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I'm planning to do a cross country tour next month. Atlanta will be the start point, and the Pacific Ocean the final destination. The only mandatory way point is Houston, Texas were I will spend a couple of days in a drunken stupor with my college buddy, Bean. I have a 16 day window in the second half of July. Since I want this to be a fun run, not an iron butt, I don't think I'm going to try and ride there and back. Will probably have the bike shipped back and hop a flight home. The tentative plan is to spend about ten days riding 4-5 hours a day. 2 days in Houston, 2 days at my final destination somewhere in California. I have friends and acquaintances in a few cities there. This will leave 1 day for for the flight home, and 1 as a buffer.

The bike is a GT1000 with DP panniers and a tail bag. I plan on packing light and using a combination of hotels, camp grounds, and generously donated couches for rest. I'm on a tight, but not shoestring budget, so I can splurge on a couple of things, but need to be pretty cheap for most of the trip.

Does anyone have suggestions on, well, anything? Detours, good roads, places to stay or eat, must see stops, things to bring, not to bring, shipping the bike, etc. This will be my first real tour. What do I need to look out for?

Lastly, I'm planning this as a solo trip, but if anyone would like to join me for part of the journey, please let me know. It would be cool to meet some of you guys.

Thanks in advance.

Shaun
 

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Pack all worn t-shirts and worn out underwear. As you use them for a day or two, throw 'em out to lighten the load as you go. Replace, maybe, with t-shirts you've picked up at various places you've gone too.

You're going to ride in the middle of Texas in July? Perhaps you should have your friend meet you somewhere north. Like, Colorado or something...

Look on Google map. Anything painted green, go there. The only thing I can really say is, try not to ride in the south too much, ie Texas/NM/AZ. It's incredibly beautiful around Colorado, Utah, Wyoming.
 

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i've never been so uncomfortable in my life as when riding from SLC, UT to Las Vegas in July. Like riding through a blast furnace. "It's a dry heat" MY ASS!!

a mandatory stop in Houston? that = humid hot crotch-rot. take along anti-monkey butt.

http://www.antimonkeybutt.com/

from Houston to El Paso is the same distance as El Paso to Los Angeles. It sounds like you're committed to blazing inferno and a southern route, but Mospeda's right. the area through mid-dolorado & utah is stunning. it's some of the best riding i've ever experienced.

tires in good shape? if they're marginal- replace what you know will need replacing. DO bring what you'll need to keep the chain clean & lubed. start with fresh oil- even if you don't need it, you'll be thinking about it, so go ahead & get it off your conscience. when you're planning the route, give a little attention to your regular MPG and think about the distance out in those great open spaces. if you're on super-slab, you won't have trouble getting a tank full. bring a cell phone charger- you'll be roaming during the day & that will drain the battery faster. i found a small AM/FM/Weather band radio handy on a few long trips. something to do when you're camping, and something to occupy your time when it's raining bloody monsoon murder & the 18-wheelers aren't stopping. getting out of it for an hour under an underpass is sometimes a safe option.

i'd make loops from Nashville, Detroit/Windsor, Niagra/Buffalo, through PA, Skyline Drive to BRP, to Asheville, NC, then back to Nashville. Camp a night then hotel a night. every other day you can get a complimentary reload on shaving toiletries at the hotel. if you're camping it, bring along a corkscrew. you'll realize you'd like something to drink when you're out under the stars getting all philosophical about how big the world is..... and listening to AM conspiracy theory radio.

if you're a regular camper, you'll know what to bring to stay light, but comfy. get a big-ass silver heavy duty tarp & cut it so you'll have a decent ground cloth AND a cover for your bike. keep your tent bottom & sleeping bag dry AND tarp the bike so it's not wet in the morning thus causing you to begin the day with a wet rear-end.

have a safe trip.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
i've never been so uncomfortable in my life as when riding from SLC, UT to Las Vegas in July. Like riding through a blast furnace. "It's a dry heat" MY ASS!!
Yeah, that part will suck. But hell, this time last year I was enjoying the lovely 120 degree temperatures in Iraq, so I think I can tolerate it. Just gotta stay hydrated. Maybe do my riding early morning, late afternoon through the hottest bits.

Thanks for the advice so far. Keep 'em coming.
 

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Go north young man. The ride from west Texas on I-20 to Orange County in July = very hot. Not Iraq hot, but no fun, boring.

I think our little Sport Classic Bay Area ride and drinking gathering in Santa Cruz, CA, July 17,18 may be too early in your trip, but maybe you can be flexible. I'll be going there from north Texas, but still working on exact details.
 

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the best advice i can offer is try not to arrive in houston at lunch time or between the hours of 4pm- 6pm. traffic downtown will suck the fun out of the trip like nothing else. not to mention your crotch will roast sitting in traffic. i live just north of houston so i am used to riding in the heat all summer. but getting stuck in houston traffic several times a month really sucks!!!

i am dying for a road trip on my ss so i am envious of you and your trip!! hope you have a blast.
 

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Don't let these guys discourage you about the heat, I ride in the Houston area year round and yes it's warm but so what. During the heat wave of '06 I took my wife for a ride to Deals Gap returning via Little Rock, the Talimena trail and back through Dallas to the house. When we dropped off the trail in Oklahoma it was 113 degrees and we were both in full leathers and yes it was a little warm but I was grinning ear to ear because there I was riding cross country on my shiny, red Duc ST4s with my favorite girl on back and life just doesn't get a whole lot better. So count yourelf lucky to be able to take that trip because most people never experience such a thing. I have also taken the ride to San Francisco and back and you are better off getting a little to the north, not so much for the weather but for the roads and scenery. I immediately headed north to Dallas thru Amarillo and to Tucumcari, once you get to Las Vegas New Mexico the roads begin to get really fun. keep going N & W to Pagosa Springs, Durango, the canyon lands (Bryce and Zion) then N & W again towards Mono Lake (hwy 6 & 120) and then there are a variety of roads either north towards Lake Tahoe or straight west to the coast. It's a fun ride. I came back by way of SLC, Utah, Dinosaur, Grand Junction and the back way to Ridgeway. Hwy 50 thru Nevada allows ample time for reflection but there is a nice little bypass west of Austin (722) thats fun. Enjoy yourself and be safe.
 

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Hmm. Houston to Ca. July. After this trip you will be a real man.

I promise after riding all day from Houston you will say. "Damn this is a big HOT state." Don't be tempted to stop and spend the night in El Paso. If you do, kiss your bike good bye.

The only thing that would save the bike would be a fake vanity plate that reads CARTEL 1
 

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If you can make it work in your schedule try to spend at least two days in the Sierras, then a day or two on Hwy 1. Terrific moto roads... except that in mid-summer you will be sharing them with lots of tourists. Riding early am and evenings highly recommended. Sounds like a great adventure.
 

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I'd say swing through Austin, the Hill Country (IMHO best riding in TX) and Big Bend in Texas if you have time. Big Bend my be a little out of the way but some nice riding and scenery.

I did a 10 day tour from Atlanta (lived there for nearly 10 years) to Maine and back on my old 900SS. It started a camping trip to save money ended up in hotels after 5 days. Camping is ok, but it's a lot of extra gear to haul around.

Some things to bring:
- Flat tire kit
- basic tools
- maps even if you have a GPS
- Plexus, Honda polish or the likes with a micro-fiber towel to clean the face shield and bike along the way
- chain lube
 
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