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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Yellowknife, NT, Can.
    Posts
    7

    Default Cross country (sorta) summer 2012 USA

    My husband and I are planning a 2-4week motorcycle trip in july of 2012. We really are in the infancy stages of trip planning, and are very open to suggestions. We prefer not to use interstates, smaller paved highways tend to be more picturesque. An average day for us that maintains our comfort is 6hrs per day on the road. We enjoy camping but alternate with inexpensive hotels. We prefer "scruffy charm" to modern conveniences.

    Our goal is to cross into the USA at a border crossing in bc or Alberta, head south south-east along the Rockies, slowly redirecting to east in the texas/new mexico region and take in the southern states. End destination is the florida keys. For varietys' sake, the return trip will hopefully allow us to see ( heading north from Florida now) the Appalachian mountains eventually re-entering Canada at the Manitoba border.

    Any tips? Which highways might we enjoy some scenery while still maintaining our general destination? Have any recommended sights? Lodgings? Good campsites?

    Many thanks,
    Darcalyn

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    The big problem I see with your plans is that you simply are too short on time to do what you want. Riding 6 hours a day on 2 lane/non-interstate roads means you'll be looking at days of about 300 miles (500km) on the road. Its about 4000 miles each way from Yellowknife to Key West going direct, and more like 5000 miles when you talk about the routes you've mentioned. That means you'd really need 5 weeks minimum. Maybe you could shove it into 4 weeks, but you certainly couldn't do it in 2. I will note, however, even at 5 weeks, that's long distance driving every day, and doesn't give you really any days off the bike/road or any days where you can just stop to explore a park or an area.

    The trip you are covering does cover nearly the entire continent, so the number of great and scenic places and routes you could take is truely countless. I'd certainly start with the national parks, which really highlight some of the really unique natural features, and they nearly all have nice camping facilities too.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Yellowknife, NT, Can.
    Posts
    7

    Default Starting from Edmonton

    Thanks so much for you input! I'll add some detail I overlooked earlier. Although we live in Yellowknife, our trip will begin and end in Edmonton Alberta. In 2010 we did a trip from Yellowknife to las Vegas and the grand canyon and back in 13 days, so the long hours on the bikes are part and parcel of the adventure. We had opportunity to ride route 66 and visited Oatman. Loved it.

    We realize too that we may simply blast through the prairies to get the most out of the trip. We hope to visit some swamps, airplane graveyard (boneyard?), and scenery galore. Thanks for the tips on the national parks. We'll start researching them too.
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 03-10-2012 at 11:51 AM. Reason: in-line quote not needed here

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,059

    Default Yeah, you're an experienced long-distance traveler!

    Sheesh, Yellowknife to Edmonton is not a minor thing and that's just the beginning? I think you'd enjoy the tale of this RTA Iron Butt over-achiever!
    ...so the long hours on the bikes are part and parcel of the adventure.
    You mentioned that you only wanted to travel six hours per day -- So...I'm guessing you travel quite a ways over the legal speed limit to cover those distances?

    Mark

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Yellowknife, NT, Can.
    Posts
    7

    Default Legal but too long.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Sedenquist View Post
    Sheesh, Yellowknife to Edmonton is not a minor thing and that's just the beginning? I think you'd enjoy the tale of this RTA Iron Butt over-achiever!
    You mentioned that you only wanted to travel six hours per day -- So...I'm guessing you travel quite a ways over the legal speed limit to cover those distances?

    Mark
    Had a good chuckle there Mark! Thanks! As my husband and I are not fans of windshields on our motorcycles, we stick to the speed limits pretty close. I whimp out with a full face helmet, when not too hot. Speeds much over 100km/hr are no fun to ride in for us.That trip in 2010 consisted of much longer than 6 hour days on the bike. Some much mUch longer. In this years trip, we are hoping to have shorter days consisting of an average of 6 hours.

    The "mini-trip" from Yellowknife to Edmonton is super good highways, and crazy long
    daylight hours. The sun does go below the horizon, but it doesn't get dark. Riding for 8-9 hours is much easier with good visibility.

    Wow! Compared to the trip in the link, I'm a total rookie! Thanks so much.
    Last edited by Darcalyn; 03-10-2012 at 12:51 PM. Reason: Added info

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,059

    Default Just for motorcyclists

    I've got to look it up, but there's a motel in Eureka Springs, Arkansas that only accepts motorcyclists -- I've heard it's a pretty nice place. Have you heard of it?

    What bikes do you ride?

    There are some many awesome roads for bikes.... I've got some RTA business to attend to -- but I'll revisit this thread later today.

    Here's a few to consider....

    Mark

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default At the risk of hi-jacking this thread...

    Quote Originally Posted by Darcalyn View Post
    The "mini-trip" from Yellowknife to Edmonton is super good highways ...
    Darcalyn, you are the first poster I have seen on this forum, who is from Yellowknife, and am so glad to hear that you have 'good highways' up that way. Does that include the Liard and Mackenzie Highways? If I have time, I would like to go visit Yellowknife on my trip, but keep being warned about the condition of the roads up there.

    Lifey

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Yellowknife, NT, Can.
    Posts
    7

    Default

    Never heard of it, but after perusing through those links, wow! Thank you so much Mark! Now THose are links! We may have to book holidays to find time to explore all the options.

    My first bike (2007) was a used Yamaha V-Star. Very good bike. No complaints. My husband taught me to ride in the pool parking lot. He has a Harley Softtail Classic and as he continually brought me to the local hog dealership, I finially picked one out! Now we both ride softail classics. His is 2005, mine 2009. Our trip in 2010 he used a 2005 Fatboy he and a friend in Edmonton went halfsies on.

    Really want to express many thanks for your help in our trip planning. July is the month we hit the highway, so no rush. Have a good day.
    Darcalyn

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Yellowknife, NT, Can.
    Posts
    7

    Default

    Hi Lifey! Hi-jack away! Never know when I may be asking you for australian info too as that beautiful continent is on my bucket list.

    I guess I should try to be clearer in my descriptions. Highway conditions are all relative I guess. I havent done the Liard or Mackenzie Highways, so I cant speak for them but I know of a few here in Yellowknife who have drove them and have returned, so how bad can it be?

    Highway 3 links Yellowknife with Highway 1 (Mackenzie Highway) which quickly takes you into Alberta, so that part I have done many times. Its the northern parts I have yet to experience.

    The Mackenzie Highway in Alberta is two lane, with very little shoulders, paved, and quite smooth. Definately an easy drive. Sorry I cant help with the adventerous part of the NWTs' highways.

    Highway 3 is quite good too for the most part. Upon getting off the Merv Hardie ferry, (a bridge is being built) highway 3 is smack in the middle of a buffalo park. They are everywhere, and huge!! Bring a camera, and bug spray. Lots of bug spray. For two hours of the drive you head north, then it turns east at a community of Rae-Edzo. This is where the highway conditions take a turn for the worse due to very little soil on the canadian shiels rocks. The frost heaves make it very difficult to maintain the highways. The "dips' are deep, and the "humps" are like launch pads even at the speed limit. Thankfully its only another hour of this till you are in Yellowknife.

    I absolutely reccomend a trip to Yellowknife if only to shop in "Just Furs" and sample "Bulloks Bistro" fish and chips.

    Hope to see you.
    Darcalyn

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default Wow!!! Thank You.

    Quote Originally Posted by Darcalyn View Post
    Hi Lifey! Hi-jack away! Never know when I may be asking you for Australian info too as that beautiful continent is on my bucket list.
    You're welcome.... anytime! Not that I have covered all of this continent - yet, but can certainly help people with a great trip.

    I guess I should try to be clearer in my descriptions. Highway conditions are all relative I guess.
    The roads with which I grew up... back in the 50s, and to some extend, out of the major cities even today, are nothing like the roads one associates with North America. I am quite used to driving on unsealed surfaces. I regard the James W Dalton Highway (The Haul Road) in AK as a tame road. This time I plan to drive. No more commercial tours for me. This thread may give you some idea of the roads on which I have, and still do, drive.

    Highway 3 links Yellowknife with Highway 1 (Mackenzie Highway) which quickly takes you into Albert, ...
    I take it you mean here that you would head towards Enterprise and Edmonton?

    ... so that part I have done many times. Its the northern parts I have yet to experience.
    Do you mean the section to Liard Highway and Fort Nelson. That is the section I am interested in. I was looking at driving from the Alcan to Yellowknife.

    This is where the highway conditions take a turn for the worse due to very little soil on the canadian shiels rocks. The frost heaves make it very difficult to maintain the highways. The "dips' are deep, and the "humps" are like launch pads even at the speed limit. Thankfully its only another hour of this till you are in Yellowknife.
    Not sure I will be interested in being launched... and since I will not have a high clearance vehicle, may not be the best choice? Still, if you can do it on a Harley.... how would a Ford E150 Van go?

    ... and sample "Bulloks Bistro" fish and chips.
    You mean fish with 'real' chips.... not fries. It's like a magnet... my mouth is watering already.

    Since you don't hit the road till July, and I need to be back in Boston by then, maybe we could meet up. Yellowknife can't be that big. LOL

    Lifey
    Last edited by Lifemagician; 03-10-2012 at 07:06 PM. Reason: corrected information

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