Cross Country NY <> CA

Discussion in 'Americas' started by Sckill, Feb 28, 2012.

  1. Sckill

    Sckill Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2012
    Oddometer:
    303
    Location:
    Cumming, GA
    Hi everyone. This is my first post on ADVrider and I hope to be able to learn from the experience of all of the riders here and be able to share some of my own.

    This May, I'm taking my CBR and going on a cross country trip across the USA from NY to California and back. I haven't had a very long riding career, but ever since I started, I've always known I would someday go on a big riding adventure. It's my first long trip, so I'm definitely a bit nervous. But I figure unless I suck it up and act now, it could be many many years before I get another opportunity.

    My original excuse for going cross country was to visit my friend who's getting married in San Francisco in June. I'm taking 2 weeks to get there and 2 weeks to get back. Along the way, I plan on riding through many well known roads including Skyline Drive, Blue Ridge Parkway, the Dragon, historic Route 66, Mulholland Drive, and Route 1 along the Pacific coast. I want to cross off as many states as I can and my route will take me through 34. I'm stopping in major cities along the way and will stay at hotels most of the time or with friends since I'm not handy enough to go camping. I'm also trying to keep planned riding time to an average of 8 hours each day so that I don't tire myself out and have time to enjoy the scenery along the way.

    Hoping to meet some of you guys along the way. I always welcome recommendations on places to stay, riding destinations, and places to eat. The only restaurant I really want to go to is Salt Lick BBQ outside of Austin because I was too young the last time I went there to know what good BBQ tastes like.

    Here's the route (2 pages)
    NY <-> CA Cross Country - Google Maps

    Part 1
    [​IMG]

    Part 2
    [​IMG]

    My current ride is a mostly stock 2007 CBR600RR with ~7500 miles that I keep up with maintenance. I have a fresh pair of PR2's put on this winter that should last for the duration of the trip. I've done all day rides on the CBR, but it's obviously not the most comfortable choice. Like I said earlier though, no time like the present.

    For luggage, I have a set of Nelson Rigg saddlebags / tailbag and a Icon Urban magnetic tank bag. It should be plenty of space to pack the stuff I need except for the wedding attire. My girlfriend will fly out to California with those items.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Deciding what to wear / bring is going to be hard part for me. I'm riding through the southern states in May and coming around through the Midwest / Great Lakes region in June so hopefully weather will stay on the warmer, less stormy side. Because of the timing, I don't think I'll need to bring cold weather gear, but advice is welcome.

    Riding Gear: waterproof riding boots / gloves, overpants, JR ballistic jacket, earplugs, rainsuit, sunglasses

    Regular Gear: underarmor shirts, jeans, light windbreaker, flip flops, sneakers, long sleeve tshirt in case of cold

    Tools: Flashlight, tire plugging kit, universal screwdriver, 4/5/6mm hex keys, 10/12 mm socket, utility knife, tire pressure gauge, cable lock, disk lock, backup paper maps

    Electronics: Cell phone with plug in charger and charger wired to bike (cell phone will also serve as GPS), ear phones, camera, GoPro

    Nutrition: water, power bars, cereal bars, and food stops along the way

    Any help or tips are always appreciated. I'll have my phone with me so I plan on updating this thread along the way as my ride progresses. My first stop will be Front Royal on the night of May 19th. Hope to be able to meet some of you along the way!
    #1
  2. sparkymcgee

    sparkymcgee Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2008
    Oddometer:
    340
    Location:
    Southern California
    I'm no long distance tourer, but I've done 5+ hours in rain and cold and 8 hours might be pushing it, but you know yourself better than anyone.

    One suggestion I would throw in is to consider a heated vest and heated grips. I ride with them and it makes a huge difference in the colder (or even cool) weather.

    Carry some sort of inflation device. A pump or CO2 or small compressor.

    On longer trips, I carry a tinted as well as clear visor. An alternative is to put sunglasses on under the helmet, but I find that uncomfortable.

    I also carry my Spot if I'll be anywhere remote in case I go off in a ditch and need to alert society.

    Have a great ride and take it slow and careful.
    #2
  3. thetourist

    thetourist Just passing thru

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2005
    Oddometer:
    5,743
    Location:
    Moscow, Idaho
    Welcome Sckill,

    If this is a first long trip, motels is a good way to go. A comfy bed and you can ride late.

    May should be warm across the south but can still be cool in the NW and thru any high mountains. Not bitter cold but cool. 40's in am and 60-70* in afternoon. The days will be getting long and you can ride a lot of miles in a day.

    The problem is your map. If you wanted the worst scenic roads in the west, you found them. You have the second worst road in OR. There are 3 bad long roads in WA, you got 2 of them. There is 1 bad hwy in ID, yup, you got it. Get off the interstate. Two-lane hwys are, for the most part, fast in the west. Usually 65mph speedlimint and low traffic.

    You are bombing past a dozen National Parks. For instance, entering AZ. A bit north and you could visit Monument Valley, and Canyon de Chelly.

    The east side of the Sierra is much better riding, in my opinion. Vegas to Death Valley and cross west thru Yosemite.

    North out of Frisco and NE thru Crater Lake area or right at Red Bluff thru Mt Lassen Park and hwy 395 north.

    Boise to Idaho City to Stanley and Salmon. Sets you up for a view of Yellowstone and SE into CO or east thru MT.

    Turn off the Google/GPS and get out an old fashioned atlas. Lay out a route avoiding Interstates and cities in bold print.
    #3
  4. madeouttaglass

    madeouttaglass Awful Kanauphyl

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2009
    Oddometer:
    4,204
    Location:
    The Lost Coast of California
    Hi Sckill, Welcome to ADVRider. Do yourself a huge favor and listen to the advise of The Tourist. He will give you very good advice. Here is a link to my thread that covers a lot of your part one. I'll be doing it a month before you.:
    http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=754876
    The guys on www.Pashnit.com can also help you with much of your west coast planning with pictures.
    Have a ball, Tom
    #4
  5. Angry Wookie

    Angry Wookie Running On Fumes

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2007
    Oddometer:
    258
    Location:
    The most wretched hive of scum and villainy aka DC
    Riding a CBR across the US! You are a far braver man than I. :lol3
    Unless you're pressed for time going north from San Francisco I would avoid I-5 and stick to Hwy 1 and 101. It's both scenic and twisty and far more exciting then interstate. Also you might want to think about dropping farther south from Salt Lake City and riding I-70 through the Rookies, it's actually a very scenic interstate and will help you avoid the wonderful crosswinds of Wyoming.

    With the clothing try not to over pack. If you're planning to meet up with people along the way I'll bet they have a washer and dryer you could use. Even if they don't, you're riding cross-country, a certain amount of stink is expected :rofl It took me more trips then I care to admit to whittle down my clothing to just the essentials. But it opens up more space for tools and other spare parts you'll want to bring with you.

    The best advice I can think of is don't feel obligated to stick to your route/plan. Trips don't get good until you're completely lost. Have a great trip!
    #5
  6. Sckill

    Sckill Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2012
    Oddometer:
    303
    Location:
    Cumming, GA
    bunghole - thanks for the tips. I'm carrying a tire repair kit with CO2 cartridges and I have sunglasses that fit comfortably inside my helmet. I also have a tinted shield, but I'd rather just go with the glasses so that I don't have to worry about carrying 2 shields around. Will have the phone with me and looking into spotwalla so friends and family can track me as I go.

    thetourist - this is great! I still need to superslab it though for parts of the trip past Texas in order to make it California on time for the wedding, but I'm going to add a stop in Flagstaff, AZ to break up one of the longest segments of the trip and so that I can at least ride up towards the Grand Canyon. Monument Valley is a bit too far and the east side of the Sierra Nevada mountains won't be feasible because I want to ride the PCH. Definitely going try to fit in Crater Lake into the route and maybe stop in Bend, OR instead of Eugene, OR. I'm visiting my cousin and his family in Tacoma though so I can't go too far east yet to 395. Planning on meeting some riders out in Pocatello, ID so going up through Salmon will be tricky if I want to be able to spend any time around Pocatello. I'm on a sport bike too, so I have to balance going out on the far out scenic route against the availability of gas.

    madeouttaglass, sethsquatch - thanks for the tips. I've also heard about the Wyoming crosswinds. Is it a year round thing or will they be still strong in June? My only motivation for going through there was so that I could cross it off the list of states. Perhaps I could take a small detour into Wyoming after stopping in Pocatello on my way down to SLC and then taking I-70 from SLC to Denver.
    #6
  7. Angry Wookie

    Angry Wookie Running On Fumes

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2007
    Oddometer:
    258
    Location:
    The most wretched hive of scum and villainy aka DC
    Anytime I've ridden or driven across Wyoming on I-80 there has always been crosswinds. Nothing so bad that it prevents me from getting through it but if I can route around it I do. Don't worry, even if you miss the wind in Wyoming you'll be getting lots of it going through the Midwest :lol3

    Oh before i forget if you enjoy live theater and do take I-5 up to Oregon you might want to check out Ashland OR. It's a cool little town with an old school open air Shakespearean theater. Also for roads you might want to look at Hwy 36 http://www.pashnit.com/roads/cal/Highway36.htm it's one of the better roads I've been on.
    #7
  8. madeouttaglass

    madeouttaglass Awful Kanauphyl

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2009
    Oddometer:
    4,204
    Location:
    The Lost Coast of California
    xx
    #8
  9. Sckill

    Sckill Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2012
    Oddometer:
    303
    Location:
    Cumming, GA
    Thanks for the replies. Some tweaks to the route:
    NY <-> CA Cross Country - Google Maps

    - Added stayover in Flagstaff, AZ so I have time to visit Canyon de Chelly and the Grand Canyon
    - Making a detour from the PCH in Santa Cruz to ride Skyline Blvd
    - Split the trip from SF to Eugene, OR into two days so I can ride 1 / 101 all the way up to Crescent City and cut over to Crater Lake
    - Shortened the stint through WY to avoid the cross winds and going through I70 to get from SLC to Denver
    - Added an excursion down to Ozark National Forest on the way back home so I can cross AR off the list

    How do you guys handle chain maintenance on the road? I'm bringing a can of spray on teflon lube with me, but what else should / can I do?
    #9
  10. Eyes Shut

    Eyes Shut See no evil

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2007
    Oddometer:
    2,376
    Location:
    Santa Barbara, CA
    Hi Sckill -- Just a couple of suggestions:

    -Bring a heated vest (or jacket) and have heated grips, as suggested by Bunghole. You may be riding in California in May/June, but the coast is frequently foggy and cold.

    -Don't forget a swimsuit, so you can take advantage of hot tubs/swimming pools when you are staying at a motel.

    -Crater Lake may not be open in May or early June. Check their website before you go there.

    -If you like beers, there's a couple of brewpubs in Flagstaff that you might want to check out: Flagstaff Brewing Company, and Beaver Street Brewery:
    http://www.flagbrew.com/
    http://www.beaverstreetbrewery.com/

    Your trip looks great! Have fun!
    #10
  11. Sckill

    Sckill Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2012
    Oddometer:
    303
    Location:
    Cumming, GA
    Swimsuit - check.

    I'm usually fine without heated gear since I'll have multiple base layers on.

    Thanks for the tip on Crater Lake, I'll be sure to check on that and also check for any road closures especially going from Seattle to Boise.

    I love beer. Too bad I don't mix drinking and riding :freaky
    #11
  12. eakins

    eakins Butler Maps

    Joined:
    May 29, 2002
    Oddometer:
    21,843
    Location:
    Fort Collins, Colorado
    you missed all the great roads in ID, UT & CO plus the ozark & texas hill country/big bend ???
    #12
  13. thetourist

    thetourist Just passing thru

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2005
    Oddometer:
    5,743
    Location:
    Moscow, Idaho
    I'll try again.

    From Tacoma you can head south east thru Ranier Park to hwy 12. If that is closed by avalanche go south on I-5 to 12 east then at Yakima use Interstate to Boise.

    Cayuse can close from avalanche as can Snoqualmie (I-90). I once sat for four hours within site of a crossroad. Snoqualmie is one of the busiest passes in the US. Hwy 12 will be empty. I-84 will be light traffic to empty. There is a 100 mi section of high altitude east of Pendleton, but hard to avoid given you parameters.

    A cheap Motel 6 in Ontario, visible from the Interstate.

    Turn north at Boise to Idaho City, Stanley and south thru Sun Valley. This is and outstanding bike road.

    [​IMG]


    You can bear east to Arco and Craters of the Moon. You can tour the Monument quickly in an hour to get the essence. Lunch at Pickles in Arco then south to Pocatello.

    I-15 is not bad thru ID but the traffic is obscene thru Utah, be prepared.

    there is a diagonal road from Spanish Fork to I-70. Not so scenic, but fast. Feeds you toward Moab.

    If you have time take the main hwy to Moab. Lots of roads inside the park so you can cruise it fairly fast if necessary. Head NE out of Moab toward Castle Valley and Cisco on I-70. Really nice bike road along the Colorado River.

    How many miles a day do you ride? Iron Butt Site says do big miles the first few days then your average will drop. I can average 300 a day for a long time. That would be 10 days to cross the country. You spend 4-5 days at your wedding. That leaves 4 days of sideways rides.

    The route I just laid out would add an extra 100mi and 6 hrs of rubber necking. :lol3

    If you can do a few 400+ mi days of Interstate you should have time to look around a bit. It is a shame to travel 3000mi and then pass a stunning Nat Park a 100 mi away.
    #13
  14. Eyes Shut

    Eyes Shut See no evil

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2007
    Oddometer:
    2,376
    Location:
    Santa Barbara, CA
    I don't either, but if you end up spending the night in Flagstaff...
    #14
  15. Sckill

    Sckill Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2012
    Oddometer:
    303
    Location:
    Cumming, GA
    eakins - What are the good roads in CO then? A member of 600rr.net also suggested I spend more time in SW Utah, but my objective at that point of the trip would be to make it to CA. After reading Phattyre-Phready2's Big Bend ride report, I'm not going to go out that far out of the way into the desert and dirt roads on the CBR. I am making a side trip to the Ozark though on the way back.

    thetourist - 12 looks pretty good and I put that in. Also added Craters of the Moon and Pickles to the route. Also putting Moab and 128 on the route.

    I'm trying to be conservative with the ride back home and keep 2 buffer days. I've done 300 mile days before, but never consecutively and for so many days at a time. To be safe, I'm not looking to use that extra buffer day in ID and I don't want to set myself up for a 16 hour ride either. If I encounter a setback along the way home, last thing I want to do is have to iron butt it home.
    #15
  16. bk brkr baker

    bk brkr baker Long timer

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2006
    Oddometer:
    7,064
    Location:
    The Bluegrass
    Don't sell yourself short on the miles you can do in a day. As you get into the rhythm of travel you'll find your body will accept more time in the saddle. Of course you are making it tough by the choice of mounts , but, it is what it is.
    As far as 16 hour rides , well what else is there to do ? Between sight seeing , eating and bike maintainence , riding and resting are all that's left.
    You might want to leave the cotton at home. I wear a merino wool longsleeve T most of my traveling time . It wicks moisture away , is warm when you need warmth and surprizingly cool when it's warm
    I'd lean toward being prepared for cooler temps. Even in June when you gain altitude the temps can be uncomfortably low.Also when you reach the cool air of the Pacific Ocean. The best temperture adjustment device I have is my Gerbring jacket liner. You get more warmth from far less bulk with an electric liner than anything else.
    #16
  17. madeouttaglass

    madeouttaglass Awful Kanauphyl

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2009
    Oddometer:
    4,204
    Location:
    The Lost Coast of California
    My 2 cents. I agree about the choice of mount. About 6 years ago I bought a VF1000R in Atlanta. I flew down to ride it home to NY. That bike ruined my back for a good half year and I am in decent shape and then in my early 40s. I could only ride about 250 miles a day. A few years later I bought a FJR1300 in Orlando. I rode550 and 900 mile days on that very comfortably. Your bike would kill me.
    #17
  18. Sckill

    Sckill Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2012
    Oddometer:
    303
    Location:
    Cumming, GA
    I used to have a 919 that would have made for an easier ride, but I lost that one in a collision 2 years ago. The cbr is the only bike I have now so I'll deal with it. Wouldn't trust a rental or a newly bought bike for this trip. Also wouldn't want to have any other bike when I get to places like deals gap and Mulholland drive.

    Besides, going cross country via bike by itself is already awesome. But i'm not going to deny that doing it on sportbike just makes it badass.
    #18