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Old 05-24-2011, 09:31 AM   #1
Sasha723 OP
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help newbie hit the road

Not crazy just housebound after being a cancer caregiver for 4 years and a grieving widow for 9 months. Hitting the open road from Fl to AK in early June. Need to return by 7/23 for husband's memorial service.

I have 1400 miles (8 days) riding experience. Also have one overnight at a camp site... Feel free to have a hearty laugh now.....

Yes ambitious, but I really need this. So any help with the following would be appreciAted.

1. Anyone have a tried and true non- interstate route to share?
2. Is there an alternative to Alaska that would be equally compelling?
3. Is there a way to connect with other riders during a leg of the journey?
4. is a satellite phone or laptop needed?
5. Other thoughts?

In advance, thanks for your help.
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Old 05-24-2011, 10:21 AM   #2
JimNtexas
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I'd suggest a SPOT Tracker. The extra cost tracking option is nice for your friends and family to follow you, but the basic subscription is really enough to save your life if you need help outside of cell tower range. And you'll be out of cell tower range a lot.

You can get them at Best Buy, Amazon, or any of the big sporting goods stores.

Sounds like a great trip!
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Old 05-24-2011, 11:03 AM   #3
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I am leaving end of may/beginning of june from Bradenton, not sure the route or timetable but must be back by end of June. May do AK or just head home.
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Old 05-24-2011, 11:20 AM   #4
rufusswan
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Sasha,

Ain't saying you couldn't go to AK with so little experience, but, you don't need an extreme journey, just a journey. The USA is so damned large that you will never cover the lower 48. Just go somewhere, then go somewhere else.

If you want to make "contact" while on the road, take a smart phone or laptop, start a thread at ADV or a blog somewhere.

Just go. Relax. Ride.
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Old 05-24-2011, 12:19 PM   #5
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I also agree that a trip for a newbie from Florida to Alaska is quite a haul. It is doable for anyone, but experience is so helpful when taking a long trip. Before you venture that far you might want to do a few 3/4/5 day trips to see if you have the right gear/bike for the job. If you plan on camping, there are so many things you need to bring along with you. You dont mention what type of bike your riding.
Either way, enjoy yourself and I hope you find what your looking for. Take your time and have a great trip wherever you go.
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Old 05-24-2011, 12:23 PM   #6
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I should have read your post better. I see you have a new Guzzi(nice choice). I hope you ahve hard bags(wet in alaska). Take a trip to the grand canyon. Very nice. On the way ride thru Colorado and take 550 up to I70 and go across to Rocky Mountain NP. All I can say is WOW! Some great roads and things to see out west.
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Old 05-24-2011, 12:32 PM   #7
8thdwarf
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sasha723 View Post
Not crazy just housebound after being a cancer caregiver for 4 years and a grieving widow for 9 months. Hitting the open road from Fl to AK in early June. Need to return by 7/23 for husband's memorial service.

I have 1400 miles (8 days) riding experience. Also have one overnight at a camp site... Feel free to have a hearty laugh now.....

Yes ambitious, but I really need this. So any help with the following would be appreciAted.

1. Anyone have a tried and true non- interstate route to share?
2. Is there an alternative to Alaska that would be equally compelling?
3. Is there a way to connect with other riders during a leg of the journey?
4. is a satellite phone or laptop needed?
5. Other thoughts?

In advance, thanks for your help.

I know the feeling.... having been a care giver for 7 years before my wife of 33 years passed away. I know the flee syndrome and it's defiantly a " must do" for your mental state..... it's seems like a long journey and maybe that's what is called for .... IMO keep your options open as to your destination. if AK works out, fine, but don't be so regimented that you feel like you have to go there.... after all, you just got out of a regimented routine now is the time for YOU..... BTW... West coast is awesome and the journey here, from there, is what it's all about...


enjoy your trip... sounds wonderful...
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Old 05-24-2011, 12:39 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rufusswan View Post
.... you don't need an extreme journey......
Nuts.
It's nothing but a long road.
No scary unknowns.
The little things will be learned along the way.
Tourist road maps are...free.

You'll want good wet weather gear.....and money to feed the gas tank.
Go for it.
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Old 05-25-2011, 04:27 AM   #9
Uglyprimate
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Alaska is not an "extreme" trip.

It's just several weeks of daily trips all connected.

I'd ride local from now till July and leave after the memorial.

Like, have the bike packed and leave after the last handshake.

If you leave now, you have 3 weeks up and 3 weeks back.

If you leave afterwards, you have till the first snowfall to leave.

In the next 6 weeks, you can discover anything from Florida to Maine or to California.

Unless you plan to sell the bike after just one trip, always give yourself a reason to have another.

1400 miles is enough experience to understand yourself and your bike. You will need to plan for tire replacement, oil service etc...

A laptop is not required, but will certainly make little stupid things really easy. (like a hotel reservation)

Most importantly, go when you are ready. Don't rush out just because you "can", go because you "want".

Alaska ain't going anyplace soon.
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Old 05-25-2011, 08:14 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sasha723 View Post
Not crazy just housebound after being a cancer caregiver for 4 years and a grieving widow for 9 months. Hitting the open road from Fl to AK in early June. Need to return by 7/23 for husband's memorial service.
Understandable. You need this.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sasha723 View Post
I have 1400 miles (8 days) riding experience. Also have one overnight at a camp site... Feel free to have a hearty laugh now.....
Not at all, we all had to start somewhere. By the time you return, you will be highly experienced at riding and camping - and better for it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sasha723 View Post
Yes ambitious, but I really need this. So any help with the following would be appreciAted.

1. Anyone have a tried and true non- interstate route to share?
Might suggest that rather than a route, you would prefer just a general direction, changeable on a whim, or because of weather forecasts. Some suggestions at the bottom of this reply.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sasha723 View Post
2. Is there an alternative to Alaska that would be equally compelling?
Judging from the number of riders we see up here every year - no.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sasha723 View Post
3. Is there a way to connect with other riders during a leg of the journey?
Check out the "Tent Space" list. As you get farther from population centers, it's easier to make contact with other riders going your way just by stopping at the same viewpoints, attractions, etc.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sasha723 View Post
4. is a satellite phone or laptop needed?
As others have suggested, a SPOT tracker would be nice. In conjunction with a Spotwalla account, it would give you a permanent record of your traveled route. Since this is your first foray into travel of this type, you will have a lot of thoughts to capture for future reminiscing. The laptop will help with that. With no tight schedule, you can take the time to keep an electronic diary with each day's events noted while they are fresh in your mind. It might be a good idea to have a compact external hard drive to back up everything, since carrying a laptop on a motorcycle can, at times, lead to problems.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sasha723 View Post
5. Other thoughts?

In advance, thanks for your help.
Others will have their own, very good, suggestions - but for starters I would suggest riding north a little way and touring the Blue Ridge Parkway from east to west. From there, work your way west. Take a look through the thread Pictures From The Great Plains to get some ideas of scenic places to visit as you travel. Small towns in Midwest farm country are great places to stop and visit with locals.

Work your way up to the Black Hills. Great roads, beautiful country. Then west into Wyoming and over the Big Horn mountains. Whenever I have the opportunity, I'll do at least one of the passes - Powder River Pass on US-16 between Buffalo and Worland with Ten Sleep canyon to enjoy, or Granite Pass on US-14 with great twisties on the east side between Ranchester and Burgess Junction, as well as more of the same going down into Shell Canyon on the west side - after the obligatory stop at the top to view Shell falls.

After that, over to Cody, WY and from there to Yellowstone, then back northeast to ride over the top of the world (or so it seems) on Beartooth Pass. OR... if you don't feel like fighting the crowds in Yellowstone, just turn north from Cody and ride the Chief Joseph Hwy to get to Beartooth.

Once you're out west, there are so many choices. If you're still thinking of Alaska, you could hit Glacier Nat'l Park along the way, followed by Banff and Jasper Nat'l Parks in Alberta... OR... continue on west to Missoula and turn down US-12 to ride the lovely sweepers along the Lochsa River after topping Lolo Pass. The North Cascades Hwy across northern Washington state would give you plenty to see, as would many of the highways in Washington and Oregon. Then there is the Pacific Coast, with hundreds of miles of scenic highways.

By the time you got that far, you would have a pretty good idea of what you were aiming for, and could lay out a pretty good itinerary for yourself. But you had better watch out - this kind of traveling can become addictive all too easily.
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Old 05-27-2011, 01:17 PM   #11
Sasha723 OP
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Thank you

Final count down... a week until departure. Thank you to each and every one who took the time to share your wisdom. It is appreciated more than you know.

One last ?...ok there may be more later...lol

Personal security... tAser or no taser?
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Old 05-27-2011, 02:59 PM   #12
243Win
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Your bear spray will be more than adequate for any encounter.

You'll have a great time, I did my first solo trip after getting layed off from a position I'd held for twelve years and it did wonders for clearing the mind and learning new things about myself.

Wave at the folks at the next campsite and park where folks can see your license plate -- "You came all the way from X on that? Wow!" Great for getting to meet the folks around you.

Don't travel with a strict itineray, just go in the direction that seems right at the time and it will be an amazing trip.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sasha723 View Post
Final count down... a week until departure. Thank you to each and every one who took the time to share your wisdom. It is appreciated more than you know.

One last ?...ok there may be more later...lol

Personal security... tAser or no taser?
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Old 05-27-2011, 03:04 PM   #13
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Check out this woman's thread...

http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=676532
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Old 05-27-2011, 03:42 PM   #14
High Country Herb
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It sounds like a great trip. Have you ever read Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintanence? 90% of it was great, I just didn't like the ending.

I second the advice about being flexible on your route. Keeping out of storms will be a lot nicer.

As far as self defense, the bear spray will serve you well for bears and humans alike. You should definately spring for the hip holster, though. It will do you no good in a backpack.

You may want to travel across the southern US on your way out (while its still cool), and the northern part of the country on the way back. I did the western US last year. The rock formations of southern Colorado and Utah would be great in cool weather, while Yellowstone, Rocky Mountain National Park, and Mount Rushmore were unforgettable in the north.

I hope you post about your experiences when you get back!
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Old 05-29-2011, 03:24 PM   #15
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Sounds like a wonderful adventure.

You will come back stronger and ready for whatever this world deals ya.

Good Luck

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