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USA trip 2025

Old 01-11-24, 01:40 PM
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USA trip 2025

Hi all. I am planning a trip to the USA in spring 2025 to visit various family members over a 2 month period. I will be starting in Dallas Airport and cycling to Wichita. Spending some time there and travelling to Cleveland and on to Boston. I will be on a steel road bike and staying in motels or airbnb so travelling fairly light with a saddlebag and bar bag. Aiming for about 70 or 75 miles a day.
I have toured over a couple of weeks in France Spain and Portugal but never USA and never for that long. I am interested in some general route and weather advice. I am not too worried about scenery or tourist attractions and would like to avoid the large cities where possible. . Happy just to be out on the bike day after day. I would aim to start early April and finish late May or early June hoping that it wouldn't be too hot or too cold. Any advice gratefully received..
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Old 01-11-24, 03:02 PM
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For planning purposes, Weatherspark is my go to website for weather at locations I may want to visit. Type in the name of a major city or airport and you get lots of data on average temperatures, probability of precip, wind, etc. Here is Witchita Kansas weather summary for spring.
https://weatherspark.com/m/145950/4/...-United-States

Note that they define a day that had precip of having at least a mm of rainfall. Thus, a day with a light mist might not be considered a day with precip. Thus, in the real world a wet day may be more common than predicted.

Assuming you will be using internet for weather forecasts, etc., you can type in a location for localized forecasts.
https://www.weather.gov/

There are other options for weather forecasts too, but I usually just use the weather service.

I believe that all of the parts of the country that you will be traveling in do not allow bicycles on interstate highways. Those highway numbers start with the letter I.

You may travel long distances without water. I usually use one liter size water bottles for touring. If you have to fill a bottle in a sink, one liter bottles do not fit under the tap, a smaller bottle may be needed to transfer water to bigger bottles. I generally start out the day with the water that I think is adequate for the whole day.

In some parts of rural western USA, you may find a shortage of restaurants too. But I will let others that have more local knowledge elaborate. Some locally owned small restaurants will not take credit cards, cash may be needed. But ATM machines are probably easy to find. That said, I would carry enough cash for several days of restaurant meals for when cash is needed.

Once you get east of Chicago, population is larger, less distance between motels and restaurants, etc.

You are smart to start planning over a year in advance.

I do not have enough travel experience in Europe to know if your European phone would have the right frequencies to work in USA or not. (I have never bought a sim card in Europe, I only used wifi with my North American phone.) Thus, I do not know if you can simply buy a local sim card here and have reliable service. That is a question for you to ask.
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Old 01-11-24, 04:26 PM
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What size tires? I ask because the Erie Canal path might be an option east of Cleveland.
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Old 01-11-24, 05:05 PM
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1. cycle.travel (the link is for what seems to be your intended route) is perhaps the most useful resource to plan for such a trip.
2. Total distance appears to be less than 2500 miles. Fits easily within your timeframe. (and, with some luck you should get several days of tailwind)
3. Major difference between USA and Europe touring is the distance between settlements. Especially for the Wichita-Cleveland segment. Not clear that you'll be able to find convenient roadside shelter that'll match your planned daily mileage quota. Perhaps consider the possibility of purchasing lightweight camping gear and backpacking bags when in Dallas. More of a slug, but more freedom as well. If unsure about the kit, just ask
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Old 01-11-24, 05:47 PM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz
What size tires? I ask because the Erie Canal path might be an option east of Cleveland.
28c tyres
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Old 01-11-24, 07:35 PM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz
What size tires? I ask because the Erie Canal path might be an option east of Cleveland.
My thought as well. You can do the ECT on 28mm slicks.

Thereís a very good YT series here. Cross US, to Portsmouth, Maine, just north of Boston, used the ECT across N.Y. . There is also a member here who did cross country on a supported trip, used US Highway 20 (which parallels the ECT in NY) most of the way, which is a way to get across Massachusetts. The Roland and Julianna trip used the Katy Trail to St. Louis (recommended), then farm and back roads to Cincinnati, which they really enjoyed, then the Erie and Ohio Trail to Cleveland. Chapter 12 starts the Kansas City and East portion.



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Old 01-11-24, 08:18 PM
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That part of the USA in that time of year has lots of severe storm chasers, for good reason.

On bike, severe storms chase you!
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Old 01-11-24, 09:03 PM
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Originally Posted by stevepusser
That part of the USA in that time of year has lots of severe storm chasers, for good reason.

On bike, severe storms chase you!
Good point. Prevailing winds and storm direction is W to E, or SW to NE. Hard to see bad weather coming when you are riding east.
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Old 01-11-24, 09:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Steve B.
My thought as well. You can do the ECT on 28mm slicks.
Good to know. I rode it from Lockport to a bit east of Rochester way back in Ď99. I was riding 37c tires with inverted tread. Somewhere between Lockport and Brockport (our stop for the night), a few of us took to the parallel road because of the rough surface. Based on posts I have read, it sounds like the trail is in much better shape than it was back then.
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Old 01-11-24, 11:58 PM
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The ride from Cleveland to Boston was part of the route my wife and I took across the U.S. Our goal was to ride U.S. Highway 20, the longest contiguous highway across the country, from Newport, Oregon to Boston, MA. Highway 20 is a nice ride from Cleveland to Boston because Interstate Highway 90 significantly reduced the amount of traffic on Highway 20. It is straight forward, has good shoulders in most places, and does have some nice scenery.
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Old 01-12-24, 07:28 AM
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I spent six month this year bicycling through the US. I was visiting state capitols including visiting many of the states you will cross.

A few different thoughts
1. Routing. I would treat this as a collection of different segments where you can pick the routes and then even change as you see your preferences and how well things go.
a. There are three classic longer bike-focused trails/routes to at least consider for where you are traveling (a) the Katy trail across Missouri (b) the OTET trail across Ohio and the (c) Erie Canal across New York. In some cases, even if you aren't on the trails directly there are sometimes nearby roads. For example, the Erie Canal follows a lower gap in the Appalachian mountains. There is a path along the canal that is mix of gravel/pavement but there is also a paved NY bike route 5 on roads through much of the same gaps. So one can start with the trail routes but switch to roads if that becomes your preference.
b. Adventure Cycling has a network of routes and maps - https://www.adventurecycling.org/routes-and-maps/ For most all these they have gpx files for sale that include both routes as well as services such as accomodations.
c. Your eastern parts are somewhat more densely populated parts of the US. I found myself paying more attention to highway choices than in western/middle states of he US where I could generally pick a smaller highway from a state highway map and find reasonable riding e.g. either shoulders or low traffic. For example, Northeastern Ohio in particular I found a lot more car-centric roads than Kansas where I could more easily pick from the state highway mesh. I use sites like ridewithgps and strava and Adventure Cycling to pick from alternates there.

2. Lodging/AirBnB. It should be possible to travel ~70 miles and always find a place inside to stay every night... but (a) you may have to spend some time with Google Maps to see where the motels are at - and potentially adjust your route to go past them. For example, I found myself sometimes going along corridors that were closer to US interstate highways because that was where I could find hotels. I wasn't on the interstate itself but on smaller roads nearby. As a backup, I had a lightweight tent/sleeping bag which gave my confidence to at least have a place to stay each night. I would also look on a site like Expedia the day before and if necessary (e.g. only one or two alternatives) make a reservation. I didn't make those reservations too much in advance because it let me adjust plans more day-by-day.

3. Weather. For the time of year and areas you travel, I doubt you will see much temperatures below 0C and not much below 5C in May and beyond. The site weatherspark.com can get you information on specific places and weather history. You can definitely get storms and rain and also some days with higher temperatures and humidity. The other spot I look is a site like this one - https://eldoradoweather.com/climate/...ate-atlas.html where I look up climate maps of average temperatures and dew points including the average June temperatures below. I would look at temperatures and dew points (humidity). While I normally expect temperatures above 5C, this past year I did get -5C one extreme night in May in New Hampshire so averages are just averages. Also this past year, wildfire smoke was much more of an issue in eastern US states than it had been previously. Hopefully not again in 2025. Generally for weather I would be more inclined to start in Dallas and finish in Boston for the time of year you picked.

4. Phones. By now it is a world-wide market for phones and most operate across multiple (at least three/four bands) and similar choices and would expect you can take your phone from Europe and buy a SIM card here and use it. We also have a model where the service is "locked" to a particular phone/carrier/plan so you want to look for "unlocked" service.





3.
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Old 01-12-24, 08:40 AM
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Originally Posted by Doug64
The ride from Cleveland to Boston was part of the route my wife and I took across the U.S. Our goal was to ride U.S. Highway 20, the longest contiguous highway across the country, from Newport, Oregon to Boston, MA. Highway 20 is a nice ride from Cleveland to Boston because Interstate Highway 90 significantly reduced the amount of traffic on Highway 20. It is straight forward, has good shoulders in most places, and does have some nice scenery.
​​​​​​jppe did some of U.S. 20 east of Cleveland relatively. I am pretty sure some of that was in MA because he mentioned seeing the same giant cat I had seen.

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Old 01-12-24, 09:50 AM
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Re: severe weather, if you're overnighting in a motel or B&B you should get a few days' notice of impending bad weather. Cut yourself some slack in your schedule, and allow a few days extra to stay put for a day or cut a day's ride short to be inside when the storm(s) hit.

That means I wouldn't recommend making two months' reservations ahead of time, though you might plan a slack day every week (so you wouldn't lose more than a week of reservations). Unless you hit a major university town during graduation, I wouldn't expect too many problems with all the rooms being taken east of the Mississippi River.
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Old 01-12-24, 10:15 AM
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Originally Posted by pdlamb
That means I wouldn't recommend making two months' reservations ahead of time, though you might plan a slack day every week (so you wouldn't lose more than a week of reservations). Unless you hit a major university town during graduation, I wouldn't expect too many problems with all the rooms being taken east of the Mississippi River.
For what it is worth, in six months of travel across the US, I was able to stay somewhere every night and rarely made any reservation more than three days in advance and most often the night before. I did run into college graduation weekend in Burlington VT. I took advantage of the "free cancellation more than 24 hours in advance" option several times. I altered my routing a few times to take advantage of either a better rate or availability or because an timing/severity of a weather event was different than forecast a few days before.

I definitely wouldn't make reservations two months ahead of time and in my case did perfectly fine without reservations even a week in advance. If I made them further out, I would favor options than allow free cancellation.

I also had a small number of special situations where I was able to cancel and get a refund despite being too late to normally do this:
- The Ramada Inn in Decatur Illinois had at least two bedbugs I squashed before I decided to check out. This was before I even spent the night, and I checked out with my reason and was later able to get refunded.
- The Thunderbird Inn in Mountain Home, Idaho had a philosophical objection to bringing a bicycle into the room and didn't have separate storage that would be available when I wanted to leave in the morning (7:30am). They refunded me and I found someplace else. Fortunately, this was the only motel in all the US that wouldn't let me take my bike into the room.
- The Knights Inn in Baker City, Oregon refunded me when I came one day later than originally planned. A storm came through with stronger winds than originally expected so I came a day later.
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Old 01-12-24, 01:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN
Note that they define a day that had precip of having at least a mm of rainfall. Thus, a day with a light mist might not be considered a day with precip. Thus, in the real world a wet day may be more common than predicted.
Meh, I figure days with a mm of rain are effectively dry days.

In any case, I don't really find number of days with rain to be that useful of a number. Some locations and seasons a shower might roll through every day and the rest of the day be beautiful.

Total inches of rain for the period may be a bit more useful, but even that it may matter whether it is all in brief thunderstorms or all day rain. Since the OP isn't camping it is more easy to tough out a bit of wet weather. The only time I found it that bad on tour were the times that it was cold and windy along with the rain. That or during thunderstorms where lightning and maybe hail were issues.

I have sometimes hung out in camp for a few hours reading, but even in a deluge I tend to get bored and ride by mid morning. I try to pick times and locales that will have decent weather, but once out and commited I just tough out what comes along.

For me hot weather seems to follow me often even if I go when it is supposed to be cool and is often a bigger problem for me comfort wise than rain.

Maybe I have just been luck wrt rain in that I while I have had hard rain, I have not had all day rain for extended periods. I think to some degree it may depend on what yo do at home, at home I go out and ride (or when I was trail running, run) at the same time of day regardless of the weather so I don't give it that much thought. These days I roll out trail riding every day at sunrise whether it is pouring rain or clear, warm or freezing. We have a lot of really lovely mornings here in Tallahassee, but I still go out when it is 30 F and raining or when it is more rarely colder (20s or quite rarely teens F). Heck, the climate where I tour is usually drier than all the places where I have lived and I make an attempt to go a nice time of year so that helps.

Bottom line for me is that I have never taken a day off on tour due to weather, I have laid in for a while before heading out a few times. I have also taken shelter during a few violent storms and been pelted by hail where there was no shelter.

Oh and I have gotten a room now and then either to stay in the dry or to dry out gear.
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Old 01-12-24, 03:19 PM
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I'm convinced the architect of the Dallas (DFW) airport didn't ride bicycles, had never learned to ride a bike as a child and in fact was unaware bicycles existed. The terminals straddle a purpose-built freeway...with left exits!...that provide the only roadway access. You might possibly ride from the terminals - a few folks have and most lived to tell the tale.


No matter. There are light rail trains running from near Terminals A/B, which one can reach via airport shuttle buses and internal circulator trams, to both Dallas and Fort Worth. From the Dallas line you can catch the "A Train" north to Denton to start your ride pretty much out of the megalopolis (locally called the Metroplex). From Fort Worth you can catch the Heartland Flyer Amtrak train north as far as Oklahoma City (with stops along the way) if you wanted to start that way.

https://bikeok.clubexpress.com/conte...dule_id=156901

North Texas and especially Oklahoma have some wonderful scenery and sights, but hey, you got places to go and people to see. Straightforward route from Denton Texas to Wichita Kansas:

https://cycle.travel/map?from=Vape%2...61,-97.3375448

You could pick this up in Purcell, Oklahoma if you go with the Amtrak Heartland Flyer option.

On Wichita's downtown bikepath:


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Old 01-13-24, 01:35 PM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz
​​​​​​jppe did some of U.S. 20 east of Cleveland relatively. I am pretty sure some of that was in MA because he mentioned seeing the same giant cat I had seen.

I'm pretty sure he did. I sent him a link to our blog site, and details of our route
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Old 01-13-24, 04:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Doug64
I'm pretty sure he did. I sent him a link to our blog site, and details of our route
Yeah. I just canít remember how much. I looked at his trip report(s) and saw that he had ridden the short stretch of U.S. 20 that I had during my 2016 tour south from Brattleboro, VT. Thatís what prompted me to ask if he had seen the cat.

In case anyone is wondering, thatís a furniture making business.
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Old 01-16-24, 03:23 PM
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Thanks folks. Thats all really useful information. I must admit I hadn't thought of severe weather as its something I am not used to. And getting a train from the airport is good advice as even getting out of a cycle friendly airport can be hard.. I will keep planning and hopefully it will happen in 2025..
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Old 01-16-24, 06:08 PM
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Seaswimmer, I, too am planning for a long tour in 2025 and have not given much thought to lodging as I will be carrying a tent and want to camp as much as possible. Happy this thread is bringing to my attention the need for indoor lodging during inclement weather. In general terms I dislike having apps on my phone, but am thinking the warmshowers app may be a necessary evil.
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Old 01-16-24, 11:32 PM
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A few thoughts from a Clevelander:

It could snow and be cold all of April and early May here. Or it could be 80. Usually the 2nd half of May is decent enough, unless it's not. The weather forecast is inaccurate 90% of the time, the other 10% it's iffy.

US20 could be hairy as you head east out of Cleveland. I would just go east out of downtown via the North Marginal (by the Rock Hall) and head onto the bike lane, into Bratenahl, and then pick up OH-283. It's flat and has many miles of bike lane (there are a few dodgy stretches near Euclid and Willowick, but they are short). Smooth sailing until Painesville, where US-20 which becomes a 4-lane thoroughfare posted at 45mph (but driven at 65) with absolutely no shoulder. Unsafe at any time of day - but easy to get around. I can help, just drop a PM if you find this to be part of your travels.

PA is a mystery to me, but I would guess US20 is part of the equation, maybe PA-5 which eventually becomes NY-5. NY-5 from the PA line to Buffalo has an ample shoulder and is mostly flat save for some rollers. Lots of beautiful views, wine country, etc. From Buffalo, you can pick up the Empire State Trail and take that all the way to Albany.

As others have mentioned the Ohio To Erie Trail I'll say that it's a masterpiece and worth checking out if you have time and if it works with your route from Kansas, whatever that looks like. Cincinnati to Cleveland, 326 miles almost exclusively made up of bike trail - aside from 17 miles of rolling hills in Amish country, and some city/town riding. Plenty of hotels along the way as well as a few camping opportunities.
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Old 01-17-24, 07:01 AM
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Originally Posted by a_d_a_m
PA is a mystery to me, but I would guess US20 is part of the equation, maybe PA-5 which eventually becomes NY-5. NY-5 from the PA line to Buffalo has an ample shoulder and is mostly flat save for some rollers. Lots of beautiful views, wine country, etc. From Buffalo, you can pick up the Empire State Trail and take that all the way to Albany.
Heh. I have lived in PA all my life and it's still a mystery to me.

We took NY 5 up through Dunkirk and into Buffalo way back in `1999. It was fine.

Spent a little bit of time on PA 5 leaving Erie back in 2017 I then turned east onto PA 8. I probably acceptable, especially if you were to go early. U.S. 20 and I-90 parallel PA 5, so they probably absorb most of the heavy traffic.

And tour comment about the weather along the lake made me chuckle. We camped somewhere between Dunkirk and Buffalo. Jight have been Sheridan Bay. With the wind coming off the lake, we built a big campfire. In early frigin' August. I remember thinking that I would never come here during the winter.
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Old 01-17-24, 08:43 AM
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in many of the smaller towns, it may be possible to camp overnight in the town/city park. lions clubs or rotary clubs often sponsor parks and build swimming pools, changing rooms with showers, and gazebos north texas and kansas for sure, can't say about farther north. check with the local sheriff/police for advice. or if you get stuck on the road without a reservation, try a church or firehouse. they may let you set up a tent overnight on their lawn. that's assuming good weather and you have some light camping gear.
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Old 01-17-24, 10:52 AM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz
We took NY 5 up through Dunkirk and into Buffalo way back in `1999. It was fine.
I took NY 5 from Buffalo through NY and then PA 5 to Ohio in 2024 and all was fine as well. It was a mix of one-land and two lane. Sometimes on the two lane the shoulder wasn't big - but traffic was fine in those places, e.g.


As soon as I crossed into Ohio any sense of shoulders disappeared and my frustration with roads in north-east Ohio started...

My impression of Stark County Ohio (e.g. Canton) area was some of the rudest most obnoxious drivers and interestingly enough also an active bicycle club (https://www.bikescbc.com/). There seemed to be a bunch of club rides but ones I saw stayed away from mid-sized roads and went out on more rural roads in the countryside. Hence I learned this is an area to avoid mid-sized roads on the map and instead look for local knowledge and routes from those club rides.

Once I got to the OTET and then parts of west-Central Ohio e.g Dayton area, my attitude towards Ohio improved but first impressions of north-east Ohio were worse than any of the other 27 states I cycled this summer.
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Old 01-17-24, 12:12 PM
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Originally Posted by mev
As soon as I crossed into Ohio any sense of shoulders disappeared and my frustration with roads in north-east Ohio started...
Wow! Memory lane. We passed through Conneaut on the way to Erie. I found myself alone that day. Stopped at a beach park and ordered a burger and fries from the concession stand. The friendly, elderly woman working the stand asked me about my trip. She was so impressed that she gave me a tote bag that read "I ❤️Conneaut". The last thing I wanted was something else to carry, but the woman had been so nice that I couldn't bear to later toss it. I carried that thing for weeks and ended up giving it to my mom when I got home. She got many years of use out of it.
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