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Route suggestions for cross-country (USA) trip

Discussion in 'Americas' started by jlevers, Nov 29, 2016.

  1. jlevers

    jlevers Type 2 fun Super Supporter

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    @sportbiker2000, thank you! I've thought about skipping the backroads here, but I'm not planning on coming back for about a year, and I'd like to see some of the cool roads around where I live now. I may just end up skipping them anyway, but neither my nor my cousin's bike are great highway bikes. Mine's fine, but runs around 6k rpms at 75 (redlines at 10.5k), and my cousin's even higher (although I think he's putting a speed sprocket on it before we leave).

    Good to know about both the cops on NY-97 and that I should choose a different route than US-209. Also interested to hear that Skyline Drive isn't that great...I'd always read good things about it, but a 35mph speed limit + cops + deer sounds like a recipe for disaster. I'm definitely going to get new tires just before leaving, as well as an oil change (main and final drive) and maybe a new air filter.


    @DaMonk45, what you're saying about riding smoothly rather than fast makes sense. Now that I think about it, when I hit a series of curves at medium speed but very smoothly, it's much more satisfying than hitting those same curves faster but with more sudden braking and awkward line corrections.

    As far as completing my route goes, if it were entirely up to me, I would just extend the trip indefinitely to avoid missing things (since I have the time to do so), but I have a couple constraints: a) that my cousin does not want to take a trip of unknown length, and I don't relish the idea of doing lots of riding alone, and b) that I need get to the PNW somehow, so I definitely am going to have to cover miles. I like the idea of building in a rest day every 7 days, since I can imagine having days where I don't want to ride. So, I'll build in a few 0-mileage days.

    I don't have any paper maps, but I'll be sure to pick some up. The same goes for Rok Straps, although being the cheap bastard that I am, paying for something as simple as straps irks me. However, I'm guessing that the quality (and not having to worry about straps giving way) is worth the price. For pants, @oldtouring B kindly offered both my cousin and myself a pair of pants for the duration of the trip. They're not mesh, but they're durable and are waterproof, and you can't beat free :rofl

    Keeping a journal is something that was suggested to me at the beginning of this thread, and that I'm planning on doing. You recommending it as well makes me even surer that it'd be worth the time.

    Here are our sizes (keep in mind that these are approximate since it varies a lot between brands): I'm a 30" waist, 30" inseam, small/medium shirt/jacket, small/medium glove, 8.5 shoe. My cousin is a 32" waist, 32" inseam, large shirt/jacket, large glove, and 10.5 shoe.


    @klaviator, you make some good points on ride reports. From what you've said and from what I've already been thinking, I think I'll probably do a daily quick update by phone, with a very brief summary of where we are, where we're going, etc., and then every few days to a week do a more in-depth update when I have time (if I'm staying at someone's house, or hanging out at a coffee shop with free WiFi, or whatever), and finally after it's over, fill in all the details.

    I definitely plan on taking lots of pics (or more accurately, having my cousin take lots of pics) since he's a fairly accomplished videographer who's not half bad at taking pictures either. He has a very nice DSLR, but I agree with what you're saying about getting a robust, light point-and-shoot to take pictures with while riding. He was planning to keep his camera in his tank bag, but that's still not super convenient.

    For charging, I do plan on hooking up a charger to my bike's electrical system, but first I need to make it so that my bike actually charges it's own battery :imaposer. The stator was (unbeknownst to me) fried when I bought it, and I haven't fixed it yet. I'll probably get a portable battery for charging phones/laptops/etc, although one that can jump start our bikes isn't necessary since both of our bikes can be popstarted (as I have done MANY, MANY times since my battery doesn't charge).

    In case you didn't see it, I replied both to yours and DaMonk's comments about pants slightler higher in this post.


    Thank you all for your suggestions!
  2. TooBadBrad

    TooBadBrad Adventurer

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    Your getting lots of great advise here, choosing will be the hard part!
    Going N thru SF ca be a traffic nightmare, but it's worth doing once. Stay on the great hwy(coast), and allow plenty of time.
    Avoid commute times and you will be fine. It's also worth stopping at the Golden gate recreation are on the N side of the bridge. This is where a lot of the great photos are taken of the bridge with the city in the background.
    If you decide to go further N and want some twist routes, let me know. Going up the coast is fine to Tamales, but beyond that I think you will have had enough. We have lots of fantastic roads up here.
  3. jlevers

    jlevers Type 2 fun Super Supporter

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    I'm always happy to hear some twistier routes if you're willing to share them...I was just looking at the map, and I didn't see Tamales on the coast. Where is that?
  4. oldtouring B

    oldtouring B Been here awhile Supporter

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    Check Tomales.. population 204!!
  5. jlevers

    jlevers Type 2 fun Super Supporter

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  6. flei

    flei cycletherapist

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    OP- You've already gotten tons of advice on your route, gear, etc., so I will leave that alone. You're young (still in high school), fit (wrestler), and a good planner. As long as the bikes hold up you are in for a great experience wherever you go and whatever you wear. In 1973, before ATGATT, GPS, internet worries, etc., I rode from LA to Banff and back at age 18 on a Honda 350, wearing sneakers, jeans and a tee-shirt; believe it or not, I survived and had an amazing time. If you miss anything on your trip West, so what, you have the rest of your life to go there and see it. I live very near you and ride by your home all the time. If you want to do some riding in the Spring, PM me and we can cruise out Rt. 116 and up into VT etc. and I promise not to give you too much advice, lol! I hope you have a great trip next Summer and many Summers to come.
  7. jlevers

    jlevers Type 2 fun Super Supporter

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    Thank you for your kind words -- it's cool to hear the perspective of someone who's done something similar, and with a slightly more laid-back attitude to adventure (I'm not at all implying that one way or the other is better, since I can appreciate the upsides and downsides of both approaches). I'd love to meet up to go for a ride sometime, since I literally don't know a single person that rides within a 100mi radius of me.
  8. DaMonk45

    DaMonk45 I B Da Monk

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    I have a feeling that is about to change
  9. jlevers

    jlevers Type 2 fun Super Supporter

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    I grinned a little wider at that than I'd like to admit...it'll be really cool to know locals who ride.
  10. klaviator

    klaviator Long timer Supporter

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    One more bit of advice on gear. Sorry if it's already been mentioned but I haven't seen it. Get a camelback of similar water bladder. It is the best way to stay hydrated. When you stop at gas stations or restaurants you can normally refill it with ice.

    As for meeting local riders, check out the regional forum for your area. I'm sure there are other inmates in your area.
  11. DaMonk45

    DaMonk45 I B Da Monk

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    Not gear related...sorry

    some place along the middle of your route find a good shop/inmate/mechanic to look over both bikes.
    You very well may need new tires, or a chain or just a overall good going over. An oil change would not be out of the question on your older bikes.
    Spending a morning in a bike shop or inmates garage doing that can save BIG time and money later if things go sideways.
  12. TooBadBrad

    TooBadBrad Adventurer

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    The coast from Bodega to Jenner is heavily traveled and slow, but if your into the ocean it might be worth it. If your cold or tired of looking at the back of RV's stay on 1 to Valley Ford, cut across to Freestone, and up to Occidental(great taco shop). From there stay on Bohemian hwy to Monte Rio, where you can go west and rejoin the coast at Jenner. You can use Myers grade and sea view rds N of Jenner to get above the fog for a bit also. When you get to the avenue of the giants take it instead of 101. Stunning if you've never seen it. Another don't miss if you have time is the Lost Coast. From the north end of the Avenue of Giants, go west on Mattole rd and follow it to the coast. It will take you by a mostly deserted stretch of beautiful coast and onto Ferndale where you can rejoin 101.
    pranajerni likes this.
  13. jlevers

    jlevers Type 2 fun Super Supporter

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    @klaviator, I'm planning on doing that. No one likes being dehydrated, and carrying tons of water bottles is kind of a pain. I just took a look at the regional forums...You're definitely right, there's lots of people in my area!

    @DaMonk45, don't apologize! That's probably a good idea. I prefer to do all the work on my bike myself, but I'm ok with having someone else do the work if it keeps the trip from getting delayed.

    @TooBadBrad, all those changes look awesome. I've been on the Avenue of the Giants before, but it was a long time ago and I'd love to do it again. Mattole Road also looks great. Thanks!
  14. klaviator

    klaviator Long timer Supporter

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    One more thing to think about. National Parks and Monuments have entry fees. It varies from park to park but can be pretty expensive. Here's an example:

    [​IMG]

    Depending on how many parks you will be going to you may want to buy an annual pass. I'm pretty sure you can put two people on one pass so you and your cousin could split the cost.
  15. Strong Bad

    Strong Bad Former World's Foremost Authority Supporter

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    The Inter-agency annual pass is good for a vehicle, each bike needing their own. Last year the Southern California Norton Owners Club went through Yosemite and they hit every one of the 20+ riders. I was glad to get the Senior pass once I turned 62. For a bike you should ask for the sticker that goes free with buying the pass, you have to ask for it, and many of the small Ranger stations don't have them, you commonly have to go to a District office. The sticker prevents you from getting a ticket as you really don't want to hang your pass card on your bike while you are away from it. The stickers are annual only, I have to get a new sticker every year, but they are free with my Senior pass.
  16. pranajerni

    pranajerni Been here awhile

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    cousin could sign the back and both should be admitted with one pass.
  17. jlevers

    jlevers Type 2 fun Super Supporter

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    Wow, I didn't realize the entrance fees were that high...with that in mind, we're definitely going to get an annual pass. According to this page on usgs.gov, you can use a single pass for two motorcycles, as long as they arrive together.
  18. rickj

    rickj Been here awhile Supporter

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    GHOST TOWNS ALONG YOUR ROUTE

    I had previously mentioned that you could visit the old Gold Point ghost town if you took Highway 266 and 168 from Nevada I-95 over to Big Pine in California. Most of us enjoy a ghost town, and stopping by Gold Point is on your current route. I think you'll really enjoy stopping by there!

    I also wanted to mention that there are a couple of other ghost towns you'll be going right by on this route. First, while heading north on I-95 to the east of Death Valley you'll go through the town of Beatty, NV. If you turn off the highway in Beatty and head west for about 4 miles you'll be at the ghost town of Rhyolite, which had a population of over 10,000 people around the year 1900. Many cool old buildings and equipment remain, including an old train depot, so this is a great place to stop by. Lots of information online about this place.

    A few miles past Gold Point along your route you'll also go by the old site of Palmetto near Lida, NV, which only has a few remaining structures, but there is an old abandoned mill that you can check out. These aren't that impressive, but you'll be going right past them, so a great place to take a break.

    The ultimate ghost town in the West is Bodie, which is a state historic park being maintained in a state of "arrested decay". It's about 30 miles north of Lee Vining where you will be turning off highway 395 and heading west toward Yosemite. If you enjoy ghost towns and have a few hours, this one is by far the most amazing one. In the 1870s, Bodie had 70 saloons and zero churches!

    The only problem is that you may want to spend many hours exploring Bodie! There are places around the area for camping such as Mono Lake or in Lee Vining. I have visited Bodie several times, and look forward to another visit this year. There's a lot of information online about Bodie, but here's a short video that will give you a sneak peek. Even better, check out this CBS Sunday Morning video.

    Enjoy!
  19. jlevers

    jlevers Type 2 fun Super Supporter

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    Wow, those sound super cool. I love abandoned places, but they're easy to miss if you don't know where they are. I'll be sure to check all of those out, and I undoubtedly will be stopping to explore other abandoned structures along the way.
  20. jlevers

    jlevers Type 2 fun Super Supporter

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    Quick road-specific question for anyone from the TN/NC area who might see this: has anyone ridden the Parsons Branch Road from Cades Cove to the Dragon? It looks like a fun way to connect Route 321 and the Dragon (going through Cades Cove and then taking Parsons Branch). Is that a doable road on my bike (a '79 CX500)?