During my 2014 Western States Tour, I rode in 16 states as far east as Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska and South Dakota. I added 12 additional states in 2015, during my Southern States Tour and the Trip to Hyder (Alaska). Over these last two years, I’ve ridden in all the states marked in blue on the map (below).
The Northern States Tour will include a visit to 21 more states (excluding Hawaii for now), shown in yellow.
It feels like a tradition to have one big adventure each year, but I’m working again. If I can manage the job while on the road, I will take the opportunity. If I do head out this year, late May or early June would be a likely departure window, so it is a good time to throw a plan together 🙂 I have begun planning out this trip and will publish more specifics over the next few weeks.
What does planning mean for this trip?
I plan out these trips differently each time. In 2014, I planned around visiting friends in Santa Cruz over a weekend and hanging with other friends in San Diego the following weekend. My easternmost must-visit destination was Oklahoma City to hang with friends there. I had a goal of covering all the western states but really had no idea how long I’d actually be out on the road. I brought Butler Motorcycle Maps with me to help ensure I got to ride some great motorcycle roads and spent seven weeks connecting great roads with national parks.
For my big trip in 2015, I planned around a date-committed week with friends in Key West. So my plans for getting to Key West were pretty detailed and outlined in this blog (see Trip Planning posts). I set aside four weeks to get there and four to get back, emphasizing a leisurely pace and lots of time to explore. My route was planned out in detail, although I strayed a few times and ended up being away for 65 days, returning home for my birthday.
Planning out the Northern States Tour will include a bit of detail for a number of reasons. I want to visit the 22 states I have yet to ride in with my Beemer to finish the “lower 48” somewhat efficiently and not miss too many great roads. To extend my bragging rights, I also want to visit six or more Canadian provinces. Finally, I may need to have a limit to the total time on the road if work constraints are present.
Beyond route planning, I also need to purchase a new riding suit. It will be hot and humid throughout this trip and my current riding suit lacks sufficient ventilation. I also need new tires and perhaps new soft luggage – the tank bag and pannier inserts have bad zippers and are showing wear.
Stay tuned for more details over the next couple of weeks.