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Old 02-22-2012, 07:35 AM   #1
jules083 OP
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Newbie route planning question

My girlfriend and I are going from eastern Ohio to Las Vegas in the middle of June, riding 2 up on an FJR. We're planning on camping as much as possible, using a mix of Tent Space Sign-up thread, private campgrounds, and Motels. We're planning on around 400 miles or so a day, with a few short days in interesting areas. Packing will be as light as possible, I'm a little guy and the bike is plenty heavy already. (5'9", 150 lbs) We want to do a southern-ish route on the way there, with a norther-ish route coming home. This is our longest trip by far, previously we've only done weekend camping trips. She's has her own bike but won't be ready to ride it that far by then, so we're stuck with one bike.

How do you guys plan routes? I've been playing on map quest and google maps for a bit, and looking at my huge (4'x8') paper map, but haven't come up with much yet. Is there some super awesome route planning link I've missed, or does everyone spend days on map quest figuring it out? Or just plug a destination into the GPS and hope for the best?

Thanks. Maybe I'm over thinking this, it's just looking like a PITA to get this part figured out.
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Old 02-22-2012, 08:23 AM   #2
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For a trip that long I think paper maps need to be a big part of trip planning . You get a bigger picture that way.

You have to decide what types of roads you want to ride. If interstates then planning is really easy.

If you want to lots of back roads, get good paper maps and just look for roads that go more or less the direction you want to go.

If you have a GPS and some kind of support software like Garmin Mapsource, then create routes of where you want to go using the route drawing tool. I guess there are things like this in Google Maps, but I have never used them.

But I think you do have to be going back and forth between paper and the computer. At least that's what I generally do.
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Old 02-22-2012, 08:38 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by wbbnm View Post
For a trip that long I think paper maps need to be a big part of trip planning . You get a bigger picture that way.

You have to decide what types of roads you want to ride. If interstates then planning is really easy.

If you want to lots of back roads, get good paper maps and just look for roads that go more or less the direction you want to go.

If you have a GPS and some kind of support software like Garmin Mapsource, then create routes of where you want to go using the route drawing tool. I guess there are things like this in Google Maps, but I have never used them.

But I think you do have to be going back and forth between paper and the computer. At least that's what I generally do.
We're planning mostly backroads. I think I'll just get the atlas out and start planning I guess. I have an Apple so Mapsource won't work for me.

Would Garmin Roadtrip let me load a route into my GPS, or is a different way to do it?
http://www8.garmin.com/support/downl...ls.jsp?id=4332

I want to be able tell my GPS where I'm going and what roads I want to take, but I don't know how, or if, this works. Maybe I'll just go with a map on the tank bag and the GPS tuned to take me to my stop for the night then go from there.
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Old 02-22-2012, 08:41 AM   #4
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As part of a 2-up team myself, I am the President in Charge of Route Planning. I like to use paper maps first to get a rough idea of the route. Since we try to avoid interstates whenever possible, I just get out the map and try to find a route alternative to the interstate; the narrower and twistier the road, the better.

I also consider what things and places we want to see on the way, and adjust the route accordingly. Once I have a rough idea of the route, I'll use Streets and Trips to figure out the mileage. My SO uses that to plug the route into the GPS.

http://www.microsoft.com/streets/en-us/default.aspx
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Old 02-22-2012, 08:48 AM   #5
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As part of a 2-up team myself, I am the President in Charge of Route Planning. I like to use paper maps first to get a rough idea of the route. Since we try to avoid interstates whenever possible, I just get out the map and try to find a route alternative to the interstate; the narrower and twistier the road, the better.

I also consider what things and places we want to see on the way, and adjust the route accordingly. Once I have a rough idea of the route, I'll use Streets and Trips to figure out the mileage. My SO uses that to plug the route into the GPS.

http://www.microsoft.com/streets/en-us/default.aspx
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Old 02-22-2012, 09:01 AM   #6
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You don't mention what GPS you have, but if you have a Garmin, BaseCamp for Mac is the software you want. It lets you plan and map out routes, and then drag them over to your device.

What I like to do is pore over my road atlas or Google Maps, and make a note of interesting routes (curvy, passes through interesting places, scenic features, backroad through nowhere, etc) that get me from A to B. If you plug those route numbers into Google plus something along the lines of "motorcycle", you'll usually end up with a nice shortlist of reviews and comments from riders - half of them are on advrider - that will let you decide how each road stacks up.

String a bunch of those together and you'll have a great route mapped out, customized to how you like to ride and what you want to see. If you're not the end-to-end planning type, you'll still have a great list of "highlights" to see along the way. I'm planning a 3000 mile trip from the northwest through the northern Rockies and am discovering lots of hidden gems this way....
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Old 02-22-2012, 09:55 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Snowkarver View Post
You don't mention what GPS you have, but if you have a Garmin, BaseCamp for Mac is the software you want. It lets you plan and map out routes, and then drag them over to your device.

What I like to do is pore over my road atlas or Google Maps, and make a note of interesting routes (curvy, passes through interesting places, scenic features, backroad through nowhere, etc) that get me from A to B. If you plug those route numbers into Google plus something along the lines of "motorcycle", you'll usually end up with a nice shortlist of reviews and comments from riders - half of them are on advrider - that will let you decide how each road stacks up.

String a bunch of those together and you'll have a great route mapped out, customized to how you like to ride and what you want to see. If you're not the end-to-end planning type, you'll still have a great list of "highlights" to see along the way. I'm planning a 3000 mile trip from the northwest through the northern Rockies and am discovering lots of hidden gems this way....
I have a Garmin, I can't remember what model. It's one of the cheaper automotive ones though, if that matters. I'm willing to upgrade if need be.

I guess I'll start piecing the route together with an atlas and go from there. I'm downloading Basecamp now, I'll play with it here in a bit and see how that works out.
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Old 02-22-2012, 03:27 PM   #8
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There is a nice tutorial for BaseCamp beginners here:

http://garmin-mapsource.wikispaces.com/BaseCamp
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Old 02-22-2012, 06:05 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by wbbnm View Post
There is a nice tutorial for BaseCamp beginners here:

http://garmin-mapsource.wikispaces.com/BaseCamp
Thanks. That looks more in-depth than I thought it would be. I just got home, I think I'm going to call it a night and look at this stuff in the morning when I'm more able to process information. I'm getting old I think. 9pm and I'm ready for bed.
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Old 02-22-2012, 06:26 PM   #10
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try www.ridewithgps.com its free, you can plot a daily routes or longer and save it to your computer or garmin, and it is very easy to use, any questions drop me a PM

btw i have plotted over 45,000 miles using it, its that easy
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Old 02-27-2012, 09:27 AM   #11
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That base camp thing is harder to use than I thought. I think I'll just use paper maps, write directions on a piece of notebook paper in my tank bag, and leave the GPS on in case I get twisted around too much.

I managed to make a route finally, I can click the 'send to GPS' button, but I can't find the route in my GPS.
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Old 02-27-2012, 09:47 AM   #12
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Best thing i found a gps useful for is planning my time. I'll punch in some location along my route for the day, and see how long it will take to get there. this way i know how long i can take for stops along the way. Also will give you a idea of how far you want to go in a day.
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Old 02-27-2012, 03:22 PM   #13
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I don't nail down an ironclad route. I do look at options on Google Maps and on paper maps and atlases. I usually get an idea of the more promising parks and some roads that should be entertaining that also go in the direction I'm headed.

Some states publish great road maps. Some states publish crap. An hour online will stuff your mailbox with planning materials. For states that send park guides, I usually mark the most interesting parks on the paper map. I'm certainly not hauling 20 pounds of guides along.

Sometimes I put state-published maps in the tankbag window but more often I use pages ripped from last year's road atlas. The tank bag shows a quarter or half a state while the GPS shows local roads.

I use the GPS to direct me a few hours at a time, NOT all day or multiple days. Sometimes I just want it to display a map without instructions. For me the GPS allows me to get lost and then find a reasonable route back toward my destination. I know that other people use GPS more thoroughly. Perhaps I would use it's directions if they weren't so preposterous.

At the end of the day I've used the GPS to find nearby campgrounds.

A library near me has 48 or 50 Delorme atlases where I can look at details.

If planning becomes a pain then take a break. You can make the trip with zero planning and get there fine. (In 1980 I rode a bicycle from central Ohio to Boston with only an Ohio map at the start. I picked up a free gas-station map as I entered each state. (Do you remember free gas station maps?)

Enjoy!
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Old 02-27-2012, 07:26 PM   #14
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I'm with Grinnin on this one.

I've gone from a meticulous route planner - literally every mile of a 6k mile trip was planned and routed through Basecamp - to more of an explorer. On that 6k trip, the best roads and the best "adventures" I found were when I went off route and off schedule. Now I just plug in the places I really want to see, but that's it. This summer's trip will be ~7k miles and I have 5 hard stops and a lazy ride up the Blue Ridge the only gps points plotted. I set the preferences to keep me off interstates (and Basecamp is GREAT at that... it will take you 500 miles out of your way to stay off an interstate lol). The overview of the GPS for local roads and a paper map for a high-level view of everything is a great combination.

400 miles is a nice relaxing pace, but if you're camping you may find that a bit much at first, especially if you want to be off the road at dinner time (personally, I find it a drag to stop to eat ride for another hour or two, then find a campground before dark. Dinner is my stopping time).

Don't let the route dictate your ride. Let your ride dictate the route.
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Old 02-27-2012, 08:43 PM   #15
jules083 OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robbflynn View Post
I'm with Grinnin on this one.

I've gone from a meticulous route planner - literally every mile of a 6k mile trip was planned and routed through Basecamp - to more of an explorer. On that 6k trip, the best roads and the best "adventures" I found were when I went off route and off schedule. Now I just plug in the places I really want to see, but that's it. This summer's trip will be ~7k miles and I have 5 hard stops and a lazy ride up the Blue Ridge the only gps points plotted. I set the preferences to keep me off interstates (and Basecamp is GREAT at that... it will take you 500 miles out of your way to stay off an interstate lol). The overview of the GPS for local roads and a paper map for a high-level view of everything is a great combination.

400 miles is a nice relaxing pace, but if you're camping you may find that a bit much at first, especially if you want to be off the road at dinner time (personally, I find it a drag to stop to eat ride for another hour or two, then find a campground before dark. Dinner is my stopping time).

Don't let the route dictate your ride. Let your ride dictate the route.
You're right. Set the GPS to my destination for the day, use maps and hand written notes to get there.

I normally eat dinner around dark. Ride until 10 ish, eat breakfast. lunch around 3. Dinner around 9. I like to get the tent setup by dark, then ride in town and get something to eat. This is assuming I'm in a good looking campsite where theft doesn't seem to be a problem. If I can't find a good campsite I just get a hotel.
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