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Discussion Starter #1
US Dubbers, seeking your advice and knowledge here.

I'm an Aussie who's hoping to be able to ride through the states for a few months (visa interview tomorrow). Said Aussie hasn't really done any research.

Here's my proposed route:



The route is pretty much based on the fact that we want to get west to see the northern Andes, and it's really hot in July so we'll stay as far north as we can, and might duck into Canada, as long as that's a simple process in terms of bureaucracy.

Starting in early/mid July in NY, finish Oct-Nov. Slow bikes on backroads, aiming to camp 5-6 nights a week (limits city stays).

So, how's the route? Any 'must sees'? Can anyone suggest a reason to change the route?

Thanks.
 

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volcanoes, redwood trees, the pacific ocean, yosemite, i'd suggest getting to washington, oregon and california, but that's just being a western boy born and breed.

btw do you mean the rockies? ....the andes are a few miles further south.
 

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I know you are going to touch Vermont right after leaving NY. I think it would be a shame to not spend a week touring through VT, NH and up through the coast and across the northern interior of Maine. I live in the NY Catskills mountains and when we go for vacations we always head north to Maine. Lobsters along the coast and wildlife through the interior with one of the prettiest roads called the Golden Road that takes you east to west and back through northern NY. The Golden road is about 120 miles of hard packed gravel and privately owned by the lumber companies but it is loaded with Moose and just about every other rarely seen animal in the US. The last time we were there it cost $8 to drive the road and we are going back shortly after you leave NY to drive it again.

Excellent plan to stay north for your ride west at this time of year! We can only dream of taking the trip you guys are doing but the country along the northern boarder of the US and Canada is probably the most scenic route you will ever ride. Sad to say though, even with a few months you don't have enough time to see it all. The national parks out west are drop dead gorgeous and don't miss Moab, UT.

We all hope you will post your ride report right here and a few of us can't wait to meet up with you next week.

GaryL
 

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I recommend going through Glacier National Park on Going To The Sun Road when you're in Montana. Stick with camping in the campgrounds when in that area, as there are plenty of Grizzly Bears.
 

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The National Park system showcases tremendous national beauty. A annual pass offers unlimited entries for not much money. Western ones I would really recommend areUtah state's Arches, Zion, &/or Bryce Canyon for sculpted sandstone, Arizona's Grand Canyon(North Rim). Yosemite is awesome,then north via pacific coast. Montana's Glacial park's Going to the Sun road will give lifelong memories as well as any rockies destination.
East of the Rockies others can guide you.
 

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Just be prepared for days of travel on flat endless (boring) roads in a few of those states. Maybe some folks in in those states can chime in on the best route through their state.
 

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Just be prepared for days of travel on flat endless (boring) roads in a few of those states. Maybe some folks in in those states can chime in on the best route through their state.
You got that right King! There are a couple states in this route they will wish they could highlight and hit the delete button. I have done a lot of this on all three routes North was by far the nicest, Central was the most boring and the south was the hottest.

GaryL
 

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I would be more tempted to do what Gary says and head to Canada early to see the North Side of Lake Superior. Then drop back down into the States in Montana. You can hit the Idaho back country discovery routes and then many more in the Western states.

Backcountry Discovery Routes
 

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Ride through Las Vegas at night. See hoover dam on the way into Arizona.
 

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Hi Rob, so another big adventure. Like some of our other forum members, I have crossed the USA a couple of times. A great resource for routing would be guide books written for the bicyclist tourist, lots of nice back roads. As has been said, there is a lot to see on the West coast and much of it still holds fond memories for me. Mid continent is going to be flat and likely windy no matter whether you cross in the USA or Canada. I am puzzled as to why you would be inclined to ride the length of Nevada as opposed to Utah or that N/S distance in Calif. then cut back East through Yosemite. No matter where you go, your adventure will be full of wonderful memories. Enjoy. Gerry
 

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Hi Rob,
Mrs Trip and I are leaving on July 6 heading north through Massachusetts and Vermont to Quebec via a mostly dirt route. I can email you the tracks if you'd like. Maine is great but be forewarned that the Golden Road and many other Maine logging roads do not allow motorcycles. Stupid policy but they are privately owned and you don't want to get caught. I find for route planning that the best resource is the Delorme Gazeteers...there's one for each state and they show the level of detail that you need to find the best roads. Once you get out west, the Benchmark series of state atlases is excellent as well. The Backroad Mapbooks are good for Canada but don't cover all areas.
When are you leaving New York? We'd like to meet you guys if we are in the area.
 

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Hi Rob,
Mrs Trip and I are leaving on July 6 heading north through Massachusetts and Vermont to Quebec via a mostly dirt route. I can email you the tracks if you'd like. Maine is great but be forewarned that the Golden Road and many other Maine logging roads do not allow motorcycles. Stupid policy but they are privately owned and you don't want to get caught. I find for route planning that the best resource is the Delorme Gazeteers...there's one for each state and they show the level of detail that you need to find the best roads. Once you get out west, the Benchmark series of state atlases is excellent as well. The Backroad Mapbooks are good for Canada but don't cover all areas.
When are you leaving New York? We'd like to meet you guys if we are in the area.
Good catch on the Golden Road and no MCs allowed. Did not know that and always did it in a SUV. Too bad because it is an absolutely gorgeous drive through some of the wildest forests in NA.

GaryL
 

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So many good places to see. Going to the sun is a great rd. 89 south of there is fairly scenic. Beartooth pass "212" is a awesome road plus its the NE exit of Yellowstone so you could go through Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons. Another favorite of mine is highway 12 in Utah and it goes by Zion and Bryce national parks. There are a bunch of beautiful places in UT and CO. The Redwoods are beautiful and highway 101 is right there "its about like the dragons tail 129" plus it takes you to highway 1 which is another top 5-10 beautiful roads in America. Its hard to go wrong once you get west of Denver Colorado.
 

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Hi Rob, Here are a couple of general recommendations for you to consider. Its too big of a country to offer much in the way of fav places etc.
1. State parks in most states are great camping options (they have showers, offer shade, and facilities that are too regimented in RV parks which may not even allow tents), and alas our federal parks often don't have showers, and are fewer and further apart.
2. Use US highways instead of state routes when they go your direction. They tend to be a bit wider (better shoulders) and go long distances as they were our primary roads until the interstate highway system came into play. For example US route 20 goes across a great stretch of northern US; US route 50 leave from DC and goes to west coast. Both have lighter traffic than many other roads, and you can make time at 50 mph or 60 mph rather than being blown away by the 75 mph crowd on Interstate Highways.
3. I use Street Atlas USA on my computer rather than depending on the internet (not always available and not convenient on a small phone - thats if you have a tablet or laptop.
4. All National Forests and much other federal lands (Bureau of Land Management in particular) allow camping in most areas (unless signed as no camping), many Forest Service campgrounds exist, are free or cheaper, and you can camp in noncampgrounds too on Forest Service and BLM land - it will take you some time or queries to figure this out but its worth working at.
5. In many areas, towns allow camping at fairgrounds, city parks, etc. but its best to ask rather than trying to stealth it. Don't use rest areas on highways - they are classic places for low lifes hitting on innocent folk.
6. By in large Americans are friendly folks so ask for guidance if desired. This is especially true in small towns - they will particularly like your accent.
7. Its a big country so pay attention to distances and facilities - don't run out of water.
I think you've got my number and I'm sure others here would be glad to share theirs in case you want to call up and chat in real time. Travel well. Tom

Post script: Having looked at a map (note I may be just as ignorant now as before), I'd be tempted to suggest you consider US route 2 across northern Montana, North Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin etc. It probably hooks up well with US 20 coming across New York and up through Michigan on US 22. Be prepared for I believe you call them Mozzies (mosquitos in those northern reaches of Minnesota, Wisconsin, etc.) Stay away from and skirt big cities or just plow through the lesser routes and avoid those interstates and freeways. You'll see more and arrive safer.
The federal govt and most of the states have what they call scenic highways and these are in theory high tourist appeal, scenic area and not really for the trucker types. So you might try to get hold of scenic highways guides at major tourist centers, or in book stores if they can be found in a convenient form (otherwise search the internet for scenic highway info.
Most GPS data bases have campgrounds listed (some are more flexiibie and tolerant of state parks than others, but use that info as convenient.
Each state will publish a compendium of its state parks and they also almost always offer a free map- hit tourist info spots for that kind of literature.
The folks at the desks are helpful too. Thats my best shot at the moment. Go forth and enjoy. Tom
 

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All good advice. Notice we tend to recommend places near where we live? Gerry is right, skip central Nevada for either Utah sandstone or California Sierras/ coast/ redwoods. I notice a detour to Bamf, Lake Louise area of B.C. The Canadian Rockies are stunningly beautifull, but so is similar scenery in Glacier/Watertown national parks, or Colorado Rockies. I would opt for sampling the maximum variety of what US has to offer. Maybe leave a cushion of extra time should you discover something needing more time to pause and explore. For example I took an extra week just exploring cliff dwellings, archealogical sites, and sandstone arches in a small corner of Utah. For you it could be anything, check out internet pics of places we have urged you to visit. And above all remember the general advice offered by Perano above and you will have a great trip.
If you tell us what flavor of experiences you want it would help.
 

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Discussion Starter #17 (Edited)
Wow - lots to digest. And I was thinking about replying individually......so please excuse.

Yep, Rockies - that big belt of mountains which runs NNW through the western states. I imagine almost all of that is a winner.

Need to add California, and my map was a little loose; Utah is a place we certainly want to see.

Gary, I'll have to grab a map and have a chat about going towards Maine. I seem to be repeating this, but I know very little and as other members' have said, it's a big place. But, it could be cool to get to both the Atlantic and Pacific.

National Park Pass - good one. I just looked into that and for $80, for both of us, sounds like good value.

Glacier National Park - Sun Road. Just Googled it, and found these pictures - She's Open ! - Going to the Sun Road ,Glacier Park - ADVrider Yep, that's now on the list.

Backcountry Discovery Routes - I need to spend some time on that site. Looks excellent, just need to look into fuel range etc.

Gerry, we looked for cycling books as they would love backroads. Can you suggest any? Our Googling was unsuccessful.

Delorme Gazeteers maps looks excellent, but dear. $20 a pop is a little steep. I've heard that sometimes riders are able to stop at a state's border/tourist information and nab free state maps quite often; is this the case? I've bought a Mich Road Atlas for the trip, solely based off a quick internet search.

We're planning on leaving around the 7th of July - happy to meet up RhodeTrip. What form is your plotted route in? We're not using GPS for the trip.....

The flavour of the trip, good question.....we intend to see a broad cross section of the country, no matter what that entails. Lots of nature, meet people from all walks of life (Mrs wants to see how the Amish roll), see the corn fields if that's a solid proportion of the country, Area 51 loons, small towns, the tacky side (we will go to Las Vegas) and lots of nature (including much of the 'Rockies' in the west). We'll be mostly camping, which unless we get an offer of accommodation, will mean missing out on many cities (but, in my experience, that's generally no bad thing). We're not dedicated hikers, kayakers, bird-watchers or anything, but dabble in all of them in a true amateur fashion. I enjoy visiting breweries (have a pipe-dream of opening one some day). We're both happy riding along slowly, in somewhat deserted areas seeing new things each day. We generally enjoy self-catering, and really enjoy picnic lunches somewhere on the side of a road. Unfortunately, I can't tell you more than that - you don't know what you don't know.

This was really great, please keep the suggestions coming. And, in return, I'll fire up a RR here.

I'm excited.
 

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Have to agree with peruano:

"I'd be tempted to suggest you consider US route 2 across northern Montana, North Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin etc. It probably hooks up well with US 20 coming across New York and up through Michigan on US 22. "
 

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if you do alter your route and come along the north coast of Ohio, you got an open invitation here. I will send you my contact info via PM. Put it in your list of contacts. Hope others do this as well.
we are a big community. Supporting others is priceless.
ride safe
 

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Yes Rob and Kath, Mt. Desert Island near Bar Harbor Maine has Acadia National Park. At the top is the very first place to see the sun rise in the US and I am pretty sure you can drive the bikes right up. How cool would it be to see the sun set over the Pacific on the west coast and know you followed it? I have the NY and the Maine Gazetteers here and you are welcome to study them and I also have a complete US, Rand/Mcnally road atlas you can take with you. The bicycle tour maps do sound like just what you will want and I do hope someone has that info for you. They will keep you off the major interstate highways and on the secondary routes where the TWs will be just fine.

This was a very cool statement, "Unfortunately, I can't tell you more than that - you don't know what you don't know.". Every one of us can tell you a little bit about the general areas where we live and travel but I doubt there is anyone so well traveled as to be able to map out a major portion of your travels. Very few of us ever take the time to do what you are doing and many of us might do some dreaming but then we jump on a plane and go from here to there and miss all the cools things in between.

Just so you know, From Bar Harbor, Maine to the farthest west coast town of Scotia, CA. is right around 3,500 miles. If you ride 50 miles each and every day it will take you 70 days to go from coast to coast and that is doing the most direct route which you will be trying to avoid. I will bet going on mostly secondary roads it is closer to 4,500 miles. It is a long trip any way you cut it and giving yourselves some days for rest and weather delays will add to it quite a lot. There will be days in the middle of the US where you want to put 300+ miles on the clocks and others where you want to spend some time kicking around.

Between this forum and the ADV one there are members all along your path so taking advantage of offers from members who are along the way will greatly improve your trip and should reduce some of the expense. Even just pitching your tent in a members back yard and having a garage to do some adjustments will be worth its weight in gold.

GaryL
 
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