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2021: 3 Months touring the American West

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

  1. jgalinis

    jgalinis Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2020
    Oddometer:
    41
    Location:
    Nashville, TN
    Thank you for the awesome suggestions! I went ahead and bookmarked them on my Google maps. If I am in the area, I will definitely be in touch!
    #21
    ScotsFire likes this.
  2. Soil Sample

    Soil Sample Adventurer

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2021
    Oddometer:
    25
    Location:
    SL,UT
    I can offer a private bedroom with private bathroom/shower in Salt Lake City if you are interested.
    #22
    jgalinis likes this.
  3. jgalinis

    jgalinis Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2020
    Oddometer:
    41
    Location:
    Nashville, TN
    I went out this week to do another trial run of my gear, and make sure I have everything I will need.

    I headed out to Tail of the Dragon on a chilly Thursday morning.

    I stopped in for lunch at 129 HUB on the west end of the dragon. This has been my go to lunch spot since last year, the food is excellent and it's a really cool spot.

    A few passes of the Dragon later and I was satisfied and headed to camp. I swung by some free spots on the shore of Lake Santeetlah, and surprisingly one of them was available! They seem to be pretty popular, and rarely absolutely.

    I ran up the road to a gas station real quick to find some beer and hot dogs, but found neither. I was in a hurry to get back and claim the open campsite before somebody else got there, so I settled on a sandwich and headed back to camp.

    The next morning, I did another pass of the dragon, then headed up the Cherohala skyway, stopping in on the west side to see Bald River Falls, then grabbed lunch at Iron Works Grille in Tellico Plains, which was also excellent.

    I am still working on figuring out how to make my writing more exciting like I see on other posts so please bear with me.

    Also experimenting with the Tapatalk app. PXL_20210506_170721707.jpg PXL_20210506_233903134~2.jpg PXL_20210506_181612769~2.jpg PXL_20210507_144958081~2.jpg PXL_20210507_154128820~2.jpg
    #23
  4. wetwider

    wetwider Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2016
    Oddometer:
    178
    Location:
    northwest

    I second ScotsFire's suggestion for missing Tacoma-Seattle's nonsense (the Dark Side, we west of Puget Sound call it) by taking U.S. 101 up the peninsula, either east or west side . I'd take a nice winding two-lane to the coast & get on 101 south of Astoria, Oregon, avoiding Portland's mess - and catch the PT-Whidbey ferry to ride up to the North Cascade Highway.

    Another sanity-saving tip: Plot a parallel route north for whatever stretch of the Pacific Coast roads you want to ride. By the time you get out to `em, it'll be Winnebeggo time on Hwy 1 and U.S. 101 in California & Oregon - nose-to-tail motorhomes on twisty two-lane, all driven by card-carrying members of the Anti-Destination League. Enjoy a bit of the coastal views, but keep your alternate route accesses in mind. You might even consider U.S. 395 north along the spine of the Sierras for a pleasant route, though you miss a lot of California, the good and the bad. 395 goes all the way to Canada and then some, all of it pretty nice except through Reno.

    If you chose 395, there are several ways to get west along the way. Just ask in your report for suggestions. Or PM me, good too if you need to wrench, change oil or put up a tent on the north end of the peninsula.
    #24
    jgalinis likes this.
  5. Themastermike

    Themastermike Think you caught me in a coma Supporter

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2011
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    Location:
    So Ill
    Don't exaggerate your writing style in my opinion. Some get over the top and it's annoying. Tell the tale the best way that works for you.
    #25
  6. Txrenegade

    Txrenegade Adventurer

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2014
    Oddometer:
    51
    I'm just north of San Antonio in a town called New Braunfels and I am on Bunk-A-Biker. Look me up if you're looking for somewhere to stay around here!
    #26
    Switchglide12, pratered and jgalinis like this.
  7. Meatn'taters

    Meatn'taters Not any more Supporter

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2009
    Oddometer:
    302
    Location:
    Sonoma County, CA
    Great trip planned! Riding the PCH thru CA, then 101 thru OR/WA will make you crazy after a while. And unless you wanna see San Francisco, avoid the SF Bay Area. Suggest you ride PCH N to Gilroy, bee line it East to Yosemite (gonna be packed, avoid weekend), 395 North to Carson City, cut slight East, at Truckee take 89N thru Mt. Lassen, then head back West on Hwy 299 thru Redding to the coast. At this point, you'll be ready for 60 degrees along the coast for a while. Hwy 101 in OR can be crazy packed in the summer, at Bandon you might want to head back East and take Hwy 138 (Waterfall Highway) to 97 N to Bend, OR. Agree with others to avoid Portland & Seattle metros. If you do end up any where near Santa Rosa, CA - PM me. Happy to put you up, help you out, ride with you for a bit, road advice, whatever works for you.
    #27
    pratered and jgalinis like this.
  8. wetwider

    wetwider Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2016
    Oddometer:
    178
    Location:
    northwest
    Good routing info from Meatn'taters except you wanna go EAST out of Gilroy. Go west & you'll get pretty wet & salty. Yosemite is worth some trouble to see but if by the time you get north of Big Sur you've had your fill of creeping traffic & way too many people, the two mountain-pass roads to 395 north of Yosemite are wonderful - like the Tail of the Dragon squared, then cubed. They're CA 4 and CA 88. 97N through Bendover, Oregon, is a pleasant run and will take you north closer to Portland, but not through it. Cross the Columbia River to the town of Carson (great hot springs there) & find the little roads that'll take you north past Mt. St. Helens, what's left of it, an impressive sight. U.S. 12 west will get you over to a little south of the Olympic Peninsula where a mess of little roads will take you north again to 101 without the heartbreak of festering cities.

    Backing up to California a minute; if Hwy 1 traffic through Sur seems like it's gonna be a cruel joke as you approach Hwy 46, find Hwy 25 on your map to the east of 101 north of Passo Robles and take it! Nice meandering little road past ranches into Holister, which is almost to Gilroy. Also where Corbin Saddles are headquartered.

    There's one other option if you wanna stay in cooler climes: Get over to Hwy 1 from Holister (or to Hwy 17 to 35, or Skyline Drive, north) and ease up the beaches or ridges to pass San Francisco on the ocean side with a little city thrown in before you get to the Golden Gate. You can slip up onto the bridge near the toll plaza and zip over to Marin, then out to the coast on Hwy 1 (weekday's by far the best) and ride twisty two-lane by the sea up to Mendocino, where, if traffic's stealing your fun, you can run back over the Coast Range to 101 for a fast , easy cruise on to Cresent City, then east through the biggest redwoods to Grass Pants, Oregon, then over the hills and north through centeral Oregon.

    San Francisco is gone - no point going into that city unless to rescue a really good friend.
    #28
  9. ScotsFire

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

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    Location:
    Here and there... but more there than here
    I’ll be a bit of a contrarian here. The above posters are correct that traffic along the Pacific coast can be very hectic and crazy in the summer. But if it’s your first time out west, the scenery will stun you. Big Sur. Marin Highlands. Redwood Forest. Many stretches of the coastline. If you can be patient, you’ll see things you can’t see elsewhere in the United States. The sooner you get to the coast, the better that traffic will be. Also true for places like Glacier and Yellowstone. Leave now if you can. That’d help with the temperatures of the SW too.

    One NorCal alternative if you can handle a little dirt is to take the Usal Road up into the Lost Coast area. There won’t be RV’s there. It continues more northerly where CA1 turns east away from the shore to link up with US101. Decent Forest type roads as long as it hasn’t been too wet recently, which it doesn’t sound like it has.

    You’ll have to decide whether seeing some of these iconic sites is worth the hassle of lots of other tourists. Bend is nice in its own way (especially if you like craft beer!), but it’s not Gold Beach.
    #29
  10. CheshireWarcat

    CheshireWarcat n00b

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2017
    Oddometer:
    6
    Speaking of Big Sur, Nacimiento road through Camp Hunter-Liggett and back to the PCH via Carmel Valley road is a great ride. Especially, if the fog rolls in and it often does.

    Do make sure and include Utah Highway 95 in your route. I think it looks better riding it south but both directions are visually overwhelming. If you have the right tires, you can make it to Butch Cassidy's robbers roost. "Robbers Roost Spring" on Google maps.

    Looking down into the roost. The air is full of smoke from the California fires last year.

    IMG_0372.jpg
    #30
  11. Starstruck

    Starstruck Been here awhile Supporter

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2010
    Oddometer:
    216
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    Traveling
    If it's your first time out West, I'd recommend doing Rt 1 all the way up the California coast - it really is an iconic ride. Yes, you'll hit traffic (and inevitably spend some time behind an RV going 25 mph), but you can avoid the worst by hitting the road just before the sun comes up and that will avoid much of the traffic through some of the busiest sections. It's a memorable ride.

    If you haven't already, you need to go on to recreation.gov to see what is required to reserve entry to the various national parks this summer. Many are now requiring advance reservations to enter the park and some (i.e., Glacier National Park) have already sold out their advance ticket sales for the summer! You may still be able to score a last minute entry reservation, but these are only released two days in advance and you better be online ready to pounce the minute they go on sale. I suspect some of the more iconic spots are going to be sold out.

    If you go counterclockwise instead of clockwise, the BMW MOA is holding its annual rally in Great Falls, MT June 24-27. You don't need to be riding a BMW to attend and there will be lots of riders and vendors to meet and talk to if that interests you.

    If you like history and are riding Montana, think about adding the Custer Battlefield at the Little Big Horn to your route. Also Crater Lake in Oregon is pretty impressive (if it is open and accessible). Utah is simply amazing - add a ride through Capitol Reef (Utah Rt 24) to your itinerary. All sorts of incredible rides in California (think about going up and/or down I-395 between Mojave and Tahoe just for the ride).

    Parts of your ride are going to be blazingly hot - particularly the southern parts in mid-summer. It's doable, but be prepared for it. (One July I did a night crossing of Nevada from Palm Springs, CA northeast to Colorado; around Las Vegas it was over 115 degrees at midnight! It was even worse coming back.)

    You're going to find riding the West is different from riding the East. Long distances between places. Keep an eye on your fuel gauge in the more remote areas.
    #31
    ScotsFire, staticPort and jgalinis like this.
  12. jgalinis

    jgalinis Adventurer

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    Thank you for the insight!

    This advance reservation system is really going to be a downer. I will just have to hope to get lucky with a last minute, as I don't have, nor want to have a set schedule or book anything in advance.
    #32
    Sal Pairadice likes this.
  13. Starstruck

    Starstruck Been here awhile Supporter

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2010
    Oddometer:
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    Traveling
    At this point, I'd just wing it on the national park reservations. Set up an account in advance and an alarm to go off 5 minutes before the tickets go on sale. There are a bunch of tickets being held for last minute sales, but they'll go quickly. If you wake up early and go online, you'll probably be ok (the reservations are for a 7 day entry window - not sure about camp sites).

    If you like to ride, riding the West is amazing. You're going to have a great summer.
    #33
    jgalinis likes this.
  14. Vrode

    Vrode Still learning.... Supporter

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2014
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    Location:
    Northern Vermont
    I'm in.
    Don't worry about your writing. Tell the story in your words, thru your eyes. That'll be fine.
    Good luck!
    #34
  15. heyDC

    heyDC Ecc 4:9-10

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2017
    Oddometer:
    15
    With all those National Parks on your list do yourself a favor and get an America The Beautiful annual pass for $80. It'll pay off after the 3rd or 4th park. You can get it at the 1st park you enter.
    #35
    xcsks, SJ2017, jgalinis and 5 others like this.
  16. smalls78

    smalls78 Been here awhile Supporter

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2017
    Oddometer:
    593
    Location:
    NC/SC
    Agreed, I passed through several in 2017 and wish I'd done that. Didn't think about it until after the trip LOL.

    As for the writing style...dude it's your trip report, I'm here to read and see the pics you post. I like it so far.
    #36
  17. SJ2017

    SJ2017 What is this Adv riding?

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2018
    Oddometer:
    31
    Location:
    Pittsburgh
    Interested and will be following your RR. Planning to go through some of the spots you’ve mentioned on my ride in July.
    #37
    jgalinis likes this.
  18. manshoon

    manshoon Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2009
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    585
    Location:
    Pnw
    The best part of any adventure is the journey........winging it can be a good thing sometimes. Just be your self and tell it like you see it, before you know it you will be writing a book. Crater Lake is a very cool place to see from a bike.

    The middle of Oregon is a nice scenic ride if your in no hurry, the coastal thing is always great until it rains. Carson WA north behind Mount Saint Helens is a very cool ride, paved all the way to Randle WA, depending on how much Hwy 101 Ocean views or Mountain views you can handle, lots to keep you entertained. Look forward to following along.
    #38
  19. jgalinis

    jgalinis Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2020
    Oddometer:
    41
    Location:
    Nashville, TN
    Kicked off the journey today. I don't think the scope of what I have set out to do has fully hit me yet.

    Departed my home in Nashville today down the Natchez trace parkway.

    There is a ton of interesting history to see along this road if you're into that sort of thing. Larger spots of note are Jackson falls and fall hollow, really nice waterfall areas a short hike from the road.

    Also stopped off at the Meriwether Lewis memorial memorial. There is an excellent ride report in this forum detailing and following along the route of Lewis and Clark which is a great read. This location is his final resting place.

    Did about 300 miles today.

    Currently camped at Jeff Busby campground just off of the trace.

    It was a mostly overcast day today, with intermittent showers, but nothing too severe. I think I will be hitting some heavier rain tomorrow. Hopefully this rev it! rain suit holds up.

    I am going to push for Louisiana tomorrow after a stop off in Natchez, MS. View attachment 2979935 View attachment 2979937 View attachment 2979936 View attachment 2979939 View attachment 2979940 View attachment 2979938 PXL_20210518_230629515.MP.jpg
    #39
  20. jgalinis

    jgalinis Adventurer

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    Jun 14, 2020
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    Nashville, TN