Riding America - 90 days - August 1st 2018

Discussion in 'Americas' started by DoyleyBird, Jun 16, 2018.

  1. DoyleyBird

    DoyleyBird Up to no good

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    Hi everyone,

    I want to ride the states. I have for 4 years and keep putting it off. I have the opportunity August > November and doesn't leave much time to prepare.

    Route (Loose)
    I found a similar map to the guy in this thread: http://advrider.com/index.php?threa...ons-optimal-road-trip-across-the-u-s.1116444/

    After reading the comments, it seems too optimistic to hit all major national landmarks while enjoying the scenic views. The one place I need to see is:
    • New York
    I want to see:
    • San Fran
    • Baltimore
    • Chicago
    • New Orleans
    • Las Vegas
    A loop of the country. I like to have a basic plan of where I'm going and wing it from there based on locals advice. I'll leave the bike with a friend and come back again later. I plan to work in Canada in a couple of years if I like it ;)

    Bike
    Renting a motorbike would cost upwards of $6-8k and I've been recommend by one of the major hire bike shops to buy my own. This was my initial idea until I was told it's difficult to register your own bike being a tourist. I have a friend in California that can supply his address and I can buy a bike and use it.

    My concern is it will take a month to buy a bike, get it registered, serviced and prepped for a long-haul ride. I've never ridden this long solo, let alone in another country (I'm Australian).

    I'm looking for someone to help out in this area. Whether they can sell me theirs or help find/prep one for me. I'm 5'5' and need a size-appropriate bike.

    Worst case scenario I rent a bike. Benefit being, I can jump straight on it and go knowing it's been maintained well and if it breaks down I have someone to call.

    I'll be more confident on an old cheapie. I don't want attention. Something like:

    https://www.cycletrader.com/listing/2006-Kawasaki-KLR-650-5002168672
    https://www.cycletrader.com/listing/2002-Kawasaki-KLR-650-5002896713

    Accomodation
    A combination of camping (mostly), couch surfing and friends. Potentially hostels along the way. I love the idea of being on a budget. I don't want any luxuries.

    Budget
    25k
    Flights - $1200 (return)
    Bike - $3000 ~ $1000 maintenance
    Reg/Insurance - $500
    Travel Insurance - $500
    Miles (15,000) approx @ 45mpg = 375 gallons of petrol @ $4.50 = 1687.5 ~ $2k Petrol
    $50/day @ 90 days = $4500
    = $17k

    I have a buffer of money. If there are good 'investments' I should make please let me know or any costs I'm missing. Any links or other information will be much appreciated.
    #1
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  2. holckster

    holckster dougholck

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    #2
  3. oldtouring B

    oldtouring B Been here awhile

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    DB, I am thinking about selling one of my bikes. It is a Triumph Street Triple R. It is in perfect condition. New tires, new chain and sprocket etc. if you have any interest let me know. Thanks bob

    Attached Files:

    #3
  4. maximus_flavius

    maximus_flavius Long timer

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    FYI- the cities you mentioned are complete shitholes.

    If it was me (& it ain’t, so it don’t matter), I’d avoid those cities specifically & see real America.
    #4
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  5. Sjoerd Bakker

    Sjoerd Bakker Long timer

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    Nothing at all wrong with the list of cities - If DoyleyBird wants to visit those places he is totally within his rights to do so . He should just keep in mind that things can get rather expensive and busy around NY and any big city so prepare for that in the budget and time allotment . .
    DoyleyBird , your three months for the loop should give you plenty of time to see the other bits , that """real America "'''
    Again +1 on the recommendation of Tuckers - he'll have you mobile in days and might possibly arrange a buy -back of the bike too.
    Beginning in August it would be recommended to do the loop of the Lower 48 clockwise and get the northern segment finished off first , before the cold of autumn starts to creep in t. The southern states will then be comfy during Sept -Oct and at the end you can do all of California ( but mind the potential for an early snow up in the Sierras ) A perfect loop - and it will place you close to your departure flight .

    If in future you do decide to work in Canada be sure you arrange with Canada Customs and Immigration to obtain an official work permit. Clandestine workers eventually get found out and then they get a quick ride home and wont get back in easily .
    #5
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  6. DoyleyBird

    DoyleyBird Up to no good

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    I'd love a Street Triple for twisties, but I'm not in this to go quickly. I'd like some off-road ability. Given the short planning period, I'll keep this in mind. Where are you located?


    They're cities off the top of my head and I like shitholes. They're more markers if anything. There's a lot to see in America, likewise Australia. I get what you're saying.

    New York has been a huge inspiration for me. I come from a small town in country Australia. I'm fascinated by it's size/scale and culture. I understand the costs will be high.

    I read Terry and Janelle's thread where boatpuller suggested a nice route up through the West and up to Canada, then through the North. There seems to be too much to cover in 90-days. Your suggestion of weather suits perfectly. That is why I'm on such a short time-span. Winter would be a death sentence. I'll tee up Tuckers now.

    Thanks for your help. I'm a Software Dev, I'll find a work permit.
    #6
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  7. oldtouring B

    oldtouring B Been here awhile

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    DB, I am in Albuquerque New Mexico. The main reasons I posted was the condition requires nothing and I am 5’5 also. Not to many dual sport bikes allow us to touch the ground!
    #7
  8. Motorius

    Motorius Road trippin'

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    Western Cities worth visiting include Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, old town part of San Diego, tourist attractions of LA, old town part of Albuquerque, Taos & old part of Santa Fe, Tucson, many smaller towns in Colorado, Jackson (WY).

    The better parts of the Western US are not necessarily our cities but the National Parks/Monuments and riding the backroads. For example as funky a town as Portland is, the scenery is much nicer out on the coast, or along the Columbia River to the town of Hood River, or in the far NE part of the state in the “Oregon Alps”.

    If you come Phoenix way after early September i’ll have moved about 45 minutes due east and will give you a place to sleep. Don’t know that area too well, but I’ve been all over Washington State and much of northern and Nw Oregon. I can certainly help you plan that part.
    #8
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  9. DoyleyBird

    DoyleyBird Up to no good

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    I agree with that and would be a lot of fun. As much as I love road-riding, I feel I need to be off it and I don't think stones will agree with the paintwork D:

    It seems littered with National Parks. Yosemite and Tahoe were a couple of examples I read. I have a friend in San Fran I need to hit, I'll checkout Portland and up towards Seattle (I love grunge music) and take boatpuller's advice up to Whistler. I'll have to check in with you regarding Oregon and Washington. I will be Phoenix way at the end of the trip. If I remember there's a Nascar track there.
    #9
  10. boatpuller

    boatpuller Long timer

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    Consider the Suzuki DR650 as a lower-seat-height version of a KLR650. Both are very reliable and rich with accessory options. The DR is actually more offroad worthy than the KLR, which will be a little better on the road. Also, don't overlook the Suzuki DL650 V-strom (though I can't remember the seat height) as a great road bike with dirt worthy abilities. In spite of what you think, you will spend most of your time on pavement. Of those, I'd put the KLR in the middle on the dirt-street scale, but very close to the DR650. All of these can be found for a few thousand dollars. If you can find one with a Russell Day-Long saddle, that would be nice. But, those are found on ones that actually got ridden a lot.... Likewise, one with a large aftermarket gas tank.

    I use hope fuel isn't $4.50 a gallon in a few months. But it could be, so no harm in over-budgeting for it.

    Our cities are nice enough, and if you want to see them, please do. But in the end, they are just cities, usually dirty, loud, and not motorcycle-friendly. You may want to park your cycle outside them, and take public transportation into the heart of the city. Reach out to folks in the Tent Space Map for advise and help on this in each city. In much of the country, you'll find most who can afford to, live outside the city in the suburbs, while some of the very rich have impressive lofts downtown. So our cities tend to have the very richest and the poorest in them. It's kind of interesting. Even in the most ugly of cities, you'll find lovely suburbs somewhere around them.

    Make sure you wont have any visa trouble leaving USA for Canada and then returning to USA. It shouldn't be a problem, but governments are involved. Just make sure you have all your paperwork in order. And, that your motorcycle insurance is good for both countries. Ours generally is, but we may need to inform the ins co in advance of our Canada trips.

    If you have additional questions, please just reach out.
    #10
  11. DoyleyBird

    DoyleyBird Up to no good

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    The DR would suit me better setup right,

    A lot of KLRs are already setup for long-rides and seems more easier to source given the time constraint. I agree, I'll spend more time on the road than off it.

    The fuel cost is the same as Australia.

    I've given the wrong impression by listing cities as places to see. I'm a country boy and I figured it was a given I'd be in the countryside most of my time. I appreciate cities though, each for their own culture, architectures and history. Mostly though, I'll be enjoying time in small towns and parks.

    Yep, I'll double check before hitting the border.
    #11
  12. boatpuller

    boatpuller Long timer

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    Here is an interesting article you may find helpful: http://www.advpulse.com/adv-bikes/top-10-adventure-motorcycles-for-short-riders/

    Using cities as landmarks while studying maps of a foreign country you plan to tour is logical. The cities are always found on any map you consult, and most of us know where they are. Most of us motorcycling Americans, when we're planning a tour, focus on amazing country and scenic beauty. Those can be harder to find on a map of a foreign country, but we are happy to help you in any way possible. Different people like different things, and until you direct us otherwise, we'll default to suggesting the places we love the most.

    So, in an effort to figure out what kind of places you want to see, let me suggest you do some very basic research on our National Parks. They are some of the most impressive and spectacular land in our country. Most of it is untouched and left natural, but not all. The NP's generally cost to enter, but an annual pass for all of them can be bought for about $80, or what 4 parks would cost on their own. For your trip this should be a great value. Google USA NPs and decide what type of landscapes you'd most like to see. Most are expensive to sleep inside of, as the concession rights are sold to a single company, who then gets to charge very high prices to the tourists. Generally just outside the parks are a lot of more affordable sleeping and eating options. These are often vacation destinations because they are worth it, but then become crowded. School starts end of Aug, so Sept will be crowded with older folks without kids and Oct will be less crowded. I find Sept and Oct to be great months to motorcycle tour most anywhere in the mainland USA. Some of the better known NPs are Yellowstone, Yosemite, Smokey Mountain, Grand Canyon.

    For affordable camping, be aware of the following:
    • National Forests. These are great for camping, if you are completely self-contained. You can pitch your tent anywhere away from roads for free. Some have campgrounds for very modest money, but they will be very basic.
    • Bureau of Land Management lands. These are like national Forests, but often lack trees. Mostly found in the west.
    • National Monuments. These are often found inside of cities, and usually are interesting, but not often a motorcycle trip destination. Mentioning them mostly so you understand they are different from the others on this list.
    • State Parks. These are not as well known as the NPs, but they are usually hidden gems worth considering for campgrounds. Some of them are worth sight-seeing in, but most all are great for camping. They often involve water recreation spots that locals use for their weekend or mini vacation trips.
    • City parks that allow camping. These are not as common as they used to be, but in the western half of the country little towns may have city parks allowing camping. If you are passing through a small town and can flag down a police officer, they should know if their town has such a place and direct you to it if so. (Once in the NE part of USA at 1 in the morning, I flagged down an officer to find a hotel in his small town. He said "Follow me. I'll take you to a place we don't get called to very often." I thought that was a damn good idea.)
    Finally, do you want to see mountains, and what type? Prairies? Deserts? Forests? Lakes and rivers? Music hot spots? Quirky towns with artists? Do you want to race from highlight to highlight, or go slow and see the hidden America? Spend some time off the cycle, or ride every day?

    One of the best things you can do to enrich your trip is make good use of the Tent Space Map. I've enjoyed all the people we've hosted. You'll find warm people with local knowledge and a common bond of motorcycle travel. They will make sure you are aware of the best their local area has to offer.
    #12
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  13. boatpuller

    boatpuller Long timer

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    Strongly suggest a good GoreTex motorcycle suit and GoreTex boots. Can't believe how much less fatiguing riding across the country is in these vs blue jeans, and how much cleaner your clothes are because of them. Actually allows you to pack less, and forget about rain gear! This will set you back some money, but will be good for years. Klim and Aerostich are the two best known in the USA, but there are some good European brands too. For less money, consider First Gear, but they are not GoreTex, though they are pretty good.

    Boots: I like sturdy hiking boots to ride in, as they are good for walking too. Currently in love with the Zamberlan brand from Italy for pure comfort. Can be found at REI.

    Camping gear: Before you buy at home and ship it across, check USA prices and availably. It's often a better deal to buy it here everything considered.
    #13
  14. packn4alivin

    packn4alivin packn4alivin

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    If you are visiting Jackson Wyoming and Yellowstone Park and need a cheap place to stay, Hit me up. I live near Idaho Falls, about an hour and a half away from either place. Plenty of space for tents and a camp trailer if you want. All at no charge.
    #14
  15. DoyleyBird

    DoyleyBird Up to no good

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    I love the mountains. I've never traveled desert. I'm open to anything.

    Thanks for the link. I'm comfortable on large bikes, a DR would be great but it's hard to find one setup for the long-haul.

    These are popular ones I come across. The annual park pass is the way to go. I'm getting overloaded with information. I like your suggestion of local police. I once called up a local station to check if there was snow on the road on a route I was going to take here.

    Gear is a point. Weather I'm told should be "65-85F days, and 45-70f nights depending on where I am". I was going to go with my Dri-rider jacket and pants, similar to the suits you suggest. I feel like they'll be bulky. Throw on some thermal layers when it gets cool. I was thinking Motorcross boots but they might be overkill. I'll have to think about this.

    A couple of pairs of gloves.

    Cheers mate, I will +1
    #15
  16. Motorius

    Motorius Road trippin'

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    I gave you that weather IF you start in CA head up to the Northwest and then East. If you go East out of CA it’ll be a lot hotter, and CA away from the coast could get to over 100F on I-5 headed north.

    But the very hot days will be minimal one you get past Sept 5th and past eastern WA.
    #16
  17. boatpuller

    boatpuller Long timer

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    Most of our mountain ranges run north/south.

    Starting in the west, the Cascades and Sierra Nevadas are some of the most beautiful. This is where Yosemite NP and MT Rainer are located. They run along the east side of California and up into Washington State.

    The Rocky Mountains are the most majestic, especially in Colorado where several exceed 14,000 feet tall. This is the biggest range, and runs from Canada, where they are especially beautiful, down to New Mexico, kind of following the west edge of Montana and Wyoming, the middle of Colorado and New Mexico.

    The Ozark Mountains of NW Arkansas and S Missouri are much older, and are really big hills compared to the Rockies. They are green, rolling, and marvelous motorcycling.

    The Appalachian Mountains run from Georgia up into Maine, and each section is often called a unique name - Smokey, Blue Ridge, Shenandoah, Catskills, Green, White, etc. These are also old mountains, and are similar to the Ozarks, but in a much denser population, so riding is not always as easy. Still very beautiful and worth enjoying.

    For desserts, I home someone more knowledgeable speaks up, as that's not me.
    #17
  18. Motorius

    Motorius Road trippin'

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    In summer for dessert I prefer cold stuff like ice cream, in colder weather my dessert choices run toward pie or dark chocolate, personally.
    #18
  19. boatpuller

    boatpuller Long timer

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    :jack
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  20. Daleah

    Daleah Been here awhile

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    If you are going to Chicago, you are probably passing close to or through the Driftless Area. We have a website that offers free routes in this area; DriftlessRoadAdventures.com.

    If you can spend some time in the area, we have 25 or 26 day ride loops complete (another 6 or 7 almost done), i can help you choose a couple to try. If you are just passing through and want to hit a few highlights, i can help with that too.

    Good luck on your trip, sounds like a lot of fun.

    Dale
    #20