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  1. Default Three Week Cross-Country Trip

    Hey All,

    I'm planning on buying my first motorcycle this spring and taking a three-week long road trip from New York to California and back, stopping in Philly, DC, Atlanta, New Orleans, San Antonio, Albuquerque, the Grand Canyon, LA, Las Vegas, Denver, Mt. Rushmore, Minneapolis, Chicago, Scranton and Boston.

    It would be a total of about 7200 miles over three weeks, averaging a bit under 400 miles/day. I have a lot of experience in road trips, going for hundreds of miles to see friends at other colleges. The amount of driving per day won't bother me and I've planned it out so that I will have plenty of time to see what I want to see.

    What I am looking for tips about is embarking on such a long trip on a motorcycle. I am particularly interested in getting a late 70's - early 80's model Honda cruiser, like a CM 400 or something. From what I've seen, they seem to be high quality bikes with decent mileage. However, would such a long trip compromise an older bike? Or would a bike of that age perform fine if it already has a low mileage?

    Any advice in general is welcome, but if you could tell me anything regarding the risks of taking an older bike on a long trip I would greatly appreciate it.

    Mike

    The trip map can be viewed in the attachment!
    Attached Images Attached Images

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,271

    Default

    Welcome!

    I hate to be a naysayer, but I don't think you should take a cross country trip on a motorcycle until you are an experienced rider. I feel the same way about driving cars - get some experience under your belt and work into it gradually.

  3. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by glc View Post
    Welcome!

    I hate to be a naysayer, but I don't think you should take a cross country trip on a motorcycle until you are an experienced rider. I feel the same way about driving cars - get some experience under your belt and work into it gradually.
    I definitely agree with you, I wouldn't plan on getting the bike one day and going straight on the trip the next. I was thinking of somewhere between 4-6 months of experience before hitting the road. For someone who has found themselves very comfortable when driving anything else, do you think that 4-6 months would be enough experience before embarking on such a trip?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,749

    Default Iron Butt.

    I think that you are the only person who can ultimately decide if, and when you feel ready [or not] to set out on such a trip. I think that averaging 400 miles a day, every day for 3 weeks would be quite a test in a car, but to do it on a bike with all your gear is really going to ask the question "Have you an iron Butt" ? Experience of course is important, but you should at least have a few 'shorter' long rides, with back to back day's of long hours in the saddle to see how you feel at the end of it. You say long driving day's don't bother you, but you have yet to find out about long riding day's, so one step at a time. ;-) I would certainly consider being less ambitious with a first trip on a bike, with less miles or at least have the availability of more time if it should be needed.

    As with most classic vehicles, with the right care and attention they can be reliable, but they can also be temperamental, it will all be about the bike of choice and it's condition, and not necessarily the amount of miles it has covered. A well maintained vehicle that is well used, can quite often be more reliable than one that has low miles and comes out of the garage once a month for a short ride, and is then put away again. Especially going from that to averaging 400 miles a day !

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,064

    Default

    I would say that a few month of experience getting used to the bike would be important, but as part of that it really will be essential to taking a few long weekend trips where you get an idea of how well your body will hold up to being on a bike for 8 hours a day. Riding a bike is going to be far more demanding on your body than just getting in a car for a long trip. 400 miles a day in a car is quiet easy, but 400 miles on a bike is a very long day, and doing that for 20 straight days is a fairly extreme trip.

    Now of course there are the true iron butt riders who do that and more, so it certainly can be done. I just would make very sure its something you can do and enjoy - and I'd give some serious thought to scaling back your plans a bit so you don't end up on the other side of the country, finding yourself miserable, and have a whole lot of miles still to go.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
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    9,271

    Default

    My sister is an experienced rider, and she just did a 5100 mile trip in 13 days. She said "NEVER AGAIN"! She even has a very roadworthy bike - a 2006 V-Rod bagger. She was totally exhausted when she got home. She also did this trip with 3 other people, not solo.

  7. Default

    Hmm all very good points, I'll take them all into consideration. Thanks a lot!

  8. #8

    Default

    For many of the reasons just stated, I am waiting to turn in my 08 Yukon until after we return from our 7K+ mile trip this summer. I've had this truck since day one and fully know what to expect with it. I would hate to get on the road with someone that I dont fully know and have nothing but troubles. Realize that could happen with anything, no matter how long you've owned it, but to me, going into it sets up for better success.

    IMHO!

  9. Default

    I am contemplating almost the exact same scenario! I'm currently deployed, and saving for a new bike. I've ridden for about six months on a '92 Honda Shadow 1200. I'll be back this fall, and am planning a month long tour of the States on a Harley Road King the following Spring. I'll be taking several short road trips for practice. I'm going From Ft Bragg to Chicago, Route 66 to Santa Monica and Back to Bragg via the souther states. As far as van road trips, I've done 16 hour days to Spain (stationed in Germany) as well as Italy and other places. Riding a bike is completely different when doing mileage. I can do about 3 1/2 to 4 hours in between breaks. That was pushing it. Although, I did learn the value of a windshield. At highway speeds, it's like doing a forever situp without it. I would highly recommend some "dry run" weekends. Put in the same mileage you intend to do on your big trip on a weekend, back to back Sat and Sun. Then see how you feel and adjust accordingly. Of last note, enjoy your trip. It's not a competition to see how far you can go how fast. That's the beauty of the bike. Just ride, and enjoy the ride.
    Last edited by PvtBastard; 06-22-2012 at 08:02 AM. Reason: Fat Fingers

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,271

    Default

    You might want to check the post dates - this trip is probably already done.

    Good input though!

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