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I'll be heading out on the following loop starting after the first week of May and ending after the first week of June. Pardon the giant markers covering up most of the interesting information! I'll be leaving out of the DC area, hopefully riding the entire Blue Ridge Parkway and Cherohala Skyway, going through the Smokies, checking out the Barber museum in Birmingham, heading across into Dallas and Austin, swinging up to Carlsbad Caverns, Alamogordo/ White Sands, and Gila, New Mexico. Arizona and Utah will be a matter of dodging back and forth to see Meteor Crater, the Grand Canyon, Coral Pink Sands, Grand Staircase-Escalante, Capital Reef, and the Great Salt Lake. From there I'll be cutting through Idaho to Grand Teton and Yellowstone, then across WY to the Black Hills and Badlands of South Dakota. Some seemingly uninteresting stuff (or possibly the Mitchell Corn Palace) will happen until I end up riding along some rivers in Wisconsin on my way to Milwaukee before heading down through Chicago toward the AMA motorcycle museum in Columbus, Ohio. I'll swing back through Pennsylvania to visit more family and friends, then head home (hopefully still in one piece).

Was going to have a friend join me, but things fell through with his time off from work. So this will be a solo mission, during which I intend to camp (state and national parks where possible) most nights. The plan is to avoid highways, but I suspect there will be some stretches where there won't be much difference. The goal set in my mind is 5 hours of total riding each day (rather than specific mileage). The longest I've ridden in a single day is about 10 hours, and my '12 DL650 is a bit more comfortable than my old '85 Honda Sabre.

Gear-wise, I'm thinking that I may have to stick to my mesh plus layers for warmth and rain/wind protection given the likely temperature swings I'll experience over the course of the trip.

Aside from a random scattering of friends and family to visit along the way, my focus has been on the ride more than the destinations to this point. If anyone has suggestions for must-see sites or roads along this route, I'd certainly appreciate them! I might still try to see if there are any "world's biggest" or ghost towns to add along the way; otherwise, I'm open to suggestion! Food suggestions are also appreciated :thumbup:
 

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I'll be heading out on the following loop starting after the first week of May ... If anyone has suggestions for must-see sites or roads along this route, I'd certainly appreciate them! ...
I'm envious - anyway...

If you've never been in southwest Virginia, and since you'll be on the BRP anyway, I suggest a quick trip from the Parkway over to Grayson Highlands State Park. There's some interesting high country scenery there (open balds at ~5K feet elevation) that might be interesting to compare to what you see in the mountains out west (I've heard they have similar appearances). You can't drive / ride to the top of Mount Rogers (highest point in Virginia) but you can ride to the top of Whitetop Mountain right beside Mount Rogers, and Whitetop's nearly as high.

Oh yeah, I'd definitely plan / schedule a meal at Shatley Springs Restaurant on Highway 16 just 5 miles or so off the parkway (they probably have a website - lots of people travel miles to eat there). Go hungry. Wonderful country-style home-cooked meals (fried chicken, country ham, bowls of gravy, homemade biscuits, etc). Much too convenient for a hungry traveler in the area to pass up. (Disclaimer - I have absolutely no association with the place except for being an occasional patron (I live an hour or so away)).

Best of luck.
 

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You're going that far and skipping California, Oregon and Washington!

At very least you should make a trip to Crater Lake in southern Oregon. It really wouldn't add much time to your trip and that is a place everyone needs to see in their life. I have lived in Oregon my entire life and it took me 27 years to get there. After I went once I went back the next year and will be going back this year.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
You can't drive / ride to the top of Mount Rogers (highest point in Virginia) but you can ride to the top of Whitetop Mountain right beside Mount Rogers, and Whitetop's nearly as high.

Oh yeah, I'd definitely plan / schedule a meal at Shatley Springs Restaurant on Highway 16 just 5 miles or so off the parkway
Thanks for the tips! Whitetop sounds pretty interesting, and it certainly would be cool to compare. Of course, if I don't make it over this time, I'm always willing to make a separate camping trip to SW VA over a weekend :yesnod:
 

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You're going that far and skipping California, Oregon and Washington!
I'll actually be in central California later this summer, and I hope to swing out to Yosemite while I'm there. Got to check out Big Sur, Carmel, and the redwoods when I was there a couple of years ago. And I do recognize that Oregon and Washington warrant a separate trip :mrgreen:
 

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Maybe check out the Custer battlefield at The Little Bighorn on the way to the Black Hills. Make sure you ride over the Bighorn Range too, on the way over. If you have time, the Buffalo Bill Center of the West in Cody, WY is supposed to be a great museum. I've heard it can take multiple days to see it all. Don't forget to ride the Beartooth Pass just north of Yellowstone. It'd be a shame if you missed it since it is right there. And camp at the Devils Tower; it's a cool place.
 

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Thanks for the tips! Whitetop sounds pretty interesting, and it certainly would be cool to compare. Of course, if I don't make it over this time, I'm always willing to make a separate camping trip to SW VA over a weekend :yesnod:
If you decide to do that some day I suggest you take the time to ride Route 58 from Mouth of Wilson VA (Oak Hill Academy - great high school basketball facility is there, believe it or not) to Damascus VA. This is just a great road to ride but it also takes you by Grayson Highlands State Park entrance and through Whitetop VA (where you can pick-up Route 600 to the crest of the ridge between Mount Rogers and Whitetop mountains, then just take a gravel road off Route 600 at the ridge crest to the top of Whitetop mountain. You really can't go wrong with any of the roads in this part of Virginia - just stay off I-77 & I-81, of course.

In spring, summer, fall you can park the Strom in Damascus and hire one of several shuttle services to transport you and a rented mountain bike to "Whitetop Station" near the top of Whitetop mountain. They drop you (and probably others) off there and you get to make an easy ~10-15-mile ride down the mountain on the Virginia Creeper Trail (an old railroad bed - rails & ties removed, of course - our tax dollars at work...). Is nice to take a light lunch / meal and some water and a camera and just enjoy the long easy ride along mountain creeks and generally through deep mountain valleys, across refurbished (and very safe) old railroad trestles, etc. Very pleasant nearly any time but extra nice in fall when the leaves are changing color.
 

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You're going that far and skipping California, Oregon and Washington!

At very least you should make a trip to Crater Lake in southern Oregon. It really wouldn't add much time to your trip and that is a place everyone needs to see in their life. I have lived in Oregon my entire life and it took me 27 years to get there. After I went once I went back the next year and will be going back this year.
And around Colorado? :confused:

I know I know.... No matter what, any ride you do, this'll always be the case. A few more days, and a few more miles and you'll always be THIS far from something else you should go see.

Hahahaha... Looks like a fun trip! Too bad your riding partner backed out, rides are so much more enjoyable when you have someone to share the experiences with. :thumbup:
 
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