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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old 08-17-2015, 04:05 PM Thread Starter
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Hi Folks,

I've only had a couple of posts but read regularly. I have spent quite a bit of time researching but still want more information and opinions. I need to really buckle down and start planning since the time will be here before I know it and I want to be ready.

I bought my 2009 Versys at the start of this year and have been putting as many miles on as I can to get used to it. Its entirely different to my little CBR 250 I had previously but I love it. What a bike!

Anyway, I have an 8-week sabbatical coming up in 2016 to which I can add some vacation if I need to extend a little. I am eligible in February but I want to wait until its a little warmer. I'll have a ton of questions about planning, bike set-up, maintenance, gear, route, places to visit etc. I'll post questions as I think of them or as I need to gather that info. I donít want to post them all at once; it'll be too much like drinking from a fire-hose.

I really want to explore Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming, Montana etc. (depending on time) I would like to see some of Nova Scotia and Vancouver on the West Coast. I likely wonít go any further south than San Fran unless there is something particularly spectacular to see. I have already visited places like Death Valley, Hoover Dam on regular vacations etc. so while it would be awesome to see on the bike, my time isn't unlimited and I want to fit it all in without rushing every day. I realize I am going to be time limited so I really want to plan the trip but not spend 14 hours a day in the saddle either (ouch).

So first things first, I need to get my work application in for the leave and I'm wondering if mid-May to Mid-July would be the ideal time for the trip. I'm not much one for heat so I donít want to ride in the main Summer months. My plan is not to ride too far south either. Not that there is anything wrong with the lower states, I just want to spend my time in the northern States. I thought the fall might be nice too but I am rather partial to Spring. Are there any pro/cons to earlier or later in the year based on the places I want to visit (bugs/weather etc)? All thoughts and opinions appreciated.

Thanks so much and I'll be posting more questions over the coming weeks and days.
Rob
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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old 08-18-2015, 03:54 AM
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I cannot help you with planning / local knowledge however I can help with knowledge about touring on the Versys having done a couple of multiweek rides.
Couple of things to think about is what type of luggage you need. I ended up with hard boxes (panniers and top box) along with a tankbag which is useful for small day to day items.
Myself and a mate had our bikes serviced before we left and did an 8000 km trip and the only maintenance we did was lube the chains. His bike had a centrestand which made it easy I used a PackJack which is small lightweight and does the job.
I fitted a USB port before I left, very useful especially if you are using a navigator and or music player. Be careful where you fit it though as this UK Versys rider found out.
LOTS more I can tell you about just ask anything you want.


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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old 08-18-2015, 10:20 AM Thread Starter
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Hey Maverick, thanks for the reply. Yeah, I will be posting more questions about route planning in the near future.

So I have some small Givi hard cases (E22N's) and while they are kinda small for this trip I got them for commuting. I don't think I will buy larger side cases,I'll manage with the smaller ones but I might go for one of the huge tail cases (46-52l). Either that, or I'll just get a large duffel and a waterproof roll-up or two and bungee it all together. I do have a pretty decent size tank bag too.

I like the idea of that packjack, I think I'll add that to my "must purchase list". You also mentioned USB. I want to have at least two power sources. One for the front to run my GPS (which I still need to figure out how I want to mount it - I have seen some posts about this so I'll likely review them some more before deciding) and then one under the seat to charge my external battery pack to keep my tablet/phone going in the evening. How do you have your USB stuff set up?

Thanks again,
Rob
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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old 08-19-2015, 01:09 AM
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Little video I did just to show the clearance
I removed the dash and used a holesaw to cut the hole. I used this USB fitting and hooked it into the accessory wiring under the left fairing.
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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old 08-19-2015, 09:10 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by MaverickAus View Post
Little video I did just to show the clearance http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pvh3Q0GJ59w I removed the dash and used a holesaw to cut the hole. I used this USB fitting and hooked it into the accessory wiring under the left fairing.
Looks great, neat job. I will likely find something that fits to the handlebars. I have this thing about cutting holes. I am the same with my house. I have nothing on the walls; I hate making holes in my walls. I know either!
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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old 08-19-2015, 09:18 AM
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I can help with Washington, Oregon and Idaho. One thing to be aware of is the Cascade mountain range which runs north/south through the middle of Washington and Oregon. This results in tons of great roads to ride but a lot of the passes don't normally open till late June or even July. I say normally as this was an exceptionally dry year and a lot of the passes opened historically early, but it all depends on the amount of snow we receive over the winter.

These mountains also result in two very different climates. To the west is the wet side which is probably what you typically think of in the Pacific northwest. To the east is a semi-arid climate. There is a saying here that summer doesn't start till July 4th and it means the weather can be unpredictable up till then. July/August/September are usually rain free and warm on the wet side. But again this year, I think summer started in April and we've had almost no rain since. The dry side can also see high temperatures (like 110F) so you'll have to plan for both wet and dry, hot and cold.

When I plan a big trip I have several destination spots in mind and then try and string good roads between them. Too many destinations spots here to list them all but a few of the must do's would be:
Windy Ridge (NF-99) on the east side of Mt. St. Helens. Fantastic motorcycle road with humbling landscape.
Crater Lake in south Oregon.
Beartooth Hwy and Road to the Sun in Montana.


Earlier this year I started putting together a website of all the good roads here. Didn't get very far with it but I at least marked out the good roads. Doing a write up of each one is too much like hard work, but it might be of some help to you.
www.pnwroads.com
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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old 08-19-2015, 11:46 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you for the info alba,

This is exactly the type of local knowledge I was looking for. My plan has me spending quite a bit of time in WA, OR, ID, WY & MT and so now I'm thinking I should go week or two later. As I currently have it my plan would get me to ID around the 2nd week in June. Maybe if that was 2-3 weeks later the conditions would be more favorable. I think this might be especially true if I add a trip to Whistler, BC in there the preceding days or arriving in ID. I was just trying to keep the weather on the cooler side.

I'll check out the link and thanks also for the "must do's". I live in the US (have been here for a few years) but I am actually British so I don't have the local State knowledge of what to include in my trip.

Thanks again, great info.
Rob
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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old 08-19-2015, 12:29 PM
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I'm headed on a west loop in a couple weeks. I'll try to do a detailed write up when I get home. I'll be in some of the areas you mentioned.

How do you plan on getting from MA to out west? If you are going to ride anywhere near the great lakes, you may want to push your trip back some, or go farther south on the way out and come through that area on the way home. I did a Lake Superior circle in mid June once and the lake was still giving off a lot of cold air.

If you end up in Northern WI on you way through let me know and I will try to help you out. If you came through Canada, into the UP of Michigan and then across, you would see some pretty county, at least for what our area has to offer.

Mitch

Last edited by Slow-Steady; 08-19-2015 at 12:31 PM.
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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old 08-19-2015, 04:14 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Slow-Steady View Post
I'm headed on a west loop in a couple weeks. I'll try to do a detailed write up when I get home. I'll be in some of the areas you mentioned.

How do you plan on getting from MA to out west? If you are going to ride anywhere near the great lakes, you may want to push your trip back some, or go farther south on the way out and come through that area on the way home. I did a Lake Superior circle in mid June once and the lake was still giving off a lot of cold air.

If you end up in Northern WI on you way through let me know and I will try to help you out. If you came through Canada, into the UP of Michigan and then across, you would see some pretty county, at least for what our area has to offer.

Mitch
Hi Mitch,

The plan is to get out West as soon as I can and then take my time coming back. I have included a very tentative idea of my route, X marking the starting point. I will be in WI towards the end. I have friends in LaCrosse that I plan to stop and see on my way through. I hadn't planned on the UP of Michigan but if its worthwhile I might update my route. Basically, I want to get out to Colorado as fast as I can and then 300-400 miles a day (give or take) for the rest of the trip.

As I had mentioned in an earlier message, I might have to go a week or three later and possibly even trim my route. I think I might be a little optimistic thinking I can get through all of this in 6-7 weeks. I have 8 weeks total but I want a few days before I start and a few days at the end before returning to work.

And it would be great to see your write-up if you have time.

Tentative route: route1.jpg
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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old 08-19-2015, 08:00 PM
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Cabot Trail - Cape Breton

Alpine Loop - Colorado

Southern Utah - Monument Valley, Canyonlands, Bryce Canyon etc.

Jacobs Lake to Northern Rim of Grand Canyon

Going to Sun Road - Glacier National Park (Check construction schedule)

San Juan Mountains - Ouray, Colorado
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post #11 of 15 (permalink) Old 08-20-2015, 11:38 AM Thread Starter
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Cabot Trail - Cape Breton

Alpine Loop - Colorado

Southern Utah - Monument Valley, Canyonlands, Bryce Canyon etc.

Jacobs Lake to Northern Rim of Grand Canyon

Going to Sun Road - Glacier National Park (Check construction schedule)

San Juan Mountains - Ouray, Colorado
Excellent... Thank you! Added to my list.
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post #12 of 15 (permalink) Old 08-23-2015, 04:21 PM
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...I likely wonít go any further south than San Fran unless there is something particularly spectacular to see....
Rob - I just rode thru Beartooth Pass at the NE corner of Yellowstone, and I'll post up a trip report in a few days. Put THAT onto your list...!

Ed
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post #13 of 15 (permalink) Old 08-23-2015, 09:53 PM Thread Starter
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Rob - I just rode thru Beartooth Pass at the NE corner of Yellowstone, and I'll post up a trip report in a few days. Put THAT onto your list...!
Fantastic!!
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post #14 of 15 (permalink) Old 08-24-2015, 07:10 AM
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There was 6 feet of snow of both sides of the road the first weekend in July when I was going over Beartooth Pass. You may want to keep this in mind when riding around western mountains.

The bottom link in my signature is part of my 2012 adventure out west. I realized a few weeks ago that I never finished posting the rest of the trip. Guess I will have plenty to do when I can no longer ride.

My Versys Travels:


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post #15 of 15 (permalink) Old 08-25-2015, 12:32 PM Thread Starter
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There was 6 feet of snow of both sides of the road the first weekend in July when I was going over Beartooth Pass. You may want to keep this in mind when riding around western mountains.

The bottom link in my signature is part of my 2012 adventure out west. I realized a few weeks ago that I never finished posting the rest of the trip. Guess I will have plenty to do when I can no longer ride.
Yeah, after a couple of the posts and some other research I think I need to push my trip out a few weeks (3 or 4) and I think I'll still be in that area around early July. Hopefully its still doable/passable at that time. I really don't want to go later than that (mostly because I'm impatient for my trip).
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