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speedball73

Once in my work-life ride....

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Hi all,

 

I’ve got the opportunity to take a ride that I would have expected to do when I retired, so when the wife says go for it, you don’t ask twice!!!!

 

Looking for some interesting “stops” and any good advice/warnings for riding particular areas/roads etc. Got a favourite twisty in the area, let me know!

 

Also in the case of a mechanical breakdown or other issue if you are one of those vfrd kind souls who might be able to offer a garage or tools I’d love to hear from you!

 

Finally, if you want to meet up for breakfast or to do some riding I’d like to meet up, however I’m going to try and get an early start each day, just to avoid riding in the dark as much as possible.

 

I’m expecting to average 500km/day, in the time I have that’s what I gotta do to make it back in time!

 

Thanks in advance for any help or suggestions!

 

High level overview of the route below, starting and ending in Ottawa, Canada. Trip takes place in September this year.

 

f41172fbc282fbac667e9f32a9f138e2.jpg

 

First two days are basically just putting miles on to get somewhere interesting, don’t need much help there.

 

- Thunder Bay, ON to Bemidji, MN via Fort Frances (is the bridge/border crossing there as slow as it seems on maps?)

 

- Bemidji, MN to Bismarck, ND

 

- Bismarck, ND to Mount Rushmore, SD

Any advice for visiting Mount Rushmore on motorcycle? Enchanted Highway worth it?

 

- Mount Rushmore, SD to Billings, MT

 

- Billings MT to West Yellowstone, MT via Beartooth Pass and Old Faithful. If you have any good sources of info of road conditions on the pass that would be helpful. Do I need to purchase a park entry pass or something?

 

-West Yellowstone, MT to Rock Springs, WY through Yellowstone and Grand Teton

 

- Rock Springs, WY to Craig, CO via Dinosaur National Monument

 

- Craig, CO to Louisville, CO via Rocky Mountain National Park and Nederland (seems nice and twisty)

 

- Louisville, CO to Graceland Mansion, Memphis, via Oklahoma and Arkansas twisties that the folks on here have raved about - thinking of crossing Ouachita National Forest west to east. I have 4 days to accomplish this part. Right now route takes me through Pikes Peak, Lamar, CO, Tonkawa, OK, Hogden, OK.

 

- Graceland Mansion, Memphis to Bowling Green Kentucky (Corvette Museum!)

 

- Bowling Green, KY to Deals Gap/Asheville

 

- Deals Gap/Asheville to Cary, NC to visit an old friend

 

- return to Ottawa in two days, will probably try a couple of the famous roads around there, but since that’s my side of the continent will probably focus on just getting home!

 

-speedball

 

 

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Iron Mountain Road is near Rushmore and is a great ride.
The Dragon should be done mid week if you can to avoid the crowds.


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1. In SD, what is worth the ride is the Needles Highway, just make sure it’s during the weekday.

2. In MT/WY, I hope you’re not missing the Chief Joseph. It connects Beartooth hwy to Cody, WY.

3. From Craig, Co make sure to hit Twentymile Coal Rd, it is right after Hayden and goes around Steamboat Springs. Then you can take Gore Pass to Kremlins and onto RMNP. 

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For my (planned for) 3 week, 5,000 mile solo mc tour around the Baltic Sea, my wife had only 2 rules

 

1) back no later than 21st August

 

 

2) you sleep alone at night :goofy:

 

Plan loosely, be prepared to let a "must see" go if circumstances change.

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If you're so inclined, take a few pictures for us for when you get back. Or make a 1 second movie every day. https://1se.co

 

 

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If you're going from Montana through Colorado, you might swing North and go through Medicine Bow-Routt National Forest...riding AND vistas image.thumb.png.3c8056bb26949ef2bc25dfa7c066d0e9.png130 and 101...it's on my bucket list and it's Just North of Denver Colorado etc...so not too far out of your way...

 

Matt in Haymarket, VA

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Thank you all for the great suggestions, updating my routes accordingly.   Dutchy my wife's rules are similar, just a month or so later - back by Sep 21, and definitely sleeping alone unless one of my best friends comes along - I'm allowed to share a bed with him!

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On 8/28/2019 at 9:37 AM, Sweeper said:

Iron Mountain Road is near Rushmore and is a great ride.
The Dragon should be done mid week if you can to avoid the crowds.


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Iron Mountain Road confirmed on the route, and yes I'll be hitting the dragon on a Monday!

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On 8/28/2019 at 11:50 AM, Tiutis said:

1. In SD, what is worth the ride is the Needles Highway, just make sure it’s during the weekday.

2. In MT/WY, I hope you’re not missing the Chief Joseph. It connects Beartooth hwy to Cody, WY.

3. From Craig, Co make sure to hit Twentymile Coal Rd, it is right after Hayden and goes around Steamboat Springs. Then you can take Gore Pass to Kremlins and onto RMNP. 

I've got #1 on the route now, that day will be touch long so I'll see if I get going early that morning.  #3 I have on the list, #2 might be for next time.  Thanks for the suggestions!

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On 8/28/2019 at 1:32 PM, zupatun said:

If you're going from Montana through Colorado, you might swing North and go through Medicine Bow-Routt National Forest...riding AND vistas image.thumb.png.3c8056bb26949ef2bc25dfa7c066d0e9.png130 and 101...it's on my bucket list and it's Just North of Denver Colorado etc...so not too far out of your way...

 

Matt in Haymarket, VA

Thanks Matt, I think I'll have to pass on those this time, gives me something to come back for!

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Roads are pretty straight  in West TN near Memphis. You can take I-40 or Hwy 70.  I-40 passes 15 miles from me and 70 passes through my home town.  At some point even if on I-40, jump off to Hwy 70 before or at Camden, near the TN River so you can run up 69A to Big Sandy.  It has a few nice curves on it, nothing special, but way better than a straight hwy.  Hang a right on Hwy 147 in Big Sandy and cross the TN River on a good old fashioned ferry boat.  Turn north on Hwy 232, which is a really nice twisty road.  You will come out on Hwy 79 and will need to turn right (east).  You now have to decide whether you want a straight shot to the Corvette museum in Bowling Green or hit some scenery.   

 

If the idea of a small ferry boat scares you, stay on I-40 or Hwy 70 across the river until you get to Hwy 13.  Head north on 13, which has some decent curves but not quite as good as 232.  When you get to Erin, get off 13 and on 49 where you will pick up Hwy 79 in Dover.  You want to turn right and head east on 79.  (Personally, I'd backtrack to the west from Erin to Hwy 232 just to ride on it.)

 

If you want scenery, turn north on Hwy 49 into Land Between The Lakes.  There is some historical stuff, buffalo (bison), etc.   49 becomes 453 and comes out at Kentucky Dam.  You'd then need to work back east toward Bowling Green.  I'm not familiar with those roads, so just take your pick to get there.

 

If you want a near straight shot off 232 to Bowling Green, stay on 79 to Russellville, then on in to Bowling Green on 68.  I took my son there on my old 2004 VFR nearly 15 years ago on the way to Mammoth Cave and Diamond Cavern, which is only a hop and a skip beyond Bowling Green.  If you are short on time, Diamond Cavern is smaller and is never crowded, but still cool.   

 

After that, I'm not familiar with good roads in Middle TN until you get over on the east side of Nashville.  There are some good roads around Center Hill Lake, such as Hwy 96 along the ridge.  There are some nice ones down around the Sparta/Fall Creek Falls area also, plus it's along the path toward Deal's Gap. 

 

I'm half way between Memphis and Nashville.  I don't have much free riding time anymore, but if you have bike trouble, I can find time to haul you to a shop. 

 

Edit:  BTW,  I rode from near Toronto to the Chi-Chi-Mon and over to Sault St Marie, then up near your point B with Kanadian Ken and a handful of other really cool VFR.D guys back in 2006.  Our straight roads are more crooked than your crooked ones!  

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@dazedandconfused thanks for the detailed route, I was going to pass through Nashville but this looks like some nice riding!  Appreciate the offer of help, you never know.  I'm considering replacing my tires on the trip, so if you know good shop in Memphis you'd recommend I might get my tires done there.

 

and yeah, our roads are pretty straight!

 

-speedball

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On 8/31/2019 at 5:43 PM, speedball73 said:

@dazedandconfused thanks for the detailed route, I was going to pass through Nashville but this looks like some nice riding!  Appreciate the offer of help, you never know.  I'm considering replacing my tires on the trip, so if you know good shop in Memphis you'd recommend I might get my tires done there.

 

and yeah, our roads are pretty straight!

 

-speedball

I do my own tires, so I don't know of a good shop anywhere in the state.  However, if you make it to the Gap, you can go to Wheeler's in Robbinsville.   https://www.wheelersperformance.com/   Most of the VFR.D folks that need tires go there.  There's also  a former VFR.D member that could do it.   He's in Murphy, NC.   The guy's name is Mike,  ridewnc.com.  

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10 hours ago, tbzep said:

I do my own tires, so I don't know of a good shop anywhere in the state.  However, if you make it to the Gap, you can go to Wheeler's in Robbinsville.   https://www.wheelersperformance.com/   Most of the VFR.D folks that need tires go there.  There's also  a former VFR.D member that could do it.   He's in Murphy, NC.   The guy's name is Mike,  ridewnc.com.  

Both of these are awesome people to deal with. One advantage of ridewnc is that he will work with your schedule rather than you waiting around for a slot. All you have to do is call him and schedule a time to be there.

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I know a great address in the middle of nowhere in southern Finland should you ever go there....  :tour:

 

 

 

 

IMAG4616.thumb.jpg.5d3ac816982f567b7934cddd4761d7bf.jpg

 

 

  • Haha 1

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15 hours ago, tbzep said:

I do my own tires, so I don't know of a good shop anywhere in the state.  However, if you make it to the Gap, you can go to Wheeler's in Robbinsville.   https://www.wheelersperformance.com/   Most of the VFR.D folks that need tires go there.  There's also  a former VFR.D member that could do it.   He's in Murphy, NC.   The guy's name is Mike,  ridewnc.com.  

Mike has provided me with tires several times. He goes the extra mile to make sure every thing is correct down to what kind of valves to use for tire inflation. I've had no better tire service anywhere in the country. And I've seen a bit of it from the seats of my fifth gens. Highly recommended.

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2 hours ago, Dutchy said:

I know a great address in the middle of nowhere in southern Finland should you ever go there....  :tour:

 

 

 

 

IMAG4616.thumb.jpg.5d3ac816982f567b7934cddd4761d7bf.jpg

 

 

I think he has room for at least one more bike lift in there!

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I know a great address in the middle of nowhere in southern Finland should you ever go there....  :tour:
 
 
 
 
IMAG4616.thumb.jpg.5d3ac816982f567b7934cddd4761d7bf.jpg
 
 


One day - will buy a bike in Italy and make my way from there!


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So...I’m seeing rear tire wear of about 1/32 per 2000 km, and I have 8000km to go in the trip and I have 3/32 of tread depth - anyone see a problem here ;) ? By the time I get to NC I’ll have basically 0/32 of tread depth....

 

Thinking I might change the rear tire in Denver area, anyone know a good shop (Louisville area ideally)

 

Front tire basically shows no measurable wear since the trip started.

 

Thx,

 

-speedball

 

 

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+1 on Wheelers for tires.  But try to make an appointment if possible.  I was in the area a few years ago and needed a tire for the trip home, but had to wait for him to finish a couple other bikes first.  But while I was waiting, I did an up-and-back round trip on the Dragon, so I guess it worked out okay!  :)

 

As for a route, I wouldn't recommend going out of your way to ride it, but Route 1 North near Silver Bay, Minnesota is a cool road with many high-speed sweepers and very little traffic (at least the one time I was there).  It's a wooded area, but to me it felt like I was truly in the middle of nowhere.  Kind of a cool feeling.  It's been several years since that trip, so I can't vouch for road conditions now, but back then the pavement was terrific.

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I don't think you want to take the Fort Francis/International Falls route to Bemidji, MN.  I did it last year and found more than a few places on the Trans-Canada where the tarmac became gravel. I'd go down the North Shore of Lake Superior to Silver Bay and cut across.   It's a very beautiful ride.  

 

https://www.google.com/maps/dir/Thunder+Bay,+ON,+Canada/Bemidji,+MN+56601/@47.9930394,-93.1862284,8z/am=t/data=!3m1!4b1!4m14!4m13!1m5!1m1!1s0x4d5921774c16e98d:0x3d0557348f1d8b74!2m2!1d-89.2476823!2d48.3808951!1m5!1m1!1s0x52b82c4ec41eb7c7:0xd6f67c8df095e306!2m2!1d-94.8826861!2d47.471573!5i1

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Already en-route???

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I don't think you want to take the Fort Francis/International Falls route to Bemidji, MN.  I did it last year and found more than a few places on the Trans-Canada where the tarmac became gravel. I'd go down the North Shore of Lake Superior to Silver Bay and cut across.   It's a very beautiful ride.  
 
https://www.google.com/maps/dir/Thunder+Bay,+ON,+Canada/Bemidji,+MN+56601/@47.9930394,-93.1862284,8z/am=t/data=!3m1!4b1!4m14!4m13!1m5!1m1!1s0x4d5921774c16e98d:0x3d0557348f1d8b74!2m2!1d-89.2476823!2d48.3808951!1m5!1m1!1s0x52b82c4ec41eb7c7:0xd6f67c8df095e306!2m2!1d-94.8826861!2d47.471573!5i1


I had actually done the last part of Lake Superior North Shore on a previous ride, and I wanted to check out the part of Ontario between Thunder Bay and Fort Frances (it was also gorgeous, sweepers and hilly terrain).

As Dutch points out I’m already enroute but I’m keeping this thread alive for the “planning” stuff - I’ve started a separate ride report topic.

I’m in Bismarck, ND, heading to Rapid City, SD today (Sep 5).

Thanks!

-speedball


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