Old Route 66 tour - snake antivenom.

Discussion in 'Touring and recreational cycling' started by vinyl_theif, Aug 1, 2008.

  1. vinyl_theif

    vinyl_theif New Member

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    Hi all.
    In three weeks time i depart for a tour across U.S on route 66, (Il to Ca). I was recently advised on taking snake antivenom just in case the need would arise. I'm fully aware snakes only attack under defense if they feel threatened & will be staying clear of any under growth or clusters of rock where they are usually found keeping cool but am interested in anyone else's views / cautions / stories on this matter.:confused:

    Regards. Mark. UK
     
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  2. alfeng

    alfeng Well-Known Member

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    I've DRIVEN along Route 66 from Chicago to California several times ...

    You probably do NOT need to worry about snake bites EXCEPT for the type your tyres may get!

    In that regard, while many have said unkind things about them, I recommend you give serious thought to some solid, Urethane tyres ... I guess the commonly available 'brand' which is sold in the UK is GREEN TYRES (http://www.greentyre.co.uk/). The distance between Chicago & Los Angeles is about 3000 miles (4800 kilometers). While the Green Tyres should last the distance, it might not hurt to fold up a spare in case you wear out the rear tyre (you CAN rotate them, of course, if you notice the wear is greater than you anticipate ... and, you can ride them down to within 1mm of the rim since they are solid although the bike's handling will be affected at that point). Get the FATTEST ones which will fit your rims & frame (beneath the fenders, of course).

    NB. If you're planning on crossing the Mojave Desert (between Kingman, Arizona & Barstow, California), then you want to do this at night regardless of the time of year (if you have the choice) AND regardless of the means of conveyance (e.g., automobile) -- it is about 90+ miles. So, you'll want lights ... well, you may want to have lights, regardless. 40ºC at night is not uncommon in the Mojave, BTW.

    Scorpions in the desert would be MY concern, BTW, rather than snakes.

    You'll want a high-quality, backpacker's poncho (one that goes down to your knees) which is made of coated nylon OR better fabric (afternoon thunderstorms are inevitable)+ goggles which will fit over your sun glasses (inexpensive 'SHOP' goggles with the soft vinyl, ventilated shell will do if appearance isn't important) because when you encounter cross winds (and, you will!), you'll want more eye protection than wrap-around glasses can provide. Do NOT leave home without either.

    I think Route 66 theoretically ends in Barstow ... if you're going further west, to Los Angles (for example), I'm not sure how you're 'trip planner' suggested that you negotiate the miles between Victorville (California) & Riverside/wherever (for example) ... since bicycles are not permitted on that portion of the Interstate (80+ mph speeds by ALL vehicles are not uncommon -- and, are permitted by the California Highway Patrol -- on the downhill despite the theoretical speed limit). There must be a 'surface road' route between Barstow & LA, but I never investigated what it might be.

    The pavement in SOME stretches may be very poor ... particularly, through Oklahoma (it has been years since I've been on Route 66 through some parts, so portions could certainly have been repaved). Regardless, the shoulder (which you will be riding on in some places) is definitely rough on some/many/most parts of the roadway.

    Things you may not have considered -- you'll want more sunblock than you'd think, lip balm with some SPF, more deodorant than you'd think, some body talc ... possibly, an extra pair of shoe liners. You'll want to carry an EXTRA water bladder that backpackers use (some boxed wines use those bladders & spigots!).

    BTW. You generally cannot camp anywhere might want. You can camp at KOA campgrounds & State-or-National Parks & "rest areas." Or, where you going to over-night in motels? Regardless, you'll probably want to carry a cable-lock for when you have to leave your bike unattended (e.g., when you walk into a store) -- I think that you can ALWAYS use the facilities at a McDonalds (almost EVERY/(every other) TOWN will have one), BTW. A self-inflating sleeping pad is recommended if you're camping.

    I presume you are going on a solo, un-supported tour -- is this a fully-loaded tour or lightly loaded tour?

    FWIW. It's probably worth making the detour to the Grand Canyon (about 100 km north of Route 66 which will be I-40 [Interstate 40] at that point on your path). You'll approach the Canyon via Flagstaff, AZ & pick up the westward route via Williams, AZ ... there IS a 'rest area' between Flagstaff & Williams ... so, you could over-night at the rest area, go on to Williams, and then north to the Grand Canyon (the distance between Williams & the GC is shorter ... the road between Flagstaff & the GC is the hypotenuse-of-the-triangle).

    You may want a triple crank. If you only want to use a double, then you'll want a "compact" crank + a 12-34 MTB cassette + MTB rear derailleur. You'll probably want a MTB cassette & rear derailleur even if you opt for a triple! Even then, you may encounter many places where you may want to a walk your bike (i.e., between Moriarity, New Mexico & Flagstaff, Arizona) if you're fully loaded -- the elevation between the two locations varies between 7000 feet & about 7500 feet down to about 5000 feet (it's all a part of the Permian Overthrust) ... Chicago is at about 600 feet above sea level.

    I really recommend Campagnolo ERGO shifters if you're not using bar-end shifters ... the Campagnolo shifters can downshift when the drivetrain is under load.

    Take some "extra" bungee cords + a roll of duct tape. Don't forget your tools!

    You may want to attach a 'pennant-on-a-pole' for visibility ... check your LBS ... OR, wear a reflective, neon-green "roadworker's" safety vest (they are open mesh -- I guess the vest would be my preference) ...

    That's what comes to mind ...

    Hope you have a great adventure!
     
  3. alfeng

    alfeng Well-Known Member

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    BTW. If/When you call Green Tyres, tell them your plan ... maybe they'll sponsor you ... a pair of tyres, minimally, in exchange for your post-tour feedback and/or testimonial.
     
  4. buckybux

    buckybux New Member

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    You will be lucky if you even see a snake! Problem with antivenom is that it is only good for one type of snake. You would have to carry antivenom for a bunch of different snakes. Now having said that, I have traveled to the Southwest a lot, which includes many backpacking trips, and not yet ever seen a rattler yet (but that does not mean you won't see one, nor that they are not there).

    If you are tent camping, you would probably feel a lot more comfortable if you use a tent that has a bottom zipper (but note I used a tent without a bottom zipper for 10 years and never had a problem). I also carry a snake bite kit, there are pretty inexpensive.

    I suggest you do a little reading and background on snakes, it will make you more comfortable, because there are a lot of misconceptions about them. You will have more problems with dogs and drivers, then you will with snakes.
     
  5. vinyl_theif

    vinyl_theif New Member

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    Thanks for taking time for all the info, i've answered the key points..
    I've DRIVEN along Route 66 from Chicago to California several times ...

    You probably do NOT need to worry about snake bites EXCEPT for the type your tyres may get!

    In that regard, while many have said unkind things about them, I recommend you give serious thought to some solid, Urethane tyres ... I guess the commonly available 'brand' which is sold in the UK is GREEN TYRES (http://www.greentyre.co.uk/). The distance between Chicago & Los Angeles is about 3000 miles (4800 kilometers). While the Green Tyres should last the distance, it might not hurt to fold up a spare in case you wear out the rear tyre (you CAN rotate them, of course, if you notice the wear is greater than you anticipate ... and, you can ride them down to within 1mm of the rim since they are solid although the bike's handling will be affected at that point). Get the FATTEST ones which will fit your rims & frame (beneath the fenders, of course).



    I’ve been using Schwalbe ‘Marathon plus’ on previous tours, though these have been on French tarmac (they put ours to shame![uk]). I had come across these tyres during my ‘tyre researching’ sessions but opted for the Schwalbe as always come out tops on stories from other tourers.




    NB. If you're planning on crossing the Mojave Desert (between Kingman, Arizona & Barstow, California), then you want to do this at night regardless of the time of year (if you have the choice) AND regardless of the means of conveyance (e.g., automobile) -- it is about 90+ miles. So, you'll want lights ... well, you may want to have lights, regardless. 40ºC at night is not uncommon in the Mojave, BTW.




    I had planned on early doing 5-6 am starts on these sections as riding at night would mean not seeing the sights (or should that be sand!!)…& scorpions, but my bike has lights via the front hub dynamo, also used for charging camera/ mp3 batteries.

    Scorpions in the desert would be MY concern, BTW, rather than snakes.

    You'll want a high-quality, backpacker's poncho (one that goes down to your knees) which is made of coated nylon OR better fabric (afternoon thunderstorms are inevitable)+ goggles which will fit over your sun glasses (inexpensive 'SHOP' goggles with the soft vinyl, ventilated shell will do if appearance isn't important) because when you encounter cross winds (and, you will!), you'll want more eye protection than wrap-around glasses can provide. Do NOT leave home without either.




    Sure, I was warned of these a year back when I started planning the trip. I’ve bought some machine-shop safety goggles & gaffer-taped the breathing mesh to seal them.

    I think Route 66 theoretically ends in Barstow ... if you're going further west, to Los Angles (for example), I'm not sure how you're 'trip planner' suggested that you negotiate the miles between Victorville (California) & Riverside/wherever (for example) ... since bicycles are not permitted on that portion of the Interstate (80+ mph speeds by ALL vehicles are not uncommon -- and, are permitted by the California Highway Patrol -- on the downhill despite the theoretical speed limit). There must be a 'surface road' route between Barstow & LA, but I never investigated what it might be.


    The route is all the way to Santa Monica. I’ve done extensive google-earthing & MicroSofts ‘Streets & Trips’ to help navigate the route away from the Interstates as best possible. I have done extensive research & certainly noticed the section you highlight to look like a cyclist’s nightmare. At Victorville I’ll be on the Mariposa Rd that parallels the I15 for 13 miles to where the I15 splits (Oak Hill Rd), then use the I15 for a ‘cheeky’ 2 mile sprint (!!) to where there is a ‘service rd’ that follows between/ goes under both the East & West lanes bringing me to ‘Cajon Junction’, then another I15 sprint to ‘Lytle Creek’ where I’m back on the the old alignment, down to San Bernando onto ‘Cajon blvd’, then ‘Foothill blvd’ toward the mayhem of LA.

    I found a useful document showing the cycle routes through LA, which coincidentally follows much of my planned route, some are just road shoulders & have read to be cautious as most accidents are caused by motorist’s not using their mirror’s & opening doors or pulling out!!

    I have the ‘Here it is’ map set & read the book my Michael Wallis (no relation), I’m almost on ‘route 66 overload’ my memory banks are full!!

    The pavement in SOME stretches may be very poor ... particularly, through Oklahoma (it has been years since I've been on Route 66 through some parts, so portions could certainly have been repaved). Regardless, the shoulder (which you will be riding on in some places) is definitely rough on some/many/most parts of the roadway.

    Things you may not have considered -- you'll want more sunblock than you'd think, lip balm with some SPF, more deodorant than you'd think, some body talc ... possibly, an extra pair of shoe liners. You'll want to carry an EXTRA water bladder that backpackers use (some boxed wines use those bladders & spigots!).


    My bike carries three 1 litre bottles & I have an Ortleib 2 litre pouch, & may carry more in the way of 2 litre platic coke bottles if needed.



    BTW. You generally cannot camp anywhere might want. You can camp at KOA campgrounds & State-or-National Parks & "rest areas." Or, where you going to over-night in motels?
    Regardless, you'll probably want to carry a cable-lock for when you have to leave your bike unattended (e.g., when you walk into a store) -- I think that you can ALWAYS use the facilities at a McDonalds (almost EVERY/(every other) TOWN will have one), BTW.

    I always carry a good lock, it’s a custom bike that I’m using & cost me an arm & a legs…or more like 2 arms & 2 legs!!

    A self-inflating sleeping pad is recommended if you're camping.
    I normally just tour with a 9 mm foam mattress, it’s light & hassle free.
    I presume you are going on a solo, un-supported tour -- is this a fully-loaded tour or lightly loaded tour?
    Sure, solo. Sort of mid-loaded, as light as possible but not to the point of gram-pinching trying to save weight when problems could arise as a result.


    FWIW. It's probably worth making the detour to the Grand Canyon (about 100 km north of Route 66 which will be I-40 [Interstate 40] at that point on your path). You'll approach the Canyon via Flagstaff, AZ & pick up the westward route via Williams, AZ ... there IS a 'rest area' between Flagstaff & Williams ... so, you could over-night at the rest area, go on to Williams, and then north to the Grand Canyon (the distance between Williams & the GC is shorter ... the road between Flagstaff & the GC is the hypotenuse-of-the-triangle).


    I intend on a day-off at Williams & use grand canyon railway for a visit there.
    You may want a triple crank. If you only want to use a double, then you'll want a "compact" crank + a 12-34 MTB cassette + MTB rear derailleur. You'll probably want a MTB cassette & rear derailleur even if you opt for a triple! Even then, you may encounter many places where you may want to a walk your bike (i.e., between Moriarity, New Mexico & Flagstaff, Arizona) if you're fully loaded -- the elevation between the two locations varies between 7000 feet & about 7500 feet down to about 5000 feet (it's all a part of the Permian Overthrust) ... Chicago is at about 600 feet above sea level.

    I really recommend Campagnolo ERGO shifters if you're not using bar-end shifters ... the Campagnolo shifters can downshift when the drivetrain is under load.
    My bike has a Rohloff speed hub, ace bit of kit, I used a Surly stainless 44 tooth chainring & the 16 tooth rear sprocket, as supplied with the hub. Two months ago I cycled from North France to Barcelona (Pyrenese crossing) & proved just right, though 1st gear never got a look-in though…maybe on this tour!!


    Take some "extra" bungee cords + a roll of duct tape. Don't forget your tools!


    Oh sure. I work as an elec/mech service engineer. Never over-look the obvious & be prepared for the worst scenario.

    You may want to attach a 'pennant-on-a-pole' for visibility ... check your LBS ... OR, wear a reflective, neon-green "roadworker's" safety vest (they are open mesh -- I guess the vest would be my preference) ...
    Good idea, we have them at work, I’ll grab one!


    That's what comes to mind ...

    Hope you have a great adventure!
    Many thanks
    "if you know you can acheive a challenge,
    what the point in starting it"!
    Mark Wallis.
     
  6. alfeng

    alfeng Well-Known Member

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    Good news & bad news ...

    Route 66 is apparently only ~2450 miles long ... but, the distance between Needles (California) & Barstow is apparently ~145 miles (vs. the ~90+ miles I recalled for the greater distance between Kingman & Barstow ... it has been 10 years since I drove that section ... needless to say, that's a pretty signficant difference if you are traveling across the Mojave by bicycle!)


    FWIW. I usually tried to to time the Mojave crossing (when heading West) so I would arrive in Barstow when some stores are opening (minimally, a gas station!) ... always, a night crossing ... because, I wanted to hit LA traffic in the lull (not really) just after the morning "rush hour" ...

    Regardless, my recollection is that there is a gas station "plaza" about 22 (?) miles west of Needles (it was "new" about 10 years ago & I presume it is still there ... it SEEMS like the access road is about a mile long but it is probably shorter ... it is easy to see from the road (especially at night) ... it is on the north side of the Interstate if my memory serves me ... that might be a place you can hunker down at and rest before you begin your crossing -- it will make the long leg (120+ miles) of your crossing a little more manageable.

    I've crossed going East during both the day & night ...

    Not to diminish the beauty you'll see (or, I've seen it too many times), but there ISN'T much to see from the Interstate through most of the Mojave ... except the mountain ranges in the distance & some cactus.

    It seemed like there was at least one (or, more) false flat(s) which was/(were) 20+ miles long ... it will be uphill going West if my recollection is correct.

    The passage via bicycle (allowing an optimistic 12mph) will be about 10+ hours if you leave from the gas station plaza that is west of Needles.

    Having seen the mileage chart, I would now, actually anticipate a 16 hour crossing, en toto, between Needles & Barstow by bicycle ... so, you probably can't have enough water with you -- 4 gallons is my recommendation. Some lemon drops, or other lozenges, might be good to have when you are riding across the desert ... it's those "extra" six hours that are going to be killers.

    There ARE a couple of small "stops" JUST before get to Barstow -- Newberry Springs is about 20 miles east of Barstow & Daggett is about 10 miles east of Barstow. LIMITED facilities ... you will be travelling uphill on a "false flat."

    If the daytime temps are in the Mojave are forecast to be in 45ºC range, then I recommend you consider catching a Greyhound (Trailways?) bus from point-A to point-B ... there is a train, but I don't know where you would catch it.

    When you are in the desert, the day time to night time temperature swing is about 30ºF/54ºC from high to low ...

    The Sun will add about 20º to the effective temp (certainly, to the actual pavement temperature) ... if it is 100º in the shade, it will be the same as 120º when you are not shaded ... that will be very tough on YOU and your tyres.

    I think that when you are in the Mojave, that you really don't want to be riding between 10am & 3pm, if possible -- that will probably be the hottest part of the day ... an umbrella might actually be a good thing to have to use as a parasol when you are stopped along the side of the roadway if there isn't any other shade (wherever you may be during the entire trek).

    So, if possible, I actually recommend that you try to leave the Needles area (preferably, the "plaza" that is west of Needles) closer to midnight because you'll want to try to get to Barstow (at least, Newberry Springs) by around 10am.

    The good news is that I think you'll be averaging well over 20mph (30kph) between Williams & Seligman:

    [​IMG]





    BTW. Just for the record, I've attached a picture of the type of shop goggles that I am referring to ... light, very inexpensive & more-or-less unbreakable.

    I would consider wrapping some WHITE handlebar tape over whatever tape your bike has before the Mojave crossing ... maybe, wear some white cotton, gardening (i.e., full finger) gloves (for after 9am & before 4pm) ... and, have a long-sleeve, LOOSE white T-shirt to wear. You'll probably feel as though you are sweating excessivley with the extra layers, but you'll lose LESS body moisture.

    I don't use a visor on my helmet when I ride, but I probably would if I were crossing the Mojave by bike.

    FYI. The train between the Grand Canyon & Willams is pulled by a steam locomotive, so I think it travels at between 30mph & 40mph -- so , it's probably a two hour trip in each direction.
     
  7. alfeng

    alfeng Well-Known Member

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    BOTH sunrise & sunset should be magnificent ... regardless of where you are, but particularly in the desert.
     
  8. alfeng

    alfeng Well-Known Member

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    BTW. I don't know how quickly you plan to make the trip, but here's info you may want to know:
    August Lunar Cycle 8/1 (6:13 a.m. EDT) New Moon
    8/8 (4:20 p.m. EDT) Waxing Quarter Moon
    8/16 (5:16 p.m. EDT) Full Moon
    8/23 (7:50 p.m. EDT) Waning Quarter Moon
    8/30 (3:58 p.m. EDT) New Moon

    September Lunar Cycle
    9/7 (10:04 p.m. EDT) Waxing Quarter Moon
    9/15 (5:13 a.m. EDT) Full Moon
    9/22 (1:04 a.m. EDT) Waning Quarter Moon
    9/29 (4:12 a.m. EDT) New Moon


    If you are in the Mojave in mid-September the temps will be a little cooler & you will be able to travel by moonlight (a good thing).
    The desert will be more remarkable at night than during the day ... as long as you aren't fatigued -- fatigue would probably result in unwanted hallucinations.

    BTW. ALL-or-part of the highway through the Mojave has rumble strips cut into the "middle" portion of the shoulders ...

    You cannot take any fresh fruit into California.
     
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