US cross country

Discussion in 'Americas' started by eatdrinkadam, Apr 12, 2012.

  1. eatdrinkadam

    eatdrinkadam Adventurer

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    Hello all.

    My girlfriend and want to plan a trip across the US middle of next month. We have 3 weeks. Ideally we would like to do LA to NY round trip. I ride a GSA and she is on a Triumph Scrambler.

    My current route shows approx. 7200 miles RT, which commits us to about 340 miles a day to make the time frame. This seems a bit rushed to us, since we would like to take our time.

    Here is the route:

    US Trip Route

    We have already done some trimming down from out original route which as 8500 miles and included a good portion of the northern region.

    Since I am generally unfamiliar with most of the country (except for the southwest), I figured I would post here and get some feedback on my current route, or some alternative ideas to save us from having to rush it.

    For the moto-savvy, are there any parts we should include or skip over? Perhaps LA to NY RT is far fetched and we should plan a different route focusing on a specific region? Would you recommend any old highways / offroad in any state that would be worth passing through (we are also looking for some notable dirt trails that we could hit along the way)?

    I explored the option of shipping the backs once we arrive in NY, or vise versa. Although it takes upward to 6 weeks. Long time to be with a bike. I also thought of going route 66 to Chicago, but I am assuming not much of a scenic route through the midwest? Or am I wrong?

    All input is appreciated.
    #1
  2. markbvt

    markbvt Long timer

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    Looks like your route is almost entirely slab. What's the point in wasting three weeks and lots of gas money on riding all slab? You'd be bypassing all the really nice places to ride.

    My advice: work out a nice scenic route through the western half of the US. In three weeks you could cover lots of ground from Arizona and New Mexico up through Colorado into Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho, and head back to LA along the California coast. Or reverse that, maybe, to buy yourself a little extra springtime in the Rockies -- there can still be too much snow in early/mid May. With three weeks you could probably even work southwestern Canada into the route, Jasper National Park and such.

    If you really want to get east, then my advice would be to bite the bullet and superslab it all the way to the Great Smokies region, then spend a week or ten days exploring the unbelievable roads in that part of Tennessee and North Carolina, and also work your way north into West Virginia and Virginia, then take a scenic route home through Kentucky, Arkansas, and maybe spend a few days riding scenic roads through the Rockies. Forget about NYC; nothing worth riding near there unless you head way north into the Adirondacks and Vermont, and you definitely won't have time for that.

    --mark
    #2
  3. Future ten

    Future ten Been here awhile

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    way too much time spent blazing across Texas. North a bit are some of the best states around. Non the less, an awesome undertaking and very long ride. Seeing as though you asked, I too would tighten it up to the rockies and north west.
    #3
  4. BlairBear

    BlairBear Been here awhile

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    If you are going to the L A area. Think about the coast road (PCH) from LA to San Fran. It has been on my bucket list for years! I did it from LA to Washington a few years ago. IMHO the section between LA and San Fran was the best. I've done alto of touring the last few years, and I always think I should have spent more time here or there. Think about what you want to see and make it happen. If you see something of interest on the way stop! The biggest think you need to remember is to have a good time! If you do that you will do it again. Have fun!
    #4
  5. sealsam

    sealsam Sam...I am.

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    More info needed from you...are you here in L.A.? Is there family or something you need to see in NY? Why NY? You said you are familiar with the SW, are there places you've wanted to see in the west?

    My first reaction to your post is you're wasting your time when there is just so much to explore here in the west. I've been all over the west for many, many years and my list of must see's or re-see's is still being worked on. Last fall I spent 6 days in UT and didn't get to see/ride everything that I had hoped.
    #5
  6. ReactorTrip

    ReactorTrip glows in the dark

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    Modify your route in Utah to go through Zion National Park instead of around it for some strange reason.

    Don't got through Kansas, head through Nebraska. Kansas cops are jerks.

    Come check out some of our roads in East Tennessee since you will be coming through Knoxville.
    #6
  7. Eyes Shut

    Eyes Shut See no evil

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    I would agree with what some of the others have said -- if you have a limited amount of time, why not spend it exploring the west and southwest? (Unless you have specific things you want to see in the midwest and east coast, of course.)

    If you pare down your planned route, you'll have much more time to explore those back roads and dirt roads that you come across. And, it will be a much more fun and interesting trip than just piling up the miles on the interstates.

    As far as Route 66, it's not too exciting in the midwest, and much of it is covered by interstate anyway. The best sections are in Arizona, from Seligman to Kingman, and Kingman to Oatman.
    #7
  8. eatdrinkadam

    eatdrinkadam Adventurer

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    Thanks for all the responses. Great advice.

    Yes, I am now realizing that the bulk of the mileage from LA to NY (we are coming from LA) is going to be rather unstimulating, especially on major expressways.

    I chose NY just as a arbitrary destination for the east coast. I've never ventured past Colorado going east, and wanted to explore the mid-west / eastern seaboard, and visit all the big cities.

    I am now leaning towards something more along the lines of what Mark had posted. Tossing around the idea of doing the continental divide route (starting from New Mex, through the Rockies, Yellowstone, and all the way up to Montana), and back down through Utah on slab. This should be roughly around 3000 miles RT, which gives us plenty of time, scenery and dirt road.

    I've done alot riding through out most of the southwest, but haven'y ventured up north at all. (HWY 1 up the coast is amazing, but I've done it many times)

    Im going to research this route a bit more, and when I land on something I will post back with a link to the route. Maybe you guys can give me some more pointers then.

    Thanks again.

    A
    #8
  9. MapMaster

    MapMaster Human Compass

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    That's good advice to follow. There's no point in visiting big cities on a m/c. Once you're there, you're better off parking the bike and doing an on/off tour bus to see the sights w/o risking life and limb trying to ride unfamiliar roads with new distractions all around.

    If northern country is terra unknown, let me strongly recommend that you put Yellowstone NP on your destination list.
    Unbeatable combination of wildlife, scenery, and geothermal features without peer anywhere in the world (tho Iceland comes close from what I've read, but you can't ride to there :evil)
    #9
  10. Genehil

    Genehil Adventurer

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    Is that Interstate Highways I see? WTF???
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  11. motoreiter

    motoreiter Long timer

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    Definitely stay west. Utah, Oregon, Washington, Idaho. I'm from the midwest and lived on the east coast for several years. generally the riding is far better out west, and you won't have to waste time on the interstates going to the east coast. I honestly don't think that such a trip on the interstates would be much fun.
    #11
  12. max384

    max384 Bandaided

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    It sounds like you really want to travel across the country east to west, so I say do it. I've never done it on a bike (yet), but I have in a car, and it is quite satisfying to make that trip, even if for nothing else, but to say you've done it.

    Personally, I don't mind traveling highways, as long as it is unfamiliar country. There is still great scenery on many portions of the highway, even though the highways are boring road-wise, but you can make great mileage. This is, of course, highly dependent on the individual. I don't mind doing big mileage days going in a mostly straight line on a highway if I have a goal to reach (whether it be a destination or a certain amount of miles in a day). This being said, if time weren't a factor, I'd absolutely choose state routes over highways any day.

    I would skip the big cities on a bike. Cities suck in cars and are even worse on a bike IMO... Then again, I'm a country boy, so I pretty much hate cities altogether! :lol3 I assume you're from LA, so you may like cities, and if so, than don't skip them. But for me, they just don't do much for me.

    IMO, the midwest (Kansas, Nebraska, Eastern CO, etc.) is cool for the first day (or less), then it gets to be quite boring. If I were you, I'd plan for the days through those flat states to be high mileage days (as many as you guys can safely handle without making yourselves miserable). This will leave you with more time to spend in other areas.

    What are looking for in the trip? Is the trip about the ride or about the destinations mostly? If you really want to spend some time at several destinations along the way, I'd try for high mileage days so that you can afford to spend an entire day here and there at a destination. For example, assuming 7200 miles, if you average 500 miles per day riding, that is only about 14 days of actual riding, which means you'd have seven days to do whatever you wanted. This would likely mean taking the slab to get the mileage though. However, if you don't need to stop for long periods of time at each destination, than plan to take state roads and keep the daily mileage in the 350-mile range and enjoy the ride.

    In my experience, it's always slower coming home, so I always plan accordingly. I try to get to my halfway point before I'm halfway done with my allotted days.
    #12
  13. MapMaster

    MapMaster Human Compass

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    Interesting. The returns are always faster for me. Once the end of a long a trip is in sight (figuratively) I tend to push a little more.
    Lots of influences at work depending on the situation:
    The - No place like home feeling
    Finishing a little earlier means more time to regroup before going back to work.
    Save $ by one less night in a motel
    Tire wearing a bit faster than planned, therefore a more direct/shorter return is in order.


    YMMV,

    Greg
    #13
  14. Moggs023

    Moggs023 Adventurer

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    I'm the same way Greg, on 4 - 5 week tour I generally meander along my "planned" :D route until I get the "I want to go home NOW" signal. Then I super-slab it home a quickly as I can (note I didn't say 'fast' :wink:). Given that my 'planned' return date can be +/- a couple of days depending on interest, the weather, finances etc.
    #14
  15. revelized

    revelized Adventurer

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    reactor trip had mentioned modifying your route through zion national park, but i was recently informed that they only allow bus trips across the park now. Does anyone know if this is true? I was planning a trip there recently but think i will change my plans if it is. thanks, and good luck on your ride:freaky
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  16. max384

    max384 Bandaided

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    I like to start a trip with a bullet trajectory and really push the miles because I'm excited to start my vacation. However, on my way back home, I'm not as motivated to get to where I'm going. This isn't always the case, but I like to plan (if I make plans at all, which is really the norm) to have more time for the return trip for just in case something comes up.
    #16
  17. MapMaster

    MapMaster Human Compass

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    Depends on the time of year. From the NP site:

    2012 Shuttle Season

    In 2012 the Zion Shuttle System will begin operations in Zion Canyon and the town of Springdale on April 1 and will run through the end of October 2012.

    Private vehicles are allowed to drive on the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive from November through the end of March. From April 1 through the end of October access to the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive is by shuttle bus only. Registered guests at Zion Lodge are allowed to drive non-stop to the lodge.
    2012 Shuttle Schedule

    I would still go to the park. The riding to and from it is great, and the views and hiking trails within it are fantastic. Riding through the park on a m/c is one of those deals where your attention is split between demands for the views and the need to account for traffic, so doing it via a shuttle bus actually makes for a pretty rewarding jaunt.

    Two other absolutely beautiful places in sw Utah are Bryce Canyon NP and Cedar Breaks NM (I think). Similar rock formations, but very different perspectives.
    #17
  18. eakins

    eakins Butler Maps

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    zion roads are like a upside T.
    there is the pass through e-w southern portion road (rt9) which is open to vehicles. then there is the n-s leg that run north into zion canyon and that is what is closed at times.
    #18
  19. sealsam

    sealsam Sam...I am.

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    and it is rt9 from the base of the valley(at the T) going east out to 89 is what you want to ride. The elevation change from the valley up to the tunnel is dramatic, with great views. The 1 mile Zion-Mt. Carmel tunnel with 'peep' holes is quite an experience. The east end of the park is like entering a completely different park. Watch out for the grazing bighorn sheep.
    #19
  20. bk brkr baker

    bk brkr baker Long timer

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    Hello, Most the advice you're getting suggests staying in the west and abandoning the cross -country trip. While that's a decision for the two of you to make, I have a different opinion.
    Do it.
    At least one time you may find it suck's the life out of you. It is a large country.
    Or you may have an experience more in line with mine. I first went west from Ky. in 1975 and made it to the Grand Canyon with the travel to and back the trip totaled 8000 miles including a foray into Mexico and 2 weeks in Colorado . In '77 a friend and I rode to San Deigo and up to Monterey for another 8000 mile round trip.
    And I can play back those trips in my minbd like a movie. It's not all great, riding in 100 + degree temps in Califonia's central valley and the armpit of the world Las Vegas at 113 . Not fun, but looking back on it , it had to be done to appreciate the good stuff . Just as droning across the mid-west hightens your delight in the mountains.
    So, if you can meander across the U.S. on two lane roads making memories , you'll love it . If you have to take the I- roads it will not be fun , it may still be memorable , though.
    It's harder to enjoy the ride in the crowded North East , too many cities.
    Still today planning and doing a coutry crossing trip is my happy place.
    #20