Hardest Part of a USA Cross Country Trip?

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

  1. NoVa Rider

    NoVa Rider Long timer

    Nov 6, 2006
    I believe I wrote that this was a post in another thread, and that "SOME MAY APPLY TO YOU." :wink: Or may not. :rofl

    That being observed, carrying an ezpass can't hurt, and can save time if the interstate option is taken on the fly. :thumb
  2. ride4321

    ride4321 Long timer

    Dec 21, 2009
    Binghamton, NY
    Did a 7200 mile/20 day trip a few years ago. My regrets were few but I wish I'd had more time to check things out along the way. Your mileage is similar so you'll be in the same situation. Pretty much moving all the time. I camped mostly but when I had a motel room with wifi I occupied myself updating my ride report, this is a great way to kill the evenings. I'd upload photos when I stopped for lunch also. I have a camelback and highly recommend riding with one. Weather is what it is. You have no control over it other than to pack rain gear. It makes the ride more interesting.:evil
  3. achtung3

    achtung3 Long timer

    Mar 6, 2010
    Central Coast California
    I did a 7500 miles in 21 days camping, and it was a bit too rushed, I really think that a 300 miles per day it would be the best.

    Being hydrated is one of the most important thing I found, and also make sure that you have protein breaks to keep your mind sharp, don't overeat at your meals.

    I have a rule made that I stick to it, NO RIDING AT DAWN AND NO RIDING AT DUSK.

    Enjoy your ride.
  4. Dewey316

    Dewey316 Been here awhile

    May 22, 2009
    I'll say the same thing other have said. Hydration. Even knowing that, I sometimes find myself not getting enough water in me early and that will catch up to you.

    I would suggest some small rehydration gel packs. They pack super easy, and really help. I have found that when I start to get tired or lethargic, that caffeine isn't the answer, it happens from dehydration. Something that helps get the water to work faster is the way to go.

    You can usually find them at bicycle shops or places like that (I think the brand is called GU). The ones I have started using are these. I would suggest getting something like it, and pack a few of them in your tank bag, and if you start feeling tired or drowsy in the middle of the day, some gel and some water, and you'll be surprised how fast you come back.


    I have found the gel and some water get into my system and gets me going again faster than gatorade or just water. Its cheap and easy to have it on the bike as an option.
  5. RockinTheRVA

    RockinTheRVA Been here awhile

    Oct 29, 2012
    Central VA, USA
    I wanted to take the time to read every single post. Addressing every point I can remember, here are some thoughts:

    -Bike Shorts, got em! butt-savers
    -Cramp Buster, very necessary
    -Proper eating works wonders, agreed!
    -Handlebars - these are Road Mediums, very close to stock!
    -Windscreen(short) - takes some variability out if weather conditions arise
    -Seat - haven’t had a problem with the 919 seat yet up to 450 miles
    -Earplugs – recently discovered, I’m a big fan for longer trips, reduces fatigue

    I really like and appreciate the advice given. To help with the ‘enjoying each location’ concern, I like the idea of riding as long as possible early on to get out towards Colorado quickly. I have a quick 250 mile day after work to get to family's house in WV, then it's off towards Colorado bright and early. I have ridden over 400 miles in a day so it’s a possibility. I think I should make it a goal to get to CO as quickly as possible(while having fun) then sight-see and take it easy from there until it’s time to head back.

    I liked the question "What is the purpose of this trip?" I think that's a very important question, and a good purpose helps keep up the energy level. My purpose so far is to see as many things as I can that I haven't seen before and to just enjoy the ride. I had a similar purpose heading to Vermont, and learned a few things about what I enjoy and don't enjoy(i.e. cold weather is my enemy). I think the meat of this trip will be seeing what lies beyond Kansas. I'd love to see some beautiful landscapes and get a feel for the western states. I want to know what it's like riding across the desert and plains with no buildings, houses, etc in sight. I’d love to spend an extra day in Colorado just to do a big sightseeing loop(plus, my wife will be on business in CO during this time!). Finding a good purpose for doing such a long distance in a constricted time is definitely a challenge, and I will keep pondering this question as I plan.

    Up until next summer I am asking some good friends if they’d like to join for the trip, but I am keeping in mind that this will likely be a solo trip. I believe riding solo, and more importantly spending the evenings solo, will be the most difficult part of my journey. I am a friendly person and love to meet new people, but sometimes you can just find yourself in an anti-social place! In one way, I think the feeling of having this experience to myself and taking it all in will help me grow as a person. I believe such experiences are rare, and can build a lot of character. On the other hand, riding with a close friend is a guaranteed fun social experience at every stop. The trip is on either way, I’ll just have to be ready for that challenge if it arises. Of course, if some inmates want to show me a fun time in their hometown that’d be a fantastic way to spend an evening or two!

    If some care to take a look at my very-rough draft of the route, here it is:
    *Colorado is a must, San Diego/Tijuana is general western destination.
    *Yes, would love to do the Mexico section, as I do speak Spanish. Just a very small taste as it somewhat follows my route.
    *Another taste of the Blue Ridge Parkway on the return trip to keep it interesting

    In the essence of this section of the forum, let’s just keep this thread about the challenges of a cross-country ride and how best to plan a trip around them. I’d love to hear advice and recommendations for detours as I start planning more early next year.

    Here’s the steed at Lake George sans windscreen:

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  6. ride4321

    ride4321 Long timer

    Dec 21, 2009
    Binghamton, NY
    Take the mileage on that map and tack another grand on for good measure. You'll be site seeing and it's easy to put 100 miles on just riding around any given national park.
  7. mikegc

    mikegc Long timer

    Sep 29, 2008
    High Point, NC
    RockinTheRVA, you've gotten plenty of great advice, particularly from NoVaRider. I've done CC rides many times, summer and winter. For your ride, do the back roads near Junction City/Manhattan, KS and, after that, jump on the slab to leave the rest of Kansas in your rear view mirror. I've done the back road routes north and south of I-70 and there is nothing to see. Oh, you get a few small towns and all that but, dang, it's Kansas. The front range of Colorado ain't much, either. Usually, I leave Kansas City around 5:00AM and spend that night in Denver.

    For summer travel, I really recommend Sliver Eagle cooling vests: http://www.silvereagleoutfitters.com/categories/Cooling-Vests/Classic-Cooling-Vests/. They work.

  8. Noone

    Noone Long timer

    Aug 23, 2009
    Sitting at a Cross Roads lookin' for a sign
    Drink before you get thirsty, eat before you get hungry, sleep before you get tired. You will make more mileage on your first two days out and then that will drop to an average you find comfortable. Unless you have to be somewhere, don't over plan or it becomes a job not a vacation.

    Plan for wet, cold, dry and hot. You don't have to take everything you own, there are laundro-mats and Wal-Marts everywhere. Have water and snacks with you.

    Enjoy your ride.
  9. Jim Moore

    Jim Moore Long timer

    Dec 24, 2001
    Jax, FL
    If you don't absolutely, positively HAVE to go to San Diego, don't do it. San diego is a beautiful place, but it kinda screws you time / day wise. If it were me I would haul ass to Denver on the slab (three days?) then do 200-300 miles a day for the next ten days in Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, and northern Arizona. You could easily spend weeks there, but ten days would be a good start.

    Then haul as home and start planning a trip to California.

    What are you going to NOT enjoy? Nothing. Every goddam minute is going to be awesome.
  10. Jnich77

    Jnich77 Been here awhile

    Aug 22, 2012
    Orlando Fl
    Go from a 16 to a 17 tooth front sprocket. Best 35.00 you can spend. Takes care of some of the "buzz" the 919 is famous for.
  11. ibafran

    ibafran villagidiot

    Apr 16, 2007
    pretty good advice all around. I crunched the original numbers, miles divided by hours and got a 52mph average. That's pretty fast for back roads keeping in mind that you have no special knowlege of an area and that all 'blind' turns will be blind. That kind of speed precludes having conversations with interesting people that you meet along the way. What happens when you want to take the 2-3 hour park/museum/trail walk/tour? Nothing the matter with taking a 'riding' tour and foregoing lots of scenic stuff as long as you are comfy with the decision.

    I a cuppla weeks, I will be going to CO from IL. I will do big miles with no stops to get there and back. But while in CO, I will do maybe only 150 miles per day and see&do all the stuff possible. Every state has lots of stuff. A Gazeteer for just about any small area will have so much stuff that you can fill 2 weeks and see maybe 3 counties.

    There will be a lot of things that you will hate on such a trip. And, of course, a whole bunch of stuff that will be great. I would try to have as many options as possible. Perhaps the biggest would be 'cut-out' places where if you get behind schedule, then you can get on the slab for a while and get back on schedule even though you have to miss a few places.

    Just two of my pet peeves for any trip: Never taking enough pix. And not keeping some sort of ride notes/journel. And each day that slips by without me noting it in some way saps my fun factor.

    Have a good trip and let us know how it went. That's all you can do. Take the time to pause as you can and let your soul catch up to your body. Carry some easily reached hard candy (mindful of varmint country) just to have something to share with people whom you meet. Recently, I was in a small town that was jacked up traffic wise with a parade. At a long wait with another biker in the same chance, it was really good to be able to share some candy and conversation.

    Your note says that you are moteling it. Pack your swim suit and take advantage of the hot tub by the pool. Some rural motels offer discounts at the local diners and a coupon for a free drink in the local bar. Ask for that stuff. Most motel clerks know the best thing about their little town and what to do for the one nite that you will be there. If you have never been to a town meeting in a very small town, go to one. Same thing for a H.S. sporting event in a really small town.
  12. Sox Fan

    Sox Fan SoxFan

    Apr 26, 2007
    Southeast Michigan
    This thread makes me want to take a whole summer off and ride all over the country.
  13. Mat

    Mat Long timer

    Apr 2, 2008
    Never be afraid to skip a part and use the highway if it means you have more time somewhere you enjoy! You can always come back to see missed parts, but if you try to see everything you end up not having really seen anything. Try to somewhat control the urge to always move on.

    That said, I once spent 4.5 weeks only on the Colorado Pleateau (mostly Utah, in a car and only camping), and it wasn't nearly enough time. It is probably the most beautiful area I know, and I have seen a few places in the world. Might be worth a thought, but be careful and think of the paragraph above :)
  14. Okie Preacher

    Okie Preacher Long timer

    Aug 11, 2010
    In the middle...
    Start early, quit early. When traveling my goal is always 300 miles before noon. With that under your belt, the rest of the day becomes relaxed and flexible.

    Others have mentioned good earplugs and I can't agree more. Killing the wind howl in your helmet will markedly reduce your fatigue.

    A 3G Kindle or IPad is a great travel aid as it will find you the best place for breakfast and interesting side trips and stuff to see!
  15. Chisenhallw

    Chisenhallw Avowed Pussbag

    Feb 15, 2007
    I've narrowed it down to 'earth'. Or 'Baltimore'.
  16. Jamie Z

    Jamie Z Long timer

    Oct 17, 2006
    Denver, more or less.
    I've modified your route slightly in my area... namely across Mississippi.

    It's really flat. There's not a lot to see or do. I've extended your route north to catch the Natchez Trace Parkway and follow it as far as Tupelo, birthplace of Elvis Presley. The Natchez Trace can be a bit boring. It's got a slow speed limit and it's not particularly curvy, but there are lots of historical places to stop and see.


    If I were to go crazy on your route, I'd move it north of I-40 in Arkansas. There are some really great roads in the northwest quadrant of the state. Your route has you in the southern part of the state which is rather flat. Lots of agriculture.

  17. rocker59

    rocker59 diplomatico di moto

    Mar 24, 2004
    The Trans-Mississippi
    "average distance per day 368 miles"

    On a trip like this, I would plan a two or three 800 - 1000 mile days offset by a few 0 miles days.

    Slab it through densly populated areas. Slab it across some of The Plains. Take more time in The Rockies and in The Sierras.

    Heat will be an issue in the summertime in The Plains and in Arizona/SoCal desert areas. Ride at night or during the morning there, if the temps are triple digits. It will be humid in The Southeast.

    Out West, even on 2-lane roads, you can make really good time. Traffic is light and speed limits are higher than they are East of The Mississippi.

    You're missing some of the best riding in the country if you skip The Arkansas Ozarks. (Northwest Quadrant of The State). There ain't much to See in Pine Bluff. :eek1

    Google Map Link El Paso to Memphis via Talimena Drive and Arkansas' Ozarks.
  18. MotoTex

    MotoTex Miles of Smiles

    Jul 6, 2009
    Tool Shed
    A couple of years ago I did a trip out to your neck of the woods from Texas. Covered about 4000 miles in ten days. Three of those days had no riding.

    Here's what I would offer (some of which has been mentioned):

    • Comfortable seat. If Seat Concepts make a foam/cover kit for your ride, get it.
    • Bicycle shorts. If your underwear has a seam between you and the seat it will become a torture device on about day three.
    • All weather gear. Be prepared to ride comfortably in bad weather. My return trip was through the trailing edge of the storm that devastated the South with tornadoes around Easter of 2011. I rode in rain for three days straight and was comfortable because I had boots, gloves, and a rain suit that kept me warm and dry.
    • Bluetooth Intercom. I like the SENA brand. Can sync to GPS and/or phone to play music, audio books, and to hear the turn by turn if your GPS supports it. This really helps on the long hauls.
    • Rest Days. Plan to take a full day off a couple of times during the trip. Choose an interesting destination, or stop to visit a friend for a day.
    • Hydration and Nutrition have been mentioned. Very important to eat light and drink heavily. :evil Water, supplemented with some electrolyte drink. Too much Gatorade or other will create problems. Water is always your friend.
    • Plan Fuel Stops. Once you get further West you need to plan your day accordingly as your range may not allow you to pass that station in favor of the next one.
    Have a great trip!
  19. rocker59

    rocker59 diplomatico di moto

    Mar 24, 2004
    The Trans-Mississippi
    Good advice right there. :thumb
  20. dirty_sanchez

    dirty_sanchez Dirty_Sanchez

    May 8, 2006
    Louisiana, Baton Rouge
    I agree, can't believe the OP isn't passing through AR on the northern half of the state or down for a cheeseburger and sliver of buttermilk pie in Oark:cry

    Such is life, and such is Mango.