Go west young grasshopper! - Kawasaki Versys Forum
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post #1 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-25-2015, 01:17 PM Thread Starter
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Go west young grasshopper!

You guessed it, I'm going west.

Due to a big project at work, I didn't really take any time off this past summer. To make up for it, I'm planning on taking 2 full weeks around the end of August into early September.

Planning on hauling but west from WI and getting through the Dakotas fairly quickly. After that I will take my time and enjoy things. Might find a nice campground in Rockies somewhere and cloverleaf for a few days. I definitely want to see the redwoods. Then maybe south a ways and wherever I'm at on that last Friday morning, I'll turn tail for home.

I know this was a pointless post, but my bike is nestled in the shed out of the SNOW right now and I get pretty excited thinking about riding again, especially on a trip like this.

Mitch
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post #2 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-25-2015, 03:48 PM
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Sounds like a good trip. Don't know if, or how many times, you've been through South Dakota but there are some interesting things to see.

The Corn Palace in Mitchell, about 70 miles west of Sioux Falls is rather unique. As is the 1880s village in Belvidere (home to Dances With Wolves stuff) and the incredibly hokey but fascinating Wall Drug in Wall. Both are west of Mitchell on Interstate 90.

Rapid City is, IMHO, one of the best kept secrets in the country as well. Chapel Valley has a beautiful replica of a Norwegian chapel that's fascinating. Deadwood is also worth a visit - it's a step back in time and you can see Number Ten Saloon where Wild Bill Hickock supposedly was gunned down.

Devil's Tower and Little Big Horn National Park are also worth seeing. My two or three cents worth.

Oh I forgot. North Dakota is not quite interesting unless you like to be able to see several hours down the road. Your vision is limited only by the natural curvature of the earth.

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post #3 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-25-2015, 04:30 PM Thread Starter
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Sounds like a good trip. Don't know if, or how many times, you've been through South Dakota but there are some interesting things to see.

The Corn Palace in Mitchell, about 70 miles west of Sioux Falls is rather unique. As is the 1880s village in Belvidere (home to Dances With Wolves stuff) and the incredibly hokey but fascinating Wall Drug in Wall. Both are west of Mitchell on Interstate 90.

Rapid City is, IMHO, one of the best kept secrets in the country as well. Chapel Valley has a beautiful replica of a Norwegian chapel that's fascinating. Deadwood is also worth a visit - it's a step back in time and you can see Number Ten Saloon where Wild Bill Hickock supposedly was gunned down.

Devil's Tower and Little Big Horn National Park are also worth seeing. My two or three cents worth.

Oh I forgot. North Dakota is not quite interesting unless you like to be able to see several hours down the road. Your vision is limited only by the natural curvature of the earth.
Much appreciated. I will add those to the list of places to consider. I know what you mean about ND, lived there for 5 years. West of Bismark is a little better though, but SD sounds like the better option.

Some of it will depend on how much we want to contend with the tourism crowd, which in turn depends on where we are in relation to Labor Day.

This trip may go off with no real plans. One of those look at your smart phone at 3:00 and figure out where a campground is a couple hours ahead, kind of things.

Thanks again,

Mitch

P.S. Thank a lot, the more I talk about this trip, the more I look at what farkles I "NEED" and that is going to get me in trouble if you know what I mean.

Last edited by Slow-Steady; 01-25-2015 at 04:33 PM.
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post #4 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-25-2015, 09:33 PM
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There is a KOA across the road from the 1880s town at the Belvidere exit. Camped there and enjoyed the Dances With Wolves theme music coming from the Scandinavian octagonal barn that houses a bunch of DWW props and interior film sets.

There is, or used to be anyway, a good selection of camp grounds around Rapid City area. While living there some years ago, we would pick one and spend the weekend away from home and work.

If you're interested in seeing the Bad Lands, there is a campground on the southeast side, on the White River. The river is actually milk white and the night sky, because there is no ambient light to interfere, is absolutely astounding. Never before or since have seen so many stars!

Stayed at a campground west of Little Big Horn but can't remember precisely where. We did discover a nearby town that was frozen in time around 1940. Very interesting.

Arion

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post #5 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-26-2015, 11:47 AM
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Glacier Nat'l Park in Montana is worth a visit. "Going to the Sun" Road is pretty much a "ten", while Hwy 89 at the E end from Saint Mary S to East Glacier is a "do-not-miss" road, tho' it's 'open range' so watch for cattle, and there's a campground about half-way down, W side of 89 that's good and gives you MORE reasons to ride 89...!


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post #6 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-26-2015, 10:45 PM
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Banff. Lake Louise. Icefields. these boys speak truth, you'll blow past some pretty cool places and great rides to get to Redwoods, worthy destination, though it is. if you happen to be near Glacier, you should find your way to Big Hole National Monument, if you like history.

you may see a green 09 in that area at about that time.

In a world full of people, only some want to ride. Isn't that crazy?
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post #7 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-27-2015, 08:31 AM
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Sounds like a great trip!

There are lots and lots of amazing roads in the Pacific Northwest. Let me know if you make it to SF or within a couple/few hours, perhaps we can meet up somewhere...

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post #8 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-27-2015, 09:26 AM
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Redwoods, huh?

Godspeed, Slow-Steady. If it is redwoods that interest you, I offer this FYI: Redwood National Park wraps around several areas featuring "the Monarchs of the North Coast," the world's tallest living things. A tip: stop at one of the national park visitor centers early in the day to get a free permit to drive Tall Trees Trail, which is limited to 50 vehicles a day. Lady Bird Johnson Grove is worth a hike and the drive on Bald Hill Road takes one 26 miles to Schoolhouse Peak, elevation 3,100 feet. Watch for bear and deer.

Other opportunities: Smithe Redwoods State Reservation, Richardson Grove State Park, Benbow Lake State Recreation Area, Avenue of the Giants through Humboldt Redwoods State Park and National Wildlife Refuge.

In Crescent City, Calif., check out Battery Point Lighthouse, which can only be visited at low tide. Don't miss Howland Hill Road, a hard-packed dirt road woven among redwoods; it leads to Stout Grove, which is worth a hike. Elk graze in open pastures at Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park, which can be reached via Newton B. Drury Scenic Byway.

Should you tire of redwoods, check out Agate Beach at Big Lagoon County Park to pick from the sand a few semi-precious gems. Humboldt Lagoons State Park also has a nice beach just north of Trinidad. I respectfully recommend The Eatery in Trinidad for a taste of very pleasing clam chowder.

Now, if your interest swings toward the largest living trees, you'll have to visit Sequoia and Kings Canyon national parks southeast of Sacramento. That, my friend, is another story, entirely.

Enjoy the ride.
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post #9 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-27-2015, 10:50 AM
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...In Crescent City, Calif., check out Battery Point Lighthouse, which can only be visited at low tide....

Enjoy the ride.
IF you DO get to Crescent City, see if CA 299 E to Redding, CA fits w/ your plans.... GREAT road!

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post #10 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-27-2015, 11:45 AM
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If I had to choose just one road in WA to take a visitor it would be Windy Ridge (Hwy-99) on the east side of Mt St Helens. It is a fantastic motorcycle road in itself (along with FS-25), but it must be unique in North America in terms of landscape. Even 30 years after the eruption the devastation is still in your face, as you ride through a normal forest before turning a corner and then all the trees are strewn like matchsticks as far as the eye can see.

Plenty of fun moto roads in that area if you have time to linger, but if picking a top 10 list across the country I think that would be on my list (haven't seen all the country yet so can't be sure )
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post #11 of 21 (permalink) Old 04-11-2015, 10:17 AM Thread Starter
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Ok, Still working out a lot of details and we are definitely going to leave some of it to spur of the moment, weather, etc.

However, this is the tentative general direction of things. I would never try to plan every road we will ride, this map is just the general idea. There are 13 legs on the map and I have 16 days.

Definitely looking into some of the suggestions from others above. Plans will change yet for sure but this is a start.

Mitch
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post #12 of 21 (permalink) Old 04-12-2015, 07:59 AM
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Ambitious plan, Slow-Steady: I applaud your effort and anticipate reports along your intended loop. Young riders, it has been said, choose a destination; old riders choose a direction. Godspeed.

Just a "rambler in my Father's world."
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post #13 of 21 (permalink) Old 04-12-2015, 10:19 AM
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If I had to choose just one road in WA to take a visitor it would be Windy Ridge (Hwy-99) on the east side of Mt St Helens. It is a fantastic motorcycle road in itself (along with FS-25), but it must be unique in North America in terms of landscape. Even 30 years after the eruption the devastation is still in your face, as you ride through a normal forest before turning a corner and then all the trees are strewn like matchsticks as far as the eye can see.
Here's a little preview of that one. Sorry about the quality. My wife was holding the camera and it's a little shaky and pointing at nothing from time to time:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=llUkvD4n_y4
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post #14 of 21 (permalink) Old 08-10-2015, 10:33 AM Thread Starter
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Finished some auxiliary wiring this weekend. I just need to order an SAE to USB from Amazon.

Bike goes in for a 15,000 mile service and fresh rubber this week. Decided to go with Bridgestone T30 EVO's.

Loaded the bike up before I stripped it down to go to the shop. Everything fits nicely.

Mitch
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post #15 of 21 (permalink) Old 08-10-2015, 11:35 AM
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Ok, Still working out a lot of details and we are definitely going to leave some of it to spur of the moment, weather, etc.

However, this is the tentative general direction of things. I would never try to plan every road we will ride, this map is just the general idea. There are 13 legs on the map and I have 16 days.

Definitely looking into some of the suggestions from others above. Plans will change yet for sure but this is a start.

Mitch
The map is kinda small, but if your plans take you through South Park/Fairplay, Colorado, let me know. I have a weekend place up near there if you need a place for the night (it's a good reason for me to get out for a ride )

'09 Versys
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post #16 of 21 (permalink) Old 08-10-2015, 12:31 PM Thread Starter
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The map is kinda small, but if your plans take you through South Park/Fairplay, Colorado, let me know. I have a weekend place up near there if you need a place for the night (it's a good reason for me to get out for a ride )
A friend helped us plan our route through Colorado. Actually he gave us about 2 weeks of riding and we had to cut it down.

Your open invitation is GREATLY appreciated. I will discuss it with my riding buddy.

Mitch
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post #17 of 21 (permalink) Old 08-10-2015, 04:14 PM
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Have a good time, I have done 2 multi week trips on my Versys. 1st trip was 8,000 km 2nd was 5,000 km. If it's well serviced and looked after it will not let you down.
If you are interested here is just a couple of pix from the 8,000 km trip in May 2014









And just 1 pic from my 5,000 km trip in Feb 2015

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post #18 of 21 (permalink) Old 08-10-2015, 04:18 PM
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Finished some auxiliary wiring this weekend. I just need to order an SAE to USB from Amazon.

Bike goes in for a 15,000 mile service and fresh rubber this week. Decided to go with Bridgestone T30 EVO's.

Loaded the bike up before I stripped it down to go to the shop. Everything fits nicely.

Mitch
Your V SURE looks familiar....

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post #19 of 21 (permalink) Old 08-10-2015, 09:17 PM Thread Starter
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Your V SURE looks familiar....
...um.... like every other green V with a Wolfman dry bag, Ortlieb soft saddle bags and a Pelican top box ??? It's not unique until I put my ugly mug on top of it ... then it's a one of a kind

I've been trying for years to be "seen" on the Versys Sighting thread, maybe this trip will be the ticket.

Maverick, it looks lie you had a couple great trips, thanks for sharing.

Mitch
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post #20 of 21 (permalink) Old 08-13-2015, 12:58 AM
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Lots of good roads listed on this page that grew out of an advrider discussion:
http://cycloid.ca/moto/10_best_motoroads.html
Couldn't tell you if it's more useful than www.motorcycleroads.com

Might be some helpful food suggestions here? http://ridetoeat.com/

I'd recommend at least some riding in the Trinity Alps area in California (highway 36, highway 3 etc), McKenzie Pass highway in Oregon, and North Cascades highway in Washington. Those last two as much for the scenery as anything else.

When you cross the Sierra range in California the best passes to ride may be Ebbetts (4) or Sonora (108). But Tioga Pass (120) is fine and it takes you through the Yosemite high country. They're all great, it depends on what you want.

If you don't have one, you might buy a national park pass at the first national park you encounter (rather than paying an entry fee). It will cover Yosemite, Lassen, Crater Lake, and so on. Last time I tried (a few years ago), one pass would admit two bikes.

Have fun!

Last edited by davidg; 08-13-2015 at 01:00 AM.
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