2021: 3 Months touring the American West

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

  1. Aptos

    Aptos n00b

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    Calif coast between SF and Monterey native here. Highway 1 from SF to Santa Cruz has plenty of passing opportunities. It will likely be cold. We call it June gloom. The marine layer gets into your bones. Not always foggy though. 20 miles inland is 30+ degrees F warmer. No rain until end of October when it’s hot on the coast too and super Smokey from all the fires. That stretch is fun and beautiful.
    Carmel to nacamiento- furgeson road is the best scenery ever. I’d probably continue to Cambria/46 and cut inland to paso Robles, avoiding the US Army base that road passes through. There is a really great military aircraft museum in Paso Robles at the airport called Estrella.
    #41
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  2. akula802

    akula802 Been here awhile

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    In. I did a similar ride in 2014, albeit for different reasons, and it was an indescribably fulfilling experience. Looking forward to tagging along with you here.

    if you do make it up to RMNP I can point you to some dispersed camping nearby, as the area campgrounds seem to get booked up early. And you're welcome to my garage in Lafayette, CO should you need to do any repairs.
    #42
  3. jgalinis

    jgalinis Adventurer

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    Going to try today's post on the website instead of Tapatalk to see if I will have any photo upload issues.

    After packing up camp this morning, I continued southbound on the Natchez trace parkway. I stopped in a little town called french camp, which has a cool little loop to walk around some historic buildings.

    I finished out the trace to the southern terminus at Natchez MS. I spent some time in Natchez at the park overlooking the Mississippi river, contemplating my next move.

    I have been lucky with weather my first 2 days, I only put on my rain jacket once, but didn't really end up needing to today. I was on the fence about getting a hotel or trying to camp tonight due to the forecast.

    I decided to camp, and headed west across the river, first trying 2 different camping areas near Alexandria LA before finding one that was open.

    Shortly after getting the tent set up, the skies opened up for a little bit.

    Looks like it will continue raining on and off tonight, then starting mid morning tomorrow it will really start to come down based on the forecast. Tomorrow night be spent entirely in rain gear.

    I'll be shooting for Galveston tomorrow, then might take a rest day there to situate myself.

    The scope of the trip is starting to hit me, I spend a lot of time making decisions, even with having the internet available, which will become more sparse as I move west. Feeling a bit overwhelmed at the moment. Hopefully I'll have more clear skies in the forecast as I move west. Looking ahead to Texas, I'll have at least a few more days of rain/storms to contend with. PXL_20210519_175229796.jpg PXL_20210519_180958021.jpg PXL_20210519_191125788.jpg
    #43
  4. jgalinis

    jgalinis Adventurer

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  5. Geezerguy

    Geezerguy In the shadows Supporter

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    Base of Mt Princeton
    Looks like you did fine with the photos from this end. I just noticed this RR today and like the scope of what you are trying to do. More ambitious than what I would be comfortable with, but I think it’s totally doable.
    Your writing style is just fine, not flowery and keeping us on the edge of our seats, just the facts and a bit of your inner thoughts. Being a bit overwhelmed right now seems totally reasonable to me, and you don’t have anyone else to bounce ideas off of. Both the good and the bad of traveling solo.

    Stay dry, if you can. Better weather and roads are ahead.
    #45
  6. drdubb

    drdubb OFWG Supporter

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    You’ll eventually get a rhythm. When riding, ride. When eating eat, when sleeping, sleep.
    #46
  7. Ladybug

    Ladybug Bug Sister Supporter

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    Subscribed. I'm looking forward to seeing what you find on your travels.
    #47
  8. jgalinis

    jgalinis Adventurer

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    A mostly uneventful day today. It rained pretty hard throughout the night at camp. Unfortunately the sound of rain hitting the tent keeps me awake, so not a very restful night.

    Once the rain let off at about 7 this morning, I packed up and headed out.

    I originally planned on going further south into Louisiana, but after seeing the news from Lake Charles and all the rain and flooding they had earlier this week, I decided to just head west into Texas.

    Wasn't really anything of interest worth stopping for until I got to the coast. I headed down to the Bolivar peninsula to get to Galveston via ferry.

    I took a small detour before boarding the ferry to Fort Travis park. There are some old naval gun batteries that were constructed starting in the late 1800's. The last one was almost finished near the end of WW2, but was never operational.

    I'm sure there is a lot more history to the place, but a lot of the information signs were sun faded or non existent.

    The ferry ride to Galveston was fun, saw a couple of dolphins out in the bay. Best of all it was free.

    I got into Galveston around 1:00 or so. I had planned to check a couple different hotels to get the best rate, but the first one I spoke to had just finished cleaning a room and was willing to let me check in immediately rather than waiting until normal check in time. Sold! It's not the greatest place, but it's on the beach, and for $59, I'll take it.

    I took a much needed shower and did some sink laundry.

    Spent the rest of the day walking the beach and contemplating my next move. Looks like more rain in the forecast tomorrow.

    Planning on getting to San Antonio tomorrow evening where I'll be getting another hotel for 2 nights before continuing west.

    Still feeling overwhelmed at being able to find a place to sleep at the end of each day. It seems a little more daunting now that I'm outside of my normal riding area. In my mind it will be easier once I get further west with all of the federal land and such in the western states

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    #48
  9. Themastermike

    Themastermike Think you caught me in a coma Supporter

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    I've fixated on "the sleep spot". Takes away from the day.

    In the end you'll get something to work for each not. Don't sweat it out you'll affect your trip.
    #49
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  10. BoxheadTim

    BoxheadTim Mechanical Disaster Area

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    Berkeley Springs, WV
    Looks like a great trip. Following along!
    #50
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  11. drdubb

    drdubb OFWG Supporter

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    My big trip was 16 days. At first, finding a place was a challenge, but just relax and it will work out
    #51
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  12. Vacillator

    Vacillator Can't decide Supporter

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    Boston, MA
    In for the ride, and it sounds like your getting good advice. I know whenever I travel outside my comfort zone I always get concerned about where I will eat and where I will sleep. Then I remind myself that I have a credit card and with that I can always get both. Plus you have that cool tent, I bet you could stealth camp almost anywhere!
    #52
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  13. jgalinis

    jgalinis Adventurer

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    Nashville, TN
    Began this morning in Galveston. I packed up the bike after a morning beach Walk and headed inland.

    The route was mostly uneventful, alternating refineries and cattle.

    On the recommendation of a coworker, I stopped for lunch in Yoakum, TX at a place called H&H. Everything I had was excellent. The place has a very old school feel to it.

    After lunch I was contemplating heading up to the Shiner Bock brewery in Shiner, when a couple walking past my bike and noticed my out of state license plate. We chatted for a bit and they recommended hitting up The Devil's Backbone.

    It's in Texas hill country about an hour northeast of San Antonio.

    There are a couple good views of the canyon along this road, which has some gentle curves, and saw a few other bikes out on it as well.

    On my way into San Antonio, I stopped at REI to get an inflatable pillow (my plan of just using my clothing bag has proven to be a bit uncomfortable since they are all crammed in a packed bag) and some new socks that will hopefully dry a lot faster than what I currently have.

    I booked a hotel downtown by the San Antonio Riverwalk using some Marriott points I had saved up from my last job and got a great deal. I spent the evening walking around the Riverwalk and taking in the sights.

    I booked 2 nights to take a break and see the Alamo and whatever else this city has to offer before hitting the road again Sunday.

    Next I'll be headed to Frio Canyon Motorcycle Stop, then west to find camp Sunday evening.
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    #53
  14. jgalinis

    jgalinis Adventurer

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    I took a rest day yesterday and explored San Antonio on foot. The Riverwalk is beautiful, although the restaurants aren't super great, which I suppose is to be expected at a tourist attraction. I also went and saw the Alamo and went up the tower of the Americas. Overall it seems like a really nice town.

    This morning I packed up and hit the road again after watching the Monaco GP.

    I headed west to the Frio Canyon Motorcycle Stop, had an excellent burger and hit some awesome roads "the twisted sisters", awesome roads with a good amount of turns and elevation changes, it was a lot better than I was expecting!

    Afterwards I headed west and made camp at governor's landing campground near Del Rio, TX.

    Tomorrow I'll be headed to big bend national park. I didn't want to make a reservation ahead of time, looking now it seems to be booked up, I'll explore the park anyways and hope to get lucky on camping.

    Attached Files:

    #54
  15. jgalinis

    jgalinis Adventurer

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  16. jgalinis

    jgalinis Adventurer

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    I made it to Big Bend national park yesterday.

    It was funny when traveling west towards the park, the elevation gain is do gradual, I hardly realized it was happening, until I got to Marathon, TX and put on an extra jacket, which I only needed for about fifteen minutes traveling south once the overcast skies cleared out for sunshine.

    While in the park, I hiked to the hot springs, which was neat, but also right on the Rio Grande. It was nice to alternate getting in the hot spring and river to heat up or cool down.

    I managed to score a campground in chisos basin last night. The basin is up at about 5,000 feet or so, keeps the temperature down and makes camping bearable.

    Today I rode the Ross Maxwell scenic drive to Santa Elena canyon which has some awesome views.

    I excited the park towards terlingua, and followed highway 170 through big bend ranch state park towards presidio.

    I ended up in an Airbnb for tonight in Marfa TX, which is a really odd town it seems to me. It looks as old and run down as any old town, but the visitors seem to be a lot of rich folk, and the restaurants reflect that.

    Heading north tomorrow into new Mexico, but don't currently have a hard destination. PXL_20210524_162404651.jpg PXL_20210524_203517359.jpg PXL_20210525_000416475.jpg PXL_20210525_000328480.jpg PXL_20210525_141624186.jpg PXL_20210525_144631666.MP.jpg Screenshot_20210525-211442.png
    #56
  17. wetwider

    wetwider Been here awhile

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    Marfa's a soaring mecca. If you haven't been up in a sailplane, that could be a good place to take an introductory ride - one to remember! It ain't real cheap but then there aren't many experiences as grand either.

    'Envy your Big Bend visit! You're traveling well, and thanks for the reports!
    #57
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  18. drdubb

    drdubb OFWG Supporter

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    Chama, New Mexico is nice. Take a train ride. There are some nice cabins south of town. Go through cinnamon and Taos.
    #58
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  19. Scribe

    Scribe £Bob£

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    Good stuff!
    #59
  20. jgalinis

    jgalinis Adventurer

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    Nashville, TN
    I began this morning in Marfa, TX. I woke up early to view the lunar eclipse and blood moon, but I think I was too far east to really see the redness shine through the moon.

    Marfa is a really strange place to me. It mostly looks like any other old run down west Texas town except for the bigger classic hotels downtown, but the restaurants all seem pretty posh and hipster and expensive relative to what the town looks and feels like.

    I got a breakfast burrito at Marfa burrito, which also had a bunch of pics of the owner with various celebrities who have visited the town. The burrito was ok.

    I headed north to Fort Davis TX and stopped by the Fort Davis national historic park. This was a hidden gem that I wasn't expecting. I didn't really take any pictures unfortunately but it's an old army base from the mid to late 1800s for protecting trade routes to the west. There are s lot of old buildings well preserved and lots to see. Highly recommend a stop at this park if you're interested.

    I continued northwest through the Davis mountains. I planned to stop to see the McDonald observatory but the road was closed so I continued on.

    Eventually I made it to Guadalupe mountain national park the visitor center and views are very nice, but that's about as much as I saw, add the park is more hiking based, and not much to explore from the road.

    I continued north into New Mexico to Carlsbad caverns national park, which is pretty much next door to Guadalupe mountain. I didn't have a reservation so I was only planning on checking out the visitor center, but when I checked in they had availability, so I was able to tour the caverns also, which are massive.

    Currently in another Airbnb in downtown Carlsbad NM. I walked to a restaurant called yellow brix and had some tacos for dinner in the courtyard. Despite being 90 degrees out, it was very comfortable in the shade with a cold beer.

    Going to check out white sands national park tomorrow, and hopefully find somewhere to camp at higher elevation in Lincoln national forest.

    I am slightly worried at the moment about accommodations becoming hard to find or expensive for the upcoming holiday weekend. I guess we'll see how it goes. PXL_20210526_153715463.jpg PXL_20210526_161331723.jpg PXL_20210526_175723348.jpg PXL_20210526_175006174.jpg PXL_20210526_202412951.NIGHT.jpg PXL_20210526_190356693.jpg PXL_20210526_191807674.jpg PXL_20210526_150007772.jpg
    #60