Help me plan a 15 day trip out west with CDT in CO and WY

Discussion in 'Americas' started by Anby, May 12, 2020.

  1. Anby

    Anby Been here awhile

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    So my plans for a trip to Mongolia this summer is over due to COVID-19. If this COVID-19 situation in US calms down by early Fall, I am planning to take a couple of weeks off of work to go motorcycle camping on my F650GS thumper.

    Here is the tentative route. Ideally, I would like it to contain some off-pavement riding. I am thinking of taking the CDT in Colorado and Wyoming. I am a decent rider (at my own pace) on not so gnarly tracks on the F650GS. However I would rather avoid long sections with deep sand and baby heads. My bike fully loaded is heavy, and I will be riding solo. Additionally, I have minimal skills when it comes to repairing motorcycles. Right now I am learning how to fix flats in tires, that should give you an idea about my skills.

    The primary objectives are riding and photography, in equal parts. Generally I tend to wake up late, ride too many miles in the remainder of the day, and return with an empty SD card. This time I want to stop often to take lots of photos.

    Is there a more scenic alternative route to do this trip?

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  2. Davidprej

    Davidprej Davidprej Supporter

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    Just doing the math, you've got 14 days at 273 miles per day average. Is that going to allow you to stop and smell the roses (and take pics of them)? Just a thought. Looks like a great trip. I've never ridden out west, so can't offer route advice.
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  3. Anby

    Anby Been here awhile

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    Good point. I might be trying to pack too many miles in 15 days. I am planning to cover the 630 odd miles from the Bay area to the Great Basin National Park in one day. So that should give me some leeway later.

    I am really not sure what route I should take from Yellowstone back to the Bay area. I have heard that Eastern Oregon has some great scenic routes. I would have loved to go through Alvord desert and High Rock Canyon, but I don't know if it might be too ambitious. My bike has a tiny 165 mile tank range and I have heard that arranging fuel ride through that area might be tricky. So just picked a route that went though Washington State to add another state to the trip. :D
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  4. jonz

    jonz Miles are my mantra Supporter

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    Once you exit YNP at Gardiner, MT; here's roads I've used many times:

    https://www.google.com/maps/dir/Gar...69d!2m2!1d-118.6750611!2d42.2641698!3e0?hl=en

    You can look at that and find cut offs to save time and/or alternate routes to add miles. My route cuts off the top of yours and includes some easy but incredibly scenic dirt roads in the Gravelly Mt's south of Ennis. Then on pavement over through Stanley, ID which is amazingly scenic and photogenic. My route above ends at Burns, OR because that's the limit of stops in Google Maps. I'd suggest looking for squiggly lines heading towards Lassen NP and then back to the bay area
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  5. Anby

    Anby Been here awhile

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    Thanks for sharing your route, it puts me within a stone's throw from Alvord desert. If I can figure out a way (and logistics) to get to Black Rock desert, and then get to Lassen it will be a near perfect route for this trip.

    Do you know of or have any ride reports from the route have shared?
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  6. AviatorTroy

    AviatorTroy Following my front fender

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    Everyone has different limits while traveling on a bike. Your route looks good, your time frame is ok but are you comfortable blowing down a couple of 500 mile days? That IMO would definitely help. I’m no iron butt type of guy but my personal daily limits are 600-700 miles interstate. 400 limited access national highways. 300 2 lane twistys. If much dirt or gravel is going to be in the plans then it goes down considerably from there. And making time through Colorado in the backcountry is going to be slow.
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  7. Anby

    Anby Been here awhile

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    The max I have done on this bike in a day is 350 miles. But I think I should be good for one or two 500 mile days if I am well rested, and if it is not a terribly windy day. My tolerance for longer hours on the saddle diminishes as the trip progresses. I am thinking of putting highway pegs on my bike to stop the knee cramps, which is the only ergonomics related issue with this bike, and make the ride more enjoyable on the longer days.

    I don't think I will aim for more than 200 miles a day off pavement. While I have ridden off pavement quite a bit on much smaller bikes in Asia, I am not accustomed to riding hundreds of miles off pavement every day. I want to take my time getting to Yellowstone, and enjoy the trip without forcing me to ride X number of miles every day. If I can't make it to all the places I want to see after Yellowstone it is okay. I will take the interstate back to the Bay area and visit them on another trip.
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  8. Everett49

    Everett49 Adventurer

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    From Highway 205 Iin SE Oregon (Steens Mountain is easy gravel and has great views), you can get fuel in Fields, OR. Then go to Denio Junction, then Highway 140 West to Dirt road 8a which turns into 299 once you get to CA. There is fuel in Cedarville, CA (130 miles from Fields to Cedarville and about another 15 miles to Highway 395). After reading about you and your bike, I would not recommend going through High Rock Canyon.
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  9. Anby

    Anby Been here awhile

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    Here is the tentative route I have so far. I don't think this is doable (in an enjoyable manner at least) in fifteen days. I think three weeks will probably be a better timeframe for this route.

    Alvord desert, High Rock Canyon and Black Rock Desert are right at the top of my list. If for some reason Colorado is not feasible, then I will head to Wyoming and head back to the Bay area through Oregon. Right now my route is on the east of Steens mountain. I am totally open to taking 205 as I have never been above Black Rock Desert area, but out of curiosity, how is the route on the eastern side?

    Any specific reason you would not recommend going through High Rock Canyon? I am all ears. I know that it it not the best idea to ride there alone as the area is very remote. But is the route is not super rugged I am open to taking a punt.

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