Day 0: Travel to Oregon

Today was the travel day to Oregon. To recap, I shipped the bike to Portland via Amtrak, shipped a box with my gear to FedEx, and then take a single pannier on the flight with me. The original plan was to retrieve just the bike upon arrival, load the pannier and ride around town for a while, and finally retrieve the box before catching the bus to Astoria. But then several on the Adventure Cycling forums suggested that the bike would best be left in the box for the bus ride (even though they accept unboxed bikes) and that I walk or take light rail around town. Continue reading

Shipping the Gear (and an iPhone test post)

Today is the day I shipped my bike and gear to the ride start. Why ship everything? Because during my initial planning, I didn’t think through the consequences of chaining this trip after another trip. No use paying double airline baggage fees…

That said, Amtrak Express is the best kept secret for shipping a bike. Of course, you have to use a destination train station which has this as a service. It’s only $49, but best of all, very little disassembly is required – just remove the pedals and the handlebars. Oh, and if you’re tall like me, then you have to lower the seat too, but that’s no big deal. But, best of all, the box is designed so that you roll the bike in from the side, then tape both ends shut! The box measures 70″ x 41″ x 8.5″ – plenty big for most bikes. Even my large touring bike with its superlong wheelbase and with fenders fit within the 70″ length. Continue reading

Final Preparations and Shakedown Ride

I’m off to the Oregon coast soon for a bicycle tour in July. With this post I am now in “trip mode” and so now the blog posts will automatically update Facebook and Twitter  (using Simple Facebook Connect and WordTwit) for ease of updating on the road.

I couldn’t resist making last minute changes to the bike close to the departure date. In this case, I installed a new handlebar stem. Although many of the other components have been upgraded, it’s nice to have an “original” looking stem in order for the bike to have the same look and feel as its early 80s vintage. Plus, I had a recent professional bike fitting and found that the old stem left me too stretched out. Continue reading

Wrightwood Cabin OTA TV Reception – Part 2 (VHF)

In my last installment, I talked about how I set up a UHF antenna at my cabin to pick up the Los Angeles area TV stations rebroadcast from the Victor Valley Translator in the high desert.

My cabin is only about 25 miles (as the crow flies) from the Los Angeles area broadcast antennas on the top of Mount Wilson. The bad news is that there are several peaks between there and my cabin. But according to the TV Fool report, Ihad a chance of getting the VHF stations (7, 9.11, and 13), while I would have little chance of picking up the UHF stations. That makes sense because VHF signals can propagate down hillsides, unlike higher frequency UHF signals. Also, trees do a good job of blocking UHF signals, but that’s not much of an issue for VHF signals.

Here’s a detailed map for one of the VHF stations broadcasting from Mount Wilson (top center on the map). My cabin in Wrightwood is indicated by the red pointer in the top right center. Continue reading

Wrightwood Cabin OTA TV Reception – Part 1 (UHF)

When we first got our cabin in Wrightwood almost ten years ago, I briefly looked at the possibility of putting an antenna on the roof and getting free TV. The consensus was that reception was limited to a few homes on the east side of town with a clear view of the high desert, where the Los Angeles area stations are rebroadcast from the Victor Valley Translator.

So with cable or satellite the only options, we got an entry level package for Dish Network, which we were able to later scale down to $7/month for local channels only. Over time that has crept up to $15/month, and given that now have other viewing options such as Netflix, I decided to revisit the idea of free TV. Continue reading