Florida To California Early May

Discussion in 'Americas' started by chris7s, Apr 23, 2013.

  1. chris7s

    chris7s Adventurer

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    Hey guys this is my first post up in AdvRider.

    First of I just want to thank you guys for this amazing resource. I've gotten some amazing ideas lurking through this website.

    I'm a 20something college student at UF. I've been wanting to take a trip across the country for as long as I can remember. I finally have the opportunity to do it. I'm going to try to leave around May 6th ish for 6 weeks or so.

    [​IMG]


    Having lurked here, reddit, craigslist, etc, I've got it in my head to just camp and couchsurf as much as possible.I'll probably get a sleeping bag and a little propane stove thing. Maybe check into a crappy motel if i haven't showered in too long.

    The locations aren't set in stone or anything, so if I managed to get some people to tag along I'd be down to deviate a little bit.

    My few biker friends I have aren't down enough to hop on something as serious as this. So far I'm just planning the trip solo.

    I figure it'll give me an opportunity to see all sorts of things I won't get a chance to once I have to join the "real" world and work; epic scenery, skateboard random new stuff, lots of random friends along everywhere, stories, etc.

    I have a 07 Suzuki Boulevard C50 and a 03 GZ250 that I'm trying to get out of right now. I'm trying to score an 1100 shadow. Hopefully I land one with a windshield and hard saddles.


    If it sounds like something you'd be interested in.. Even just parts of it. Or if you'd like to give me your two cents of advice on things to bring, or do, or see (or anything else!) then by all means.. Also, if you're anywhere along the route and would like split some brews and share some wisdom with a younger mind.. Let me know.
    #1
  2. rufusswan

    rufusswan Been here awhile

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    Sounds like a good first trip. As a Missouri boy I'm not gonna dis our state for some nice roads, but, if you take that particular route from Denver to Nashville you have successfully skipped the nicest riding between the coastal mountain ranges. Dip down somewhere in Ks. into the Ozark Mountains (SW Mo, NW Ark) thence to Memphis. Short trip from there to Nashville.
    #2
  3. Eyes Shut

    Eyes Shut See no evil

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    Hi chris7s -- It's a little hard to tell from your map, but it looks like you have routed from Los Angeles to Santa Cruz on what - I-5?? :huh If you don't take Hiway 1 up the coast, you are truly missing out on one of the most scenic roads in the state, if not the country.

    Here's my suggestion for a Los Angeles- Santa Cruz stretch: Not sure where you are starting from in the LA area, but get onto I-5 heading north. At Gorman, head west on 138 and then take 33 south to Ojai and then Ventura. From Ventura, take 101 north and then at Santa Barbara, take 154 north and meet up again on the 101 northwest of Los Olivos. Continue on the 101 until San Luis Obispo, and from there, get on Hiway 1 and take it all the way to Santa Cruz.

    This stretch of Hiway 1 gets a fair amount of traffic, but if you get an early start (say, spend the night in the San Luis Obispo area), you can avoid much of the traffic. BUT you will also probably get lots of fog. Spring and early summer gets fog on the coast -- it's just the way it is.

    If you could link your route, we all could get a better view of your proposed route and have more suggestions, too.

    Also, get yourself a Parks Pass:
    http://www.nps.gov/findapark/passes.htm
    #3
  4. Colemanfu

    Colemanfu King of all manfu

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    Don't over think it. Bikers have been doing this for years. :deal
    Yosemite rocks.
    [​IMG]
    There is an even better collection of big trees in Arnold CA about 2 hours away (we went there first) and a great ride.
    Big Trees State Park http://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=551 You can get much closer and not a fraction of the people running from tree to tree like in Yosemite.
    #4
  5. The Opa

    The Opa Been here awhile

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    #5
  6. High Country Herb

    High Country Herb Adventure Connoiseur

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    Since you mentioned brews, you may want to make a stop at Stone Brewing Company in Escondido, CA. They have everything from light beers to their Vertical Epic series, which is close to mead. They are my second favorite brewer in California behind Lagunitas, which is another hour north of San Francisco in Petaluma. Petaluma is a cool spot, because they have the Lagunitas Brewery with a cheap motel 2 doors down, and are near Drake's Bay Oyster Company, which has the biggest and best oysters in the country, IMHO.

    Santa Cruz will be a cool stop for a skater. I grew up just over the hill from there. When you leave Santa Cruz, consider taking the long way out: Highway 9. It leads up into the redwood rain forests, complete with banana slugs and salamanders. At the top of Hwy 9 you'll find Skyline Blvd., which is the sport bike mecca for the SF Bay Area. The famous Alice's Restaurant is up there.

    Your timing is pretty good as far as the Sierra mountain passes opening. Tioga Pass (Hwy 120) is scheduled to open May 11. If there is still ice or bad conditions when you get there, just keep heading north until you find a clear pass. Each one is different. Hwy 120 is stark and rocky with huge cliffs; about as opposite from FL as you can get. Hwy 108 (Sonora Pass) is forested and rocky, with some great views of alpine meadows and lakes. Hwy 4 (Ebbets Pass) is a crazy one lane supermoto haven. That's where the redwoods are, and they have Snowshoe Brewery in Arnold. Further north, you'll find Highways 50 and 80, which are the main corridors, and pretty much open year round. Lake Tahoe is worth a look too. You can ride the tram to the top of Heavenly Ski Resort, but it is rather expensive.
    #6
  7. chris7s

    chris7s Adventurer

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    PART 1
    https://maps.google.com/maps?saddr=...oq=lake+tahoe&mra=ps&via=1,9,12,14,18&t=m&z=5
    PART 2
    https://maps.google.com/maps?saddr=...rLL9pISDmiDGWjRAoXXnngA&oq=mem&mra=ls&t=m&z=8

    Any particular routes? On that note, I'm guessing I need to find something better than google maps to map this route. That and I need to get something to hold the smartphone up in front of me on the handlebars..

    I was totally haphazard in choosing where to stop, and the routes are just google's fastest option. I'd like to avoid doing that on the actual trip since I know interstates skip a lot of the best scenery. It was pretty much "let me pick a bunch of cities that will take me on a circular path across the country and back." So there hasn't been that much thought into it. I'll definitively look into passing through arkansas.

    I changed the route based on some of your suggestions.

    Definitively planning on riding up along the coast on that stretch. I hadn't planned to that much detail the specific routes I was going to take. Definitively going to take hwy1 then. I put up the route.

    I did a funny loop thing to swing by there. Could you see if you think the route I zig zagged in the map is a good one?

    Or in addition to for sure. I might start hitting up people closer to when I'd be there I guess? I don't really know the etiquette for something like that. Originally I was just going to rely on people I meet along the way or asking for a floor on craigslist or whatever.

    I've been debating if I should dip down to san diego and then I'd be able to skate encinitas and then i'd be able to swing escondido. I think it might add too much to the trip since its so out of the way from las vegas. I guess I'm just gonna have to choose between san diego and yellowstone because I don't see myself making the trip in the time otherwise. The other thing is that I really want to avoid feeling like I'm in a rush to finish. I'll only have 6 weeks or so. I mapped the route to take hwy9 out of santa cruz though. It kind of works out perfect with the pass recommendations since I mapped zig zagging there to go through both of those.
    #7
  8. Adios Pantalones

    Adios Pantalones AdventureDeficitDisorder

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    San Diego, not Mex, but I can smell it from here.
    I would recomend looping above the Grand Canyon, hit the North rim and Zion NP rather than the South Rim.

    If you do come to San Diego there is a cool skate park right. at. the. end. of I-8 in Ocean Beach. :deal At the stop light at the end of the highway you are literally looking at the park across the street!

    Got a bunk for you here if you need it.
    #8
  9. rufusswan

    rufusswan Been here awhile

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    Routes?

    If you get down here I can help a bit, or even a beer and a camp night.

    You can pick your routes and destinations, and when roads are flat and straight, one road is as good as the next.

    From Yellowstone you're just going to be riding home, the only thing you need to decide is where do you want to cross the Mississippi.

    Straight east then down the Missouri to StL would be OK by anybody as would coming across on the southern Route 66 thru Tulsa & Joplin, or even some catty-corner way across the plains. But, 66 from Tulsa to StL exists just to mark the southern edge of the Great Plains so that folk avoid falling into the Ozark Mountains.

    The bottom 50-100 miles of MO down to Little Rock is IT. Tons of good to great roads, cross the Mississippi at or between Cape Girardeau and Memphis.

    I'd put Joplin, MO as a for-sure spot on your map.
    #9
  10. High Country Herb

    High Country Herb Adventure Connoiseur

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    If I had to choose between San Diego and Yellowstone, I'd choose Yellowstone. For one, I prefer the majestic scenery up there to California beaches. Also, the Grand Tetons and Yellowstone are much more different from Florida than San Diego is.

    If you want to visit a California micro brewery, you could visit Lagunitas in Petaluma just north of San Francisco. They have live music almost every night, and a $55 motel 2 doors down, which might be cheaper than finding someplace in San Francisco. It will also give you an excuse to cross the Golden Gate, which is free heading north.
    #10
  11. Eyes Shut

    Eyes Shut See no evil

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    For Tent Space etiquette: You can contact most folks by sending them a PM a few days before you expect to be in the area. Some people have an email or phone number, and you can use those as well. Just give them a few days notice, and that way, you will know if they will be around also. As a guest, you will be expected to provide tales of the road! :D
    #11
  12. Eyes Shut

    Eyes Shut See no evil

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    More route stuff....(thanks for linking your routes!):

    -Did you specifically want to go to Albuquerque? If not, I would suggest this route through New Mexico: From Roswell, take 380 west, then to Socorro, then 60 west to Datil. At Datil, take 12 southwest, and then go to Luna and then Alpine, AZ. From Alpine, take 191 north to Eagar, then 60 to Show Low, and then 260 to Payson. From Payson, head north on 87, then take 260 to Camp Verde and then Cottonwood, then head north from Cottonwood on Alt 89 to Flagstaff.

    -On your trek across Kansas, you might want to take US50 instead of I-70. Follow I-25 to Pueblo, CO, and then pick up US 50 from there. We have found the US routes to be a little bit more interesting than the interstates because you end up going through some cool little towns which are a nice alternative to the rather boring sameness of the interstate eateries.

    -In Cody Wyoming, there is a great museum, The Buffalo Bill Historical Center. Worthy of a visit if you are going through Cody anyway: http://www.bbhc.org/

    -Flagstaff has a couple of good breweries:Beaver Street Brewery and Flagstaff Brewing Company:
    http://beaverstreetbrewery.com/
    http://www.flagbrew.com/

    -The Hotel Monte Vista in Flagstaff is kind of old and funky, but it's within walking distance of the breweries:
    http://www.hotelmontevista.com/
    #12
  13. eakins

    eakins Butler Maps

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    sure looks like way too much interstate time :puke2
    and you completely missed Colorado
    #13
  14. chris7s

    chris7s Adventurer

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    I added a lot of looping around there to my route to see a lot of other nearby parks. Is the north rim a lot better? It mightn’t be a huge mission to loop both or skip the south and go straight to the north. I’ll hit you up if I swing by SD for sure.


    I’ll swing through Joplin then. I’m really thinking I might get more out of the trip if I skip Yellowstone and just head east after Yosemite. That way I can go through Colorado and see a lot more. It’s also much less out of the way so it makes the whole trip less rushed.

    I’m starting to debate skipping Yellowstone altogether (and SD) to have more time for Colorado. As far as San Fran, looking at the map, I was thinking about taking a ferry in not-free direction (because ferries are just awesome) and go over the golden gate in the free direction. I’ll check out Lagunitas.
    Could you look at this route?
    [link]
    Google maps won’t let me drag the route through 260 between show low and payson. I don’t know if there’s a road closure or if google maps is just dumb.
    That whole route you suggested looks awesome.
    Yeah Colorado’s starting to sound like a better idea than Yellowstone. Also, I’ve just been taking the fastest (interstate) route and modifying it to take the us roads to hit good stuff. None of the maps I’ve put up are final by any stretch. I haven’t done very extensive route planning.




    Thanks all of you for the input.

    On an update note, I scored that shadow I wanted. I wanted to have left Tuesday.. Unfortunately I’d been waiting on some parts for the Shadow. Just got them today. Gonna finish putting her back together with the new stuff and head out tomorrow or the day after.
    I have a question.. Florida doesn’t require me to carry insurance. If I get pulled over in an insurance-requiring state, will I be in trouble?


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    #14
  15. acejones

    acejones Long timer

    Joined:
    May 14, 2005
    Oddometer:
    5,396
    Location:
    MS. Gulf Coast
    Why wouldn't carry insurance ? If you're talking about collision, that's your risk choice. If you're talking about liability, you could be bankrupted forever if you don't have it. Not having insurance is just plain stupid.
    #15
  16. chris7s

    chris7s Adventurer

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2013
    Oddometer:
    33
    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ
    #1 I'm a 23 year old with no assets worth litigating over.

    #2 The insurance I would carry if forced to, would be $10,000 liability (FL req'd for cars). In the event of a 'forever bankrupting' lawsuit, let's say six figures (or even half of that), the amount wouldn't be dented by that insurance.

    #3 The likelihood (lack thereof) of getting into an at-fault accident where I cause such vast damage on a motorcycle.

    #4 I can declare bankruptcy, lose the pennies I have in the bank to the plaintiff, and no longer be incumbered.

    #5 See #1.

    I don't consider it "plain stupid," but thank you for your opinion.

    For the record, DMV just told me they have to go by your home state's insurance requirements if you get pulled over out of state.
    #16
  17. Eyes Shut

    Eyes Shut See no evil

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2007
    Oddometer:
    2,181
    Location:
    Santa Barbara, CA
    Hmmm, on your question about 260: I don't know if there are any road closures. We did that route in October 2012 with no problems, so maybe it's just a Google maps thing...

    North Rim of Grand Canyon is less crowded, but it's 1000 ft higher in altitude than the South rim. It usually opens in mid-May or so, but if you want to go there, check the opening date. You can actually get more views of the river from the South rim, but the solitude of the North rim has its own rewards (and the canyon views from both rims are amazing).

    Also, Yellowstone vs. Colorado: Yellowstone is one of my faves, because it has such unique features, and the animal abundance is fun to see. BUT Colorado has awesome views and roads. It probably makes more sense to spend more time in one place, such as CO, and really explore it more. Save Yellowstone for another trip (and you could visit Glacier Park, Beartooth Pass/Red Lodge in that trip)!
    #17
  18. chris7s

    chris7s Adventurer

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2013
    Oddometer:
    33
    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ
    Hey guys, so I screwed up royally. I can sit here and chalk it up to not being familiar with the new bike, having a noise-muffling full face helmet on, or a handful of other things, but really it was absurd global-scale stupidity on my part.

    I rode my bike for half an hour with the choke on. I realized it, turned it off , rode for another hour, and then realized that I had melted the living crap out of my saddlebags.

    I had a really nice leather jacket, a brand new pair of skateboarding shoes, and my cell phone charger in that bag. They were utterly disintegrated.

    I turned back home.

    About 20 minutes after turning back the bike shut off on me in the middle of nowhere and would crank but wouldn't come back on. The oil light was on and the oil measured low. I ended up getting help from some good samaritans and ended up adding about 1.3 quarts of oil to the bike. It turned on fine and rode the rest of the way home fine. The oil wasn't down any when I got home.

    A handful of questions...

    Did I damage my bike? Is it OK to clean it up and go back to doing the trip? Should I dump the oil and change it? Spark plugs?

    I suppose it's worth mentioning I'd spent a couple days before leaving just doing maintenance work to it. Spark plugs, changed most of the radiator hoses, flush and pressure test the cooling sys, replace the clutch and throttle cables, diff fluid, etc.

    How do I get this crap off my tailpipe and rim?

    What should I do about getting new saddles?

    Any other life advice or "it's OK, we all do stupid s***" mentions appreciated.

    I really <s>wanted</s> want to kick myself in the face for this. The idea of scrapping the trip crossed my mind.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    #18
  19. buls4evr

    buls4evr No Marks....

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2009
    Oddometer:
    2,318
    Location:
    Michissippi & Nuevo Mexico
    Stop for a couple days and get some new bags from Rocky Mtn ATV/Cycle. I believe you have more going on than just a choke left on though. That should have made the bike run terrible,especially at altitude, but has little to do with oil consumption or the extreme temps that exhaust underwent. Basically I would say you ran it very low on oil instead. If you pull the plugs and look at them they will tell you the story..... especially if they have aluminum on them! You have likely been working that engine in a lean condition(carbs) and running it hard. Have you been watching your oil every day? If you put in new plugs and change the oil and filter... and if it is not smoking like crazy out the pipe when cold, I would continue on my trip. Just know that you just put 50K on that engine doing that to it in addition to what it already has.
    #19