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Old 08-14-2013, 04:07 PM   #1
CafeRacer99 OP
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Balancing road trips

I thought about putting this in "Trip planning" but I think this is more a philosophical question.

I just got back from a 7 day trip, covering 2400 miles. 3 days were in Yellowstone, puttering around at near walking speed. (Never again, BTW. Unbearable traffic.) This was a meet-up with my son coming from Denver and my dad coming from Minnesota. So I had to get there on a certain day, and with only so much time off work... you know.

I love to ride but a lot of this trip was spent just getting to where I wanted to ride. I'm discovering that I hate riding to a deadline. It feels like work. Droning along on the highway, having to make today's mileage. Even the two-lane blacktops off the interstate feel like work when you're hauling ass through.

That said, I wonder if I would ever get anywhere if I didn't set goals for myself?

Overall, this trip was worth it, to ride with my dad and son, but I can't see doing this type of trip again. I think I'd rather put the bike in the truck and drive there. Of course I hate even thinking that way...

And again, I think if I just set off for a week with no goals or destination in mind, I wouldn't get anywhere. But is that a bad thing? How do you plan a trip with no destination?

I'm also thinking future trips should plan for daily mileage under 300 a day, to give me time to stop and relax and get to my destination in time for sightseeing.

I don't know where my head is at on these longer trips.

I'd like to hear some of you folk's thoughts on longer trips, trailering, daily mileage, destination vs wandering, balancing riding with sightseeing, etc...
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Old 08-14-2013, 04:22 PM   #2
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"a week with no goals or destination in mind"
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Old 08-14-2013, 04:28 PM   #3
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I haven't done any long trips on the motorcycle, but have in the cage.

I like to really lay down some miles through areas where I don't plan to stop. I get ahead of schedule, then don't worry about stopping to see something I find along the way. Along that same idea, I plan in extra days. If I don't use them, I get home early. That never happens, though, since I usually find someplace (or learn of it from a local) where I just decide to stay put for another day.

Sorry to hear about the traffic in Yellowstone. I was there a couple of years ago in early July, and it wasn't bad. The campgrounds were full by noon, so I claimed my campsites early in the day, but the roads were fine. That said, Yellowstone isn't a great riding destination. Speed limits and enforcement make it more appropriate for cars with automatic transmissions . 50 to 100 miles away from the park boundaries, it is another story. There are some nice mountain passes around there. Highway 89 from Utah to Jackson, WY was pretty sweet. I was longing for my bike through there.
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Old 08-14-2013, 04:29 PM   #4
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everyone travels differently and what might fulfill you might not be good for me. I cannot stand going on a bike trip with an itinerary - its so mechanical. It's like scheduling sex! Ya yer still going to have sex, but like a robot (which isnt the end of the world I know but c'mon)
I have always found that while traveling there are always little things that happen that are magical. Someone you meet, a random road you take to something cool. Years back my wife and I decided that we would make our entire trips this way; unplanned.
Usually we have one clear goal; get to Grand Canyon, camp here for two night etc and then we let the rest of the trip dictate itself. No expectations, let the road unfold in front of you.

Because there is nothing more magical than climbing into your sleeping bag not knowing exactly what brought you there and in the morning you'll wake up with the map and plan the next day.
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Old 08-14-2013, 08:28 PM   #5
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This is why I think my head is in the wrong place on these trips. Once I get on the road, I don't want to stop, just floor it until I am so hungry and tired that I have to get off the bike. My dad and I talked about it on this trip and he's the same way, just go-go-go, burnin' daylight type of mentality.

I can't even imagine starting a trip with no itinerary.
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Old 08-14-2013, 09:06 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eatpasta View Post
... Years back my wife and I decided that we would make our entire trips this way; unplanned.

... in the morning you'll wake up with the map and plan the next day.
...
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Old 08-14-2013, 09:16 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CafeRacer99 View Post
This is why I think my head is in the wrong place on these trips. Once I get on the road, I don't want to stop, just floor it until I am so hungry and tired that I have to get off the bike. My dad and I talked about it on this trip and he's the same way, just go-go-go, burnin' daylight type of mentality.

I can't even imagine starting a trip with no itinerary.
Funny, yeah. When I'm traveling by bike, I love the scenery, love looking around, but like you I tend to just ride along. Stopping when I have to. Then I pull off early to chill. Some say I might miss a lot, but I always seem to be having a good time. YMMV
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Old 08-15-2013, 08:37 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by CafeRacer99 View Post
That said, I wonder if I would ever get anywhere if I didn't set goals for myself?
I don't. I've tried the "take off for a few days with no plan or destination" trip a couple of times, and depending on the bike it usually results in me saying "this is stupid" and being back home the first day. Either the weekend is blown or I can come up with a plan and do it for the next couple of days.

I need either a point that I will ride the street bike to, or some route or area that I will explore with the dual sport. But my favorite kind of trip is trailering to a spot with the camper, and doing day loops out of there for a few days to a week.
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Old 08-15-2013, 08:52 AM   #9
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The longer the trip the more flexible it is for me, shorter trips require me to stay on some type of schedule so I can see what I planned on seeing. I usually average 300 miles a day on any given road trip, some days are longer while others are shorter. I've wandered about a bit but I actually like having some type of plan for the most part. The one time I did really wander it was supoosed to be a 5-6 day trip and I got back 16 days later. It's hard to set off for a week with no goals you have to get back don't you?
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Old 08-15-2013, 09:02 AM   #10
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I've tried it both ways. I like having a pretty good idea of where I'm going to end up. The whole "go where the wind blows us" sounds inviting until you pull into some town at 7:00 PM and all the motels and campgrounds are full because of the local bluegrass fetival.
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Old 08-15-2013, 09:11 AM   #11
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I generally ride 200 to 300 miles per day and plan every night to end up in a national forest or BLM land for free camping. If the weather is hot I try to find a high altitude camp with lots of shade, if cold I look for low altitude with sun. I try to have camp set up by at least a couple hours before sunset, sometimes as early as noon.
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Old 08-15-2013, 09:43 AM   #12
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I Like Detailed Routing and Schedule

I like very long trips, and I plan them in detail. My trips include dirt roads that I am unfamiliar with, so I draw tracks from my electronic maps and load them in my GPS to follow. I usually fly the route on Google Earth before I go. Most of the time they go through, but I have been stopped by water crossings and washouts too.

My trips call for making specific overnight destinations and fuel tops too. Out west you never want to pass an opportutnity to fuel after about 140 miles. Put those things together and I find I need a certain pace to make my schedule. That can be quite entertaining on some of the forest and farm roads along the way.

My dual sport trips typically call for 200 to 350 miles per day, depending on the terrain. XC trips on the slab call for 500-650 miles per day. I like to go coast/coast in 8 days with a few explorations thrown in for a day or day and a half.

For me the fun is making the route and schedule in advance, and then riding it. I try and predict arriving at way points within a few minutes of a target time. It's like a game.

The best trip for me has been the Alcan 5000 TSD rally. It is uber organized and requires hitting specific spots on time. We have chase trucks that haul our spares and luggage. The event is about 4600 miles over 9 days, starting from Seattle and finishing in Fairbanks. There are 2 or 3 timed sections each day, but you never rest because you have pre-determined starting times to make at each timed section.

I've entered twice and am entered in the next one in 2014. The club lays out the course and give us our road books the night before. It is quite the challenge. Then after the victory party, I ride back to Seattle, which is about 2700 miles. I do that in 3.5 days.

Here is the itinerary for 2014. We'll have about 50 motorcycles and 20 cars as starters:http://www.alcan5000.com/2014itin.htm

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Old 08-15-2013, 10:14 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CafeRacer99 View Post
I

I love to ride but a lot of this trip was spent just getting to where I wanted to ride. I'm discovering that I hate riding to a deadline. It feels like work. Droning along on the highway, having to make today's mileage. Even the two-lane blacktops off the interstate feel like work when you're hauling ass through.

That said, I wonder if I would ever get anywhere if I didn't set goals for myself?

And again, I think if I just set off for a week with no goals or destination in mind, I wouldn't get anywhere. But is that a bad thing? How do you plan a trip with no destination?

I'm also thinking future trips should plan for daily mileage under 300 a day, to give me time to stop and relax and get to my destination in time for sightseeing.
If you limit yourself to 300 miles per day on every trip, you won't ever go far, unless you have LOTS of time off.

For me, I mix up the days on trips. From my house to the Rockies is 650 miles. I usually will knock out 650 to 950 miles on the first and last day of a trip to New Mexico or Colorado. That saves me two days of the vacation for riding in The Rockies.

I have stayed in many places in Texas, Oklahoma, and Kansas over the years, but if time is limited, I'm going to ride all the way from The Ozarks to The Rockies in one day.

Last year I went to Lexington Virginia, 1000 miles away. I broke that down into two 500 mile days out and back.

Every ride is a little different, and it depends upon where you live. If I lived in Northern New Mexico, 500 mile days would become a rarity for me on vacation trips. As it is, if I want to spend a few days in Appalachia, or The Rockies, or The Gulf of Mexico, I need to have a couple long days to get there and back.

The idea of "no plans" moto vacation sounds really fun. But since I'm not retired, taking a few days or a week of wandering around at 0 - 300 miles per day would mean my touring radius would be smaller than it is now.

One thing I've been doing on some trips is pick a base, or "hub". I'll ride there as quickly as possible, then stay there for several nights, riding somewhere different each day. I think I like this plan much better than staying in a different place each night on a week-long trip.

Another thing I've been doing is staying two nights at many places along the way. That gives me a full day to check out whatever cool town I've chosen to stop in.

My trip back in June went like this:
Home>Cimarron>Ouray>Ouray>Ouray>Durango>Santa Fe>Santa Fe>Home

A New Mexico trip a few years ago went:
Home>Palo Duro Canyon>Santa Fe>Santa Fe>Santa Fe>Taos>Taos>Red River>Woodward>Home

A trip to Colorado a few years ago went like this:
Home>Denver>Denver>Crested Butte>Denver>Denver>Denver>Salida>Salida>Salida>Salida>Home
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rocker59 screwed with this post 08-15-2013 at 10:19 AM
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Old 08-15-2013, 10:17 AM   #14
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My trips call for making specific overnight destinations and fuel tops too. Out west you never want to pass an opportutnity to fuel after about 140 miles.
+1 to this. I always plan my fuel stops out West.

Even if a person is riding a "no plan" ride, they need to have looked at, and marked, known fuel stops. If range is limited, fuel stops will have an impact on a person's route.
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Old 08-15-2013, 10:42 AM   #15
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Back when I was able to do longer trips, I had a basic idea of what I wanted to see, and where to go, but no set timeline or route.

Like doing Skyline Drive and the Blue Ridge Parkway, or Florida, or a round the US trip.
I moved through the area's I did not like, and spent more time in nicer spots.
I always camped, so I tried to find something to get to in the afternoon.
Things did not always work out, and I remember LONG rides, like 24 hours or longer on the bike. It was so great being young and having a bike....

I really dislike having a time table. I am not fond of riding with someone else, I want to keep going or stop when I want, go where I want, and stay where I want.

But if I had x number of days off, had to be someplace at some point in time, I do not see being on a bike any different from being in a car, just more fun.

Maybe not these days though, what with all the traffic jams.
Traffic jams on a bike sucks.
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