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HeyWhatever 01-12-2013 08:51 AM

The Rockies in The Spring
I am mapping out a four month trip, with the majority of it in the Rockies...

If I leave North Carolina between April 15th and May 1st***... I am looking at Yellowstone NP then Montana 89 North and Glacier NP in early to mid May, with most of May and early June heading south along the trajectory of the continental divide.

If any locals or others have done this route around this time of year RECENTLY, please let me know what you found with the roads.

I understand that at those elevations, at any time, there can be snow, hail and sleet... that is the chance I am willing to take to avoid the heavy tourist season of July and August... I would rather deal with weather than a swarm of slow moving, view blocking RV's on the road.

The bike is a Buell 2010 City X, geared with touring tires and plenty of camping equipment. I probably can't afford the F700GS I want... that will have to come later... so I am not really looking for dirt/ gravel road conditions, but paved roads.

PS- I will list specific roads as I am researching them... suggestions of not to miss paved roads are welcome...

*** Edited to leave here around May 15th- and START IN ALBUQUERQUE following advice below... 01/19/13

acejones 01-12-2013 09:03 AM

Chances are good that Going to the Sun road in Glacier NP will still be closed at that time. Actually I just looked this up. The NP service says the earliest it could be open its entire length is June 13. Last year Logan Pass wasn't open until June 19. I was up there about eight years ago and it wasn't open until the end of June.

thetourist 01-12-2013 09:08 AM

I recommend you do some weather and National Park research. Spring is wet and cold and snowy in the NW. Good riding starts in June. We have nice days or patches of good weather before that, but it doesn't really dry up till mid June.

Yellowstone and Glacier have roads closed for winter. Going to the Sun upens mid June to early July. Yellowstone a bit sooner, maybe May. Unsure about Beartooth.

If the weather co=operates June is a fantastic month for green grass, fresh weather and glorious sinshine.

Maybe start in the south and come north as the weather dictates.

4 months sounds grand.

acejones 01-12-2013 09:34 AM

The tourist makes a good point. Start southerly and progress north as weather improves.....and spend some time on the NP websites.

HeyWhatever 01-12-2013 09:39 AM


I was afraid that May would be too early...
there are several optional loops I can add into the eastern part of the route.
(New York to Maine (WET! :eek1) and/or Mississippi River Road).

I could also start at Big Bend NP in Texas and work my way up from there.

I lived in Wisconsin for twenty years and have frozen my buttocks off and been hailed on in July... so I know how random weather can be... add in any kind of elevation and it becomes even more so...

I could also, but not preferably, leave later, as I may have to be back for school by August 15th.

I have just started earnest research. Two books that are indispensible and have many on-line resources are:

The Official Guide to America's National Parks by Fodor's
Nat Geo Guide to Scenic Highways and Byways

Local knowledge, of course, trumps all of this... so keep the suggestions coming... :clap:clap:clap

thetourist 01-12-2013 12:06 PM

I'm back. I should have added the Hells Canyon get together, in mid-June, at Enterprise OR.

Check the PNW forum in Regionals.

Last year was great. Frost in the morning, then sunshine and warm weather. Perfect weather. Great paved roads in this area. A couple of amazing forest road viewpoints accessible by street bikes if the weather is dry. Google Hat Point Lookout Oregon and Pittsburgh Landing Idaho.

Pittsburgh Landing at the end of the road.

The Palouse will be in full green. Nowhere more green. It can be quite amazing.

Hells Canyon near Oxbow Dam (near Enterprise)

Near Enterprise. Gravel and forest road, but easy enough for hwy bikes.

And if you get here too early everything looks like this.
this was April

HeyWhatever 01-12-2013 04:23 PM

Hmmmm... that is another great idea to hit up some ADV gatherings... only been to Buell ones so far, which are usually a hoot... Thanks! :norton

oldmanb777 01-12-2013 07:17 PM

The "High Country" will still be winter until late may, and even into mid June. some years even later. So plan to be at lower elevations and southern areas until mid June.

HeyWhatever 01-14-2013 10:20 AM

I have done some plotting of the national parks I want to hit, leaving out any place I have been already... and seeing as it is going to be wet and miserable in the Northeast in May... I now have the idea of hammering out to Albuquerque around May 15th and then meandering along the rift valley in NM, hitting four corners, north side of Grand Canyon (have been to the south side)... and then Utah and Colorado north with the 89 North from Yellowstone to Glacier in mid to late July.

This will free up August for the southerly path from Seattle, Portland, Cascades and then late Aug/ Sept into N Cali and then the Sierras.

This seems like a reasonable modification. I think I was just making it too complicated trying to hit the East Coast in the same trip... I know I would make it to The Rockies and be feeling really pressed for time to see everything I want to see.

Another thing is that getting rid of things is really overwhelming. I used to not own things, and, well, now I have nice furniture and a pretty good sized rock collection and some original art I enjoy. I am sure friends will let me store some stuff at their homes for really cheap... so that would take a load off... pay three months up front and then mail them a check if I don't get back before September.

There is SO MUCH to see and do out west... I am waiting on taxes and the final say so on a couple of the job offers and then... ha ha ha... getting out of dodge in May. Keep suggestions coming for rallies.... I would post up my photo of the parks I pasted on the big map... but I really can't figure it out. Anyone have a clue how to do that without paying for a photo hosting site... please let me know!

Jrjoyce2007 01-15-2013 02:58 PM

I am planning a similar trip. Leave NC to hit the Key's for a day or so, then west bound to the Grand Canyon, and all the beauty over there. I was thinking once I was finished with the GC, hit Vegas, then San Diego, then head north.

But being mid April-ish if I slack off and fool around (yeah, probably likely :rofl ), how far is too far north? Utah was in the works, and I hope to visit along the trek, but I am not familiar with the region at all. Have been doing some research though, and it seems really hit or miss sometimes. Soldier's Meadows looked interesting, but I figure thats a long shot that time of year??

ADV wisdom and experience?

HeyWhatever 01-16-2013 08:25 AM

I started in San Francisco in January 2011, hit Point Reyes NP- which has a really sweet youth hostel... then headed south on HWY 1 to Los Angeles, Octillo Wells, Joshua Tree... then out to AZ, NM, TX, etc. The weather was perfect for me... I did all the way across to Everglades FL and up to NC... I took ten weeks and only had two days of bad weather in that entire time.

I could not tell you more about North of San Francisco, though... I had the coldest winter on record in the last 60 years when I did that trip in 2011... I generally camped, unless it got below 32 deg F. I had a few really really cold rides, including getting frostbite on my face... but the traffic was not bad. I would guess the west coast traffic could be a bear from May to Sept, though.

Jrjoyce2007 01-16-2013 09:48 AM

I am doing your trip in reverse, but after cali in mid april, I was thinking up to utah and colorado.

Does any one know if that would that be an issue?

via the little yellow rocket

eakins 01-16-2013 09:33 PM

just be flexible with weather. late season snow storms can happen.

HeyWhatever 01-19-2013 11:52 AM

My wall...

HeyWhatever 01-19-2013 11:53 AM

Anyone who can give me a hint how to get these to load automatically, the help would be much appreciated!!!

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