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TransAm Oriented Questions

Old 04-27-13, 10:40 PM
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emaurice24
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TransAm Oriented Questions

Hey everyone,

I'm just about three weeks out from my TransAm tour this summer from Yorktown, VA to Astoria, OR. I have had a few last minute planning questions pop into my head and wanted to ask ya'll for some advice.

1. I just realized you can't ship Jetboil gas canisters in the mail. I have the screw on stove top that works off them and really don't want to pay $100+ for a stove that takes a variety of gases. Does anyone have experience with this kind of setup on the TransAm? Would it be possible to come across these canisters in such rural area's once or twice a month? Has anyone ever brought a similar stove setup that only uses these type of canisters:
https://www.rei.com/product/728384/je...jet-power-fuel

2. What do you feel is the best way to get your bike to the start? Would you ship to a bike shop or fly it in with you on the plane? Are there specific airlines that take this better than others?

3. Lastly, planning on flying into Norfolk, VA and biking up to Yorktown to start the next day. Good idea? Or is there a better way to do it?

Thanks in advance for all your help and advice, I appreciate it.

-Ethan
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Old 04-27-13, 11:44 PM
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Out here, LBS on the Coast gets a carton every couple weeks , now, from east or south bound travelers,
and in a few months will have some to ship back east, from here.. on the banks of the Columbia.
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Old 04-28-13, 07:24 AM
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1. I'd start the tour with 2 cannisters, and an alcohol or Esbit stove as backup, just in case I could not source new cannisters conveniently. Any large sporting goods store should stock them. Unless the rules have changed, cannisters could be shipped via USPS with special labeling. You might ask you local postmaster to reseach the rules on this, and let us know the results.

2. Southwest is reasonably tolerant of bicycles if you can squeeze it into the required box size. Shipment by bus is relatively inexpensive and they will hold it for you for a few days. Fedex to a lbs for reassembly is the most convenient and costly.

3. No experience.
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Old 04-28-13, 09:45 AM
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2a, a mix, have the bike shipped to a LBS, but write on the box , do not assemble..

Then DIY the reassembly , when you get there..
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Old 04-28-13, 09:45 AM
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Regarding fuel cannister availability, see my recent post on the Adventure Cycling forum...............

https://forums.adventurecycling.org/i...58445#msg58445

Newport News would be a better choice of airports as it is on the north side of the James River, thus no big bridges to cross to get to Yorktown.
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Old 04-28-13, 10:59 AM
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Originally Posted by BobG View Post
Regarding fuel cannister availability, see my recent post on the Adventure Cycling forum...https://forums.adventurecycling.org/i...58445#msg58445
Thanks, I was unaware Coleman made a compatible fuel canister for my Snow Peak Gigapower stove. Having them stocked at Wal-Mart makes using the SP stove on a cross-country tour easy and less expensive.

In addition to Coleman and Snow Peak fuel, there are also MSR, Jetboil and Primus fuel canisters, all interchangeable for the respective brand of stoves. These canisters utilize the same screw-on Lindal valve/fitting. Between these 5 brands and WMs, you should be able to find fuel in most any sizable town, either at WM or the local sporting goods / outdoors store.
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Old 04-28-13, 04:16 PM
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Wow, thank you guys for the info on fuel! Walmart's are much easier to find than an REI in rural America. With all five different brands of fuel compatible and all these different places to pick them up we should be good.

Also, Newport News is way closer! Thanks for pointing that out, we'll be glad to not have to bike across that bridge.
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Old 04-28-13, 05:07 PM
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Originally Posted by BobG View Post
Regarding fuel cannister availability, see my recent post on the Adventure Cycling forum...............

https://forums.adventurecycling.org/i...58445#msg58445
Great info. Thanks. Many more locations and a buck or two cheaper than at the sporting goods stores.
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Old 04-28-13, 05:16 PM
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You're probably not looking for a new cooker but I love my Trangia. I used my first one over 30 years ago on a trip across Europe and used one again for my cross country trip a few years ago. I had no problem finding fuel and the thing works great. It looks like this thing is even Grant Peterson approved: https://www.rivbike.com/product-p/camp2.htm

Get one and you'll be happy.
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Old 04-29-13, 04:54 AM
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Originally Posted by BobG View Post
Newport News would be a better choice of airports as it is on the north side of the James River, thus no big bridges to cross to get to Yorktown.
If I remember correctly you don't need to go over any big bridges if you fly into Norfolk. There are two ferries that allow you to avoid that, the Elizabeth River Ferry and the Scotland Jamestown Ferry. One was fairly cheap and the other free. The only drawback was a ride through a fairly seedy part of Portsmouth, but it wasn't that bad.

Check out this link for some details that may help:
https://www.crazyguyonabike.com/foru...1&nested=0&v=e

This will be a bit longer, but if you want to start at the actual ocean it is a way to do that.
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Old 04-29-13, 01:40 PM
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You are 3 weeks away and you don't have a flight booked? You need to check out each airline's bike charge. Southwest is $50, and you don;' need to "squeeze" your bike. I fly with a CrateWorks box that holds my 60cm LHT (along with racks) quite well, and it's "airline legal." Some airlines charge hundreds for a bike. (E.g. U.S. Air is $200). For that amount of money, you can ship your bike UPS/FedEx and have it assembled, tuned and waiting for you. Just leave about 10 days for ground shipping just to be on the safe side. That's what we have done for our last two unsupported tours out west. We flew with our bikes to Cycle Oregon last year, but only because we flew Southwest, so it was cheaper than shipping. Bikes arrived no problem.
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Old 04-29-13, 05:56 PM
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Southwest

Just a note Southwest is now charging $75 for a bike. Still better than most others.
But personally I pay the extra to ship FedEx to avoid dragging the stuff through an airport and having the TSA try and close things up properly.
FedEx has the option to hold your shipment at a FedEx Shipping Office (Kinko's) so you don't need a bike shop.
I shipped my bike and gear, two boxes, from Phoenix to Newport News for $175.00. FedEx picked up the shipment too and insurance for $3000.
Because Southwest doesn't fly into Newport News I think my costs washed out if I had flown into Norfolk.

Last edited by SlowAndSlower; 04-29-13 at 06:06 PM. Reason: added
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Old 04-29-13, 07:36 PM
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Originally Posted by seeker333 View Post
Thanks, I was unaware Coleman made a compatible fuel canister for my Snow Peak Gigapower stove. Having them stocked at Wal-Mart makes using the SP stove on a cross-country tour easy and less expensive.

In addition to Coleman and Snow Peak fuel, there are also MSR, Jetboil and Primus fuel canisters, all interchangeable for the respective brand of stoves. These canisters utilize the same screw-on Lindal valve/fitting. Between these 5 brands and WMs, you should be able to find fuel in most any sizable town, either at WM or the local sporting goods / outdoors store.
My experience was that not all Walmarts carried the fuel on the TransAm... Hit or miss. When you come across one that does, buy three.

Last edited by Gus Riley; 04-29-13 at 07:43 PM.
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Old 04-29-13, 07:42 PM
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Originally Posted by staehpj1 View Post
If I remember correctly you don't need to go over any big bridges if you fly into Norfolk. There are two ferries that allow you to avoid that, the Elizabeth River Ferry and the Scotland Jamestown Ferry. One was fairly cheap and the other free. The only drawback was a ride through a fairly seedy part of Portsmouth, but it wasn't that bad.

Check out this link for some details that may help:
https://www.crazyguyonabike.com/foru...1&nested=0&v=e

This will be a bit longer, but if you want to start at the actual ocean it is a way to do that.
It is a relatively longish, and not so straight forward ride from Norfolk IAP to the Scotland Ferry which puts you into Jamestown. You might want to call out to the airport and inquire about a van type taxi service...or much better yet, fly into Newport News. Newport News Airport is only about 10 miles tops from the Yorktown start point. If you fly into Newport News....here is a map of a great route which is about as safe as can be. https://ridewithgps.com/routes/2430694

Last edited by Gus Riley; 04-29-13 at 07:53 PM.
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Old 04-29-13, 11:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Gus Riley View Post
It is a relatively longish, and not so straight forward ride from Norfolk IAP to the Scotland Ferry which puts you into Jamestown. You might want to call out to the airport and inquire about a van type taxi service...or much better yet, fly into Newport News. Newport News Airport is only about 10 miles tops from the Yorktown start point. If you fly into Newport News....here is a map of a great route which is about as safe as can be. https://ridewithgps.com/routes/2430694
Okay, it has been decided. Flying into Newport News and staying for the night. We'll then ride out to Yorktown early in the A.M. I'd love to start at the actual ocean, but I think I want to keep things simple at the start of the ride. We'll spend some extra time out on the west coast.

Thanks for the map from Newport News! We'll follow your route!

Also, a big thank you to everyone else for debating these questions for me. As always, much valuable insight was gained.
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Old 04-30-13, 03:58 AM
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Have a great trip and keep us posted
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Old 04-30-13, 09:17 AM
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Originally Posted by staehpj1 View Post
Have a great trip and keep us posted
Thank you! I've got a crazy guy blog I'll be updating daily, I'd love it if ya'll would follow along!

https://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/pedalingwithpurpose
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Old 04-30-13, 01:37 PM
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Originally Posted by SlowAndSlower View Post
But personally I pay the extra to ship FedEx to avoid dragging the stuff through an airport and having the TSA try and close things up properly.
Good point I forgot to mention. On the way back from Cycle Oregon we watched a TSA agent forcing someone else's bike box lid back on. Something kust have gottne moved around as he had to force it down several times before he got it closed.

Back in '11 we shipped two bike boxes and a box with a B.O.B., my racks, stove and fuel bottle from Philly to Missoula. Cost us a little over $200. It would have been less, but my box is big so it can easily fit my 60cm LHT. We had a shop ship the stuff. I think they get a discount rate.
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Old 04-30-13, 09:02 PM
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Originally Posted by emaurice24 View Post
Okay, it has been decided. Flying into Newport News and staying for the night. We'll then ride out to Yorktown early in the A.M. I'd love to start at the actual ocean, but I think I want to keep things simple at the start of the ride. We'll spend some extra time out on the west coast.

Thanks for the map from Newport News! We'll follow your route!

Also, a big thank you to everyone else for debating these questions for me. As always, much valuable insight was gained.
You might consider staying in the historic area of Yorktown at the Grace Episcopal Church hostel. It should be listed on the back of you TransAm map (assuming you are using the ACA route maps). Give them a call, and ride there from the airport. I am not too sure how close the nearest affordable motel is...and one could very well be in a bad traffic area.

I have your journal bookmarked and will be following your progress...have fun!!

My journal from last summer's TransAm is: www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/threeisacharm

Last edited by Gus Riley; 04-30-13 at 09:13 PM.
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Old 04-30-13, 09:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Gus Riley View Post
You might consider staying in the historic area of Yorktown at the Grace Episcopal Church hostel. It should be listed on the back of you TransAm map (assuming you are using the ACA route maps). Give them a call, and ride there from the airport. I am not too sure how close the nearest affordable motel is...and one could very well be in a bad traffic area.

I have your journal bookmarked and will be following your progress...have fun!!

My journal from last summer's TransAm is: www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/threeisacharm
Thanks for the heads up! I'll check it out. Glad to hear you'll be following along, I'll look to your journal for advice whenever the need arises!
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