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