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

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

  1. BGil

    BGil Been here awhile

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    Highway 1 on google maps looks wonderful but I would lose at least days going there.
    I don't think I can enter Yosemite from the East coming from Sequoia np, but I can certainly leave it from the East, then head North through Mono lake then Tahoe.
    #41
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  2. Motorius

    Motorius Road trippin' Supporter

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    Now that I am finally back on a laptop, a few of my own personal comments:

    Start in Los Angeles
    Sequoia N.P. (yes)
    Yosemite N.P. (yes)
    Colfax, CA (don't know it)
    Lake Tahoe (a pretty ride, but slow around the lake due to traffic)
    Route 50 (Loneliest Highway), NV (have driven past there but not on it. My impression is "it;s a straight road in the desert and there is a lot of desert you can ride otherwise)
    Bonneville Salt Flats (it's flat and white. Unless you are going for some special even skip it)
    Craters of the Moon N.M. (kind of a hard call. Lot's of black volcanic rock. Interesting but not highly impressive.)
    Grand Teton N.P. (a fabulous view can be had by heading over towards Kelly WY. Nice hiking here, worth it for sure)
    Yellowstone N.P. (a "must" but it will be crowded like no get out until after the first week of September)
    Devils Tower (I wouldn't go out of the way to see it)
    Badlands N.P. (another wouldnt go out of the way to see it)
    (Maybe Wind Cave) (don't know it)
    Chimney Rock (been there but don;t remember it)
    Arches N.P. (definitely worth going!)
    Canyonlands N.P. (another definitely worth going)
    Mesa Verde (fascinating, and better be on a tour)
    Monument Valley and Valley of the Gods ( worth seeing)
    Bryce canyon (named our first son Bryce after this place -- a definite go!)
    Zion N.P. (one of my personal favorite of all!)
    Grand Canyon north rim (absolutely!)
    Meteor crater (not been there)
    Petrified forest (been there too long ago to remember it)
    White Sands (cool to see, and best seen as the light is fading. You should also do Calsbad Cavern when the bats exit at night)
    Chiricahua N.P. (never been)
    Tombstone (been too long to remember)
    Crossing into Mexico at Agua Prieta or Nogales


    Places to seriously think about:

    • Riding in the Sierras -- just a beautiful area
    • Riding along the Columbia River between Portland and Hood River -- many waterfalls, including the 4th highest in the US. Take the old road. The view form the Octogon house (forget the real name) is incredible. Best small falls are Bridal Veil IMHO. Town of Hood River very touristy cute. From there go south to the Lodge at Mr. Hood just to see this bit of CCC Depression history.
    • Riding the bridge at Astoria OR into WA state -- cool views, and a great Coast Guard museum in Astoria. from there you can ride north along a coastal route. See Lake Quinalt Lodge, go to the Hoh Rainforest. Grayland beach park along the coast is a nice camping area but book ahead. Go up to Neah Bay, then east to Hurricane Ridge and look into the Olympics.
    • The Oregon Alps -- out near Joseph. Maybe not a destination but if anywhere near there the lake and the views fee like a small bit of Switzerland.
    • Mt. St. Helens -- how often can you hike up a "blown" volcano? Good views.
    • Mr. Rainier at the lodge (Paradise) -- a short hike up gets you great views.
    • Any ferry crossing the Puget Sound usually affords a great view.
    • Seattle itself has plenty of cool places to see and things to do. The big SeaFair weekend is around August 3rd, but there are other things happening as well. https://www.seafair.com/events


    You could easily spend your entire trip in the Western US and still miss a lot. And while you want to stay out of the cities, there are really a lot of things worht see in places like San Francisco, (Good wineries in Napa Valley), Portland & Seattle. I would tell you to spend some time there, and just bag Mexico this trip. Colorado is a fabulous state in and of itself, and you could spend weeks alone there just riding and see old mining (now tourist) towns, various parks, etc. The Mormon Temple in Salt Lake City is worth a stop.

    Sometimes some of the better places are not the big national parks. A few hours in downtown Taos NM is well worth the time to wander around. Just an example.
    #42
  3. Little Bike

    Little Bike Air/Clutz Sue Supporter

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    Was at Petrified Forest this spring, it’s pretty neat, so is Meteor Crater. Wind Cave is worth going if you end up in the Black Hills.
    #43
  4. kantuckid

    kantuckid Long timer

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    I basically agree with the recent posts above but remain a fan of the rockies (Front Range & San Juans) vs. the California mtns but both are very special and it's a matter of choice or having time to do some aspect of both. I'm not a caver but have been in nearly all the public caves in the USA, including Carlsbad. I also live in KY where we have the Mammoth Cave park and huge cave system which easily exceeds Carlsbad overall in eye candy. Neither is my top choice of caves, as Blanchard Caverns is much better as are some of the smaller caves in MO for pure beauty in a cave but overall I wouldn't come to the USA for a cave but choose outdoors in a forest every time!
    NM is a great place to spend some time but a cave isn't why I'd go there. The lowest elevation in the entire state is nearly 3,000'-that tells part of the story, the other part is cultural for me-I like NM but lean toward the N part.
    Olympic NP reminded me of the Alps when we were there but in it's own unique way, like any wild place.
    Petrified Forest is neat and unique as are White Sands-both worth a stop see if you are passing nearby, otherwise I'd leave them be.
    All of the coastal states have splendor and worthwhile. Glacier NP area is probably the wilder ( as in "meet a grizzly wild" :-)) overall of the parks mentioned so far but they're all wild if you immerse in them away from roads and crowds. Sharing them is a way of thinking unless you take time to get away from pavement. Unmentioned so far is Idaho which is a very special place that gets less mention then the west coast areas most anytime. I remember my 1st visit in 1971 where we went 200 plus miles before seeing fuel-which is actually a common thing in Canada away from the few population centers.
    The WY Wind River Range area is a favorite place of mine. I like there far more than Yellowstone as a personal e.g., so it becomes a matter of choices yet again. There are basically no tourist traps in the Wind River range...:lol2 there lies the rub (in part) for me.
    Generally speaking the eastern 1/3 of both WY & MT are high plains country, as where I'm from in KS. The plains have their big sky, huge vistas and clean air with low population thing going on but can be boring to many travelers, but I miss them, all the same...
    Much of the American west is desert. Like the plains, decide how much and which, if any of them you'll you'll spend time in, or linger?
    FWIW, when I go to California the differences economically and socially SLAP me!!! in the face in contrast to where I live in KY. Some of the immense differences are good and interesting while others are depressing. Climate and scenery are a treat there, but remain a visit and leave place for me. Having ridden pretty much the "whole enchilada" in the lower 48 my best riding places are in the rockies and the Appalachians.
    I do wish I had proximity to the Pacific NW to spend more time there. :-)
    #44
  5. Little Bike

    Little Bike Air/Clutz Sue Supporter

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    Since you’re going to be in southern Arizona, and if you like caves, I would make time for Karchner Caverns.
    #45
  6. kantuckid

    kantuckid Long timer

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    We have RV'ed there several times before spring training started, near new park & CG and good cave. We hiked the few trails too but mostly a place to enjoy the winter weather, relax and eat out in Benson,AZ.
    #46
  7. WaywardSon

    WaywardSon Long timer

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    A lot of good advice, especially from Kantuckid...although I admit that I skipped a few pages to get to the end. My .02...starting in Los Angeles...get the hell out & do not fail to ride up the coast. San Francisco is worth some time then North to Muir Woods, Stinson Beach and up the coast a bit...cross over to Yosemite. Avoid as much of Nevada as possible as well as southern Arizona and N.M., although the northern half of those two states is beautiful. Most anywhere in Colorado is worthwhile & Utah is one of my favorite areas in the world. The national parks are going to be slammed to the point of being unpleasant in August. You may have one of the best possible bikes for the trip, as the most rural roads that you can find are your best hope for an enjoyable trip...you are a month early.
    Have fun.....be safe!
    #47
  8. antirich5

    antirich5 Long timer

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    August will be hot as hell for anything under 5000 ft! especially Arizona and southern (not coastal) California. Will be like riding in a hair dryer.

    One thing i do like about California; its often possible to reroute yourself to higher elevations. Other states in the southwest, not so much.
    #48
  9. antirich5

    antirich5 Long timer

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    Totally agree with Morius's reviews, spot on. Although i would try to see tahoe if you're in the area, its beautiful. Dont need to totally circumvent the lake; just ride the southern part form South Lake Tahoe to Emerald bay and see to uber-cool Nordic lode that was build there. Very beautiful and surreal.

    Also, the mountain pass from Tahoe heading east to Reno is pretty epic. An amazing climb!
    #49
  10. TUCKERS

    TUCKERS the famous james

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    I didn't know you had a thread going Bernard. I'll post some pics of the bike this week. Your maps came and some other envelopes from OOHVA. New chain and sprockets going on this week too. But darn the battery went down....and no SAE cord on the bike for my Battery Tenders....I have six outlets hanging down from my rafters. I'll need to get a crocodile clip doo-dad to attach one of my chargers. Some insurance paper here too.
    #50
  11. BGil

    BGil Been here awhile

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    Sorry everyone for answering only now, the last days have been busy. To make it short, I went to Prague to buy back a bike that I sold 3 years ago in Mongolia. I have now 3 bikes registered in 3 different countries.

    Below is a new route that take into consideration your advices. It's 4500 miles long and probably more realistic and adapted to the weather.
    I left Canada out of it but I may reconsider that decision depending on how fast I'm traveling. Same goes for the southernmost part (Chiricahua, Mexico, etc.).

    [​IMG]

    Hi James, I contacted the California DMV about my insurance but either they are desperatly slow or I'm doing it wrong. I will forward you the mail I sent them (twice).
    That's a relief that you got mail from OOHVA. I ordered maps (Oregon BDR) from them and realised after the payment that they had only my Belgian adress, so I sent a mail asking them to send it instead to you. I got no answer or any other message from them so I was a bit worried.
    Could you open the insurance paper and see if anything is wrong?
    #51
  12. Motorius

    Motorius Road trippin' Supporter

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    You’ve got the makings of a good route there IMHO. You have 7 weeks to see all that, which is a good amount of time for sure.

    I’d really stay off that stretch if I-5 from Eugene to Portland and head on over to the coast there. There are a lot of nice stops along the way (or not) but for the added roughly 3 hours time it’s well worth it. If you find yourself staying by Eugene go Tent Space with @FEDragster — you won’t regret it! And he can add some truly excellent knowledge of roads worth riding around him.

    On the coast be sure to at least stop in Cannon Beach, probably THE prettiest little town on the the OR coast. Nehslem Bay State Park is one of OR’s best campgrounds (just south of Manzanita). You need to reserve ahead, and it’s only one sand dune to the ocean. When you go north out of that area be sure to stop occasionally and look back south along the coast, especially as you climb higher.

    When you get to Hood River do go south on a spur to check out the lodge at Mt. Hood. Then double back. And when you get to the Tri-Cities (Kennewick area) if you are a wine fan it’s WA’s “Napa Valley”. Wine tasting can be a day of fun for sure but go easy!!

    If you find yourself with extra days throw those into riding CO state. Great book on motorcycle CO on Amazon. The one with the red cover. Or drop down into NM to see Taos & maybe old town Santa Fe.
    #52
  13. kantuckid

    kantuckid Long timer

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    If you do include Canada- I'd either ride Vancouver Island via B.C. ferry out of Port Angeles and return via N BC port through BC or do the Canadian rockies above MT. Just some food for thought. Generally speaking the NE corner of NM including above mentioned is the MC corner of NM, roadwise.
    #53
  14. BGil

    BGil Been here awhile

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    Don't trust the map too much. Again, I typed the destinations but didn't choose the particular roads. I plan to follow the Route 3 from Oregon BDR, and maybe part of the 4.

    I will also go from J to K further North to see Mt Saint Helen and Mt Rainier as suggested here.
    I can visit Nehalem bay and Cannon Beach then go to Astoria and follow the Columbia river to Portland.

    I will contact FEDragster when I'm closer from Oregon and buy him a beer on your behalf ;)
    #54
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  15. BGil

    BGil Been here awhile

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    A friend went last year to Vancouver island and told me repeatedly to visit it. I will keep your suggestion in mind.
    #55
  16. kantuckid

    kantuckid Long timer

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    My wife and I are green thumb types and Buchart Gardens was a delight for us. The island is very interesting pacific rain forest on west side and ferry runs back over to mainland from Port Hardy at N tip. We re-entered BC via Bella Coola ferry on our trip. The AK ferry from Bellingham, WA goes to SE AK-a truly neat area! of AK- even if you just stay/visit near Bellingham. Many riders see AK as an all the way trip to Prudhoe but IMO SE AK is well worth going. Has much of same forest as Vancouver Island and more temperate climate than main part of AK. The ferries themselves are time to rest and see much on board.
    #56
  17. Motorius

    Motorius Road trippin' Supporter

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    If you cross the river at Hood River you can definitely ride Forest Service (FS) roads up past Mt. Adams and to the backside of Mr. St. Helens.
    #57
  18. mdethloff

    mdethloff Professional Disorganizer

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    I’m riding the section from Portland to Whitefish tomorrow morning, nice views and smooth riding along the Columbia river!

    The only thing I see I would change, knowing how fast you can get through a lot of what’s on the map, is that I would add Death Valley since you’re so close to it. That place is amazing, sights you won’t get anywhere else. Check weather ahead of time, in summer you might choose to miss it coming in on a bike.
    #58
  19. BGil

    BGil Been here awhile

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    My return flight leaves from Los Angeles. I suppose Death Valley will be more enjoyable at the end of September.
    #59
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  20. holckster

    holckster dougholck Supporter

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    NOPE

    Your route will go right past my front door.
    Check the Tent Space List and please stop by.
    Plenty of adult beverages and advice on-tap.
    #60
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