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Hey Dudes Ive since returned on a trip across the country - like all the way across - and upon approaching the 6th month mark of my return I figured Id write up a report of this journey, partly because it was awesome and partly because Ill forget all the details the more I wait. Im sure ill end up retelling a romanticised version in my old age but for now Ill keep it to an actual ride report with the notes I kept along the way as well as a bunch of pictures I took - who doesnt like pictures.

The summary of the trip was mashup of ideas that formed into the final idea to ride from Florida to Alaska and then back. I had never seen the west coast before, I enjoy camping and Im not committed to a family or house to care for. The original idea was to do a long trip in a van with some friends but since mostly all of my friends couldnt take 3 months off work and the idea of a motocamp trip sprang up. This morphed into a plan for a solo motorcycle run with stops along the way I had been marking for the last few years on google earth and the rest just kind of seeing what happens.

I saw a schedule gap on the construction job I work on pulled the trigger for a new bike to make the run on since I didnt have confidence my 06' scrambler with 47k on the clock would make it. So with a month to go I took it home, slapped a windshield, topbox and gas can on it and ran through the break in period.

Boom a Scrambler 1200 - Riding in style


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So May 1st I pack up, give a key for my apartment to a friend and set off with a nice and late start at noon. I head west down I-10 plowing down the nice and straight roads we have along the Gulf coast and get the feel for the bike loaded full up. It was a pretty dull ride but the bridge nerd in me was impressed by the Atchafalaya bridge over the swamp. I headed down to Rutherford beach and set up camp just before sunset for the first night. The pic looks beautiful but fails to show the gail force winds coming right off the Gulf and just about blowing my tent away. i remember sitting and thinking "maybe I overdid it with this one". I also ran out of water... So I figured id take the time to adjust to what I need to pack, but other than a headlamp i didnt forget anything at the house.

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The next day the wind had settled and I packed up after talking to an old dude touring in his converted Prius, shook off the self doubt and headed west across a ferry along some oil towns and through Houston (which is enormous btw). Pretty long unremarkable leg with a touch of rain and made my way to Austin to meet up with a friend of mine.

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So as one does when they meet up with an old friend we went out and drank a ton of beers which went about as well as you would expect. Regardless I was able to leave around 9am after thanking him for the hospitality and ran down Devils backbone/route 32 on the way to San Antonio. Stopped by the river walk to have lunch and feel like a tourist. The intention of the beginning of the trip was to make time and plow out of Americas armpit but I had read about the twisted sisters in Texas and was able to ride avoid the interstate and ride up route 336. Ive lived in Florida for the fast few years and had been deprived of some decent riding roads so cruising up that route was sweet. I ended up setting up camp outside of Sonara but not before I got caught in some flash rain.
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Ended up talking to this lady in her 60's who told me about how shes hit all 4 corners and perimeter of the continental US - On her bicycle. Kudos to her, that sounds miserable but seriously impressive.
 

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The next day I put the hammer down and kept on trucking, the previous day to ride the back roads was great but Texas is huge and my schedule said it was time to leave. By the time I hit Fort Stockton I felt like I had finally entered the rootin' tootin' wild wild west. I headed north up 285 and the cowboys turned into oil riggers and business was booming. I flew through there at a min of 85 mph and didnt think to stop (not that theres anything to see besides gas flares and pop up trailer camps), the road was packed with oil tanker semi's and they didnt seem intent on slowing down even with the potholes that littered the road.
I crossed into New Mexico and made my way to Roswell by early afternoon. Went to the alien museum and spaced out, followed up with some other extraterrestrial amusement. As intriguing as camping out in Rosewell would have been I figured I could make it to Whitesands before the sun set. So I gave up on the chance of contacting outside life and bombed down 380/70 towards Alamagordo - another great road to ride with large sweepers.
I made it to White Sands in time and it paid off. I got some time to hike around the dunes and sunset was great. I headed back to Alamagordo and set up camp (in the dark) but not after getting a green chili burger at the Hi Ho Diner.
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The next morning i doubled back I picked up some pistachios and doubled back to Cloudcroft to ride around some of the mountain backroads. Made it to Weed for a cheap joke and got some green chili BBQ in town in Cloudcroft. its odd to see a forest on a mountain in the middle of the desert. I headed down the mountain and up through Billy the kid country (Lincoln County), the wind really picks up across the wide open ranges. By afternoon time made it up to Santa Fe to meet up with my Aunt and Uncle and some more family and crash for the night.
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Spent the next morning walking around downtown Santa Fe and ate breakfast (covered in green chili of you're sensing a theme here). Santa Fe is pretty small but they keep it authentic with the pueblo style and maybe not so affordable jewelry/storefronts. Either way its a nice breath of fresh air from the east coast that ive always lived on.
The stop in Santa Fe was quick and by noon I hopped back on the bike and rode north through Espanola and Abiquiu and waved at Georgia O'Keeffe as I passed. The road around the dam (rt 96) was great but by the time I crossed into the Navajo reserve it was apparent they arent skilled in running motor graders. The roads dont matter because eventually all you can focus on is Shiprock as it becomes a behemoth as you approach it. I must have been in awe because i didnt take a picture of it, instead I stopped by 4 corners which is comparatively lame. its just a survey plaque in the ground that none of the surrounding states agree in the co-ordinate boundaries. Either way I crossed into Utah and the campsite I planned on staying at was full up so I had to search for another and stumbled across a jackpot.
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This site is set up on the canyon rim cliff, such a sweet front porch.
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Packed it all up and rode into Fry Canyon, got lost on some gravel road and popped back to a road that headed to Natural Bridges national monument. Took a break to to hike a for a few hours and what do you know, theres a ton of impressive natural bridges strewn about the place. Looped back so could carry on east and cruised through the Valley of the Gods - which I would recommend to anyone, really accessible and visually stunning.
After a quick lunch I made my way out to monument valley (queue "ghost riders in the sky"). I managed not to plow over anyone taking their Forrest Gump picture and cruised passed the monuments with a storm looming in the foreground - very dramatic. The storm really swept in and I picked up the pace to avoid getting caught in the rain but the wind didnt let down and eventually made it to Page for the night.
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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks Silv, Im just getting started.

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I got my first introduction to the lovely Mormon beer laws but I had Antelope Canyon to look forward to in the morning. So the next day off I went and booked a trip to the lower canyon. The natives have really figured out how to funnel people through but it is an awesome tour - they are slot canyons formed by flash floods and the natives used to chase antelopes into them to fall to their death!
I stopped to talk with a couple doing a motorcycle tour before heading west out past Lake Powell. It was another trial to beat the incoming storm that you can see and feel coming from like 100 miles away, the wind is unrelenting in the desert. Next stop was Zion national park and the ride in is incredible through the east entrance on Rt. 9. I got lucky to find a campsite in the park from reservation cancellation and spent the rest of the day scoping out the park and trail hoping.

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The following day set out to conquer the park and took the bus up the route. Made stops up the way for some of the short hikes but the longer legs were closed or needed to be cleared. The Narrows was also closed for entry but I managed to knock out Angels Landing. All this hiking really showed the flaws in my pre trip beer drinking and weights only conditioning plan as I got rained on and cramped up on the way down but the park is beautiful - would definitely return. I went out to eat after i dried off and crashed hard that night.
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There was a chance of more rain the following morning so I packed up early and headed out the much less exciting west entrance to I-15. That stretch of I -15 through Virgin River Gorge is probably the most fun Interstate road ive ever ridden. Its a long steep descent through a sweeping canyon at about as fast as you can manage. Unfortunately I passed the Valley of Fire but I made my way around Las Vegas and stopped by red Rock Canyon for a break.
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I was sore from the day before so I kept the exploring by foot to a minimum and pushed on after lunch. I rode through Pahrump and took the back road into California to Death Valley Junction and made sure to gas up. The rest of the afternoon was spent cruising around, Death Valley is MASSIVE. For a giant desert valley the landscape varies a lot and has quite a few interesting things to see. Oddly enough it also smelled a lot better than I had anticipated, the spring bloom seemed to have brought some wild flowers. Eventually I doubled back and found a camp at stovepipe wells.

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@Tony.2.live do you happen to have a map of your trip available to post? I live in New England and am heading to Colorado for a work trip at the end of March. Since it will be too cold and snowy to ride in the mountains there still I’m looking at New Mexico/Arizona to do a ride after my work is done. Some of your route sounds like it could work for me.
 

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@Tony.2.live do you happen to have a map of your trip available to post? I live in New England and am heading to Colorado for a work trip at the end of March. Since it will be too cold and snowy to ride in the mountains there still I’m looking at New Mexico/Arizona to do a ride after my work is done. Some of your route sounds like it could work for me.
Ill send you a PM with the map routes that I used for my trip up and trip back. Depending on what park of Colorado you are in, Utah might be worth taking a look at too.
 

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The next morning I realized why they called it Stovepipe Wells. By 7am it was warming up and when you look around there is no shade in sight. A memo i saw as I headed out stated it was the last weekend the campground was even open for the season due to temperatures. A ranger had recommended Titus Canyon the day before so I decided to give it a go. Now i thought I was comfortable with the bike full up by then but about halfway through was the first time I thought I might have over did it with this trip haha. I recorded by first drop of the trip but only because I parked on a gravel slope and slipped out during a water break at the ghost town. The trail starts out as jeep style 2 track along cliffs and then channels you downhill through a canyon that gets narrower and narrower (you can touch both walls if you have the wingspan) until it spits you out back on the main road.

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After the trail I moved west through with a warm ride over the next pass through Paramint Springs - that pass is phenomenal btw. I rode out to eat lunch in Lone Pine underneath the towering Mt. Whitney but not before massacring probably half of Death Valleys butterfly population, covered in yellow guts. Rolling onward past Alabama Hills I found that the east route into Yosemite was block by snowfall I decided to post up at June Lake and figure out the new (incredibly long) route to take. Death Valley had wore me out and by nighttime the temp had dropped to 37 degrees - about a 50 degree swing through the day.

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got a late start the next morning as I waited for it to warm up enough to get out of my sleeping bag. I got shown up as I saw some girls paddle boarding on the nearby lake. The closed route turned out to make the detour an all day affair as I had to take 395 all the way up to rt 89 to 88 damn near almost at Lake Tahoe. Complaining about having to take a day to ride through mountain roads with great scenery that are non existent where I live is pointless so other than the rude introduction to California gas prices it was a good (7+ hour) ride over snow covered mountain passes and through big pines. By afternoon I shot into the Yosemite Valley via the Big Oak entrance.
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The first time riding into and around the valley I was in awe and I missed like every exit for a camp spot and had to make the loop twice. I stopped by camp 4 and got incredibly lucky again for a camp spot as it was 1st come 1st serve and they were sold out but a guy was leaving early and gave me his ticket.
The next day I got up early to renew my camp spot and spent the next 2 days camping out in the park. What do you do when you have been riding and youre sore and got your ass kicked hiking in Zion? You go full blast hiking and exploring again... I managed to make it up Yosemite Falls and the spring melt made all the falls roar. Took a ride to glacier point which might give the best view of the park and the following day rented a bicycle to ride the valley loop and avoid the crammed buses to knockout a bunch of valley trails.
Camp 4 is a group camp that puts you in groups of 6 and I lucked out with an awesome group to cook (they made way better food than my pathetic red beans and rice i carried with me on the bike), hike and hang out with at the end of the day. I had high hopes for Yosemite and they exceeded them, Ill be back for Half Dome one day since it was closed during this trip.
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Yeah this post would be for May 16th.
Any thought of staying another day quickly ended with the notice of a snow storm moving in to the area. So i packed up but still got caught by rain as I rode soggy mountain roads down and around the east side of Fresno. The weather front also cancelled my plan to drop in Kings Canyon but gives me another reason to go back in the future. I snaked around Bass Lake and Pine Flat Lake, stopped to eat some mexican food in Orosi and cut back east to avoid the block grid farmland.
Riding up route 190 towards Sequoia the GPS said there was gas in Ponderosa... the bored but friendly rednecks informed me otherwise as the tiny lodge hadnt received a tanker yet for the season (still snow on the ground) and my bike as showing 5 mi remaining. Ponderosa was luckily at the top of the mountain letting me coast, clutch in, all the way back down to Camp Nelson where I was able to fill up. With that thrill over the rest of the ride was great through Sequoia and down the Kern River Valley with absolutely no traffic. The full day of winding roads and little detour set me back later than I expected and I had to settle for setting up camp in the dark off a B road by Isabella Lake.
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Woke up to rain the next morning and tried to wait out what i though was a band of clouds. Turns out I didnt beat the storm front and got doused with a ton of cold rain. It was good time to try out the insulated weatherproof suit I had pack and thank god i did because the rain coming over the Sierras wasnt warm. I head back east on rt. 178 and the rain tapered off as the mountains gave way to the desert again but the wind seamed to only get stronger. One gust blew clear off the road and I spent the whole way down 395 cocked at an angle against the wind.
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By mid afternoon I had finally made it to Joshua Tree National Park and found a place to camp. The rest of the day was spent riding around and scoping out the park. The contrast between Yosemite was huge with Joshua Tree being so open and incredibly quiet (especially without a group camp) which worked well since the all day wind and rain beat me down and tired me out.
The next morning I went into town to get some food and water (there is no water source in the park) and check out some of the hippie stands. I headed back into the park for rest of the day and hike around 29 palms oasis and lost horse mine and took a stab at some rock climbing around camp. I dont think my neighbor stopped smoking pot and cooking the whole weekend and said maybe 4 sentences the whole time while he listened to stoner podcast. Quite the change from my last neighbors but the starscape was fantastic that night and it cooled off so I could could get good sleep.

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Another day down and it was time to pack it up. I rode down and out the south end of Joshua Tree and then westward through the San Jacinto Mountains on the Pines to Palms highway. Another turn around Palomar Mountain pointed me to San Diego where I headed next to meet up with a friend from college. Finally made it to the west Coast! About as soon as I showed up he asked if I wanted to go for a ride - so I unloaded my bags and we headed back out to the outskirts of town where he proceeded to smoke me on his Concours 14. We switched bikes for another leg and he smoked me on my own bike haha - hes good.
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I was happy to take a real shower and catch up with Doug and his wife before we hit the town for the night. The next day was some bike maintenance, my first load of laundry of the trip, another ride around the outskirts of town and some general cliche California stuff like In-n-Out. You guys in south California are spoiled with your weather and riding roads so close to town, im jealous, but not of your taxes haha. A real bed was a nice plus, it was the first actual day I could take a break after about 3 weeks of go go go.
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Thanks Tommy, Ive done a few trips in cars, vans and RV's which are all way more convenient and comfortable but on the bike is the most fun.

The net morning I thanked my bud and set off up route 1 ready to trudge through LA. It was slow going, plenty of stop and go with the traffic and the lights but it was a little surreal seeing all the places you hear and see about in pop culture. I didnt want to spend much time in LA, I dont have the patience for the traffic, and I figured id be back one day for a trip or vacation to really dive in so my only real stop was in Santa Monica for the afternoon. Ate some tacos, walked to board walk and observed the entertainment at Venice Beach. I left in time to beat the traffic and headed up to find a campsite near Malibu while admiring all the money thats invested along the shoreline. The campsite was within walking distance to the beach which was nice even if pretty cold.
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