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

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

  1. vintagebob

    vintagebob Been here awhile Supporter

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    I did this trip last year, if it helps.

    A Ride Around the USA - ENDED too soon

    I agree with others, that you need to be prepared for all kinds of weather. I recommend that you do the northern section in Aug - Sep, especially the Rockies.
    #41
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  2. CaseyJones

    CaseyJones Ridin' that train

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    For the price of shipping your own bike, Mr. Tuckers has a V-Strom ready. And august is only four months off.

    The V-Strom is perfectly suited to American road conditions. Which will be an issue. Seriously, this represents money saved for you; when you're done, you can easily sell it - and even if you sell it way below market, you've recovered half of your shipping.

    Your plan sounds interesting, but you need to narrow it: What are your aims? Cover as much of the States as possible? You can do that; but you'll miss a lot.

    The fall foliage is mostly in the Northeast and Midwest. In the West, it's less dramatic, for the different tree species and different weather. If it's the Fall you want to see, I'd recommend the Midwest-Northeast. There are fine secondary roads for motorcycle touring through Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York. The Smokey Mountains are something to be seen, too, although I've only been through them once, fast, in a car.

    Take the time to smell the roses, as it were. If this works out and if you have a good time, keep it under budget...who knows, you may store the V-Strom and come back to do more in a year.
    #42
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  3. TUCKERS

    TUCKERS the famous james

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    2007. 44,000 miles. New Heidenau's. New clutch. Recent over $2000 spent. Recent chain, sprockets oils and etc. Madstat windshield thing. USB and SAE. Phone mount. New soft side panniers. Pelican top box. Tank bag. Looks VERY presentable. Cleaned and good looking. Reliable as all heck. Runs like a champ. Add a waterproof bag over the seat a few tools and GO!!!!!!!!!!! $2900 or thereabouts. Can register in California using any name, no USA license or ID required. To keep registration must get at least third party liability insurance within 30 days (I can get that for anyone including foreign license). I wouldn't buy/sell this bike if it wasn't suitable for this audience. Still haven't taken pictures as it's buried behind four other bikes. It WAS on the back burner but I may move it up in priority. Just got three bikes to get ready by mid May! Also have to service our own so WE can ride! That plus painting the house gives me a full plate......good thing I'm retired ;(
    #43
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  4. hardroadking

    hardroadking Been here awhile

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    Sounds like a nice rig for the OP.
    #44
  5. TUCKERS

    TUCKERS the famous james

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    It's inexpensive enough that's for sure. Will get the job done too. Easy to sell afterwards as many people need a low price rig.
    #45
  6. antirich5

    antirich5 Long timer

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    I can't begin to describe how much more sense (and easier) it is to just buy a low cost bike vs renting long term. Especially in the US.

    If you're looking at starting on the East Coast/New York area, I can do some looking into it for you. Helped someone from the UK find an awesome deal on a 690R Enduro, but like Tuckers said, used V-strom's are the best bargain out there.

    A few guys form South Africa stopped by my place last year on who Honda 700 cruisers they bought for like $2500 each. Did a 2 month US tour, would have cost them well over $8k in rentals if they went that route. I didn't follow up, but I'm pretty sure they sold those bikes for also what they paid for them.

    Sub $1000 bike for cross country? maybe not a good idea. I'm sure there are some finds out there, but overall, anything I've seen under $1000 was one stop from the wrecking yard. Something about that price point.
    #46
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  7. kiran

    kiran CommuTourer

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    First of all many thanks for the reply and apologies for late reply. This is very helpful point and lots of useful information in this post.
    I need to cut down trip to 2 months so cannot have luxury of moving at slow pace. I hope to keep steady pace so that I reach a destination before late evening. that way i can move around for dinner or spend time catching up with known people. However I may spend more than a day at prime locations such at NY, Chicago, and such.
    I should be staying in the upper and middle states owing to tight schedule :(

    I have some popular destinations on my list. I know I have exact two months so i am going to divide west-east line in half...i should be able to cross that mid-way (end of 1st month).
    Here I have done 2 week or so alone but definitely riding in the states is going to be different game altogether. I have started working on a draft route with daily stopovers and these tips are pretty helpful.
    The interests are more geological and culural...I have been to USA thrice for short trips but seen USA mainly through TV...I would like an umbrella experience of various things that I know as "american" things :) riding into a national park, visiting an amish village, sitting in a country side location, standing by a beautiful cemetery, witnessing fall colours and so on...
    Cant thank you enough for laying out this when i really needed most.i am going to stagger travel over august (3-4th week), september and october. I have ridden in cooler weather only few days (between 15-20 degrees Celsius) so october first half seems ok from weather perspective.
    Very true, without ADV I wouldn't have dared :) I am so glad to be here.
    #47
  8. hardroadking

    hardroadking Been here awhile

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    Kiran, it's good to hear from you again.

    I'm glad you are still planning to visit the USA this summer.

    When you have posted an outline of your trip regarding places you want to visit, I'm sure many people will offer suggestions about routes for you.

    With your limited time you may want to consider two ideas:
    1. Keep your touring to a smaller area for this trip instead of trying to string together wide spread locations and then come back next year or the year after and do another "section" or smaller area again instead of trying to do the whole USA.
    2. If you think there is a good chance of coming back again next year, you could probably find someone here on ADV to store (your used bike purchased here for this trip) for you until you come back next year. For each year you do this, the cost of the bike over time gets ridiculously cheaper each year. You may find someone willing to store it for free or for a very small price to help you out. Most American Adventure riders will be very generous with their time and helping you out. What you hear in the news regarding Donald Trump and his attitude toward foreigners does not reflect how the Adventure rider community treats and feels about foreigners visiting our country.

    And keep thinking about details you can include when describing what you want to see so we can better help you. As an example: you obviously have something specific in mind when you say you would like to see a beautiful cemetery...are you thinking about an old western cemetery in an old mining town or ghost town, or a large military cemetery in a beautiful location, a cemetery with large monuments and famous people, a small town cemetery, or one with beautiful park like grounds and a lake and mature trees etc... Is there a movie you saw with the type of cemetery you have in your mind that you want to see or is there a picture you can refer us to? Just do a google search on "most beautiful cemeteries in america" and you will see lots of websites like this one:

    http://www.curbed.com/maps/mapping-15-of-americas-most-beautiful-historic-cemeteries-1

    this might help you to tell us what you are looking for when it comes to "beautiful cemeteries" because your idea of a beautiful cemetery might be much different from ours.

    For each area of interest you have regarding things you want to see, the better you can define it (as discussed above) the better able we will be to help you with advice to get you to the kind of places you are looking for....these details you provide us will help us to help you.

    Good luck with your trip planning.
    Tim
    #48
  9. kiran

    kiran CommuTourer

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    Yes, India being a smaller country and despite living here since birth, I have managed to see only a little...so being able to see everything in 2-3 months is not going to work.
    I did not think about this actually before :D :D :D

    yes, something like Arlington National Cemetery just to give you an idea. During my recent short stay at Tucson, I did see a smaller one going by the road. But didn't get down purposefully to save for the ride :)
    I have been searching and making a list of things/places to see or ride by...lately i have been adding placemarks on google map. this way I can choose a route that passes through many waypoints. so far the maps looks dense on west coast as well as east coast. i have attached current one so that you can see.

    Is there way I can do a train RORO to cut down a longer patch to save time? its probably easy to wander off and may need a road-port to catch up.
    #49
  10. hardroadking

    hardroadking Been here awhile

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    Motorcycle on Train - East/West cross country:
    I am not aware of any but I have never looked into this. I know there are some options for North/South on the East Coast. I think, but I don't know, that train travel by person and by extension motorcycle on train as cargo, is very expensive in the USA. Personally, if I was on a road bike like a 650 V-Strom or larger and I was on one of the coasts and wanted to get to the other, I would just ride the bike on the interstate doing 1000 miles per day and instead of paying a lot of money and completing the trip comfortably on the train in 2 days, I would save a lot of money, be somewhat uncomfortable, and get the trip done in 3 days. CAUTION: not everyone can do this kind of mileage in a day, you need to know your capabilities and breaking point ahead of time. You need to know YOUR symptoms of fatigue that will start creeping up on you and then be disciplined to stop and rest for awhile. You need to drink lots of water. You need to pay close attention to your bike (tires especially) and do a thorough inspection each time you stop for gas. If don't or can't do these things you may have a bad motorcycle accident at high speed. And if that happens, saving the money by doing a marathon run across country turns out to be both stupid and very expensive.

    I hope someone else on ADV with experience with trains cross-country in the USA can give some advice. The USA is actually WAY behind the rest of the world when it comes to train transportation. At one time we had the best in the world....first of half of 20th Century and then we built an incredible road system across the country with Interstates (non stop, no traffic lights, well maintained roads) and every family owned a car and used that for transportation both locally and nationally during vacation times. Our trains still move a lot of cargo in the USA but very few passengers compared to the rest of the world. I have looked into travel by train a few times when trying to find the cheapest transportation and it is always MUCH more expensive than flying by plane.
    #50
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  11. Dan Diego

    Dan Diego Long timer

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    I like it! The work you put into seeing cool stuff in the US is admirable. Flexibility is the key, of course.

    In the end, the people you meet along the way--and the quiet times in the morning, the afternoon and the evening--will be what you remember most fondly.

    Have fun, let us know how we can help.
    #51
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  12. kiran

    kiran CommuTourer

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    Yes indeed. I am against ironbutt runs (especially the unplanned ones which would not qualify :D ) I have done trips lasting 2 weeks or bit less and i can understand the precautions that you state. However, I doubt about 1000 miles a day though. On Indian interstate highways I have covered 1000kms in about 14 hours but that is usually at the start of the trip. Being on road at stretch and then doing a 1000 haul is probably different thing. maybe with a rest day before its doable. This is good to keep in mind so that I do not wander off :)

    In India its very common to haul bikes on trains between some popular destinations hence I asked.

    I saw a TV series - Shipping Wars...Is that a real or just TV thing? Maybe I will be able to "hitch" a ride along my shipment if possible and if needed :)
    #52
  13. hardroadking

    hardroadking Been here awhile

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    Shipping Wars on TV - I think it's real but any small shipping company will want to take additional cargo...not just your bike and when they pickup your bike may not be convenient for you or you may have a long wait. So they will be picking up and dropping off other cargo along the way. They will have to organize this in advance and things will change along the way. I don't think it will be an efficient way to ship your bike, you will lose a lot of time arranging for this shipment, unless you have it all organized ahead of time. There are companies that specialize in shipping motorcycles by truck across the country. I would contact one of them. I would estimate the cost from coast to coast at $750 - $1,250, that's just a guess, I've never done it but you should know it will be expensive and it might take a week as they too will stop, unload and pickup along the way. (I still think you would be better off riding the bike yourself, even doing 500 miles a day) In the forum: Americas - Trip Planning: do a search/query on - shipping motorcycle and you will see information for shipping inside the USA. Good Luck
    #53
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  14. TUCKERS

    TUCKERS the famous james

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    The roads are so good in USA that it is easy and simple to ride from destination to destination and then do your wandering. You can RIDE from place to place QUICKER AND LESS EXPENSIVE THAN SHIPPING. For example: By the time you have organized, loaded, shipped, unloaded your bike to go from Los Angeles to Denver I will have ridden it in two days and enjoyed the scenery even on the 15/70 freeways. I could leave at 8am in the morning, be in Utah by that evening and in Denver before dark the next evening. With a cost of around $200 including fuel and room and food. At best if the truck doesn't make any other drop offs or pick ups it will be a day behind me and cost more thaN TWICE AS MUCH AND THE INCONVENIENCE you couldn't measure. You may also want to buy shipping insurance because my experience will show that you will need it after the shipper man handles your machine. Even after you have shipped your bike somehow you have to get yourself there. Train will take you two days. Fly you have to get to the airport. Greyhound....well........is Greyhound....you need to leave your brain cells behind and be prepared to sit next to a raving lunatic. The logistics of shipping and riding on a short vacation just don't add up any way you slice it. It will eat up your money and time.
    #54
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  15. High Country Herb

    High Country Herb Adventure Connoiseur

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    Location:
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    Geology:
    For tall mountains like the Alps, you can find them in Montana (Glacier National Park), Wyoming (Grand Tetons), Colorado (Rocky Mountain National Park), and even California (Yosemite National Park).

    For interesting mineralogy, look for volcanic regions such as Southern California (Death Valley) or along western Nevada. I always thought the Bonneville Salt Flats in the state of Utah were fascinating as well.

    For interesting shaped rocks, nothing beats Utah. The area around Bryce Canyon is phenomenal. The Native American culture in that area is also a truly American thing to experience. If you don't have much time to explore the southern USA, Central Utah is the place to do it.

    If you make it to the Grand Canyon, there are rock formations named after temples in India. I met an Indian man and woman there that had seen the original and said the rocks do look like it.

    More culture:
    Wild West: Deadwood South Dakota (tourist place), Mount Rushmore, Buffalo Bill Museum in Cody Wyoming.
    Conservative: Jackson Wyoming, Salt Lak City Utah, Phoenix Arizona
    Progressive: Seattle Washington, Portland Oregon, San Francisco California
    California culture: Santa Cruz, Hollywood
    #55
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  16. kiran

    kiran CommuTourer

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    Perhaps a trip planning question that only an Indian can ask...

    What are general do's and dont's about peeing by the side of road (empty, away from houses/shops)?
    I think I can do that in a gas station/cafe/diner restroom? (is it always right? cause I saw "no public rest room" board in some shops)?
    What if there is nothing/none/no-one around?
    What if a cop suddenly appears?

    As they say, Indians can piss on the road but not kiss, and its the other way around in states :D
    #56
  17. TUCKERS

    TUCKERS the famous james

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    Indecent exposure is frowned upon greatly, especially if you expose to minors. Best not to do it with ANYONE AROUND. Generally you can get close to your bike and pee without anyone seeing. Just on dirt. You do not want to pee on a black top hill and have the pee run on to someone's area/tires/whatever. If a cop (or anyone) suddenly appears you ought to be well hidden by your bike or a bush/tree.....you can't flash your penis around....that is indecent exposure and will surely get you arrested. You ought not to be peeing in the back of gas stations on their wall or up someone's fence or a lamp post...this is for dogs only. Not a good idea to sneak in an alley and pull out your plonker. We don't piss on the street where people live.
    #57
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  18. kurtzinpa

    kurtzinpa KurtzInPA

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    I discovered in the Mojave Desert that at night, when you pee on a sand-dune it doesn't sink in... it runs downhill and into your sox. Fortunately they dry quickly in that heat.
    #58
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  19. TUCKERS

    TUCKERS the famous james

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    Or when you pee outside your tent door and it runs under the tent.
    #59
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  20. fstarocka

    fstarocka Adventurer

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    Check freecampsites.org they list free camping sites across USA, did two 4000 mile road trips and used it extensively :) saves you a ton of dough and some unbelievable spots

    Sent from my SM-G900M using Tapatalk
    #60
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