Newbie planning 48 state road trip...advice welcomed!

Discussion in 'Americas' started by nsherman2006, Feb 23, 2011.

  1. nsherman2006

    nsherman2006 Adventurer

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    Hello,

    I'm a newbie to ADVrider, and a relative newbie to riding (1000 miles). I love it, and have decided to do a 48 continental state road trip. It's the right time in my life...I'm 22, have a serious girlfriend, but I'm unmarried with no children, and my house, cars, bikes are all paid off. Debt-free, and pretty much responsibility-free, I'm not going to miss the opportunity.

    I understand that a lot of people say it's a bad idea to go with such little experience. But I'm stubborn, and I figured I'd probably meet some like minded people here. So here's the plan

    Bike: Ninja 650, stock w/ Battlax BT-021s

    Itinerary:

    Day 1: Starts in NE CT, through RI, MA, ME, NH, VT, ends around Troy, NY
    Day 2: Starts around Troy, NY, through PA, ends around Cleveland, OH
    Day 3: Starts around Cleveland, OH, through MI, IN, ends around Chicago, IL
    Day 4: Starts around Chicago, IL, through IA, WI, ends around Minneapolis, MN
    Day 5: Starts around Minneapolis, MN, through ND, ends around Redfield, SD (Middle of Nowhere???)
    Day 6: Starts around Redfield, SD, through NE, ends around Douglas, WY
    Day 7: Starts around Douglas, WY, ends at Yellowstone in MT
    Day 8: Starts in Yellowstone, ends around Lewiston, ID
    Day 9: Starts around Lewiston, ID, through WA, ends around Lakeview, OR
    Day 10: Starts around Lakeview, OR, through CA, NV, ends in Salt Lake City, UT (I have a friend here, going to stay for a while)
    Day 11: Starts in SLC, UT, through CO, AZ, NM, ends around Albuquerque, NM (LONG day...)
    Day 12: Starts around Albuquerque, NM, through TX, ends around Oklahoma City, OK
    Day 13: Starts around Oklahoma City, OK, through KS, MO, ends around Little Rock, AR
    Day 14: Starts around Little Rock, AR, through MS, ends around New Orleans, LA
    Day 15: Starts around New Orleans, LA, through AL, FL, ends around Atlanta, GA
    Day 16: Starts around Atlanta, GA, through SC, NC, ending around Knoxville, TN (Going through heaven...Deal's Gap, Cherohala Skyway, etc)
    Day 17: Starts around Knoxville, TN, through VA, KY, ending around Elkins, WV
    Day 18: Starts around Elkins, WV, through MD, DC, DE, ending in Perth Amvoy, NJ (visiting girlfriend's family there)
    Day 19: Starts in Perth Amvoy, NJ, ending at home in Brooklyn, CT!

    I'm not planning on these being 19 consecutive days necessarily, just a rough plan. I know I'm stopping for a while in SLC to visit with a friend and recoup around the halfway point. I'm also going to allow myself to delay as necessary to make the trip safe. I'm not going to push myself to ride fatigued.

    So I'm here looking for tips. I'm trying to pick up a set of Cortech sport luggage (saddlebags, tailbag, tankbag), so that should solve the problem of where I'm going to put stuff. Now I'm trying to figure out what to bring.

    My iPhone will be a multi-purpose phone, computer, and camera. I'll be setting up something to charge/use the phone, but I've found plenty of info on that.

    My Gear:
    Shoei RF-1000 Helmet
    Scorpion Hat Trick 3-in-1 Jacket
    Firstgear HT Air 2.0 overpants

    My questions:

    -What sort of underwear should I be looking at? I've seen some recommendations for cycling shorts or under armour. I'd like something very breathable, worn without underwear if possible, and padded would be a luxury option. Any recommendations?

    -Camelbak's seem to be a good option, but I can't see them being easy to use with a full-face helmet, any suggestions? Is it better to keep the bite tube in your mouth or let it hang?

    -Thinking about trying to camp as much as possible to minimize cost, does anybody have a good setup for a sleeping bag and tent that can be securely tied down to a bike with a soft tail bag?

    -Anybody had any good experiences couch surfing on a long trip?

    -Any recommendations on can't miss things along my route? I'm excited for the Deal's Gap and surrounding roads stretch, any other great driving roads?

    -Any advice?

    Thanks!

    -Neal
    #1
  2. Eyes Shut

    Eyes Shut See no evil Super Supporter

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    When are you planning to do this?

    Also, it looks like you have some very long days. I usually recommend avoiding interstates (boorring!) and keeping to the lesser roads which are a lot more interesting, but frequently slower.
    #2
  3. nsherman2006

    nsherman2006 Adventurer

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    Planning on leaving early/mid May.

    Most days are 7-8 hours, the long day is the trip from SLC to Albuquerque, that's 11 hours. I tried to mix up interstates and back roads, so that the trip isn't unnecessarily long, but also so that it isn't all straight line driving.
    #3
  4. themocksta

    themocksta Lost in this place

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    That lakeview to SLC day will also be pretty long...550mi at the minimum through a ton of desert.

    Also, if you get a chance, stop in Moab for a little while...pretty cool place!

    No need to worry about the camelbak, it will work just fine with the full face helmet...
    #4
  5. Pflum

    Pflum Throttle Junkie

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    Sounds like a great trip, just don't expect everything to go as planned. Thats a long way to go! Glad to see you're aware of not pushing yourself too hard, its easy to do when you're trying to make miles.
    Is your gear/luggage waterproof? If not at least pick up some kind of rain suit and a dry bag/rain covers to keep valuables and a set of clothes dry.
    I use a 3 man tent, not sure what brand. Its the perfect size for me plus my gear. Find a lightweight sleeping bag, keep it in a dry bag; thats the one thing you don't want getting wet. I use a sweatshirt for a pillow.
    Pick up a Throttle Rocker http://throttlerocker.com/
    Lets you move your hand around a little on those long days. Every little bit helps!
    #5
  6. Uglyprimate

    Uglyprimate UglyPirate

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    Cut your miles per day in half, double the length of your trip.

    Plan your night stays AWAY from cities. You ain't gonna camp in Chicago.

    Add a couple days for oil and tire changes, rain and just general fatigue.

    Take three times the amount of money you think it will cost.

    Dump the girlfriend. Nobody should be tied to ANYTHING by 22 years old.

    I like cotton boxer briefs. Everybody says to avoid cotton. If you wipe your ass (babywipes are your friend), you avoid monkeybut. They're also cheap enough to be disposeable. Nylon will give you zits on your taint the size of Mt Olympia and you'll smell like hyena breath.
    #6
  7. Truckin_Thumper

    Truckin_Thumper low profile

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    I got a better plan ferya.

    Make a list of things you want to see.

    go


    take pix


    You are planning waaaay too much.
    #7
  8. Flashmo

    Flashmo Whatever...

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    My questions:

    -What sort of underwear should I be looking at? I've seen some recommendations for cycling shorts or under armour. I'd like something very breathable, worn without underwear if possible, and padded would be a luxury option. Any recommendations?I wear padded mountain bike shorts. The casual style, so they look like regular shorts with pockets, but have the pad installed.

    -Camelbak's seem to be a good option, but I can't see them being easy to use with a full-face helmet, any suggestions? Is it better to keep the bite tube in your mouth or let it hang?Let the tube hang. Get a tube with a 90 degree bite valve. It's easy to use with a little practice, and you will have plenty of that.

    -Thinking about trying to camp as much as possible to minimize cost, does anybody have a good setup for a sleeping bag and tent that can be securely tied down to a bike with a soft tail bag? I have the Cortech bags on one bike. Ditch the tail bag for the trip and get a large dry bag. Large like 30" and strap it across the saddlebags in place of the tail bag. More room and better use of space.

    -Anybody had any good experiences couch surfing on a long trip?Ask TruckinThumper, specifically.

    -Any recommendations on can't miss things along my route? I'm excited for the Deal's Gap and surrounding roads stretch, any other great driving roads?
    Tons. Out here: Bear Tooth Highway, Highway 12 (ID), Rattlesnake Grade, Lowman Loop...pretty much anything in Idaho or Montana for that matter.
    #8
  9. Truckin_Thumper

    Truckin_Thumper low profile

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    Ok, it took me a second try to get past the dates and to read below that.

    Sorry OP, but I have an issue with detailed plans...:lol3

    You say you are a n00b rider, dont worry, just ride within your comfort zone.

    Start off by doing a "packing dry run".
    Pile up what you think you need and fit it on the bike.

    You'll make some adjustments in your choices.

    Once you got that figured out to a managable level, you grand.

    You may hit temps from 100 deg. to 30 deg. Seriously.

    Couch surfing.....Flashmo was sorta right, but I had a specific list of ADVers I wanted to meet. Never really intended on staying with them... but it ended up that way. The tent space thread has sparked a lot of friends on this site, you should check it out. I learned not to expect anything other than a place to pitch my tent, and if I had to mow some grass or paint a door for a hot shower, I woulda been more than happy to work :lol3.
    You will love running water after a week on the road.

    Camelbak? HELL YES! Some sort of way to drink water while you ride. even a Big Gulp cup, bungeed to the bars.

    You are about to ride off on a journey of what only a small group of people ever get to do in a life.....enjoy it.....it will change you, I promise :deal
    #9
  10. RVDan

    RVDan Long timer

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    whats your plan for food?

    I've only been on two trips, I eat at restaurants whenever I'm hungry, no schedule.

    From now on, I'm going to carry at least one MRE if not two. Too many times I went without dinner due to poor planning. I'm certainly not going to change my riding style, ride when the riding is good, if something off the path catches your interest, go to it. Problem is, suddenly its 9:00PM, 20 miles from a campsite, and 30 miles from a town where you can get food. So carry some foodstuffs substantial enough to feel like an evening meal for those days.
    #10
  11. Truckin_Thumper

    Truckin_Thumper low profile

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    Well, If you want to go REALLY cheap, I'm yer man :lol3

    No prepared food, or as little as possible. I could eat for around $3-$6 a day.
    Wasn't MREs, as they take up a good amount of space. Take two or three, if you pack you clothes the right way, bu the time you need to do laundry you will have traded MRE space for a place to put you stinky clothes.

    Now, I stopped in grocery stores. I would walk around and see what I can save all day, heat with a Jetboil ( I now have a second stove and a pot, both on JetBoil fuel), eat raw, or cook with a stick over a fire.
    Less weight, and over all space and easier to have two meals in various packing areas. You really have to think of ways to eat good and healthy, all way saving money and space. I have made it into a game now.

    Cooking equipment:
    I use a jetboil, and I got an MSR pocket rocket, I think....super small, like a pack of smokes small. It runs off Jetboil and MSR fuel. I have a 1.5l pot that will hold the MSR and 2 jetboil cans, and some other small spices ( salt and pepper packets are everywhere).

    I also have a fold up/split apart, spoon/knife/fork contraption. It works.

    I can make a stick hold a hot dog, but those things dont ride too well all day, and trying to find a 3 weiner pack is impossible. SO get the good ones in the 4 pack for $3... once cooked, it will ride ntil lunch the next day...and pack small. :D

    Fruits like oranges and apples take up a lot of space, so don't pack them.
    Grocery stores are hardly more than 100 miles apart, I would say 70 max, if you learn to read a map right. You can stop and eat one for a snack for .50 and Bottled water is cheap there too. I would keep a 1 litre bottle, full. I also made sure I filled my camelbak every chance I got. If I could, fill the bottle and not take up food space, I did. I would tie it to the seat if I had too.

    If you are camping and cooking water might not be available where you are sneaking a tent. Always make sure you have enough for cooking/cleaning/coffee.
    Which brings me to cleaning.
    I used the blue shop towels that you find in an automotive place like NAPA and in Walmart (cheaper there BTW). They are strong and last. You can wring them a few times before they are done. You can use one every three days just for cleaning your visor. Just tear in half, one half for cleaning, the other for wiping. I dry them out in the map pocket of the tank bag. 3 days, one towel. :lol3

    When you do stop for gas, buy something small. I like a can soda a day...sugar junkie I s'pose. That, and I dont feel so bad about swiping a few napkins and maybe some brown paper out of the restroom. :hide
    These brown towels are really good for cleaning my coffee press. Coffee oil wont rinse out of them too well. So when you are done cleaning or whatever, instead of tossing them, use them to start the fire :evil

    Shall I continue? :lol3

    You see, I am one cheap mofo! :freaky



    Example:
    #11
  12. pahunter

    pahunter Adventurer

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    Yes Truckin continue :clap
    #12
  13. nsherman2006

    nsherman2006 Adventurer

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    Thanks for the help guys!

    Was going to look at the ADVrider Tent map, but it appears to be down...

    Definitely planning on things going awry...not planning on really sticking to the plan, but I want to have somethin in place. I'm not the type who will get up in the morning and go cross country with no prep.

    I bought a RAM mount for my iPhone and the components to wire up a USB port on the bike, so I'll have GPS. Bought an Airhawk seat pad to help with the cushioning. Also got the Camelbak, so I'll be good to go with water on the run.

    I ran across the LDComfort riding underwear, which has a ton of good reviews, but also some not-so-good. Anyone have opinions?

    For food, I should be all set. My diet is really weird, and I've basically lived off of bread, rice, and milk my whole life, so I'm planning on just doing mostly grocery store stops. I'll buy as I eat, and am planning on keeping a box of granola bars in the bag for worst-case.

    I'm planning on the trip taking around a month. My goal is to try to couchsurf or maybe find someone on a forum willing to host me when I'm around the cities, and camp while I'm more in the open. Worst case scenario is a hotel.

    I don't buy things cash, so I'm just going to keep my credit cards on me, with a small cash reserve (again, in case things go sour)

    Things I'm planning on buying soon:
    Cortech saddlebags
    Caribee waterproof 50L Expedition (instead of the tailbag)
    Balaclava
    Riding boots
    Throttle Rocker (good tip)
    Underwear (debate pending)

    I'm planning on bringing some pretty flexible clothing options, I would consider myself lucky if I only have to deal with 30-100. I've been riding a lot in 30* weather, so I'm more worried about the hot.

    I've done Walmart parking lot oil changes before...should be easier on the bike than on a car that I had to jack up, so I'll plan on that sort of maintenance unless I run across a more convenient place.

    Thanks guys for the tips
    #13
  14. Uglyprimate

    Uglyprimate UglyPirate

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    Contact your credit companies BEFORE you leave, let them know you will be riding coast to coast and that they can expect a whole lot of small charges every day.

    If not, expect to have your cards all turned off before the third day.

    I had mine shut off during a drive to Florida with the family truck. Big gas hog.

    2am was not the time to find out Capital One is a dick.

    Waited till morning for customer service.

    "We noticed there are a lot of gas purchases"

    *Well that's because we're driving from Indiana to Florida*

    "Yeah, but there's purchases in Kentucky, Tennessee and Georgia, not Indiana and Florida"

    *Well NO SHIT captain geography challenged, what states do YOU THINK would be enroute?*
    #14
  15. nsherman2006

    nsherman2006 Adventurer

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    Good call...that slips people's minds all the time. Fortunately, I work at a bank, so after having dealt with hundreds of calls from people whose cards have been shut off, it's one thing I'm not likely to forget.

    I'm getting psyched...2 months left to prep, then it's go time!
    #15
  16. MapMaster

    MapMaster Human Compass

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    Given a mid-May start, consider reversing the direction of your loop.
    Can get purty darn hot in da south even before June.
    But the main point is that Yellowstone may still be snowed-in in May (same for the Going-to-the-Sun road in Glacier NP which is well worth a visit, ditto for Crater Lake in OR.)
    Early June is the best time for Yellowstone (usually) in regards to being open, not crowded and the critters haven't disappeared to the high country yet.

    Regards,
    Greg
    #16
  17. Pflum

    Pflum Throttle Junkie

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    Maybe already mentioned, but a weekend trip or 2 will give you a good idea on what kind of miles you can expect to cover, along with what packing methods are going to work best for you. You'll find crap you don't need, and things you'll want to have for the big trip.
    #17
  18. thetourist

    thetourist Just passing thru

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    I agree with running your route the other way. Here in the inner NW, spring can be cold and wet till mid June. Winter drab colors till early June.

    Your route has a lot of desert thru SLC to Pendleton. If you are running short of time. (you have some pretty long days scheduled) I recommend using hwy 50 west to Eureka or Austin then head north to Winnemucca to Burns then continue your route. This will give you the same desert experience as your Lakeview leg and shorten some time. I like the road north from Eureka but Austin is a nice rustic small western town. You could also continue north from Eureka into Idaho thru Duck Valley to 95 to Lewiston (One of my favorites), but you would miss the desert riding. You can make good time thru all of this desert area, but use some care in OR.

    I assume you're using 395 to 12 to Lewiston.

    12 is mostly valley and warmer than the surrounding area. It gets somewhat cooler toward MT. Expect extremes in weather from here east. 70* and sunny, to 40* and raining.

    12 has lower speed limits and is patroled from Walla Walla to MT. Local cops in WA and ISP in ID.
    #18
  19. nsherman2006

    nsherman2006 Adventurer

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    Ok, so I agree that reversing the direction seems like a good idea. I originally planned to go in August, so the north states first would have worked better, but earlier in the year, South would be a good bet. I'll work on modifying the route and repost, that will take a bit of time. I think I might modify it to include a visit to a friend in Palm City anyway.

    Most of the shopping is done. Still working on boots and saddlebags, but I know what I'm looking for. I need to find a good dry bag...having trouble locating a Caribee...any other suggestions?

    I found a tent, but I'm looking for recommendations on a sleeping bag as well.

    Thanks guys!
    #19
  20. RiddenHard

    RiddenHard old not dead

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    read the threads in equipment regarding bags, and you may wish to consider a hammock too, even a small one makes a good lounger. As for temperature ratings on bags, you really have to know how tolerant you are to cold. I know some guys who wake and say they were cold while using bags with the same rating as the guy who says he was toasty warm all night. A good insulated pad and a space blanket, or a silk liner can all add a few degrees to a bag. Down costs more but packs smaller. Riding a ninja with solt luggage dictates minimalists packing and gear. have a blast and if you need tent space and a shower near the cherohola and dragon send me a PM:lol3
    #20