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Thread: American West Trip Can it be done?

  1. #31
    My wife and I have been touring for many years and now we don't plan a route too much. Its more like a safari, just going somewhere and taking different roads and maybe ending up approximately where we thought we might. We are heading west sometime around the first of June. Leaving home in KY, visiting Graceland in Memphis , been by there but never taken the tour. Dipping our toes in Mississippi , then across Arkansas , Oklahoma , having a steak at the Big Texan Steak Ranch in Amarillo, on to Albuquerque for the Braking Bad tour. Maybe trying to ride US 66 a lot of the way through AZ and maybe taking one of those Hollywood tours in LA . then back to climb Pikes Peak in CO. on our RT and finally home again. Just staying very loosely on our "plan". It will be interesting to see how much we do and don't get done at the end of the trip.
    Good luck on your trip and remember to have fun !
    The early bird might get the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.

  2. #32
    My wife and I just returned from a 4300 mile trip around colorado and it was great. We really enjoyed the ride along the San Miguel river in western CO just south of Grand Junction, miles and miles of beautiful red was one of the best rides we had on the trip! The highway is 141 and I believe 145 great ride! Last year we did a 5000 mile trip out to the black hills. we went to Devils tower and Mt Rushmore as well as Iron mountain road and the needles highway. We usually stay off the interstates and hit the smaller roads in KS and NE if possible, We have found some interesting things in KS and find it to be an interesting state. We just came through St Francis KS on our way home and found a great little motorcycle museum in town it was a great stop and a real nice museum (great coffee shop just down the street too). We try to do a big day on the first day (600+ miles) and a big day on the return that usually works for us. Be flexible and don't try to do or see to much it will be there for a return trip! We were camping in the Great Sand Dunes park in CO and decided to change our route based on the weather forecasts so it took us down into northern New Mexico and the back up to Durango was a good choice. Have a great time and pace yourself! Here's a link to our trip last year.

  3. #33
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
    I just finished a trip that led me through part of your western journey. I'll add a few thoughts:
    1. Bring cooling vests. You can buy some very nice cooling vests from Cycle Gear. Their store brand, Bilt, worked great for me. It's like having air conditioning. They also sell their Heat Out base layer clothing. I bought the long sleeve t-shirts. I could rinse them out at night in the sink and they'd be dry by morning. When the temps hit the 90s, they didn't so much cool me down, as to keep the hot air off my skin and keep me from over-heating.
    2. Make motel reservations. The tourist areas like the national parks will be booked full. I stayed outside Yellowstone and I think every motel in the town was full. We stayed in motels outside Utah's national parks too, and most were full.
    3. The idea on multiple credit cards is great. I stopped in some towns for gas where there was no one to be seen. Just a dirt parking lot and two pumps. If I'd had to see an attendant for gas, I'd have been stuck there.
    4. Watch your gas mileage and plan ahead for gas stops. Your range is greater than mine, so you probably won't have a problem at all. But you'll be carrying two people and gear, so your mileage may not be what you normally get. Plus head winds will take their toll if you hit any. There were a couple places were I filled up after only about 70 miles...because the next gas station wasn't for another 150 miles. Bing maps will bring up gas stations along your route.

    Elnathan - 2014 BMW F800GT
    IBA# 49894 True Rounder = 0-20's - Rounder -- to -- 100's+ Red Hot Rounder
    John 14:6

  4. #34
    Quote Originally Posted by ajaxthegreater View Post
    Hmmm...there is no such place as Laketon, CO. I suspect you mean Lake City. Very pretty out there, Ouray is not to be missed, a cool little town.

    338 miles a day for 14 days in a row is a rugged schedule, especially two up. Sure, I can do 400-700 miles a day by myself but after 5 days in the saddle my butt needs a rest. Good idea to try some shorter trips first and see if you both like it. It also helps to have a good communications system so you can talk easily while riding. A set of Sena 20S intercoms has worked well for me and my passenger.

    I have ridden all of these routes and do a 5K mile east coast and great lakes/Canada trip every summer, visiting all those relatives that don't get out much. The only advice I'd offer beyond what all has been said is that the national parks like Rocky Mountain, Zion, etc can get very jammed up during the summer. I once had to wait an hour at Zion as they were holding all traffic and only letting small groups of cars in at a time. Even then when you get in it can be difficult going 15-20 MPH in congested stop and go traffic conditions. Not much fun. And even weekdays are busy in summer.

    Perhaps consider trailering (Yes I know, that's so "Harley"...) from Chicago to the foothills of the Rockies since the eastern half of your route is not all that interesting.

    One other method I have used is to have my passenger fly to an intermediate destination where I would pick her up, then we'd ride around closer to the more interesting parts of the route together.

    Whatever you decide it will be fun, just be safe and always err on the side of caution. Conditions can get pretty wild out here as weather is very unpredictable. Get a good radar weather app for your phone like MyRadar. Tells me when to sit out a storm!

    "from Chicago to the foothills of the Rockies since the eastern half of your route is not all that interesting. "

    Just offering a differing opinion.....

    There is "something" about the plains ? Hard to explain but I actually like traveling through them. Maybe it is just the way they remind me of just how huge this country of ours is?
    Ron Prior {AMA member ,MOA member}
    2002 KLT
    2004 Roadster

  5. #35
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Omaha, NE
    Hi. Hope it's not to late to toss out another deviation idea. I second the others that have said don't miss the Black Hills. In Nebraska instead of heading north where you show on the map go all the way to Chadron on Highway 20. Even better would be to stay on I-80 to Grand Island then take highway 2 through the sandhills and still end up in Chadron. At Chadron take 385 all the way up through the Black Hills then 14 to Spearfish and on to Devil's Tower. Even if you don't stop at the tourist stuff at least you will experience the beauty of the Black Hills.


    Editing to say I live in Omaha not in Rapid City as it says. That was about 12 years ago!

  6. #36
    Quote Originally Posted by deilenberger View Post
    . Leave yourself the time and ability to change plans at a whim (or weather, or whatever.)

    Don't sweat motels. I have found that if you can plan where you're going to stop by about 3-4PM, you can always find a room Also - going west - remember the low setting sun in late afternoon. It is blinding - not only to you - but to trucks and cars on the road. Avoid it.

    Finally - remember - no one is paying you to do this (if they are - I want to apply for that job!) - so don't make it a job.
    This was our strategy last June when we started a x-country trip starting in coastal California, thru incredible Zion/Bryce/Canyon Lands, all over Utah & Colorado, then buzzed east off the interstate towards the southern entrance to the BRP, then up the BRP and on to Provincetown, Cape Cod for lobster, then thru the White & Green Mountains of NH/Vermont, along southern Lake Eerie to Niagara ON, then to Sarnia ON and up the east coast of Michigan over the Big Mac, then off to Badlands, Black Hills, Devils Tower, Sawtooth Mountains and brother hit a large deer which took out the deer and his '15 FJR, but he walked away from it w/ no major injury and flew home from Cody WY. We had planned the Beartooth and other areas but that ended w/ the crash. So I finished the trip thru Yellowstone/Tetons and then thru Eastern OR back home to Nor Cal on back roads. Incredible adventure! The whole ride was 9,163m long and took place over 25 days, averaging 366m/day.

    My brother was focused on planning every single stop and reservation along the way but graciously acquiesced to do what I had been wanting to do all along, which was to NOT be married to our route, other than in a basic way. We had reservations just for the first couple of days and from then on we would follow the general route but could always divert for weather and scenery etc, and would call motels at our lunch stop the day before we needed lodging. I figured most folks will cancel in that period before the 24h cancellation window closes so there will be fresh availability, and we had no troubles anywhere doing it this way, and it was pretty much peak season. I much prefer the freedom and flexibility of this approach--it clearly takes the gruel out. If you are hitting popular tourist stops at peak season and feel you must stay at a particular venue then you will likely need a reservation, otherwise keep it loose and go to wherever you find a decent motel. We preferred to leave earlier and finish around 2:30-3:00 when you often have a better selection of rooms.

  7. #37
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    West Michigan
    Thanks to all who have contributed (and amazingly continue to do so)! It's been immensely helpful in planning and our route is changing daily at this point. We're two weeks out and getting excited! Thanks again. I'll follow up after the trip.

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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