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Discussion Starter #1
Hello All,

I'm planning my first long trip on the Strom for this spring, and I would greatly appreciate advice and input from others here. I hope I'm the right forum area for this request. Some details: I'll ride solo, stay in hotels mostly but may take minimal camping gear (but with sleep apnea and CPAP, I'm a bit limited there). I have only done a few one-day-each-way trips by MC previously. I want to stop and see things and so I don't see myself riding more than 5 or 6 hours a day. I'm not a fast rider. I certainly don't mind some off pavement stretches, and I'd even look for it. I'm looking for natural scenery, so cool geography and geomorphology is the 'thang'. I'll be 61, in reasonably good shape, and yes, I'll have extended medical coverage.

I've put the destination list together from reading the ride reports of others here, and doing some map googlizing. Actually, I started with the inspiring post from @Thighrod by going through his video and making notes of all the places he noted on the screen. I'm planning this in Furkot (which I don't really like) and will ultimately export it to Scenic (which I like, mostly). I don't want long slab highways or freeways, and I'm probably flexible on time but I'm thinking of 3 weeks overall. Furkot has some odd sleeping locations inserted. In a nutshell, Vancouver through Washington, Montana/ Idaho to Wyoming and Devils Tower N.Mon. Thence south through eastern Montana into Colorado, Utah and probably Moab area, where my wife would fly down and meet me, for a few days wandering. She flies home, I pick a new route back to Vancouver. I'm going to attach some screen shots of the map, but if there is a way to do something more useful for others, I'll try to do that.

From the Furkot 'Plan' tab, I have these stops/ places to see, approximately in order: Vancouver > Okanagan/ Omak (sleep) > Devils Tower N.M, (stay around here), Telluride Co, with a sleep along the way, Mesa Verde (maybe 2 days), Oljato Mon. Nat. Pk, > Monument N.P, > head north big green area (Bears Ears, Road Canyon, Grand Gulch, Fish Creek), to Natural Bridges Nat. Mon, > Bridger Jack Mesa road/ area and so on to Moab. Whew!

Furkot has this route, with my current settings, as 4285 kms/ 2660 miles, riding 215 kms/ 133 miles per day, but that includes about 5 or 6 days where I'd be staying in one place and exploring. So its probably more like 400 kms/ 250 miles per day. Again, I'm not time constrained so I can ride more or less on any day.

I'm hoping to get tips, tricks and advice from others who know the area or who have ridden it. I'm thinking first three weeks of May; weather? Too hot? Thoughts about this leg or the return (unmapped so far)? I was not necessarily planning on going to the Calif. coast, but any interesting route home is open for consideration. Equipment, spare parts & tools, all fair game.

I have a lot of learning to do about MC touring, but that is one of the main reasons I bought the Strom; go places and see cool things, natural and cultural. Maybe even meet people! And learning is one of the reasons to be a member of this forum. Thanks in advance for your time and contributions. OK, lets see if I can add pics. Seems to have worked. I attached full size pics rather than thumbnails, thinking it would be easier to navigate. I can edit that if thumbnails are better.

Thanks.

Ride overall.png



Ride Idaho Montana.png



Ride Montana evils T.png



Ride Colorado.png



Ride Utah.png
 

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I didn't look closely enough to see if you pass through Jackson Hole, along the Tetons, and travel over Beartooth Highway (rte 212). It goes to about 11,000 feet and was a great part of our trip.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Excellent tip, thanks. I don't think I have the route on my plan so far, but I will definitely look into it.
 

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I'm just an ol' Kentucky boy so pay me no mind. Back when I was finding myself on the greatest adventure of my life, I passed through Bozeman Montana. Lovely little town and may be a retirement place I'd have a hard time passing up. I road down to yellow stone but for the life of me I cant remember if i took 191 or 87. I'm almost certain it was 191. It was a blast! I'm sure someone from that area could give you more tips pertaining to which road was more twisty but Bozeman is a great little spot for a coffee break. Unfortunately, it forces you to slab it for several miles to get back on track so I totally understand not adding it. You're not gonna go wrong either way. Looks like a great map to me.
Safe travels in your journey gentleman
 

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When you get to some communities you'll have a choice of motels. Friends and I would try to pick from old funky places. They lack amenities and are in various state of repair. But they have Character. Some are walking distance to equally old funky restaurants that have been enjoyable. They tend to be less pricey than the national chains.
Having no real itinerary you'll be free to indulge in everything you see traveling down the highway. Mind the weather reports, I've hit some frog strangler rain storms in Colorado and Utah and Arizona.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks guys. Having some route numbers helps me as I stare at maps, so thanks. I'll definitely be looking for smaller places, and I always try to go to independent places and avoid big hotel or restaurant chains. I like to leave my money with locals & independents, but I know that locals work at the national-chain eateries & sleeperies as well. And I do always like to have a bit of time to get out and walk around places.
 

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I've done your route from Burlington,WA through Helena and into Cody, WY. I live in western WA. The trip east across Washington state on Hwy 20 is definitely my most scenic ride to date. I hit Glacier National Park and then to Cody, WY. I then went west through Yellowstone National Park. Scenery is definitely top notch.
 

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You need to define "spring" as the earliest I'd do that for comfort is mid- June and even then we got hit with a snow squall on Going to the Sun Road in Glacier.

Some photos for you .https://photos.app.goo.gl/w8nAPy3PetxdYyt38



Arches, Bryce and Zion you want on your list, Yellowstone but not on a weekend. You will definitely want to pick up an annual pass US Park Pass | National Park Entrance Pass
national park pass with hand_web.png


We rode with 3 season gortex jackets. My one concern for you is elevation as Beartooth is 11,000', some other's around 9k'+ Bryce if I recall. Going to the Sun runs 6.6k. Talk to doc about acclimatizing. We went sea level to 15.5 in two days in the Atacama in Chile and I was NOT a happy camper.

We just got back from Chile and while 8k' was just "okay" for a general out of shape 72 year old, three runs to 14.5k and 15.5k' were tough to brutal.

Looping back ..Mount St Helens is a treat. Wonderful road up and surprising devastation remainin. Partners shot a keeper.
270568


Nice that you have time. Good on you taking on Furkot. Tough interface.
 

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Prepare your mind for crosswinds, they can be brutal riding in them day after day. The time of year you are planning will be wet, so have good waterproof(GoreTex) gear including boots. Good gear can make or break an otherwise good trip. The higher elevations might see snow/ice so have some go arounds planned if the weather turns nasty.

Moab is enchanted...I love the place. As stated there is much more in Utah to see, so maybe route through southern and south western Utah on the way home. Here is my trip(s) report:

I attack a trip differently. Just a general overall route and I pull up a different destination every day on the GPS and let the mechanical navigator pick the route which can change at any time due to time, weather or a wild hair. I'm a local diner junkie too.

What tires are you running, and how many miles currently on them and your chain and sprockets?

Have fun, 3 weeks is a respectable amount of time on the road and anytime I am out over two weeks it feels like a win.
 

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It's hard to tell from those maps, but I've been through all those areas over the years.

1. Washington Hwy 20, North Cascades National Park. very nice.
North Cascades National Park (U.S. National Park Service)
2. Wyoming, Chief Joseph Scenic Byway, Wyo 296, very, very nice, into Cody.
3. You're going too far east in Wyoming, it's flat as your kitchen table there, go south earlier, through Thermopolis, spend an hour at the hot springs park there.
Thermopolis, Wyoming - Gateway to Yellowstone Country
4. Don't miss Rocky Mt. National Park out of Fort Collins\Loveland, Absolutely stunning, highest through paved road in N. America, or something. Stunning !
5. Colorado : Telluride and Ophir is nice, but you're missing the Million Dollar Highway, google that. Ridgway to Silverton.
6. While in S. Utah, check out Moki Dugway and Muley Point, just north of Mexican Hat.

Honestly, you just can't go wrong in any of the areas you've mapped out.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Wow! Thanks everybody for these excellent tips. I really, really appreciate it. Points about elevation & altitude, crosswinds, other roads, and what month 'spring' really means are just the sort of thing I wast hoping to read.

I did revise my trip idea to skip Devils Tower Nat. Mon, so that pulls me back from eastern Wyoming. And I may make southern Colorado & Utah a separate trip. Maybe I ride down, and my wife flies down and we meet for a few days, then head home separately. Thanks also for the note about the elev. of Bearfoot pass, at 11,000'. That does put you into a whole different weather potential zone. And oxygen percentage and air density strata.

Tires? interesting question. The OEM Bridgestone Trailmax (?). I just had the bike serviced this week, at 5800 kms, so 3300 miles. About a year since the first service at 1000 kms/ 600 mi. Original everything, except for stuff I added.

Of course, with the virus making travel impossible, I'm looking at an interior of BC and Alberta trip as an alternate in case the riding season is too delayed. I also mapped out a shorter trip from Van. BC to Ashland Oregon, passing Crater Lake. Ashland Or. was to go to a Mexican restaurant I saw on Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives. Agave, I think it was? I tend to plan trips around scenery and food.

This will be my first motorcycle voyage longer than one day out and back the next, so I also expect a few lessons to be learned the hard way. Or the expensive, tired, need-to-do-laundry, boy-is-my-butt-tired way. Ah, life on the road!

Oh, links to routes & pics perfect so thanks for taking the time to do that as well.
 

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Ashland is my back yard.. wife, doggie and I were atop Mt. Ashland last Saturday, still kids snowboarding, then, 70 degrees F in the valley for a ride before dinner...

signature says 650 ? If I remember... the trailwings were stock, and lasted about 10,000 miles on my wife's 650. I was using Shinko tires for a while, but mileage was only about 5 or 6,000 miles, I've gone to Michelin Anakee III, hopefully to get up around 10K again. It's possible to get tires changed mid trip, but I'd rather avoid it. Some of those areas you're traveling in don't have lots of bike shops, stock parts, choices, etc.

I'll have to look for that restaurant... LOL.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Thanks @Byronw . Yes, Trailwings on a 2017 650. They seem completely benign so far, but then I don't push them in any serious way. Ideally I'll get a bit more off-roady this summer, so I may know more about what I need for the next set of tires. But I figure that they have plenty of miles in them still for whatever trips I'm able to take this summer.
 

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Most over pack clothing. Merino wool t shirts and socks keep the funk away. For a long trip, including what I wear I only have two t shirts, two socks, two pair of Duluth firehose long pants, two Duluth Armachillo underwear, one micro fiber sweater, & one pair synthetic fishing shorts. Outerwear is Gaerne goretex boots, Keen sandals, Klim goretex over shell jackets and pants, military surplus goretex gloves(yes a goretex fetish indeed) and an old thick Harley leather jacket(I have been riding in it for 25+ years so I ain't giving it up). I have scaled it back over the years but that is still a lot of clothing for the minimalist rider.

Do you have a custom seat, or do you feel like you would benefit from one?
 

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Thanks @Motor7. I haven't yet done any trial packing or clothing assembly. I can see that clothes and rain gear etc is more like packing for a multi-season trip than 10 days at the beach. I think that some sort of competent glove is a good idea, as waterproof gloves aren't really. I'd take two pairs at least. Mil surplus a good idea, thanks. We do have one nearby.

I've been thinking about the seat. I rode to the north end of Vancouver island last August (for work, no less). Although only about 500 kms/ 300 miles, I didn't feel my butt was very tired or sore. Maybe a little, but not notable. I'm only planning on 400 kms a day or so, anyway. I've been wondering about peg & shifter lowering; I'm not really aware of discomfort related to knees and hips, but many say that even the 1" down and forward is a big improvement. The 3/4" or so up and back with bar risers made a very nice improvement in comfort.

I am trying to add amateur / casual fly fishing to my retirement activity list, but I'll leave the chest waders at home. 4 pc 9' rod packs small, and adds a certain panache to any pack mule.
 

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I wear a 3/4 mesh jacket, with a zip in wind\rain liner, a fleece lined nylon windbreaker jacket inside that if cold, and I pack an electric vest for upper elevation early morning departures. I left home several years ago in July with an unseasonable summer storm, it was 40 degrees and sleet up on Crater Lake, and that weather followed me all the way through Oregon and Idaho, non stop steady rain and cold temps. I also pack actual rain gear to keep dry if that happens, and it ads a layer of wind and cold protection. If you have an electric vest it can save you when cold, or the trip if your wife is along and gets chilly. My wife caught a chill on the Oregon coast one trip, we had come from inland 100 or so miles in the 90's, the coast was windy and 50 something.. I bought the vest after that trip, it would have made it much more pleasant for her. And me. It's not unusual to wake up in Oregon, Idaho, Colorado, etc, in July and see 40 degrees for a few hours, then 90's by early afternoon.
 

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Sounds like you are good on the seat. Yes, Peg lowering eases the knee joint and Ricks kit is a bargain. If Mr Arthur Itis has not been calling at 60+ consider yourself fortunate. After this trip you will be able to fine tune everything to your likeing.....next long trip will be that much better.
 

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if you want to do a bit of dirt road & BLM roads, i'd suggest riding up to the top of east pryor mtn, mt on your way to sheridan, wy....
  • there are vision quests still used by the crow on the mtn top.
  • view into mt is spectacular from east pryor mtn.
  • view into big horn basin & the rockies on the southeast end of the mtn is also spectacular.
  • ride thru the wild horse range down the mtn
... that said a) i spent 3 summers working on east pryor mtn & know the roads, but did not have a mc, & b) although no more gnarly than some missouri forest service/logging roads, there are a lot less people, so you might want to find someone to do this w/ you.... you know rapidly changing weather at high elev, the pointy stick thru the sidewall, that boulder that jumped out of nowhere....

 

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if you want to do a bit of dirt road & BLM roads, i'd suggest riding up to the top of east pryor mtn, mt on your way to sheridan, wy....

Totally excellent, thanks! But... what is a 'vision quest'? The 'crow' would be a American Indian/ First Nation? Sorry, just so much that I don't know, about anything, actually. But I did figure out that BLM is Bureau of Land Management. I think....
 

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Damon,

Invest in some heated and waterproof gear. Your life will be changed and mileage increased, no matter where you go. You've seen my gear - old and ratty- and me warm and dry on a shitty January day.
 
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