2021: 3 Months touring the American West

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by jgalinis, May 2, 2021.

  1. jgalinis

    jgalinis Adventurer

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    This will be my first longer term trip report so please bear with me. I am considering it a personal challenge to keep this ride report reasonable up to date for the duration of the trip.


    I saved up a bunch of PTO from work and will be taking about two and a half months to ride the western US this summer, starting here in a few weeks.


    I will be taking the trip solo. I consider myself a man of few words and an introvert, so this will especially be a challenge for me doing a trip this long.


    The plan Mostly camping along the way, getting a hotel/motel every few days to refresh, or if there is bad weather forecasted. I will be using ioverlander and The Dyrt apps, as well as taking a look at the tent space map occasionally. There is also a FB group called “Bunk a Biker” that I will be checking out as well. This will also be a challenge for me, as I typically have camping/lodging planned out in advance for shorter runs near me.


    The (very rough baseline) route [​IMG]


    The Bike
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]


    2017 Yamaha FJ-09. Although not a true “Adventure Bike”, I have added a few items to make it more bearable off pavement use. Crash bars in case of a drop (already tested a few times), a skid plate to protect the underside if i get too overzealous, and Continental Trail Attack tires to give me a slight advantage over standard street tires.


    Though I won't be running down any single tracks or anything too rough, this will get me down most forest service roads to get to the better campsites in national forests, and hopefully prevent any major damage when i drop the bike.


    The Gear [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Givi 37L Trekker Dolomiti panniers, as well as a top case. The top case will be very lightly loaded, mostly used for lockable storage space while stopped.

    Camping Gear:
    • Sea to Summit 2p Tent
    • Kootek hammock with bug net, to be used on clear warmer nights
    • NEMO Forte 20
    • Cheap amazon inflatable sleeping pad
    • REI folding chair
    • Katadyn hiker water filter pump
    • Glock folding shovel/saw
    • Jetboil for use sparingly
    • Bear Mace
    Other items:
    • Tool roll
    • Slime Tire pump and plugs
    • Sneakers, flip flops, 3 changes of clothing
    • Tablet for reading
    • (2) 1 liter Nalgene bottles in the panniers, as well as (2) 1.5 liter nalgene bottles mounted to the crash bars up front
    • (2) MSR 30 oz fuel bottles mounted to the panniers
    • Delorme inreach explorer
    This is an overview of my big ticket items I will be bringing along.

    I am definitely open to questions/comments/suggestions. As I said earlier, this will be a whole new experience for me. My longest previous trip was Nashville to Duck, NC.

    Thanks for coming to my Ted Talk.
    #1
  2. 23103a

    23103a not n00b

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    Sounds awesome. Enjoy :D
    #2
  3. aboveangkor

    aboveangkor Been here awhile

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    I was born in Kingsport so we shouldn't need an interpreter.Done most of your trip before but it was almost 30 years ago.If you have any "must see " places now would be a good time to point them out.I'm sure you will get a few route change suggestions.First thing I learned is after you reach the Rockies you can't go wrong.It's all great!
    #3
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  4. CheshireWarcat

    CheshireWarcat n00b

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    I enjoy riding with others but there is nothing like a solo long range trip. I think the only challenge you will have is turning back towards home. Accommodating temps from 102F - 25F seem to take up most of my cargo space for trips like this. At times, it can get pretty dang cold in the northern Rockies. Looking forward to your report....
    #4
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  5. chudzikb

    chudzikb Long timer Supporter

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    You won't be working, that's a great start!
    #5
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  6. jgalinis

    jgalinis Adventurer

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    Must see destinations mostly in order:

    • Natchez trace parkway
    • Still undecided if I want to go into New Orleans proper
    • Galveston, TX
    • San Antonio, TX - The Alamo
    • Frio Canyon, TX
    • Big Bend National Park? Weather dependent, If the heat is unbearable I will bypass
    • White sands national park
    • Roswell, NM
    • Bandelier National Monument, NM
    • Pikes Peak
    • Rocky Mountain National Park
    • Million Dollar Highway
    • Arches National Park
    • Zion National Park
    • Grand Canyon
    • Yosemite National Park
    • Pacific Coast Highway
    • North Cascades Highway
    • Glacier National Park
    • Yellowstone
    • Beartooth Highway
    • Devils Tower, WY
    • Black Hills, SD

    This is going to be a lot too see, and time appropriately to be able to see everything. I have a lot of smaller points of interest marked on my Google maps "want to go" list, but these will be the main attractions.
    #6
  7. freeway crash

    freeway crash Been here awhile Supporter

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    Looking forward to the RR. I Did the Natchez Trace by bicycle. You’ll love it on a motorcycle.
    #7
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  8. chudzikb

    chudzikb Long timer Supporter

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    You are an ambitious soul! I want to see how this plays out for you. I have been to big bend in the summer, if you are up in the mountains, fine, down in the desert, not so fine. There is hot, and there is big bend summer hot. Family and I did a desert southwest vacation in July, they still have not forgiven me for that one.
    #8
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  9. Long Trail

    Long Trail ADV Ready

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    This sounds like a good trip, good luck to you and enjoy.
    #9
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  10. DiggerD

    DiggerD DougFir from SuperDuke Days

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    Hot weather on a bike is a drain.
    One suggestion I would make is to save the hot south route for another year and make a bee line straight to the Rockies.
    #10
  11. ROAD DAMAGE

    ROAD DAMAGE Long timer Supporter

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    Have you decided on a departure date yet?
    #11
  12. jgalinis

    jgalinis Adventurer

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    I will be departing on May 18 if everything goes according to plan.

    It is getting hard to focus on anything but this trip at this point.
    #12
  13. Dave.0

    Dave.0 on the spectrum

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    wherever you go...
    Sounds like a great trip. I have been to just about everywhere you mentioned. I would add Bryce Canyon to the list. Its close to Zion and the North rim of the grand canyon and one of the most unique places that I have seen.
    I'd skip New Orleans, especially traveling solo on a motorcycle but that's just me.

    I'm jealous. Have fun.
    #13
  14. Themastermike

    Themastermike Think you caught me in a coma Supporter

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    Heat----don'tworryabout. Ride and chill.

    How many miles you guestimating for this trip? Plans at all for maintenance along the journey? Tires, chain maybe? Oil changes.

    This would be good.

    From one introvert to another.... Enjoy the trip
    #14
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  15. smalls78

    smalls78 Been here awhile Supporter

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    I’m in
    #15
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  16. jgalinis

    jgalinis Adventurer

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    Guessing around 10k total miles.

    Chain and sprockets were replaced last month, and I will be departing on a fresh oil change as well as a brand new tire on the back.

    I assume about halfway through the trip or so, I'll need to track down a shop and get a new rear tire at least.
    #16
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  17. ScotsFire

    ScotsFire And then a drifter rode into town... Supporter

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    This will be an awesome trip! You’ve picked some of my favorite rides, and several that are on my list yet to do.

    I’m not sure we’ll end up being on your preferred route to Glacier, but you’re welcome to stay with my GF and I in Kellogg ID. We’re on both the tent space here and Bunk-a-biker.

    Consider taking the Port Townsend-Coupeville ferry across Puget sound. It will save you at least three hours of densely urban freeway riding (unless you have some other reason to experience the Tacoma Aroma). PT is the actual start of WA Highway 20, of which the North Cascades Highway is a part of. It’s a real pretty ferry trip and Deception Pass where HW20 leaves Whidbey Island is neat too. WA20 is probably overall the most scenic way across Washington State, though very likely the slowest too. Riding it all the way to Tiger on the Pend O’reille River sets you up well to continue to Glacier on US2.

    While in Moab seeing Arches NP, suggest riding up to the Island in the Sky portion of Canyonlands NP. The views will be worth the extra couple hours. I’ll be there with some friends the last week and a half of May, but you probably wouldn’t be that far yet.

    Will be following along. Have a great ride!
    #17
  18. RezRocket

    RezRocket Adventurer Super Supporter

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    Nice list - but might want to skip Roswell, NM because there's nothing much to see there. Aliens have all moved to California. Others here have already advised about dangerous levels of heat during some parts of your proposed route. Cooling vests work well and worth the expense IMO. Have a blast!
    #18
  19. navi

    navi Been here awhile

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    joined
    #19
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  20. CheshireWarcat

    CheshireWarcat n00b

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    For aliens, Nevada ET highway 375 is a pleasant surprise. Even in the summer, it is a great route to the Sierra Nevada via Hwy 6/120.
    #20
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