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Old 02-12-2014, 07:00 AM   #1
nhbubba OP
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Me, the great southwest, for maybe a week - Advice welcome

A little under a year ago a good friend and co-worker up and relocated from here in the greater Boston area to San Diego. We all heard horror stories about rents and housing costs, so I figured the poor bugger would be living in a cardboard box by now. It ain't so. Turns out he landed a pretty sweet place not far from the beach and is loving life. He has a 2nd bedroom for a guest to crash and has been on me to visit. This yankee has never been to SoCal and wouldn't mind checking it out. I happen to need a vacation anyway.

First thought was how much I hate rental cars. "Hey, why not rent a bike." I thought. Then "Well, hell, gotta check out the mountains, maybe make it up to LA for a day, see the place." That morphed into a hair-brained idea to spend the better part of a week touring the south west on a rental.. see my buddy for maybe a day or so. Never liked the SOB that much anyway!

Buddy does not ride. This is planned as a straight up solo mission.

Here's what I have for a (very rough) route plan:
http://mapq.st/1croA2x

Several of the 'days' are way too long and others too short. But it includes some roads I've been advised not to miss. I am seeking sport-touring type routes. Not after any off-road badassery on this one. A goal was to avoid interslab and stick to more scenic highways. I'm sure that does not make sense in a few places and I could make up time.

I also haven't planned any down-time to see things. That isn't important, is it?!


Couple things I am seeking input on:
1) Moral or supernatural support to get off my ass and make this actually happen
2) Rentals - I based the routes above around 'Vegas because I know there are several MC rental options there and I know I can get a reasonable flight. But I'm open to suggestion. So far, the best rental option I've seen from this vantage spot on the 'net is actually MotoQuest in Long Beach. They have BMW 700/800GS'es at not completely obscene rates. Eagle Rider out of SD also has a nice Tiger 1050 for rent on their website. But it is pricey.

That said, rental for a week or so gets expensive fast! I've been advised that I could probably ship my own bike (V-Strom 650) out there for half the cost. I'd then have to ride it back. Route plan would change and after the four corners area I'd pick up my feet and start making long day hauls back to the North East. Sucky thing is that is a solid 3 days of hard, boring riding to get back. Not my idea of vacation time well spent.

3) Timing - Any insight on the best time of year to do this. I'm thinking early May. That works with my work schedule and I did some spot checking using the historical data on weatherspark and the higher altitude places on that route seem reasonably warm enough by May 1. But I don't know the area at all... is May 1 too early?

I'm gonna be disappointed if I don't pull this off.
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Old 02-12-2014, 09:21 AM   #2
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Lived in San Diego for years, great town. Your route leaves little time for sight seeing, but it looks good. I would drop the L.A. section and Add Zion. Let me know when you hit Prescott, might be able to show you the sights......
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Old 02-12-2014, 03:07 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by surlywill View Post
Your route leaves little time for sight seeing..
Sight seeing.. isn't that what you do when you look around you, from the saddle?!

Honestly not much for the tourist thing. No patience for the guided tours or whatever. But yes, the plan is not laid out well. Most of my rally points were almost random. I expect the days to fall very differently from that. I probably need to add an overnight and redistribute across the board. I need to figure out if or what I'm renting or whatever first.

I gotta see LA man. I hear it's a freakshow. Ride 'the snake', maybe see a movie star or somethin'.

I'm thinking 4 corners needs to fall off. My ex went out there and claims it was underwhelming.

Thanks for the offer. Damned solid of you.
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Old 02-12-2014, 06:40 PM   #4
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Is your buddy actually in SD or Oceanside? Looks like O'side from your map. Some of your route looks like it takes advantage of tree filled mtns, like Big Bear & Idylwild, etc. You have trees and mtns at home? I like to see things different from what I can see at home so I'd pop into Joshua Tree, do the loop and head south on 86 past Salton Sea, head west through Anza Borrego and up to Julian (mtn and tree loop) back east thru the Cuyamaca's and into SD.

To each their own and you'll have a smile on your face no matter what.

If you end up within an hour or so of San DIego, be happy to lead a route unless you wanted the complete solo thing. Also available for mechanical needs or just throw a burger and beer at you.

And you have to know where to go in LA for the show - otherwise it's a giant city that will just swallow you.

Whatever you do.........have fun and safe travels.
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TrophyHunter screwed with this post 02-12-2014 at 07:36 PM
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Old 02-12-2014, 07:04 PM   #5
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I'd go with the ship your own bike route. Maybe even ship it home. Plus, being in San Diego, baja is 15 minutes away.
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Old 02-13-2014, 03:41 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TrophyHunter View Post
Is your buddy actually in SD or Oceanside?
Correct. Buddy settled in Oceanside. Forgive me for classifying that as "San Diego". From where I sit right now, it's close enough. But I realize it isn't. Probably like when the government tells me I live in the "greater Boston metro" area and I give them this:


I'm leaning ship and ride home. Lets me flatten the trip, not make a loop out of it, and leaves more flexibility. Costs less money, but will cost more time from work. ... But man, that's gonna be a long haul.
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Old 02-13-2014, 10:19 AM   #7
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No prob at all, just asking due to route suggestions. Still SD County

Enjoy
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Old 02-13-2014, 07:41 PM   #8
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What about Toroweap Overlook instead of the North Rim?

Seemed like a lot of smelly tourists the time I was there
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Old 02-14-2014, 09:08 AM   #9
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Or an overnight to see the N Rim at http://www.bar10.com/
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Old 02-14-2014, 09:48 AM   #10
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I agree about Zion. Must do.

After Natural Bridges, head south on 261 (Moki Dugway). If you MUST do 4 Corners then do it, but the 163 through Monument Valley is waaay better.

Down the 191 stop in at the Hannagan Meadows Lodge for a chili size!
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Old 02-14-2014, 11:36 AM   #11
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Thanks all.

Drew up a map.. but mapquest sucks. It has removed all of my buddy's picks for roads in AZ and near Lake Mead/Vegas. Also it has decided to route me through Mexico!

Highlights of amendments:
- Bypass GC south rim, bypass the whole Flagstaff area and just cut around Phoenix to Tonto and Apache-Sitgreaves NF
- North to Natural Bridges National Monument, then back track to 261 and south to Monument Valley
- Monument Valley => best route => GC North Rim
- GC North Rim to Zion
- Zion to 'Vegas with diversion to Lake Mead
- Drop four corners monument/tourist trap
- Drop Bryce



Overall trip highlights:

- Overnight in Oceanside CA with friends
- Ortega Hwy past Lake Elsinore
- Twisties east of San Jacinto (not even sure what this area is called)
- North to Big Bear
- South through Joshua Tree
- Pick up slab to AZ, divert north through twisties to Prscott
- Around Phoenix via twisties in NF's to the north (through Cottonwood, Camp Verde AZ)
- South east to Safford AZ, north through twisties to Eagar
- North to Natural Bridges NM
- South through Monument Valley
- West to GC North Rim
- NW to Zion
- Zion to Las Vegas via detour to Lake Mead
- Vegas to Death Valley through Red Rock
- Cut through bottom of Seqoia NF to Bakersfield
- South west to twisties, hit CA coast near Carpinteria CA
- South through Ventura to PCH
- PCH to Moholland Hwy
- Latigo Canyon Rd to PCH west of Malibu
- More twists north of PCH near Topanga State Park
- Best route from Santa Monica to Long Beach
- PCH south to Oceanside CA


Undecided where I am starting that whole loop. Likely either Las Vegas or LA/Long Beach. Priority things to see are in bold.

I estimate 9 days, 8 nights.
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Old 02-14-2014, 11:59 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nhbubba View Post
- Overnight in Oceanside CA with friends
- Ortega Hwy past Lake Elsinore
- Twisties east of San Jacinto (not even sure what this area is called)
It's called Mount San Jacinto.
You are looking at riding through Idyllwild and dropping down into Banning.

I suggest skipping the Ortega Highway and Lake Elsinore, you are looking at riding some pretty boring stuff between there and Hemet.

Instead, I'd head west from Oceanside on the 76 to Palomar Mountain, ride up the South Grade road, down the East Grade road, over to Julian for some coffee and pie, then down the Banner Grade (78) to Yaqui Pass Rd, to Borrego, then up the S-22 (Montezuma Valley Rd) to S2, 79, 371, 74, rejoin your route at the 243.
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Old 02-14-2014, 03:12 PM   #13
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Just so you know, the North Rim of Grand Canyon is not open until May 15. The altitude there is around 8000 ft, and it will be chilly (possibly still snowy) in May:
http://www.nps.gov/grca/planyourvisi...CP_JUMP_339333
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Old 02-14-2014, 05:23 PM   #14
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Yep, that's important info I had missed.

Chilly I can handle. Have electrics, will travel. Snow, probably not. Closed roads, definitely not.

As I say, I've been spot checking historical weather data from the web. But I dunno the area. And 8000 ft is definitely a new concept to me.

Thanks for the heads up.
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Old 02-15-2014, 06:51 AM   #15
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Been so mild this winter there is no snow anywhere. Yesterday was 70+ in Prescott. Rode 89a through Sedona to Flagstaff and had to take my jacket off. Nights can be cold at high altitudes but days are great thru spring....
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