First time in the U.S. - Asking for your opinions

Discussion in 'Americas' started by BGil, Jul 12, 2018.

  1. kantuckid

    kantuckid Long timer

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    In a some what related way to this thread: I read last nite that Reserve America has lost there monopoly over campsite reservations to another company! They controlled what was said to be $100 million annually in USA campsite business to the various government agencies they did reservations for. Said to be coming are more spontaneous and realistic reservations similar to what we expect from indoor lodging.
    OP- sounds like you'll have a great time here. I do hope you can find a way to "smell the roses" in some of those parks...:-)
    #21
  2. BGil

    BGil Been here awhile

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    Is the Northern CA coast that nice?
    Do you suggest a particular part of it?
    #22
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  3. kantuckid

    kantuckid Long timer

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    The coastal road from SF, CA all the way to Portland is a worth it ride but as a tree freak I was pushing you toward the Redwood SP I spoke of!!!
    #23
  4. Motorius

    Motorius Road trippin' Supporter

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    I just rode my 1200GS from Seattle to Phoenix. I was ‘okay’ with it, but once I came out of the Sierra’s the lowest temperature I had was maybe 95F and the highest 108.5F so if you’re not into the heat, head North young man! August will be worse in the Southwest.

    I did sport a cooling vest for part of the hot stretches but it really only lasts an hour so I did not stop to re-soak it a lot. You may want to consider one.
    #24
  5. rufus

    rufus We're burning daylight...

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  6. 2mstone

    2mstone Stir the oil Baby!

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    BGil, I'm near Salt Lake City, Utah. If your route takes you near here I have a garage, tools, and a place to pitch your tent... pm me for details.
    #26
  7. BGil

    BGil Been here awhile

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    I will add HWY 101 to my route then.
    Glacier NP is further North than my plan. I will see how the bike behave and adapt.

    Motorius, I can't find my cooling jacket. I suppose I lost it somewhere years ago. If the heat is unbearable I will get a new one. But I will follow your advices and try to avoid the hot lowlands.

    2mstone, thanks for your offer. The Utah BDR looks very nice and starts not far from Salt Lake City so I will gladly enjoy your hospitality. I have no idea when I will be in the area, though.
    #27
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  8. kantuckid

    kantuckid Long timer

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    The comments above about heat are not casually made! It is seriously, dangerously hot for your dates in the lower elevations which connect all mtn ranges, where the temps cool down quickly as in Europe, etc..
    You should definitely read up on weather in the mtns for your dates. While heat is a factor so are temperatures @ night at elevation. Each days ride will become a balancing act from a.m. takeoff through the days ride. At higher elevations it can be T-shirt weather or snow in September. For that matter snow comes at times all summer at elevation but not in a meaningful way-sort of like an afternoon shower of sorts.
    Bugs are less bothersome in September and summer vacation kids are back in school then so a great "hinge season" for your trip. August is variable on school beginning in USA but mid month most are home and it's young adults old farts like me traveling then.
    If you don't confine yourself to camping the $80 figure will not cut the daily costs! Figure out that cost aspect of the trip now using bookings.com to peek at lodging costs around your route. If your an efficient camper, set-up/take down time will not be a big factor but cooking can be such.The general rule of thumb on lodging in the west is that if the mtns are right there where you are, lodging goes way up in cost, if on an interstate it can be more commercially priced.
    An e.g., one of my son's worked construction a summer job in Glenwood Springs, CO. His employer bought a large motel in town for employees as lodging is not available in a way that they can keep their help close by. The rooms were a part of the package to work for them. Right outside his door was a "goldmedal trout stream" full of fisherman & guides, etc.. We visited him in our RV, the trailer park near our RV parking spot had a number of professionals who worked in town nearby, the trailer park being the only affordable lodging in that area-even for well paid people! Small towns like Aspen, CO are mostly 100% owned by the rich. Even a tiny cottage is well into a6 figures to buy. We "regular folks" do not own property in most any touristy, mtn town. with exceptions. Figure out your lodging-that's my point. When I backpacked in CO we would do a motel stay at arrival, driving in and also a motel day in between trips into the mtns. Those nights would easily cost us $125 per night for the cheapest motel in town. Hostels are less money but not as prevalent as in Europe-look that direction to save costs when possible.
    A huge plus if your a social, people person will be that interaction with real people will greatly increase in campgrounds by quantum leaps!
    Indoor lodging in the tourist areas is universally much higher, as is gasoline. Food in a grocery store will be much the same all over the country.
    #28
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  9. BGil

    BGil Been here awhile

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    I will try to camp as much as possible. I can be very frugal when needed but camping is the best way to save money on accommodations.
    All I need is a shower from time to time and a laundry.
    #29
  10. kantuckid

    kantuckid Long timer

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    Some<---a key word!!! many Government operated CG's have them, most of the out of the way National Forest Service CG's do not but they are often VG for tent campers otherwise, as back in the woods and cheap if not free. Often have vault toilets where cheap or free Some areas you must pay a day use fee, it really varies quite a bit. Ask around in the west for a shower-some laundromats will have them out west.
    #30
  11. wbbnm

    wbbnm Long timer

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    If hot temps are a big concern, do the pacific coast and then other north stuff first. By late August and September temps will be moderating in the southern deserts. In fact by late Sep, you could be running into some down right cold temps at higher elevations even in southern NM.

    Since you are going to Bryce, you might consider going to Toroweep on the north rim of the Grand Canyon. Pure scenery, absolutely no tourism.
    #31
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  12. worthydog

    worthydog Shosholoza Supporter

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    stay west of the rockies and see California, Oregon and Washington. Coast Hwy, Mendocino, Crater Lake, Hoe rainforest Pacific northwest. Heck, do Western Canada instead of Mexico. As a European, you cannot conceive the heat of Arizona, New Mexico in August, Sept. Vents wont help. By noon each day you are done. Picture riding in a pizza oven. If you don't know what you are doing, you can get hurt. Come see Santa Barbara. Welcome to America. I hope it's awesome.
    #32
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  13. phoenixdoglover

    phoenixdoglover Where to next?

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    I just wanted to clarify this whole discussion about heat in the west in July/August/September.

    It is all a function of elevation. The low desert, from Death Valley (below sea level in places) to the low Sonoran/Mojave deserts at 500 to 2,000 ft or so, is really, really hot in the summer. (Yuma, AZ is the center of hell) I have ridden it throughout the summer, but the limit is a few hours, and you have to be careful with hydration.

    BUT much of the "intermountain" west is at much higher elevations (5,000 ft plus). If you can stay at those higher elevations, you will have very comfortable riding. Hot at times, but with a lot of cooling over night, so the mornings are typically delightful.

    So the trick is to stay in the far west as some have suggested, maximizing your time at the coast, up in the coast ranges, or up in the Sierra Nevada and Cascade ranges.....OR.....at some point, bang out a quick day or two across the low desert and get to the high plateaus in AZ, UT, COL, WY, MT.

    You know what's great about the American West? It's fecking huge, and it's filled with beautiful places!
    #33
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  14. squr3l

    squr3l Been here awhile

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    Ah I may have spoke too soon. I'm friends with some of the people developing the CA BDR and have seen them posting photos on Instagram of a recent group ride with Quinn Cody. I know it makes it's way through parts of Death Valley but I don't know the specifics as it continues north. Probably best to look at the other BDR options for guaranteed fun.
    #34
  15. mdethloff

    mdethloff Professional Disorganizer

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    For instance, is the Route 50 and Bonneville salt flats worth missing the coast of North California and Oregon? Should I leave Mexico for another trip and instead ride North to Canada.


    • —— I have not driven Route 50 but I’ve driven 80 and the highway that 50 tees into that wine north-south. Lonely is absolutely true, but I found the whole state to have a consistent beauty, the rolling small mountains with vegetation were cool and there’s a lot of mining history throughout the state! The coast of California and Oregon are AWESOME, once you get north of the Southern California/Malibu areas that are congested. If you come up to northern Oregon let me know and I’ll at hi! Have a home shop if you need tools.

    Start in Los Angeles
    Sequoia N.P. — beautiful

    Yosemite N.P. — beautiful

    Colfax, CA
    Lake Tahoe
    Route 50 (Loneliest Highway), NV

    Bonneville Salt Flats - I don’t think this is a destination I’d go to. It is a salt flat, literally a lake bed of salt. I don’t even know if you can go fast here safely, the high speed runs are checked ahead of time to make sure the soil under the crust isn’t saturated and soft. If you ride saturated salt flat you’ll eat a mouthful out of nowhere

    Craters of the Moon N.M.

    Grand Teton N.P. - BEEEAAAUUUTIFUL

    Yellowstone N.P. - PACKED with tourists but cool!

    Devils Tower
    Badlands N.P.
    (Maybe Wind Cave)
    Chimney Rock

    Arches N.P. - very cool to spend some time in

    Canyonlands N.P. - one of my favorite places, we come here every year. The three districts of Canyonlands are entirely different from each other. Needles is OK, Island in the Sky is cool, Maze has the most killer views I’ve ever seen in my life but you are on your own out there
    Mesa Verde - kinda neat but it’s one paved road with turnouts as you go, cool cliff dwellings
    Monument Valley and Valley of the Gods - very cool to see. You can find a campsite among the gods but zero shade

    Bryce Canyon - very cool especially if there’s a storm

    Zion N.P. - hot and lots of people but very cool. Hike to Angels Landing is highly recommended!

    Grand Canyon north rim - one of my favorite places of all time. Almost total free range. Note that North Rim Park is totally different from Kaibab National Forest. The park has a few and good views and lots of people and rules. The Forest is free, camp wherever you want, and the most killer views EVER. Camp right on the rim. If you’re feeling like making a memory, get the motor vehicle use map from the ranger station in Jacobs Lake at the entrance, and look on the farthest west end of the map. There’s a road that takes you to an area above Jumpup Spring. It’s not too hard to get to but nobody is out there and the view will blow most calendar photos out of the water. Very worth it. If you see thunder clouds, enjoy being able to see them for 200 miles and then GET OUT haha!

    Meteor crater
    Petrified forest
    White Sands
    Chiricahua N.P.
    Tombstone
    Crossing into Mexico at Agua Prieta or Nogales
    #35
  16. BGil

    BGil Been here awhile

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    I checked on google maps. Toroweap overlook. The photos are stunning. Thanks for the tip.
    #36
  17. BGil

    BGil Been here awhile

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    Thanks for the offer. If I come close to Portland, I will send you a message.

    Thanks too for your informations, especially about:
    Bonneville salt flats - that's not what I tought it was
    Canyonlands - I will make sure to visit it then
    Grand canyon - I remember camping on the rim of Sharyn canyon in Kazakhstan. That's one of my best memories. Doing the same thing there woudl be wonderful.
    #37
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  18. kantuckid

    kantuckid Long timer

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    Just remember that even in the most popular NP's the tourists are on the roads, parking lots and CG's(many will not be in those either as they'll stay inside at night) not many to be seen beyond a few hundred meters down a trail.
    The reality is that you can spend your whole time here on the west coast and see much, as recently mentioned above-or-you can do a tour of the west. In my way of thinking the real trick is to choose certain places, no matter how popular they might be and get off and really immerse in that place. You'll not have time to hike down into Grand Canyon as an e.g., but you will have time to do a number of these mini excursions into whats there.
    Teton's as another e.g. will present themselves on the horizon as a marvelous view but only via a short hike will you see "whats back in there".
    In Rocky Mtn NP you can go the first couple hundred meters on the most popular trail in the park and see wall to wall people but they magically melt away in a few minutes. It is a NP that allows you to get up close & personal with the mountains more so than many other places. I took 3 boys there one year and we hikes several peaks in a one day hiking session.
    Long's Peak is there for non-technical climbers who have the stamina of a challenging hike and fantastic views never seen from a MC saddle. That one will take two of your trip days once your there. Mesa Verde seen from the road is not much, just OK. You must do a tour or why bother to be there? The cliff dwellings are barely seen from a top of the cliff view point. A very neat place IMO. Also a great museum there. The American west has some unique museums.
    Buffalo, etc.- the herds seen on the National Bison Refuge, just above Kalispell, MT are interesting to some. They maintain a gravel road which takes you through the area where you'll be close and among them. Also some neat ghost towns in MT that have many old buildings left from the mining era. Elevations high enough (Kalispells ~ 3,000') to be cooler in August too. I personally would rather be there in much of MT than in Yellowstone NP.
    Like they say opinions are free and vary...
    #38
  19. Little Bike

    Little Bike Air/Clutz Sue Supporter

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    If you can work out the routing I would try to ride Highway 1 in California from Morro Bay to at least Monterey. I would also think about going into Yosemite from the east side, from highway 395.
    #39
  20. BGil

    BGil Been here awhile

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    I don't know if I'm physically fit for a climb but I will test myself with less demanding hikes beforehand.
    I will try to do a complete tour of Mesa Verde, otherwise it's worth it, as you said.
    Thanks for telling me about the National Bison Range. If I go to Glacier NP (and I probably will), I will make a stop there.
    I'm mostly interestend in the volcanic aspect of Yellowstone; I suppose I can find the wildlife aspect in other less crowded parks of forests.
    #40