Planning my first big trip

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Planning my first big trip

Post by charliem »

I'm planning my first big trip to see this great country. I'll be leaving Maryland in mid May and plan to ride across the southern part of the country, put my feet in the Pacific Ocean, then ride a northern route and return home on a northern route. I'm planning on four weeks but I'm being told I'll need more time. I'd love to hear from others who have made a trip like this and would welcome any advice on places that I shouldn't miss along the way. I'm riding a 2001 GL1800 with a trailer in tow. I'll probably do a mixture of hotels and camping.

Some of the places on my list are the Bonneville Salt Flats, Grand Canyon, Arches National Park, Mount Rushmore National Memorial, and as many of the National Parks as I can. I'd much rather check out the small towns rather than the bigger cities.

I appreciate any advice and insight you can share.

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Re: Planning my first big trip

Post by DenverWinger »

I'd toss in another week if you can.

You may just find a couple campsites somewhere along the way where you may want to put down some roots for a few days, do some local sightseeing, and kinda recharge YOUR batteries a few days... :mrgreen:
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Re: Planning my first big trip

Post by Viking »

The United States has 61 protected areas known as national parks that are operated by the National Park Service, 49 of which are within the contigous 48 states. I would think you are being ambitious about seeing very many of them within four weeks. I spent 13 months and rode 130,000 miles on my largest continuous trip of North America, and although I hit 47 states including Alaska, I did not see anywhere near all of our great countries. I did not get to Hawaii on my motorcycle, and I missed Delaware and New Jersey. I still have not made it to those two, although I have flown to Hawaii. Time constraints are the worst part of trips because they do not include leisure and sightseeing when great distances are involved. If you have only four weeks, perhaps you should move inland from the coasts and north and south borders a couple hundred miles and do your great circle route there. Plan the real great circle for another trip when you have more time. We have a couple of really good countries here, and they deserve to be explored thouroughly. Isn't freedom wonderful (should be cause it certainly ain't free)

This Quickmap of National Parks shows there a whole bunch grouped in the Western part of the country ... orwiki.pdf
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Re: Planning my first big trip

Post by tamathumper »

I just made a similar trip from Upstate NY (Adirondacks) down through Ohio to hit the Triple Nickel, then Kentucky, then straight across to Ventura Beach, CA, then up to San Francisco and back through Lake Tahoe, Reno, Salt Lake City, etc.

The ride took 18 days and was about 7,600 miles.

We had a goal in mind so we rode slab across the flat parts and back, so the best scenery we saw was in California where we took our time - visiting the redwoods, Los Padres National Forest, and the very best ride was the road from Sacramento up to South Lake Tahoe - Routes 88 and 89 - simply amazing.

The ride and map were documented at (the description of Routes 88 and 89 are in Day 12), and in late may I'll be launching another ride, this time from NY to Colorado, and seeing (and camping in) some of these great parks I've been through out here!

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Re: Planning my first big trip

Post by Solina Dave »

tamathumper wrote: Tue Apr 09, 2019 7:18 am The ride took 18 days and was about 7,600 miles.
7,600 mi. in 18 days is an average of 422 mi. per day. I did a similar trip, years ago, of 10,000 mi. in 30 days. That's 333 mi. per day on average. Key word is avearage. If you're doing about 400 mi. per day, and you stay an extra day someplace, you'd have to do 800 mi. the next day to maintain your schedule. And that is brutal!
I live near Toronto, and I know what it's like to have the itch to ride to the west coast. But it's a long hard ride, especially coming home. I think I'd advise adding on a couple of weeks for a ride like that to offer yourself more time to enjoy some of the areas you'll be riding through. Through the canyonland areas of Arizona, Colorado, and Utah, and California's redwood and sequois forests, and King's Canyon and Yosemite are beautiful. Even Death Valley is a great adventure.
If I did it again, which at this stage is somewhat unlikely, I'd reduce the length of the trip to afford a more relaxed ride, and be able to ride slowly through some of these major areas. At any rate, good luck, and have a great time.

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Re: Planning my first big trip

Post by tamathumper »

I neglected to mention the bike broke down in Kentucky and cost us 2 days of riding (bad reverse actuator),... but this guy at Lexington Motorsports was a genius at troubleshooting that demonic subsystem, and got us back on the road.

In the end, we think it turned out to be two tiny broken plastic pins inside the reverse actuator, the ones that hold the "travel" microswitch in place. I took a bunch of pictures of it before I relegated it to the garbage bin.
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Re: Planning my first big trip

Post by MikeB »

In my experience, and the experience of others I know, May is a terrible month to travel cross country. Too much wind, either from the south or the north. Cross winds really are a pain and the weather still fluid and unpredictable. June is a better month to travel cross country.

In 2014 I went from Tacoma, to Nashville in May and fought cross winds from the north all through Wyoming and Nebraska.
On the return trip, I had crosswinds from the south all through Nebraska. I actually thought about heading any direction but west but had a bit of a deadline had had to press on. My tires were pretty much trashed when I got home. They were new when I started out and after several hundred miles of winds trying to push me and the bike over on its right side, the tread on the left side of the tires was scalloped and shingled. I replaced them when I got home.

In Denver I had to go north due to snow over the passes to the west. The next day out of Denver is was raining and about 40 degrees. It rained all day. Until it got to 34 degrees in Kaycee Wyoming when it started to snow, 45 miles from civilization. I got as far as Buffalo, about 388 miles for the day and had to stop. After 8 hours of steady rain, I was soaked and heated gloves don't work when wet. All the heat is dissipated and never gets to the skin. Hypothermia was setting in.

Believe it or not, the next day going out of Buffalo was perfect.

No more May cross country for me.
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Re: Planning my first big trip

Post by Rednaxs60 »

Good luck on your trip. Only advice I've been given when touring is to stop as often as you need to to do the tourist thing, and take more time. My friend who did extensive bike touring mentioned that that was his only regret. Lots to see in between. If you have expended half your allotted time, make a decision to blast to the coast and hurry back, or turn around, take a different route, relax and see something different. Always next year. Cheers
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Re: Planning my first big trip

Post by landisr »

In my opinion, you have picked a good time for travel. High country can be 'brisk', but the desert areas are already 'warm'. We rode through Death Valley in early June, but I wouldn't want to do it much later.

You should do a little research on travelling parts of Route 66. The Mother Road is a great bit of our country's history.

I agree, though, about travel in the Sierra Nevadas. And the thought about making time through the central plains to focus on National Parks, etc. makes sense. This is not to dis those central areas. But you would be minimizing (?) exposure to volatile weather patterns there, and you can return to the area on another trip to take time to see surprising things and people. Heck, there ARE hills and twisties in KANSAS. :o :)

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