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Author Topic:   Whaler relevancy - minimal
runpasthefence posted 07-20-2009 01:20 AM ET (US)   Profile for runpasthefence   Send Email to runpasthefence  
Hey guys! I've been around here for a little while now and I've made some friends and have really enjoyed the camaraderie with the members here.

I'll cut right to the chase. I'm embarking on a transcontinental bicycle trip in a couple of weeks. I'm starting at my home in Charleston, SC and I'm traveling to Seattle, WA. From there I'll travel down the west coast to San Diego. You can view my route at the following ridiculously long link...

http:/ / maps. google. com/ maps?f=d& source=s_d& saddr=South+ Carolina+ 29412& daddr=ellington+ mo+ to:pittsburg+ ks+ to:alexander+ ks+ to:pueb lo+ co+ to:rawlins+ wy+ to:West+ Yellowstone,+ MT+ to:Missoula,+ MT+ to: Spokane,+ WA+ to:Seattle,+ WA+ to:astoria+ or+ to:florence+ or+ to:brook ings+ or+ to:eureka+ ca+ to:mendocino+ ca+ to:CA-1%2FCoast+ Hwy+ to:san+ francisco+ ca+ to:CA-1%2FCabrillo+ Hwy+ to:big+ sur+ ca+ to:san+ diego+ ca& hl=en& geocode=%3B%3B%3B%3B%3B%3B%3B%3B%3B%3B%3B%3B%3B%3B%3BFS4lSwI dLqSo-A%3B%3BFRRzNQIdSKm2-A%3B%3B& mra=ls& via=15,17& dirflg=w& sll=40. 283875,-102. 21982& sspn=19. 551238,46. 538086& ie=UTF8& ll=39. 470125,- 101. 337891& spn=19. 778783,63. 28125& z=5

I plan on camping my way across the continent without staying in any hotels. A large part of this trip will be the people I meet and the things I experience via these people. So, I thought I'd let you guys know what I'm up to on the off chance that someone along my route wouldn't mind a faux-bearded, farmer's tanned, Whaler-owning vagabond stopping by for Whaler conversation, lunch, or maybe even a yard to pitch my tent.

I'm leaving August 13 and don't have much of an itinerary or time frame to follow. I plan on stopping where I want, for how long I want. So, it's a little difficult to estimate my when I'll be where. However, I'm thinking it'll take 80-90 days to get to Seattle and another 40 days to get to San Diego.

If you have any interest in being a part of this, feel free to email me or post here.

Thanks

Mick

gcarlil posted 07-20-2009 09:51 AM ET (US)     Profile for gcarlil  Send Email to gcarlil     
Mick, when you get to turns 108-112 you will be about to cross the upper part of Lake Lanier. I can offer a place to camp or stay lakeside and a whaler ride on the lake,with lunch and a cold one.
George 6786970716
Jeff posted 07-20-2009 10:36 AM ET (US)     Profile for Jeff  Send Email to Jeff     
Mick, that looks like a trip of a lifetime. Got to say I am a bit jealous :p. Will you have a site up for people to follow the progress?

Cheers,
Jeff Rohlfing

Sheila posted 07-20-2009 04:04 PM ET (US)     Profile for Sheila  Send Email to Sheila     
Mick,
Sending you an email. :)
pglein posted 07-21-2009 05:52 PM ET (US)     Profile for pglein  Send Email to pglein     
Mick,

I live about 2.5 miles off your projected route in Tacoma, WA. You're welcome to at least set up camp in my back yard for a night or two. If your estimates for timing are anything close to accurate, you should be in my neck of the woods in about mid-to-late November.

Gosh, do you have any idea how wet it is that time of year on the west side of the Cascades? Not exactly bike riding weather. Plus, I suspect your projected route over Stevens Pass will be rather treacherous that time of year; probably better suited for cross-country skis than a bicycle. You may want to look into going through the mountains along the north side of the Columbia River. While this bypasses Seattle, you could still loop up once over the Cascades, without adding too many miles to the trip. If you were doing this in the summer I would say go for it, but that time of year, you may want to avoid the mountains.

I realize that by that time, you will be (if you aren't already) an extremely accomplished rider, but it's unlikely that the State Patrol will even let you proceed. By November, the mountain passes up here are already burried in feet of snow most years and the roads have chain restrictions and are hemmed in on both sides by deep snow banks. I suppose there's nothing wrong with swallowing your pride and accepting a ride from someone over just the worst part of the pass. Certainly no one would think less of you for it.

Regardless, once you get your route finalized, I can offer plenty of advice on where to camp in Washington State, to maximize your exposure to the our beautiful little corner of the country.

runpasthefence posted 07-22-2009 02:39 AM ET (US)     Profile for runpasthefence  Send Email to runpasthefence     
George, thanks a ton for the offer, but a recent change of plans has me traveling the first leg of my route via car.
A friend of mine and I are driving to Atlanta to meet up with my college roommate. I will start my trip there, mostly for the reasons pglein offered above.

Jeff, I'll have a blog set up eventually. I'll post a link here once I do.

Shelia - got it!

pglein, yes. Unfortunately, I'm starting a bit late. I'll likely plan day to day once I get up there. There's a possibility I might head straight for Astoria, Oregon after I pass through Missoula. Though, I'd really prefer to keep your neck of the woods on my route. I could surely use some guidance once I'm up there, though. I'd really appreciate any and all advice you could offer.

Honestly, the weather might suck, and it might be prohibitive in areas, but I'm in this for the long haul and am as excited about the challenge as I am about tailwinds and smooth roads. The trip will likely be just beginning once I get to Southern California. I plan on making my way to Shanghai and working my way west until I either get sick of the saddle sores or I make it to the Atlantic. Hopefully the weather in the Pacific Northwest won't break my spirits, but I can't see that happening anyway.

pglein posted 07-22-2009 03:56 PM ET (US)     Profile for pglein  Send Email to pglein     
What are you riding for? (or away from)
runpasthefence posted 07-22-2009 07:48 PM ET (US)     Profile for runpasthefence  Send Email to runpasthefence     
Simply, because I can. I graduated from The Citadel in 2008. Unlike the majority of my classmates, I didn't send out a single resume. Instead, I moved back in with my parents, did the majority of the work in their recent renovation, went back to work as a marine technician, and saved money with the intention of eventually taking a trip like this.

I had originally planned to take this trip via car last summer with a couple of friends, but they have since chickened out.

I drive a 1969 C-10 that's paid for, I have no debt, I have no other commitments restricting me (lease, job, etc), and I'm ready to move into a career outside of marine maintenance, but not before I get out there and see the world a bit. I spent a semester in New Zealand, otherwise, I haven't seen anything west of Atlanta here in the US.

I wish I had the foresight to have established my plans with a charity or nonprofit to ride for. It's not out of the question, but it's a little late in the game to organize something like that. Especially with my severe lack of experience in the matter.

PeteB88 posted 07-23-2009 11:09 AM ET (US)     Profile for PeteB88  Send Email to PeteB88     
Awesome plan - My bet is you will make faster time once you get rolling and as your physiology adapts to the rigor of the trip. I wouldn't be too freaked out about Pacific NW however, if you get close to October start watching the fronts and jet stream. The weather can be awesome into mid-Oct but the closer to November things can get real sketchy and once the fronts start to hit things can get and stay miserable. Therefore I strongly recommend that you focus on serious route planning once you get to the Rockies and then the Cascades. Eastern WA is long and desolate in many places. Zigging and zagging N to S can take up lots of time - it's really big out there! And the westerly winds can be daunting - constant all day blows 35 30 mph.

HYW 12 from Missoula into ID and then to OR is a common route to eastern OR and WA.

My buddy is planning San Diego to Central Michigan in September. He does one long ride every year generally Central Mich to Florida Keys (family there). He makes crazy fast time - sometimes doing 180 mile days. He rides light and motels it every night.

Keep us posted. Most of us wish we could do this...I made my decisions years ago to do something similar when everyone else were buying houses, getting buried into careers and having babies. Ride fast!!!

pglein posted 07-28-2009 04:13 PM ET (US)     Profile for pglein  Send Email to pglein     
Do not underestimate the cost of what you're doing. I don't want to discourage you, but it's probably not as simple as it sounds to you right now.

You'll certainly find some people willing to let you camp in their backyards and whatnot, but you certainly won't be able to do that every night. Without any sort of sponsorship or backing, you'll probably be seen by many as just another homeless guy with a bike and a back story. It's unlikely that you'll be able to just set up camp in very many places without paying for a site. Camping on public or private property without permission will probably just result in you getting run-off by the police.

I was shocked the other weekend when I went camping on the coast at a state park. The bill was $27 a night for a single campsite. $17 for the site, $4 extra because it was a "high use park", and $6 more to reserve the site online. Hotels will run the gammit. In some areas, you can get a room for $20. In others it's hard to find something for less than $200.

Also, as long as you're doing this, select your route based on what you want to see and do, rather than just what is the quickest. My initial reaction to your route when I looked at it was, "why in the heck is he going THERE?". But it ocurred to me that you were probably just letting Google Maps pick the route. Get some local knowledge about the more scenic routes and must-see stops. I'll give you some advice for my area once I have a chance to pull it together.

I think what you are planning is great, and, while it's not exactly how I would chose to do it, I envy you for having the opportunity to see so much of the country at such a young age.

Excuse my ignorance, but I thought the Citadel was a military school, which carried some sort of service commitment upon completion. Is that not the case?

fishgutz posted 07-28-2009 05:56 PM ET (US)     Profile for fishgutz  Send Email to fishgutz     
runpasthefence,
Best to you and your adventure.

I had a friend who did a similar trip in 1980. Milwaukee, west to the Mississippi, down the Miss to Louisiana, east along the gulf to Tampa. Started in September and I picked him up in December to come back to Milwaukee. That was in the days before ATMs. His mom deposited money for him in his bank account. The whole trip cost him less than a third of what he planned. When he'd get to a town, he'd check in at some church. Almost every church had some place for him to stay that usually included a hot homecooked meal. From the Pastor's home to some old widow's house. Even a few farms and pews. He always helped with dishes and tried to offer some sort of other chore, too. People were far more open to him than he ever imagined. Most campgrounds let him stay for free. It was hard for people to turn down a young man (22 years old) alone on a bicycle.

Good luck man.

runpasthefence posted 07-30-2009 11:00 PM ET (US)     Profile for runpasthefence  Send Email to runpasthefence     
I'm well aware of the likely costs and the possibility of those figures being underestimated. So...I sold my truck a few weeks ago to start an emergency fund. I could stay in a cheap motel for weeks and still have enough money to fly home and ship all of my junk back to Charleston as well.

Gutz - my plan is more like what your friend did. I like the idea of being at the mercy of the general public and having the ability to meet people everywhere I go...whether through picking up an odd job, camping in someone's yard, having lunch with some locals, or jamming with a random street performer...is one of the most exciting aspects of this trip for me. If it saves me money... great. If it doesn't...that's fine too.

You're correct, the route in the link is simply a visual reference...nothing specific. I have a set of Adventure Cycling maps showing their "Transamerica" route. Their routes are designed to follow bicycle friendly, scenic, low-traffic roads.

As departure day is fast approaching, I'm seriously considering a drastic change in plans. I'm considering flying out to WA to start the tour then working my way back to Charleston. Unfortunately, this would likely eliminate my chances of making it to another continent or seeing the length of the West Coast.

The Citadel is one of the six Senior Military Colleges of the US. It is not a Federal Service Academy (ie. West Point, Naval Academy). Contracts in all US military service branches are available, but they are not mandatory. Simply, I paid for my education and training = no service requirement. However, I'll likely attend Marine OCS after this trip.

PeteB88 posted 07-31-2009 11:49 PM ET (US)     Profile for PeteB88  Send Email to PeteB88     
Run - the name of the game is resourceful - You can do this. There are plenty of places to sleep if you need to. pglein is concerned for you but you can figure things out when you have to. I'm amazed at places I'd catch some sleep back in my days of being on the wild. Up under interstate overpasses works great and is surprisingly cozy - you are nearly invisible if you know how to do it. AND you can stash your bike invisibly too. Churches work, fishfries, pancake and spaghetti dinners are great places for finding local resources. You can spot mounds along your routes that once on the other side you are invisible.

Whatever you need, Bro!!!

deepwater posted 08-01-2009 04:59 PM ET (US)     Profile for deepwater  Send Email to deepwater     
If your not going strait across come up and see me in Maine and ride the north road West

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