First - thank you, and the other MOA members for their nice thoughts and helpful suggestions.
To answer your questions:
I took mostly US roads across Iowa - which were pretty much slab - but not multi lane divided highways - so not too bad.
My bike is currently living in a friends garage in Torrance (just outside of LA), along with most of my gear - I have returned to NYC to try to find an odd job or two that will teach me about the motorcycle industry and how to run a bar (I will be writing a more in depth blog post about this after I finish an article for the MOA mag I am writing now - and hope they will publish). Depending on how the job search goes - I will most likely ride my bike back in November or ship it. I hope I get to ride it.
I wanted to thank the people who posted on this thread again for all their help. I am planning the trip back to New York, with a four day stop in Austin for the Formula 1 US Grand Prix.
Unfortunately I have to stick to highways for much of the first half of the trip (I have four days to get to Austin), but after that I will be heading east through the deep south. Any suggestions other than the Grand Canyon for places I just need to see or roads better than Interstates for a southern crossing?
Gotta stop in New Orleans! (ESPECIALLY if you've never been)- DO NOT pass The Big Easy without a stop of at least a couple days.
Generally speaking, I am not too familiar with most southern states' US highways or back roads...
The Natchez Trace is a really nice ride thru quite rural sections of Mississippi, Alabama, and Tennessee- with all sorts of Indian mounds and interesting stuff along the way- but it's no way to "see" any parts of those states- as it is totally separated from towns etc along the way. you can ride along the NT and never even know there ARE any towns.
Later on, when you get up into Northern GA/TN/Western NC/VA, the riding is vastly more interesting, with roads less heralded (and traveled) than The Dragon. There is The "Snake" US 421- in, and around Shady Valley, TN- for example. I'm certain that others may be along shortly to reinforce this, and provide their own fave roads.
IF you happen to find yourself anywhere near Tuscaloosa, you almost have to stop at the original Dreamland BBQ. Being a foodie, you could definitely lose yourself exploring back country BBQ joints in Texas, and across the rural south. Not to mention massive foodie overload in NOLA.
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