50 Tips For Riding A Motorcycle Across America - Kawasaki Versys Forum
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post #1 of 19 (permalink) Old 01-19-2015, 04:11 PM Thread Starter
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50 Tips For Riding A Motorcycle Across America


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Riding across America is the dream of many motorcyclists. The notion of traversing the U.S.A. on two wheels has a certain romantic aspect; 4000 miles unspooling before you like reels of an old, epic film. A lone rider and his/her machine, dusty and stoic, sharing tales of the road with strangers at every stop but never lingering in one place for more than a meal or a night’s sleep.

Unlike some things in life, the dream is not let down by the reality of actually doing it. Every ride across America is special – I’ve done it four times, and each trip provided unforgettable moments, the types of peak experiences we all long for when we get on a motorcycle. Still, there’s a lot to consider when planning a coast to coast trip: Do you use your own bike or rent one? How will you get your motorcycle back home when the ride’s done? What are the essential items to bring? How much time should you allocate, and what route should you take?
Read more about 50 Tips For Riding A Motorcycle Across America at Motorcycle.com.
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post #2 of 19 (permalink) Old 01-19-2015, 06:10 PM
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Love the photographs with the editing treatment you gave them. I don't think you can get across the US and home in two weeks following any of the routes you suggest. If you do there won't be much time for talking with the locals that is for sure.

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post #3 of 19 (permalink) Old 01-19-2015, 08:32 PM
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They are talking one way in the article.

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post #4 of 19 (permalink) Old 01-20-2015, 06:31 AM
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They are talking one way in the article.
That is what I assumed, but then that leaves me stuck in California when my Vacation runs out.

Guess I will have to leave the bike at Joe's, and fly home.

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post #5 of 19 (permalink) Old 01-20-2015, 09:38 AM
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I enjoyed the article but I would say it should be viewed as what works for one person and not some sort of road trip bible. One thing I would disagree with is the preference of paper maps over GPS. You are going to need a lot of paper to show the US in any sort of detail below major roadways. I know quite a few people though who have this preference and I've never been able to understand why.
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post #6 of 19 (permalink) Old 01-20-2015, 12:06 PM
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With a paper map, you see where you are in relation to the rest of the world. With GPS, you see where the world is in relation to you. With a map, you see that you're not the center of the world. With GPS, you are the center of the world. And I wonder what that does to one's attitude.

A lot of it is what you grew up with and what you're comfortable with. I grew up navigating the family vacations using paper maps, back in the 70s. Nowadays the rest of my life is high-tech enough. I don't want to rely on one more electronic device to navigate.

And it's fun to carry paper maps to the restaurant table, into the tent, wherever, and unfold them and highlight them and write on them and dream. This is especially true of motorcycle maps that show you the twistiest, most fun routes.

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post #7 of 19 (permalink) Old 01-20-2015, 12:41 PM
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Originally Posted by alba View Post
I enjoyed the article but I would say it should be viewed as what works for one person and not some sort of road trip bible. One thing I would disagree with is the preference of paper maps over GPS. You are going to need a lot of paper to show the US in any sort of detail below major roadways. I know quite a few people though who have this preference and I've never been able to understand why.
I use the GPS to input the specific roads and waypoints I want to hit. I pick up a state map if I see a visitor center for that state to get the big picture. I also use google maps on tablet or smartphone to research alternative routes.

When I used to only do maps, (first GPS in 2010) I wouldn't plan very complex routes that required a lot of turns.

Of course the GPS is far from flawless. I say WTF? under by breath many times when the GPS tells me to turn at an odd place.

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post #8 of 19 (permalink) Old 01-20-2015, 01:52 PM
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I liked that article. Having done multiple cross country trips myself, the advice seems to be pretty much spot on.

A combination of paper maps and GPS works best for me. When I stop for fuel, I'll go ahead and look at a paper map to find the next way point. Then, I let the GPS get me there.

I've found that the GPS will often take you down roads you never would have found/tried if you were just using a paper map. Another advantage is that when you see a nice road, just go ahead and make the turn and let the GPS reroute you. I've found many nice routes over the years with this approach.


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post #9 of 19 (permalink) Old 01-20-2015, 01:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by twowheeladdict View Post
That is what I assumed, but then that leaves me stuck in California when my Vacation runs out.

Guess I will have to leave the bike at Joe's, and fly home.
Having a bike "stuck" in CA isn't so bad. I live in NY and my Versys is parked at my daughter's house in SoCal. I'll be flying to CA to visit in a couple of weeks.


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post #10 of 19 (permalink) Old 01-20-2015, 07:25 PM
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Originally Posted by twowheeladdict View Post
to get the big picture.
right, that's harder to appreciate with a three inch screen. i use the GPS in my phone when driving my car, usually in a get-there mode. i use it occasionally on my bike, if i don't have a paper map handy. i prefer to look at map where i can see many options at once and ponder my options. i do not make detailed route plans in advance, so that feature is lost on me.

that said, i will eventually buy one of those delorme trackers and may end up with the gps version. so maybe i will become dependent or at least appreciate the bennies more than i do now.

In a world full of people, only some want to ride. Isn't that crazy?
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post #11 of 19 (permalink) Old 01-20-2015, 09:54 PM
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That is what I assumed, but then that leaves me stuck in California when my Vacation runs out.

Guess I will have to leave the bike at Joe's, and fly home.

Sounds Good. I'm make sure the battery stays charged.

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post #12 of 19 (permalink) Old 01-21-2015, 01:35 AM
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If you do maps, get the Walmart Road Atlas!

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post #13 of 19 (permalink) Old 01-21-2015, 06:20 AM
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Sounds Good. I'm make sure the battery stays charged.
I knew you would. What a guy.

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post #14 of 19 (permalink) Old 01-21-2015, 12:44 PM
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I use maps to plan my trips, then input various "waypoints" to my GPS throughout the trip, keeping the map in the map-pocket of my tank-bag, w/ ANOTHER in waterproof wrapping, just in case....


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post #15 of 19 (permalink) Old 01-22-2015, 03:45 AM
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Thanks for the 411

I'm now 55 and always had thoughts of seeing the lower 48? First stop? D.C. ~ 1000 miles from where I be.. Reason.. Smithsonian, Washington Monument, Lincoln memorial, And Vietnam Wall.. Would like to Bitch slap most of the so Called People of Congress.. No that IS NOT a threat only reality.. How would 1 ever get an agreement of 536 individuals? I'm in the position to not have answer to anyone.. Divorced, My only child done been grown, Job skills I can use most any where... Planning camping/ cheap hotels and working my way all across the US 1 day at a time arrival date that I get back to what I call home??? Not important.... Wish me good luck>>>>>

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post #16 of 19 (permalink) Old 01-22-2015, 06:00 AM
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Sounds like a plan. Good luck.


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post #17 of 19 (permalink) Old 01-22-2015, 06:42 AM
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I'm now 55 and always had thoughts of seeing the lower 48? First stop? D.C. ~ 1000 miles from where I be.. Reason.. Smithsonian, Washington Monument, Lincoln memorial, And Vietnam Wall.. Would like to Bitch slap most of the so Called People of Congress.. No that IS NOT a threat only reality.. How would 1 ever get an agreement of 536 individuals? I'm in the position to not have answer to anyone.. Divorced, My only child done been grown, Job skills I can use most any where... Planning camping/ cheap hotels and working my way all across the US 1 day at a time arrival date that I get back to what I call home??? Not important.... Wish me good luck>>>>>
Living the dream T.

Have a great time! Stick to the back roads. Meet the local folk. I have had an audience in a small town restaurant on many occasions. Most have never been out of their town and live vicariously through those who wander by.

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post #18 of 19 (permalink) Old 01-22-2015, 07:00 AM
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I'm now 55 and always had thoughts of seeing the lower 48? First stop? D.C. ~ 1000 miles from where I be.. Reason.. Smithsonian, Washington Monument, Lincoln memorial, And Vietnam Wall.. Would like to Bitch slap most of the so Called People of Congress.. No that IS NOT a threat only reality.. How would 1 ever get an agreement of 536 individuals? I'm in the position to not have answer to anyone.. Divorced, My only child done been grown, Job skills I can use most any where... Planning camping/ cheap hotels and working my way all across the US 1 day at a time arrival date that I get back to what I call home??? Not important.... Wish me good luck>>>>>
Contact your congressman and try and get a ticket to visit the White House. It is free to visit the Washington Monument but it requires a ticket. You need to be in line when it opens (8:30?) to get a ticket. There is also a guided tour but you need to make reservation long in advance. Nothing is needed for Lincoln or Vietnam memorials (right next to each other). You could easily spend a month at Smithsonian, maybe at least a day at each. Leave you knife on the bike as all have airport type security.
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post #19 of 19 (permalink) Old 01-22-2015, 07:55 AM
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T Cothron.....I recommend those Segway tours of DC its fun and you see most of the sites.

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