1. Adventure Rider Print Magazine!
    We're doing a print magazine this November - 128 pages of high quality adventure riding stories, photography and interviews!

    Click here to purchase a copy for $9. Limited copies still available.
    Dismiss Notice

A noob is feeling uneasy

Discussion in 'Americas' started by JayhawkGSA, Jan 7, 2008.

  1. JayhawkGSA

    JayhawkGSA Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2007
    Oddometer:
    108
    Location:
    Loveland, CO
    Hey y'all, my first post.

    I envisioned my first post being about some awesome adventure I went on. I am planning my first trip on my GS Adventure for March and have a question. How do you guys plan these great trips on dirt and gravel. Are they dead reckoning or carefully planned dirt road adventures. I have planned a lot of wilderness hiking trips before but am having trouble finding good dirt roads on maps.

    Anyway, I am planning on riding routes 87 from Canadian border to the gulf in March, but to get to the Canadian border from Kansas I would like to ride dirt most of the way. How can I plan a route? or is it better to follow the compass and hope for the best.

    Thanks
    #1
  2. Lone Rider

    Lone Rider Registered User

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2002
    Oddometer:
    25,130
    Location:
    out and about
    State maps, AAA maps, DeLorme map books, Benchmark map books...etc.

    You aren't going to get too lost anywhere on the trip you've described. Just go and have fun.

    Some people think this is a science. Fck that, it's an adventure and fun thing.

    The best greasy burger joint nobody has discovered, the best camping location, the weirdest stuff ever seen, etc. Go find it.

    Or you could go on a cruise, all included, of course....
    #2
  3. gaspipe

    gaspipe Wandering Soul

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2004
    Oddometer:
    11,438
    Location:
    Pickwick Lake, Tennessippi
    It isn't hard to find dirt roads. Just stay away from population centers, and they pop up.

    Even in this day and age of GPS's, I always use a paper map for guidance, and then use the GPS to nav between spots that look cool. Rarely do I pre-plan trips and routes, just figure it out as I go.

    You'll find cool stuff. The whole point is fun.
    #3
  4. motolocopat

    motolocopat When in doubt gas it!

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2007
    Oddometer:
    519
    Location:
    Glen Rose TX, Northern Hill Country
    Have a rough plan of what you want to do and see in the areas you are going to.
    Good maps and plenty of water and powerbars......
    Credit cards & Tools

    Google maps for the us is not a bad start as it shows all small roads and you can fill in the dirt roads around that as a base.

    Can you not take the CDT route and not reinvent the wheel your first time out?
    #4
  5. Monty_Burns

    Monty_Burns Excellent.

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2003
    Oddometer:
    1,295
    Location:
    Chicago, Illinois
    Just fill-up whenever you see gas. If you plan too much of your route, you'll be too stuck on actually following your plan to enjoy getting there. You'll be on a lot of county gravel, but that's what you want, right?
    #5
  6. Snuffy

    Snuffy Long timer

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2005
    Oddometer:
    1,084
    Location:
    Tucson
    The more trips you take down different paths the easier it gets. You will remember the important things which will be useful for the next. Plan, but don't over plan. You'll go nuts worrying about things that will hopefully fall into place. Make sure that you, the bike and equipment are set and go have a fun trip. Oh, welcome to the asylum!
    #6
  7. Teeds

    Teeds Don Quixote

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2006
    Oddometer:
    1,572
    Location:
    427 miles ENE of Orla Texas
    Mapsco - The Roads of _______ Series

    Rand McNally - Road Atlas for various states are good

    My personal favorite are the 4x4 books available for many states. They even rate the trails and have photos. All you have to do is figure out what level of difficulty you can handle and take off.

    Many State DOTs have county maps on line. The Mapsco series started with the Roads of Texas and it was exact dupes of the TexDOT maps of the day with color added.

    Maps are fun ways to wile away time in the off season.

    I am currently pondering maps of Northern Mexico. I want to explore the area of Mexico directly across from Big Bend. There are almost zero services.

    I also like Google Earth to confirm routes that I have found ...
    #7
  8. Lone Rider

    Lone Rider Registered User

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2002
    Oddometer:
    25,130
    Location:
    out and about
    I have a couple of topos for that area.
    #8
  9. chain

    chain Go Fly Supporter

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2002
    Oddometer:
    4,831
    Location:
    Central IL
    Welcome to the asylum JayhawkGSA

    If I'm actually travelling with a destination in mind, I just set the GPS routing in the off road mode. That allows you to have an idea of where your destination is in relation to where you are, hopefully on a skinny twisty little backroad in the middle of bumf%$# Kansas. Then, you're free to take any road that catches your eye.:evil and still maintain a general bearing.
    Note, in the midwest, routes are generally more scenic and topography diverse along the river bluffs.

    I agree with GP and LR maps are the shit! I prefer the Delorme Gazateer Series for the USA. Look them over there's alot of detail there, don't be afraid to mark them up either, draw lines, make notes, they'll be fun to look at during the winter months. If your on a big ol Gs you've got plenty of room for a pile of maps in the bottom of your top box.

    Sounds like a great trip!
    #9
  10. Pantah

    Pantah Jiggy Dog Fan Supporter

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2004
    Oddometer:
    12,978
    Location:
    Scottsdale Arizona
    Like others have suggested, paper maps are probably the most helpful planning tool in achieving your objectives. I use Delorme maps for Maine and NH, but at $20 per state, it may be an overkill. Then there is the fact that they are big and bulky books!

    AAA has the next best series of maps for showing dirt roads. They are little fold-up jobs and more complete then you find at the minimart. Not nearly as complete as Delorme, but good enough for a big trip like yours. Best of all, the maps are free to members ($50 to join I think).

    I joined AAA to get their maps. I use them to plan and in conjunction with my GPS when travelling.
    #10
  11. Teeds

    Teeds Don Quixote

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2006
    Oddometer:
    1,572
    Location:
    427 miles ENE of Orla Texas
    Cool!

    I have been studying the Mexico equivalent of the the USGS to determine which maps to purchase.

    There are two scales and I'm not sure if the larger scale is necessary or more accurate.

    There is a thread on Big Bend Chat about a trip to a mine in the area south of La Linda that sounds very interesting.

    It will require camping as there are all but zero services in the area.
    #11
  12. Teeds

    Teeds Don Quixote

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2006
    Oddometer:
    1,572
    Location:
    427 miles ENE of Orla Texas
    I don't know if it is nationwide, but Texas has been working on this for about 2 years under the mandate of the Texas Legislature. I need to check around and see what the deadline was for publishing the data.

    There was a questionaire in my '07 tax statement for some land in West Texas that I have a small interest in.
    #12
  13. enduro-ince

    enduro-ince dirtslave

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2004
    Oddometer:
    6,309
    Location:
    Placerville Co.
    Don't forget the wealth of info here. Go to regionals, get suggestions on good dirt roads in the areas you plan to travel. Someone might say "dude, you got to do this road, man." No map can do that. Then work with the maps to make it happen. I'm sure gps comes in handy too, but I don't use one.

    Have a great ride!!
    #13
  14. Roadracer_Al

    Roadracer_Al louder, louder, louder!

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2007
    Oddometer:
    2,531
    Location:
    Oakland, CA
    Having grown up on the East Coast in a suburb of DC, it's sort of unbelievable that "dirt roads just pop up", but even here, it's true. I have found some really crazy/wonderful roads, some of them dirt, by telling my Zumo GPS to route me "directly" (as opposed to fastest) and to "avoid highways". I wish it had an option to avoid roads with a speed limit of 55 or higher!

    I'll select a small, small town in the boonies, or if I'm already way the fook out in the boonies, to go home. Good fun.
    #14
  15. FatChance

    FatChance Road Captain

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2003
    Oddometer:
    13,597
    Location:
    On the road
    The adventure starts when something goes wrong and you have to change your plans. :nod
    #15
  16. ktmsweeper

    ktmsweeper Adventurer

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2007
    Oddometer:
    98
    Location:
    Flats of Texas
    #16
  17. ktmsweeper

    ktmsweeper Adventurer

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2007
    Oddometer:
    98
    Location:
    Flats of Texas
    Remember, The worst trips make the best stories.!!

    Get an outline. Don't overplan unless it is a dangerous area. Leave a little pad in the timeline.

    We used to use the GMAC Planning method. Which bascially said that you could never backtrack. If you made a wrong turn then you had to ride it out and adjust from there. We definitely went places that we normally would not have went.
    #17
  18. Rad

    Rad Done riding

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2001
    Oddometer:
    12,174
    Ya know, that always sounds better then it feels in real life:lol3

    How ya do'n, fat :wave
    #18
  19. FatChance

    FatChance Road Captain

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2003
    Oddometer:
    13,597
    Location:
    On the road
    :wave Doin' great, Rad! We're buried in snow right now, but loving winter (not that we have much choice). I hope you can make it to WestFest this year!
    #19
  20. Teeds

    Teeds Don Quixote

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2006
    Oddometer:
    1,572
    Location:
    427 miles ENE of Orla Texas
    By the east side of Big Bend, do you mean Boquillas or La Linda? Actually it does not matter. There is not a single "legal" crossing between Del Rio and Presidio.

    I have watched trucks cross at Lajitas, but they were locals that work there and I guess the Border Patrol finally turned their back again. We used to cross there all the time.

    This is a view of the river from a trip there two weeks ago ...
    [​IMG]

    I am perusing http://www.inegi.gob.mx/inegi/default.aspx

    Have fun in Big Bend!
    #20