Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Philois1984

Help in planning a bucket list motorcycle trip.

Recommended Posts

I am hoping I can get some help in planning a bucket list motorcycle trip in the Land of the Stars and Stripes. Having recently turned 60 I am starting to think about what route I would take and what attractions would be on my not to miss list. I was hoping I could get some ideas from fellow VFR Discussion members. What would be the top two or three rides in your area or State that I shouldn’t miss? Also what are the attractions you would recommend? I am more interested in Natural Wonders and National Parks than Disneyland type attractions. I do of course have several things on my list already, Grand Canyon, Kennedy Space Centre ect. I plan on plotting any suggestions on a large map and then attempting to design a route that takes in as many as possible. If you can be fairly specific about location of the best rides it would be a great help. This trip is still some time away but I enjoy planning trips almost as much as the trip itself. My wife and I were lucky enough to spend a year driving (unfortunately) around Europe in 2000 a trip that was three years in the planning. So please fire away with any suggestions, all will be appreciated. Thanks in advance. Phil and Lois.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Kudos to you buddy! I'm now in Colorado, but I can tell you the best roads (hands down) in North Carolina that are bucket list worthy:

Hwy 221 between Blowing Rock, NC (GREAT little town to visit!) and Grandfather Mtn (Amazing ride up to the top and the mile high bridge). Then Linville Gorge (access via the Blue Ridge Parkway). All within 30 minutes of each other and amazing scenery and unbelievable roads.

Also, in NC, Hwy 80 between the BRP and Marion is outstanding in beauty and twisties. Hwy 143 (Cherohala Skyway) is absolutely beautiful and offers an amazing view of the Smoky Mtns on the southern tip. Near there is of course, the "Dragon".

Of all the roads I've ridden, those are the most memorable.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Are you thinking of visiting all of these things on a motorcycle? Or visiting and renting a bike while there?

 

I mention because the US is huge. Like Australia. Grand Canyon to Kennedy Space Center is roughly the distance from Adelaide to Perth.  Or Townsville to Melbourne. Just so you can plan accordingly.  If you give folks an idea of places you're already excited to visit, we might have more specific advice for things near, or near-ish to consider.

 

On a larger scale, If you're thinking Grand Canyon, might as well consider places in California. Yosemite is one of the most beautiful places on earth, but additionally there are all kinds of fun and beautiful roads in the Sierra Nevadas. A good number of us are in Southern California, too (5 hours South) and a few in Northern California, so if you do go west you'll get lots of advice on favorite roads elsewhere in California and maybe even folks to show them to you. Northern California is packed with lovely motorcycle journeys, too.

 

Out of the Grand Canyon, if you go North through Utah there's a bunch of weird and beautiful scenery to be found. Zion, Arches. hike to Angel's Landing...  lots to do. Then visit Colorado -- we have several Denver folks here who can give advice.   If you're going nuts, mid summer at Glacier national park in Montana is amazing. Hell, lots of the rockies are amazingly beautiful.   There is no lack of natural wonders in the West to see.

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

+1 Igrok (Heinlein reference?) and MooseMoose, great suggestions.

 

Phil, we need to know time of year (some great passes are snowed in to June, 5M tourists at Yosemite in the summer, etc.), and how long your trip will be--a week, a month? Longer?

 

Sounds great, you have to promise to post pics!

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My $.02 for a few can't miss motorcycle roads  . . .  Plenty more than what I list - Cherahola Skyway, Deals Gap, etc.   Others will surely offer theirs as well. 

 

Hwy 12 from Kamiah, Idaho to Lolo, Montana (photo below - 2006) - sign now reads "99 miles".  No civilization for the entire way - through wilderness area.  Undergoing repaving this summer tho - likely some construction delays.  Check the Idaho highway department website for updates. 

 

https://goo.gl/maps/bMYqSGC9n3dTbeN5A

 

gallery_20057_5641_400178.jpg

 

Beartooth Pass from Cook City, Montana to Red Lodge, Montana - national scenic highway - pass summit 11,000 feet - 3,350 meters.   Awesome summit view is probably 100 miles in every direction.  Both this and Chief Josef, below are on the north side of Yellowstone if you wanted to visit there. 

 

https://goo.gl/maps/kT69mJRVSX8ZFbpD6

 

Chief Josef pass

 

https://goo.gl/maps/6L2BJ6fLXWQUsXm87

 

Bluff, Utah to Arizona border.  The road's only average, but the scenery . . . oh the scenery . . . below is Twin Rocks at Bluff, and Monument Valley, UT - 14 miles north of UT/AZ border.  Can combine this with a Grand Canyon visit.  This glosses over tons of other scenic areas in Southern Utah.  Work east on Highway 12  to Zion Park, Bryce Canyon,  Grand Staircase - Hwy 12 has tons of great scenery. 

 

gallery_20057_6985_248595.jpg

 

Monument Valley

gallery_20057_6985_79631.jpg

 

 

And the Grand Canyon - there aren't many things that draw breath from the body - it is one of them.  Calling it "Grand" is probably an understatement - it's beyond words.  You absolutely cannot grasp the immensity of it from a photo - only in person does the true gravity of it sink in.  Looking at the exposed rock is looking back hundreds of millions of years in time.    It should not be missed.   The photo is on the South rim - lots more views there than the north side but also far more crowds too.  If I could visit just once (and on a bike) I'd probably go South side. 

 

gallery_20057_6985_115123.jpg

 

Lots of great roads in Northern California - for example, Redding (or start in Red Bluff and take CA 36 the entire way) to the Redwoods - ancient forests with some of the largest trees on Earth - "Avenue of the Giants". 

 

https://goo.gl/maps/sQ49Kdypy1XKW33u7

 

Plenty of awesome riding in Colorado - Montrose to Durango as one example.  

 

https://goo.gl/maps/qPUPvrLwz4mL9GSX6

 

Try Googling "Best US motorcycle roads" or similar - you'll get lots of suggestions.

 

http://www.motorcycleroads.com/best/?s=75

 

You mentioned the Space Center in Florida - seeing the shuttle Atlantis is also an awesome sight.  You can see Endeavour in Los Angeles, but it's not displayed as well.   It's much larger than the launch video makes it seem.  Stand there and imagine something that large accelerating from a standing start to a speed of 5 miles (8km) per second in just 8 1/2 minutes.  Incredible. 

 

Atlantis-with-Orbital-Sunrise.ashx?h=950

 

Best to get this trip in while you can before the next gov't reduces us to riding electric scooters and motorcycle touring is just a quaint memory. 

 

If you make the trip, be sure to post photos.

Cheers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for all the suggestions so far guys I really do appreciate it. As I said this trip is probably a couple of years away but I do like to plan ahead and do a fair bit of research. While I know I can google best roads ect I thought I would get some tips from people who know there specific area and also there favourite roads on trips they have done. No idea what time of year the trip would start but the dream is to do about one year. When we toured Europe for a year I thought that it would be heaps of time but really we could have taken three or more and still not have seen everything we wanted too. I know the USA will be the same and I have a realistic idea of the vastness of the North American continent. I will definitely be purchasing a second hand bike (VFR of course) as renting wouldn’t be economically viable over a year. I will definitely keep you posted when I have firm plans, until then I will mark a map and dream. Thanks again and safe riding over Easter everyone.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Also thanks for the photos I will copy them and save to an album titled USA dreaming😊

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

FWIW and at 60, you know this for sure :tongue:

 

Do it sooner than later....

 

Life has a tendency to happen while you are busy making plans....

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Dutchy said:

FWIW and at 60, you know this for sure :tongue:

 

Do it sooner than later....

 

Life has a tendency to happen while you are busy making plans....

 

 

Absolutely!

 

Rode South Island New Zealand 2 years ago on a VFR. 

 

You have to do these things or suddenly it'll be too late.

 

Note to self: start planning next trip (this thread sounds like one to follow!).

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As others have mentioned, there are so many great National Parks out west. Zion, Yosemite, Glacier, Grand Canyon, and Redwoods can't be missed. Just to add a few places I haven't seen mentioned yet:

 

Crater Lake National Park

1703773625_TempAlbum-3of4.thumb.jpg.741127aa5215eb44a3b1dd938dec0777.jpg

 

Pacific Coast Highway

1774047494_TempAlbum-1of4.thumb.jpg.b273e5ace8b0bfe003372121a12f036b.jpg

 

Joshua Tree National Park

1240874277_TempAlbum-4of4.thumb.jpg.d1be389d70ad6105a8f5f6a9a8e1469f.jpg

 

Kings Canyon National Park

646249904_TempAlbum-2of4.thumb.jpg.4277129b22466ac59adc15f20a333aa5.jpg

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

While you all have mentioned some pretty good spots, although I'd have take exception to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon

over the North Rim, no comparison in my book, I cannot believe you've not mentioned...drum roll please...Worlds Largest Ball of Twine,

or The Garden of Eden. A couple of often overlooked wonders that can cause serious gape-jaw.

  • Haha 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Call me derelict - I totally forgot about Crater Lake - great suggestion!  It's it's almost in my back yard.  The cobalt blue of the water  is something else that cannot be captured by a camera.  It's an extraordinary sight.  The old Mt Mazama, it blew its top about 7,700 years ago leaving the 600 meter deep Crater Lake caldera behind.  It's Oregon's only National Park. 

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mount_Mazama

 

Another road I like across Oregon is from Timberline Lodge on Mt Hood (at about 1,800 m) across to Fossil (name derived from the ancient fossil beds in the area) and on across to Baker City.  Great roads, great scenery - not much traffic.  One of my favorite "out and back" overnight weekend rides. 

 

https://goo.gl/maps/4aF3mUokMmfY6TDu8

 

Timberline Lodge

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timberline_Lodge

 

Road from Shaniko to Fossil

large.582a8b637c1a9_RoadtoFossil.jpg.316

 

 

 

 

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would recommend riding Shenandoah National Park on the Skyline Drive and the entire length of the Blue Ridge Parkway. There’s some beautiful views on there. I enjoy going up some of the peaks in New England, like Mt Washington and Graylock Mountain. The Kancamagus highway in New Hampshire is fun along with the Hurricane Mountain road.  Have fun exploring the states!

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, Mainer said:

The Kancamagus highway in New Hampshire i

Drove this a couple of summers back. It is beautiful. Lots of good riding roads in Vermont, too. I stayed near Woodstock and hiked along the Long Trail for a few days. Ridiculously beautiful in July.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 4/17/2019 at 9:51 PM, Cogswell said:

And the Grand Canyon - there aren't many things that draw breath from the body - it is one of them.  Calling it "Grand" is probably an understatement - it's beyond words.  You absolutely cannot grasp the immensity of it from a photo - only in person does the true gravity of it sink in.

This is so true.  I always tell people that you don't just see the Grand Canyon but you actually can feel it through your whole body when you're there.  People toss around the word awesome to describe all sorts of nice things but visiting the Grand Canyon is truly an awesome experience.

 

A few great places to see in the North East.  Start with Niagara Falls, the roads around the area aren't that exciting and the towns around the Falls themselves are very touristy BUT the Falls are worth the hassle, stunning.  Best viewed in the morning when it's quiet and everyone is asleep, between 6 and 9am.  The Canada side is better and I assume you will have a passport so make a run for the border if time allows.  If you want to stay the night, clean and cheap rooms can be found just south of the tourist area near the falls on the Canada side, the US side is kind of divey.

05%20Niagara-Falls_zpsn7hjy8ma.jpg

 

A ride through the Lake George area is full of great roads and beautiful scenery but nothing really epic.

downhill.jpg

 

trollin.jpg

 

Find HWY 9 and head towards Hogback Mountain for a fun ride through the Green Mountains.

VT-Hwy-9_zps6efbf2e0.jpg

 

You can make your way to the already mentioned Kancamagus Highway.  It's worth spending a whole day there and ride the loop from Franconia Notch, Crawford Notch, Bear Notch road and back around the Kancamagus.  You can find Hurricane Mountain Road nearby (neat road, very short but worth it if you're in the area).  You can also take a few hours and ride to the top of Mt. Washington and even get a sticker for the achievement!  If it's still around and owned by the same people, School House Hotel in North Conway is just about the cleanest and cheapest place to stay.

 

12crawford-notch-state-park_zps8edf7608.

Fun drop at Crawford Notch.

 

26-Down-the-Mountain_zpsh6jkx7m4.jpg

Looking down from a rest stop on Mt. Washington.

 

03mountainrange_zpskn6nmyew.jpg

A view along the Kancamagus.

 

15hurricanewest_zpsirquwngh.jpg

And part of Hurricane Mountain Road.

 

There's lots of great roads and great eats in New England.  A trip into Boston itself is worth it too.  Be happy to show you the sites if you make it this far.

 

 

 

 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Privacy Policy.