2016 Tour de National Parks (Lower 48, and Alaska)

Discussion in 'Americas' started by StarkNaked, Oct 12, 2015.

  1. StarkNaked

    StarkNaked Been here awhile

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    Hi Everyone,

    I'll Introduce myself. My names Logan Stark. Yes, real name, not like Clark Kent :)

    I PROMISE not to just post a few times and just die off. I've already quit my job, there's no going back.

    The plan is a trip, hitting all the national parks in the lower 48 and trekking through Canada to visit the ones in Alaska too.

    I've been lurking on this site for awhile, changed my name once, and now It's time to get active. I'm not one for technology so this will take some time to get used to, please bear with me.


    Here is a link to the rough draft of my trip, you can view, and please make comments, additional places I should stop, or places to rest my weary head.

    ***** LINK ******
    https://www.google.com/maps/d/edit?mid=zmyJLS9i2xWw.kIK_ljVlwo0k&usp=sharing


    My life has been pretty much just scraping by alive, but not living, I'm sure some can relate. Change is necessary. Although, naturally, this trip sounded like the best idea, it doesn't come without fear, extreme risk and monetary challenges. I'll do my best to make the best of this experience, and I'm here, looking for input from YOU, the awesome people of this site. (sorry, I meant Inmates)
    #1
  2. Strong Bad

    Strong Bad Former World's Foremost Authority Supporter

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    There is little to see in Oxnard Ca at the Channel Islands National Park. There is a small visitors center next to the harbor, but the Channel Islands which make up the National Park are miles offshore and there is no way to get a bike there or ride on the islands.
    #2
  3. Eyes Shut

    Eyes Shut See no evil Super Supporter

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    #3
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  4. KTMGOAT

    KTMGOAT 1190S

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    That's awesome, I'm very envious of your trip! What kind of bike, And how long are you planning on being o the road?

    I have a few alternatives you could do for a more scenic route through CA. After Yosemite go through Merced and take 152 to Watsonville, then north on 1. You can take the coast all the way to San Francisco or you can take 9 to 35 north up to Alice Resturant. If your there on a weekend its where all the motorcycles and exotics hang out, you'll understand after riding 9 and 35.

    If your going to be on a dual sport you should ride through the Lost Coast in Northern California. Other than being slower because it's dirt, it's a dirt road "shortcut" that not well maintained during the winter but very fun.

    Last sugjestion is after Glacier NP, go to Kalispell and take 93 south, follow that through the bitterroot Valley. Then take 43 east to 278 south. Then 41 to 287 to Yellowstone. Will add some hours but amazing scenery.

    Hope that helps!
    #4
  5. kantuckid

    kantuckid Long timer

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    I recently read Neil Peart's (drummer in band-Rush and MC rider of note AND a very good writer too!) book that chronicle's a year traveling between musical tour gigs. He decides to try for as many national park "ink stamps" as he can garner during that tour. He admits the failed logic of visiting places of wonder while failing to see or do anything, other than the ink stamp.
    Is this an "ink stamp" tour or a "do justice" tour? Many travelers, MC or not, do both kinds as evidenced by the "see me standing by my MC at a sign or scenic view" picture. Time an interest dictate the answer.
    #5
  6. tennyis

    tennyis Been here awhile

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    Looks like it will be a fantastic trip! I would suggest adding in Gaspe, Qc and Cabot trail.. not parks but worth the ride :)
    #6
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  7. High Country Herb

    High Country Herb Adventure Connoiseur

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    How about Mt. Rushmore and Crazy Horse in South Dakota? Not technically national parks, but they are national sites.

    I also agree with KTMGOAT about spending more time on the California coast. Big Sur is very picturesque, but may be out of your way if you want to see the southern Sierra. If you wanted to you could head there from Yosemite, and just drive down about 1 hour to see the good stuff, then head north along Hwy 1 all the way across the Golden Gate. You can turn east toward Lassen from Fort Bragg through Clear Lake.

    By the way, you don't have to drop down into Fresno to follow the Sierra. In fact I recommend against it if you aren't specifically seeking one of the agricultural museums of the Central Valley.
    #7
  8. TUCKERS

    TUCKERS the famous james

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    Even on an INKSTAMP tour you will see many wonderful things.

    Plan your latitudes according to the weather.

    BIG BEND in Texas is the least visited National Park in the USA..go there.

    Take care of personal hygiene daily, no need to look like a bum even if you are bumming.

    Some folk go all commando as a sign to others you are 'on the road'.....you are still in on the road if you follow accepted forms of smelling decent and looking somewhat groomed.

    Your're going to want to talk to people. It can really help. We find that McDonalds dollar drink any size is a good investment, plus they have free internet. Just don't be so absorbed in your internet you forget to engage folk.

    Let people know you are on a budget, but don't mooch.

    Brush your teeth and SMILE A LOT.

    Have a flip helmet, or better still remove your lid to talk to people.

    Plan on spending a fair bit of time at gas stops. Every old man will want to talk to you about the bike/trip/you/him.....this pays off in big dividends.

    Don't hook up with anyone else 'on a budget'....you have to think of yourself first....if you go to HOSTELS say to your self HOSTILE.....these are the only places I have ever had anything stolen....some backpackers are on a smaller budget and include stealing as part of getting by.

    You who are on the road must have a code that you must live by.............
    #8
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  9. StarkNaked

    StarkNaked Been here awhile

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    Wow, I honestly didn't expect this kind of response so quickly. I'll try and respond to everyone. Thanks for the great input so far!


    So, Right now I am planning on leaving March 21st from Pennsylvania and plan on being in Maine in Late November. (that's at least the plan) I can hit about about 50 of the national parks, and that would give me about 5 days per park area. It doesn't sound like much but I've been to a few of these national parks and just a ride through would do me fine.

    Even now just typing this, it really seems like I need more time and thats the one thing I don't want to be stressed about. I want to enjoy the ride :)

    I knew about the pass, I'll be getting one right before I head out, and I need to start getting involved in tent space, I feel like that'd be a great way to stretch the ol' dollar.

    Thanks for the info Eyes Shut!
    #9
  10. StarkNaked

    StarkNaked Been here awhile

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    KTMGOAT and anyone else whos curious, heres my thumper setup so far.


    My ride is a 08' DR650 Thumper. Bought Stock with 3000 on the Odo Feb of last year for $3100 (decent price? yea, maybe?)

    Farkles so far:

    Screens for Bikes Smoke Screen
    Acerbis 5.3Gal Tank
    Sergant Seat
    Oxford Touring Heaters
    Skid Plate
    Happy Trail Teton Pannier Setup
    Holy Grail Muffler GSXR1000 x40F0X with Kientech Midpipe (Not yet installed) Bought for muffler for less than $50 SCORE!!!
    LED tail Light
    Cyclops LED headlight (MUST BUY for dr650's, lowers total power use drastically! and super bright!!!)
    Kientech Hand Pull Choke
    Garmin Montana Charging Mount
    Dual Waterproof USB plugs
    Happy Trails Tail Plate
    Black Side Panels
    20150731_132500.jpg
    (shown instead of the teton panniers, I made custom ones out of 50 cal FAT boxes and put my logo on the side of them haha) They were cheap, water tight, look good and if I wreck, they are sacrificial)

    I have not yet pulled the NSU screws and locktite'd them yet, but I will, and I have not done the air box mod, which also is in the plans.


    Gear:
    REVIT Neptune GTX Jacket and Pant Combo (anyone looking for a lower mid range 4 season set up, I'd highly recommend this)
    REVIT Fusion Gauntlet Gloves
    SIDI Goretex Adventure Boots
    Nolan N91 Modular Helmet with SENA SMH-10 Bluetooth
    Some comfy Joe Rocket summer gloves

    I have a lightweight tent I found on craigslist, a good water resistant 30 Degree sleeping bag, Insulated Klymate sleeping pad, MSR whisperlite stove, and some other stuff. I need to work on weight and inventory control. It's a struggle. :fpalm


    I tried getting everything off ebay and craigslist as BEST I could, others I had to cough up full price, yikes. farklin' ain't cheap.
    #10
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  11. boatpuller

    boatpuller Long timer

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    Maine in late Nov? You got tire chains for your cycle? You can expect to hit some winter conditions, even if they are short lived due to plowing, salt, and sun.

    If you have the extra time, consider doing your northern parks during the warm months, and the southern parks during the winter months. If you don't have extra time, consider doing the western parks on this ride, and those closer to your home in future shorter rides. That allows you to linger more at a park that really speaks to you, like Yosemite or the Grand Canyon or Yellowstone, for example.

    If you get to the Everglades during the winter, there is a quiet day park on the eastern side of the national park not too far from Miami, run by NP volunteers. One couple are retired army hippies, from Western MA, who are warm and inviting. I met them on the ferry crossing the Delaware Bay years ago, and still stay in touch. I've also visited with them in the Everglades, and they helped me discover the beauty of an area I was blind to before. If you go and visit with them, a) you'll be a richer person for it; and b) please tell them the rider from the Delaware Ferry on the Green Harley suggested you find them, and he says "Hi".
    #11
  12. StarkNaked

    StarkNaked Been here awhile

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    Thats really interesting, I love to read so I think I'll check that book out. This is not just a hey look at me, I'm here "Ink Stamp" tour. I love nature, and I thought using the national parks as a way to explore the country would give me some sort of idea of where I'm going. The beauty of the road and MC travelers is we can deviate from the plan rather quickly with the flick of a wrist :) Honestly Kantuckid, I didn't even know about the stamps HAHA. (Adding that to my list)

    This tour is really a " I hope I come back from riding aimlessly around the country a little less lost than when I left" tour. Honestly. I'd like to give back too, do good where I can. If I am in a spot to do so, helping strangers for no other reason than to help is on my list.

    ....and, he's right, they are places of wonder, and I'm going to take in as much as I can.

    thanks for that insight Kantuckid

    - StarkNaked
    #12
  13. StarkNaked

    StarkNaked Been here awhile

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    Ugh no :/ and that is the struggle, I am having a hard time timing this all out and figuring out how much time I can devote to this. Once I'm on the road it can all change.

    Sharing time with ol hippy army vets? Count me in. I will definitely stop there if I end up in the area during winter. Are they only there in the winter?

    I'm single, no wife or kids. I will continue to work on figuring out how long this can happen. I just need to look at the ol' wallet, blow the dust out of it :imaposer
    #13
  14. StarkNaked

    StarkNaked Been here awhile

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    I've thought about CrazyHorse, that might go on the list. Has anyone ever been to Rushmore? Is it worth the trip?

    Good info, the entire western coastline is something I've dreamt about. There is also this weird lake in the central northeast area of cali called MONO LAKE that I really want to see. It is extremely salty, no fish! and there are these interesting flies called alkali flies, in the BILLIONS that eat shrimp and algae. Birds come on their migrations and double their weight by eating the flies. I have to see it. Anyone ever heard of it?
    #14
  15. High Country Herb

    High Country Herb Adventure Connoiseur

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    I have been to both Rushmore and Mono.

    Mt. Rushmore: For those into American history, it is a great place to visit. The carved mountain is bigger and more majestic than it looks in pictures. There is a large amphitheater in front of it where you can sit and reflect. People tend to whisper. There is a gift shop that has a lot of in depth history books about the Founding Fathers and their writings, and not so many trinkets.

    Mono Lake: I live just over the Sierra from it, and have been camping and exploring the eastern Sierra for much of my life. It can be an erie place, especially at dawn when the mist rises around the tufa formations. The Mono Basin is a geologically diverse area as well. There are dormant volcanic cinder cones, lava flows, obsidian fields, and even volcanic slot canyons on the north side of Mono Lake at Black Point.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    #15
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  16. Eyes Shut

    Eyes Shut See no evil Super Supporter

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    Agree with HCHerb on Rushmore and Mono Lake. Rushmore is kind of cool, and sometimes it's just better to see a place in person even though you've see many pictures of it. Besides that, you can ride through Custer State Park on the Wildlife Loop Road and see bison (probably up close and personal! :lol3 Always a thrill on a motorcycle), and ride on the Needles Hiway (87) through the Black Hills. An excellent road, well worth checking out.
    #16
  17. TUCKERS

    TUCKERS the famous james

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    I'd leave the bike stock. No airbox mod, no jets.
    You may consider a 16T front sprocket if you are doing mainly highway.
    NSU mod is good insurance, get around to it. I have done five so far, I made a bent tool you don't even need to remove the clutch. If you don't care about a neutral light it's not a bad idea to ditch the NSU altogether.
    Do you have a lightweight bike cover? It's a really good idea.
    Make sure you have a very good or new battery.
    My wife Colleen rode her 2008 DR650 to Ushuaia (google tuckers to tdf)...it's a GREAT BIKE. Only issue we had was SPARK PLUGS...put new plugs in before you leave.
    #17
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  18. boatpuller

    boatpuller Long timer

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    The day park on the east side of the Everglades is only open in the winter, at least that's how it has been. The day park is a quiet part of the Everglades, and is called Chekika. Here's a link to the NPS map: http://www.nps.gov/ever/planyourvisit/things2do.htm This couple rolls down there in the fall, and returns to their home in the spring. At least that's how it's happened the past few years.
    #18
  19. kantuckid

    kantuckid Long timer

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    For the record, my inkstamp comment wasn't intended to negate the obvious reality of scenery as a positive aspect of travel? I was encouraging the OP to make time for some parks to become a destination of sorts rather than a drive-by event. Sharing the thoughts of Mr. Peart in that regard should have made that clear?
    Whats "inside" a park is often not experienced from the road. It may be a museum or VG visitor center or it may be a hike into the main reasons that NP exists. Also, some particular state parks, far exceed the "bang" some NP's offer, so look that direction too.
    These are "web conversations", not speeches, after all.:-) Have a fun trip.
    #19
  20. StarkNaked

    StarkNaked Been here awhile

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    What was the plug issue? I had some backfiring and sputtering when I first got it, the bike sat for awhile, and I replaced the plugs and things are good now. They were a little on the black side so I think it was burning too rich? Im not a mechanic haha, but I'm learning.

    The cover is a great idea. I have one but its heavy duty.
    #20