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  1. Default Road trip of a lifetime Ft Bragg - Chicago - Santa Monica - Portland OR

    Hi fellow road trippers! I'm planning a motorcycle trip of a lifetime! My goal is, in 30 days, to go from Ft Bragg, NC to Chicago via the Tale of the dragon and the skyway. Once I get to Chicago, I'm travelling Route 66 to Santa Monica. If I can do it without hurrying myself, I would like to finish off in Portland OR (originally home) for a week and then back to Bragg. If I have time I'm going to take a scenic route back as well. My question, fellow travellers, is there anyone wanting to join this trip for a day or two. I'm simply looking for another bike (or car!) I'm looking to do this trip in April/May of 2013 timeframe, when it's still not hot in the south but not cold in the north. It's not my intent to get anywhere in particular, I want to find some great roads, great people, and travel route 66. I don't have a bike currently. I sold mine before I deployed. I'm looking to buy a HD Road King (or something similair) for this trip. I've wanted to take this trip for a long time and I am dropping 30 days of leave for it, so I'm not hurried. Any advice on nice roads, rides, mom and pop b&b's/restaurants or anything else that comes to mind, please reply. I'm not looking for "best of" stuff, just what you've found interesting along these areas. I'm not set on a hard course yet, I'm really open for suggestions. Thank you for your time!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California


    I don't ride, but just wanted to take the opportunity to say "Welcome to RTA". Also, Rt 66 has been decommissioned for years. To follow it, you'll have to take I-55, I-44 and I-40 through IL, MO, OK, TX, NM, AZ and CA. You'll find bits and pieces of the old road along the way, usually designated as "Busn. 66", "Old Rt 66", or by the state and the number 66. The longest stretch still in existence is AZ-66 around Seligman.


  3. Default

    Thank you for the invite. I know the Route 66 of old has been decommisioned, I was hoping to get on a guided tour, or fall in with someone who has travelled the route before. I also plan on plotting all the waypoints into my gps. I'm planning on the trip in APR 2013, so I have time to plot ;) I have a friend riding most of the way to Chicago, and an Army buddy plans to meet me in Chicago and ride with me for a day or two on 66, but I'v always found good people on the road, and look forward to the unpredictability of it.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Route 66 links.

    You will find a lot of info throughout the forums and road trip planning pages in the tool bars above to help with your planning, including this RTA page dedicated to Route 66 planning. Right at the bottom of that page is this informative site.

    As you continue with your planning and questions crop up, don't hesitate to ask ! Have fun.

  5. #5

    Default The return trip from Portland

    Hello from Raleigh, PVT,

    I have a nephew who is a CAPT at Bragg and he's deployed as I type this. My younger son is a Navy Seabee E-6 (PO 2nd Cl) on orders to deploy soon. On their behalf, and for all of the rest of us, thank you for your service.

    For your return trip, I offer the following suggestions:

    Leaving Portland, ramp up north to I-90 via Kennewick/I-82/US 395. Take I-90 to Missoula, MT. Be sure to overnight there (the good old Thunderbird Motel on East Broadway is a cool place). Missoula is a fun and rocking college town (University of Montana) with lots of bars and restaurants within a few blocks walk of the T-bird. Snag a breakfast at The Oxford, where there are no locks on the doors since they never close. Montanans tend to go to breakfast when the bars close, so The Oxford between 0300 and 0500 is pretty entertaining. Regular breakfast hours are cool, too.

    From Missoula go down US 93 south to the MT-ID line at Lost Trail Pass. Take MT 43 east towards Wisdom into the Big Hole Valley. At Wisdom, take MT 278 to Dillon, MT. The Big Hole is literally breathtaking and is a must-see. From Dillon, MT 41 and 55 bring you back up to I-90 east of Butte. East on I-90 are Bozeman and Livingston, each being fun overnight stops, particularly Bozeman, home of Montana State U and having a fairly rowdy reputation.

    Keep on I-90 past Billings and down into Wyoming. Below Sheridan, take I-25 south to Douglas, WY, and there grab US 20 east to Crawford, NE, in the far northwest corner of Nebraska. Take NE 71 south from Crawford to Alliance on US 385/NE-2. For about 200-250 miles east on NE-2 from Alliance, you're on the "Sandhills Scenic Tour", with NE 2 being a sometimes a bit curvy, sometimes straight, 2-lane highway w/ 65-70 mph speed limits following a major railroad line and free-flowing rivers through a landscape of giant sand dunes covered with grasses and virtually no trees. There are little railroad/ranch towns every 10 miles or so, and Broken Bow, NE looks is a great place for an overnight, with an old hotel and restaurants, bars, bakeries, and other shops on a nice town square which NE 2 forms one side of. You can stay on NE 2 to all the way to Grand Island or drop down to I-80 a little west of there at Cairo, NE, through Wood River on NE 11 to avoid urban/suburban congestion in the town of Grand Island.

    At Lincoln, NE, around 90 miles east of Wood River, follow the signs for NE 2 to Nebraska City, crossing the Missouri there to I-29 in the southwest corner of Iowa. I-29 runs southeast to KC, where I-70 takes you to St Louis. From St Louis, you can cross the Mississippi on I-64 to I-57 at Mt Vernon, and about 50 mi south from there you pick up I-24 through Clarksville (Ft Campbell, where you can stop to see friends or just kick a few 101st tails), and Nashville, TN is only 50 miles or so past Ft Campbell. Nashville's "Lower Broad" entertainment district is said to be a barrel of fun, and I-40 runs a nice route east from there, over the Cumberland Plateau to Knoxville, and then through the Smokies to Asheville, NC, another fun overnight stop/college town (U of NC at Asheville). Choose your poison as to the best route from I-40 east of Asheville, NC back to Bragg.

    At St Louis, you can alternately go south on I-55 and cross the Mississippi to Hickman, KY, and run southeast from there to Jackson, TN to pick up I-40 west of Nashville. The crossing to Hickman is a FERRY boat I am itching to ride on myself. Look them up online and make sure they're running before planning on riding it. Last Spring the floods closed the ferry for a time. Also be advised of some other ferries running from east of I-55 to Illinois, where you can take back roads over to I-57 or I-24.

    Back out west, be aware you're liable to see snow in the higher elevations in late April/early May. Crux points for snow along the route I've suggested include Lookout Pass at the ID-MT line, Lost Trail Pass south of Missoula, and Bozeman Pass east of Bozeman.

    Have fun planning your trip. Stay safe and keep in touch with the RTA Forums for more info.


  6. Default

    Good Lord Foy - I think you just planned my entire return trip! Thank you for so much info in one shot. I'll be sure to spen the next few days happily researching the route you've suggested. As far as snow in the passes, from experience in the Cascades, I've seen snow on days that were in the 70's. Would the passes still be at winter temps? Or is the snow just slow in the process of melting? Snow as a road hazard I'm willing to deal with, riding in freezing temps is something I'd rather avoid. Thank you again, and please let me know if you have any other suggestions.

  7. #7

    Default Snow in the passes


    Western MT gets a goodly portion of its annual snowpack in April and early May. I'd assume you'd see plowed snowbanks flanking the highways as you get above, say, 3,000 to 4,000', with the higher passes (Lost Trail and Bozeman) likely delivering a shot of winter temps, too. On average, air temps decline by 3 to 5 deg per 1,000' of elevation, so a warm-ish day in Missoula (below 3,000') can be dang cold at Lost Trail Pass (7,015') and chilly enough at Bozeman (5,700') or Lookout (4,700'). I'd also look closely for icy patches in the early morning and in shady spots on north-facing slopes later in the day.

    Get back on with any followup questions. I'm happy to help any and all servicemembers.


  8. Default

    Wow, I didn't know the temp would vary that greatly in Apr, would it be wiser to push this into MAY? Would that affect the temp in the passes enough for them to be passable without ice patches? I don't mind the snow on the side of the road, it's the ice and snow on the road that I'm sure my bike wouldn't like :) Thank you again for all the info!

  9. #9

    Default I'm no meteorologist


    I live here in Raleigh, NC and have not been in Montana in person during April. All I have to go on are the Montana DOT webcams placed at the aforementioned passes, cams which routinely show snow falling and DOT plow crews working as weather systems pass through April into early- to mid-May.

    That said, the Western states' DOT snow removal equipment and personnel are unmatched anywhere I can think of. The passes are monitored by the cams and in-pavement sensors and men and equipment move accordingly to clear the road.

    What you may not be aware of is the limited distances involved in clearing the 3 passes we're talking about. There is not likely more than 6-8 miles of higher elevation in traversing Lookout Pass, only 5 to 7 in clearing Lost Trail and heading east into the Big Hole, and more like 10 miles of higher elevation along Bozeman Pass. Both Lookout and Bozeman are on I-90 so they get the best and the fastest service. As you ride around elsewhere in Montana, at least along the routes we've discussed, you're mostly between 2,800 and 3,500'. While the lower elevations can get snow in late April-early May, it's far less likely, and warmer ground/road surface temps seem to prevent much from sticking.

    Seems to me all a rider would need to do is to watch the weather closely and avoid hitting high elevation segments of his route as a weather system passes. Waiting out a brief snow storm at a diner with a cup of coffee and a piece of pie isn't a bad way to spend part of a day, after all.


  10. Default Awesom info, question about navgation

    OK, I didn't know that the passes were such short shots. Thank you again for all the great info. There's only so much of the internet I can get from here. I'll definitely look into the DOT cams in March, to start looking at what they can potentially be. Worst come to worse though, as long as there's no ice or snow on the road, I can gut through anything for 20-30 minutes to get through a pass. I'm packing a good jacket with a liner, as well as silk weight underwear. If anything more than that is required, I'll just stop for the night, grab a couple beers, and wait until lunch time when it's warmed up a little to make the pass. It's nice to see a fellow North Carolinian on here! BTW, I'm trying to figure out the best way to plot my course on this trip. I've looked at several apps for my Android. None of them seem to fit the bill as far as choosing an exact route to take, and getting navigation directions enroute. Anyone have suggestions on this? I have an old Tom Tom, and a Newer Navigon, but I'm really only trying to only take my phone. I've used the navi via my headphones (so I don't have to look at it) and it's never failed me. My direct question is, does android have an app that I can make my own route of travel on my computer, transfer it to my Android and go?

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