Hardest Part of a USA Cross Country Trip?

Discussion in 'The Perfect Line and Other Riding Myths' started by RockinTheRVA, Aug 27, 2013.

  1. RockinTheRVA

    RockinTheRVA Been here awhile

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    Location:
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    Preface – My Story:
    I am planning the longest trip yet – a loop from Richmond, Virginia to San Diego, CA and back. This will most likely be done solo, with hotels each night. This route has been planned using all back roads, not one interstate. This is not a trip planning post, just feeling for ideas of what to expect when out on the road.

    Total Distance: ~5900 miles
    Total Time on Bike: ~113 hours (per google maps)
    Days to Complete Trip: 16
    Time of Year: Summer
    Avg. Distance per Day: 368 miles
    Bike: Honda 919 with Bags, GPS, and Flyscreen

    Question:
    To those who have done trips with similar duration and mileage, what is the hardest part about making a trip like this?

    Potential Concerns:
    Mental fatigue from 16 consecutive high mileage days
    Not being able to fully enjoy each location I drive through
    Missing family/friends
    Boredom in the boring stretches(my Bluetooth music should help?)
    Things to do at night

    Obviously there are many great sights, great roads, and freakin awesome reasons to go on such a trip. However, I would love some opinions on what things I might NOT like when on this journey and how one might prepare for them.

    Thanks!
    :D<!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <w:LatentStyles DefLockedState="false" LatentStyleCount="156"> </w:LatentStyles> </xml><![endif]--><!--[if !mso]><object classid="clsid:38481807-CA0E-42D2-BF39-B33AF135CC4D" id=ieooui></object> <style> st1\:*{behavior:url(#ieooui) } </style> <![endif]--><!--[if gte mso 10]> <style> /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:10.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-ansi-language:#0400; mso-fareast-language:#0400; mso-bidi-language:#0400;} </style> <![endif]-->
    #1
  2. Scratch33

    Scratch33 you're going to feel a little pressure

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    Your two worst enemies will be weather (i.e., summer heat), and the impression you need to hurry up and forego stops in order to stick to some self-imposed timeline. My advice is to relax and be flexible regarding route and schedule.
    #2
  3. RedShark

    RedShark Long timer

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    Worst part of a CC ride ?

    Kansas.
    #3
  4. daveinva

    daveinva Been here awhile

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    In my personal experience, the worst part of a cross-country ride is getting enough time off from work with enough money in the pocket to undertake one.

    But yeah, weather's a risk, too. :evil

    My advice? It's the 21st century: buy a Kindle, or even better, an internet-ready tablet. You'll always have plenty to read at night that way (and a 3G/4G tablet has the added bonus of helping you out on the road... great way to find places to eat, scenic places to visit, bike dealers/mechanics, etc. when the fancy strikes you).
    #4
  5. Grinnin

    Grinnin Forever N00b

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    My vote for hardest is "things to do at night", but that's from my perspective as a camper.

    In a campground there are usually people walking around and saying "hi". Even parks for big RVs have some interaction.

    In a hotel most people are closed into their own room or going to a particular place (restaurant, play, meeting). People are rarely as outgoing in hotels as they are in campgrounds.

    This past June, on day 16 after leaving Maine, I was in Eagle Plains, YT. The way I wended there was just under 6,000 miles with camping each night except 2.

    I did not have burnout from mileage.
    I missed some friends a little bit -- not a biggie.
    I would like to have stopped longer at a couple of places.
    I don't find long stretches boring, but I DO find slow traffic boring.

    Even on short days I didn't stop enough to take pictures. I could have stopped more. (But I really don't like making 2 U-turns to get back to a spot that may have a better picture. I was on a motorcycle ride, not motorcycling to a photo competition.)

    I expect that someone will object to your flyscreen, but my bike had no windshield, just a few inches of plastic around the headlight. I would do it the same way again. A 400-mile day does not require 70mph.

    And remember: No matter how you do it or how pleased you are with the trip, there'll be an ADV ready to post that you did it wrong.:lol3
    #5
  6. Truckin_Thumper

    Truckin_Thumper low profile

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    the stuff in red is where you will have issues. :D
    #6
  7. Uncle Pollo

    Uncle Pollo Bad Hombre

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    go to this ^^^ guyses house
    #7
  8. txwanderer

    txwanderer Been here awhile

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    Everyone has their limits and you seem to know some of yours. 400 miles isn't a high mileage day to a lot of folks. It is a lunch run for us.

    Things to think about. Hydration and nutrition. These will keep you alert and feeling at your best. Hydration speaks for itself, if you aren't stopping every hour or two to go to the restroom, you aren't doing it right. Over doing a little is best, not as convenient, but better safe than in the hospital or crashed. Nutrition, stay away from Mc Donalds. Eat healthy and light for breakfast and lunch, don't go all out for dinner. High protein will keep longer than starch and simple carbs.

    Gear, if you choose to wear it. Well this is a long drawn out rant. Simple thing is it can save your ride and your butt. Go here for some tips. http://www.ironbutt.com/ibmagazine/IronButt_1002_62-66_Hot.pdf
    Go to the IBA main site for LD tips, they aren't just for IBA runs.

    Boredom?!? Always look forward to seeing what is over the next hill and around the next curve. You won't always want to go all the described miles every day and that is fine. Enjoy the trip that is what it is all about.

    There are plenty of social media and face to face phone and wi fi aps, if you feel better with them, by all means use them. Oh yea, get a weather app, they are great for on the fly decisions.

    Leave early and sleep well, stay away from alcohol and caffeine, they aren't your friends on an epic journey. Be flexible. Lots don't like super slabs and for the kind of trip you are talking about, I'd avoid them too. BUT,, they can be your friend if used to your advantage, like making up for time lost for sleeping in or the extra day to sight see.

    The hardest part, well you have some of it, planning. The rest is just getting off in a good emotional state and doing it.

    Remember if you are tired, stop. If you need to eat, stop. Stopping isn't failing, crashing is.

    One last thought. HAVE FUN!
    #8
  9. Jnich77

    Jnich77 Been here awhile

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    I added satellite radio on my 919 to help me pass the time on the road.

    I try to stop when I see something interesting and walk for a bit. Seems to help keep me more comfortable and interested in riding.
    #9
  10. DCrider

    DCrider Live from THE Hill

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    #10
  11. jachard

    jachard Been here awhile

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    ^^^^^ This. I'll do a light breakfast and then, if time allows, a good lunch followed by a short nap, then I'm rebooted and ready to go. Everyone is different though so what works for me might not work for you. This is where some weekend recon's to get used to longer rides come in handy.

    Have a great time!!

    Cheers, James
    #11
  12. farmboyfz1

    farmboyfz1 Adventurer

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    I did a 24 day, 6300 mile trip in 06. Wanted to do this and that and ride this and find that. I also over packed. What did I learn, .. HYDRATE and drink more water in sips than gulps, take two water bladders if in the 70 oz range or a 100 oz and a 70 oz and use the 70 oz as a reserve. Be flexible, summer time is high way construction time. Also as previously posted I didn't get enough photos either and a lot of them are once in a lifetime shots. Slowdown, speed is not your friend, get into a routine when fueling, eating, stopping for the night and pre ride check the bike every morning. Keeping an eye on mpg is a good idea too, gives an early indication of progress or potential mechanical problems. Buy Iridium plugs, they can take the abuse of elevation changes and give peace of mind.. Learn how pack, and then lay everything out and reduce by half and then reduce by half again. I can get all clothing and personals, hygiene and the little single load detergent in a 24" x 12" duffle bag. This is only for 3 days at a time, and then wash rinse and repeat. Don't fill every bag, luggage that you have. Leave room for incidentals, I picked hotels near or with laundry, tried to find ones close to wal-marts bought water by the gallon at night and filled the bladders in the morning. Continental B-fast are okay but keep it light. Travel early in the day if possible, when you stop for lunch do it kinda early if you can, less wait, keep it light. Have a snack or what ever later on and when booking rooms ask for the quietest room if possible. Loud kids and drunk parents, or drunk people like to travel too this time of year. If you want more ideas PM me.
    #12
  13. Truckin_Thumper

    Truckin_Thumper low profile

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    He has a couch to crash on, a hot shower, and a meal. :deal

    Just has to show up.

    Richmond dude......try this:

    Head west (aint going too far east), ride until you feel like stopping.....wake the next day and do it again.

    Say you have 3 weeks.

    Wander sorta lost for 2 weeks and 3 days.

    Haul ass home on the last 4 days.

    You'll thank me later
    #13
  14. oz97tj

    oz97tj Been here awhile

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    I usually have my biggest fits of loneliness in the first few days. I suppose its the transition from being at home to being on the road and being alone. That goes quickly for me though and then I get on to enjoying myself.

    As said above, campgrounds do lots to fight loneliness too. Always nice people to chat with.

    Also, I get real bored off the bike so for me the campground is nice as it gives me something to do setting up my tent and such. Passes the time better. Hotels are nice, but even a stop at a campsite every few nights is nice. Personally, I usually sleep better too as I'm sleeping in basically the same set up every night instead of a new bed and all every night. And I'm cheap as for mileage, your predictions aren't bad as I routinely go over 300 a day but depending on roads it can get tough too. As someone else said, just ride your ride and don't out too much into your self imposed deadlines as that causes stress. As for fatigue, I don't really get it either. My first few days are usually high mileage as I'm trying to get someplace and then the rest is 250 to 350 depending on roads and stops.
    #14
  15. Wout67

    Wout67 Long timer

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    Not a cross country ride, but my wife and I just got back from a 3,000 mile trip a couple weeks ago. I agree with the posters about staying hydrated. We tried to, but found ourselves completely exhausted at the end of the day especially when riding through hot, dry, deserty areas.

    Having highway pegs or an alternate foot position is helpful too. Plus, having your ass on the same spot of your seat for hour after hour can get painful. It's not something a 15 minute break can fix either. I came up with different seating positions on my bike to mix it up a little.

    Camelbaks are pretty inexpensive, and are well worth it. Loading them up with water and ice from your motel before you leave will seem brilliant 3 or 4 hours in when you have nice, cold water available without stopping.

    One thing that we did that worked out great was stopping at Subway for lunch nearly every day. They have a $4 lunch deal right now, and it filled you up with relatively healthy stuff, and you didn't get the afternoon :bore which, at 70+ miles an hour is helpful. Plus, they're everywhere.

    Ride safe!
    #15
  16. motorat

    motorat Is it raining

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    don't plan too much.
    having a route is good, having a time table is bad.
    enjoy yourself.
    #16
  17. viverrid

    viverrid not dead yet

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    These are related.

    For somebody whose sole goal is an Iron Butt mileage stat, that's not a lot of miles per day, understanding that you may be racking it up more slowly on back roads than slabs.

    But for a "vacation" sort of trip, a lot of people (like me) want to actually stop and look at things along the way. So the Q is, what is your goal, your purpose for taking the trip. A trip just to make the mileage, the route, you could do it several days quicker.

    But to see things, you might want to take longer, even a lot longer. To me, around 250 miles per day is a compromise mileage to make some stops but still keep the trip moving. Maybe do a 250 day stopping to see stuff, and then a couple of 500 mile travel-only days to make up for them? Or go outbound at a lower mileage per day stopping to see stuff. And then run for home on the return leg.

    The primary Q is, what is the purpose of the trip.
    #17
  18. Jnich77

    Jnich77 Been here awhile

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    Sadly, not an option on a Honda 919. Although I do put my feet on the frame sliders just to switch things up a bit on mine

    I have done that exact thing except I get ice from the beverage machine at truck stops, get the generic kind from Wal-Mart though. They are almost identical and 1/3rd the cost.

    I lived for about a three weeks on Subway for lunch and dinner, definitely a good choice and beats carrying the stuff needed to cook.
    #18
  19. Jnich77

    Jnich77 Been here awhile

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    any pics of the 919?
    #19
  20. Seventy One

    Seventy One Tick Magnet

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    Ride 450 miles per day and you won't have to worry about what to do at night.

    At that point, sleeping will be just about the only thing you can do.
    #20