuff in the backpack so I can set up my tent or break it down in about two minutes - plus I have the rainfly ready if a quick storm brews up. I do alot of hiking as part of my tours - I had just come in from the Glacier backcountry when this photo was made. So I need the backpack. I only keep food-related stuff in the front panniers and never have food in the read panniers. Plus this last year I was cycling to a friend's wedding so I packed a jacket and slacks in ziplock bags and threw them in a dryer with a damp towel when I got there.
Still looking for folks to spend all or part of the summer with.
When I lived in Jackson, Mom and Dad came out to visit and when we were at a ranger's station (That's warden for those north of 49) on the way up to Yellowstone she nodded over to the ranger and said, "Now she has a REAL job." Of course, in reference to my cycling and lack of career. Needless to say, it was a very tense ride back to town.
If you haven't been to Yosemite, you simple must - yes it's busy, but you can camp in the valley at the Backpacker's Campground if you enter the park by bike - don't let them tell you to stand in line for Sunnyside. The Backpacker's is tucked away on a bend in the Merced River and has a view of Yosemite Falls AND Half Dome.
From there you can head up - and it's a big up - across the Sierras into Nevada - Great Basin National Park has bristlecone pines that are 4000 years old - then over to the Utah parks and the North Rim of the Grand Canyon - which has only 10% of the park's visitors.
If you want to hike to the bottom, you can usually book two nights at Cottonwood backcountry site. It's 7 miles down to Cottonwood, another 7 miles fairly flat to the Phantom Ranch where the canteen has great lemonade. If you leave at 4:00 p.m. heading down you can have shade all the way to Cottonwood. Leave at first dawning for Phantom Ranch and you'll have shade all the way to the Colorado River. Then head back towards Cottonwood after 5:00 p.m. and another early start to head back up. Or - - if you can get a night at Phantom Ranch (either at the campground or the bunkhouse) consider doing a full cross-canyon hike and coming back on the shuttle. Either way - it is HOT down there - - 115 - - spend the better part of the day IN Bright Angel Creek in the shade of the cottonwood trees.
Hey jamawani, I'm planning a trip some time arount early july to the end of august and im travelling from victoria to Prudhoe Alaska. If you dont know Prudhoe is the northern tip of the dalton Hwy, touching the arctic sea. Maybe I'll see you somewhere along the way. I like to ride at a relaxed pace for long distances and hours until I reach something worth checking out like Denali.
Im still in a preliminary stage of planning so I'll keep in touch about my dates as it gets closer to the summer.
You are aware that the Dalton is closed for the last 10 miles for security reasons. They used to allow guided - read "expensive" tours - but I heard that since 9/11 you can only stay for like 20 supervised minutes. Kinda sucks when you are way out there in the wilds of the Arctic. Someone may have more info. http://henkbinnendijk.tripod.com/deadhorse/index.html
You can also bike the Dempster Highway in the Yukon up to Inuvik - but Inuvik is in the delta - not on the Arctic - you have to fly up to Tuktoyaktuk to get to the shore. But at least you don't have the CIA breathing down your throat. And the Dempster is less industrial than the Dalton.