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Thread: Road Trippin' USA 2012

  1. #46
    Certifiable User Mike_Philippens's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vagabird View Post
    I have very mixed feelings about Yellowstone. It is an amazing place but during peak travel season it is VERY crowded.
    I realize that, but I'm pretty close and it's just one of those things I really want to see. If it's too crowded, I'll move on... I think the nature sights are just too beautifull to miss, especially when you're as close as I am.
    I, too, would vote for starting in early May and reversing the path - south first, before it gets too miserable, and then west and north. The Blue Ridge Parkway is most beautiful in the spring, too, and likely to be fairly empty during the week.
    I'll check out the climate info on the areas I plan to visit and then I can just reverse the route. May-June-July doesn't sound too bad. I can't totally avoid the tourist season, but then I only have July to worry about. And the flight to the US will be cheaper too (I'm Dutch, remember?)
    Are there places youÔÇÖve heard of that you want to see?
    Plenty! Places, areas and 'things'. Deadwood is one of them. The place itself might be a tourist attraction, but the area is a piece of history with the 'cowboy and indian' stuff, goldrush, Wild Bill etc... The Black Hills should be nice too. I'm also interested in history, cultural thing, the people, nature. The only thing I'm not dying to see are Las Vegas and the major cities/big tourist attractions. I love New York, but not when I'm on a motorcycle holiday. This trip is about enjoying the ride and see some nice stuff. I've seen plenty of things on Discovery/NatGeo and so on, and my route goes along the main things I'd like to see. And all you nice people give me the best tips and advise I need.
    I can send you a good route from the Black Hills through Yellowstone to Denver and southwest from there.
    Sounds nice. I can reverse that route too.
    East of Cody, Wyoming, is Heart Mountain ÔÇô an internment camp where west-coast American citizens of Japanese descent were sent during World War II. There isnÔÇÖt a lot there to see, but that may be interesting. East of that, on US 14A just before it drops off the escarpment is Medicine Wheel, an ancient arrangement of rocks where American Indians still go to pray. It is down a 2?¢ km gravel road with another 2?¢ km hike to the wheel. It just depends on what interests you and how much stopping to look around you want to do.
    It sounds interesting. I guess it's one of those things that your average tourist doesn't see, but I'm open for those things. That's why I'd like to go on my own; just drive and see what comes your way. Now my route is taking shape, I can read up on the areas I come along and see if there's anything interesting to see/visit/do. The Ride Reports from others may help too.

    Again, thanks everyone for the great input! I promise to make a comprehensive Ride Report when I return and I can also update my blog on the road. I have a Spot, so you can keep tabs on my whereabouts.
    -=- if you always see the road ahead of you, it's not worth the trip -=-

  2. #47
    criminaldesign
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    FYI

    You can primitive camp for free on the maintenance/fire roads in National Forests(NF), they ask you to be at least a quarter mile off the main road.

    This does not include National Parks (Yellowstone, Grand Canyon...). You'll need to leave the park grounds which are generally in NF's, but not all of them are. For instance, when you leave Yellowstone National Park, you're in Bridger-Teton National Forest.

    Forests/Parks are the green or highlighted spots on maps.

    If you're at a smaller less touristy NF, it may just be you and the critters, possibly big critters. If you're at an NF with high traffic, you'll wake up and realize there's quite a bit of people doing the same thing.

    Use good judgement and scout the areas before dark as there is nothing besides the road which will be dirt or gravel. When doing this it can make for great personal solitude under the open sky.

    BTW, Check Vanocker Canyon Road, South Dakota. Fun road in the vicinity of Sturgis and Deadwood.

  3. #48
    A wandering Bird Vagabird's Avatar
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    HereÔÇÖs another idea: Do the Iron Butt AssociationÔÇÖs National Parks Tour ÔÇô at least 50 national parks or monuments in 25 states and provinces in a year. (www.ironbutt.com) Just getting to each place may get you off the beaten track. And you can just dash in and get a date stamp, but if you allow even 30 minutes to an hour at each place and look around you will gain more insight into the variety of North America than many citizens ever do.

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  4. #49
    Certifiable User Mike_Philippens's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vagabird View Post
    Here’s another idea: Do the Iron Butt Association’s National Parks Tour – at least 50 national parks or monuments in 25 states and provinces in a year.
    If it's on my route and I can take it easy, but I'm afraid that - being an Iron Butt 'thing - it'll involve long trips and not much time to see the nice things. I can do long stretches (I did a few >1000km on a day), I don't enjoy them. I only did them because the remaining distance was too short to justify a hotel stop and I was able to do it.

    I think I'll visit some National Parks. I think lots of scenic routes are there, and nature is always nice to look at. I don't know if I want to camp somewhere alone in a forest (yes, I'm a pussy ) with Yogi around...

    Another question: since I'll be there for 3 months, I need communication. My Dutch provider will be more than happy to let me make calls in the US, but I don't think my budget will stretch that much. So I'll need a prepaid SIM card for my phone. Are there nationwide providers that are cheap, reliable and have good coverage? I'll check around myself, but I'm hoping you'd know one or two good providers or at least some to stay away from.
    -=- if you always see the road ahead of you, it's not worth the trip -=-

  5. #50
    BlueTempest RDMEASE's Avatar
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    Add some mountains to the mix

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike_Philippens View Post
    [*]From the Keys back up to Newark, following the coastline[/LIST]
    If I were making this trip... after Jacksonville FL, I'd head inland to the Great Smokey Mountains then up the Skyline Drive through VA... then Back to NY. After rimming the coast of FL I'd get tired of the Ocean... but that's just me!

  6. #51
    Certifiable User Mike_Philippens's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RDMEASE View Post
    If I were making this trip... after Jacksonville FL, I'd head inland to the Great Smokey Mountains then up the Skyline Drive through VA... then Back to NY. After rimming the coast of FL I'd get tired of the Ocean... but that's just me!
    I got a lot of votes to do just that!
    Your confirmation is greatly appreciated. Now I'm absolutely sure that's what I have to do. Every day I'm getting more and more excited about this trip!
    -=- if you always see the road ahead of you, it's not worth the trip -=-

  7. #52
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    Quote Originally Posted by criminaldesign View Post
    As mentioned before, screw the east coast.

    Here's where the riding is...
    From Stuff


    Enjoy the States!
    Amen! I say skip the east coast, see the Smokies & skip FL(we go in the winter to fishbut a crowded state for most part and if the key are of interest, sjip them and go to the Mexican carribean instead-better water less & more of the right things. Skip the badlands & do Utah(Moab road to Telluride,CO and vicinity) as has been said and more of the rockies-as much as you can pack in-include the San Juans in SW CO for certain. The extreme east coast is not where you want to go on my vote, except for Maine and vicinity. Great lakes-all that area & new england including NY mtn areas, are worth it. Hit the PA rally and the RA rally in summer.Have Anonymous with you!Look at Natchez Trace as an alternative to south gulf coast all the way across-I'd angle up to take in the Smokies for certain. Did I say skip FL!

  8. #53
    Certifiable User Mike_Philippens's Avatar
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    I hear ya!

    I'll think hard about all the info. I don't know about skipping FLA all together. I don't want to spent the entire 3 months in the mountains and forrests, however pretty they are. My bro did the Keys once and he said it's great. Maybe I'll just have to find out myself. I'm aware that it can be a very crowded area, but I think a lot of the nicer areas are bound to be crowded. If it's too much, I'll just turn around and escape...

    One other question came up when I tried to figure out the insurance thing for the US. This is a bit different (understatement of the year!) than in Holland. For instance, I don't have to insure myself extra for uninsured or underinsured drivers who hit me over here. It sounds very strange to me. Is it really necessary or are they just trying to scare me? If I'm underinsured in Holland and I hit someone else, they'll cover the victim and let me pay for the rest of my life. If I'm hit by an uninsured driver, there's a fund for that. But the form seems adament and I'll have to sign extra if I want to waive that.

    Another thing is the increased liability limits. I'm aware of the ludricous claims in the US if you hit someone and it's your fault. So I want to be properly covered for that. You can take out three levels of cover up to $500,000 per accident (maximum $250,000 / person, $100,000 property). Should I just to the highest, or is that too much? I don't know what is reasonable. I could take the highest; on the whole holiday budget it's not that much, but you know...I'm Dutch and you can say that the $150 is also a couple of days worth of gas... If it's not necessary, I won't spend the money. Bill Gates didn't get rich by giving away money
    -=- if you always see the road ahead of you, it's not worth the trip -=-

  9. #54
    Certifiable User Mike_Philippens's Avatar
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    Saw that my current route doesn't take me very far from the Bonneville Salt Flats. Being a petrol head, I migth want to take the detour and check out these famous salt flats. I have no clue at all (haven't checked yet) if there'se racing activity over there on a regular basis, but the scenery around Salt Lake is also quite nice, so it's definetely worth the detour. Any thoughts on that? Nice places to visit down there? Preferable routes to take?
    -=- if you always see the road ahead of you, it's not worth the trip -=-

  10. #55
    Certifiable User Mike_Philippens's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Earache View Post
    Hi Mike -

    PM your mailing address to me and I'll send ya a Rand McNally Road Atlas - a must for every trip, even if it's just to plan. I'll put some notes on the pages of areas that I'd go to.
    Just want to put Eric in the spotlight today: I just received the RM Road Atlas with the notes and 8(!) CD's with photo's of the routes. Fantastic! I'll have some studying to do.

    I ordered a laminated wall map of the US to stick on a wall in my study. I can mark the route on it with whiteboard markers, so the route starts to come alive. I can doodle at heart and when it's finished, I'll transfer it to MapSource.

    Thanks again everybody for the great tips! This forum is an invaluable source of information for me;this will be an epic trip, thanks to y'all!
    -=- if you always see the road ahead of you, it's not worth the trip -=-

  11. #56
    Registered User c90dan's Avatar
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    I see your planning on going up through Michigan. Beautiful place. Let me worn you. When you get to Mackinaw City make sure you've got your jock strap on tight. The Mackinac Bridge is one of the scariest places I've ever been on a motorcycle. One of the top ten scariest bridges in the world. Here's a link
    http://travel.yahoo.com/p-interests-35868704

    Another route option since you'll be up north already would be to go through Canada. Banff and Jasper National Parks, outside of Calgary are beautiful. Go to Lake Louise.

    Enjoy the ride.

  12. #57
    Certifiable User Mike_Philippens's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by c90dan View Post
    When you get to Mackinaw City make sure you've got your jock strap on tight. The Mackinac Bridge is one of the scariest places I've ever been on a motorcycle. One of the top ten scariest bridges in the world. Here's a link
    http://travel.yahoo.com/p-interests-35868704
    What's so scary about it? Is it windy? We have the Afsluitdijk in Holland, which is not a bridge, but a 5km long dyke that enabled us to reclaim parts of the (former) sea behind it as land. It's windy too, but I don't think anybody finds it particulary scary as such.

    I can imagine a windy bridge being scary though... A couple of years back, I crossed the Alps and I had a terribel cross-wind all the time. I was at an angle the whole time, which is not very nice when you have to pass trucks and touring cars. But a steady wind is not so bad. It's worse when there are gusts. With a steady wind, I just go a bit faster, so the force from the side is less than the forward force. But with big gusts on a motorcycle - especially the big RT - is quite dangerous with all the traffic around you. This happened to me a couple of months back. Later I heard on the radio that there were gusts of over 46mph. Even for me as a big guy on a big motorcycle this was scary enough to consider stopping at the roadside. But this was not really an option in the dark and with bad weather. All it takes is one truck...
    -=- if you always see the road ahead of you, it's not worth the trip -=-

  13. #58
    Registered User tourunigo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike_Philippens View Post
    What's so scary about it? Is it windy? We have the Afsluitdijk in Holland, which is not a bridge, but a 5km long dyke that enabled us to reclaim parts of the (former) sea behind it as land. It's windy too, but I don't think anybody finds it particulary scary as such.

    I can imagine a windy bridge being scary though... A couple of years back, I crossed the Alps and I had a terribel cross-wind all the time. I was at an angle the whole time, which is not very nice when you have to pass trucks and touring cars. But a steady wind is not so bad. It's worse when there are gusts. With a steady wind, I just go a bit faster, so the force from the side is less than the forward force. But with big gusts on a motorcycle - especially the big RT - is quite dangerous with all the traffic around you. This happened to me a couple of months back. Later I heard on the radio that there were gusts of over 46mph. Even for me as a big guy on a big motorcycle this was scary enough to consider stopping at the roadside. But this was not really an option in the dark and with bad weather. All it takes is one truck...
    and doesn't that all tie in nicely with the qoute that you use at the bottom of your posts? Gusts most certainly are the most puckering of events.... especially with lots of rain. As they say though: "No guts;no glory. - Bob
    saltyfogriders@gmail.com
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  14. #59
    Registered User c90dan's Avatar
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    The Mackinac Bridge roadway is 200 feet above the water. There are two lanes in each direction, the inside one is steel grate. The railing on the edge can't be more than 18 inches high. Throw in a 30 mph cross wind and you've got Mr. Toads Wild Ride. Oh yeah, the bridge is 5 miles long.

  15. #60
    Certifiable User Mike_Philippens's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by c90dan View Post
    Throw in a 30 mph cross wind and you've got Mr. Toads Wild Ride. Oh yeah, the bridge is 5 miles long.
    Sounds exciting enough to have tried at least once in a lifetime!
    I can tell you that a road I crossed in Morrocco two years ago was scary too...it looked nice enough, so I climbed the little hill at 55mph to notice that the tarmac ended after the top of the hill... The road looked like it was hit by a clusterbomb. I couldn't brake hard, so I just let go off the throttle and kicked down a gear and stood up on the pegs and rode it... I survived and stopped down the hill to warn my buddies who were a little behind. We had some experience with similar roads, but (obviously) at lower speeds and we could see it coming. This was a stark reminder to expect the unexpected behind every corner. But all in all it was nice to do on a fully loaded RT... Since then I dubbed my bike the RT-Adventure.


    swd071 by Mike Philippens, on Flickr
    -=- if you always see the road ahead of you, it's not worth the trip -=-

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