Balancing road trips

Discussion in 'The Perfect Line and Other Riding Myths' started by CafeRacer99, Aug 14, 2013.

  1. 243Win

    243Win Been here awhile

    Jan 21, 2008
    Port Orchard, WA
    On my first trip, I only had one destination to make and the getting there was on a whim. On my second trip, I had some idea of what I wanted to do and then never did it, I simply rode in the direction that the weather looked the nicest.

    On both trips, I was unemployed and the destination and duration of the trip wasn't set in stone for the most part.

    Since I've had little to no chance to ride this summer and no vacation to speak of as well, I'll probably at some point this winter, trailer my XT down to Death Valley and ride about for a period of time. If I don't trailer one of my DR's down and do Baja instead. Either way, I'm not going to endure miserable weather in the winter on a bike to escape the NW, I'll trailer it and ride in the area of my general destination.

    At some point in the future, I can see myself doing remote trips, where the bike is pulled out of storage at some faraway place, ridden to another faraway place and tucked into a storage unit to await my return. One of the DR's will probably get that duty.

    For maximum flexibility, I tend to travel solo. I have not time or patience to argue with travel mates regarding what to eat, where to stay, which direction to ride or for how long.

    TRUBRIT Been here awhile

    Apr 16, 2011
    Mountains of North Carolina
    I have done many trips, big groups and small, where we have planned each day and stop. Always seemed to be a lot of pressure, imagined or real, to get to this place or that by a certain time. Last one for me doing it this way was Maine, Nova Scotia, and Quebec. We were so busy racing from one Ferry to another we did not get to stop and see the areas we were riding through. Fast forward to last month where we trailered our bikes from SFL to CO Springs. The No Plan Plan. We had worked out areas and POIs we would like to see and a rough route Map. We looked at the Map and Farsons book each night and picked roads for the next day and took off. About 3 pm each day we would stop and figure out where we were likely to be around 4:30. We then used Allstays Camp and Tent App to find campsites in that area. We then called ahead for space and booked. Same if we decided on doing a Hotel that night. Getting in to a place before 5 gave us plenty of time to get set up in daylight, pick up firewood and some cold beverages. No stress. We covered a lot of ground and we stopped whenever we felt like it to take a break or take pictures. We were a mixture of back roads and dirt roads. Based on our actual time we had to make the decision to cut out a section we had put into the original plan just so we could keep with the no stress. We will just have to return and do that section. There seems to be a lot of peer pressure on not trailering a bike, but if you are a working stiff and only have X amount of time for a Vacation, you have to make the best use of the time. Rough route:
    CO Springs - Rocky Mt, Nat Park- Red Lodge - Beartooth - Yellowstone - Grand Tetons - COBDR sections to Buena Vista - Cripple Creek - CO Springs.
    Best Trip I have ever done. Three of us, and we were using Scala 9's which worked out great for stopping for pics and breaks.:1drink
  3. NJ-Brett

    NJ-Brett Brett

    Sep 8, 2010
    Southern New Jersey
    That was sort of how I did it many years ago.
    I had a KOA guide that told me where the camp grounds were, and if I did not see a good spot before that, I used them.
    Back then, they always seemed to have space for a tent, even on 4th of July in Wisconsin Dells!

    I often found nice places to camp before needing the KOA, some fantastic places for cheap or free.

    I had to sleep on the beach in California (Newport beach at Balboa pier?).
    Not many campgrounds in LA!

    Highlights were the KOA at Devils Tower, cowboys had a corral to practice roping animals and so on.
    Camping in a state? park between Cody Wyoming and Yellowstone park, along the Yellowstone river was quite stunning. And cheap.

    In the days of cell phones and gps, it does not seem like much of an adventure...
  4. 243Win

    243Win Been here awhile

    Jan 21, 2008
    Port Orchard, WA
    I would tend to agree, the one day I did not get a weather report on a long ride was the day I got my butt handed to me.

    Yes, via a smartphone, a whole world of info is available. But even without it, most of us are already riding in America. Re-supply and or rescue is pretty close in most circumstances. But any day away from the daily grind is a bit of an adventure to be savored. :D
  5. FloorPoor

    FloorPoor Been here awhile

    Feb 10, 2010
    Spudville, Idaho
    I agree with the OP when it comes to riding to a schedule. On my last trip in June my friend and I had to abandon our original plan, then plan b, then plan c, due to time constraints. It really seemed to stress him out that we weren't going to make it to our original, or secondary targets, but I didn't mind too much. I really enjoyed deciding where we were heading on a day to day basis. This was also my first long trip with someone else, and although he has been a close friend for almost 20 years, I decided I prefer traveling solo.

    P.S. Inside Yellowstone park on a bike SUCKS! I live less then two hours from the west entrance and I haven't been inside for many years. There are plenty of other amazing places to see without having to deal with huge crowds of tourists and loads of government bureaucracy. I try to make most of my trips on as much dirt as possible, and that makes for plenty of good scenery and solitude.
  6. UFObuster

    UFObuster Adventurer

    Nov 24, 2009
    Wilmington, NC
    I'm in Wilmington, NC and enjoy trips to various parts of the Blue Ridge.
    It has simply become BORING to ride thru the coastal plain of NC to get to
    the mountains some 5 to 7 hr (if non-stop) and mostly slab. I just won't do it anymore. I've had lots of fun before and this is not it!

    A handy trailer is my fav for this. It also expands camping opportunities with
    a large cooler and some chairs. When at destination, the bike is lite and handy and it feels like a vacation to ride.

    Too often I have met long distance riders moving so swiftly thru the areas that I really enjoy that they sadly miss some of the better rural roads and great sites off the BRP.

    Don't discount trailering to make long distance tolerable! :D
  7. Scott_F

    Scott_F Been here awhile

    Jul 10, 2011
    We went on two tours this year, one for 19 days and the other for nine.

    First trip: I started with a vague plan, from Calgary south to Bozeman and Yellowstone for a few days, then across to the Black Hills for another few days, and then back again. Normally, we ride for an hour and stop for a few minutes before resuming, we eat lunch and often supper in restaurants, stop to check things out, stop to take pictures, and we never start as early as we want to. Very laid back --- it's a holiday. On average, we cover 200 to 250 miles in a day, so that's how I approach my trip planning, one day at a time.

    I scope out our route using google maps to determine where we are likely to be, then scope out motels in the area. I keep a shortlist on my "itinerary". At some time in the day, usually early afternoon, we will decide how far we will go and I will call ahead to book a room. My wife rides much easier when she knows there is a room waiting for us not far away. At this point, we have regular stops, motels located 200- 250 miles apart spreading out radially from Calgary through BC and Idaho and Montana.

    As for the itinerary itself, that sometimes gets thrown out the window. We got fed up with the traffic in Yellowstone, so we left for the Black Hills a day early (good idea!) and again, opted to head back home a day early rather than tour the Badlands (good idea - an excuse to go back!). This last trip, we had three or four days in Idaho before we rode Lolo to Montana, where we had another three or four days. Again, once we were there, we decided not to go into the Palouse again and instead headed to Missoula a day early. All that matters, every time, is that we are back home in time to land safely and be ready for work on Monday.

    Scott Fraser
  8. CafeRacer99

    CafeRacer99 Been here awhile

    Apr 6, 2012
    Just want to say I'm checking in on this thread and I appreciate all the responses.
  9. SilkMoneyLove

    SilkMoneyLove Long timer

    Nov 15, 2007
    I just got back. Glad I didn't book it all out ahead. I had planned to spend more time in AK and Canada but the weather chased me south. 39 degrees F and pouring rain limited visibility and fun.
    Ironically, it was nice and dry in this town:
  10. Nevada

    Nevada Been here awhile

    Oct 4, 2009
    Somehwere in the Utah Valley
    uhhhh, no there aren't. The closest to a "huge expanse of nothing" that I've seen in my 4 decades + in the West would be the western plains of Nebraska, Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas, and even those areas have plenty if one is willing to open their eyes and see.
  11. ALinUTAH

    ALinUTAH Been here awhile

    Apr 5, 2011
    Wasatch county
    Some of us actually like huge expanses of nothing.

    Wifey and I just returned from 9 days bumming around Colorado. I had some roads in mind but no itinerary to speak of and it was awesome. We rode anywhere from 100 miles to 250 per day depending on the roads and what looked good, we literally planned one day at a time and often while drinking our morning coffee. We're foodies so before the trip I googled a lot of the major towns we might go thru and wrote down notes on my maps about good cafes and restaurants. But for lodging we just winged it, we carried camping gear but rain almost every day made us opt for cushy rooms most of the time, and we never had trouble finding a good place to stay, even labor day weekend. That's how we roll. -al