2 Aussies, 2 bikes and a 3 month lap of USA!

Discussion in 'Americas' started by Terry & Janelle, Feb 4, 2017.

  1. Terry & Janelle

    Terry & Janelle Two Aussie riders planning a 3 month tour of USA

    Joined:
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    Greetings from Downunder. Canberra to be precise.

    We are starting the planning for an epic 3 month lap of USA from August 2018. So we have 18 months to get ideas, discover routes, introduce ourselves to new friends and generally have an awesome time putting this huge adventure together.

    We would love to hear tips, tricks and ideas and in return you will have our gratitude and an open offer of the same if you even come travelling down our way. (Big country + small population = awesome riding adventures)

    So to get the ball rolling, our (very rough plan) is to fly into LA and buy a couple of DL 650's. Then doodle around the west coast a bit before running up to Portland/Seattle, across through Yellowstone Park, then the roads less travelled across to NYC. Then we'll play tourist down the east coast for a month or so before popping up in New Orleans and then back across to LA to sell the bikes and fly home.

    We intend to use this thread and forum as a touch point for ideas and as things come together we will extend communications as appropriate.

    So don't be shy, introduce yourselves and lets get this party started!

    Terry and Janelle
    Australia
    Our travel blog
    Airbnb: Terry & Janelle
    #1
  2. FLARider1

    FLARider1 Long timer

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    Sounds like and epic adventure in the making!!! What time frame of the year are you looking? Makes a big difference on where to send you!! If your plans already include a trip down into the Florida Keys keep me in your contacts list, can't get down that far south without going right past me!!
    #2
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  3. rosmoe

    rosmoe Been here awhile

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    Since you will be in California in Aug, maybe head up to San Francisco via Highway 1 or some of 101 if you are in a hurry or 1 is covered in fog. Do spend a couple of days riding around the SF area, Golden Gate Bridge, Marin Headlands. Head over to Tioga Pass, Yosemite National Park, head north on 395 to Lake Tahoe. Will pass this off to others for ideas from Tahoe. Do keep us posted, if you do end up in SF, will get you on some cool little roads in the area. The roads & traffic in California are the shits, but not too bad over the Sierra Passes.
    #3
  4. W8NONU

    W8NONU Best days to ride end in "Y"

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    You'll be sorry if you don't include Utah and Colorado. They have some of the most beautiful scenery in North America. The parks in southern Utah (link: https://www.visitutah.com/places-to-go/most-visited-parks/the-mighty-5) are spectacular. From Utah heading east you can pick a route through the Rocky Mountains. Starting in the south at Durango, CO you can head up Hwy 550 (called the Million Dollar Highway). This road has it all with twisties, huge elevation changes and scenery. Northwest of Highway 550 is the Black Canyon of the Gunnison. Another spectacular sight with the river in the canyon 2,000' to 3,000' below. On the north side of the canyon, highway 92 is one of the best twisty roads around. (Link. http://forums.eaglerider.com/t/riding-the-black-canyon-of-the-gunnison-top-to-bottom/46). Then on the north side of I-70 you will find highway 40 and highway 34. These roads will take you to the Rocky Mountain National Park where you will ride over 12,000' elevation. Beautiful scenery and a magnificent ride. East of Colorado you rde out of the mountains and into the flat plains. If your route takes you through southern Missourri I can give you some options for great motorcycle roads. Hope you have a safe and great trip... image.jpg image.jpg image.jpg
    #4
  5. boatpuller

    boatpuller Long timer

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    1st: Welcome, look forward to having you visit.
    2nd: The famous road to Chicago simply sucks. We don't use it. Only old folks trying to recapture their youth from the 50s even talk fondly of it here. It occupies some of the most boring, flat, uninteresting parts of our country, and contains nothing an average motorcyclist looks for in a road. (And it passes 2 miles from my house, in some of the most interesting parts of the road, and still is too boring for any motorcyclist to ever consider my neighborhood as a destination place to ride.) So, hopefully now that I've got you talked out of Rt 66, we can get you on some of the cool parts of our country.
    3rd: Aug is a hot month. Sept is about perfect. Oct will start to cool down, but still be very nice. The Southern part of our country is hotter than the northern, but in Aug it's all hot, except for the Pacific coast and the mountain tops.
    4th: Kids go back to school in late Aug, empty nesters travel in Sept, but Oct should have you pretty tourist free, except for the New England area with the leaf-peepers coming to see the beautiful color of the changing of the leaves.
    5th: Suggested route. Start in LA, go north along the coast to San Francisco, hop over to Yosemite, up to Lake Tahoe, back west into mountains of N CA, or back to the coast, head north all the way to WA, and consider hoping into our good neighbor to the north, Canada. Go into BC, and ride through either Whistler or Frazier Canyon up to Central BC, and then west to Hyder AK. (Absolutely beautiful scenery on this route.) Then backtrack east to Jasper AB, down to Banff AB, and S more into Glacier NP in USA. Enjoy Going to the Sun Road. Work your way S again to Yellowstone/Tetons (and many cool nearby places). You'll start to get a feel of the old American west in this area. Work your way S to CO, and plan a week or 3 there. The central 1/3 and SW 1/4 of CO contain most of the cool mountains. Feel free to visit N NM on this leg. Work your way to the Bad Lands/Black Hills area of SD, and see the town of Sturgis where the famous bike event is held. Then NE to Duluth, MN where you ride the north edge of biggest great lake, Lake Superior through Canada again (very beautiful). Come down along the east shore of Lake Michigan, which is the west side of the state of MI. Then work east maybe stopping in Cleveland to see the Rock&Roll hall of fame. Continue on to see Niagara falls and the beauty of our New England states before heading south past NY city to Washington DC (really a cool town to visit in spite of all the politicians). Go west from DC and enjoy the Blue Ridge/Smokey Mountains, which are really very big green hills and a popular motorcycle destination in the USA. The Skyline Drive and Blue Ridge Parkway are popular ways to slowly see awesome views. Work your way west through TN and KY, stopping for Bourbon Distillery tours in KY. Then west into N AR for the Ozark Mountains, and SW into TX to see many of the amazing things that state offers. West again through NM into AZ and UT for awesome desert riding, and cross into NV and CA through Death Valley and back to LA to fly home. This is likely a 12,000 mile route.
    6th: What kinds of things do you want to see (other than Rt 66), and what interests do you have? Do you like fly fishing, boating, hiking, classical music, racing, agriculture, local food, museums, boating, etc? Let us know and we can help you better.
    #5
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  6. TUCKERS

    TUCKERS the famous james

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    Welcome. Brit ex pat here living in Los Angeles.
    You are in for a great adventure. The southern California mountains offer some great riding. San Gabriels, Santa Monicas, and etc.
    Newcombs Ranch Inn on Highway 2 Angeles Crest Highway California
    Rock Store above Malibu California
    Big Bear area California
    Joshua Tree National Park (Buy 2 annual park passes at your first entrance) California
    Death Valley California
    Las Vegas Nevada
    Laughlin/Oatman route 66 Nevada
    Parts of 66 off 40 around California/Nevada are OK, but really it's not a great motorcycle road across the USA, you miss so much.
    If you get a chance to visit Big Bend National Park in Texas you will be in an elite group, it is the least visited national Park in the USA.
    You've picked a great time of year to do this.
    Keep in touch.
    #6
  7. Terry & Janelle

    Terry & Janelle Two Aussie riders planning a 3 month tour of USA

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    Awesome info. Thanks for taking the time to put all that down.

    Interests would be live music (I'm a working musician), racing (spent years racing and Janelle is an awesome pit crew. Currently race an RGV 250), local food, local people and the roads less travelled. We dont do fishing (it takes up important riding time).

    We dont do obnoxious people and we certainly dont do "25 miles a weekend bar to bar cruising" on spotless never-ridden-in-the-rain Harleys. We dont want big riding days but a few here or there are fine. I expect averaging 2 - 300 kms (200 ish miles) a day would be about right. Especially as it's a long, long way and we need to look after our bodies.

    More than anything we would love to meet lovely people and hope many of you will share the ride with us.

    Is that enough to go on with?
    #7
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  8. Terry & Janelle

    Terry & Janelle Two Aussie riders planning a 3 month tour of USA

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    Thanks James and Coleen.

    I expect a few of the points youve listed in your signature block will come in real handy as time goes on.

    "Problems solved"... Hmmmm... I'm sure there'll be a few of them :)
    #8
  9. MapMaster

    MapMaster Human Compass

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    I'm not sure if the 'spotless Harleys' was completely tongue-in-cheek or not.
    Are you riding separate machines of 2up?
    What bike(s) will you be on?
    And do you plan on camping?
    (all useful bits of info so that recommendations can be tailored appropriately).

    3 months will get you a very good sample of the best m/c roads and scenery available here in the states.
    I'll suggest that if you're not limited by borders, that initially you should work your way up the west coast and into British Columbia and make your way to Hyder Alaska. While a trip to AK proper is certainly worthwhile, it would probably eat up too much of your time budget.

    (Don't stick entirely to the coast, include some of the Sierra's and Cascades. Yosemite will be very crowded at that time, but Mt Lassen further north and Crater Lake in OR shouldn't be too bad and are spectacular. In Washington, checkout Mt St Helens and Olympic NP)

    If you select the AK option, definitely include the Sea-to-Sky hwy going north and return via the Icefields Hwy.
    That will set you up for Glacier NP and the Going to the Sun road and from there Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons which you should be hitting after the school year has started (generally right after our Labor day holiday - first Monday in September)
    So that takes care of your first month. :D
    Continue south to Colorado and Rocky Mountain NP and then launch east. If your goal is to keep moving the entire time, you should be able to include Niagara Falls and loop up the Adirondacks in NY and mtns of Vermont and New Hampshire before running south through PA to catch some WV heavenliness. Run the Blue Ridge Parkway in its entirety and check out the Smoky Mtns.
    Head west from there (I can't recommend Key West because of the 700 miles of mind-numbing Florida flatness (one-way) involved in that trek)
    Hit the Ozarks of southern Missouri and nw Arkansas to break ups the Great Plains traverse.
    (That will finish month 2 :D)
    Be enchanted by New Mexico (Carlsbad Caverns, White Sands, Gila Mtns)
    Run the Coronado Hwy in eastern AZ, take a peak at the Grand Canyon.
    The beauty of southern Utah is within striking distance if time allows (Zion & Bryce Canyons) and finish up back in Cali via Death Valley.
    Trust me, a whole month for the southwest is not nearly enough time, so don't think the time allotment for the different regions is too far out of whack.

    Happy planning, just realize that no matter what you line up, some of your plans will be scuttled by unforeseen circumstances (no plan survives contact with reality). :deal

    If you're not aware of it, check out the Tent Space thread here for lodging possibilities. And if you transit sw PA on your way to WV, I'd be happy to host you for a night or two and lead you through some of the almost heaven that is WV.
    #9
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  10. Terry & Janelle

    Terry & Janelle Two Aussie riders planning a 3 month tour of USA

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    I'm not sure either. I rode a Harley once. Really I did. :)

    Are you riding separate machines or 2up?
    2 bikes. We've resolved ourselves to the expense. It just has to be done.
    What bike(s) will you be on?
    Aiming at BM 800's but options still very much open. We'll decide when the time is closer.​

    And do you plan on camping?
    Certainly some of the time, certainly not all.
    Check out the Tent Space thread here for lodging possibilities.
    For sure​

    And if you transit sw PA on your way to WV, I'd be happy to host you for a night or two and lead you through some of the almost heaven that is WV.
    Awesomely kind offer. Thank you. It's that kind of hospitality that we have heard so much about. Much Aussie karma to you my friend.


    And I suppose there's always a good possibility that we may get off the bikes for extended periods to play tourist. I mean, there's not a lot of point in burning $100+ hire a fee a day if we're going to hang around in say New York for a week. What will be will be.
    We're not even beyond buying and then reselling the bikes if those particular logistics can be dealt with.​
    #10
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  11. MapMaster

    MapMaster Human Compass

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    :doh
    It was right there in the title - sorry. :shog

    Oz and Kiwi land are on my bucket list, I'll be sure so solicit suggestions in return if that comes to pass. :wink:
    #11
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  12. Terry & Janelle

    Terry & Janelle Two Aussie riders planning a 3 month tour of USA

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    And we would love to help. Dont hesitate to ask.
    #12
  13. TUCKERS

    TUCKERS the famous james

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    Put Pappy&Harriets bar Pioneertown, JOSHUA Tree California on your list for music. Also check the websites of Folk Music Claremont California and Mccabes Guitar shop Santa Monica California
    #13
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  14. boatpuller

    boatpuller Long timer

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    STRONGLY suggest you make contact with Tuckers here on ADVrider (the same one who's already posted in this thread) as he often helps visitors from afar find quality motorcycles to buy and register and ride around the USA. He's located in LA, and all I've ever heard about his service is good.

    We have a television show Diners, Dives, and Drive-Ins that goes around the country profiling fantastic local low-brow places to eat way above average food. I have the locations of the restaurants saved in my GPS for when I travel around the country. Got that information from the POI Factory on the Internet. http://www.poi-factory.com/ They have all kinds of lists of interesting or useful places that you can download and store in your GPS. Worth your time to look through the site.

    Some smaller towns tend to be "Artist communities", places where artists, musicians, foodies, poets, tend to live and work. They are usually quiet people wanting a quiet lifestyle among similar folks. Often these have frequent and above average live music performances, and interesting stores to explore, and interesting food to eat, set in a lovely countryside. Brea, KY and Eureka Springs, AR and Duluth, MN come to mind. (Eureka Springs is awesome motorcycle area too, and I still remember the beautiful haunting voice of a local performer at the town's natural amphitheater where local performers took turns giving free concerts to sell there home made CDs. There's something so pure about that.) But there are hundreds of these dotted across our country. Only trouble, I don't know of a list of them to suggest. Maybe a Google search or asking in the Regional Section here on ADV might help on that. There are also big music cities you might find interesting, such as Memphis, New Orleans, Nashville, Las Vegas, and not kidding Branson (which used to be a laughing stock, but now has world class music shows at bargain prices, along with a lot of tourists.) Most every city will have sections like this, but somehow it's not the same.

    Other ideas for a route to find "local people and food":
    • Ride the Great River Road along the Mississippi River. It flows North South in the middle of the USA. You'll hit a few major cities (New Orleans, Memphis, St. Louis) but mostly it's little towns with real people, though historically river towns have not attracted our best and brightest, but like shoot outs in the west, those times have changed, but you can still see evidence of it if you look. Blues music mostly followed the Mississippi river for some reason, and you can still find some of the best of it there. As you get far enough south, you'll get some Zydeco mixed into it.
    • Hwy 50 is still a viable road to cross the country east west, and while it goes through some major cities, it's mostly little towns. And 50 actually goes through some pretty parts of the county.
    • Tour of Honor is an annual riding event that could work well for you. Local riders in each state identify 5-6 memorials that participants ride to on their own during the year. Usually war memorials, but not always. Generally these are in little towns off the beaten path, and most riders claim they get to see cool little places they'd never gone to otherwise. You could get the list and include it in your GPS for when you are in the area.

    For racing, as you get into the rural parts of the South East (what we generally just call The South) you'll find many dirt track stock car race tracks with racing every weekend. We have some very famous race tracks (Indy, Daytona, etc.) that are only used a few times a year, but have museums and tours every day.

    Finally, Rt 66, Hwy 50, and Mississippi River all converge in St. Louis, and that's not far from me. If you come through and need anything, look me up either here through PM or the Tent Space Site. Always enjoy the company of motorcycle tour riders.
    #14
  15. Lizzard323

    Lizzard323 Solo rider. Lover of solitude and corn meal.

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    Sounds fun. The riders here have and will continue to provide great advice.

    You mentioned racing. http://calendar.nascar.com/schedule will publish the 2018 schedule in May of 2017. There are some "great" oval tracks like Bristol, Daytona etc. Watkins Glen, Sonoma and other road courses. August, Sept, Oct, Nov are great months to see some good elite racing.

    There is a series that road races all over the country called Chump Car. https://www.chumpcar.com They race endurance races 8,12,14,24 hours with 50-100 cars. They also race the great tracks.

    I live on the east coast of Florida near the Kennedy Space Center. They are launching a lot of rockets now. 30+- this year alone. Its pretty cool to see one of those. http://spaceflightnow.com/launch-schedule/
    #15
  16. TUCKERS

    TUCKERS the famous james

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    Google Willow Springs International Raceway...in California. I used to road race there. 500cc/660cc singles, and 500cc Stock and 500cc modified.
    #16
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  17. Terry & Janelle

    Terry & Janelle Two Aussie riders planning a 3 month tour of USA

    Joined:
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    All this is so awesome everyone. Thanks and please keep them all coming. We are reading everything and making notes.

    So much info from so many wonderful people. You all need to come down under and sample our wonderful riding too. I'll write us up in test space in the next day or so and would welcome you all!

    Sent from my SM-G930F using Tapatalk
    #17
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  18. TUCKERS

    TUCKERS the famous james

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    Are there any curvy paved roads down there? Besides Philip Island Raceway!
    #18
  19. Terry & Janelle

    Terry & Janelle Two Aussie riders planning a 3 month tour of USA

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2017
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    Location:
    Canberra, Australia
    Everywhere. There's a mountain range right down the east coast. Google Macquarie Pass, Oxley Highway, Great Ocean Road. And that's just a tiny sample.

    Sent from my SM-G930F using Tapatalk
    #19
  20. TUCKERS

    TUCKERS the famous james

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    Coolio...I'd like to have ago...it's on my list.
    #20