Solo Cross Country On A Scooter :-)

Discussion in 'Americas' started by Sbless, Mar 31, 2016.

  1. Sbless

    Sbless Adventurer

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    YES, I know it's a ridiculous idea and that I should probably get a bigger bike... But (at this juncture) my mind is made up and I'm going for it! So please, if you're going to contribute to my post, I'd love some real advice on how to make this a success :)

    The plan:
    Starting in San Francisco, I will find a used 150cc Scooter, macgyver 2 saddle bags onto said scooter, fill one with cooking equipment/food, other with camping essentials (bivy/tarp) and small tools (fix a flat, zip ties, duct tape, paracord), under the seat with my sleeping bag, and have the rear hard case with clothes/toiletries/electronics. THEN I will take the month of June to scoot across the country to North Carolina! Easy, right?!

    I am looking to get some gear second hand, if anyone is interested in some spring cleaning! I'll gladly ship to SF.

    Here's what (at least I think) I need:
    -GPS with a handle bar mount
    -Delorme/SPOT (for my mother's sake, and my own!)
    -Small camp stove
    -Lightweight sleeping pad
    -Size 39 (US 8) moto boots (I'm currently looking at Alpinestars' Vitka boots, so I may just end up buying them)
    -Textile pants (I am getting a new-to-me Cortech jacket that is pink and white, so matching isn't a terrible idea, haha!)
    -Med/large moto gloves
    -Solar pannel (for charging phone/camera)
    -Soft sided panniers

    Here's where this amazing community comes in:
    I have been crisscrossing this amazing country for years, but have never done so solo, or on a moto, and I am so excited for this new crazy experience. I would LOVE any anecdotes from where the best apple pie is, what the most amazing camping spots are, best roads.... or anything you think might add some special flavor to the adventure :)

    Also, it would be wonderful to meet up with folks along the way for a beer or coffee, so please don't be shy with reaching out! The only stop that I HAVE to make is in Grand Junction, CO, so beyond that, this world is my oyster :)

    If you're just curious to see if I make it, you can follow along at www.sarahblessington.com!

    Thanks to any and all!!!

    -Sarah
    #1
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  2. ShineySideUp

    ShineySideUp Long timer

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    I am in - this will be an interesting RR. I think 150 cc may be a little small for the load the bike will carry. A scooter can defintely do what you want but you may want to look at 250cc.
    #2
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  3. TUCKERS

    TUCKERS the famous james

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    Yes, get more engine. Don't get a solar panel. Get a bike designated USB to attach to the battery. 'Battery Tender' sell a lead and do-dad that converts to USB. $20 the lot on Amazon. Comes with a battery charger lead and same lead will fit some air pumps. I don't believe your scooter will have tubeless rims so fix a flat probably won't work. Get a DELUXE sleeping pad. The best is around $120, used at $50 or so. I have two used. If you are used to bivy/tarp good for you, but to keep bugs at bay a mosquito tent is actually smaller and lighter. Weight really won't be your issue with packing as the bike is designed to carry...VOLUME is your enemy. You need small stuff and stuff that fits inside stuff. Stove inside a cup. Something inside your pan. Socks inside your shoes. Join Good Sam Tow service, I think $90 first timer and worth every penny. If you have a flat they will pick you up and take you to get it fixed. Don't 'fill' a bag with food. Just take essentials and buy food daily. You'll need a helmet. A Flip would be best as it's more 'freindly' to others yet still offers good protection. A heated vest or jacket will save you on clothes, should plug in your 'Battery Tender' lead. Just wear a T shirt with vest next, then it's ever so versatile. RAIN GEAR. Get a Bib and Brace yellow construction site set from Lowes.
    Best thing I can say about a route is draw a straight line on a paper map to Grand Junction, then a straight line to your final destination. Then follow the small roads that basically go that way. You will HAVE to take freeway sooner or later unless you want to crawl through cities...that's why you need 250cc or MORE. 400 would be best.
    Lastly people don't come on ADV to be redirected to another site, your ride report would get you more support if you did it on this site. I would think VERY few people here would follow you on another site.
    #3
  4. Nixels

    Nixels Face fears - live life

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    Welcome! :wave

    Rach and Ed have done a cross-Canada trip on 90cc bikes, then come back and done the TAT this past year. Read Rach's report here. Some people cannot imagine riding slowly anywhere in America and only crazy Brits and foreigners could get away with it. :rolleyes :lol3

    When you get to the Bay Area, hit me up, I may be able to direct you to some folks that can help with gear. Good luck & have fun!
    #4
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  5. damurph

    damurph Cold Adventurer

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    GPS Kevin did a Scooters across America ride with his son a couple of years ago and a return ride with a group of scooters the next year. San Diego to New York and back the next year.
    Good luck and enjoy.
    #5
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  6. BigDogAdventures

    BigDogAdventures Fart Letter Supporter

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    Oh---you are going to have so much fun.
    Almost sounds to me you don't need any advice-------but if I did give you some it would be to take the smaller roads---the smaller the better---it don't have to be dirt.
    Just take the roads in between the big roads.

    That is what I always do anyway---and I'm riding bigger bikes.

    One of my main tools for laying out a ride is not going to stuff----but avoiding stuff.
    Sounds crazy maybe-----Lay that map out and go between all those big roads and big towns and the adventure will come to you.

    You'll meet and run into nicer people who are hopefully not in such a hurry.
    You'll find cool neat things off the beaten path you never dreamed of---------you don't have to have a specific route.

    I never go to the really popular touristy places where several million people visit each year-------never.

    You might even find the worlds largest ball of twine in Kansas on that small road -----I did :D:D:D
    That's a whole lot better than being sqeezed in by hundreds of people trying to watch old faithful go off in Yellowstone.
    Go to where people ain't----------instead of where they are.

    No----I't's not that I don't like people---------I'll be the first one to say hi to a stranger in a little cafe.

    BigDog
    #6
  7. AllSeasonRider

    AllSeasonRider Wandering, maybe a little lost...

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    I might be able to help you out with luggage. PM me.

    I agree with some others that you may want a little more engine, but plenty of folks have gone further on smaller bikes. And while there's merit to the 'straight line' approach, you have a month to do this, so you may as well wander around a little more. You'll be passing through some truly unbelievable places. Sometimes the crowds can be worth it... but I've also been known to b-line it out of Yosemite because there were too many people (the backside of the Sierras are prettier, anyway).

    There are a handful of 'compact camping gear' threads that are currently active in the Equipment forum, including one of mine. I just outfitted myself with a lot of things you're looking for. Check the threads to see all of the suggestions, but the short version is I ended up buying a Eureka Midori Solo tent, Nemo Astro Air Lite 20R pad, JetBoil Zip stove. I already have a sleeping bag that packs reasonably small. All of it (bag, pad, tent, stove, minus the tent poles) fit into a 20 liter tail bag I have with room to spare, so I can add a bag liner and ground sheet for the tent easily.

    Good luck on trip - this will be a blast for sure. And be sure to post it on here as well as your blog...
    #7
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  8. CommanderDave

    CommanderDave Kick Ass Adventure Rider

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    Hello Sarah. Sounds like a most excellant adventure. I did AZ to Panama and back on a $950 26 year old BMW a year ago. It's not about the equipment. It's your adventure....do it your way!

    I agree on USB charger on scooter, don't agree on electric gear. Not sure a scooter has a charging system that would handle that load effectively. Also heated gear is expensive and temperamental. I carry layers of cloths...goodwill/garage sale cheap. Walmart has rain gear called Frog Togs. Look at them and Tuckers suggestion of Lowes rain gear.

    One of the great things about a small bike, it can be thrown in the back of a pick up of a good samaritan to get you to next town. I would have the tools with me needed to take off both wheels along with tube repair kit. Maybe there is scooter with tubeless tires?

    Less is more. The best, IMO, read on that subject is John Downs here on advrider. Here is his first report: "South America and Back on a 250 Super Sherpa Minimalist Adventure". It's 250+ pages long but on the first page he lists what he takes. Even with that minimalist list he dumped about 30% as he went along.

    Old route 50 will get you to Grand Junction from Bay Area. As you know, in Utah a lot of 50 has been made into freeway 70.

    Sounds like your good to go. Be ever vigilant on motorcycle/scooter. Practice defensive driving to the max. Be looking down the road 1/4 mile with the thought that your surrounded by idiot drivers. That's my grandfatherly bit of admonishment.

    The way your planning this sounds like an adventure with a whole bunch of up side with very little down side risk. It's your adventure...Make it a great one....dave
    #8
  9. ALinUTAH

    ALinUTAH Been here awhile

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    I like to travel on a little 250 dual sport sometimes and it's all about going the long way to stay off the beaten path. State and county roads are the way to travel. US highways are too busy and too fast. Everybody has a bug up their butt and a phone in their hand. Out in lonely places like Nevada you won't have any choice but to ride some US highways, but the absence of traffic makes it just fine. Traffic on hwy 6 in NV is almost nonexistent. What kind of fuel range will you have? That can be an issue in Nevada. It's 170 miles from Tonopah to Ely, and even further to Caliente.

    I think you're biggest challenge will be getting out of the bay area.

    To get across Utah, make your way to Cedar City, then to Panguitch. Continue east on 12, 24 and 95 thru some of the most amazing country in the known universe. US 191 north/south thru Moab is kinda busy and fast, so I would minimize my time on it. Get off and into CO ASAP then ride 141 up to Grand Jct.

    Crossing CO, I would avoid 50 and 160 as much as you can. If you want to stick to pavement, from Grand Jct, look at zigzagging across the state by crossing grand mesa, 92 near black canyon, 149 thru Lake City...

    Once you get to the east side of the Rockies it will be easy to stay between the big roads.
    #9
  10. TUCKERS

    TUCKERS the famous james

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    You could plan to zoom through the cities on the freeway at daybreak. Of course the sun would be in your eyes.
    There are so many nice roads. We took back roads to Virginia Beach from Long Beach California one ride, 15 days. Just made the best BEE line for VB using small roads and occasional freeway.
    It's nice to have some 'motor' for the hill climb over to Colorado unless you go around the bottom instead of 70. I know you could do it on a Honda 50cc Stepthrough, but it's your acceptance of the comfort level. Going over the Continental Divide at 15-20mph up the steep grade could be quite nerve wracking and uncomfortable, but many continue to do it.
    I disagree on 160. In fact you could avoid Denver and take 50 south from Grand Junction then 550 south (one of the best motorcycle roads in America), then 160 east at Durango (it's a great road). OR 50 east at Montrose is a great motorcycle road as far as Salida. Then I'd go up or down and avoid Canon City and certainly avoid Colorado Springs at all costs. So many choices. So many opinions. Good luck with that.
    #10
  11. Strong Bad

    Strong Bad Former World's Foremost Authority Supporter

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    Not ridiculous at all, in fact it sounds awesome!

    Make sure your gear is rain proof as you will get wet in June!

    The best pie is found in Pie Town New Mexico! My favorite there is the Pie O Neer Cafe.
    #11
  12. Underboning

    Underboning Been here awhile

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    My wife and I did Portland, OR to the coast of NC, and then to Toronto on our way around the world on 100cc stepthroughs. Our ride report is really long but I do cover what gear we selected and why. I would definitely recommend the Big Agnes bag and pad system, it is tiny, lightweight and comfortable. I would also recommend the Coleman 442 stove, it is small enough and runs on unleaded, so no separate fuel to carry (it will also run on white gas).

    Be sure to carry enough/extra fuel, there are some long stretches between fuel in the west.
    #12
  13. Sbless

    Sbless Adventurer

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    Thanks! We will see how the craziness unfolds :p I will look for sure!
    #13
  14. Sbless

    Sbless Adventurer

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    Thanks James for taking the time for these fabulous tips!!! I so appreciate it.

    The USB upgrade sounds like a great addition for travel (for charging and for the pump!). I will for sure look into this :-) Also, Goos Sam Tow is now on the list!!! I did live in a van/adventure truck for two years, so I've got a bit of the small bit stacking down, but this will for sure be the next level, haha.
    I hear you on the sleeping pad. What kind of pad did you end up using? One with insulation, or primarily an air one?
    I have been getting that feed back on food from a few folks on bikes. Thanks for the food for thought :p
    I do have a 3/4 helmet now that I love from HJC that has a retractable sun visor in addition to the face shield. I am debating getting a full helmet... Will see what happens with that.
    Cool idea with the heated vest/jacket. I will have to look into that.
    Copy that on the Rain Gear!!! Love the tip for Lowe's.

    Thanks for the feedback for the redirect. I will for sure be keeping folks updated on here as I am already thrilled with the response to my crazy undertaking! (THANKS AGAIN) It seems like 'introspective blog posts' don't really have a home here, and I don't want to clutter the forum with that sort of thing, haha. I suppose if folks are curious with further whatever creeps into my brain, that's where that lives. As for more nuts and bolts, these seems to be a wonderful place for that!
    #14
  15. Sbless

    Sbless Adventurer

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    YES, thanks for the report share and welcome!! I look forward to being forced to slow down :-) Not that Hawaii is very fast at all, but 150cc should keep me in the slow <3

    I will for sure hit you up when I am there!

    Cheers and will do!!
    #15
  16. Sbless

    Sbless Adventurer

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    That's awesome :-) So stoked to hear that I am not alone in this strange desire :p

    Thanks!!
    #16
  17. Sbless

    Sbless Adventurer

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    This all sounds lovely! I totally dig your style. I think I will be following much of the same attitude as I scoot along :-)

    Thanks for the road visualizations!!
    #17
  18. Sbless

    Sbless Adventurer

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    I agree, I look forward to taking the time to wander a bit (with a bit of spare fuel), and get reasonably lost :p

    Thanks for directing me over to the equipment forum! That will be a great place to poke around for inspiration.

    And thanks for the luck!!! I will for sure be keeping folks updated here :-) (Am I right that I would post a new thing under trip reports? Still learning the way of forums :D)
    #18
  19. damurph

    damurph Cold Adventurer

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    I had the pleasure of hosting inmate HBN last year. He was doing a 40,000 mile ride on a 50cc Ruckus that did the four corners of North America. Key West, Prudhoe Bay, Baja and Cape Spear. Google Lostwithmike.
    #19
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  20. insomnia

    insomnia Been here awhile

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    http://www.amazon.com/Old-Cant-Wait-Simon-Gandolfi/dp/191005061X I read this book its a good one hears another I haven't read I have only seen this very cool lady on you tube http://www.amazon.com/Lois-Loose-Pr...=1459600655&sr=1-1&keywords=lois+on+the+loose there is another book I intend on reading http://www.amazon.com/One-Caravan-I...id=1459600839&sr=1-1&keywords=one+man+caravan and of course there this great book http://www.amazon.com/Jupiters-Trav...id=1459600839&sr=1-2&keywords=one+man+caravan people cycle all over the world and they never even heard of Touratec :lol3 see you don't even need an engine but your legs will be glad your bike has one once your bike is in good order starting out and you respect it you shouldn't have any problems . safe travels to you .
    #20