Ride New York to California with my son this summer

Discussion in 'Americas' started by TonyBKK, Apr 19, 2012.

  1. beechum1

    beechum1 Grimace Soup

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2007
    Oddometer:
    8,750
    Location:
    Not home in Tijuana
    I would recommend getting it setup with comm as well. I find it way convenient even going for a day ride with my daughters to be able to talk to them, even just to ask how they're doing. I really like the 15, despite my previous statement about the maintenance, but you're right about 1200 parts. The main crankshaft seal under the cam net cover went on mine a few k miles ago. Luckily I know someone. We got a replacement seal not to OEM specs bit were able to mill a sleeve to make it fit. I suspect you won't be so lucky on the road.
    #21
  2. wingnut11

    wingnut11 generally strange

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2009
    Oddometer:
    751
    Location:
    Twin cities mn
    As long as you'll be in Minnesota don't miss seeing what we call the north shore. Highway 61 along the lake is a can't miss, especially during the summer. If you are coming from New York consider coming this way via Michigan and its upper peninsula. Also if you end up wanting to buy a bike here in Minnesota and need someone to go have a look and take some pictures PM me and I'll try to help.
    #22
  3. TonyBKK

    TonyBKK Secret Soi Rider

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2009
    Oddometer:
    845
    Location:
    The Big Mango, Bangkok, Thailand

    Heh heh, I'm from Minnesota originally- that's why we want to be there for the 4th of July so he can see his Grandma, uncle and cousins.

    Good times and great memories from Northern Minnesota when he was just 1-

    Gooseberry Falls
    [​IMG]

    Brighton Beach
    [​IMG]

    Two Harbors-
    [​IMG]

    I definitely plan to bring my son up to the north shore and re-visit some of the places I took him when he was a baby! I reckon it will be a good opportunity to get comfortable with the new bike and prepare for the big ride out west.

    Can't wait!
    #23
  4. TonyBKK

    TonyBKK Secret Soi Rider

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2009
    Oddometer:
    845
    Location:
    The Big Mango, Bangkok, Thailand
    Still looking at bikes- fortunately it seems there are a lot to choose from. I just want to make sure I get one that's been properly maintained and can get us out to California without any drama.

    Here are some second hand Goldwings that look good, but as I'm a noobie to Goldwings I'd sure be grateful for any feedback from anyone who might have experience with these bikes.

    1999 Honda Gold Wing $6,800, 1,500 cc, 66,175 mi.,
    http://www.cycletrader.com/listing/1999-Honda-Gold-Wing-103282641
    [​IMG]


    1995 Honda Gold Wing, $4,850, 1,500 cc, 80,500 mi.
    http://www.cycletrader.com/listing/1995-Honda-Gold-Wing-103355174
    [​IMG]
    http://minneapolis.craigslist.org/da...966507230.html
    [​IMG]
    1997 Goldwing 1500 SE, 40,360 miles, $6950

    I'm thinking that if they have full service records and all service is up to date that the bikes listed above should be good to go for a ~6000 mile ride out to California.

    What do you think?

    I'd love to hear any thoughts, suggestions or advice!

    Thanks in advance!

    Tony [​IMG]
    #24
  5. Pantah

    Pantah PJ Fan from Boston

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2004
    Oddometer:
    10,492
    Location:
    India Wharf
    I like your route A: MN> Badlands> Black Hills> Hwy 14 west from I-90 through Greybull, Cody and into Yellwstone. From there I went over the mountains west through Teton Pass to Idaho Falls, then west to Arco. From Arco went south past Craters-of-the-Moon NM to Twin Falls. Then US 93 south to US 50 and head westerly to Mono Lake. Then over Tioga Pass on Hwy 120 through the gold country to see Columbia State Park, which is a restored mining town. Then to Angel's camp to pick up Hwy 4 west to Stockton.

    I did that trip late June 2006. Weather was spectacular, but chilly mornings around Jackson Hole. I've never been to Glacier Park, but the route you planned through the Rockies is very changing all the way west.

    Nothing quite like the SD plains. Big change going over the Big Horn Mountains. The valleys between the Big Horns and Yellowsone are rugged red rock country, not unlike southern Utah. The ride south through Idaho and Nevada are starkly beautiful and quite mountainous. Mostly 80mph sweepers through the Nevada ranges. The passes over the Sierra's are mostly granite above the treeline.

    I did my trip from Boston in 9 days. I took a day to loop through the Black Hills and the national grasslands.

    I'd buy that bike in MN and begin the trip there. Once you hit the Big Horns, it's two lane all the way to Stockton or Sacramento.
    #25
  6. beechum1

    beechum1 Grimace Soup

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2007
    Oddometer:
    8,750
    Location:
    Not home in Tijuana
    asking for service records one of my first questions. If they owner doesn't have at least a cursory, perhaps even written record of services and maintenance, my price goes down by 10-25% of BB (or asking price) already. Personally, I keep all recordsd including almost all my fillups in an app on my android phone. I can lookup immediately, when, why and how much for all my work. (and I do it all myself) That was a bit of an aside there about me, but to illustrate how important records can be to me.

    Since you brought it up, and I'm glad you did, I should insist that you don't skimp on asking for records and walking away if it doesn't feel right. I obviously don't know you or how willing you are to haggle etc, so all of this advice is of course yours for taking or leaving.
    #26
  7. Eyes Shut

    Eyes Shut See no evil

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2007
    Oddometer:
    2,181
    Location:
    Santa Barbara, CA
    It's been several years since I camped in Yellowstone, so I can't advise on any specifically good for motorcycle camping. When I did camp there, the campground was segregated by "RV area" and "tent-camping area," which was nice for us tent-campers!

    What you will need to be really aware of, camping in Yellowstone and Glacier, are the "bear rules." The campground rules are very specific as to how you dispose of trash and storage of food, etc., so follow those carefully and you should be okay.
    #27
  8. holckster

    holckster dougholck

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2006
    Oddometer:
    906
    Location:
    Lodi, Ca
    Alternate suggestion is to drive, buy something you could sleep in and travel thru the hotter areas in A/C'd comfort.
    Then rent motorcycle's at various points of interest and ride for a couple days, then move on.
    Lots of moto rental locations now days.

    I realize the downside is that moto rental expense is non recoverable (nothing left to sell) and nothing beats riding for epic memories.

    If you buy a GW, might want to join the Gold Wing Road Riders Association so you have a network of folks to call on if you need assistance.
    Might even find a few free places to stay or folks to ride with.
    Don't forget the "Tent Space List" here on ADV.

    Spare room available in Norcal, 3 hours from Tahoe, Yosemite, Monterey, North Coast.
    #28
  9. TonyBKK

    TonyBKK Secret Soi Rider

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2009
    Oddometer:
    845
    Location:
    The Big Mango, Bangkok, Thailand

    Yes, I feel exactly the same and you put it into words better than I could.

    Good record keeping demonstrates a responsible owner and definitely increases the resale value of a vehicle in my opinion. You really can't be too careful with a motorcycle since mechanical failure can be deadly, and since I'll be carrying my son on the back I need to be doubly careful.

    Fortunately it seems like most Goldwing owners are older responsible guys who take good care of their bikes, but of course there are exceptions to every rule.

    From what I've read on some Goldwing sites the Goldwing GL1500 which is the model I'm most interested in is a very reliable bike. Most common problems are, no surprise, the result of owner misuse, such as the guys who wire in way too many lights and farkles and overload their stator. Lots of discussion about the timing belts- the service manual calls for them to be inspected at 100,000 miles, but doesn't say anything about replacement due to age. Since the Goldwing timing belts are rubber (not chains) most guys recommend they not be kept in service for more than 10 years, regardless of mileage. Goldwings that sit around too much sometimes have problems with gummed up carbs, but that's not too difficult to fix. All that weight can blow the fork seals, but that's easy to spot.

    I'm not much of a haggler and I'm definitely willing to pay more for a low mileage bike in good condition with records showing it's been properly maintained and service.
    #29
  10. TonyBKK

    TonyBKK Secret Soi Rider

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2009
    Oddometer:
    845
    Location:
    The Big Mango, Bangkok, Thailand
    The internet is a wonderful thing! There is so much information readily available now it makes trip planning so much easier! The National Park Service has detailed websites for every National Park and the site for Yellowstone is very well put together- http://www.nps.gov/yell/index.htm

    Complete list of all the campgrounds along with facilities makes it easy to figure out which sites are more remote and primitive and which ones are going to be full of RV's- http://www.nps.gov/yell/planyourvisit/camping-in-yellowstone.htm

    I remember when I was a kid all the warnings about the bears and how important it was to not bring any food in the tent. I'll certainly impress upon my son the same cautionary tales that were taught to me when I was his age. :deal

    We don't want to be meeting one of these fellows up close! [​IMG] :eek1

    Good lord is there any question that Wikipedia doesn't have the answer to?! :wink:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_fatal_bear_attacks_in_North_America

    Ah well, ya do what you can and leave the rest up to chance. I guess I can study up on bear fighting on youtube before we go :evil

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CVS1UfCfxlU <--- Classic!

    It can be quite humbling to be reminded that we humans are not really at the top of the food chain :norton
    #30
  11. markbvt

    markbvt Long timer

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2007
    Oddometer:
    2,823
    Location:
    Georgia, Vermont (that's one town, not two states)
    Seems awfully risky to me too...


    That may have skewed your perspective a bit. This is not Asia, and very few people use motorcycles/scooters as primary transportation. Certainly not whole families.

    Furthermore, one thing I haven't seen anyone point out yet is that you could actually find yourself breaking the law. Some states have minimum-age requirements for motorcycle passengers, and some of those are greater than 5. Some others require that the passenger be tall enough to sit with feet on the passenger pegs; depending on how tall your son is, this may limit your choice of bike.

    Even if you get the right bike and plan a route that avoids states with minimum age requirements greater than 5, be prepared to hear from strangers who think you're abusing your kid by putting him on a motorcycle, no matter how careful you may be.

    Personally, I would wait till the kid's 10 or 12 before planning such a trip. In the meantime you could always do it in a convertible car. Or at least a hack, with the kid in the sidecar. But it's up to you how much risk you want to expose your son to.

    --mark
    #31
  12. TonyBKK

    TonyBKK Secret Soi Rider

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2009
    Oddometer:
    845
    Location:
    The Big Mango, Bangkok, Thailand

    Hi Mark,

    Thank you for your input.

    We could certainly do this trip in a car but I'm not convinced there's any compelling reason why we can't do it safely on a touring motorcycle. The safety of my son is my paramount concern and I'm quite confident that with careful planning and a sober assessment of the risks that this trip can be accomplished safely.

    I expect negative comments from non- motorcyclists but am a bit disappointed to hear such criticism from fellow bikers. But it's all good, I welcome constructive criticism!

    We're all used to hearing the same old alarmist comments from non-motorcyclists who go on and on about how dangerous it is to ride a bike when in fact it's the zoned out drivers in cars, yakking on their cell phones, oblivious to what's going on around them that make the roads dangerous in the first place. If people would stop talking on their cell phones while driving and engage their brains, the roads would be safer for everyone.

    There's a great thread on advrider all about stupid things people say to bikers and our replies, but I can't seem to find it at the moment. The "Stupid questions" thread is close: http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=453338&page=334

    Life is all about risk. If riding a bike is safe enough for parents, why can't it be safe enough for our children?

    I see there's already a thread dedicated to the topic of "Children as Passengers": http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=762337

    If you like we can debate the subject further in that thread. I'd like to keep this thread focused on our trip.

    I've checked the traffic statutes in all of the states we'll be traveling and can't find any state on our route, with the exception of Washington (minimum age is 5) that has a minimum age requirement for pillion passengers. The statutes that I keep finding generally read like this:

    "No person shall ride upon a motorcycle as a passenger unless, when sitting astride the seat, the person can reach the footrests with both feet."

    The AMA site has a fantastic state by state guide to motorcycle laws (http://www.americanmotorcyclist.com/asp/amaccess/laws/result.asp?).. I've just checked all the states on our route to confirm that there are no restrictions in any of these states on carrying a five year old child passenger.

    And this is the reason I'm leaning towards the Goldwing GL1500; because it has such a secure passenger seat and the passenger footpegs can be raised 3 inches and in their top position most children should be able to reach them.

    I've ridden motorcycles with sidecars and find them quite tricky. We had this great little rig in Thailand that we used for taking my son to and from pre-school and for local errands.
    [​IMG]
    Don't worry- we ALWAYS wear helmets when we go out on the road! :deal

    Bike with sidecars handle, corner and brake completely different from a regular motorcycle and it takes a lot of getting used to. Good fun, but not something I want to take through mountain roads like this- :eek1
    [​IMG]
    #32
  13. NoVa Rider

    NoVa Rider Long timer

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2006
    Oddometer:
    3,013
    Your choice, obviously, but step back and think about what you are proposing to do. Parachute in, put a 5 year old who presumably doesn't ride regularly, or likely at all, on a bike, put gear on him, a helmet on him, gloves, boots, etc, none of which he is used to, or the weight of which he is used to, and begin a dash across the US (a dash could be a 300 mile day to a child). Then wake up and do it again. And again. And again. In the heat, cold, rain, and dry. . ..

    Applaud the concept, an epic ride perhaps, but simply can't see this working past day one, or two. . .. :confused
    #33
  14. TonyBKK

    TonyBKK Secret Soi Rider

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2009
    Oddometer:
    845
    Location:
    The Big Mango, Bangkok, Thailand
    Ok, I guess you haven't read this thread from the beginning or my reply to your last post or you would know that my son has been riding and touring for a couple years now.

    You're making a lot of assumptions and are obviously ignoring my replies to your previous posts. In fact you're starting to come off as a troll...

    Again, if you bothered to read the thread you'd know that we're not going to "dash" across the country. We're going to take it nice and slow and ride out to California over a period of 5 or 6 weeks, always well under 300 miles and less than 5 hours in the saddle on riding days, and with plenty of multi-day stops along the way in fantastic places like the Black Hills, Yellowstone, Glacier, Walla Walla, etc.

    If we run into bad weather we check into a hotel and wait it out, no worries. It's not a race and we're not in a hurry.

    Before we leave on the "big trip" we'll do some local rides around the Twin Cities and up to the North Shore of Lake Superior to get into the groove.

    Again, if you bothered to read the thread or look at the pictures you'd know that my son is used to wearing proper gear- He has been taught from a young age that he must wear proper gear if he wants to go for a ride and he takes it for granted that he needs to be geared up before we hit the road.

    When he was younger I worried that the weight of a full face helmet would be too much for him so he wore a light weight 3/4 face helmet, but more recently he's been wearing a proper DOT certified XXS size full face helmet, kids FOX motorcross boots, childrens leather gloves and a lightly armored riding jacket.
    [​IMG]

    He's growing like a weed so I plan to buy all new gear from him in the States. If you do a brief search you'll see that there is plenty of real motorcycle gear for children these days. I assure you he'll be wearing gear that's as good or better than what I'll be wearing.

    If you want to debate the pros and cons of children on motorcycles there's already a thread dedicated to the topic of "Children as Passengers": http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=762337

    I see that you started taking your daughter out for rides on the back of your VFR at the age of 8. Now THAT would make me nervous- didn't you worry about her falling asleep and falling off?
    [​IMG]

    Fortunately there's no chance of that happening on a Goldwing!
    [​IMG]

    Thank you again for your concern.

    Happy Trails!

    Tony [​IMG]
    #34
  15. NoVa Rider

    NoVa Rider Long timer

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2006
    Oddometer:
    3,013
    Troll, really? Look at your initial post. You asked for advice. You got it. Sorry it didn't fill your day with sunshine and butterflies. So that you'll know, I assumed from the quoted post that you live in Thailand and your son in the US. Was I wrong? I also guessed from that that he'd not been doing much riding lately, well, let's be honest, any riding in the US. So, the observation that you intend to drop in and put him in an activity that is new to his daily routine, was, well, correct.

    No worries. Still believe that when you add up all the risk factors, long ride, new-to-you bike (described by you as a "cheap, reliable touring bike"), kid five years old, etc, the stack gets pretty tall. I wouldn't do it. And, as you've noted, I do ride with my kids. FWIW, in answer to your question above, yes, I was worried about my child falling asleep and falling off. And I was worried about other drivers, the weather, road conditions, etc. Which is why you see the full gear, the backrest, and while you can't see it, a decision not to take her on a 3,000 mile trip that she wasn't ready for. Glad to hear you believe that your 5 year old is.

    Have a great ride. :clap
    #35
  16. markbvt

    markbvt Long timer

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2007
    Oddometer:
    2,823
    Location:
    Georgia, Vermont (that's one town, not two states)
    This is exactly the point. You admit yourself that you've been living in a country in which motorcycles are used as daily family transportation. People are used to bikes there.

    In the US, most people view motorcycles as a dangerous thrill-seeking activity, if they pay any attention to them at all. The people yakking on cell phones are a major problem, along with all the drivers who are inattentive for any number of other reasons.

    In theory I agree with you completely -- and if it were simply a matter of safe motorcycle handling, I'd be encouraging you to do it. But the trouble is that probably 80% of the risk here in the US is not your own ability to ride the motorcycle safely, but rather that the great many idiots sharing the roads with you could easily cause an accident and kill/maim your kid. And then likely as not blame you for it.

    Personally, I'm willing to take on that risk for myself (and I've paid the price for it, including a broken femur from being broadsided by a car last year). But I could not in good conscience take on that risk for a child, especially one who's too young to make any of his own decisions.

    Again, don't get me wrong -- I applaud you for wanting to take your kid on an adventure like this. In my opinion it's the sort of thing all fathers and sons should do at some point. I just think that you're underestimating the level of risk, and maybe pushing to do it a little too early. Besides, wouldn't it make sense to do some shorter trips now and save an epic cross-country one for when your son's old enough to really remember it? I only remember random little bits and pieces of vacationy stuff I did with my dad when I was less than 8 or 9.

    Just my opinion, and just a reply to your request for advice. You can obviously feel free to ignore it completely, but in my opinion the stakes are high enough that I had to say something.

    --mark
    #36
  17. Strave19

    Strave19 n00b savant

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2011
    Oddometer:
    77
    Location:
    WA
    I've got to add my 2 cents, though I don't have much advice on the logistics

    I think this sounds like an unbelievably great trip with you and your son. You don't seem like the type of person who would willingly endanger your son. As long as you are aware of his limitations, and go into it with the realization that he simply might not be up for the entire trip, you might have to rest for a few days somewhere, etc...

    Yes, there is more risk to you and your son when taking a motorcycle versus a car, bus or plane across the US. Something bad COULD happen. But as riders, we all have to accept that. If you make the trip (which may very well/will definitely be difficult at times with your son) you both will have wonderful memories that will last forever. How often does anyone get an opportunity like this?

    Honestly, I think it would be better if he was a few years older for a lot of reasons I'm sure everyone is aware of. I still say go for it, have a legendary adventure that he will be telling his grandchildren about in 60 years...

    Oh - and on your northwest/montana leg, do yourselves a favor and go over the Beartooth pass from Red Lodge to Yellowstone. You wont regret it (google it).
    #37
  18. TonyBKK

    TonyBKK Secret Soi Rider

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2009
    Oddometer:
    845
    Location:
    The Big Mango, Bangkok, Thailand

    Cheers Nova,

    I AM open to advice, suggestions and constructive criticism. I don't need "sunshine and butterflies" but hearing the same argument repeated over and over is a bit annoying.

    The "troll" comment is because you made the same arguments in multiple posts despite the fact that I replied to, acknowledged and addressed your concerns the first time.

    I hope we're clear- the ride is NOT a "dash" like you keep saying. In case you missed it before, we'll have 5-6 weeks for the ride. ~5000 miles over the course of 5 weeks averages out to mere ~150 miles/day. Do you really think that's too much for a kid who was doing 300 mile rides when he was 4 without any problems? Yes he's only 5, but he's a tough kid. That said, if he wants to stop we stop. No worries. If we have to modify our route or even cut short the trip we can do that.

    My son has been riding on motorcycles since he was an infant. Yes, he hasn't been on one recently, but we'll ease our way back into the riding scene with some local rides around the Twin Cities and a test run with a weekend of motorcycle camping up to the North Shore of Lake Superior to make sure the Goldwing can carry all the gear we'll need for the ride out West. We'll arrive in the Twin Cities at the end of June. With any luck I'll have some Goldwings to look at and test ride and buy one and get it serviced before the 4th of July holiday. After the 4th of July we'll ride up to Duluth and the North Shore as a kind of test run and warm up for the ride to California.

    I'm not going to force him to do anything he doesn't want to do. We talk on Skype twice a week and he's super-excited about the trip. If between now and late June he cools on the idea then perhaps we'll just do it in a car. Even in a car this will be an incredible adventure. But if he's keen to do it on a bike, then even better!

    While it's all relative I consider the second hand goldwings I've referenced in this thread as "cheap". By all accounts a well maintained Goldwing GL1500 is a very reliable motorcycle. I will only buy one that has been properly maintained with full service records and I'll have it fully serviced before the trip.

    I get back to the US and Europe once or twice a year and sure, there are some idiot drivers in the States and in the EU, but if you've ever ridden or driven in SE Asia or any other part of the developing world then surely you will understand that riding in the US is a piece of cake compared to surviving a ride in nations where most of the motorists on the road aren't even licensed.

    I hope I've addressed your concerns and that we can move on now? :evil

    Looking forward to a fantastic summer and awesome ride with my son! :clap
    #38
  19. TonyBKK

    TonyBKK Secret Soi Rider

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2009
    Oddometer:
    845
    Location:
    The Big Mango, Bangkok, Thailand

    Thanks for the 2 cents! I'll add it to our trip fund :evil

    FYI, we won't be riding every day. We'll be making multi-day stops in the Black Hills, Yellowstone, Glacier, Walla Walla and more.

    Go back a page and you'll see that Beartooth Pass is already on the itinerary- :deal
    [​IMG]

    Can't wait!
    [​IMG]

    Happy Trails!

    Tony :D
    #39
  20. TonyBKK

    TonyBKK Secret Soi Rider

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2009
    Oddometer:
    845
    Location:
    The Big Mango, Bangkok, Thailand
    I expect we'll spend several days in Yellowstone- hitting the trails early to beat the crowds, maybe riding some loops in the afternoons. Then, for a complete change of pace I'm thinking about riding to Thermopolis where we can perhaps take a break from camping, check in to a hotel and hit Hot Springs State Park and visit the Wyoming Dinosaur Museum. My son, like all little boys loves water parks and dinosaurs- perfect! :clap

    Yellowstone to Thermopolis. 196 miles from Tower Fall Campground. 160 miles from Yellowstone Lake-
    [​IMG]

    From Thermopolis we'll head to Jenny Lake Campground in Grand Teton National Park. 209 miles-
    [​IMG]

    I always loved Grand Teton as a kid. Stunning natural beauty and fantastic hiking. I expect we'll probably spend a couple nights here. Take the shuttle boat across Jenny Lake and do the short hike to Inspiration Point and Hidden Falls- haven't been there since I was a little kid! :clap We'll have to hit Jackson Hole too!
    #40