Motorcycle Camping in the US - good idea for a visiting Brit? - Page 2 - Kawasaki Versys Forum
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post #21 of 47 (permalink) Old 02-22-2017, 10:15 PM
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It will be a long, hot, flat ride from Houston until you get out of Texas. The two-lane highways offer a little better scenery than the freeways, though.

As far as tents, if you don't mind small and light, I'd check out REI.com for some of their backpacking tents. They may be on the pricey side, but they are all good tents -- small, light, and will keep you dry in the rain. I'd also recommend getting some kind of light backpacking tarp and some nylon twine. You can hang the tarp from trees and have a place to hang out that is protected from the sun or the rain. Also a good place to keep your gear overnight if you go with a 1-person tent. Or, even set up your tent under the tarp for a little extra protection from rain.

There are two REI stores in Houston, so you can stop in and see if there's any other backpacking gear that you *need* for the journey. Stove, camel-bak, water filtration?

Instead of heading west on I-40, you might want to consider heading a little further north into southern Colorado and Utah. You could ride through Pagosa Springs and Durango, CO, head over and hit the 4 Corners area, Monument Valley, etc. And, if you have time, you're not going to be too far away from some of the US's real treasures -- Natural Bridges National Monument, Bryce Canyon National Park, Zion NP, North Rim of the Grand Canyon. All would be awesome rides and are well worth an extra few days. All of the National Parks have campsites, but you may need to book sooner rather than later to get a spot.
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post #22 of 47 (permalink) Old 02-23-2017, 04:15 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for all the route suggestions... google maps is getting some hammer right now!
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post #23 of 47 (permalink) Old 02-24-2017, 03:16 AM
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If you have time, I suggest a radically different route to get out of Texas. Head to Big Bend National Park, which is divine. You won't have time to explore the park, but that mountainous, desert area of Texas is beautiful. Hot as hell, but not much hotter than the route you have drawn out, and there's less humidity in the desert. Have a tire repair kit.

Once you get to Lajitas, Texas (on the edge of the park), the river road (FM 170 ) along the Rio Grande to Presidio is one of the most beautiful in the USA. From Presidio, pass through Marfa, Van Horn and El Paso, then up I-25 to Albuquerque. That's where you pick up the route you have drawn out. Actually, I suggest going from El Paso through Alamogordo and Ruidoso on the way to Albuquerque, instead of I-25, but that would add several hours to your route. That detour would be more mountainous, cool and pretty. There's a ski resort in Ruidoso.

And, folks, when you're answering a foreigner's question, it helps to spell out state names. Instead of UT, NM and CA, have some common courtesy and empathy and spell out Utah, New Mexico and California.
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post #24 of 47 (permalink) Old 02-24-2017, 05:26 AM Thread Starter
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Holden, many thanks for the guidance, I am spending hours and hours on google maps and getting to know the USA quite well now. The state abbreviations did confuse at first but google sorted that out for me. They say travel broadens the mind!

I think the general wisdom seems to be take the highway when the landscape is a bit on the boring side but take the scenic route when available.
Local knowledge and experience is priceless and will no doubt enhance my trip a great deal. The UK is very different to the US and planning this trip would be extremely difficult without your support.

Big thumbs up!

John

ps - just checked out that route and it looks like a winner!

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post #25 of 47 (permalink) Old 02-24-2017, 08:20 AM
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If you have time, and if you haven't seen them already, Austin, the Grand Canyon, Zion National Park, Bryce National Park are somewhat on your route and would be worth a look. It's prolly too hot for passing through Austin, now that I think about it.

But you have a long way to go, and there is almost no end to sight seeing opportunities on your route. As others have said, Yosemite is a must.

+1 on the high altitude route. I gotta remember that Google bicycle/altitude setting.
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post #26 of 47 (permalink) Old 02-24-2017, 11:58 PM
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Just to confuse the tent issue a bit, I and a couple of other folks have had excellent service from this tent:
https://www.amazon.com/ALPS-Mountain.../dp/B00BEST5RG

Goes up and down easy and comes water tight and stands up well to the wind. Also has US based support, I had to replace the fly after about six years and a pole section last year. Fly was about $35, a pole + a spare were free. I've had the tent for about 8 years. Excellent support.

Good luck and have a blast. I'll be in WA/OR/BC area in July and August. A white '15 with a Florida license plate.

Yeah, if you want true ram air tuning, you better be willing to ram some air! (SiSF)

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And most of Canada too, eh?
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post #27 of 47 (permalink) Old 02-26-2017, 06:32 PM
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It may be ridiculously hot down in Texas and Southern California, but don't forget you're heading all the way up through Northern British Columbia and in Alaska where you may well freeze to death and then be devoured by Grizzly or Polar Bears, if you don't hit an 800 pound Bull Moose.
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post #28 of 47 (permalink) Old 02-27-2017, 05:17 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by invader View Post
It may be ridiculously hot down in Texas and Southern California, but don't forget you're heading all the way up through Northern British Columbia and in Alaska where you may well freeze to death and then be devoured by Grizzly or Polar Bears, if you don't hit an 800 pound Bull Moose.
We Brits are well used to inclement weather, are regularly attacked by particularly viscous hedge hogs and we have rabbits weighing more than that, so no worries.....

Although, it is a bit of a logistical nightmare as I will need hot and cold weather gear, plus tools and my baggage allowance is not up to it! I am packing at the moment and the pile of tools is growing as the pile of clothes diminishes..
I need someone with a fully equipped air conditioned garage in Houston who is an experienced Versys owner with Alaska riding experience and is keen to let me use all of it.... We Brits don't want much do we....?
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post #29 of 47 (permalink) Old 02-27-2017, 10:25 AM
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That leaves me out of the "help" equation.............
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post #30 of 47 (permalink) Old 02-27-2017, 11:12 AM
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It may be ridiculously hot down in Texas and Southern California, but don't forget you're heading all the way up through Northern British Columbia and in Alaska where you may well freeze to death and then be devoured by Grizzly or Polar Bears, if you don't hit an 800 pound Bull Moose.
...or a 1,500 pound bison (buffalo)...!

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We Brits are well used to inclement weather, are regularly attacked by particularly viscous hedge hogs and we have rabbits weighing more than that, so no worries.....

Although, it is a bit of a logistical nightmare as I will need hot and cold weather gear, plus tools and my baggage allowance is not up to it! I am packing at the moment and the pile of tools is growing as the pile of clothes diminishes..
I need someone with a fully equipped air conditioned garage in Houston who is an experienced Versys owner with Alaska riding experience and is keen to let me use all of it.... We Brits don't want much do we....?
John - here are a few pics of what I took on my last Alaska ride.









I carry three days food, re-supplying when necessary; a gas-powered stove (and a 1 gallon gas can for it or the bike) w/ a pot to heat water; a crutch stand for lubing my chain w/ WD40 (and a spray bottle to do it w/); OEM tools plus a large crescent wrench to use to loosen the axle for chain maintenance); 3 tee-shirts, shorts and sox (plus laundry pods to wash them); 1 each pair jeans/shorts (wear one while washing t'other) and swim suit, in a waterproof bag; my tent, sleeping bag and mat in the yellow 'canoe-bag' strapped on the rear; and a tank-bag holding Deep Woods OFF, Lemon Pledge (clean the faceshield), extra gloves.

I carry a rain-suit (2 piece) and gloves in a back-pack w/ a 100oz hydration pack, and wear a Kilimanjaro 3/4 jacket, riding pants, waterproof boots, and a TOURMASTER Synergy heated jacket-liner which gets worn about 50% of the time, turned ON about 33% of the time.


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post #31 of 47 (permalink) Old 02-27-2017, 11:15 AM
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And here's how I lube the chain:


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post #32 of 47 (permalink) Old 02-27-2017, 11:40 AM Thread Starter
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Great stuff, much appreciated. I was wondering what the "crutch" was for!!!

I have just been out to the garage and made a "crutch" from a piece of old pipe with a broom handle pushed inside. Not as elegant as yours but hopefully it will work. It is 13 inches long... ? I am delighted that most of what you list is now in my suitcase.

Regards

John
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post #33 of 47 (permalink) Old 02-27-2017, 09:07 PM
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You don't have to carry *everything* with you for the entire trip. As many backpackers do, you can mail packages to a post office somewhere along your route. Pick up your cool weather supplies somewhere along the way. Alternatively, someone on this forum might be willing to let you mail a package to their home. We're all trustworthy on this forum, right?

I haven't done this myself, but here's a link to a backpacker's page that gives instructions for mailing general delivery in the US. Hiker Resupply and Mail Drops | Section Hikers Backpacking Blog
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post #34 of 47 (permalink) Old 02-28-2017, 12:10 PM
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...Not as elegant as yours but hopefully it will work. It is 13 inches long... ? I am delighted that most of what you list is now in my suitcase....
Just measured mine: 14.75" from the bottom to the top that goes UNDER the spool. (You'll need 8mm spools for your Gen 3.)



The velcro is to hold the front brakes ON, so it doesn't roll while you're working on it.

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post #35 of 47 (permalink) Old 02-28-2017, 09:40 PM
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I would prepare more for the heat than for cold weather. You can always purchase additional gear as you travel, or even choose not to ride on terribly wet/cold days. As long as you have a good rain-suit and good boots you can add underwear, sweats, etc. to bulk up.

In July it will likely exceed 40C for several hours every day across Texas and New Mexico; Arizona is even hotter. Houston generally is a bit cooler but only because the humidity is considerably higher. Water, water & water.

My daughter spent a half-summer in Bolton (Engerland) and told me she "nearly froze to death".
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post #36 of 47 (permalink) Old 03-01-2017, 12:41 PM
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...or even choose not to ride on terribly wet/cold days....
Several of my Alaska rides were generally warm and sunny. However - last year's ride was more cool/ wet than warm/ dry.

As long as you don't get wet you should be OK. MOST "waterproof" gear has a waterproof lining, so the clothes WILL become wet, and on a long wet ride you can't get things dry.

That's why I try to always get rain-gear ON before I get wet, and STAY dry!

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post #37 of 47 (permalink) Old 03-01-2017, 08:59 PM Thread Starter
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Well, stage one of the adventure has begun and I am sat in Houston enjoying a beer and the warm weather.... luvly!
Picking up the bike in Lufkin on Friday then a few jobs to do and probably a ride to Bandera to try her out. Hope I can get to grips with Houston traffic! Boy this is a busy town....

So far .....so good...
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post #38 of 47 (permalink) Old 03-02-2017, 11:24 AM
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Welcome to the US, and enjoy your visit.
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post #39 of 47 (permalink) Old 03-03-2017, 01:48 PM
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John - suggest you raise the front of your seat BEFORE you head out. You need a piece of scrap steep w/ two holes; two longer bolts; and 12 washers. Here are some pics:





Raises the front about 9/16", for around $2....


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post #40 of 47 (permalink) Old 03-03-2017, 10:11 PM Thread Starter
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Just back with the bike...wonderful thing! You are right about the seat... pitches you forward a bit but the good news is it is not too tall for me!
It would not start when we got htere and it needed a new fuel pump... a bit of a worry as it has only done 8 miles! Anyway the dealer sorted it and I had a lovely ride back from Lufkin to Houston... very comfy but unable to comment on handling as I have yet to find a corner in Texas! - Two hours riding and no corners, no roundabouts and no bends... you have to laugh! I think this bike and I will get on very well and I have fallen in love with Texas. Bank robbers chased by police this morning, new bike this afternoon, cook off tomorrow and Rodeo parade to follow. I may just move to Texas!



boring pics here.. I am the knackered old one.. the other guy is my son.

https://goo.gl/photos/ZxSoQph4NM1BwwrTA
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