Riding a KLR across the US and back this summer...

Discussion in 'Americas' started by theblahmonster, Mar 23, 2011.

  1. theblahmonster

    theblahmonster Adventurer

    Mar 10, 2011
    I'm planning on leaving Warner Robins, GA in early May, heading to the west coast, and, once I've found it, turning around and coming back. I don't have a route planned yet, and I figured that determining where I wanted to go and what I wanted to see should probably be the first step in route planning, so I'm making a list based on people's suggestions. My internet travels have shown me that the US is absolutely filled with both beautiful scenery (Grand Canyon, etc) and quirky eccentricities (Carhenge, Salvation Mountain), and those are the kinds of things I'm looking for. Big and small, large and tall, I want to know about anything that you find interesting or beautiful so I can put it on my list! :clap

    Without further adieu, I present to you the Big List of Shit to See(TM). This is what I have so far:

    Grand Canyon
    Grand Tetons National Park
    Fly Geyser, Nevada
    Barringer Crater, east of Flagstaff, AZ
    Salton Sea/Slab City/Salvation Mountain – Calpatria, CA
    Lake Chasm, OR
    Painted Hills – Mitchell, OR
    Palouse Falls, OR
    Cloud's Rest, Yosimite, CA
    Niagra Falls, Canada
    Route 66
    Carhenge - Alliance, NE
    Largest, heaviest ball of sisal twine - Cawker City, KS
    Outhouse museum - Gregory, SD
    Grand Circle (Brice Canyon, Red Rocks) - UT
    Canyons of the Escalante - UT
    Highway 1 ride - CA
    Rhyolite Ghost Town - NV
    Area 51
    Death Valley National Park
    Deals Gap, NC
    Redwood National Park
    Badlands National Park
    Glenwood Springs, Garden of the Gods, Flatiron, Gunnison, Steamboat - CO
    John Day River/Deschutes River, Painted Hills - OR

    Just wondering if anyone has anything to add...

    I'll also be camping the entire way (or as much as possible), so if you have a piece of land for me to plop my tent down on and/or a shower for me to wash up in, either would be greatly appreciated! :ear
  2. LngRidr

    LngRidr Been here awhile

    Mar 7, 2009
    Crater Lake (and wizard island)
  3. Trailryder42

    Trailryder42 Long timer

    Oct 3, 2006
    Amarillo, Texas
    Devils Tower.
  4. FAW3

    FAW3 Old wanderer

    Mar 13, 2009
    The key to a trip like this is IMO having both TIME and FLEXIBILITY. As you ride, take the time to check neat areas out, ask and learn what is off the beaten track...cause your on a KLR after all! Example: a point of interest mentioned is Niagria Falls, Canada...been there, done that, loved it...but I found out that just north is an area called the North Bruce/Tobermory area...and the trip up there and touring around was great...rural Canada and a fantastic area to explore (including Sauble Beach). When I hit Yellowstone I loved it...but it was crowded...you go outside the park a few miles off the regular RV route and your in the open wild west...much better, no crowds!

    Weather can be a big factor...with a smart phone you can monitor weather patterns and plan accordingly. One one trip out west we were right behind a killer heat wave and knowing it was moving east ahead of us we slowed down to stay behind it and choose routes in higher elevations so we had cooler temps...we had 80F and 200 miles east they had 100+F...same idea for big rain weather patterns...be aware and be flexible.

    I have a KLR...great tool for everything you might come across BUT interstate slabbing all day long...try to plan route on state highways and skip the interstate drone. Get a 16T front sprocket and a quiet but cool helmet.

    Once out west you can easily find good space to stealth camp...and with a smile most folks will not run you off from private land...all free.

    We will be waiting for a nice trip report and lots of photos!!!
  5. rufusswan

    rufusswan Been here awhile

    Nov 16, 2007
    Branson MO
    There is tons off cool things to see or quirky places to visit. Some of the man made stuff is cool like Royal Gorge and Hoover Damn. Have fun.
  6. Worroll

    Worroll Been here awhile

    Jul 16, 2009
    Southern CT
    I did niagra falls on a bike, it really wasn't fun, got stuck in a traffic on the Canada side for an hour at 90+ degrees.
    Roy Canyon, New Mexico is a pretty neat little known place to check out, someone actually told me about it while I was on my trip last summer riding near there.
    Make sure that KLR is in top shape, and steering bearings are tight, winds out in the midwest can get real sketchy on a klr with sloppy bearings. People have mixed opinion about them on the interstate, I personally sat all day on mine on the interstate without complaints. Get ventilated riding pants tho, huge difference in day after day comfort vs blue jeans.
    Get a KOA membership.
    Check your insurance policy real good, alot of them have provisions for break-downs and crashes to cover extra hotel rooms on trips and stuff. I didn't even realize mine had it, could have saved me a few bucks.
  7. bk brkr baker

    bk brkr baker Long timer

    Jul 19, 2006
    The Bluegrass
    I don't see Washington state on your list but if when you're in Ore. and have the time to go little more north, enjoy.

    I 've been through the John Day area and it's nice enough ,but just west of Hood River there is a strerch of the old road along the Columbia that has several waterfalls , Multnohma is the largest . West of Portland to the ocean you'll ride through the forest that you'll see on Ax-Men. I first saw the beach in Oregon at Cannon's Beach then turned north toward Astoria. The fort Lewis and Clark built to witer over on their big trip [reproduction] is just south of Astoria.
    On the coast of Wa. is La Push . I camped there and went to the beach in the morning while the fog was still on. Magic.
    Then up in the fartherest west and north is Cape Flattery. You'll be glad you went. Edge of the continent.

    I've got more ,if you want.
  8. sjeproductions

    sjeproductions Been here awhile Supporter

    Jan 27, 2008
    Boulder, CO
    Havasu Falls, AZ. :D
  9. damasovi

    damasovi Long timer

    Nov 8, 2006
    Ensenada, Baja California
    a fork brace will make the front end much more stable and that is a good thing. Have you done the doo?

    Also why not go to Tumbstone AZ for a little of the wild wild west show.

    ALso in early May mountain passes may not be open, Yosemite will be open some parts any way, so check the California Depart of Transportation for report on road openings.

    Maybe over rated but I like the Golden gate, next time I will like to cross it on foot or witouh a flat tire!

    Have a great time

  10. Dazn

    Dazn Been here awhile

    Oct 30, 2009
    I am planning on a very similar ride leaving atlanta also in May.
    How long do you plan on being on the road?
    We are planning on seeing a lot of the same things.
  11. toolhorder

    toolhorder Been here awhile

    Jul 11, 2010
    SW Wisconsin
    Sounds like an awesome trip. You will also find that Palouse Falls is in Eastern Washington, South of Washtukna, not in Oregon. Check out Wallowa Lake in Eastern Oregon if you're near there. The Hwy from Asotin Washington to Enterprise Oregon (Hwy 3) is a great ride.
  12. theblahmonster

    theblahmonster Adventurer

    Mar 10, 2011
    Thanks for all the suggestions and tips everyone, I've added all of them to my list...

    I'm leaving in early May, as early as possible, hopefully the 1st. Classes end April 28, and between finals, term papers, trip planning and gear procurement, I'm going to be pretty busy this next month, so I might need another week or so after classes end to tie up various loose ends. I don't have to be back until classes begin again on August 15, and I plan on staying gone as long as possible, so I should have a full three months on the road. I'm heading in a generally counterclockwise direction, probably heading up the east coast to Maine, then going to explore the Upper Michigan Peninsula a bit before heading out west, seeing all the national parks along the way. Depending on how much time I have left, I might ride up to Anchorage and back. I just watched Into the Wild, and I'd really like to see the Magic Bus, not to mention it'd just be awesome to ride to Alaska - but that's another 2300 miles one way, and at 300 miles a day, that's two weeks there and back, so it's doubtful that I'll actually go that far north. That said, I probably will head up the western coast into Canada a bit, depending on what people tell me in Washington. After I'm finished with the northwest, I'll ride down through California to Baja, then over into Nevada, and the Four Squares. If I have time, I might go down into Mexico a bit, and then, of course, it's back home, back to mundane life again.

    What about you? What's your timeframe and general direction of travel?
  13. Uglyprimate

    Uglyprimate UglyPirate

    Jul 18, 2006
    Fort Whine Indiana
    Go west first.

    You absolutely DON'T want to be in Arizona in August.
  14. bush pilot

    bush pilot Long timer

    Jun 23, 2006
    I highly recommend take the Bad River rd between Pierre and Midland South Dakota.
    There's a lovely hot springs in Midland SD.
    The town was almost deserted.

    The badlands, and all the rest will be a tourist circus in June-July.

    BUZZARD II Old Geezer

    Jun 4, 2007
    As long as your in Utah check out Goblin Valley State Park. It's well, weird. Save Yellowstone or Tioga Pass for later in the trip as they might still be closed with snow.

    Have a good atlas and a weather radio. (can be found the size of a pack of cards) Each night check the weather, then plan the next day avoiding rain and snow. That's the way you find unique places no one here can tell you about. That's how I found Goblin Valley. Talk to every rider you find in a campground. They will be full of good up to date info and suggestions. As will you. Being adaptable in your destinations will allow this to be an adventure. Following a plan will make it a road trip. There is a vast difference.

    I'm over 60 now. Until the day I die I will remember all the adventure trips. The road trips have already faded from memory.
  16. Snowclem

    Snowclem Adventurer

    Jun 6, 2010
    northern MI
    I haven't seen mentioned or on your list Glacier NP or the Icefields Pkwy (may be the start to Alaska). Also, hwy 20 in Washinton is georgeous and the Cascades National forest has great camping. Also I would include in the Yellowstone area, Cody, WY and the museum there. Riding the Chief Joseph and Beartooth would also have to be included in any trip near the area. I think, I would give serious consideration to doing your planned trip clock-wise because of "likely" weather patterns. Good luck, wish I could do it too.

  17. squonker

    squonker Stupid is the new norm

    Dec 2, 2006
    Yellowknife and Norman Wells, NWT
    This is true. Sure, have a list of places you want to go/things you want to see, but don't get into the state of mind where you MUST see this and/or that. Hit as many of the things on your list as you can, you'll always find other places you hadn't anticipated that you'll want to spend time at too, and the ones you don't get to see....well, what better excuse for a second trip?!

    Have fun. With the right attitude, you will. And remember lots of us will be living vicariously through you, so an RR would be much appreciated!

    Good luck!
  18. Dazn

    Dazn Been here awhile

    Oct 30, 2009

    I have almost the same plan, but lately Ive been thinking about heading West first. Like Uglyprimate said,it might be a little painful to be in the desert areas during August, but Im not opposed to it. I also dont have to be back in Atlanta until december, but will more than likely return well before that since I will not be taking much cold weather gear with me.
    I also have a good friend going to Alaska in July, so I wanted to try and hookup with him for a portion if possible.
  19. LewisNClark

    LewisNClark Long timer Supporter

    Apr 12, 2004
    North GA and Atlanta
    Do yourself a favor and get Streets and Trips to plan your route. You can "pinpoint" each National Park, city, etc you plan on visiting and let the program calculate the route for you, how many days it will take, etc. All the things listed may take several months.

    Then back track and dodge the western state heat. Places like Yellowstone are the worst place to be during heavy tourist traffic.

    I've done similar trips 7 or 8 times...and Texas and Oklahoma can be almost impassable on a small bike due to unbelievable crosswinds. One of the best investments I've made for long trips is an "Airhawk" seat.:wink:

    Did not see
    Zion NP
    Capital Reef Rock (in Utah).
    Arches NP
    Monument Valley (my favorite)

    Remember what others have said, weather and heat can be your enemy!
  20. likestoride

    likestoride Rider

    May 27, 2009
    Looks like a great trip.

    If you are in AZ and get a chance, check out Mt Lemmon in the Tucson area (great road) and the Sedona area.