Help - 16 Days - Need Somewhere To Ride
I am based in Los Angeles (that's reason enough to beg for help...).
I am in the process of planning a trip with my Harley Deuce beginning December 19th through January 5th (that's a bit over two weeks).
My plan calls for shipping my bike out to either Houston or New Orleans and then drving it back through the Southwest. At first I thought I would stop by the national parks on my way back home (Grand Canyon, Bryce, Zion, Mesa Verde) but everytime I look up one of the parks they mention snow and/or ice during the winter months.
Can someone please help me out and give me some advice and or direction??
Please don't mention Mexico (it's killing me) -- my girlfriend's visa is running short and we're not sure if the renewal will be back in time for our trip so we have to plan as if it won't be and if it comes through then Baja will enter into the picture...
We are both young and in shape - so hiking - rafting - 4x4 rental etc are all good thoughts...
Looking at the map I was thinking initially of hitting Austin - San Antonio - Santa Fe and Vegas -- but am open to any and all ideas...
Any advice and/or suggestions as to roads, side trips, hotels, restaurants - etc - would be greatly appreciated.
Gosh, what a tough dilemna!
LA: Not for the trip you've specified, but have you ever driven the complete Ridge Route and/or stopped for a Harley's burger at the <a href = "http://www.roadtripamerica.com/eats/rockinn.htm">Rock Inn?</a>
It will be the start of the dead of winter, so road conditions at any of the Utah/Arizona national parks will likely include ice. For the most part, the roads that are still open will not be snow-bound, but in my view, any road ice while on a bike is way too much.
If you were to travel on I-10 between Houston & Tucson in late December I can just about guarantee that you will hit icy conditions along the way. The most troublesome sections will be between Ft. Stockton, Texas and Las Cruces, NM.
Austin and San Antonio are fun cities -- as is Santa Fe (but you will increase the liklihood of hitting snow if you go that far north). Big Bend National Park is one of our favorite places -- be sure to check out the Starlight Theatre in Terlingua.
If you elect to go to Santa Fe -- seriously consider stopping at Bosque del Apache -- get there before first light and wait -- I guarantee it will be something you will never forget.
On the other hand, the Chirichauas and the area around <a href = "http://www.roadtripamerica.com/places/tombstone.htm">Tombstone</a> offer some really cool places to ride.
Phoenix is home to some darn good <a href = "http://www.roadtripamerica.com/arizona/barbecue.htm" >BBQ<a/> on your way west. Be sure to take US-93 to Las Vegas -- new road, great views, sweeping curves...
There is one awesome road...
Again, one would have to check the local weather for snow reports -- but on your way west you might look into US-191 in eastern Arizona. US-191 between Clifton and Eagar is the "curviest" Federal highway ever built. The drop-offs are legendary and some of the switchbacks were "made" for a bike.
Dress warm, though...
I believe US191 tops 9,000 ft MSL in a couple of places -- so it will be cold even if it is sunny and the road is dry.
I recommend the areas Mark mentions in southern Arizona as well -- the land SE of Tucson, especially Patagonia, Sonoita, Sierra Vista, Bisbee, and Tombstone are very beautiful and great motorcycling roads (the movie Oklahoma was filmed near Sonoita).
I envy you the Deuce. I have a very strong opinion that will be my next motor as well! Hopefully a nice green one, if they should bring "Jade Sunglo Pearl" back as an option.