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

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

  1. Eyes Shut

    Eyes Shut See no evil Super Supporter

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    For the 3-in-1 sheets, just cut off the fabric softener section of the sheet first before you use it. It's what I do. :D
    #41
  2. thetourist

    thetourist Just passing thru

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    I think your schedule from SLC to Yellowstone is optimistic. You will need another day, maybe two.

    Oregon is a big state and many of the roads in the SW are curvy and forested. The fast roads run north/south not east/west.

    From Alturas, south of Lakeview, I was unable to reach the CA coast in a day, using hwy 36. I was on the road at sunup till an hour after dark. That wasn't rushing, but I was riding except for meals. The roads I've used around Crater Lake were fairly slow, also.

    The coast roads are real slow. Small towns and restricted speed limits.

    Lewiston to Missoula is 4 hrs +, and to Bozeman takes a day, even using the freeway. Probably 11-12 hrs riding time into the Park from Lewiston.

    Just an add on. I-80 across Nevada is a miserable piece of pavement. Visually as bad as freeways can get. I-84 from SLC to Boise is almost as bad.

    I-90 thru ID and MT is quite good. I-84 Portland to Boise is tolerable. I-5 is OK in north CA and south OR. I-15 in Mt and I-25 in WY are the long lonely road.
    #42
  3. JimOBrien

    JimOBrien Been here awhile

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    For camping I'd get a National Parks Pass for $80.00. Worth it if you hit NP's more than 3 times.
    Spot2 is a good device for tracking and emergency issues.
    The re-route of south to north is good for the weather concerns.
    Other than that just roll with it, take the road less traveled and have fun. Stop, smell the roses and coffee.
    #43
  4. OldSport883

    OldSport883 n00b

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    You've been offered very good information and advice. You seem to be a stand-up guy, willing to listen and learn.
    Now hear this: You are 22 years young. I was 22 also...51 years ago. Your 22 year old brain will tempt you...count on it. You have admitted that you lack experience, and I'm glad you don't sound "cocky".
    Please accept this from "your grandfather". Son, you really MUST learn as you go or you may not see another birthday. Ease into it, learn as you ride. Speed in an attempt to "get there" can be fatal.
    Having said that, go for it. Apply all you know, learn each day, and ride like this grandfather...I love the "Blue Highways" and find 55-65 to be just a bit slow, but as safe as a three ply condom.
    Be safe, scan, then scan again, leave more room than that, and enjoy the curves at a safe speed.
    You will someday open a Bud on a warm spring evening and remember this with a fondness beyond understanding.
    #44
  5. WolfNman

    WolfNman Adventurer

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    That's one heck of a first post. I hope you don't mind, I read the advice as if it were directed toward me since im planning a similar trip.

    I wanted to wish a fellow noob luck on your trip. Have fun man. Take pictures, wave, meet new people. It's gonna be one heck of a ride. Maybe our paths will cross along our adventures.
    #45
  6. nsherman2006

    nsherman2006 Adventurer

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    Thanks...I'll take this to heart (minus the Bud...I prefer Coors Light). I consider myself fairly responsible...I won't say I've never taken the bike over 100 before, but I certainly haven't done it around other cars. I laid down my bike once, and it's not something I'm looking forward to again. Thanks for the words of wisdom!

    National Parks Pass seems to be something that's nearly universally recommended. I'll have to pick one up.

    I'll see what I can do about the SLC to Yellowstone schedule, there's not really much I want to see in that area because I've already driven through there (on I-80, I agree about the terrible scenery, unless you're waking up on the side of the road at sunrise...it's pretty beautiful), but I'll try to add an extra day in there if prudent.

    BikerBill - someone has offered a sot around Deal's Gap, but if that falls through I will definitely check out the motorcycle resort. I'm planning on a weekend trip in April to test my gear, but I'm already packing pretty slimly, I think I'd be more likely to add something to my gear list rather than subtract, but it's still a valid point. Only complication will be trying to fit the GF on the bike for that one, she wants to tag along.

    I think heated gear is a no for this trip solely due to size. I've been doing a lot of 20-30 degree riding without heated gear the past couple months and I don't anticipate running into temps much lower than that. I'll have to check out the StreamLight, I have a Maglite Mini right now which is an absolute POS. We'll see how their lifetime warranty is. I have a headlamp and a magnetic flashlight that I use for mechanic work, but I don't particularly like either, so I'll start my flashlight search.

    Thanks guys!

    Wolf-I'll have to check out your post. If we're going to cross paths, I'll shoot you my contact info and we can meet up
    #46
  7. MapMaster

    MapMaster Human Compass

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    Reconsider taking at least a heated vest.
    You don't say how long your recent rides in the 20-30 degree range have been. I'll point out that there is a HUGE difference between a 40 minute commute in the 20s and a three hour ride in the 40s with more riding to do after that. The commute is cold, but you get to work or home and are back in warm surroundings. On an all day ride, there's no let up in the demands on the body and once you get a chill it's hard to get warmed up again. It doesn't have to reach hypothermia levels before being cold really effects your riding.
    #47
  8. nsherman2006

    nsherman2006 Adventurer

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    Map...good points. I've never been beyond the 1 hour range in 20-30 degree weather, but I've never had any discomfort at all except my hands and feet (even with ski gloves and insulated boots, they give out before my chest and legs)

    Do you think a heated vest would help to alleviate this, or would heated grips be a better "heat gear" investment?
    #48
  9. CamoGreg

    CamoGreg aka Camorpheus

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    One of the biggest benefits I've gained from using heated gear is the space savings it's provided.

    I carry my Gerbings in the lid of one pannier and a cheap. rubberized non-breathable rainsuit in the other.
    Except for a fleece that's in my sleeping gear duffel, I don't carry any other clothes for warmth.

    Excess clothing is probably the worst offender of over-packing by most two wheeled travelers...self included.
    But I'm getting better and my heated jacket liner has much to do with that.

    Personally, I think its a mistake to go without this piece of gear.

    Several weeks into a ride and waking up to a cold miserable day, I would have been hard pressed
    not to climb back into my bunk and hope for a better day tomorrow.
    The heated gear actually compelled me to get camp packed up and get plugged in so I'm comfortable.
    If your ride was in late June thru August, I'd say it would be cool to go without heated gear.
    But there's gonna be plenty of cold days and especially cold mornings on your ride.
    The cold saps energy from me like crazy. I've had the same heated gear for the last 6 years.
    It's the one piece of gear that I always make sure is packed.
    Partly because I don't carry any type of layering...just a few tee shirts.
    Mostly because it makes riding in what other wise would be miserable conditions, pleasant.

    I've condensed clothing for any trip over a week to this:
    Fleece in with the bed roll
    3 underwear, socks and tee shirts.
    Pair of jeans I wear under riding gear and one other pair.
    Small nylon swim trunks and a pair of flip flops.
    Oh...and a windstopper balaclava. (another recommended item)

    Sometimes that's too much.

    I'm sure you can manage without heated gear.
    But I'll guarantee if you get it, you'll want to go out of your way to thank me or anyone else that suggested it when you return.
    It really is that good.



    edit:
    I also use Gerbing gloves. Besides the comfort, they eliminate carrying other gloves.
    They plug into the arms of the jacket liner and are all thermostat controller.
    Although not entirely water proof, they are water resistant.
    And even in an all day steady downpour, my hands may get a little wet, but stay warm with the heat.

    I carry these and a light pair of summer gloves. Much better than when I carried both rain and warm gloves.
    As for feet: riding a boxer and a brick with good boots usually not enough heat isn't a problem.
    I've had good success with those chemical heat packettes in real cold weather.
    Drop one or two (depending on size) in your boots and they're good for up to 6 hours.
    #49
  10. thetourist

    thetourist Just passing thru

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    Touring in cool weather is different from short trips. Even 50* will start taking the heat out of your body when you have been out all day.

    Get an electric jacket. With a thermostat. Really great piece of kit.

    Next, I would recommend Hippo Hands, but a lot of people resist because of the asthetics. The new brand name Hippo Hands come off and on in seconds and fold flat for storage.

    For temps in the 40*s I use a rain jacket to block wind. So, tee shirt, Warm n' Safe, fleece, Savannah, rain jacket. This will get me down to 30* comfortably.

    I carry a heavy and a light fleece. Silk scarf for neck.

    Electric grips inside the Hippo Hands is pure luxury.

    You shouldn't hit too much real cold in May, but 40* mornings sometimes feel really cold. Biorythms slow at the end of the day and the cold comes creeping in, again.

    It pays to stop and have a cup of soup or coffee once in a while. You may be surprised how warm you are after a snack.

    Have a good trip.
    #50
  11. MapMaster

    MapMaster Human Compass

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    Camo and TT both have effective approaches. To answer your question directly though, between the two, go with a heated vest first. A variable thermostat controller is nice, but not essential (as long as you can reach the switch easily, it's no bother to turn the vest off and on as needed, which isn't very often.) A friend of my uses a heattroller which is an electronic modulator of some sort that can be used on any heated gear. It functions as a thermostat and is also supposed to reduce the current draw even at the max setting w/o diminishing the warmth. Useful if you're running a lot of electrical loads, but a bit pricey imo.
    I have found that a pair of silk sock liners help the feet stay warmer when combined with another pair of socks, better than just one extra thick pair of socks - especially if your boots are snug to begin with.
    My preference is heated grips over heated gloves or hippo hands. Heated gloves can be a bit bulkier and I don't like the idea of fussing with the hippo hands while on the move when I have to take a hand off the grip to adjust something (like a vest switch :evil). Heated grips let you wear lighter gloves for a given condition - better feel and comfort than thicker gloves.

    I haven't found Camo's point on space savings to be all that much.
    What the heated vest does allow is a wider range of riding conditions to be faced in greater comfort.

    To be prepared for cold I have the vest, a sweater, thermal underwear and a pair of BMW insulated gloves that are also waterproof for rain riding. A pvc rain suit is also an effective additional layer for warmth. I've worn all of that plus a long sleeve t, insulated neck bandanna, baklava under the helmet, rubber over-boots and still been cold, but it was manageable. (This is with a 'stich 2-piece Roadcrafter, starting out from Knoxville at 29F and then climbing as I went north to OH. Don't know how cold it got, but the high temp that day was 41F :vardy)
    Shorter trips in the summer obviously don't require all of that, but vest gloves and sweater are always on the bike, with the hope of never being needed. Like the scouts say, be prepared.
    #51
  12. rufusswan

    rufusswan Been here awhile

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    That is your warning signal that you are too cold. The body restricts blood flow to the extremeties in order to keep your core warm. It will sacrifice your extremeties (i.e. allow frostbite) in order to live.
    #52
  13. MapMaster

    MapMaster Human Compass

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    That's true, but on the extreme end of things. Just to clarify my previouse answer to nsherman: What the vest does better than heated gloves or grips, is help keep the core warm. Which will also allow more blood flow to the extremities.
    #53
  14. nsherman2006

    nsherman2006 Adventurer

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    Advice taken, heated vest is on the shopping list. Gerbing seems to be the big name. I just hope it's not like a heated car seat...I hate those f**king things.

    Also adding a silk scarf and sock liners to the browsing list. I'm going to be giving my Smartwool socks a decent run through in the next few months. I figure New England weather in Feb-Mar is pretty similar to what i should expect as the lower end of the temperature spectrum, with the exception of any high latitude, high altitude combos.

    Hippo hands look awesome for the winter here, not sure if they'd be worth the packing space, but will investigate.

    Thanks guys!
    #54
  15. nsherman2006

    nsherman2006 Adventurer

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    Understood...I won't ride for any more than 10 minutes or so once my hands get cold. I'll stop and grab a hot cocoa and wait for them to warm up before chancing them going numb.
    #55
  16. CamoGreg

    CamoGreg aka Camorpheus

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    Last post about heated gear......I hope:D

    I'm just gonna relay my experience. Much the same as others have done here for ya.

    Great to have this site and all this knowledge, ain't it?


    I've owned a vest and I have heated grips on both the GSA and K-bike. I love 'em.
    They get used often on cooler days and it's nice not to have to stop and switch gear when the temp drops.

    That said, I still tour with my heated gloves.
    They are very comfortable and although I can't pick a dime off the ground with them,
    I do operate a camera and don't find them restrictive at all.
    I wear them often without even using the heat feature just because they are a warmer and more protective glove.

    i also use them on the DR650. It doesn't have heated grips. Even with the DR's tiny charging system, I can run my jacket liner and gloves along with a GPS and not over-draw the charging system.


    The gloves (and my hide) survived a 60mph deer hit/get-off near the Grand Canyon in '06.
    I'm still using the same gloves and although they certainly are well scuffed, they still work fine and did great
    protecting my hands. (I landed palms first.)

    When I spend a day in the cold, even with heated grips, the top side of my hands are still cold.
    They also do little for the rain...other than keep the palm side warm.

    I'm sure if you look around, you'll be able to find a used heated vest for sale. That's what happened to mine.
    The jacket liner was only slightly more. I've did this with lots of gear...cheaped out to save a few bucks
    only later to upgrade to the product I really wanted.
    I didn't get hurt too bad on the vest, cause there's always someone new to heated gear willing to start at the bottom.
    I've did the same with riding gear, tents, bags...all kinds of things.
    Betcha have a much tougher time finding a used jacket liner. That's because once you've owned one, there's no need to upgrade and they get kept.

    They actually look pretty good to just wear as a windbreaker when off the bike. There's a ton of guys at rallies that don't walk around the grounds in their riding gear. The plugs all tuck away and it becomes a good looking windbreaker that's comfortable or night in a pub where you don't have to look like racer rick in your gear.

    Of course, without sleeves, such as in a vest, hooking up the gloves is a PITA.
    There's a wire kit sold that can be strung down your arms to plug in the gloves...but again...it's a pain.

    I also have the on/off switch. It has stayed in my "misfit toys" trunk since the one and only trip I used it on.
    It does draw a lot of current. It's also a pain.
    Leave it on a little too long and get sweaty, then turn it off and get chilled cause I'm now wet.

    If you count your time for anything, buy good gear the first time.
    I wish I had, I would have saved a ton.
    Not to mention the hassle of having to resell or eat the upgraded gear.
    I've done it too many times.

    I'm not entirely sure of your route, but let me give you a couple examples of areas you won't get to see
    in the west because of the time of year you're riding:

    The Beartooth Highway isn't usually open until mid-June.
    Same with Crater Lake in Oregon.
    Lassan Volcanic in NorCal sometimes isn't open even in July.
    Lolo and Bozeman passes are often below freezing even in July.
    Northern Wyoming can surprise a rider as most of it is above 7K ft.


    I have an idea to help you keep cost down and enjoy your trip.

    PM sent.
    #56
  17. TopHogDog

    TopHogDog n00b

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    I am a newbie myself, I am stationed in Fayetteville NC, but currently deployed. Originally from Woodstock Ct, then moved to Brooklyn Ct. Hope you have a fun trip.. When do you plan starting?
    #57
  18. Eastview

    Eastview Been here awhile

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    Great thread. Unless I missed it no one has talked about dawn and dusk. Please be aware that the wildlife will be a problem if you travel the northwest at these times. The moose catchers and grill guards on trucks are not just for looks. When that sun starts to set, stop and take in the free show as your bike will not win the battle with a deer. Ride safe!!! If you make it to the far NW corner of Wa. you have a place to park.
    #58
  19. BikerBill

    BikerBill Motorcycle Addict

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    I will have to second the suggestion for heated gear. I have Gerbings heated jacket liner and gloves. The new Gerbings T-5 heated gloves are water proof, and the newer jacket liners are much lighter and heat faster.

    In 2008 I hit the road for a month starting on the last day of May and returning the end of June. I rode across Wyoming in 40F temps with 40mph winds and rain. That little ride started in SD and ended 8 hours later in WY. Cold, wet day and yet I was warm because of good gear that works everytime. I wear a tee shirt, long sleeve tee shirt, Gerbings heated jacket liner, and then my motorcycle jacket. If it's raining I have my rainsuit on top of that.

    I pack two pairs of jeans, three long sleeve cotton tees, 5 sets of tees and boxer briefs, and synthetic socks. Rainsuit in a stuff sack and wear the motorcycle jacket and lightweight gloves if it's warm out.

    Longest day on the road was 17 hours on the California coast in cold, damp weather. I was tired, but not to the point of being dangerous thanks to my heated gear. The heated gear goes on every trip with me no matter the season. We'd have never gone that long but couldn't find a place to camp and just kept pushing on until we found one.

    Don't get too hung up on a schedule. Things will happen so adjust accordingly and have fun.

    bill:clap
    #59
  20. JimOBrien

    JimOBrien Been here awhile

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    +1 on this. This situation occurs thru out the entire West. Even in the San Francisco Bay Area mountains, I've had some close encounters with Bambi. Fortunately no contact. Try an armadillo sometime if you want something interesting to do.
    #60