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Thread: New York to LA

  1. #1
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    New York to LA

    I am planning a trip across country this year between jobs on my F800ST (with factory side cases - and some supplemental soft storage). As of today, I have never ridden more than 6 or so hours in a day, and am aware that I have a lot of planning and preparation in front of me. I plan to take my time, and stay with friends in Ann Arbor, Austin, Denver, Omaha, and LA (if possible - no need for Austin if its 120, or Denver if snow starts early). Having an adventure and discovering America is my primary goal - as is avoiding any and all national chains (http://tolawithoutchains.blogspot.com/).

    Outside of preparing by taking a few trips with back to back 6 hour riding days, I would appreciate any advice on routes (if I leave in July, August or September), visibility aides (so others can see me), lighting upgrades (so I can see others), and GPS/weather tracking suggestions (so I don't end up in Oz).

    Also - general encouragement is welcome as I am planning the trip between jobs - with the assumption that I will get another one when I return.

    Thank you all in advance for any help.

    David

  2. #2
    Registered User AKsuited's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by davewax View Post
    Outside of preparing by taking a few trips with back to back 6 hour riding days, I would appreciate any advice on routes (if I leave in July, August or September), visibility aides (so others can see me), lighting upgrades (so I can see others), and GPS/weather tracking suggestions (so I don't end up in Oz).
    I've got a "Super-See-Me" vest in hi-viz yellow: http://www.conspicuity.us/vests.html#super

    It's black mesh with the hi-viz yellow reflective chevrons in front, and a large hi-viz yellow reflective panel on the back, high enough to be seen over a duffle bag. The mesh allows some air flow and also keeps bugs off your jacket. There are plenty of other hi-viz vests available.

    I also recommend a white helmet for conspicuity. Use ear plugs to keep the noise down and protect your hearing.

    Start each day early and make plenty of short rest stops. I can't stay on a bike much more than an hour at a time, especially later in the day. I'm not an Ironbutt rider but I have done some long road trips. The key for me are the rest stops. I simply have to get off the bike and move around, and fairly often. Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated. You'll be riding in hot, humid weather and hot, extremely dry weather. I've got a Hyperkewl vest that you soak in water and wear under a jacket and a Camelbak in hi-viz yellow for water while riding, both to deal with heat.

    Good luck,

    Harry
    2003 R1150RT - Silver

  3. #3
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    Harry,

    Appreciate the advice - I had been focused more on lighting than day-glo - But it makes a lot of sense to double up. Do you like the cooling vest, I have heard of them but never tried? the east coast is wet enough as it is.

  4. #4
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    Cool vest

    My brother and I rode from Arizona to Arkansas and Missouri last summer. We each had a cool vest that we soaked in cold water, put them on when they were dripping wet and it was like having air conditioning on your torso for 3 - 4 hours when they would evaporate out. We then stopped at a convenience market and bought a gallon of cold water, filled a trash bag with same and resoaked the vests. Unbelieveable how great they were.
    We also kept our camel backs filled with water and ice to rehydrate ourselves any time we pleased.

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    Quote Originally Posted by INNKEEPER22 View Post
    it was like having air conditioning on your torso for 3 - 4 hours when they would evaporate out. We then stopped at a convenience market and bought a gallon of cold water, filled a trash bag with same and resoaked the vests. Unbelieveable how great they were.
    Awesome review of those vests - I definitely need to look into this.

    Thanks!

    David

  6. #6
    MOA #24991 Pauls1150's Avatar
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    Nobody has talked about "routes" because the possibilities are truly infinite.
    It boils down to how much time you are willing to spend in any particular area.
    If time permits, I'd heartily recommend criss-crossing the northern Rockies, the Oregon/Washington Cascades, and the California Sierras.
    If you can spend time in the great National Parks, absolutely take your time in Yellowstone, Glacier, Canyonlands through Grand Canyon, and Yosemite. The annual pass (good for all National Parks) will save a few bucks in the long run, and considering how badly their funds have been cut, it'll be appreciated.

  7. #7
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    Routes

    I agree - the route options are staggering. I just put on bedrest for a newly mangled toe and have been doing some thinking on just that topic.

    If anyone has checked out my blog - I am doing a bit of a food tour - and staying with friends over hopefully a three or four week period. I am definitely stopping in Denver, then want to head north, check out this Lolo pass road I just discovered - and plan to do a lot of national park stops along the way.

    The season pass is a really good idea - I will pick one up in advance - even if I don't use it enough they need a bit of financial love.
    Last edited by davewax; 04-26-2013 at 11:00 PM. Reason: typo

  8. #8
    Registered User AKsuited's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by davewax View Post
    I am definitely stopping in Denver, then want to head north, check out this Lolo pass road I just discovered - and plan to do a lot of national park stops along the way.
    The Beartooth Pass is number one on my bucket list of rides and I hope to do it this summer:
    http://www.motorcycleroads.com/75/35...ooth-Pass.html

    There is also a BMW rally: http://www.bmwmoa.org/Calendar/TabId...endezvous.aspx



    Harry
    2003 R1150RT - Silver

  9. #9
    Nuckin' Futs! tonyfr's Avatar
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    If you plan on passing through Texas in July on your way to California, make sure you do have a cool vest and a Camelbak. I make a trip to California every year from Texas and I never go without my vest, Camelbak and my light grey vented Revit suit.
    SABMWRA MOA #62
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    The Beartooth pass looks amazing. Tons of great reviews of it. Good call, definitely looking into stopping there.

    I only ride with rev'it gear these days - they make fantastic stuff. I have the Ignition Jacket and Gear Pant combination - which is fantastic in all but the hotest weather. I am not a huge fan of the zip in waterproof liner for this trip though - so I am considering an upgrade to something like the Atlantis from BMW.

  11. #11
    Out There Somewhere bmwrider88's Avatar
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    Cool U.S. Highway System

    Hi.
    First off, best of luck with your trip!

    I've been cross country, and also just about everywhere except up along the northern routes.
    Whenever possible, I love to stick to the older US highways. Of course this takes plenty of extra time, so I often combine quick connector shots on bigger slabs (aka interstates/ freeways) with longer, slower stretches of smaller roads.
    The old US hiway "system" has lots of mom-n-pop type places to eat and to stay. You can more easily avoid franchise or chain eateries, and find the coolest older motels too. In terms of interaction with humans, this is always best off the interstates too. Just a suggestion, but when I have the time, this is how I travel (two wheels or four). I find it much more rewarding than sitting at 80 MPH for hours on end, throwing down "food products" along the way.

    From reading your original post, sounds like this is just what you are seeking. Definitely check it out.
    Tom
    Be The Change You Want To See In The World

  12. #12
    Ed Kilner #176066
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    You will certainly enjoy the trip you are planning. It's a bit more ambitious than the one I did last year. I left one year ago today, having wanted to do so for over thirty years. Worth every penny.

    For details, see http://triumphantsblog.blogspot.ca/ it has some pictures as well as prep info. And, after the trip I did a post showing what I took, used, or did not use. May help you.

    I used the slab a lot in the US and found it fine. Even McDonalds serves salad plus chicken, which became my favorite lunch, fast and reasonably nutritious. You will likely find better eateries ... I was just too lazy.

    A quick trip through the Badlands park, Mt. Rushmore, Crazy Horse, and Devil's Tower - all in one day - was certainly a highlight. That area deserves more time. Quite the area. Don't miss it.

    I travelled in June, encountered more rain than anticipated. I used my heated vest nearly every day. It's often cool in the mornings, in rain, up high, ... .

    Saw critters dead on the road nearly every morning too. If you travel at night, be careful. A collision with a critter will spoil your trip. Better to be relaxing somewhere.

    Will you be posting in your blog? Will watch for it. Enjoy your trip.
    Ed
    2011 R1200RT Thunder Gray Metallic; 2000 Triumph 900(sold)
    http://triumphantsblog.blogspot.ca/

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by bmwrider88 View Post
    Hi.
    First off, best of luck with your trip!

    I've been cross country, and also just about everywhere except up along the northern routes.
    Whenever possible, I love to stick to the older US highways. Of course this takes plenty of extra time, so I often combine quick connector shots on bigger slabs (aka interstates/ freeways) with longer, slower stretches of smaller roads.
    The old US hiway "system" has lots of mom-n-pop type places to eat and to stay. You can more easily avoid franchise or chain eateries, and find the coolest older motels too. In terms of interaction with humans, this is always best off the interstates too. Just a suggestion, but when I have the time, this is how I travel (two wheels or four). I find it much more rewarding than sitting at 80 MPH for hours on end, throwing down "food products" along the way.

    From reading your original post, sounds like this is just what you are seeking. Definitely check it out.
    Tom
    Tom,

    The old US Highway System plan sounds fantastic for what I am looking to do. I need to start doing some research. Good thing I only have a few more days with anything but free time.

    David

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by BMW Triumphant View Post

    Saw critters dead on the road nearly every morning too. If you travel at night, be careful. A collision with a critter will spoil your trip. Better to be relaxing somewhere.

    Will you be posting in your blog? Will watch for it. Enjoy your trip.
    Will definitely be posting on the blog throughout the trip - and durring my pre-trip trip to Europe (Will apologize now for any law related posts - there will be a few).

  15. #15
    rabid reader dbrick's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by davewax View Post
    As of today, I have never ridden more than 6 or so hours in a day, and am aware that I have a lot of planning and preparation in front of me.
    You've received good info about the ride from others, and I hope you'll get more. But I'd like to address a different issue: your endurance. Six hours in the saddle is a pretty good day, but it can take on a different weight when you do it Monday, then again Tuesday, then again Wednesday, and so on. Your idea to try a series of multiday 6-hours-a-day trips for practice is a good one. So is staying with friends; I like to do that too. Even if friends are not available, I find I sometimes spend two nights in a place, just so I have a day off.
    David Brick
    Santa Cruz CA
    2007 R1200R

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