Melbourne, FL to Yellowknife, NT

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by cberry, Jul 3, 2013.

  1. cberry

    cberry Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2008
    Oddometer:
    186
    Location:
    Florida SpaceCoast
    Is it an “Adventure” when riding mostly hard surfaced roads on a 10,000 mile trip? Yes........if you’re 75 years old and riding solo. That’s just my humble opinion.

    The planned route is departing from Florida’s Space Coast on July 4th and traveling west to southern AZ to ride the Coronado Trail from Clifton northbound. I rode it southbound last year...it will be even better going north and uphill. On the way I can’t pass up the road rated #1 by “Motorcycle Roads. com”, the “Twisted Sisters Ranch Roads” in West Texas http://www.motorcycleroads.com/best/?s=75. Any inmate feedback on this choice?:ear

    Traveling north through Four Corners I’ll meander along the Rockies until heading west towards Vernal, UT, and then northwest to the BMW Rally in Salem, OR. Then it’s the Washington State BMW Rally the next weekend in Republic, WA. I have a couple of weeks to kill before the BeeCee Beemers’ Rally in Nakusp, BC, and that’s when I plan to shoot up to Yellowknife. Northwest Territory will be the ‘crown jewel’ of my little states and provinces maps. By coloring it in, I will have completed my motorcycle tour of all the continental US states and Canadian provinces (except Nunavut, which to my understanding, does not have any roads leading up to it).

    Leading up to this trip I completed the Iron Butt Association’s National Parks Tour Master Traveler GOLD Award (parks in all the states including Alaska) and then did a circumnavigation of the United States by traveling up to Newfoundland, across Canada to Victoria, BC, then down the coast to San Diego, across the southern border and Gulf Coast to Key West, and back home. This thread documents that trip http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=359662.

    For this upcoming trip the following sites will be useful: this current thread will include the daily (when feasible) Ride Report and pictures; my real time position reports every ten minutes will be available once I start my trip through my SPOT messenger beacon for a limited time at http://share.findmespot.com/shared/faces/viewspots.jsp?glId=0Ylg9Im6Yinx4J8Qo2RCVL85IXzZokDvh and my more permanent track log is available indefinitely at https://spotwalla.com/tripViewer.php?id=72dc540909b2ddf1f
    This link did not get activated until I was stopped after the first day's ride.
    #1
  2. Rutabaga

    Rutabaga Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2012
    Oddometer:
    737
    Location:
    Southeast Lower Carolina
    +1 on the yes.
    #2
  3. Goatrider_

    Goatrider_ Intrepid n00b

    Joined:
    May 27, 2013
    Oddometer:
    37
    Location:
    Freakville, FL
    My son and I will be heading along some of the same roads the same weekend you are leaving. Maybe our paths will cross! If not, have a great trip!:D
    #3
  4. Paulie

    Paulie Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2006
    Oddometer:
    394
    Location:
    UK (Upper Kuba)
    The twisted sisters are alright, worth riding if yer in the hood. But giving em #1 is a freekin joke. NFW. I'd put em in the top 25.
    #4
  5. cberry

    cberry Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2008
    Oddometer:
    186
    Location:
    Florida SpaceCoast
    From its description, I tend to agree with you Paulie. There are many others on their top 100 that I have ridden and would put them ahead of the Sisters, including the Coronado Trail.

    Tonight it's looking like the weather will severely impact my route and timing. Still planning to depart in the early AM tomorrow. Life is what you get when you plan everything out to the last minute.:rofl
    #5
  6. cberry

    cberry Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2008
    Oddometer:
    186
    Location:
    Florida SpaceCoast
    Trips across the flatlands are never very interesting in and of themselves, but today’s departure from Florida was made somewhat more so thanks to the day’s weather. A sub-tropical Low has been developing in the Gulf which has pumped huge amounts of moisture across the Pan Handle and further north into Georgia. Leaving home this morning I watched the rain build on the radar as the day progressed. I had already changed the route to maximize distance covered in hopes of getting through the rain before serious thunderstorms and possible tornadoes developed as had been forecast. The radar returns were mixed yellow and red over a wide area through which I had to travel so I decided to stop before the rain and call it a day. When I can figure out how to post pictures from my new MAC I’ll show the radar image.

    This is what I was going to have to ride through:
    [​IMG]

    Another image I want to post is one taken from the ICW overpass from the barrier island to the mainland. It was taken around sunrise and is my opening shot on this ride.
    [​IMG]

    The weather caused me to cancel my planned photos of lighthouses along the Pan Handle which I was going to add to the BMW MOA forum 2013 Florida lighthouse picture contest, but they will have to await another day.

    Not riding this afternoon, I was able to get the Spotwalla link activated so all who care to can follow along. Sorry, but there is not much that’s photographic along Interstate 10, but that will change after I leave the San Antonio area. The day’s ride came in at about 300 miles at 40 mpg, and included a major brain fart when I got on I 10 headed the wrong way! That cost me 30 miles and 30 minutes. There were about 10 FHPs doing speed enforcement along I 75 this morning coming up from Orlando to I 10. I was lucky.
    #6
  7. capnfranko123

    capnfranko123 Adventurer

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2009
    Oddometer:
    25
    Location:
    Central NY
    It's Frank that helped you get your RT off the road at the I95 exit when your final drive blew out. Which bike are you riding? Your bringing your Mac with you? Have you had any trouble with taking a laptop on road trips with the bike? I looking at a new laptop and was thinging I would have to get a Toughbook. Sounds like a hell of a trip, I'm so envious.
    #7
  8. TurboBonefish

    TurboBonefish Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2003
    Oddometer:
    214
    Location:
    Melbourne/Cape Canaveral/Orlando FL
    Well from someone who lives in the same neighborhood I very interested.
    Henry:lurk:beer
    #8
  9. lakota

    lakota Geeser

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2007
    Oddometer:
    3,462
    Location:
    Annapolis MD
    I'll be following along
    #9
  10. cberry

    cberry Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2008
    Oddometer:
    186
    Location:
    Florida SpaceCoast
    Nice to hear from both Frank and Marty. Frank, if you are comfortable with the windows OS, I would suggest you take a look at the new 13" Sony Vaio. It's smaller, lighter, and cheaper than my new MacBook Air ( which is really last year's model). Learning a new OS is a super pain. I have an older vaio and really like it. It has a mechanical hard drive, but the new ones have a solid state one, just like my Macbook. If I had only known...

    Marty, one of these days! Sorry we missed each other the other year.

    Happy Birthday to me! Seventy-five years young. Celebrating by myself in a motel room after another abbreviated ride today.:wings

    I woke without benefit of an alarm at 5AM EDT to a dry morning and a beautiful sunrise (over the motel parking lot)! Pictures as soon as I can figure out my MAC.
    [​IMG]
    Underway 6AM. The GPSmap378 is showing significant weather along my route, but west of my current position. I’ll be heading into it as the day progresses. At about 7:30AM the scattered green rain was starting to close in on me so I stopped at a nearby motel to suit up for rain. Crossing into the central time zone in western Florida I reflected on the fat that my wake-up had occurred at 4AM CDT!

    Now I’m riding in mostly green and yellow rain with occasionally some light red. This is all flowing up from the south and as I look ahead I can see much more red. I’m low on gas so I stop for food & gas. A sightseeing bus has a close encounter with my bike in the parking lot before stopping to disgorge a full load of passengers as I hurry into the fast food place for coffee and a sack, just beating the crowd.

    With only forty-some miles out of the tank I see frequent cloud to ground lightning up ahead and review my options. There’s a lonely exit coming up with only minimal services, and beyond it, the Interstate continues with no obvious close exits. So I bail out, not wanting to be forced to continue into some dark red rain (and lightning). As I exit I see a sign for NAS Whiting Field, 12 miles. It’s north of the track, but in the direction of less severe weather. I’ll play my ‘retired navy” card and see about a room. I waited under cover for an hour or so to see if the weather will improve, but it doesn't. This is it.

    Heavy rain all afternoon. Flood warnings, etc. No sign of a let-up. Spent the day drying the gear without too much success.

    Still working on the fix for my link to Spotwalla. Fixed it at 6PM CDT!:1drink

    This thread is worthless without pictures! FIXED 7/8/13
    #10
  11. cberry

    cberry Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2008
    Oddometer:
    186
    Location:
    Florida SpaceCoast
    Up at 4AM CDT. Underway shortly after 6AM. It's a relatively cool, foggy morning and the radar is showing very little activity. Yesterday’s rain is history. I’m glad I wore my rubber pants then, but not today. I did don my rain liner for the jacket, both for warmth and protection from the moisture. It’s going to be a long day, and the further west I get the sooner I get out of this rain system that has been blocking my way since leaving home. The weather will get more active as the day goes on. This is an example of the standing water after all the rain yesterday.
    [​IMG]

    It is turning into an interesting ride. As I watch the rain increase I try to time my arrival at the most benign areas and duck for cover before the heavy cells. This is very similar to navigating an airplane through active weather, only harder: when I’m on an interstate, I’m on a fixed path, no course changes until the next exit. I can only vary my speed. I made a bad decision east of Mobile to pass up the last exit before the tunnel. If I had stopped there i would have avoided heavy, dark red (level 4) rain for the long overwater highway where there are no stopping points. As it was, the tunnel was my only relief until well past downtown Mobile. My speed is being adjusted according to the following priorities: space between me and the other traffic; the radar picture, and the general movement of the storm cells; the lighter ares of rain (green or yellow); and, lastly, the suggested speed limit.
    [​IMG]

    This is what I see with my eyes at this radar stop, low ceiling, poor visibility, and fog.
    [​IMG]

    I’ve had 2 extended stops at gas stations so far, taking up space at a pump while the heavier rain moved on. This seems to be working well. A couple of other attention getters are showing up now. One’s the standing water and ponding on the road surface, and the other is the road construction...uneven surfaces, or, edge traps. It’s all good: keeping my attention on the job at hand. I’m more comfortable today without my rubber pants (really Goretex), even though I’m getting a little wet. Yesterday I still got wet, and I was much more uncomfortable.

    I make another gas stop for weather, and I see that it is beginning to clear up. I leave the radar ON during these stops so I can analyze the movement. Now I’m coming to better weather and the weather behind me has changed its direction. It has been drifting NE for the last 3 days, and now, near Lafayette, LA , its moving westward, chasing me! If I can stay ahead of the weather I won’t need another fuel stop before my destination for the night, Beaumont, TX.

    Before leaving Louisiana I stop to have a roadside chat with a Deputy Sheriff. Actually, he stopped me, and we talked mostly about motorcycles. I showed him on the radar what was motivating me to be so hasty, and we chatted a few more minutes before he sent me on my way, unmolested!

    The GPS moving time was only 6.6 hours with an average speed of 70.4 MPH, but there was 3 or 4 hours of weather delays. Still, a decent day’s run of 466 miles.
    #11
  12. HPTuner

    HPTuner Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2011
    Oddometer:
    347
    Location:
    Southeast Ga.
    'Scribed! Happy B-day, I sure hope I'm riding at 75! Hope you have a safe trip. :thumb
    #12
  13. cberry

    cberry Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2008
    Oddometer:
    186
    Location:
    Florida SpaceCoast
    After overnight in Beaumont, TX and 3 days of rain enroute to this point, I was looking forward to a day of riding without rain figuring into the equation. Underway before 6AM and heading for Bulverde, TX to visit a friend who owns the airport there. Out of the box I made my first mistake and went the wrong way, again! That cost me 10 miles and about 15 minutes this time.

    What started as a weather free trip was now turning into another day of dodging the rain. At least today it is less severe and more scattered than yesterday. I have about 300 miles to my destination and i’m going through very light showers, not requiring any rain gear. I’m stopping at the halfway point and calling my friend with an ETA. I bypass downtown San Antonio by taking secondary roads north of the city and arrive at Roxanne’s house a little behind schedule because I made a second stop to rehydrate and cool off a little. Otherwise, an uneventful ride.

    Inspecting the bike in anticipation of a pre-planned tire change at Alamo BMW tomorrow, I am pleasantly surprised to find that the tire does not require changing,, and that all the bike’s systems are functioning normally. The planned service is deferred.

    Tomorrow will be a day off, to visit with Rox and friends at the airport. The ride will continue on Tuesday morning, with a planned scenic ride through some of the Texas Hill Country to my next overnight destination. By then I hope to have figured how to post pictures from my MAC. No post tomorrow.
    #13
  14. cberry

    cberry Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2008
    Oddometer:
    186
    Location:
    Florida SpaceCoast
    Just a note. Time does not permit me to write a RR, post pictures, and get adequate rest each night. Spot or spotwalla tracking will show my progress, and I hope to be able to fill in the narrative soon. Until then it's........

    Ride, Eat, Sleep, and Repeat
    #14
  15. squonker

    squonker Eat my shorts

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2006
    Oddometer:
    4,223
    Location:
    Yellowknife, NWT
    I'll be following this one....
    #15
  16. cberry

    cberry Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2008
    Oddometer:
    186
    Location:
    Florida SpaceCoast
    Catching up is hard to do. July 8th was a rest day and welcome time spent visiting a long time friend in Bulverde, TX.

    July 9th. Up at 5AM. Prepped the bike and went to Rox’s favorite nearby restaurant for 6AM Breakfast. None of the airport bums joined us...too early. The ride over to Madina was uneventful. Of note though, were the 9 deer on and off the road within a few miles of Rox’s.

    Entering the area of the 3 Sisters there was a sign stating that 11 bikers had died since January 1st riding the roads. Fair warning! The ride was pleasant. Some tricky spots, but in general only about a 7 out of 10 when the whole ride is included. Not much space on the shoulders to stop and take pictures or sightsee. Very little tourist support infrastructure...few places to stop and eat or relax.

    Here's a pic of an interesting building in Leakey, TX, near where the ride begins
    [​IMG]

    and, here's a place mark for the area
    [​IMG]

    The ride from there on to Van Horn was hot and boring. Speed limit is 80 in this part of Texas, which does help. But its still a long way between places. No rain today. Had to stop a couple of times to rehydrate and cool the core down. Probably didn’t do it enough. Temps got up to the high 90’s in bright sun. There was a strong quartering crosswind which elevated the noise level to an uncomfortable level for most of the I 10 portion of the ride.
    #16
  17. cberry

    cberry Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2008
    Oddometer:
    186
    Location:
    Florida SpaceCoast
    Spent last night at the Days Inn. The wifi did not work reliably. Up early, on the road at 7AM with intention of going to the El Paso BMW dealer for rear tire replacement. Well, they didn’t have what I needed but were very helpful in trying to locate a source. The ‘B’ model of the Pilot Road 3 tire is out of stock most everywhere. I’ll have to settle for the ‘A’ model when I get one. That replacement is now planned for Friday on the way to Durango, CO. This issue took 2 or 3 hours to reach a point where I was comfortable enough to get back on the road. That, because of store opening times and time zone changes.

    Sunrise along I-10 in West Texas
    [​IMG]

    Early morning rest stop
    [​IMG]

    Lunch in El Paso
    [​IMG]

    Today was the first day I used my evaporative vest and it has proven very helpful. It requires refilling after less than an hour, but is really helping to keep my core cool. Leaving El Paso at about noon put me into the hottest part of the day for the ride. Chose a more scenic route that the quickest one along I 10 which was US 180 through Silver City, NM and then SR 78 across the mountains to Morenci. All of the sweat and boredom getting to that road was worth it! Route 180 is very straight and lonely, and the speed limit is only 65. Thought I’d never reach Route 78. Made multiple stops for rehydration after leaving El Paso because the air temp was in the high 90’s all the time.

    SR 78 brought me down from about 5000 feet to 3000,and the temperature increased along the way to become very uncomfortable. The road itself is an excellent surface, well maintained and lightly traveled. Lots of twists and elevation changes. I watched a mountain thunderstorm develop before the turn to 78, and with the nearby lightening I was motivated to move right along. (Read: speed limited only by road surface.)

    Radar of the approaching thunderstorm
    [​IMG]

    Top of Route 78
    [​IMG]

    Heads Up...This is going to be fun
    [​IMG]

    Just a Sample of the route
    [​IMG]

    At the bottom of Rt 78 is this interesting town, Clifton, AZ
    [​IMG]

    Rt 78 is a great warm up for the Coronado Trail!
    #17
  18. cberry

    cberry Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2008
    Oddometer:
    186
    Location:
    Florida SpaceCoast
    This route was entirely along US 191. It is the most fantastic road that I have ever ridden. What more can I say?

    Starting out from the Morenci Motel, which I must add is an excellent choice if you can get a reservation. Don’t just show up. The motel serves the many contractors who support the huge mining operation there. The mine is huge! Everything about this ride is over the top. The few pictures I have taken do not do justice to the scenery or the ride.

    Morenci Motel Display of Copper Products
    [​IMG]

    The road out of Morenci through the mine
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    To be a little more specific, the best part of the ride is from Morenci to Alpine, a distance of about 90 miles. It’s ten times “The Dragon”, which is only 11 miles long and has minimal elevation changes. The “Coronado Trail” starts around 3000 feet and rises to about 9300 feet, with many 10mph hairpin curves. In fact, a majority of the route is run in 2nd gear, with occasional 1st gear turns at the hairpins, and 3rd gear straightaways. I enjoyed this ride so much last year that I had to come back again. And, its even better headed north because the elevations are mostly increasing, allowing less use of the brakes.

    I thought this was maximum altitude, but it was not
    [​IMG]

    A good companion to Alpine for Breakfast
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Further north there are few gas stations. I was running low and preoccupied with finding one. When I did, I exited the road onto a dirt path leading to the station and quickly found the ‘sugar sand’, deep, soft sugar sand. The result was predictable. Since I was on Native American land, the Navaho Nation, two local residents were quick to help me pick the bike up and carry my luggage to the station. Just my pride was injured, the bike was fine.

    At my stop for the night, Canyon de Chelly National Monument, I rode the South Rim shortly before sunset. What a very beautiful and impressive site. The early natives here lived and raised crops on the canyon floor, and still do. Pictures do not do justice of the subject:
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    As sunset approaches
    [​IMG]

    About 331 miles today over the now usual 10 hours. I’m getting confused about the time. My bike has one time, wrist watch another, and the clerks at the stores, another. I’ve gone from CDT to MDT to MST, and back to MDT, all within a 2 day timeframe.
    #18
  19. mark1305

    mark1305 Old Enough To Know Better

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2005
    Oddometer:
    6,318
    Location:
    Merritt Island, FL
    Guess I'll have to stay tuned to this RR as another Space Coaster. :norton
    #19
  20. cberry

    cberry Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2008
    Oddometer:
    186
    Location:
    Florida SpaceCoast
    I'll be looking for you as I travel from Republic, WA to Yellowknife and return to Nakusp for the BMW rally August 15 through 18. Check my SPOT to see real-time positions.:freaky
    #20