USA Trip Planning Questions - (optimal road trip across the U.S)

Discussion in 'Americas' started by kiran, Jan 11, 2016.

  1. kiran

    kiran CommuTourer

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    Folks,

    Prologue
    After lurking on the forum for a while, I am considering riding across the USA using optimal road trip map posted here (and image attached) - http://www.randalolson.com/2015/03/08/computing-the-optimal-road-trip-across-the-u-s/. I would have approx 3 months at hands and would like to cover as much possible.

    This is currently in planning phase - though I understand everything cannot be planned :) I may begin this either from Oregon or Illinois. However, based on ease of things, I can start anywhere.

    Vehicle
    I would like to ship my motorcycle via carnet from India. It is a 2011 Kawasaki 650R (ER6F) hence carnet costs would be lesser. With 60K KMs on ODO, I think it has enough juice to cover the distance without major expenses. The real idea of this trip considered buying a GS in mind but I am not sure if I would be able to do that without any biker contact in the USA. Still the costs of that would be probably beyond my budget.

    To-Do
    - Ride as much across the states and especially during fall/autumn
    - Avoid interstates and cover more of the scenic roads, countryroads
    - Visit landmarks or drive around them
    - Visit relatives/friends/classmates scattered across the states

    Budget
    Currently planning based on $100 a day for 90 days. I am not a camper guy so cheaper motels, crashing at friends/relatives, couchsurfing is way to go for me.

    Questions
    To begin with
    - I would like to know if august to october is good time (weather) to take this route (Autumn colors are must see :D ) I prefer to ride between 10-30 Celsius, can be flexible but i would like to avoid rains ;)

    Attached Files:

    #1
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  2. Sjoerd Bakker

    Sjoerd Bakker Long timer

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    I don't know anything about the costs of shipping a bike back and forth between India and the USA and the carnet business but it is probably a lot . It would likely be cost effective to buy a good used bike in theUSA and sell it at end of trip .
    Get in touch with Tuckers on this site , he offers a service to supply bikes and get registration and papers in order for visitors like you . He is based in California which fits your plan easily .
    August to October would be suitable , with the suggestion that you get the northern part of the loop underway and done with as a first priority . That will be the mildest weather up there, get it while it is full summer . The fall colours can be seen with some effort later , but you would not have to endure as much cold weather , head south again quickly .
    Maybe te arrange your route a bit to avoid retracing the same bits when there are sooooooo many other roads to try .
    #2
  3. usgser

    usgser Long timer

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    Fall is good but weather x-country is going to vary constantly en route. Aug can be crazy hot in the low lands and in mountain country Oct it can be snowing at elevation. Point being: bring gear for all conditions. For a good route to see old historic Americana research the Lincoln Highway. Not really a hwy. It was the first x-country route that linked existing roads from MD ((I think) to San Franciso back in about 1912, 1916(?) It's all been paved since and some is even still old brick, but it's not a boring Interstate Hwy. Never ran it end to end but been on a lot of it at various times, Fun route.
    #3
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  4. barko1

    barko1 barko1

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    I would agree that buying a bike here would be a much less expensive option. Not sure what the goal of your route is. You are missing many of the beat roads in the Rockies and SE. Might want to order up a set of Butler maps.
    #4
  5. CommanderDave

    CommanderDave Kick Ass Adventure Rider

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    In regards to the weather. I would start in Oregon and head northeast per your route. I would modify the route when you get to Montana. Head south and pick up Utah, Colorado, and Wyoming. Then head back up through the Dakotas to pick up the posted route. That would get the higher elevations of Colorado done earlier during end of August or so. I went over Grand Mesa in August and got seriously snowed on. Sounds like a great trip. Go for it! .....dave
    #5
  6. kiran

    kiran CommuTourer

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    Thanks for the replies. the route is not fixed per se and will be used as a guideline. I would have to keep tweaking the route based on replies and actual situation. I came across one indian couple who did the states sometime ago and need to re-read their thread on weekend :D

    Carnet costs would probably be lesser if they agree for bank guarantee instead of deposit. shipping costs would be $3000. which leaves about $66 a day to me. I cannot stretch this beyond 80-90 days.

    let me get in touch with tucker as well to see what the costs would be ...

    thanks again!
    #6
  7. CommanderDave

    CommanderDave Kick Ass Adventure Rider

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    Hello Kiran, being from India I wonder if you know about craigslist? Here in the states it is a very good place to look for used motorcycles. Both dealers and private sales are listed. Every major city has one. Portland, Oregon would be the place to look. No sales tax, just a license fee. I'm not familar with what the Tuckers offer but for a head check look at craigslist. Sounds like a great trip.....dave
    #7
  8. kiran

    kiran CommuTourer

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    I have heard mixed things about CL and additionally it would take time to go through deals (and very less time at hand to inspect the vehicle)
    I have pinged Tuckers to see whats possible.
    #8
  9. TUCKERS

    TUCKERS the famous james

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    I'm in initial contact with Kiran. We'll get him sorted out for less than shipping or getting here renting a car, getting a motel, buying a bike and going through the registration process.
    I'm like Pedro in Napoleon Dynamite 'I make your wildest dreams come true'
    #9
  10. antirich5

    antirich5 Long timer

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    Yep, a good, well equipped KLR650 or VStrom 650 can be had for under $4,000 with cases. You could easily sell it for over $3K when you're done, maybe more depending on location and season.

    Plus, not too sure how a foreign plates/registration is going to sit with some of the remote parts of the country. Even if it's legal, it'll probably raise some unwanted attention. Only foreign plates we see here (New York area) are from Canada, and they're virtually the same.

    I've known a few from other countries who've bought/registered bikes here; it's pretty easy and not too expensive (for used bikes). Tuckers has a good reputation for helping folks out.
    #10
  11. Sjoerd Bakker

    Sjoerd Bakker Long timer

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    Glad to read that Tuckers is on the case :pynd
    The foreign plates would hardly be a problem once you have been allowed entry. I regularly see all kinds of EUROPEAN plates on snazzy motorhomes, often on an RTW trip with 4WD, that are touring the US. For these NY doesn't figure highly, they seem always thickest in Alaska and the Rocky Mountain states and I 've spotted some Mexican plates, and fewer yet from south of there , but they all tour the USA. It is the draw of the " Wild West ." No doubt they might attract some curiosity but it would have to be a dolt of a hillbilly cop who takes advantage of them or hassels them. But there are far more people from those same far away places who are touring the US in rental campers and cars bought in the states - for the savings to be had
    No , the issue is the big expenses Kiran would be facing by shipping in and out, ( he would not be allowed to sell his bike here) far more costly than simply buying on this side of the pond and selling quickly at end of vacation. .
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  12. barko1

    barko1 barko1

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    Looking at your plan I know I'd prefer something more potent than a 650 thumper. I have a DR and think highly of it, and drove a borrowed one across AU, but for high mileage road riding a V Strom/Versus etc would be more comfortable. Even a liter+ sport tourer can be had pretty cheap. Bring some heated gear for the northern country and higher elevations.
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  13. kiran

    kiran CommuTourer

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    I am yet to check about carnet and shipping from here as the office work took over my schedule completely. but I had a mail-chat with tuckers recently and that looks like a solid plan B.

    my VISA had expired and it got easily renewed in 5 days flat, thanks to new procedures at the local consulate.
    good news is that all my hotel stays done last year would get converted into enough miles to save one-way ticket costs (YaY!!!).

    meanwhile I am spending some time in drafting initial detailed route. tried to look up some trip planners such as http://www.roadtripamerica.com.
    Are there any recommendations for similar trip planners? I need to keep a note of daily halt and route which I usually do one computer worksheets for local trips.

    I am not sure if I can make a plan for entire journey as I often tend to deviate from trip plans and just keep going in a direction :D :D :D
    #13
  14. DaMonk45

    DaMonk45 I B Da Monk

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    Tuckers all the way.
    Break it into 2 or 3 trips?
    Bring gear for all seasons.
    Adapt. Some places you will love, so stay longer
    some you will hate, leave early.
    Do not be afraid to 'see where this road goes'

    Relax and Enjoy
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  15. High Country Herb

    High Country Herb Adventure Connoiseur

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    I believe the ER6F is a parallel twin, not a thumper, so should do very well. I do think buying a bike here and selling it at end of trip is far less expensive, but requires cash out of pocket until the very end of the trip. The OP didn't say if that was an option.
    #15
  16. High Country Herb

    High Country Herb Adventure Connoiseur

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    Fall Colors: Do you plan to enter and exit the country on the East Coast? In general, the East Coast around Boston is best known for fall colors. To make the weather work for you, it would make sense to travel the north USA first, and be coming up the East Coast at the end of your trip when the Fall colors begin to bloom.
    #16
  17. kiran

    kiran CommuTourer

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    i am very much used to ER6F for last 40000miles and happy to cruise between 80-90mph on interstate like roads. at that speed it still runs under 6000rpms and stressed out. buying/selling is much cheaper and i do agree to upfront lock on money. But looks like thats the way to go.

    as per current plan, i plan to be in north during october, hope thats good enough.
    #17
  18. boatpuller

    boatpuller Long timer

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    That is a good point, and we should be cautious assuming someone has gobs of available cash to tie up for months on end. But if he's going to spend $3000 to ship the bike, than that 3000 can be directed towards a used bike, and will cover most the cost of many very great candidates for cross country travel. Were it me I'd look at BMW 1150s, FJRs, V-Strom 650 or 1000 depending upon expected cruise mph, Kawi Conni, maybe even a Sportster Roadster or a Dyna if he wants the Americana vibe while here. You can find a lot of these in the 3-5000 range.
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  19. High Country Herb

    High Country Herb Adventure Connoiseur

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    You may see snow as you head east across the northern USA. October may be early enough to beat the winter, though. Even if the weather is dry, high temperatures average 10 to 15 degrees C, with morning temperatures averaging -5 to 0.
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  20. boatpuller

    boatpuller Long timer

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    I kind of like the mapping program used to generate the above map, and think it might work for you IF you choose your own points instead of the sample ones they used. So, spend some time making a list of things/places/roads you want to see here, and make your own map using their software if you want. That could work very well for you.

    $100/day is doable, but not much fun if you have to pay for hotels too. Even a cheap hotel is half that. There is a Tent Space Map thread here on Trip Planning section of ADVrider, and many folks offer inside beds, not just tent spaces. It's a free service, and you'll get to meet many warm ADVriders through out the country. Best routing suggestions come from locals, after all. You should try to make good use of the Tent Space Map thread.

    That's 50-86 degrees in American. Very lovely temps. You need to expect cooler for the fall colors, and hotter for August most everywhere in the USA. The humidity will make hot hotter, and cold colder, and humid parts tend to include the Mid West, SE along the gulf coast, and the east coast. There are affordable ways to deal with heat, and so I suggest you don't make that a deal-breaker for your routing. But Aug is our hottest month, and lots of the country will be over 100 degrees American. We think that's hot.

    The fall colors are best in the NE part of USA, and work their way south as time passes. Anywhere with hardwood forests will have color in the fall, but the sugar maples in the NE part are especially colorful. Lots of folks flock there for the colors, so hotels cost extra then.
    #20
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