Crossing I-80 Mid-October

Discussion in 'The Rockies – It's all downhill from here...' started by lake_harley, Sep 28, 2019.

  1. lake_harley

    lake_harley Been here awhile

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    I'm planning to ride from Missouri to the San Francisco area about October 6 through 8. I've looked at long term weather forecasts along the I-80 route and they don't look too discouraging....lows in the mid-30's, highs in the 60's. I don't have heated gear but do have good riding pants and jacket, neck gaiter, lots of warm things to layer underneath. I'll be riding a BMW R1200RT with heated grips and seat. I'll need to do three 700+ mile days to make the trip.

    With what I've found it seems the trip is do-able, but if anyone is familiar with I-80 through WY, UT, NV, and CA this time of year and can alert me of any unforeseen (negative) surprises I'm in for, please let me know. This will be my first trip through the area.

    Thanks

    Lynn
    #1
  2. cidi

    cidi cidi Supporter

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    I 80 through those states ( especially Wyoming) is nothing but Semi trucks and lots and lots of wind.
    #2
  3. oldmanb777

    oldmanb777 Just say NO to socialism!

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    Expect lots of wind, and lots of seni-truck to contend with. You won't know the weather until a couple days in advance. Most of the storms start up in the Gulf of Alaska, then take a few days to get to Wyoming. They will hit the west coast first. It's a bit tricky to predict this time of year.
    #3
  4. CaptRick

    CaptRick Still crazy..... Supporter

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    IMO I 80 is a very boring ride...I expect time is an issue so that usually dictates I 80 but if possible get of the interstate and find some back/local roads if at all possible.
    Yes, it takes longer and a bit slower but you will get to see a lot more interesting sites......
    #4
  5. motorcycle john

    motorcycle john Been here awhile

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    I would be prepared for some rain in addition to your warm gear and like others said wind.
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  6. 74C5

    74C5 Long timer

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    Done that a few times on the same bike. Use the cruise control!! Figure out a couple alternate positions leaning way forward and back. Be aware of hypothermia if temps are 55 or less for more than a few hours. Rain pants/jacket help considerably to eliminate flow of cooler air. If you have a heated jacket, use it. Hard to say what the weather will be. Sometimes the wind is so bad that it seems easier to ride in the lee of semi trucks. Check your rear tire a couple times a day if very windy. When you hit the real dry land.......gas/bladder/stretch stops in Evanston, SLC, W Wendover (chevron with massive bathroom for changing in/out of gear), Battle Mountain (Maverick), Lockwood, Sac. I would advise against staying the night anywhere between SLC and SAC.
    Just noticed the IBA, you know how to ride far.
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  7. Big Tall Bastard

    Big Tall Bastard Voice of Reason

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    Even if its a little boring on 80 it will still be awesome. Yeah Wyoming can be windy but its way better than not riding. If you can get it done I would order an electric vest from Aerostich or someone before you go because it just does a great job keeping your core warm.
    Have fun!
    #7
  8. oldtouring B

    oldtouring B Been here awhile Supporter

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    Man 3 700 mile days in a row!! As has been said before, the wind can be a mother.
    #8
  9. FatChance

    FatChance Road Captain

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    The weather will be really nice unless it isn't. It is hard to predict things, especially the future.
    #9
  10. atokad

    atokad wan⋅der⋅lust

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    I have often wondered, based on your replies, do you sit on top of a mountain 24x7 waiting to give advice to forlorn wandering souls seeking wisdom? :cool:
    #10
  11. haystack

    haystack Just ride

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  12. ROAD DAMAGE

    ROAD DAMAGE Long timer Supporter

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    Hey Lynn,

    Aren't you the person that had that gorgeous yellow Ducati for sale a few years ago? :scratch

    I see where you're an IBA guy/gal. So please disregard if my response seems over-simplified.
    You probably know much more about this than I do. But you did ask .................... :brow :lol3

    So being from Northwest Colorado, I'm pretty familiar with your route and with what to expect this time of year.
    BTW, I think you got some good info from the others that have posted ........... wind, traffic, heated liner, etc. :D

    Here are a few things that come to mind for me:
    1. Remember the days are quickly getting shorter. Your route looks to have you riding 3- 12 hour days at a minimum!
    2. And also you'll be traveling through some areas where it's not as much weather "coming in" from somewhere else, as it's weather that gets "generated by the local/regional topography". So some of the local conditions can be VERY different than the general trend that you'll see represented on Accuweather, etc. Don't be surprised to see early morning temps as low as the high teens or low 20s in places. If it's clear, it'll be cool. Be prepared for that.

    3. And also keep in mind that you're traveling mainly east to west for almost all of the trip
    Be aware of keeping the sun at your back or overhead as much as possible. Start as soon as it's light enough to see, and then be able to stop and take a break while the sun is setting and you're having to ride right into that blazing ball of light.

    And when traveling this late in the year ............. I ALWAYS try to have a contingency plan if conditions just get TOO damn miserable.
    It usually involves me carrying a pair of tie-down straps, credit card, and renting a pickup to carry the bike in to finish the trip :lol3
    It's always good to have a "Plan B".


    I ride a fair amount.
    I really enjoy riding and I am almost always looking forward to the next ride. :D
    As a matter of fact, I just returned home from a 5200+ mile ride to VA and back about a week ago.
    I rode about 32K last season .............. and I live in a place where I can typically only ride about 8 months a year.
    I LIKE RIDING! :thumb

    So after having said all that .................... there's really not much about your upcoming trip that sounds like fun to me! :lol3 :lol3 :lol3

    BTW, If you're a large person .............. I'll loan you my heated liner. It's a XXL-Tall.

    Good Luck and safe travels!
    RD
    #12
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  13. CaseyJones

    CaseyJones Ridin' that train

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    Exactly. It's relatively-high altitude, which makes for more-dramatic temperature swings and weather changes, even on the relative plains. You can be looking at fine fall weather one day and the next, a front moving in bringing sleet and snow. Now, getting ready to head home West starting tomorrow, I see my area of the Bitterroots is under a Winter Storm Advisory. Quite a change from the 88-degree temperatures I left in, two weeks ago.
    #13
  14. lake_harley

    lake_harley Been here awhile

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    Wow, I didn't expect so many replies so quickly! Thanks to all.

    Most of what has been mentioned, wind, cool temps, and lots of semis, exactly the concerns I had about the I-80 route. BTW, I'm not a real "seasoned" IBA rider but have done one 1000/24 (on a much slower bike than the R12RT), but have done 900+ on several occasions, once on a BMWF650, and that wasn't any fun.

    My plan "B" is to take what I'll call the Southern route which would be I-44 through MO and into OK, then I-40 to CA and up to the San Fran area, which is my destination. I'm going to visit my sister and niece who are in CA on a temporary basis. Visiting is a good excuse to go for a nice, long MC ride.:lol3

    I have two brother-in-laws who did about 4000-4500 on a 3 week trip with a couple of their friends earlier this year. I didn't join them since I don't care for riding with a group. Too many decisions by committee. This ride will be about 4200-4400 Mi. total. I only plan to be in CA a couple days so I hope to keep the entire trip to 8 days. It should be quite an adventure and challenge. My riding is generally in the Midwest with a few trips to CO, so going this far West is all new to me. If I decide to take the Southern I-40 route I think the weather should be much less of an issue. Any thoughts about that?

    BTW, ROAD DAMAGE.....I did have a yellow Ducati a few years ago. My wife bought it for me for my 58th birthday. Jeesh....That's 9 years ago now. Time flies and I'm getting really OLD!

    Thanks

    Lynn
    #14
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  15. CaseyJones

    CaseyJones Ridin' that train

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    I have never ridden I-80 to the coast. Gone by car...in fact I did some of my Navy time in Alameda; but never ridden over.

    But I'm here to tell you. High country is treacherous weather; but that's NOTHING to Donner Pass. Remember the Donners? They weren't as close to the nearest 7-11 as they thought they were.

    The last time I made that pass, I was helping a friend move...he'd gotten discharged from the Navy, after having an Administrative Hold on his separation, and when he did get it all cleared up, he ran like hell. He had a truckload of gear, and I had a truck, a Nissan Hardbody. So we loaded and drove, right into a spring snowstorm. Forty inches of snow fell, and even with four-wheel-drive and tire chains, it was touch-and-go.

    I won't say not to try it. But ALWAYS have a Plan B. Be able to move back your arrival date - especially when the rain is cold and you're spending as much time in convenience stores warming up with coffee, as riding. Know how far it is to go back to the last motel or town or truck stop. See if your magic plastic can afford you a Y'all-Haul to carry your bike on, if you give up on the endless storm que.

    How do I know? Been there, done that. In my case it was crossing Montana, North Dakota and Minnesota in May, under a squall line of sleet. There were some days I didn't make 100 miles, I was so chilled.
    #15
  16. motokeith

    motokeith Been here awhile

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    It's already snowing in the CA Sierras. There's a winter weather advisory right now calling for accumulation of 6"-12" of snow in the I-80 and Hwy-50 areas. Good luck with October.
    #16
  17. 74C5

    74C5 Long timer

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    24 hours after a storm that isn't a major one, 80 is mostly dry over Donner. Where it isn't, it is easy to see the ice and just ride as straight as one can with no need to go fast and that is almost only above Donner Lake and then near the Ag station. It is rare for any ice to be on the west slope. Waved at some Caltrans guys stopped on the side of the road in 25F weather one April morning 2016.
    #17
  18. MeterPig

    MeterPig Meh

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    Look on the bright side, if you wipe out on I-80, lots of trucks will pull over for you. I drive I-80 once to twice a week to SLC. Yeah, it's a lot of truck traffic but better than 40 and I-90 can be ice fest. I don't know why you wouldn't want heated gear..but hey, it's your body. Hypothermia can creep up on you.
    #18
  19. FatChance

    FatChance Road Captain

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    Only for the worthy. Otherwise, it's just a job.

    3 :wave
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  20. CaseyJones

    CaseyJones Ridin' that train

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    I priced some out, a while back. It is NOT...CHEAP. Unless someone needs it regularly, it's probably not money well-spent.

    It might be cheaper to rent a rig to haul the bike.
    #20