Washington DC to L.A. to Seattle + Adventure Bonus

Discussion in 'Americas' started by VTjustin23, Sep 26, 2017.

  1. VTjustin23

    VTjustin23 Adventurer

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    High all, newbie here, but have been a long time rider, but nothing so ambitious as my current plan.

    Due to some unique situations and likely a distortion of reality and altering of the time-space continuum, I am going to have nearly two months of free time on my hands with almost no responsibility starting near the end of October. So what to do with it? Ride of course.

    I Live near DC and because of the late time of the year I plan on taking a southern route. My current plan is head west to the Blue Ridge Parkway, follow it down through the Smokey Mountains of Tennessee, cut across to Nashville, heading west until I meet up with Route 66 somewhere in Oklahoma probably. Then following that relatively until L.A. Now I may dip down into Texas and go a bit more southern route depending on the weather, but that is all part of the planning. Regardless Once I reach the west coast head up good ol' pacific coast highway all the way up to Seattle. From there plans are hazy.

    Along the route I also plan on going on a few off-road adventures either as an out and back, or possibly to avoid asphalt completely for miles along the way. I plan on this taking multiple weeks so I am not in a hurry so likely will see something shiny and get distracted many a time. I'll be hitting up most national parks within an hour from the route as well. I'm sure most nights will be spent in cheap motels, but I will bring my camping gear and some supplies in case for the nights I am adventurous or cheap.

    Now here are the questions I have that I'm sure all the knowledgeable, awesome, and I'm sure good looking people on here.

    1. I'm taking a 2016 Honda Africa Twin (unless I change my mind, or someone changes my mind) I'll go to the appropriate forums to ask detailed questions about repairs/tires/storage/equipment, but my question here would be if anybody has driven one on a 4k + mile trip?

    2.Has anybody done a Route 66 trip on an adventure bike? Is there any good adventure detours I want to make sure to do along the way? I know there are some good ones through VA and Tennessee but haven't ridden out West.

    3. Any specific route suggestion along the way? Maybe really I should be hitting North Texas instead, of Oklahoma because there is this awesome lake I will miss? Anything along those lines.

    4. Am I f'ng stupid? Should I rent a minivan instead? Maybe get good life insurance?
    #1
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  2. HotChilliColdBeer

    HotChilliColdBeer Human Swizzle Stick

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    Don't know what the rest of the country does during your timeframe, but I know what this corner does - rain. A lot. Prepare accordingly.

    You get to Seattle and need anything, give a shout.



    Have fun, ride safe.




    Charlie
    #2
  3. Strong Bad

    Strong Bad World's Foremost Authority

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    Much of the old route 66 is now I-40. 2 weeks ago I drove from LA to DC mostly on I-40 and it really sucked. Apparently it has become the most popular route for trucks and the route has become one big long conga line of trucks. Coming back to LA, I tried to follow US 60 as much as possible. By the time you get to Oklahoma the terrain flattens out and is just about as flat as a pancake until you get into New Mexico. Once you drop into Phoenix you just about have to super slab it. BTW in Texas you will get cited for 10% over the speed limit.
    #3
  4. VTjustin23

    VTjustin23 Adventurer

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    Thanks for the heads up. I do plan on bringing the rain gear. Main jacket/pants are waterproof, but also have additional rain suits that fit over them, helps especially if it is cold. I may need to change my helmet as it likes to leak though the vent holes when it rains a bunch. Thanks for the offer as well, hoping I get to meet alot of other riders along the way.

    Thanks for the heads up on 66. I will try an alternate route such as your suggestion...I never did like Conga lines. Fun means if I am in Texas it will take awhile to get across.
    #4
  5. CaptUglyDan

    CaptUglyDan Been here awhile

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    Africa twin? End of October? Two months off? Seattle in winter? One word. Baja!
    #5
  6. VTjustin23

    VTjustin23 Adventurer

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    Yeah that does sound warmer =P, Maybe when I get to the West coast I will Turn left instead.

    I still haven't pulled the trigger on the Africa Twin, Mainly because of the price and rarity of used ones. About 14.5k out the door at the dealership for new(13k + freight and all that stuff) Then I have to spend 2-3k on making it Adventure worthy (engine guards, panniers, adjustable windshield, better handguards, GPS/phone mounts etc, maybe tires) So estimating about 17-18k how I want it.

    Then I found on craigslist a freshly serviced 2012 R1200GS Adventure (with every single upgrade + everything I would need for my trip) with 24k miles for $10k, now that is an enticing argument. Is a new Africa Twin worth 7k more than the used R1200GS to me? I'm not so sure.
    #6
  7. CaptUglyDan

    CaptUglyDan Been here awhile

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    GS would do well, Don't forget Super Tenere's are a great bike too, and would serve you well on a cross country trip and to Baja as well, or Seattle?
    I've seen plenty of used ST's with panniers for sale as low as 6500.00.
    #7
  8. VTjustin23

    VTjustin23 Adventurer

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    Thanks for the suggestion of the Super Tenere I have been looking at them as well, but haven't gotten a chance to test ride one as the Local Yamaha Dealers won't allow it on the new models and closest used for sale I found is about 100 miles away. I probably will take a long drive just to do so to rule it out or love it. Though the decently specced out ones without a ton of miles on them within 500 miles or so from me I have found are between 7.5-9k.
    #8
  9. PittsDriver

    PittsDriver Been here awhile

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    The AT is perhaps a bit more dirt worthy than the mighty GS though I would argue it has more to do with rider skill than the bike as to where the bike finds itself. At the bottom of any comparo list they're both still 525 lbs+ bikes Your AT is a perfect bike for your upcoming adventure.

    It sounds like an amazing trip! Write a ride report and take us along!
    #9
  10. DirtyRooster

    DirtyRooster Adventurer

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    You might call ridersville cycles in WV. They are consistently the cheapest for hundreds of miles around. They don't charge any paperwork, dealer prep or destination fees. back in '13 I got a new KLR for $5395 out the door. I paid the tax at my states MVA. MSRP at the time was something like 6499. It'll be worth your drive if they have an africa twin in stock
    #10
  11. VTjustin23

    VTjustin23 Adventurer

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    Thanks for the Suggestion Dirty, WV seems to good for no freight charges. I had bought a bike about 10 years ago from Romney Cycles in WV and they also didn't charge any freight/destination charges. Only the Taxes. I ended up getting a Fantastic deal on a used 2012 R1200GS Adventure off craigslist that had almost all the upgrades already that I needed in Like New condition. It helped he threw in a Shoei Neotec Modular Helmet and extra windscreen for free.
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  12. DirtyRooster

    DirtyRooster Adventurer

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    Been scanning the dmv craigslist for my own gs for a while but not ready to pull the trigger. Busy raising babies solo, jealous of your time to go adventure. Make sure to share!!
    #12
  13. VTjustin23

    VTjustin23 Adventurer

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    I plan on it. May do a blog rather than trying to post everything, will put the link in the trip section.
    #13
  14. Bindlestiff

    Bindlestiff Adventurer

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    To echo what Strong Bad said, unless you're really into the Americana aspect I don't think there's much reason to try to follow 66. In most places they just laid the Interstates right on top of 66. In other places (like most of Oklahoma) 66 became the business route, which is even worse riding-wise. There definitely is still interesting Americana in various stages of decay to be seen, but along most of the route in order to see it you have to exit the freeway and then get right back on.

    There is one neat old section near the AZ-CA border that goes over Sitgreaves pass. This was the notorious pass into California that boiled many an Okie's radiator, but they rerouted 66 to a gentler pass in the 50's. It's a fun twisty road that goes through a cool semi-abandoned mining town.

    From there you can also follow old US-66 alignments through the Mojave from Needles to Barstow. They're mostly just straight 2-lanes through the desert with no traffic and crumbling abandoned gas stations every few dozen miles. Not the most interesting riding, but it definitely fits the Hollywood image of old 66.
    #14
  15. VTjustin23

    VTjustin23 Adventurer

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    Thanks, I really appreciate your and Strong Bads' advice. I will probably stay away from the main route and go smaller routes elsewhere. I may hit parts of it, like where you suggested. I have no interest in driving down an interstate. I've got a few different routes that are starting to materialize where I avoid highways entirely (besides a few places they can't be avoided unless I want to do some hardcore offroading or drive hundreds of miles out of the way). Once I have it more hammered out I may repost to get additional suggestions.
    #15
  16. rcrampton

    rcrampton Been here awhile

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    I live 20 minutes from the end of the Dragon. If you want somewhere to stay shoot me an email at ray@teamhokies.com. I've got a pretty complete workshop and more importantly a hot tub and a BBQ smoker.

    Things that are cool in this area are the Cherohala Skyway and the Tail of the Dragon and just in general the hundreds of miles of riding in the Smokies. The Dragon is kind of a must do for a lot of guys but I think the Skyway is a nicer ride. You could ride both of course.

    FYI - the campgrounds on the BRP close Oct 31.

    I haven't cared for riding around Texas all that much (I've lived in Dallas and San Antonio). If I did go through I'd prefer the Austin Hill Country area and might spring for Big Bend since I've never been.

    I've liked northern NM mountains more, say closer to Farmington, than the southern desert but I did enjoy all of NM the first time I went through it.

    I enjoyed the Sonoran desert around Tucson (lived in Tucson for 5 years) and Tombstone/Bisbee a lot but found the trip west to CA afterwards very dull for the most part though it's over in a few hours. The Desert Museum in west Tucson is a fantastic place to visit. It's not a traditional museum as we think of it, it's more like a very classy zoo with Sonoran wildlife of all kinds. We always took visitors to the eastern Saguaro National Park and the Desert Museum. If you're into aircraft, the Pima Air and Space Museum is very nice with hundreds of airplanes on site.

    Utah has some pretty awesome National Parks if you're into that kind of thing - Arches, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef, etc.

    I enjoyed 101 up the coast, it had some fantastic scenery. I loved the Redwoods as well, the Trail of Giants or whatever it's called was sweet.

    Heading into Oregon I happened across the Smokejumper's Museum I think it's called which was quite cool.

    I did enjoy the Olympic Peninsula A LOT. I got lucky and had a week there with almost no rain but if I had the time I'd personally choose to take 101 all the way up and around to Seattle. Personally I tended to like the 101 scenery better in Oregon and hardly saw the coast in WA but loved the mountain views. I very much enjoyed riding from Seattle to the Columbia River. The rapid change in scenery from lush green to very dry desert was awesome.
    #16
  17. boatpuller

    boatpuller Long timer

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    Hwy 50 goes C to C, almost, and will help you see the real America of today. It's a decent road that actually goes through some very nice parts of the country. It does go through CO, so may not be an option due to snow, but you could ride it as far as KS, and then veer south. Better yet would be to do so near St. Louis and enjoy the Ozark mountains of S MO and N AR and E OK. Lots of off pavement to enjoy there too.
    #17
  18. VTjustin23

    VTjustin23 Adventurer

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    Thanks for all the great advice and information. I was thinking of doing the Cherohala/Dragon Loop 120 mile loop. I'm just not sure if I'll be doing it on my way out west, or the way back. I appreciate the offer and I'll be in touch. I definately will be hitting alot of the National Parks, I have been to some in including Bryce canyon and Zion, but riding them will be a completly different experience. I am tempted to purchase some Butlers back country maps and go all dirt roads through Arizona or Utah, though likely Arizona as I'm guessing some Utah maps will be higher elevation (and thus more chance for snow near November).

    Definately hitting 101/1 I wanted to go from LA to Seattle, but with some of the road closures to do mudslides (or mountain slides) I'll have to do some detouring. Not sure yet if I'll be hitting it North to South, or South to North yet either. Alot depends on the weather when I make my way across the US. I'll have to check out Olympic Peninsula as well.
    #18
  19. rcrampton

    rcrampton Been here awhile

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    A close friend is a motorcyclist in the Bay Area. He travels most of the time but if he's in town he'd probably be happy to host someone. Feel free to hit me up if you're looking for a place around there and are a couple of days out.
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  20. Strong Bad

    Strong Bad World's Foremost Authority

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    Hwy 1 is best while going from North to South simply due to the coast being on your right and you can stop for views without having to cross traffic.

    The Olympic Peninsula is a beautiful rain forest.
    #20
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