Advice needed from the other side of the world

Discussion in 'Americas' started by Babysteps, Jan 17, 2012.

  1. Babysteps

    Babysteps 102° Rx = + /_\

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    Hi Team

    So I have the wanderlust again and am planning a month long trip to the US.

    I have some friends in Riverside CA that I would like to catch up with so that will be my start and finish point. I've worked out a route that' I think is pretty epic. Some feedback from you 'mericans would be great and if you could answer a few questions for me that would be awesome!

    Firstly, are the daily distances too ambitious?

    2. I'll be camping as much as possible. I’ve found a site (www.koa.com) that has camp sites at most of my stops. Anyone had experience with these sites?

    3. What have I missed? I have 3 spare days in my itinerary that can be filled. I'll be on a rental bike, so no hardcore off-road stuff and I want to stay off Interstates as much as possible. I’m more a “What an awesome road and look at that view!” guy than a “on 1879 this happened here” guy.

    4. Recommendations for a bike rental company that will rent me a Vstrom or something similar? All I can find on the net is Harleys rentals!
    5. How much should I budget for gas?

    I'm looking at doing this July/August 2012

    Route can be seen here

    Day by day itinerary.
    Day 1 Riverside – San Luis Obispo – 271 Miles
    Day 2 San Luis Obispo – San Francisco – 255 Miles
    Day 3 San Francisco – Tourist
    Day 4 San Francisco – Yosemite – 276 Miles – Small Hike afternoon?
    Day 5 Yosemite – Las Vegas – 410 miles
    Day 6 Las Vegas – Tourist – Parachute with the Flying Elvi?
    Day 7 – Las Vegas – Grand Canyon – 324 miles – via Hoover Dam
    Day 8 Grand Canyon – Loa UT – 412 miles
    Day 9 Loa – Salt Lake City – 247 Miles
    Day 10 Salt Lake City – Tourist – Day trip to Bonneville
    Day 11 Salt Lake City – Moab – 285 Miles
    Day 12 Moab – Tourist – White water rafting or day hike
    Day 13 Moab – Santa Fe – 370 Miles
    Day 14 Santa Fe – El Paso – 308 Miles
    Day 15 El Paso – Day trip to Mexico - Tequila!
    Day 16 El Paso – Phoenix – 403 Miles
    Day 17 Phoenix – Joshua Tree – 340 Miles
    Day 18 Joshua Tree – Riverside – 120 Miles
    Day 19
    Day 20
    Day 21

    Any feedback, advice, recommendations would be greatly appreciated. Must post my picture in the single men for the women of ADVRider thread :p

    Cheers

    Mark.
    #1
  2. cybrdyke

    cybrdyke In the Dark

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    Not a bad start.
    For what it's worth, I make the following suggestions.

    Depending on how much you like debauchery and decadence, 1 day in Vegas is not enough. (Some might say that 1 day in Vegas is too much)

    I would divert your Salt Lake to Moab further east to see more of Southern Colorado. There you'll find some of the most amazing motorcycle roads in all the US. Silverton, Ouray, Telluride, etc cant be beat.

    If you're going to Sante Fe, be sure to stop in Taos. You can also visit Madrid, where Wild Hogs was filmed. Young Guns was filmed in the next town over.

    You will circle Monument Valley without seeing it. Dont do that. Ever seen all those John Wayne movies with those amazing rock formations? Maybe you saw them in the Roadrunner cartoons, too.

    Ask the Californians for the correct timing to ride up the coast. The scenery is amazing. It's a great drive, but choked with traffic almost all the time.

    Good luck. Have fun.
    #2
  3. Flashmo

    Flashmo Whatever...

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    The daily mileage looks fine.

    I doubt you will be happy living at KOA's for a month. Most of them are not anything like the picture or description...and during your time frame they will be packed with screaming kids being ignored by inattentive parents. Seems like their price is a little high for what you get most places as well. The upside of KOA is that if you get a membership, the nightly prices are lower and traveling within their network will allow easy contact from one resort to another.

    For your kind of trip, I personally use AAA (American Automobile Association) "Campbook's". I believe that the books can be bought by non-members, but are free to members (as well as their state highway maps). If you join the right "Regional Chapter" you can get motorcycle roadside assistance coverage (but that may also be included in your rental). The Campbooks are directories to hundreds of independent campgrounds indexed by closest town or city that are usually checked every couple years to see that they meet a certain minimum standard. AAA members typically receive discounts at these member campgrounds as well.

    After a quick search, the closest place I found that rents V-stroms is in Portland, Oregon:

    http://northwestmotorcycleadventures.com/index.php
    #3
  4. TravellingStrom

    TravellingStrom Been here awhile

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    I found during my travels that KOA were always in the middle of nowhere and very expensive, it was actually cheaper for me to stay in Motel 8s with wifi and near a pub and food. The only camping I did in the states was in national parks which had limited facilities and some even had no potable water(Joshua tree comes to mind)

    Anyway, have fun


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Cheers
    TravellingStrom
    #4
  5. ilvecchio

    ilvecchio Been here awhile

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    Your daily mileage looks fine to me. Personally, you couldn't pay me to spend time in Las Vegas but as has already been stated, it is a personal choice. I would also suggest highway 550 in Colorado from Ouray to Durango and highway 12 in Utah from Torrey to Panguitch. For my money these are two of the best roads in the US along with California 1 that you have already included.

    Just one other suggestion. Do not pass a gas station in the western US unless you are certain about the distance to the next gas station. On a recent trip I saw signs that said the next gas was 60 miles away, but when I arrived the station had gone out of business. In my case it wasn't a problem because I am super conservative when it comes to gas mileage. Just be aware that in my travels around the western us the most frequent problem I have seen is folks running out of gas.
    #5
  6. Babysteps

    Babysteps 102° Rx = + /_\

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    Thanks heaps guys, great responses. I'm going to do a bit of tweaking to my route and go from there. Any idea how much I should budget for gas for +/-4K miles?
    #6
  7. Flashmo

    Flashmo Whatever...

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    My Wee-strom gets between 42-47mpg...not the magical 50mpg that you see people talking about on the internet. I always run my fuel budget based on the US average price. Locally, I typically pay much less per gallon since we live closer to some refineries in UT and WY, but 200 miles away in Boise the price is often 15 cents more per gallon.

    Average US gasoline price today is $3.37 USD per gallon. 4000/45mpg*3.37 = $299.55.

    Gas prices run higher in the summer, but today's average price is really high for this time of year (locally, I'm paying $2.89 per gallon).
    #7
  8. DADODIRT

    DADODIRT Long timer

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    Lotsa miles/day.
    Gonna be hot down there. Cooler in the mountains.
    The KOA's are nice, but more for mobile home campers.
    Check out http://www.forestcamping.com/ for National Forest Campgrounds. Less amenities, better experience.
    #8
  9. Thanantos

    Thanantos Ride hard.

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    On a Harley? No, those figures are nicely conservative.



    KOA's tend to be kind of pricey but usually have amenities that other campgrounds might not such as WIFI. I tend to avoid them and prefer to cheaper, more rustic camp sites. Obviously that's a personal choice.

    For the money I think I would buy a GPS unit that would allow me to search POI's for campground/hotels.



    Can't help there with anything specific. I would have to search just like you.



    Motoquest does rentals of KLR650, F650GS twin, F800GS and 1200GS's out of the west coast and they have a site in Long Beach, CA.

    As far as gas goes expect prices anywhere between $3.50 and $4.50 a gallon. You can calculate it from there based on your route and what bike you use.
    #9
  10. oldbutspry

    oldbutspry Mr. Guns and Bikes!

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    Wow! I am so glad I found this thread! I am planning on doing almost the same thing in June. We are planning on trailering the bikes across the country to my wife's cousin's place in Riverside. I don't want to drive as far east as El Paso, but otherwise the route is about what I was thinking of.

    I'm concerned about range too. My bike holds 5 gallons but I usually only get a little over 100 miles before the fuel light comes on. I guess I could get to 130 or so before running out. Will I have to carry gas in cans? How much range do you need to safely drive a route like this?
    #10
  11. Babysteps

    Babysteps 102° Rx = + /_\

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    Thanatos, you rock!!! Thanks for the link to Motoquest. Its looks great and they offer an ADVRider discount! I realized that Juarez may not be the best city to get on the Tequila so have changed destination to Mexicali.

    Updated route is here

    <table border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" width="625"><colgroup><col style="width:48pt" width="64"> <col style="mso-width-source:userset;mso-width-alt:4461;width:92pt" width="122"> <col style="mso-width-source:userset;mso-width-alt:4352;width:89pt" width="119"> <col style="width:48pt" width="64"> <col style="mso-width-source:userset;mso-width-alt:9362;width:192pt" width="256"> </colgroup><tbody><tr style="height:15.0pt" height="20"> <td class="xl63" style="height:15.0pt;width:48pt" height="20" width="64">
    </td> <td style="width:92pt" width="122">From</td> <td style="width:89pt" width="119">To</td> <td class="xl63" style="width:48pt" width="64">Miles</td> <td style="width:192pt" width="256">
    </td> </tr> <tr style="height:15.0pt" height="20"> <td class="xl63" style="height:15.0pt" height="20">Day 1</td> <td>Riverside</td> <td>San Luis Obispo</td> <td class="xl63">271</td> <td>
    </td> </tr> <tr style="height:15.0pt" height="20"> <td class="xl63" style="height:15.0pt" height="20">2</td> <td>San Luis Obispo</td> <td>San Francicso</td> <td class="xl63">265</td> <td>
    </td> </tr> <tr style="height:15.0pt" height="20"> <td class="xl63" style="height:15.0pt" height="20">3</td> <td>San Francicso</td> <td>San Francicso</td> <td class="xl63">0</td> <td>Tourist</td> </tr> <tr style="height:15.0pt" height="20"> <td class="xl63" style="height:15.0pt" height="20">4</td> <td>San Francicso</td> <td>Yosemite</td> <td class="xl63">222</td> <td>Small Hike</td> </tr> <tr style="height:15.0pt" height="20"> <td class="xl63" style="height:15.0pt" height="20">5</td> <td>Yosemite</td> <td>Las Vegas</td> <td class="xl63">420</td> <td>
    </td> </tr> <tr style="height:15.0pt" height="20"> <td class="xl63" style="height:15.0pt" height="20">6</td> <td>Las Vegas</td> <td>Las Vegas</td> <td class="xl63">0</td> <td>Tourist - Parachute with the Flying Elvi?</td> </tr> <tr style="height:15.0pt" height="20"> <td class="xl63" style="height:15.0pt" height="20">7</td> <td>Las Vegas</td> <td>Grand Canyon</td> <td class="xl63">303</td> <td>
    </td> </tr> <tr style="height:15.0pt" height="20"> <td class="xl63" style="height:15.0pt" height="20">8</td> <td>Grand Canyon</td> <td>Torrey</td> <td class="xl63">393</td> <td>
    </td> </tr> <tr style="height:15.0pt" height="20"> <td class="xl63" style="height:15.0pt" height="20">9</td> <td>Torrey</td> <td>Monument Valley</td> <td class="xl63">230</td> <td>
    </td> </tr> <tr style="height:15.0pt" height="20"> <td class="xl63" style="height:15.0pt" height="20">10</td> <td>Monument Valley</td> <td>Monument Valley</td> <td class="xl63">0</td> <td>Tourist - Hike</td> </tr> <tr style="height:15.0pt" height="20"> <td class="xl63" style="height:15.0pt" height="20">11</td> <td>Monument Valley</td> <td>Moab</td> <td class="xl63">150</td> <td>
    </td> </tr> <tr style="height:15.0pt" height="20"> <td class="xl63" style="height:15.0pt" height="20">12</td> <td>Moab</td> <td>Moab</td> <td class="xl63">0</td> <td>Tourist - White water rafting? </td> </tr> <tr style="height:15.0pt" height="20"> <td class="xl63" style="height:15.0pt" height="20">13</td> <td>Moab</td> <td>Aztec</td> <td class="xl63">331</td> <td>
    </td> </tr> <tr style="height:15.0pt" height="20"> <td class="xl63" style="height:15.0pt" height="20">14</td> <td>Aztec</td> <td>Albuqerque</td> <td class="xl63">310</td> <td>
    </td> </tr> <tr style="height:15.0pt" height="20"> <td class="xl63" style="height:15.0pt" height="20">15</td> <td>Albuqerque</td> <td>Globe</td> <td class="xl63">404</td> <td>
    </td> </tr> <tr style="height:15.0pt" height="20"> <td class="xl63" style="height:15.0pt" height="20">16</td> <td>Globe</td> <td>Parker</td> <td class="xl63">305</td> <td>
    </td> </tr> <tr style="height:15.0pt" height="20"> <td class="xl63" style="height:15.0pt" height="20">17</td> <td>Parker</td> <td>Calexico</td> <td class="xl63">275</td> <td>
    </td> </tr> <tr style="height:15.0pt" height="20"> <td class="xl63" style="height:15.0pt" height="20">18</td> <td>Calexico</td> <td>Mexicali</td> <td class="xl63">0</td> <td>Mexico!! Tequila!!!</td> </tr> <tr style="height:15.0pt" height="20"> <td class="xl63" style="height:15.0pt" height="20">19</td> <td>Calexico</td> <td>Borrego Springs</td> <td class="xl63">145</td> <td>Night Sky walk</td> </tr> <tr style="height:15.0pt" height="20"> <td class="xl63" style="height:15.0pt" height="20">20</td> <td>Borrego Springs</td> <td>Riverside</td> <td class="xl63">253</td> <td>
    </td> </tr> <tr style="height:15.0pt" height="20"> <td class="xl63" style="height:15.0pt" height="20">21</td> <td>Return Bike</td> <td>
    </td> <td class="xl63">
    </td> <td>
    </td> </tr> <tr style="height:15.0pt" height="20"> <td class="xl63" style="height:15.0pt" height="20">
    </td> <td>
    </td> <td>
    </td> <td class="xl63">4277</td> <td>
    </td> </tr> </tbody></table>
    #11
  12. Thanantos

    Thanantos Ride hard.

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    No problem man, I hope your ride is safe and AWESOME!
    #12
  13. ilvecchio

    ilvecchio Been here awhile

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    If there is any doubt, it is best to ask where the next gas is available when you get gas. Here is one example to think about: If you go from Tonapah to Caliente it is 190 miles and you may (emphasis on may) find gas at Rachel. If the folks at Rachel have been abducted by aliens (inside joke) you could be in trouble.

    There is one stretch on I 70 in Utah from Green River west where it is more than 100 miles to the next gas station. The longest stretch that I know of on an Interstate.

    Generally though, you should be OK with a 100 mile range provided you are careful.

    For example, US 50 through Utah and Nevada has gas about 70 or 80 miles apart these days.

    I normally ride my R100 GSPD with a 9.25 gallon tank so it is no problem to help folks who have run out of gas. Frequently I find that they passed up a gas station a ways back - probably because they thought that the price was too high. In my opinion there is no such thing as gas being too expensive in remote areas of the west - especially when it is 70 miles to the next station.
    #13
  14. Thanantos

    Thanantos Ride hard.

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    Sounds like sage advice from someone experienced in this area.
    #14
  15. Babysteps

    Babysteps 102° Rx = + /_\

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    oldbutspry, happy to share any information I get with you. If you have an iphone, I've found an app called Smart Fuel. Its free for 30 days and looks perfect for what you, and I, need.
    #15
  16. oldbutspry

    oldbutspry Mr. Guns and Bikes!

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    That sounds good, except I don't know how much I want to stick to the interstates. I don't want to miss too much scenery just trying to get somewhere.

    Yeah, it would really suck to run out of gas, especially in the summer. At least we are taking 2 bikes - my son's little 250 Ninja has much better range so one of us could go get help if we ran dry.

    Thanks! I'm going to be watching this thread closely for ideas. Also, I'm going to take a closer look at that route map. That's what really helps me - I usually just go somewhere and try to figure it out as I make my way. But I'm afraid I'd miss a lot that way on a long trip like this.

    Are you going to carry much water for emergency purposes? We are planning on traveling light so I think it will be too much weight to carry more than a little.
    #16
  17. Babysteps

    Babysteps 102° Rx = + /_\

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    I'm planning on having a 3ltr Camelbak with me and camping at places that have a drinkable water supply. Hopefully that is enough.....
    #17
  18. wbbnm

    wbbnm Long timer

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    The 3 liter Camelback will probably be okay. But be sure to fill it up at gas stops. One of those will not last me all day with hard riding in the summer heat. (Mine tends to leak if I put more than 2L in it.)
    #18
  19. Jamie Z

    Jamie Z Long timer

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    Mark,

    I'm going to be the outlier and suggest that some of your daily mileages are a little optimistic. Sure, you can ride 400 miles in a day, but it means being on the bike most of the daylight hours. At least, that's if you plan to stick to your itinerary. I've traveled with some guys who insist on making it to their planned stop for the night, so we end up skipping places where I'd like to visit.

    Everyone is different of course, but just plan ahead that some of your longer days might be a bit too long for you. Be prepared to cut a day in half because you found something cool to stop and see or simply because you have to stop and get out of the sun.

    I agree with almost everyone else here that KOAs aren't worth it. They're convenient in that they have a nationwide presence and a website which lists all their locations, but the facilities aren't anything special and they tend to be expensive compared to other similar facilities.

    With a little more effort, I'd suggest finding state park campgrounds. Each state has a number of parks, and for the most part, those parks all have modern campgrounds. There's no master list of the parks and the campgrounds (that I know of) though some states publish a list of their own parks. Unfortunately, state park campgrounds have been increasing their prices dramatically. It wasn't too long ago that you could set up a tent for $5-$7 per night, but now I find it's pretty common for a site to be at least double that. When I take a trip, I stay at state park campgrounds most often.

    And there are lots of smaller local campgrounds which you probably won't find online. Also, have you given thought to the idea of stealth camping?

    For gas prices, I'd suggest using about $4 per US gallon as a guide. California gas prices are generally higher than the rest of the US, as they are in remote and rural areas. The average price of gas in the US may be $3.50, but the places where you're going will tend to be more expensive. For gas prices, I use the free app, GasBuddy.

    As Dadodirt pointed out, it's going to be hot. Expect some afternoon temps aproaching 40°C. For that kind of weather, 3L is NOT enough for riding and camping.

    Jamie
    #19
  20. Babysteps

    Babysteps 102° Rx = + /_\

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    Hi Team

    Thanks heaps for your replies. This is all falling into shape nicely!

    I have a couple more questions! (Surprise, surprise!)

    Where do I get travel insurance (online) for the bike when in Mexico?

    I'm going to open a US bank account to use while I'm over there, I figure its better than filling up my Visa, recommend one for me please :ear
    #20