Crossing America on a motorcycle is the dream of many a rider. There’s something romantic about traversing the USA on two wheels, perhaps because it’s fairly challenging due to the sheer stamina required to ride 4,000 miles. 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 back home when the ride’s done? What should you bring, and what should you leave at home? How long should you take, and what route?
(Want to ride Coast to Coast for a super discounted rental price? Click here for details!)
We’ve ridden across America several times, and have compiled some of the things we’ve learned in the list of tips below. So here goes, 50 Tips for Riding A Motorcycle Across America:
#1 Stop putting it off, life is short! Don’t forestall joy.
#2 America is a lot bigger than you thought.
#3 Take at least two weeks to do the ride, ideally more (see #2)
#4) When choosing a bike, bigger/more expensive does not automatically = more fun.
#5 Regarding accessories: more farkles = more distractions = less fun.
#6 Interstates = ZERO FUN
#7 Interstates save time, but do you really want the trip to end sooner?
#8 Make sure your tires have at least 3-4000 miles of life left in them.
#9 If you ride a sportbike, they won’t!
#10 If you can read a map, you don’t need a GPS unit. Plus maps look better with coffee spilt on them.
#11 Butlermaps https://www.butlermaps.com, they ship to Europe, not on Amazon, Michelin maps are also great and easier to find, get them from Amazon.com
#12 If you’re riding in summer, buy a cooling vest, they’re awesome. We like these.
#13 Bring earplugs and don’t be lazy about wearing them if you value your hearing.
#14 People will be asking you to tell them about this trip for years, so:
#15 Start and end your trip in an interesting place.
#16 Take plenty of photographs and video (iPhones are great for both)
#17 Make sure to note the names/locations of the places that resonate in you
#18 Blog about your trip while on the road (if you do that kind of thing)
#19 Bring a smartphone so you can Tweet/Facebook/Youtube realtime when you stop.
#20 Consider riding for your fave charity
#21 Learn about how to raise money by contacting the charity (they often have instructions on their website)
#22 Use a smartphone with GPS so you can easily geotag photos
#23 When you upload your pics to Flickr etc, use the geotags so people know where the photo was taken
#24 In some rural parts of the country, cell reception will be non existent
#25 Best months to cross the USA on a motorcycle: May to October
#26 If you bring rain gear or heated clothing, you won’t need it
#27 If you don’t bring it, it will be cold and pouring every day of your trip
#28 Weather band radio is very useful, especially during tornado season in the midwest
#29 Hi-viz bike clothing makes you look like a tool whether you’re in NYC or Yellowstone
#30 If you set up camp in known grizzly bear country, and play acoustic versions of Death Cab For Cutie songs by the fire before going to bed, you 100% deserve to get mauled
#31 It’s a long ride, and you’ll be tired at day’s end. Motorcycle camping is for the young, the poor, and the acutely adventurous.
#32 For everyone else, Best Western, Motel 6 and Super 8 are the better choice.
#33 Breakfast buffets in America are almost always overpriced and underwhelming.
#34 Eat a light breakfast, light lunch with healthy snacks as needed until dinner.
#35 Save the heavier meals for nighttime.
#36 Do not drink any alcohol until after the bike is parked for the day.
#37 If you ride a Triumph Bonneville, old guys are going to come up and tell you about their old Trumpets every time you stop.
#38 Music that goes well with a Cross USA ride: The Band, Bob Dylan, Ryan Adams, Wilco, Eric Clapton, Willie Nelson, Mark Knopfler, Jackson Browne, Emmylou Harris, Lucinda Williams, Ry Cooder and The Grateful Dead.
#39 Music that does NOT go well with a Cross USA ride: Rihanna, Lady Gaga, Leona Lewis, Ke$sha, Jay-Z and Justin Beiber. Or anything from “Glee”.
#40 Which books you bring are important. Books about traveling seem to read really well on long trips, especially if you’re riding alone.
#41 Books we like: Paul Theroux’s “The Great Railway Bazaar”; Ted Simon’s “Jupiter’s Travels”; “One Man Caravan” by Robert Edison Fulton Junior, or “Bonneville Go Or Bust” by Zoe Cano. Another obvious choice would be anything by Bill Bryson.
#42 Go to bed early (by 10pm) and be on the road no later than 7:00am. It’s a treasure to watch the world wake up, as an observer, on a motorcycle.
#43 You’ll take your best photos around dawn and dusk, that’s when the light is best. Think about that when you’re deciding where you’re going to be at those times.
#44 If you can take a month of longer for the trip, using your own bike makes sense financially versus renting. But remember that you have to get your bike back home once you reach the opposite coast. Shipping can be expensive, and it may take several weeks to get your bike back.
#45 East to West, or West To East? Well, America “opens up” as you head East to West. West to East, it gets more congested and populated. Psychologically, East to West “feels” a bit better because of that.
#46 Northern or Southern route? Great things to see if you use either…some suggestions follow.
#47 Start in Boston. Head down through New York State, over to Chicago, the Black Hills of South Dakota, Salt Lake City, finish in San Francisco
#48 Start in Washington DC. Head down the Blue Ridge Parkway into the Smokey Mountains, over to Nashville, then pick up Route 66 in Oklahoma and follow it to Los Angeles.
#49 Start in Los Angeles, follow Route 66 in reverse to Texas, then head to the Gulf Coast, see new Orleans, finish in Orlando Florida.
#50 Rent an EagleRider bike from The Lost Adventure! We’ve got the most competitive rates, we’re ridden Coast To Coast several times, and can give you tips and advice to help you plan your journey. We can book your hotels too.
Wash your bike periodically during the trip. Not only does a clean bike look better, but the washing process will give you a chance to go over the bike and notice things like frayed cables, worn tires, missing nuts, etc.
That’s a very good suggestion, lots of things can get loose over 4,000 miles. We didn’t wash out bikes this summer because we felt like we earned every bug splat and bit of road tar, so we wanted all that on the bikes when we dropped them off in San Francisco!
Plan well but Don’t over think it.. let it be the greatest adventure of a lifetime ..keep your shiny set up and your dirty side down and always watch your 6 in small towns and bars and clubs and restaurants
U HAVE IT RIGHT, DONE IT 3 TIMES, TAKE AT LEAST 5 TO 6 WEEKS TO RIDE 10,000 MILES IF U WANT TO VIEW THE WONDERFUL SITES
Thanks for your comment! 10,000 miles would be an amazing trip, you could do all four corners. Not everyone can take 5 or 6 weeks to ride around the USA, we find most people can do three weeks maximum. You can see some amazing sights in that time period too, you just have to decide what’s important and prioritize those places. Yellowstone for instance should be a place you spend 2-3 days in if you can, so much to see.
I bought a Triumph Tiger 1200 Explorer planning on doing a big four corners ride, meaning S.W. Corner U.S. to S.E. corner to N.E. Corner of Canada across to the N.W. corner of Canada then heading back south to S.W. U.S. , I bought the bike in 2013, same year I ended up in the hospital, moral of the story don’t put it off until you retire so you have all the time in the world, take a leave of absence and do it now.
Good advise Rod
You’re right. Over 10K miles and 33 days in 1979 on XS750’s (Yamaha). SF up across Canada to Montreal and Quebec, down through NYC and bounced across westward. Best thing we ever did. Astral Tunes (cassette tape player) would spew 100′ of tape behind you if you weren’t careful switching from side one to side two…
My Coast to Coast adventure along the “roads less travelled” on the long searched for T100 Bonneville (thanks to you, I’ll leave mine at home) is happening over 6 weeks next summer … still planning routes and sourcing out of this world eclectic & boho places to stay but hey that’s all part of the adventure!
p.s. to #41, add John Steinbeck’s “Travels with Charley”
Hey Zoe! So glad we could help make it happen for you We’re really looking forward to reading your blog posts and seeing some photos from the road. Thanks for the Steinbeck suggestion – we nicked the idea for our logo off Steinbeck in fact, from his “pigasus”
ABSOLUTELY “Travels with Charley”
or anything else by Steinbeck
Great suggestions John!
I just ordered a copy of Travels with Charlie from my library. Trying to save money for the Big Trip or would have just picked up a used copy on Amazon!
Haven’t read that book yet, just added it to my reading list – thanks Julia!
Steinbeck is a genius. I may name my bike Roxanante
He certainly is Don
Zoe, I see you commented in Dec. of 2011. Did you make the trip in 2012 or are you still planning? I’m looking for someone to ride with across country from East Coast to West Coast and back in 2014. Let me know if you have any interest or others that might want to ride, male or female, doesn’t matter.
John Zoe did her trip, we sorted her bike for her and she’s even be writing a book about it! Visit her blog here: http://www.bonnevilleadventure.blogspot.com
Best Regards, Jim
Three of us doing it in August this year mate (2014). From UK so only doing East to West but happy to hook up for part of the journey 😉
Hey Thorton, sounds like an incredible ride you’ve got planned. Here are some thoughts:
1) Make sure to stay here in Milwaukee http://www.theironhorsehotel.com
2) Be sure to ride through The Badlands http://www.nps.gov/badl/index.htm and visit Mt. Rushmore http://www.nps.gov/moru/index.htm
3) Do these rides when you’re in Vegas: https://www.thelostadventure.com/great-day-rides-from-las-vegas
4) Ride The Lost Coast on your way up North: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lost_Coast
5) Do this ride while in SF: https://www.thelostadventure.com/sunset-ride-over-the-golden-gate-bridge
That should be plenty to get you started!
John, I’m heading in the reverse direction … west coast to east coast … leaving May 1, arriving in Washington around May 16. Maybe we could meet halfway! 🙂
Im hoping to hit the road from Boston – San Francisco and probably back 🙂 in aug. Will have about 3 weeks to do it. My planning is at its starting point so it is possible we can make it work. Thinking about taking my Z1000 unless i will end up getting different bike by then, cause not sure what kind of bike would work the best for this trip. I know i have no interest in getting Harley or any huge bike with stereo and so on:)
Maybe somebody know any way i could ride one way and then instead of shipping it and paying big $ rent or drive somebodies truck back to east coast. Somebody told me that instead of shipping their vehicle people hire to drive it when they moving for example. Not sure if its real and how to find person like that.
always stop at the dirtiest , scruffyest bars you can find , thats were all the interesting people are , and drink as much as you can , i rode coast to coast in 2008 , new york to la via canada , san fran then down highway 1 to la , awsome
How long that take you to do that ride. I am planning something similar and wanted to see if 4 weeks was enough to go there and back. I want to go to Quebec City to Vancouver then down to LA stopping off in Seattle, Portland, San Fransisco. But then come through the grand canyons, Denver then to New Orleans and back up.
Quebec to Vancouver don’t waste your time in the Canadian prairies, cause highway 1 is crap at 90km\h and heavy truck traffic. Instead go by Detroit then Chicago follow up north to Wisconsin and minnesota. Then all the way west to Helena, Montana then north back to canada and to Vancouver by the Canadian rookies 🙂
That way you’ll have a better trip northernmost part of the USA can be really beautiful, trust me 😉
Cheers Simon, thanks for the tips!
That looks like the trip I would love to do.
But can you give me some information about it ,
like how much money is needed for petrol , food and accommodation .
I am from England so I need to add this to the funds I need to find 🙂
Looking Forward to seeing you guys on the road. I hope our paths cross, I would love to be involved with showing you some of Route 66 as I see it!
I’m thinking of renting a bike from Jackson Hole Wyoming and driving it down to Fort Lauderdale Florida. I’m not Bee lining it home but I only have a week to do this in. If I’m doing the math right, it sounds like 8 hours of driving a day. For me, I don’t think that’s reasonable. What do you think?
We’ve done much longer days in the saddle than 8 hours, but the question is: will you have time to actually see anything? If you’re doing Jackson Hole to Ft. Lauderdale in 8 days, then you’re going to need to maintain a high speed and use Interstates, which inherently means you won’t be seeing the sights. We’d probably take ten days to do this trip one way, so you can do some nice backroads and really enjoy the journey. Luckily EagleRider has locations in both cities so you can pick up and drop off easily, just have to pay a one way fee – if you’d like to book, drop us a line at [email protected]
I’m an experienced rider, but not XC. I am planning on taking four weeks to circumvent the US starting in Boston and doing the following route:
Phoenix (Grand Canyons)
Do you think this is feasible in 4 weeks? Or is this too much for that time. I figured that from Denver to New Orleans then to Baltimore I would be doing less stopping and sightseeing. Thoughts from an experienced XC riders?
You’re not going to get much time to enjoy these places if you want to visit all of them in 4 weeks. You should plan on spending a couple of days in places like LA and SF, there’s so much to see and so much great riding. We also would not suggest riding west to east – it’s better to do east to west. Maybe start in Washington DC, ride the Blue Ridge Parkway down into the Smoky Mountains into North Carolina, hit Nashville, maybe shoot down the Natchez Trace to the Gulf, then head west towards the Grand Canyon, hit Las Vegas, then LA to San Francisco, maybe finish in Seattle or Vancouver. You’ve got a lot of riding planned – what country are you coming from? Sometimes people don’t realize how big the USA is.
If you have any questions or need a bike to rent drop us an email: [email protected]
My dream plan is Route 50. 4 weeks? anybody done it. Would it be better to do a different route?
David we’d certainly recommend doing at least part of Highway 50, but not take it the whole way. We usually pick up 50 in Utah, it’s pretty incredible there. For starting in the east, you really need to decide what you want to see – with four weeks, we’d probably do the Blue Ridge Parkway down into the Smoky Mountains, to North Carolina and then start heading west. If you need tips or a bike, send us an email to [email protected]
Hi heaps of good information on here were looking at coming over from Australia around the end of July and heading back about the middle of September want to do Route 66 and would like to catch Sturgis if its around that time any info or recommendations would be appreciated looking at riding the whole trip as well
Thanks for posting on our website about Route 66 and Sturgis. If you’re riding from July to September you certainly could do both – the challenge is figuring out the routing. 66 starts in Chicago and immediately dips down southwest, to Los Angeles. Sturgis is north and west of Chicago – perhaps you could start by doing 66, then head up to San Francisco from LA, then across to through Yosemite, over to Yellowstone and then Sturgis. You could easily do this in four weeks.
I would imagine on a trip of this length you would be either shipping your bikes over or perhpas buying them in the US. That said if you need to hire bikes or wish to do a guided tour please let us know, we’d be happy to help.
Hi there. I’m doing new York to los angeles in March this year on my own. I’m trying to raise money for a local children’s charity. I’m looking at ways to raise funds and I see you mentioned kickstarter.Com in your 50 tips but it seems that they don’t allow charitable events. Can you recommend any alternatives?
Dylan. London UK
Well Dylan, we stand corrected on that one – we do know people who’ve raised money for various charities by riding, and the way they’ve done it is usually by visiting the charities’ website, where they often have instructions on how to raise money. So guess we’d start by looking into the cause you want to help, finding the leading charity, and enquiring with them. Hope that helps and thanks for pointing out the error!
Been dreaming about this trip for years, so much so it aches.
Economy downturn has finally hit home here so the trip will have to wait a bit longer.
Luckily the sights will be there forever
Keep up the good work.
Pete. in a cold, wet UK.
Cheers Pete – it’s cold and wet here right now in New York as well, but Tim’s in Southern Spain at the moment so at least one of us is enjoying some sunshine.
Hi Jim i Did a Long trip from Ontario out mid west from over the Border at Niagra down to Chicago Headed out Through Wyoming Nebraska North Dakota through the Rockies back into Canada at Osoyuse Then Headed to British Columbia then Back through the Canadian Provinces like Manitoba Saskachewan to finaly back to Ontario but this was in a car i have Always wanted to do east to west coast on a Harley i have Kawasaki Indian Drifter 1500 at the Moment i was Thinking of having this Shipped over & Doing this Trip with the Wife just wondering what the cost would be about do you Know Anyone who has done it this way Cheers Mario.
I’ve done the Coast-to-Coast twice. In 2002 We flew the bike (and us) into Vancouver, rode down the Pacific Highway to the Mexican border then swept up to New York, Boston and Toronto. Siz weeks and too much of a rush. I returned alone in 2006, shipped the bike to New Jersey then rode west to California then back to New Jersey, in three months.
Some responses to the above –
8. Tyres. I fitted brand new tyres in the UK at the start of the trip and by Tucson AZ they needed replacing. Only 7000 miles but the baking hot minor roads in the US were as abrasive as heck. Because each state has it’s own level of tax, buying tyres is not as straightforward as here.
11. I used AAA maps which are excellent and free. A friend in the AAA acquired a set to cover me for each state I rode through.
17. I took a Moleskine diary and wrote in it each evening whilst my memory was clear. I still refer to it a lot. I also stuck in tickets such as the Empre State Building, cartoons, all sorts of stuff so it also became a mini scrapbook.
19. Phones are/were complicated. I bought a TriBand phone here as I was told they are necessary. I rarely used it as the US has a very complicated system with numerous companies, not at all straightforward.
26. Don’t bring rain gear? You cannot be serious. I experienced some torrential rainfall in Michigan and again in Texas. My useless ex-Police Gortex waterproofs failed miserably.
29. Hi-Viz makes you look like a tool? Utter crap. I wore a Hi-Viz US-made High Gear mesh jacket and it was my best item of clothing. I would never ever dream of wearing leathers and anything black. Death Valley was 118f each time and black and/or leather is just stupid. My passenger in 2002 wore black fullface helmet, blacket heavyweight Frank Thomas jacket and trousers and suffered in the heat. threw up in her helmet and required an emergency hospital visit. White, light and cool.
32. Motel 6 – excellent, and I stayed in a lot of those. Mom & Pop’s can also be good too, and even cheaper.
33. Breakfast is almost unknown in their motels. I would get 100 miles under my belt whilst it was cool then stop at a Subway. I didn’t eat anymore until the evening. Many restaurants don’t have a drinks licence and some counties are DRY.
40. I took lots of travel books with me – Insight Guides are particularly good but extremely heavy. When my wife flew out to meet me, I have her most of them back to fly home as the weight was considerable.
42. I agree 100%.
44. It took six weeks to get my nack by sea from the East Coast yet only ten days to get it out there.
* I didn’t really stick to any particular route. When planning my trip, I put dots on a map of the country to visit all of those places I missed on my first trip. Neither did I ride each and every day. Then i joined the dots up and that was my route. Some highlights – and there were many – were Little Big Horn, Mount Rushmore, Crazy Horse, Yellowstone, Yosemite, the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, Las Vegas, Zion, Mount Evans, Pike’s Peak, San Diego, San Francisco, San Antonio, Blue Ridge Parkway, Jamestown, Williamsburg, Washington DC and NY.
I shall return in the next few years as the US and it’s people are truly fabulous!
Thanks for the reply Paul! Some of our tips were made with tongue firmly planted in cheek, think you might have missed that. So a couple of thoughts on your responses:
8) Tires – finding the balance between ultimate traction vs wear is always the goal, but that goal is different for each rider. While I’d never fit Pirelli Diablo Corsas to a touring bike, I personally prefer the shorter stopping distances and superior grip of a performance tire than the high mileage ability of some touring tires. 7K miles on a set sounds good to me. Not sure what you mean about the taxes on tires – sales tax on nearly everything is variable in the US depending on the state, but the % is nowhere near as high at VAT in any European country, and the tires will be a fair bit cheaper as well. So I’d be less worried about tax than planning ahead to make sure you can get the proper tires fitted, which won’t happen if you wait to replace them and end up having to in the middle of nowhere 🙂
9) AAA maps are good but you won’t find them in a gas station in the middle of nowhere, and not everyone’s got a friend to send them a complete set. Michelin (or Rand MacNally if you’re in a jam) are still what we’ll recommend.
19) Phones aren’t really complicated – you’ll pick up a different network depending on where you are, same as Europe. We’ve been doing tours in America since 2005, all of our customers bring their phones from Europe and Australia or South Africa, and most usually have no trouble at all. Guess it depends on your carrier back home, your handset, and your comfort level with a moby. If worst comes to worse, you can buy a disposable prepaid phone here for emergencies. But it is true that in some remote areas of the US, where there are no cell towers, there’s no cell signal.
26) Rain gear – you need to read what we wrote in post 27, there’s our tongue in our cheek again 🙂
29) We’re safety nuts, but we draw the line at wearing florescent yellow kit. Why not wear a bright pink flashing helmet that says “LOOK OUT, I’M COMING THROUGH!” To each his own. White, light and cool might be more comfortable, but only if you don’t hit the pavement. We prefer the abrasion protection of leather (not to say we haven’t used textiles too). Regarding your passenger – sounds like your passenger wasn’t hydrating properly. Everyone has different tolerance for the heat, but if she was wearing a cooling vest (as we suggest) and you stopped regularly for water, then the color of her kit and the fact that it was leather should not have been an issue (although we probably wouldn’t choose “heavyweight” leather for a ride through the desert).
33) Motel breakfast are usually dismal, but you can get fruit and granola, and bottled water to take with you for the day. And we are truly sorry that you ate at Subway even once – it is awful, heavily processed fast food, the employees are usually depressed, spotty kids who earn minimum wage. There’s almost 0% chance you’d meet anyone interesting at a Subway, it’s owned by a corporation. There are so many interesting, cool little diners and luncheonettes across America, there’s no reason to eat crap fast food. We highly recommend that anyone touring in the US who wants a rich experience avoid fast food restaurants, for both karmic and health reasons!
44) That’s because your bike was flown from the UK, and shipped back. For some reason it’s less expensive to fly cargo to the US than ship it, and the reverse back to the UK from the USA. We’ve known some people whose bike took three months to make it back from California, one of the reasons why hiring a bike makes a lot of sense if you’re doing a shorter tour.
Six weeks sounds like an amazing trip, that’s the way to do it! With that much time, you don’t need to plan. Most people don’t have that much time to do it but if they do, the things you’ve visited would be a superb itinerary. Many thanks for the thoughtful comments – would love to see some photos if you have some to share.
8. Tyres – I got new tyres fitted at SouthWest Moto Tyres (who I understand has gone out of business) in Tucson who ordered them from another state because he said that state was much cheaper because of lower taxes.
9. Maps – Ah but I did have an American friend 😉 I also really like my Barnes & Novle Road Atlas. Very clear maps.
19. Phones – Well I never managed to master my triband phone and it rarely worked for me. Half the time I didn’t know the prefix number or whatever I needed. When phoning home in the UK, I used the phone in my motel room using a phone card I think. Public phones were equally baffling and I don’t think I could get a single phone call on one.
26. Rain gear – Oops, I didn’t detect any tongue in cheek. You must use smileys as I’m slow in those regards 😉
29. Hi-Viz – I once found myself lying in the centre lane of a busy motorway having been flung off an unroadworthy Police bike at 100mph and can assure you that cavalry twill trousers and a Police tunic both in black is no way a good idea on black tarmac. So it yellow/white/light grey for me every time, plus its much cooler in hot weather. My ST1100 would also make you cringe too, as it’s white with reflective green/yellow bands. I do get noticed and drivers seem to keep clear of me. A good thing, I think you’d agree. My textile stuff is also armoured. So I’d never, ever wear leather. I did once but it was hot and heavy and the UK isn’t a particularly hot country. Hi-Viz tabards are frequently worn by riders here. My young pillion passenger didn’t suffer from dehydration as she was sick on Day two and three whilst up in Washington and Oregon when it was cool. We also drank lots so I think it was a combination of girley nerves and/or daft heavy black clothing. The doctor gave her a prescription for various stuff which she refused to take. Silly girl.
33. Motel breakfasts – I almost never found motels ever did breakfasts, maybe coffee or a donut perhaps but rare. I really like Subways as I can see what actually goes in my 6″ Sub. I don’t think my lettuce, tomato and pickle was ever processed and what can go wrong with salami and bread? We have them in the UK now. I noticed I was always the only customer who ate 6″ Subs whilst the Merrycans always always ate the bigger ones to match their waistlines no doubt?
44. No I flew the bike from the UK to Vancouver and flew it back from Toronto in 2002. Very expensive. For the 2006 trip she sailed in a container from the UK to Newark (10 days) and sailed back (6 weeks). Sailing was probably half the price of flying.
My 2002 trip was six weeks and my 2006 trip three months.
Yes I have lots of images somewhere so I’ll dig them out and send them on.
Hi, I see you mentioned buying a bike in the states to do a trip. Is that a simple process? What do you need to do to be legal?
Some folks buy bikes here in the States yes, but we’re not really sure how to do it. It would need to be insured, registered and plated – we’ve never done it, perhaps there’s some way to do it but we wouldn’t recommend it. At the end of your trip, you’d be stuck selling it, which sounds a bit complicated to us.
If you plan on coming over and touring for 6 weeks or more, it makes sense to just ship your bike from your home country to the USA. It will take some time to arrive and of course to ship back, ad of course, you need to proper paperwork. To be honest, it’s not really what we do, so I can’t give you good advice. I will say for shorter trips, certainly anything four weeks or less in length, it makes more sense to hire a bike. Not having to worry about paperwork, shipping, customs, and all that it worth quite a bit in our opinion. Sorry I couldn’t provide any more specific info but as I said, it’s not really what we do.
The Lost Adventure
Celebrating my 50th this year with a tour across Route66 (Chicago to LA) Really looking forward to it spending time with my husband. We will be each riding a bike hired from Easyrider. Booked 1st two weeks in September. Thanks for the info some useful, some funny.
Cheers Jenni and Happy Birthday in advance! You’ll love 66, it’s a great ride, especially two-up. I’m guessing you meant you hired the bikes from EagleRider (not EasyRider as that’s a magazine). That’s great! We’re in fact EagleRider Agents and they’re a great company. Hope you and your husband have a wonderful Birthday ride!
The Lost Adventure
Oops yes Eaglerider. We are hiring a bike each as I want to enjoy the thrill of it, no good as a passenger . Cheers.
Have a great trip Jenni and if you have any photos to share, please send them to us and we’ll put them on our Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/thelostadventure
Cheers and safe riding!
Well we might meet I do it during the same period we might contact to excange plans and tips.
Were are you from? I am from the netherlands
I was recently looking into touring across america with a couple of friends and thought this would be a great way of doing it. However do you need to be over 21 to rent from most places in the USA? As we are all 18/19 at the moment but would probably be looking to doing it in 1 or 2 years…
Great article though, really helped!
Thanks for writing and appreciate the kind words on the article. Yeah, you need to be 21 for sure to hire the bikes, so you’ll need to wait a bit. More time to save the dosh to do it in style! It usually takes a bit to plan your route and figure out what you’d like to see as well, so use the time wisely. We used to talk about a trip for ages, and plan it at the last minute, but we’ve learned that it pays to research ahead of time. If you have any questions, be sure to ask us, and make sure to follow us on Facebook, we often will get into discussions about tours there. Follow us here: https://www.facebook.com/thelostadventure
Cheers and ride safe,
I live in Northern NH and am going to a wedding in Tahoe this September. Thought I’d take 2 weeks and my VStrom for a cross country adventure. It’s not much time but I’d like to do a northern route, perhaps up through Canada, drop down into Wisconsin and get on Rt 2 then head south in Montana through Idaho and on into Nevada. I’ll probably bee line it on the way out, 4 days and then have a more relaxed trip back. Suggestions? Experiences?
First thing to think about is how you’re getting the bike back – two weeks roundtrip just won’t be enough time to see anything. Are you shipping the bike back to NH? Probably looking at roughly $1000 to ship it, unless you don’t mind it taking a long time to get back to you. Do you have a V or a Wee? Cool bike.
We loved riding in Wyoming, and probably the most impressive sights we saw were in Yellowstone. You want to ride the Beartooth and the Chief Joseph. In Nevada, we really love riding Highway 50, the loneliest road. Again, you’ve got so much great stuff to see, hope you’ve got two weeks to get out there, not two weeks to get out there and back. A round trip would be really exhausting in that amount of time.
Thanks for writing!
Thanks for the tips and ideas.
I am indeed looking at a 2 week round trip. Probably a 4 day marathon out, 5 days in Tahoe and then take 6-7 days coming back. I suppose one could say (and it has been said) that I’m a bit of a (demented) road warrior. My wife is certainly trying to discourage me…
My bike is a Glee, the 2012 650 Adventure. A real sweet ride, especially after a long romance with an ’03 KLR.
I will look at your locations and see if I can make my trip include them. There will always be a “next time”. And you know how it is…there’s always adventure out there no matter how long or short the ride.
Thanks again for your ideas. I sure hope to hear more from you and others.
I’m planning on riding from Seattle up through the Canadian Rockies, down into Montana across ND, MN, WI and home to NH probably through ON and QB. What’s a reasonable length of time for the trip? I’d like to stay off Interstates and big roads as much as possible. Is three weeks too short ?
That’s certainly a lot of riding and miles, even for three weeks. How many miles do you plan on riding per day? The portion from Seattle down into North Dakota is probably two weeks if you aren’t rushing, because the roads are so twisty you might end up doing only 250 mile days. It really depends on how much time you want to spend on the bike every day, whether you’re going to get off and see sights. When we do big rides like the one you’re planning, we like to be on the road no later than 9am, and off the bikes by about 5:30 in the afternoon. When the afternoon gets late, you have a lot more wildlife on the roads, especially where you’ll be riding, so it’s important for safety not to be riding at dusk.
You can do the trip you’re suggesting in three weeks for sure, but you’re going to have to throw in some big mile days here and there (meaning 400-600 miles). Are you riding alone? If so, it’s extra important to stay fresh, take breaks, and stay hydrated. We’d dip down into Yellowstone and see Wyoming too – if you can do four weeks, you’ll see more off the bike, and maybe not have as many big mile days. We haven’t ridden in ON and QB yet, but we have heard it’s gorgeous riding – you should have an amazing ride.
Hope we helped you a little bit – please let us know if you have any other questions!
I’m getting out of the military and considering riding from western texas to my home state of maryland. I want to stay along the southern coastal states and see the sites, any suggestions for a route or places to stay? I have no time obligations to meet, so i’m open to any ideas. I could also use some advice on places to stay and not to stay. thanks a lot for any advice
George first off, thanks for serving!
Here’s what we’d do: ride along the Gulf to the Natchez Trace, then take it up north to Memphis and then on to Nashville. Head over into North Carolina and do the Tail Of The Dragon and Cherohala Skyway until the hit the Great Smoky Mountains, and follow them up to the Blue Ridge Parkway and Skyline Drive, then head east at Front Royal. That’s a spectacular ride.
We’ll be doing the Gulf Coast next March, very different vibe than the route above. Think you’d like what I’ve suggested above a lot better, especially if you’ve never ridden those roads.
Ride safe and thanks again,
A bit of advice please? My partner and I are considering doing three to four weeks on a motorbike along the West Coast (taking in the Grand Canyon and other places), but as it will be a one-off, trip of a lifetime kind of thing, we wanted to see as many places as possible. However, we do not want to spend all our time on the road so we are trying to find a balance between getting to places we want to see, but also spending time at these places. We will be on one bike – he rides, I just tell him where to stop so I can take pictures! ;o)
I see that there are web-sites that offer round trips, getting the bike and dropping it off at the same place, but I wondered if there were any places that allowed you to pick up in one place and drop off somewhere else: pick up in LA, drop off in San Francisco (for example)?
Also, as we don’t want to have to stick to a rigid timetable, are there any hotel chains that will allow us to buy ‘vouchers’ or similar before we set off that do not commit us to a time or a place, but can be used more or less anywhere at any time….or do you think there are sufficient hotels on the West Coast to make this an unnecessary worry?
I look forward to hearing off you.
We’re the official UK agent for EagleRider and there are over 70 locations where you can pick up and drop off the bike, including multiple locations on the West Coast. There is a one-way drop off fee that’s based on how many miles it is between where you pick up and drop off the bike; from LA to SF would be about £180 extra (on top of the basic hire rate).
There are many hotels on the West Coast, you can turn up at most and get a room, although booking ahead of time will get you a cheaper rate, so usually we recommend deciding at the beginning of the day where you’re riding, then calling ahead to make a reservation. Best Western is a chain that usually has reasonable rates and they’re all over the place. Of course we can give you suggestions as well for places we’ve stayed that are special that you’ll love.
We’re fully bonded with the TTA, and we’ll quote you in sterling. Click this link to contact us – https://www.thelostadventure.com/contact-us
I will also email you this reply. Thanks for writing Jo!
Thanks for your prompt response. One other question I forgot to ask is the best time to travel the West Coast? I see other comments on here about it being hot…. we were thinking of April 2014 (assuming we can gather enough funds by then), are there any plus/minus points of doing the trip in April?
Also, whilst talking about the heat – have a look at this site:
I heard the inventor on the radio talking about getting hot whilst riding in leather and he came up with these sleeve vents to allow some air circulation….. you may already be aware of them – but just in case you aren’t, it doesn’t hurt to share!
I am planning cross country trip in July 27,2013 from Paramus NJ to LA then go up north to Oregon and ride back by August 15, 2013 is that enought time? And what should I pack ? I will be staying in hotels and motels along the way. I have 2012 Harley Switchback with fairing but no radio
Hello Rich – in our opinion, you’re really pushing it expecting to do a round trip coast to coast tour in 20 days. Of course it can be done, but you’re going to be exhausted, and not have the ability to see much off the bike. The ideal amount of time for a Coast To Coast tour (especially if you’re traversing the country via a northern route) would be at least 17 days. To do a round trip C2C, we’d really recommend at least 30 days. Now of course, there are Iron Butt guys that could do this tour in 4 or 5 days, but that requires a certain kind of masochism 🙂
You’re going to need a day here or there to recover from the beating your body is going to take, especially on a Switchback – very cool bike, but you’ll feel the wind and road a bit more than on a bike like an Electra. Your neck muscles, back, arms, everywhere really gets sore from doing high miles day after day, so after 4-5 days, you’ll want a light mileage day to recover.
It’s not impossible to do a round trip over only 20 days, but it will be challenging, and you’ll probably need a vacation when you get back from the trip! Hope that helps.
Hi guys how’s things,
It’s been fantastic reading everyone’s comments here, I was just wondering if you could help me out with some info.
I am from Invercargill New Zealand and are looking at riding the whole of 66 from L.A to Chicago then heading down south to Memphis and then on to Florida for the daytona bike week in march with the mrs. I’m not to sure about the best route for the ride and if its worth riding all of 66 in this time and if the season would be welcoming.
Also to do this how long would it possibly take to do,
We are looking at buying a bike in the states and sending it back after the ride.
Thank you for your time……………..
Route 66 will be very tough in March, it’s the tail end of winter and it will be very cold up north and in the higher elevations. When we rode 66 last year in the 2nd week of April, we had hailstorms and a flash blizzard in Arizona! We would not recommend riding 66 in March as there may be portions out west that are impassible due to weather. Really, May is the earliest we’d ride 66.
Regarding Daytona, I’d stay in the south, maybe ride over to New Orleans, do some Gulf Coast riding. Just avoid heading North, it will be too cold. If need be you could bring heated riding gear but if you stay in Florida and along the gUld Coast this shouldn’t be necessary – hope that helps! Best, Jim McDermott
hi every one
My name is Fabien l m from France and I’m planning on riding from Vancouver to Miami and coming back in Vancouver , l have 3 months
the city l planning to visit
back to usa
back to canada
and back to ancouver
if anyboby have some tips , visit place to stay
during all my trip l will sleep outside
lets have some fun
When are you doing us ride and when will you be in the Calgary area. I’d be happy to ride from Calgary to Kamloops or Vancouver if you’re getting fed up with riding alone but it would depend on the dates.
That is a huge and ambitious itinerary you have mapped out but it will be the trip of a lifetime. Someone pointed out his opinion of riding on the Canadian prairies but it is in Ontario where you will have most frustration on the Trans Canada Highway. There are hundreds of kilometres of forest on two lane roads with only a gravel shoulder area…very boring. Once you get past that the TCH has a 110k speed limit until you reach Banff in Alberta and then you’re into the Canadian Rockies. It is a beautiful ride from Calgary to Vancouver and the TCH (Hwy 1) from Kamloops is much more interesting than the freeway (Hwy 5).
Richard in Calgary
Jim thanks for the reply. You are right about switchback is being hard ride as compare to Electra I did 600 miles around trip none stop NJ to VA and back to NJ same day, it was very hard on my body. Next weekend I am planning to do 800 miles from sunrise to sundown so I can be ready for my trip. Since reading your reply I made some changes to my trip. I am planning Blue Ridge Parkway, Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, Mount Rushmore and Sturgis then head back.
Wow that’s going to be a great ride Rich – please send us pictures if you can! And be sure to join our Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/thelostadventure
Definitely looking to make a trip west in the next year. Just got on a 2006 Stratoliner with a 4.5 gal tank.
I’m just concerned about not finding petrol stops once I’m further out west. I understand there are signs that say things like “last gas for 300 miles”.
I’m considering the option of “petrol bladders” I can put in the (smallish) saddle bags but would prefer not to.
Also iPhone powered and hooked up for GPS may be helpful but would hate to be stuck in the desert.
My home station is Cincinnati.
Any pearls of wisdom?
Hey Uss – It really depends where you ride. We haven’t ridden anywhere that had no gas within 300 miles, although we have seen no gas for 200 miles, i’m guessing you’d be on fumes at 200 miles. I would not carry fuel in America, it’s one thing if you’re in Africa or South America and are worried about the quality or availability of petrol, but that shouldn’t be a worry in America. Just plan your route accordingly, making sure there are stops, and fill up when you get the chance. I love the Stratoliner, but it’s a shame they only gave it a 4.5…..are you sure it doesn’t have a 1/2 gallon reserve?
Just use Google maps on the iPhone when you stop, forget about wiring it to the bike, keep it in your pocket. Stopping isn’t a bad thing, and also, bring paper maps, GPS doesn’t always tell the truth!
Hope this helps,
Thanks for the advice!
Yes it does have a half gallon reserve. But at avg 40/gall were talking about 160 miles (on the safe side). Not so worried about quality of fuel. More concerned about not finding fuel / running out of fuel.
Curious about your recommendation to not wire up the phone to give it a charge. I’m thinking guidance via Bluetooth to my forthcoming sena earpiece would be a good thing. Will be keeping good old rand McNally in the side pocket though.
Happy July 4th!
Wiring up the phone means fiddling with electrics and adding a mount, and it also means distractions while you’re riding. If you can add a power port easily and run the charge lead to your pocket, that’s ok. But mounted you stand a good chance of watching it bounce down the road – don’t ask us how we know 🙂
You have a great 4th too Uss!
Jim, I have a hinkley bonnie myself. How did you make due with the small take without carrying fuel or passing the 140 miles or so the tank will provide? Just curious.
I did have a spare can but in the whole journey didn’t need it. Stopping early was the trick. I found the saddle worked well for prompting stops before 100 miles 🙂
I’m flying over from Thailand for 3 weeks mid September and riding solo from Chicago west on 66 to LA then up to San Fran and dropping off (eaglerider) It’s my first trip, so am looking for tips on essentials to bring (either clothing or equipment) your experience with maps vs Sat nav? Electra Glide v Road King? I’ve already gleaned some great advice from this thread, thanks for that. Any other tips for riding the Mother road??
Sorry for the delayed response. Firstly, especially if you’re doing it yourself, you need this book: http://www.amazon.com/Route-66-EZ66-GUIDE-Travelers/dp/0970995199/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1373723321&sr=1-2&keywords=route+66
You’re going to get lost a lot but that’s part of the fun, the book above will help you figure out what to see and how to get un-lost. GPS is OK, we’re not big fans of it, too much of a distraction and many old parts of 66 simply won’t be on there, especially the pre-war bits. GPS is good for emergencies, if your data is current, like if you are desperate for fuel and not sure where to go. When needed we use Google Maps on the iPhone, the less gadgets you bring, the freer you’ll feel.
We LOVE the Road King, it feels 100 pounds lighter than the E-Glide, and more in touch with your environment. That said, the E-Glide has a top case, radio/CD/MP3, cruise control, batwing fairing, and a supremely comfortable seat. It’s really what kind of ride you want to have – plush, or a bit more minimal. Both are great bikes and in fact I rode an E-Glide on 66 and loved it.
It shouldn’t be too hot in mid-September, so a cooling vest is optional. Bring rain gear, and we always recommend a full face helmet and sunglasses, not a dark visor, which can be a liability as the light changes. Only other tip we’d suggest is to book the bike through us 🙂 You’ll probably save a little bit of dosh.
Hope that was helpful – ride safe and thanks for posting!
I live in Northwest Ohio, and I am wanting to do this trip in the early spring/summer. I will in my last year of college, and I think this will be a great time to do this because don’t have to worry about a job, wife, or kids! I have mentioned it to my friends as well, and it is in the planning phase as of now. I would like to see Grand Canyon, visit Vegas, and see some other good sights; however, I don’t know what else sights would be good. Hoping you could help me with that or some major scenic roads that I need to make sure we hit. I am thinking 1.5 weeks to Pacific Ocean, and less than a week back so give or take 2 weeks roundtrip. Is that reasonable? Also, we will be taking sports bikes so cbr 600, ninja zx-6rs, etc. Would a backpack be good enough, or is there some sort of apparatus we could buy to attach to our bike’s backseat?
Thanks! This is awesome, and I am pumped to see the plan through! 🙂
Logan two weeks roundtrip from Ohio to Cali and you’ll be exhausted, and you’ll end up having to use interstates unless you ride 10-12 hours a day. Grand Canyon is cool but we think Monument Valley and Bryce Canyon are pretty incredible too. There are parts of Route 66 in Arizona and California that are cool (check out Kingman and Oatman). Don’t wear a backpack, they suck on long rides. Get a magnetic tank bag and be sure not to keep your wallet or phone in it.
I am planning a trip for next year from Orlando to …. out west and back! Probably a solo trip, since I’m retired and want the trip to last 5 to 6 weeks, and all my riding buddies have jobs, wives, etc. I pull a Bunkhouse camper trailer, so I want to camp at least 3/4 of the time. I want to avoid interstates like the plague. I like to keep my days to a maximum of 300 miles per day, preferably 250. I’ve never been west of the Mississippi River, so I need tips. What are the best months to travel out there, and what should I expect, weather-wise? I want to see Death Valley, The Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, Grand Teton, Bryce Canyon, Mt. Rushmore, Yosemite, Carlsbad Caverns, and maybe a few more. What should I know about weather, heat, cold?
Tim, sounds like a great ride. If I were doing it, I’d go in September after Labor Day. Less traffic, and the weather will still be gorgeous. If you ride in the high country or the desert at night, you’ll need a good base layer, something like a lightweight Merino wool top to keep you warm. It should be dry, but we always bring rain gear anyway. You can run into high temperatures sometimes, 100 degrees or more in the desert during the daytime. Make sure to hydrate properly.
And make sure to send us some photos!
The Lost Adventure. Ltd.
I have had a good look at the information that you have given every one.
Now it is my turn to pick your brains.
I am from Engaland, can you please tel me how much money I need to find for a three week Trip.
I am thinking of getting my bike out there is this a good idea ?
I have got an Africa twin so this might be costly.
I would thank you for the help that you can give me.
From Ian England
It doesn’t make any sense to ship your bike from the UK if you’re only doing a three week tour, usually once you do four weeks or more it starts to make sense. It takes a bit of time for the bike to get to the USA and back, and it’s costly. For a three week trip, a hire makes a lot more sense.
In regards to how much it will cost, it really depends on how many days you’ll ride, how many miles, if you’re riding solo or with mates. Hotels are anywhere from 40 quid in small towns to 200 quid a night in somewhere like San Francisco. Meals also are variable, you can save money if you buy some groceries as opposed to eating every meal at a restaurant.
Petrol is £2-3 per gallon, and on a big Harley you’ll get 40-50 mpg depending on your throttle hand.
Honestly I’d say put about £2500 spending money aside for three week tour (not including the cost of the bike hire) and if you’re smart and conservative you’ll go home with money in your pocket. Or you’ll go home broke but will have had a really awesome time 🙂
Hope that helps
Thank you for the information that you gave me.
I have now got a target to work on 🙂
Thank for your help
From Ian England
Cheers Ian, glad to be of service!
I am planning to cross USA from Los Angeles to Florida, I am not a pro rider and I think avoid highways is part of my trip. i have a Yamaha vstar 650 few miles 2001. anything that you believe will help me to avoid problem will be appreciate.
what i am afraid is to run out of gas between gas stations although google map show that there are at least on every 100 miles, to lost reception in cellphone and drive at night. anyway any suggestion will be more than welcome.
Pablo whether or not you see a gas station every 100 miles is really a case of what route you plan; it shouldn’t be a problem in most parts of the country except the west on really deserted roads. You should plan your route using Google maps so you have an accurate idea of mileage between cities. Cell reception is very unpredictable, I live in NYC and I have problems sometimes 🙂
To a degree, when you do a ride like this, there are some risks, there is an element of faith in yourself required. These kinds of rides can be something of a test, which helps you learn about yourself. In our opinion, that’s priceless, so don’t be too concerned with being 100% safe or having everything under control – that’s an illusion anyway 🙂
Hope this was helpful – ride safe!
Advice please!! My 22yr old son and I are planning to ride right around USA next year, from/to Chicago before cutting down Route 66 to LA. We’re wanting to each buy a motorbike when we get there, then taking up to 6months to complete the trip…do we need an American address in order to get ‘bike insurance and are there issues with ‘bike registration, going from one State to the next?? Obviously we’ll have medical & travel insurance, IDP..do we need anything else? Any good advice welcome!!
Many thanks, Peter
Peter thanks for writing. We don’t really do this, but to the best of my knowledge, in most states, to register a vehicle you must prove residency in that state. I’m not sure how to buy, register and insure a motorcycle here in the states if you have no residency. Might make more sense to ride up from Central/South America or down from Canada, wish we could be of more help. Cheers Jim
What a wonderful site you have here, and the comments are a joy to read.
I live in South Alabama, but was stationed in Germany twice while I was in the Military. The riding in Europe was adventurous and pleasant whether it was the Autobahn or secondary roads (obviously for two different reasons).
To see comments from folks across the world who want to visit the US is positively refreshing. The riding here is as diverse as the country itself, and the people are equally diverse.
Keep in mind, the weather where you’re riding to is rarely the same as the weather where you start.
To all: please enjoy riding here as much as we do, and remember, whether it is a short jaunt or across the country, every trip is an adventure.
Cheers Brian – many thanks for the kind words about the articles, we certainly rode a lot of miles to get the ideas for writing them 🙂 Very happy to see they’re of some use to others and that people such as yourself enjoy them.
I’ve only been to Alabama once, to visit the Barber Museum, and had a superb time. Ride safe my friend.
Wow, these are great tips! I’m a newbie rider right now, so I’m not ganna dig out for one of these for another few months, but any advice on the following route?
Starting in Salida, CA, — LA, Las Vegas, Grand Canyon, Phoenix, then in New Orleans (any where i should stop between Phoenix and New Orleans for sight seeing?) Tampa, Ft St Louice FL (this whole trip is just to see a friend, but I figure I should take a little extra time and enjoy America on my bike)
I’m from the u.k so I have no idea how big the u.s really is, any suggestions on a time scale from Columbus OH to NYC via a small town called Malta in Morgan county in southern Ohio? Kind regards.
Jordan you could do that ride in a day easily if you start very early in the morning. You’d be on the bike all day, so if you want to enjoy the ride and see some things, we’d suggest a two day trip. Hope that helps.
I was hoping for a long weekend, start Friday and finish monday, have you got any info on road conditions/long straights/winding roads? Thanks for the info, its greatly appreciated.
If we were riding west to east from Ohio to NY, we’d try to ride through this area for sure: http://visittiogapa.com/canyon.html
Gettysburgh is pretty special too. Hope that helps
I could spend two weeks just in Utah. Hiway 12 the grand loop is magical. Start in Moab and head south exit thru St. George. I talked to a park ranger in Yosemite that said the whole state of Utah should me made a national park.
Lots of BLM ground camp anywhere. Or hit the little motels along the way.
That’s great advice Dave, Utah is awesome, we especially love Highway 50. Thanks for posting!
Hey guys, I just finished reading all of the great advice you have posted and this is exactly what i was looking for! I did a 10 day ride back at the end of april this year that started in my hometown of Salinas, Ca. and went north to vancouver, looped around nevada (through idaho, montana, utah and arizona) finishing back in salinas. in total the ride was just short of 4200 miles and the final day took me from flagstaff home which was just over 800 miles with the stop at the grand canyon.
I ride a kawi ninja 650r and even after 6-800 miles a day i was still comfortable getting off the bike even after riding in snow. I am planning a trip this next year that will span 2 weeks (18-20 days ideally) that will take me to the east coast and back home through canada. I am 26 and have 18 years of riding under my belt so an 8 day round trip wouldn’t be that difficult but i am planning for sometime in may and would like some advice on where i should really slow down to enjoy the scenery on the east coast or even if there is a better time to make my trip. Sorry for the long post, just so much to say and ask in a single go 😀
Hey Chris – wow man, you ride hard! Ever thing of joining the Iron Butt Association? They’re the kings of endurance riding: http://www.ironbutt.com
On the East Coast there’s a lot to see, but one of our favorite rides is Skyline Drive and the Blue Ridge Parkway, down into the Smoky Mountains. You ride this all the way down from Virginia to North Carolina, and if you head west a bit you can ride the Cherohala Skyway and the Tail Of The Dragon: http://www.cherohala.org
The roads around Lake Placid NY are pretty amazing too, if you’re headed up to Canada.
May is a good riding month in the East, just be sure to bring rain gear. Sounds like another great ride 🙂
Hey Chris! Sounds like we have a similar trip planned for May … I’m leaving Vancouver, BC on May 1, hoping to be in Washington DC by May 16/17. I ride a Honda Sabre VT1100 and have every intention to try the Tail of the Dragon and Natchez Trace also (both in TN). Excited!! 😀
I really enjoyed the read Jim! I decided to sell everything I own. It is all gone and I live nowhere right now! I rebuilt my 79 CB650 and its running tip-top. I wanted to leave Indiana and travel south ride the coast as much as possible to the west and to California all the way up to Washington. I have no time limit. I am free to do what I want without having answer to anyone but the law. I was wondering, since it is now November and it took me months to get things sold and quit jobs, is this trip worth doing now? I mean it is cold, but im not worried about that, I am more worried that the most beautiful time is gone. If I wait, I may never get a chance again. What do you think?
Bruce that’s a pretty incredible life change, congrats on shaking off the chains!
If you have the time now, then go now. The weather this time of year will still be manageable if you head south before heading west. If it’s possible, install a 9V Power Port on your bike and get a Gerbing Heated Vest (you can also connect the lead directly to the battery). Having the heat option to keep your core warm will make the trip a lot more enjoyable and safe. Also make sure to bring rain gear, nothing worse than being cold AND wet. California can get cold the further North you go, but if you have a heated vest it will be ok. If your core is warm, blood will keep circulating to your extremities, so your hands and feet won’t get cold. Also, get yourself a set of merino wool base layers, they’re the best we’ve found for regulating body temperature on a bike without sacrificing mobility. Send us some pictures if you go, and ride safe!
Hello; me and my buddy are going to take a tour of these United States next year.
From PA around the country and back! I’m getting a Road King and he wants a Night Train, both Harleys. I will own mine, but I’d like to call you for renting for him. We have no time limit here and one stop will be the week of Sturgis.
I did enjoy your tips, but I’m sure you have more then those.
I’m looking forward to talking with you about this. This is on my bucket list!
Sounds like a cool trip! You can call our US number from this page: https://www.thelostadventure.com/contact-us
Once you go over four weeks, it starts to make more sense to buy a bike if you live here in the States, although if he wants a Harley it still will be cheaper to rent. Ring me between 12-5:30 East Coast time Monday to Thursday, that’s my best window for US based customers. Looking forward to chatting
I’d welcome your thoughts on the following
I’m in the uk and just started a 4 month sabbatical so I recognise my timing isn’t the best (weather wise) for what I’d like to do.
I have a K1200LT and am planning to air freight it to the US. Cost isn’t cheap but it’s quick and relatively straight forward as it will all be handled by the specialists I intend to use.
I intend to hug the southern states for my trip to get the best of the weather. Starting in Miami and ending in San Jose where a relative lives.
I’d like to arrive in Miami on 23rd Nov and spend 3 to 4 weeks riding across through the southernmost states
What’s the optimum route – what should I not miss?
How bad will the weather be in the most iffy areas ( I don’t want a cold ride – plenty of that here!)?
Any input would be gratefully received.
Usually we don’t recommend shopping a bike to the US unless you plan on touring for more than 5 weeks, because of the cost and time of shipping. Bikes always return to the UK via ship, even if they’ve been flown over, and it can take more than a month to get your bike back. Plus, we’ve heard a lot of stories about bikes arriving with shipping or salt damage – so make sure your insurance is in order.
The weather should be ok if you stick south, it never gets too cold by the Gulf, but bring rain gear and a heated vest to ensure comfort, especially when you get out west past Texas. Your BMW has the power port already as I’m sure you know. We really like Gerbing Heated Gear: http://www.gerbing.com
Make sure you stop in New Orleans and Austin Texas. Try to ride some of Route 66 once you get into New Mexico, and maybe do some island hopping in the Gulf. If you have time, stop at the Barber Motorcycle Museum in Birmingham, Alabama (but mind you it can be very cold up there in December).
Hope that was helpful and have a great ride!
In September 2012 I rode an 8600 mile, 17 day Ride Across America http://files.meetup.com/939905/2012-09-07%20Ride%20Across%20America%20-%20ROUTE.pdf , leaving upstate New York, south along the coast, over the Chesapeake bay bridge to Jacksonville, Fl, took a right then road to San Diego, Ca in 46 hours successfully completing an Iron Butt Association 50 cc (50 hours or less coast to coast) so we could relax on the 12 days home rodding thru the Ortega mountains, Angels forest, Angeles Crest highway (mountains), Mohave, Sequoia National Park, Yosemite National Park riding up to Glacier Point while there, riding out Tioga Pass to Mono Lake, up along the shore of Lake Tahoe, across route 50 – Americas Lonliest Highway, across a dirt road shortcut to (my 2012 Suzuki DL650 ate that up, while my two riding partners stayed on the slab arriving 45 minutes after I did at) Zion national park, hiked 6 miles out and back in the Narrows at Zion, then rode down to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, thru Marble Canyon to Monument Valley, into Colorado and Mesa Verde National Park, up on the San Juan Skyway, soaked in the hot springs in Ouray, Co, then road thru the million dollar Highway to Silverton and Durango, hung a left and rode thru Wolf Creek Pass to Great sand dunes National Monument, headed out across the Plains of Kansas to the boot Hill museum in Dodge City, to Oklahoma City, thru the Ozarks, to Sun Studio in Memphis to Nashville, meet a couple from my riding Club and rode with them thru the Cherohala Skyway, Tail of the Dragon (to offset riding across the Plains), Foothills Parkway to a nice meal in Gatlinburg, up and over the Smokey Mountain National Park on Newfound Gap, headed North on the Blue Ridge Parkway (my favorite day of the trip) , Skyline Drive, then home on day 17. Here is t y e ride plan if anyone is interested;
I have pics, a few videos and a ride plan on our website for anyone interested in my ride across america I mentioned above.
By the way, I planned this ride with the IBA 50cc for both the challenge and accomplishment of it, but also to get us to the left coast quickly so we could enjoy the ride home liesurely.
The point of sharing my ride was I found riding across America and back in 17 days a fantastic ride at 50 years old. I couldn’t imagine tidying one way and flying home, I would feel like I cheated myself.
In August 2013 I rode from NY North to the end of the road on the north shore of the st lawrence seaway on Route 138 about 1000 miles north of Albany NY.
I am in the beginning stages of planning my next long ride from NY to Yellowstone, glacier and grand teton national parks, with alot of ot y er places and stops along the way, then, of course, back home again. After that will be a ride to Prudhoe Bay Alaska and back again.
If you like to ride plan it then ride it.
We’ve ridden through Yellowstone Peter, you’ve got an amazing tour ahead of you. It’s an inspiring place.
I’ve been riding for a long time but I’ve never done a cross country. I’m retiring this year so next summer may be my best chance to do it. I plan on taking 6 weeks. My current ride is a 2008 Road King but I’m thinking of upgrading to a new Street Glide. I’ll be 73 in May. Should I do this with a group or go it alone?
Chris it really depends on how confident you are in your riding ability, your stamina and your spirit of adventure. We always think it’s better to ride with a friend for a variety of reasons – it’s a bit safer if you have a problem, and you have someone to share the memories with. Street Glide is a great bike, we’ve owned a few ourselves, but keep in mind the ride is a little harsher with the lower rear suspension. Ride safe!
As far as fast food restaurants go Subway is one of the healthiest. Diner food tends to be greasy and just as salty. And meeting weirdos along the way isn’t always on everyone’s agenda. Not every biker is looking for small talk at the end of the day.
Steve we couldn’t agree less. Subway is highly processed mystery meat, and worst of all it’s a chain restaurant. Nobody travels halfway around the world to go sit in a fast food joint – fast food restaurants are a plague. Give us a good meal with fresh ingredients cooked by real people any day.
And while we can certainly appreciate the solitude and peace one gets on a long distance solo ride, we’ve met wonderful people all over America (and all over the world, wherever we ride.) We prefer to be receptive to people than dismiss them wholesale as “weirdos”.
Hi Jim read your 50 tips had a few chuckles..okay anyways I am retired and decided to take my adventure from Washington state. Oregon,California,Arizona,New Mexico,Texas and now in New Orleans, I am now venturing into Florida and taking my time as you can tell. One thing I did was get those point cards from various hotel chains..okay I am on a fully equipped trike..three stages us bikers go through..Sons of Anarchy stage..Sons of Arthritis stage(me) and the final stage Sons of Alzhiemers.. Anyways I have been taking my time to visit various interesting places and have posted lots of pics and videos the worst part was catching a nasty flu in Phoenix and the further east I headed the colder it got..thank god for my plug in liner and heated handgrips!! Ya I did hit some snow and ice on the road and was damn lucky and thankful..But hey its an adventure and ya I am glad I have GPS and satellite radio and a full face component helmet with blue tooth. I hope to be in Daytona for the bike week in March. I plan to get my trike shipped back and fly back..I have to be back before April!!..more to follow!
Gotta love those heated handgrips and liners! Just makes a cold ride so much more enjoyable. Sounds like you’re on an incredible trip, Gary! Got any photos to share?
Yes I do on my facebook acct..lots of albums of my trip just taking my time can’t be everywhere..doing the lone wolf biker trip been a hell of an adventure!! if you want to see my pics and statuses Jim e-mail me and I will give you my FB.. 🙂
Gary like us on Facebook and we’ll check them out! https://www.facebook.com/thelostadventure
Fantastic Gary! First off, ride safe and have fun…it sounds like you have a great plan are doing just that. I am considering a long solo ride this year as well; Durango, CO to somewhere??? Will be riding ’02 Fat Boy both ways. That is my plan. Any advise?
I’d like to agree to many of the suggestions of taking your time to tour the sites. My wife and I rode 2up from Los Angeles to San Francisco and back to LA. 4 day ride north on PCH and then Highway 1 to SF, 2 days in SF and then 3 days back to LA on the same route. 9 days, 1100 miles. Due to the twisty road, turn outs for the view, lunch and lodging each night, we only rode 5 hours per day and really only covered less than 150 miles per day. Out by 9:30am and done by 3pm. We allowed time to experience each daily stop and some of the local sites and meeting new people.
We didn’t feel rushed and were fresh each day. We did not feel we missed anything along the way. My advice is to slow down, get off the interstate and enjoy the scenery and sites at a pace that reminds you of why we ride.
Hi Jim. We do a big European trip every year but for the last 2yrs we have been saving and now paid most of the cost for our USA coast to coast trip on our own HOG’s from July 29th to Sept 2nd this year. We are shipping the bikes to Baltimore 2 weeks prior, flying out and then riding to Milwaukie, Sturgis, Grand Canyon, Las Vegas, San Franscisco then up to Vancouver where we fly the bikes back on the same plane we catch back. Stopping at various sights en route we should cover over 5000 miles and I would be grateful of any recommendations and/or tips in terms of things to watch out for and places to see.The three of us are all 50 this year, hence the big trip and been riding since we were 17!
Planning a trip across country (and back). Starting in New Hampshire. 2 up on my ’09 Street Glide. In the process of purchasing a tour pack. Struggling with detail of trip. No reservations and we really prefer not to have any. Heading out June 1 and returning sometime in early Sept. Gettysburg (CVMA national meeting), Blue Ridge Parkway, Smokey Mountains, Nashville, Memphis, Grand Canyon, Las Vegas, Yellowstone, Grand Tetons, Sturgis (for bike rally-August). Thinking for a ride to and around Alaska but not sure if we have enough time. Taking a small tent to help keep cost down. Struggling with laying out a route/plan. Retired country folks not super interested in city stuff. Any suggestions/ideas on any part of the trip will be helpful. Ride safely!
Now that sounds like a RIDE! You’re going to see some amazing things. Just a couple of thoughts:
1) Make sure to ride the Tail Of The Dragon and the Cherohala Skyway when you get down south in the Smokies
2) Try to fit The Badlands into your ride, it’s pretty incredible
3) Give yourself at least three days in Yellowstone, you don’t want to rush it
4) Do the Chief Joseph Highway and the Beartooth Highway as well
5) Visit the Hoover Dam when you’re in Vegas, maybe a side trip to Death Valley
Sounds like you’ve got at least a 4 week tour without Alaska in the itinerary!
Thornton, Expect heavy traffic on the East coast and the larger cities. There is too many things to see from Boston to San Francisco to Mention on here. I have ridden all 50 States in the USA to include some 47-48 National Parks. I’m going to just type a few for you to consider as they come to mind. I will include things to see and do both in the North and South since you mention Vegas. The Mansions in Newport R.I., New York city, Washington D.C. are all something to see. Virginia, North Carolina, West Virgina, Kentucky and Tennessee are all beautiful and good riding. Avoid getting close to Chicago unless you want to actually see the city. South Dakota Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, California, Utah, Oregon and Washington are my favorites. If you google things to see in these states and have any questions feel free to contact me. If you have questions about any of these place I would be happy to help. My group are planning a Europe trip so we may can help each other out.
Good Information David. If you need help with rentals while in Europe let us know and we’d be happy to help.
My wife and I are planning to travel across the U.S. and back this summer, over about a 5 week period. Our plan is to head south from Rhode Island in mid- to late-May, travel to Virginia to see “the kids,” then head west and hit Rte. 66 and on to Vegas and Hollywood. We then hope to head up the 1 and 101 along the California coast, stop in Newport Oregon (more kids!), and then head east on Rte. 20 back to New England. We are in our mid-60s and will be riding 2 up on a Moto Guzzi V7 Classic 750 cc bike. We are both physically fit and adventurous. Suggestions?
Hey Tom – try to ride the Blue Ridge Parkway and keep going into the Smokies and then head west in North Carolina to do the Tail Of The Dragon (make sure you ride The Dragon during the week when its quiet). Stay at the Madonna Inn in San Luis Obispo https://www.madonnainn.com which is just a crazy, fun place. And ride safe!
The Lost Adventure, Ltd.
Stay awhile in the NW. We have miles of excellent motorcycle roads
Please share a few of your favorites with us, Paul!
I think you are selling yourself short on this trip idea, ride your own bike and ride it home! take the extra time and see it all!!!
Taking hwy 20 from OR coast to Boston, down to Key West, back to Chicago and RT 66 to AZ before turning north towards Oregon… via Crater lake.,.
In September & October of 2013, I did the perimeter of the USA with side trips into British Columbia and then the Dakotas, Colorado etc. 11,700 miles by myself, camped out until it got to cold. I would have kept on going if I hadn’t run out of good weather and money. Sometimes the interstate, sometimes back roads, depended on my mood. I would do it again tomorrow. There will be moments that will astound you and will remain with you forever.
I’m planning a 28 day trip next May. Starting In Omaha Ne.
Any suggestion would be nice.
Hey Chris – your question is a bit difficult to answer as it’s so general. Our best suggestion is to pick a few places that you want to see and then thread them together with great roads. We find Michelin maps very helpful for this – hope that helps. Thanks for posting! Jim
Hello Jim, I am new to this cross country ride. I have about 8 months before I take off from Washington State. I would like to head East. I have no time limit and I will be riding a 250cc scooter made by sym. I would like to know the best back roads to travel. I am not any hurry. Any thoughts or suggestions would be very appreciated thank you. Shawn
Hey Shawn – that’s a pretty big question! We’ve crossed America four times now, and one thing we’ve learned is that everyone’s ideal coast to coast ride is different. Start by getting some ideas about what you’d like to see, where you’d like to stop, then start connecting roads. A good resource for figuring out what roads to take is http://www.advrider.com – it’s a great forum with regional sections where you can see recommended rides and ask questions. Regarding your scooter, just be sure you know where to service it in case you have mechanical issues along the way. 3000+ miles can be very hard on small displacement vehicles.
Hope that helps and ride safe!
i am 17 anfd im goin to go on this trip when i turn 18 bc i dont know who i really am deep down and i think this willl help me wish me luck
So much wonderful information here!
I’m a biking newbie, but it has always been my dream to do North America by two wheels. As I’ve primarily grown up on neighbourhood dirt bikes, and on the back of my dad’s, any suggestions on what to look for when buying a bike for this intense of a trip? I’m only 5′ and 100lbs, so something small, but that will do the trick. I’m planning to take a couple months for it, so I’m looking at more of a 10,000 mile ride. I’ve done distance on the back seat, so I know what I’m getting myself into.
Any suggestions would be fantastic!
Thanks for writing Seka! Before you go on a coast to coast tour, you should really get more street bike experience locally.You could do the ride on a Ninja 250, great mileage, not too expensive or intimidating, there are plenty of them used. I’d suggest at least a year of local experience before you attempt such a big trip. You can do it, but having confidence and experience with your machine will really be in your favor.
Hope that helps!
The Lost Adventure, Ltd
I could not imagine riding a Ninja on such a trip. Get a cruiser be comfortable. I’m 5’4 and there are plenty bikes you could reach the ground flat footed. I have 600 Shadow and it fits good. It’s enough.
We are 2 adult riders leaving NY round trip to Salt lake city for speed week Aug 20, to Sept 20 2014
I am just saying ….. interested?
This was good. Learned a few things. I have ridden my Harley across the country six time.. I am planning my seventh trip this summer.
Oh, I have never ridden West to East without also riding East to West…Shipping my bike is out of the question!
How hot is it in the summer?
Depends on where you are, Dan.
We are 2 adult riders leaving NY round trip to Salt lake city for speed week Aug 20, to Sept 20 2014
I am just saying ….. interested?
Maurice spoken like a man after my own heart ride on my brother keep the knees in the breeze and the wind in your hair and never worry about how to get there just go.
I’m in the uk and planning to take a can am trike ftom the uk to the USA from east to west and back again. It’ll take as long as it takes and was thinking pick a north or south route depending on the weather (won’t be for a few years though till I’ve saved the pennies though). Would be interested to know how far to travel each day to plan hotel stays along the way (although I should have space for a tent and sleeping bag).
How many miles you can do per day depends on several factors- what roads you’re riding, what the weather’s like, and how many hours you want to spend in the saddle. We’ve ridden 1000 miles in a day, and as little as 150 miles on tour. You can crank up the miles on the Interstates, but then you’re not seeing anything. Backroads are more interesting to ride, but you usually don’t make good time on them. Bets thing to do is start to string together the things you want to see, then chose the roads you want to ride between them. Sounds like you’ve got some time to do the planning 🙂
Hope that helps! – Jim
plan your trip as you would like if you get tired get a motel or find a camp ground.it is really no big deal might I suggest (KOA) camp ground of America you can pretty much guess how far and how long it will take you to get from POINT. A to POINT B. But it should be no problem good luck enjoy your time in the us and stay safe Live to ride ride to live I hope this helps you ,bye the way KOA’s can be found on line just type in anything with the word camp ground in it and they will light up your world with deals offers and locations.LOL
Thank you Jim for the excellent tips on riding across the country. I have about 25,000 miles logged on a Yamaha V Star 650 Classic over the past two and a half years between San Diego, Oregon, Nevada, and Arizona. I really love all the riding, especially up Highway 1 through Big Sur. I’m now 59, confident in my skills and I successfully completed the California Motorcyclist Safety Program (CMSP) before I started riding again back in October 2011.
I’m hoping to purchase a Victory Cross Roads bike somewhere in the North East and then ride it back to the San Diego area. I have a basic route I’d like to take that will include riding through Manhattan, New York. I’d love to visit Central Park and basically spend a day riding throughout the city, etc. My question is how “bike/biker” friendly is the New York metropolitan area and surrounding metropolitan areas for what I’ve described. BTW, I’m well aware that lane splitting is a California-only thing =)
Hey Richard, thanks for posting. I would not call NYC “motorcycle friendly” at all. It’s a high stress/high risk environment due to distracted pedestrians, incompetent cab drivers, pot holes, and endless traffic lights. You have to be incredibly attentive at all times, because no one else is. That said, it’s an incredible feeling to ride amongst all the skyscapers, through Central Park and Times Square, along the FDR Drive and across the bridges. By all means experience it, but make sure you’re in the right frame of mind and ride very defensively when doing so. I’ve lived here my whole life, and have ridden here for 30+ years, and I get a fright almost every time I get on a bike in NYC 🙂
Hope that helps! Ride safe
My buddy and I are planning an XC trip in the Spring of 2016. I know that’s a way off yet but I’d love to hear from folks about their experiences and stuff to see/do. We’re leaving out of Los Angeles and planning to go to Daytona for a day or 2 (maybe) for the rally and then to the keys to the southern most part of the US and then back to LA so it will be a Southern route trip. We definately plan to go to New Orleans. Our time line is very liberal (probably at LEAST 3 weeks) and both of us are seasoned riders. I ride a road king and he rides a heritage softail. We’ve both done long rides Sturgis 2X, Milwaukee for the 100th and did a LA to Vancouver trip last summer (2013) on an Eaglerider rental. 3,490 miles, 13 days, no rain, up the Pacific coast & back. Great trip. We prefer back roads and scenery over mileage accomplished each day but will do interstate to make up time/blast thru nothingness if necessary. Looking forward to hearing about your experiences ans suggestions. Thanks, Steve
So many good tips here- I don’t see much I would disagree with. One route I would suggest for cross country travel is US Route 50. This takes you thru some spectacular scenery in Colorado Utah and Nevada.
As far as eating goes, I like to load up on protein and carbs at breakfast so I don’t feel any hunger pangs for at least 6 hours of riding. Of course, your mileage may vary.
Camping vs motels: I like to camp, but about every third day I’ll be getting pretty funky. That’s when I like to check into a Super8 for a shower and a chance to wash my clothes.
Bring that rain gear! If you’re out for a week or more, you will run into rain at some point. My last long ride I got rained on just once- but it was a steady downpour on the Million Dollar Highway all the way from Durango to Silverton. I’m glad I had the wetsuit.
Take video and pictures of everything. Bring extra memory cards. No one ever came back from a vacation saying ‘darn it, I took too many pictures’.
A mate & I are going to be traveling from Seattle to Florida via Sturgis departing 1st August 2014. (can’t wait)
This will be our 1st trip to the states. Both will be riding Street Glides, Just after a few tips & routes to take. Have 4 weeks to do it in but do not want to stay on the main H/ways for to long. Both come from a small country town on the West Coast of Australia. Like to ride for a bit stop have a look around ride some more find a place to stay (Motel!) Have a few beers & a feed at the local bars. Want to travel fairly light any help or tips greatly appreciated!!
Sounds like a greta ride. First thing we’d suggest is pick a starting point, and an end point. Once you have those set, write down some places you absolutely must see. Once you have a handful of them chosen, you’ll have the rough makings of a trip, and you just have to sew the roads together. Michelin maps are great for this, but we also love Butler maps too: http://www.butlermaps.com
I wouldn’t pre-book any hotels, figure out where you’re going to hang your hat day by day, you’ll have a better trip. That’s the best advice we can give (other than to hire the bike through us!) Ride safe.
Best Regards, Jim
Hey mate iam on the west coast Australian I have a good map to use it’s the Dunlop touring map.who would have thought.I will see you friday night beer at pub.cheers have a good one.
Take the coast.You can ride the shoreline most of the way. Might as well go all the way down Florida
to Key West. I’m riding the east coast from N.C to Key West. Hope fully not later than August 31
You have a great trip ahead of you. Ill be doing something similar from New York To Key West. Leaving solo August 1 as well. 2012 HD Electra Glide Ultra Limited FLHTK
Keep 2 wheels down and the green side up. Happy days!
Hey Tim and Jim,
I wrote to you guys last May looking for some tips on an C2C ride. Then, I was only dreaming of the ride and still searching for my first motorcycle. When I graduated from college in May, I found the perfect bike to take me across the country. I found a 2003 Triumph Bonneville America with less than 6,000 miles at a very reasonable price. I didn’t get my motorcycle license until June, but I quickly came confident of the Bonneville. It’s really a great bike to learn on. But, I live in NH and my last day of riding was in November with hands so cold I could barely reach for the clutch and brake. I spent the rest of the winter thinking about what I wanted to see on my trip and also took note of tip #20. When I first saw the tip, I knew exactly what to do. My grandmother passed away about ten years ago after suffering from Lou Gehrig’s disease. This is a particularly awful disease that not a lot of people are aware of. I ended up connecting with a great small foundation out of Cape Cod, MA. They helped me with my fundraising efforts and even organized a fundraiser and met me in Ft. Pierce, FL during my ride. By the time I got back from my trip last week, I had raised $7,500 and hope to make it to my goal of $10,000.
Aside from riding for a cause, I had a lot of fun. I left NH May 18 with just about 1,000 miles of on road experience under my belt. I took your advice about not over planning and just randomly connected the dots between places I knew I wanted to go. I went through southern VT into the Catskills of NY through the Pokonos of PA into MD and VA, eventually entering Skyline drive and continuing onto the Blue Ridge Parkway. I spent about 4 days enjoying the 550 miles of windy mountain roads without stop lights or tractor trailers. I entered Great Smoky Mountain Nat’l park upon leaving the BRP. My intention was to ride the Dragon, but I first rode up and over Newfound gap, which was a pretty exhilarating ride. I met some nice people who invited me to BBQ with them and didn’t get back on the road until late afternoon. The next day was the first day I had to be somewhere, meeting my mom in Jekyll Island, GA. I rode from TN back into NC and as far into Georgia as I could. I spent 5 days in GA with my mom before going to FL for my fundraiser. I really started moving after that. Back into GA, through Alabama and Mississippi and up to Memphis, TN, taking a break there for a couple days. Then I rode 1,000 miles in two days back into MS then Arkansas, taking Talimena into Oklahoma to Amarillo, TX. The next day, I was exhausted and crashed pulling off to take a break entering New Mexico after going 80 mph through the entire pan handle. Luckily, I was alright. My bike had some damage and had to be towed to the nearest Triumph dealer in CO. I rested up for a few days in Colorado Springs and then the most incredible part of my adventure began. I took the Top of the Rockies scenic byway into Aspen and spend a few days with a friend before riding to Telluride and staying with another friend. These were some of the best days of riding and it didn’t get much worse going through southern UT along Capitol Reef Nat’l Park onto Hwy 12 down into Escalante, Zion, and Bryce Canyon area. I saw all of those and then rode down to the Grand Canyon before coming back in to UT. The next day, I went quite a ways from Kanab to Bishop, CA across the middle of NV on the extraterrestrial Hwy. I was happy my 4.5 gallon tank handled the over 150 miles between stations at 75 mph. I went from Bishop to Santa Barbara. By then, I had accumulated about 6,500 miles in three weeks, including the week I spent in GA. I planned on stopping there in SB. But, I just couldn’t resist the PCH 1. I ended up taking another five weeks riding the 1 up to Seattle. Along the way, near Big Sur, I met a kid about my age riding from Austin, TX to Vancouver and back. we rode on and of together from Monterey to Santa Cruz to San Francisco where I stopped for 8 days. I met my new friend back in Arcata and we went from there to Toketee Falls, OR to Portland, eventually making it to Seattle where I stayed for a week before flying home. When I arrived at Triumph of Seattle, my odometer had 7,978 more miles on it then when I left.
Everything about this trip was incredible. I never had a bad day, only occasional bad moments. For example, sitting on the side of the highway in NM for 4 hours waiting for AAA with tornado warnings popping up on my phone. Even moments like these ended up being positive experiences in the end. Of my nearly 8,000 miles, I’d estimate that less than 300 were done on Interstates. If there was a scenic road, I was on it. I packed very light, wearing one pair of pants for the last forty five days of the trip. By the time I hit the west, I was very lost in the adventure, ignoring calls emails and texts. I did my best to update an FB page I made for my ride. By searching “Finn’s Cross Country Ride for A.L.S.”, you can see my posts and some pictures from along the way.
Finn, That’s an epic ride and so glad we helped a little in the planning. When I read this kind of thing it just make me want to close the laptop and hit the road…….so I guess I will :-)) Tim
Some Great Tips. Thanks.
My best friend & I have 25 yrs riding exp together. We r planning a coast to coast in a year. Our plan to Ship our bikes & ride from San fran + Redding,ca+ Reno+Jackson Hole+Beartooth pass+Devils Tower+Rushmore+Milwaukee+ Ontario+ Niagara Falls+NJ= Two Great Weeks!
Is this a doable time frame or plan for extra time for 300 -400 miles a day?
Also How to prepare the body for such a endurance journey?
Thanks for your comments. Yes two weeks will be possible for that route. However you won’t get much time off the bike. We rode Boston to SF in 17 days with 2 400 plus days from Milwaukee to BadLands and we all felt a couple of days extra would have made it a better trip. If you can up it to 16 days you’ll feel the benefit by either having a few shorted days or a day off. To Prepare just get out on the bike. I’ve never found an exercise yet that helps my arse after 400 miles in the saddle! 🙂
Some great tips here, especially the music selections! Excellent.
Doing this trip in January…Leaving Michigan’s UP with my KLR650 in the back of the truck and dropping it when the road allows. Heading south to Corpus Christi, back up through Texas into Oklahoma and taking route 66 over the HWY 1 on the coast. Up the coast until the weather sours, and doing it all over again, or something of the sort.
Six weeks is what I have…Very excited!
What a brilliant page! I have recently returned to biking after a gap of 30 years – my very own mid-life crisis 🙂
I am planning a trip with my husband in maybe 18 months time from Washington DC probably to Oklahoma City and we may decide to turn left and head to New Orleans after that. We’ll both be retired by then so time will be no object.
We live in the UK and will have to hire, so what would you or anyone recommended as a hire bike for me at 5’6″ and 132lbs?
I’ll be back to read all the posts when we start planning properly!
There are 3 bikes I would recommend. The Indian Scout, Harley FatBoy or Heritage Softail. All three have low saddles and although pretty heavy are easy to get on with and provide good comfort over distance. If you want a quote on any of them let us know with dates and locations and we will get a quote to you. Email us at [email protected]
This sounds like me; will also be going out on a trip like this having a gap of 25 years (thanks kids!). My bike is terrific although I did install wind deflectors on it and a bit of bling. I’m 5’5″ and 140lbs and love the Harley Davidson Dyna Switchback – easy to handle, very forgiving and comfortably balanced. I bought an extra piece of luggage as well to slip over the back pillion. I hope your ride is everything you expect it to be and more!
Hey Guys looking to takeoff from Boston by Oct 15th, hit Chicago, Denver, SLC, Reno, then Santa Cruz CA…. Been looking at the national weather averages year by year and it seems that day riding should be fine. Will be riding a Dyna with a fairing and staying at friends houses. Might camping 1 night in between destinations…
Have you had any experience riding from Chi to Denver and SLC mid October?? I’m going to be riding solo as well.
You’re certainly going to have to watch the weather day by day. Most of the route will be ok but Denver to SLC could be cold. Most of the highest passes are already closed so it’ll be a matter of choosing your route to suit the weather. Chicago to Denver should be ok but your right on the change of season. We stopped running our Chicago tours a week ago for that reason.
Have a great ride and remember the toughest days are always the one you remember.
Thanks for the quick response. Yes I am most concerned about Denver to SLC. It seems like trying to cut through rocky mountain national park might not be as safe a bet as taking either the 70 and cutting up to SLC or going north to get on 80 west and coming down to SLC… any input on those routes? Thanks again
Both could still be pretty cold at that this of year. Just watch the weather forcast
yes you can not count on the weather reports in Colorado especially Denver unless they say the weather will be bad October is when the passes out west start getting snow and chain up areas are opened I would leave much sooner than October but that is up to you. just watch the horizon and stay safe
those roads in Colorado can be very treacherous that time of year
What are the danger’s of ridding through TX,,NM,,AZ…I am 62 years old,but healthy 62.Im in good shape ,i work out 2 days a week.I plan on taking 30 to 40 days to make this trip.Thank’s for any help.
Depending on the time of year you plan to ride the only real danger is the heat. Prepare well. drink lots of water and you’ll be fine. There is some truly great riding in that area. Be sure to stop off in Big Bend and catch the ferry across the Rio Grand (Which isn’t so Grand there).
Let us know how you get on.
Hey guys! Im looking to travel from Montreal (Canada) to San Francisco with my bike. Witch route would you recommend? Route 66 or going down to Florida then crossing through Texas to LA? Thanks for your help!
Depending on the time of year Id stay north through the Badlands, Black Hills, Yellowstone, SLC, Bonneville Salt flats, Highway 50.
what is wrong with going through Canada to the west coast and heading south from there? I would most certainly be shorter and I would be willing to bet that you have not seen Canada at he best I drove a tractor trailer and was so impressed with the trip I am planning to do it on my bike as a bucket list item
I just got the green light from Mrs. War Department to round trip from Philadelphia to my dream destination, “Going to the Sun Road”, Glacier National Park, Montana. I’ll take three weeks and head via county roads only- Harrisburg, Chicago, St. Paul, Fargo, Glacier.
I’m very nervous about the timing though. I understand that G2TS Road can be under snow until mid-summer! Thoughts?
Fantastic ride William. Ive ridden most of that route and there are some great roads along the way. You are right about G2TS, its only open in mid summer so don’t go before July or after The start of September if you want to be sure.
Have a great ride and let us know how you go.
P.S. Don’t be nervous, your only danger is getting hooked on road trips!
thinking about last years trip, can not wait until late june for my next trip.
rode my 04 softail last year, i’ll be riding a 14 ultra this time, cant wait.
went from Delaware to grand canyon to Yellowstone down through badland nat park Colorado, awesome trip cant wait until june going to glacier and redwood nat park,mojave dessert this time cant wait,oh did I say I cant wait.
I rode that area of the country 2 years ago, you would do well to ride through the black hills of south dakota, then throught beartooth pass that leads you into yellowstone national park. from there head through boseman then up to glacer national park. great ride,
Hi all, im finally planning a 10 day trip on the cali coast and into navada to las vagas. What is the best time to do this trip re weather etc? thanks
Late June’s best as the passes are open through the Sierras and the desert is still not at it’s hottest. This can of course change depending on the weather.
A group of 22 of us are headed for Sturgis. We are from Maui. Some are shipping our bikes into L.A. and some are going to rent. We have a house rented near Sturgis. Planning to come through Vegas. Any travel tips or things we shouldn’t miss? We are renting a Ram crew cab pickup for a chase vehicle…Pete
There’s plenty you shouldn’t miss between Las Vegas and Sturgis. How long are you planning on riding for. If you pick up and drop off in Las Vegas it will avoid the Sturgis event surcharge so will make rental much cheaper. If you let me have some dates I’ll be happy to get a quote to you and once I know the time frame can give you some route ideas. If you email me details to [email protected] I’ll get the info to you.
Wow…there are tons of things to see and do in Sturgis. On your way in stop in Sundance, WY. Got to Devils Tower on your way in. As you come into to South Dakota make sure you branch off and do the Spearfish Canyon ride…absolutely gorgeous. While in Sturgis go see Mt. Rushmore, ride the wildlife loop, Custer National Park, cruise the Badlands, meander through mini-rapid city aka Black Hills Harley Davidson, Full Throttle Saloon, Buffalo Chip for great concerts, main street Sturgis is happening 24-7 almost. Bring tons of sunscreen, raingear and leathers. It can get cold. Trust me. Average night temps are in the mid-fifties. Anything you forget you can pretty much get at WallyWorld. You will have the time of your life. Ride safe. Can speak for much west of Gillette, WY cuz I’ve never been there. As far as what to do in Vegas…I’m sure you can figure that one out yourself.
Hi, I am from the UK and thinking of hiring a motorcycle and riding from Miami to New Orleans and would appreciate any advice.
Is this the best way round or would New Orleans to Miami be better?
I was planning on a week’s duration. Will this be right for the trip?
Which is the best time of year go?
Which is the most cost effective way to do it?
Has anyone done this same trip before and documented it?
Any info gladly appreciated.
New Orleans to Miami would put you on the ocean side of the road where you ride the waterfront. Also there are better insurance options open to you from New Orleans. A week is a great time frame for the ride giving you plenty of time to stop along the way and there is plenty to stop for.
March, April are good months. You could join our coast to coast ride for the best rate and a whole load more riding. https://www.thelostadventure.com/project/low-cost-coast-to-coast-motorcycle-hire The facebook page tied into this ride documents the route well.
If you want more info you can mail me at [email protected].
did that ride my self. For spend time in New Orleans. the food is great and there is lots to see. You can cross over on I 10 and stop in Birmingham at the war museum to see uss Alabama and the drum submarine. from there highwas 19 south is good. Its the old road before they built I 75. Lots of cool little towns to stop the speed is 45 to 55 mph with slow downs in some of thye small towns. Head south till you hit Tamiami trail. Then cross east to Miami. The wild life is spectacular. In the early morning you see hundreds of birds. I assure you you will see at least one alligator. the west coast has great beaches st pete, naples,venice ect.
Great recommendations Mark, Thank you.
Hi Andrew. I would make that trip in October and travel New Orleans to Miami.
October is a great month- not too hot and not too crowded. You could catch Daytona Biketoberfest Oct 13,14,15 and 16th. You might also like to see the Florida Keys. A great ride. And of course, there is always Disney.
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.
Thanks for the tips! We leave in five days for a 5 week, 10,000 mile trip from DC to Ottawa to Seattle, San Francisco, Denver, New Orleans, Key West, and back up the coast to DC. I’ll post about it here: http://booztrip.com
Great ride Phil. Look forward to hearing about it.
Nice site. I rode from Arizona to Miami on my old sporty. My son actually talked me into putter a small one gallon gas can in one of my bags. Saved my bacon in western new mexico where gas stations can be far between and with the sportys lack of fuel capacity I got used to stopping every 120 miles to top off. I am heading out now for Miami to Chicago. Your tips are all great. Try not to pack to much stuff. less is more. Good luck.
mark you need to dump that peanut tank for a 4.5 gallon tank made for a sportster this will eliminate any worries you may have (or Had) crossing New Mexico or some parts of Texas for that matter it will also free up some room in your saddle bags for some rider fuel ( food and a couple bottled waters ) just in case you never know when you will need that sort of thing Just like your bike runs on oil gasoline and love you have to plan for yourself first
Hey guys! I live here in sebastian Florida and was going to head cross country in spring from key west to seattle. I have a built 82 GS550 that i am taking that been modified into a tracker-ish road runner. I am planning on staying in seattle once there and im getting impatient and thinking of heading out on new years day. My question is how terrible is it in winter to ride cross country. I am planning on keeping to the south until death valley then heading north! I have absolutely no time frame to get out there, so im not worried about waiting for roads to open. i really want to head through the sierras but not sure when those roads open or how passable they are on a bike. my trip plan is key west to new orleans south to big bend up to grand canyon over to death valley, through the redwoods then up Oregon coast till the boarder then rainer and seattle. Any suggestions or info?
Me and my wife will be visiting from the uk next year and are looking at hiring a Harley and riding from chicago to visit our friends who live in greenville Texas via the Harley Davidson museum in Milwaukee and flying back from Dallas fort worth. We would like to include a couple of days stop off at Memphis too.
Any tips on places to visit/stop at would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks for commenting. Ive ridden that route many times and there’s plenty to see from sights along 66 to the Natchez Trace.
If you would like us to quote you for the rental id be happy to help. We could then chat through in more detail the route your planning.
I think you would like to see the Barber Motorsport Museum. It is near Birmingham Al. Look it up. It’s a must see for anyone who loves motorcycles. Good luck !
A few buddies and I are going to make a 70 day adventure of the US beginning in April 2017. We plan to ride the Southern part of the country first and the upper half after Rolling Thunder weekend. Any suggestions on where to get suggestions on hidden gem routes for each state? We have a route planned but would always look for those out of the way treasures. We would also like to write a Blog for others to follow our ride. I have everything set for video and still shots with a mount on my handlebars and one on my engine guard. This is for sure a bucket list adventure for us and we would like to do everything possible to ensure a successful trip. Any and all suggestions are greatly appreciated.
Thanks for your message. Unless you are renting from us we are not really set up to offer individual help with route planning. Planning a detailed tour represents quite a few hours work which if not tied in to a rental is hard to justify the cost of. Personally if i’m planning my own ride though I just have a basic route in my head. From there I buy a map, pack as little as possible and head out. Over planning nearly always takes a lot of the fun out of a tour.
The Lost Adventure
Couldn’t agree more…
is one person in you group in triple A? if yes call them and they can and WILL give you a great tour of any area of the country you would like to see. my wife and I did this many time while traveling in the military by car and by motorcycle good luck god bless and enjoy you ride
a mate and I have just finished a 6 thousand mile trip San Francisco to San Francisco. best bits of advice from the list; don’t overplan, we had accommodation booked for the first and last nights of the 3 week trip and it was fantastic, ended up in some amazing places and a couple of s##tholes, all part of the adventure. Get on the road early, we were motoring by 6.30 most mornings. America is not an early riser, so you get to see the place coming to life for a new day, absolute gold. we rode May to June, most of the weather was great, although it varied from getting stopped by snow in Ouray Pass to 45 degrees Celsius in death valley. and finally DO IT
In 1980, fresh out of college, a buddy and myself started our trip intending to go coast to coast. Our route was driven by wanting to visit all this country has to offer and this was done by planning our trip around visiting all the National Parks. We never intended to end up traveling thru all 48 states, staying in KOA Campgrounds due to a guaranteed shower and a small convenience store for needed incidentals. By the time we had traveled half way across the country we realized that we hit every state on the southern half of the US. It was it this point in time we decided to make our mission all 48 states and every National Park of interest. We spent 3.5 months on the road, cooking 50% of our meals and never spending a single night in a motel. Granted, fresh out of college we were full of ambition and youth, but the point is he had a plan and we executed it on 1980 Yamaha XS750 Triples with no windshields and no tour packs. Just garbage bags and bungy cords. It was as raw as it gets, but the memories and sights were not just a dream. They became a reality. My advice would be to have a very loose schedule and about mid-day make a guess as to where you want to end up that evening. Leave plenty of flexibility for weather, maintenance, and just good old common sense. There is so much to see in this country that it always bewilders me why people are in such a rush to travel abroad. We live in a great country that has a tremendous amount of natural beauty where a motorcycle lets you become part of the ride in every sense of the word. Tourist centers are good to stop at to see what each state has to offer, but using the National Park Method ensures securing memories of a lifetime. Do your research and try to stay off the interstates as much as possible. You get a true feeling of the area by traveling as a local and you will unlock some of the best roads available to the human eye. Stay safe and take each day as a journey of it’s own and your trip will remain a permanent part of your own personal library. Live to Ride and Ride to Live!
Hello. Did you take your trip cross country? I would love to hear about it. I am planning one spring if 18′.
We sure did John. Check out this page and be sure to join our FB group to get all the low down.
Hi, I’m at the very beginning of trying to plan a trip over to the US. I’m hoping to take 10 days over Christmas and was wondering what would be people’s suggestions? I know winter isn’t the best time to go but with my work it’s the only option really, and do you have to be a certain age to hire bikes also?
Any feedback is much appreciated,
You need to be 21 and have a full, unristricted motorcycle licence to rent in the States. Over Christmas your only options are Florida and Souther California.
If you would like a quote on rental let us know dates and we’ll be happy to help.
Heads South young man you don’t want to get caught in the hi plains in the winter
it all depends on which states you want to ride in during Christmas . the southern part of the USA, is the best and safest riding during that time of the year but once in awhile it can get very cold in this area so be prepared to dress up like an Eskimo on one day and a sunbather on the next the southern rout of the USA is from southern Ca-Az-NM-TX-LA- MS-AL-FL that would cover interstate 10 then the cold parts of the south appear that would be Georgia to Virginia,THIS IS WHERE I WOULD STOP MY TRIP IF I HAD no particular place to go. No particular place to go meaning stop in Florida. Hell take a ride down to the keys and enjoy the sun
This is my big dream – travel from the east to the west coast of the United States, and be sure to ride along Route 66. Looking at the photos and reviews of riders, im becoming increasingly convinced that the States have incredible nature. I adore deserts and steppes, but our country have a climate like in Canada (snow, cold, forests, bears), and there are very few good roads. There are places (a lot of them) where it’s impossible to reach by any car. For example, i was born in Tiksi, a city near the Arctic Ocean 🙂 US located very south along the Earth parallels – it’s really cool – season can last year round!
Our country is decided to cross along, only really steel asses, there are about 10,000 miles only in one direction and conditions such that the journey will in parallel become your second life. I would add the marks “take along a spare canister with gasoline” and “explore the areas where you can get help from the MC.” At us it’s really hospitable companies which will shelter and will help with a mending if it’s necessary.
I hope there’ll come a day when politicians are driven out with safe local and any biker transport to swap across the Earth freely, without border poles. Peace – to the world!
By the way, hello to you from Russia 😉
Absolutely..i will be doing my second cross country ride in september..i agree with you that there should be no borders…hello from Texas.
I am looking to go from Des Moines Iowa to Las Vegas at the end of April. Would it be ok to take the north rim of the Grand Canyon? I was wanting to stop at the 4 corners so was thinking of down through Colorado springs to four corners then the north rim. Any suggestions.
You’re right on the change over time in that area. Ive had snow around the North rim then but it could be great. You’ll just have to watch the weather as you go.
The north rim of the Grand Canyon does not open until May 15th. (gates will be locked, and roads closed)
Great list. I’m planning a solo short hop just as soon as winter dies here in Iowa. I absolutely cannot wait to get on my Tiger and vanish into the back roads of Kansas. If any one from the UK is ever riding through Western Iowa, I’d be happy to show you around a bit.
Great tips! Especially #1! I can’t wait to do a cross country trip. Finding the time is always the hardest part. Hopefully someday when I am retired.
You just make time or by the time you think you have time, you’re probably outta time
Yes i agree. I’m 56 years old now. I live in England. We’ve rode 41 U.S. states now. Route 66 twice. PCH 1. Seen…Yellowstone. Yosemite. Grand Canyon. Death Valley. Vegas. Golden gate bridge. Mount Rushmore etc. Amazing. Just planning another trip now for summer 2019.
Some Great rides there Gordon
That’s the truth! If you want to do it you just gotta do it! I’m taking off for a week this summer and it’s going to happen!
We could have made 10 lists to fit all the great tracks in that fit and Bob would probably have one to himself 🙂
Hello everyone.- I’m planning a full USA/Canadian tour early next year 2020. I’m from the uk and never road abroad before I’d be grateful for any tips or advice from guys who have done a similar trip.. I have no time scale to adhere to. Many thanks
If you join our Facebook Page “The Lost Adventure Coast to Coast ride” you will find a lot of people to give you answers to your questions.
I’ve always enjoyed this page, and when I plan to do a cross country ride, I visit to look at the latest comments. 🙂
This article is so informative and helpful. I gather some important tips and informations to read this article.
Great tips . I hope to make the journey someday . I will be careful about the music i play when camping with the bears .
Your are right I always take my rain gear and it does not rain .
Super article and lots of followers! I appreciate your tips, besides the tips others have mentioned.
I’m not ready for a trip this far, yet! I’m going to do more motorcycle camping this summer and am looking forward to the experiences!
Safe Travels and have Fun making new memories.
Wow, very interesting
Thank you sharing……
Hoping to go with a friend as soon as we can. Any idea when USA will open up again to allow this?
Our hope is as the US and UK are at the forefront of the Vaccine roll out that we may form an air corridor which could mean travel to the US by late summer. Fingers Crossed!!