help newbie hit the road

Discussion in 'Americas' started by Sasha723, May 24, 2011.

  1. Sasha723

    Sasha723 n00b

    May 24, 2011
    Citrus County, FL
    Not crazy just housebound after being a cancer caregiver for 4 years and a grieving widow for 9 months. Hitting the open road from Fl to AK in early June. Need to return by 7/23 for husband's memorial service.

    I have 1400 miles (8 days) riding experience. Also have one overnight at a camp site... Feel free to have a hearty laugh now.....

    Yes ambitious, but I really need this. So any help with the following would be appreciAted.

    1. Anyone have a tried and true non- interstate route to share?
    2. Is there an alternative to Alaska that would be equally compelling?
    3. Is there a way to connect with other riders during a leg of the journey?
    4. is a satellite phone or laptop needed?
    5. Other thoughts?

    In advance, thanks for your help.
  2. JimNtexas

    JimNtexas Been here awhile

    May 6, 2008
    Austin Tx
    I'd suggest a SPOT Tracker. The extra cost tracking option is nice for your friends and family to follow you, but the basic subscription is really enough to save your life if you need help outside of cell tower range. And you'll be out of cell tower range a lot.

    You can get them at Best Buy, Amazon, or any of the big sporting goods stores.

    Sounds like a great trip!
  3. rockmurf

    rockmurf IBA #31100

    Feb 27, 2006
    I am leaving end of may/beginning of june from Bradenton, not sure the route or timetable but must be back by end of June. May do AK or just head home.
  4. rufusswan

    rufusswan Been here awhile

    Nov 16, 2007
    Branson MO

    Ain't saying you couldn't go to AK with so little experience, but, you don't need an extreme journey, just a journey. The USA is so damned large that you will never cover the lower 48. Just go somewhere, then go somewhere else.

    If you want to make "contact" while on the road, take a smart phone or laptop, start a thread at ADV or a blog somewhere.

    Just go. Relax. Ride.
  5. mnesci

    mnesci Adventure Dad

    Mar 27, 2010
    Wherever I may roam
    I also agree that a trip for a newbie from Florida to Alaska is quite a haul. It is doable for anyone, but experience is so helpful when taking a long trip. Before you venture that far you might want to do a few 3/4/5 day trips to see if you have the right gear/bike for the job. If you plan on camping, there are so many things you need to bring along with you. You dont mention what type of bike your riding.
    Either way, enjoy yourself and I hope you find what your looking for. Take your time and have a great trip wherever you go.
  6. mnesci

    mnesci Adventure Dad

    Mar 27, 2010
    Wherever I may roam
    I should have read your post better. I see you have a new Guzzi(nice choice). I hope you ahve hard bags(wet in alaska). Take a trip to the grand canyon. Very nice. On the way ride thru Colorado and take 550 up to I70 and go across to Rocky Mountain NP. All I can say is WOW! Some great roads and things to see out west.
  7. 8thdwarf

    8thdwarf perfect,just perfect

    Sep 10, 2010
    Ventura Co. CA

    I know the feeling.... having been a care giver for 7 years before my wife of 33 years passed away. I know the flee syndrome and it's defiantly a " must do" for your mental state..... it's seems like a long journey and maybe that's what is called for .... IMO keep your options open as to your destination. if AK works out, fine, but don't be so regimented that you feel like you have to go there.... after all, you just got out of a regimented routine now is the time for YOU..... BTW... West coast is awesome and the journey here, from there, is what it's all about...

    enjoy your trip... sounds wonderful...
  8. Lone Rider

    Lone Rider Registered User

    Jan 29, 2002
    out and about
    It's nothing but a long road.
    No scary unknowns.
    The little things will be learned along the way.
    Tourist road maps

    You'll want good wet weather gear.....and money to feed the gas tank.
    Go for it.
  9. Uglyprimate

    Uglyprimate UglyPirate

    Jul 18, 2006
    Fort Whine Indiana
    Alaska is not an "extreme" trip.

    It's just several weeks of daily trips all connected.

    I'd ride local from now till July and leave after the memorial.

    Like, have the bike packed and leave after the last handshake.

    If you leave now, you have 3 weeks up and 3 weeks back.

    If you leave afterwards, you have till the first snowfall to leave.

    In the next 6 weeks, you can discover anything from Florida to Maine or to California.

    Unless you plan to sell the bike after just one trip, always give yourself a reason to have another.

    1400 miles is enough experience to understand yourself and your bike. You will need to plan for tire replacement, oil service etc...

    A laptop is not required, but will certainly make little stupid things really easy. (like a hotel reservation)

    Most importantly, go when you are ready. Don't rush out just because you "can", go because you "want".

    Alaska ain't going anyplace soon.
  10. Alcan Rider

    Alcan Rider Frozen Fossil

    Sep 29, 2003
    Over the rear wheel
    Understandable. You need this.

    Not at all, we all had to start somewhere. By the time you return, you will be highly experienced at riding and camping - and better for it.

    Might suggest that rather than a route, you would prefer just a general direction, changeable on a whim, or because of weather forecasts. Some suggestions at the bottom of this reply.

    Judging from the number of riders we see up here every year :D - no.

    Check out the "Tent Space" list. As you get farther from population centers, it's easier to make contact with other riders going your way just by stopping at the same viewpoints, attractions, etc.

    As others have suggested, a SPOT tracker would be nice. In conjunction with a Spotwalla account, it would give you a permanent record of your traveled route. Since this is your first foray into travel of this type, you will have a lot of thoughts to capture for future reminiscing. The laptop will help with that. With no tight schedule, you can take the time to keep an electronic diary with each day's events noted while they are fresh in your mind. It might be a good idea to have a compact external hard drive to back up everything, since carrying a laptop on a motorcycle can, at times, lead to problems.

    Others will have their own, very good, suggestions - but for starters I would suggest riding north a little way and touring the Blue Ridge Parkway from east to west. From there, work your way west. Take a look through the thread Pictures From The Great Plains to get some ideas of scenic places to visit as you travel. Small towns in Midwest farm country are great places to stop and visit with locals.

    Work your way up to the Black Hills. Great roads, beautiful country. Then west into Wyoming and over the Big Horn mountains. Whenever I have the opportunity, I'll do at least one of the passes - Powder River Pass on US-16 between Buffalo and Worland with Ten Sleep canyon to enjoy, or Granite Pass on US-14 with great twisties on the east side between Ranchester and Burgess Junction, as well as more of the same going down into Shell Canyon on the west side - after the obligatory stop at the top to view Shell falls.

    After that, over to Cody, WY and from there to Yellowstone, then back northeast to ride over the top of the world (or so it seems) on Beartooth Pass. OR... if you don't feel like fighting the crowds in Yellowstone, just turn north from Cody and ride the Chief Joseph Hwy to get to Beartooth.

    Once you're out west, there are so many choices. If you're still thinking of Alaska, you could hit Glacier Nat'l Park along the way, followed by Banff and Jasper Nat'l Parks in Alberta... OR... continue on west to Missoula and turn down US-12 to ride the lovely sweepers along the Lochsa River after topping Lolo Pass. The North Cascades Hwy across northern Washington state would give you plenty to see, as would many of the highways in Washington and Oregon. Then there is the Pacific Coast, with hundreds of miles of scenic highways.

    By the time you got that far, you would have a pretty good idea of what you were aiming for, and could lay out a pretty good itinerary for yourself. But you had better watch out - this kind of traveling can become addictive all too easily. :wink:
  11. Sasha723

    Sasha723 n00b

    May 24, 2011
    Citrus County, FL
    Final count down... a week until departure. Thank you to each and every one who took the time to share your wisdom. It is appreciated more than you know.

    One last ?...ok there may be more

    Personal security... tAser or no taser?
  12. 243Win

    243Win Been here awhile

    Jan 21, 2008
    Port Orchard, WA
    Your bear spray will be more than adequate for any encounter.

    You'll have a great time, I did my first solo trip after getting layed off from a position I'd held for twelve years and it did wonders for clearing the mind and learning new things about myself.

    Wave at the folks at the next campsite and park where folks can see your license plate -- "You came all the way from X on that? Wow!" Great for getting to meet the folks around you.

    Don't travel with a strict itineray, just go in the direction that seems right at the time and it will be an amazing trip.

  13. old2wheeler

    old2wheeler Former nÔÔb

    Feb 16, 2008
    La Veta, CO except for the wind, it'd be heaven
  14. High Country Herb

    High Country Herb Adventure Connoiseur

    Apr 5, 2011
    Western Sierras
    It sounds like a great trip. Have you ever read Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintanence? 90% of it was great, I just didn't like the ending.

    I second the advice about being flexible on your route. Keeping out of storms will be a lot nicer.

    As far as self defense, the bear spray will serve you well for bears and humans alike. You should definately spring for the hip holster, though. It will do you no good in a backpack.

    You may want to travel across the southern US on your way out (while its still cool), and the northern part of the country on the way back. I did the western US last year. The rock formations of southern Colorado and Utah would be great in cool weather, while Yellowstone, Rocky Mountain National Park, and Mount Rushmore were unforgettable in the north.

    I hope you post about your experiences when you get back!
  15. Whip

    Whip Onward through the fog

    Mar 28, 2005
    San Antonio Tx
    Sounds like a wonderful adventure.

    You will come back stronger and ready for whatever this world deals ya.

    Good Luck

    PM sent
  16. cinghiale

    cinghiale Been here awhile

    Oct 22, 2006
    rainingham, WA
    My two cents. Lots of places to ride and things to do. Rode Alaska last year in June great trip and only had 5 days out of 18 with rain. But I think for your first long trip I would stay in the lower states. So much to see in the southwest, warm weather and the bugs are a lot smaller. Grand Canyon to the Badlands to Moab to Mono Lake fantastic riding country all across this land. Lots of motorcycle shops just in case of problems. Then, next year head to Alaska.
    Just my thoughts. It's the way I trained my wife to ride her first year.

    Good luck and have fun
  17. preacher dan

    preacher dan Been here awhile

    Jun 27, 2008
    phx az
    What ure lookin for may not be in alaska but in yourself find that first and alaska will be much sweeter..have a wonderful experience....
  18. Primal Haj

    Primal Haj Looking for Mecca

    Sep 1, 2009
    Southwest Montana
    When purchasing the Bear spray make sure it is labled Bear spray, or you won't be able to take it through Canada. There is a brand of Bear spray labled Counter Assult which since it isn't specific to bears is not allowed in Canada.

  19. The Flounder

    The Flounder Adventurer

    Feb 16, 2009
    Cold Lake Alberta
    I read too much stuff just do it and you'll be fine.
  20. Truenorth2005

    Truenorth2005 Been here awhile

    Apr 28, 2010
    Western Manitoba
    How did your trip go? I hope you found what you were looking for. A short update maybe?