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I am planning a trip from east TN to TX (Big Bend), NM, AZ, CA, in late April or early May. I would appreciate any suggestions on places, roads, and late April vs early May.
 

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We may pass each other, I'm planning to ride approximately the same route at the same time in the opposite direction, all back roads if I can find them.
 

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Do you know where you will be entering Tx yet. I might be able to make some suggestions based on your enter point. Also be nice to know if you will riding a bike or trailering.
 

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Buffalo -- I'm planning to enter west TX somewhere around hwy 82 then exit east TX on hwy 82 to take the Gulf coast into LA. I've planned the LA part of the trip (easy: Gulf coast, Tabasco factory, Atchafalaya River, Old River Control complex, Mississippi River).

I'm planning a stop in DFW because I have several good friends there. Other than that, I haven't planned the crossing of the Republic of TX yet. I'd like to hook up with you if timing and route works out. It'll be all riding on the 650 of course.
 

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Let me just say this: only once did I take a trip during spring break (late March). NEVER AGAIN will I try this going west.

I hit too much unpredictable weather (cold, rain, serious storm fronts, 55 mph cross winds, etc.).

I'm not saying it will happen to you, but it did to me. I've even had it happen in June traveling west through Wyoming, etc.

Personally, I HATE going west period from where I live (Dallas/Ft. Worth Metroplex). There's no way to avoid the wind coming out of the west, etc.

As I said, I'm not saying it will happen to you, but from my experience, I'd rather travel east, north or south.
 

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all back roads if I can find them
Get the TomTom app for your smart phone and let'er rip ....Maximum Winding roads feature is worth the cost of the app and it does not need a network signal to operate including turn by turn voice nav


http://www.tomtom.com/en_ca/product...om-navigation-for-iphone-ipad/navigation-app/

Also OP I'd go in May - the later the better....just before the 24th holiday the parks are pristine and mountains are "okay" ....take layers.

I'm going cross country but from Toronto and during June - long riding hours
 

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Buffalo -- I'm planning to enter west TX somewhere around hwy 82 then exit east TX on hwy 82 to take the Gulf coast into LA. I've planned the LA part of the trip (easy: Gulf coast, Tabasco factory, Atchafalaya River, Old River Control complex, Mississippi River).

I'm planning a stop in DFW because I have several good friends there. Other than that, I haven't planned the crossing of the Republic of TX yet. I'd like to hook up with you if timing and route works out. It'll be all riding on the 650 of course.
Mike if you are heading to DFW I would like to try to meet up. Terrell is about 30 miles east of downtown Dallas. As Happytech said, weather that time of year can get interesting. That is thunderstorm and tornado time around here. However it is before the heat sets in.

82 is a northern route across Texas. I've never ridden it any further west than Nacona so can't tell you much about what it is like from there to New Mexico.

If you are headed toward DFW I would assume you will get off it around Seymour. 114 from Seymour toward Fort Worth is a pleasant road that you can make fair time on. It has some long sweeper type turns through canyons and low hills. Traffic is not a problem until you get on toward DFW. Where you get off it kind of depends on where in DFW you are headed.

If you are leaving TX on the east side close to where 82 does that puts you heading northeast out of DFW up toward Texarkana. Depending on how long you want to take making that run there are some pleasant 2 lines you can make good time on. Or if you have more time there are some Farm to Market roads that have some twisties but you will have to do some zig zaging to hit them. Generally in Texas if you want to get twisties you have to get on the FM roads.

Depending on timing I might even be able to make part of the DFW to Texarkana run with you.
 

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Let me know if you're gonna make it all the way to Los Angeles. I've lots of suggestions. Might even ride with ya if it works out.
 

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I am planning a trip from east TN to TX (Big Bend), NM, AZ, CA, in late April or early May. I would appreciate any suggestions on places, roads, and late April vs early May.
If going to Big Bend (the federal park and not the state park), it pays to make your reservations several months in advance. The best place to stay there is at Chisos Mountain Lodge(http://www.chisosmountainslodge.com/). Comfortable rooms, a place to eat, and a small store to buy snacks. Beautiful sunrises and sunsets via "the Window" looking into Mexico. A ride down river road from Study Butte to Presidio is a must-do. Over at Fort Davis is Davis Mountain State Park and a overnight stay at Indian Lodge is a great place to relax - again advance reservations are advised. Up the road is McDonald Observatory and on the weekend nights they have star parties hosted by astronomers that are fascinating. Hwy 90 back to Del Rio is more entertaining than IH10 and a stop at Langtry has some history about Judge Roy Bean and law west of the Pecos at the state travel stop area.
Enjoy your time in Texas!
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks for the replies.
We may pass each other, I'm planning to ride approximately the same route at the same time in the opposite direction, all back roads if I can find them.
I am going to move my trip into May. I will leave early May from east TN. My return trip from CA will depend on if I go up the east side of Ca and return south by the Pac Coast Hwy.
Do you know where you will be entering Tx yet. I might be able to make some suggestions based on your enter point. Also be nice to know if you will riding a bike or trailering.
I have not decided if I will ride to TX or trailer my bike. I am leaning toward trailering. I have been to TX a few times and trailering will faster and less tiring. If I trailer, I am planning on leaving my car and trailer at a storage facility along I-20 somewhere between Dallas and Abilene. Then riding south to the hill areas N and W of San Antonio and then to Big Bend using hwy 90. If I ride in I will enter TX along the coast and head west to San Antonio on the back roads.
Let me just say this: only once did I take a trip during spring break (late March). NEVER AGAIN will I try this going west.

I hit too much unpredictable weather (cold, rain, serious storm fronts, 55 mph cross winds, etc.).

I'm not saying it will happen to you, but it did to me. I've even had it happen in June traveling west through Wyoming, etc.

Personally, I HATE going west period from where I live (Dallas/Ft. Worth Metroplex). There's no way to avoid the wind coming out of the west, etc.

As I said, I'm not saying it will happen to you, but from my experience, I'd rather travel east, north or south.
That is one of the reasons I am thinking about trailering to TX and then heading south. For me, I do think having a strong side wind is worst than a head wind.
Let me know if you're gonna make it all the way to Los Angeles. I've lots of suggestions. Might even ride with ya if it works out.
I will not be going to any large cities, but I will be going thru Joshua Tree NP. Also as I mentioned above, I am considering riding the eastern side of CA then crossing over to the Pac Coast hwy. If I do that, I will take hwy 166 and maybe hwy 33 in southern CA, east toward AZ. Maybe we can meet and ride some. I will know more about the details of my trip later. I will post them.
If going to Big Bend (the federal park and not the state park), it pays to make your reservations several months in advance. The best place to stay there is at Chisos Mountain Lodge(http://www.chisosmountainslodge.com/). Comfortable rooms, a place to eat, and a small store to buy snacks. Beautiful sunrises and sunsets via "the Window" looking into Mexico. A ride down river road from Study Butte to Presidio is a must-do. Over at Fort Davis is Davis Mountain State Park and a overnight stay at Indian Lodge is a great place to relax - again advance reservations are advised. Up the road is McDonald Observatory and on the weekend nights they have star parties hosted by astronomers that are fascinating. Hwy 90 back to Del Rio is more entertaining than IH10 and a stop at Langtry has some history about Judge Roy Bean and law west of the Pecos at the state travel stop area.
Enjoy your time in Texas!
I stayed in Big Bend NP and Ft Davis for awhile when I was RVing. They are both interesting places to visit and ride in. If I can not get a room at Chisos Mountain Lodge, I was thinking about staying in Terlingua. I will try to get to BB in the middle of the week, maybe that will help in getting a room. I plan on taking hwy 170 to hwy 67 and heading north after leaving BB. I read a couple of reviews about those roads and it sounded interesting. I will take hwy 90 to BB from the hill area around San Antonio.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Any suggestions or comments on southern NM, AZ, CA? Also does anyone have any comments on going north in the eastern CA and crossing over to the PCH on hwy 20 in second week of May?
 

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Don't know anything about CA SR-20 but I've driven (not ridden) all of US-101 in CA/OR/WA and all of CA SR-1. Route 1 is famous and spectacular of course but the sections south of San Francisco seem to be susceptible to washouts during the rainier CA winters. The northern section from Leggett to Bodega Bay is more primitive and less traveled. It's guaranteed to give car passengers car-sickness if they have any tendency (TWISTIES!). There's a section somewhere between Bodega Bay and Sausalito that is NOT for acrophobics like me, it runs along a sheer cliff on the ocean about 400 feet high. Last time I was there, a herd of cows wandered onto the highway so I got to stop and worry about my vertigo.

US-101 through the redwoods is gorgeous and the Oregon coast is some of the world's most beautiful scenery. May should be fine weather-wise but it can be foggy any time. The rainy season is still in full swing in May as you'll see if you head farther north. Where 101 makes the loop around the Olympic mountains in WA, there are rain forests that are DON'T-MISS spectacular but it rains about every day of the year (167 inches)
 

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I have not decided if I will ride to TX or trailer my bike. I am leaning toward trailering. I have been to TX a few times and trailering will faster and less tiring. If I trailer, I am planning on leaving my car and trailer at a storage facility along I-20 somewhere between Dallas and Abilene. Then riding south to the hill areas N and W of San Antonio and then to Big Bend using hwy 90. If I ride in I will enter TX along the coast and head west to San Antonio on the back roads.
On I-20 the only town of any size between Fort Worth and Abilene is Weatherford. Past that your choices are basically Ranger, Eastland and Cisco. All three are kind of small so don't know it you can find a decent storage place.

A good ride down through the hill country from that general area is Tx 16. It is a decent 2 lane filled with mild curves and nice scenery. You can follow it all the way down to Medina then turn west on Ranch Road 337. 337 is one of the best twisty roads in Texas. From Leakey to Campwood it is part of the Three Twisted Sisters which is kind of the Texas equivalent to the Dragon.

The Three Sisters consist of the loop made by the three Ranch Roads 336 north out of Leakey, 335 south back to Campwood and 337 between Leakey and Campwood. I consider 377 from Vanderpool to Leakey to be better than any part of the actual Three Sisters. If you are going to ride in that area and have not done the Three Sisters before then I would recommend it. The Frio Canyon Motorcycle Stop on 337 in Leakey is the souvenir stop for the Three Sisters. Pretty good Burgers too at the adjacent Bent Rim Grill. http://www.bentrimgrill.com/

Here would be the route down and over to Alpine on 90 that would include 337. http://goo.gl/maps/C5iaE If you want to break the ride up we have stayed at the Peachtree Inn in Fredericksburg. http://www.thepeachtreeinn.com/ It is convenient to the National Museum of the Pacific War which is a great way to spend a day. http://www.pacificwarmuseum.org/

If you are running 90 be sure to fill up at Lake Amistad. Your not going to find much by the way of gas between there and Sanderson. When we made the ride 2 years ago there was a place with a couple of old pumps that was open just west of the turn off to Judge Roy Beans place at Langtry but from what I hear it is iffy as to being open. Speaking of Judge Roy Bean, the Judge Roy Bean Museum at Langtry is an interesting stop. It is run by the State of Texas.

If you want an inexpensive place to stay in the Big Bend/Davis Mountain area the Antelope Lodge at Alpine is unique. It is a 1950s vintage motor court motel that has been restored. http://antelopelodge.com/ Nothing fancy but clean and comfortable.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Craig, thanks for the info. I put some of it on my route. If I trailer, I may go to San Marcos or New Braunfels to store the trailer instead of I-20.

I may have ridden those roads when I was in Hondo for a month RVing.
 

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Roy - I'd like to help you with your California segment. Are there specific places you want to see? Do you want to stay on the main highways or explore a bit off the beaten track? How many days are you devoting to CA.? How many miles (or hours) per day do you want to ride? Where are you entering CA, and how far north do you want to go?

I've toured CA every summer since 2006, and try to find roads I've never ridden before. So, except for the Southeastern desert quadrant, I've been all over this State. Let me know if I can help.
 

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Roy....... Joshua Tree NP is almost in my backyard so I'm very knowledgeable of the roads in & around it. Like Jeff said where are you planning on entering California? If you want to go up the east side you can take US 395 up & than go in the back way (Tioga Pass just under 10,000') to Yosemite NP. Then follow 49 through the gold country north to 20 & cross over to the coast highway. ;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Roy - I'd like to help you with your California segment. Are there specific places you want to see? Do you want to stay on the main highways or explore a bit off the beaten track? How many days are you devoting to CA.? How many miles (or hours) per day do you want to ride? Where are you entering CA, and how far north do you want to go?

I've toured CA every summer since 2006, and try to find roads I've never ridden before. So, except for the Southeastern desert quadrant, I've been all over this State. Let me know if I can help.
Jeff, my main interest is to ride Pac coast hwy north to south. I rode it south to north a few years back in August from Morro Bay to Crescent City. I had a lot of fog, light rain, and cool temps. I was told that fog is more common late in the summer and I was hoping to ride it in May with less fog. Is there less fog/rain in the early summer? Also, if the weather and roads in northern CA are OK around the second week May, I would like to ride some in northern CA and maybe go back to the Redwood NP.

I have ridden the east side of CA from Death Valley to Mono Lake and the central area, Yosemite, Kings Canyon, Sequoia.

An average day for me is to start riding at 7 or 8 am and ride until 3 or 4 pm. I do ride longer days if needed. The miles I cover depends on what sites I see and what the road/ride conditions are. I prefer to ride secondary roads with sweepers and vistas more than the ultra twisty ones. I have ridden enough of those and they do get old after awhile when traveling. I try to stay away from urban riding situations.

My current idea is to ride north from the Joshua Tree area up hwy 127 to Death Valley. The last time I was in Death Valley was in “August” and it was not site seeing time in Death Valley. I was there because the guy I was riding with wanted to go. I am hoping May will be a little cooler. Then I am going north on hwy 395. I would like to go further north beyond Mono Lake and then cut across to the PCH. But I wondering what the weather and roads are like on east side of CA and going across CA north of Tahoe around the second week of May. I was thinking of riding south on PCH to Santa Maria area and going east on hwy 166 and hwy 33 toward AZ.

I appreciate your help and any suggestions.




 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Roy....... Joshua Tree NP is almost in my backyard so I'm very knowledgeable of the roads in & around it. Like Jeff said where are you planning on entering California? If you want to go up the east side you can take US 395 up & than go in the back way (Tioga Pass just under 10,000') to Yosemite NP. Then follow 49 through the gold country north to 20 & cross over to the coast highway. ;)
Mike, I will be coming into CA south of Joshua Tree by Yuma or Quartzsite. I have not worked up anything for southern AZ or NM yet so I am not sure.

Any suggestions or comments about going in thru those areas?
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I forgot to add any suggestions for leaving CA into AZ on my return would also be appreciated. I have some partial routes between CA and west of Flagstaff and I am thinking about the north rim of the Grand Canyon.
 

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Roy – Seems like you should be giving tours rather than asking for suggestions, but here are some general observations:

We’re in the third year of a drought and the forecast is for another dry winter. Historically all the Sierra passes should be open by mid-May, but a big Spring storm could change that – but I think you’re travelling at a great time – there will be snow on the peaks and spring green at lower elevations.

If you think you are going as far north as Redwoods NP, here is one of a hundred possible suggestions: Out of Bishop, ride through Round Valley on Lower Rock Creek Road back to 395. Continue North past Mono Lake to Hwy 108 (Sonora Pass) then West to Hwy 49. North on 49 to the town of Plymouth (taking a side trip on ‘Old 49’ between Sutter Creek & Amador City). Hang a right on Fiddletown Rd and ride to Hwy 88 (Carson Pass). Take to S. Lake Tahoe and hop on Hwy 89 North to ride the western shore of the lake.

Stay on 89 North all the way to Hwy 36, take a left (west) all the way into Red Bluff. (If Lassen Natl. Park is open, doubtful, this ride should not be missed). From Red Bluff take Hwy 36 West all the way to Hwy 101 in redwood country. Hwy 36 is one of the great bucket-list motorcycle roads in California. North on 101 gets you to Redwoods NP. Or you can get your big trees fix by going South on Ave. of the Giants to Humboldt Redwoods SP.

Southbound on Hwy 1 (PCH): Weather is a crap-shoot. The probability of good weather is in your favor, but you never know. In Sonoma County, at Fort Ross, take Ft. Ross Rd into the foothills to Meyer’s Grade Rd, then back down to Hwy 1. In Marin County, if the weather is nice, ride Ridgecrest Blvd above Bolinas & Stinson Beach. Between San Francisco and Santa Cruz, ride Hwy 35 & 9 thru the Santa Cruz mountains. A rest/meal stop at Alice’s Restaurant is always nice.

If you’re planning on making your move East on Hwy 166, don’t. Ride Hwy 58 instead. It’s another of those bucket-list roads. Hwy 229, which hits 58 from the North is also a favorite ride. From west of Bakersfield you are set up to continue East on 58 to Interstates 15 & 40.

If you instead continue South on 101, there are some great rides to be had in the Santa Barbara wine country (a la Sideways). You can then work your way East without entering the LA basin.

Take a look at the California Motorcycle Roads section on www.Pashnit.com for full road reviews and photos for hundreds of best roads in the State. Sample the free sections and decide if it’s worth the $20 for full access (it is). The California Road Trip forum section is really helpful, as is Travel Advice and Routing section. I plan all my trips based on research from this site and I’ve never been disappointed.

Hope this helps.
 
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