The Northern States Tour

Northern States Tour - Zeemaps
Northern States Tour

I have completed the tentative route for the entire Northern States Tour. If I get to ride this tour this year, it will likely be during August and September. I’m very excited for the possibility.

The purpose of this stage of planning is two-fold; to get a relatively accurate calculation of how long the total trip will take; and, to start selecting roads that I want to ride and places I want to ride through.

By determining approximate distances , I can also easily schedule service at BMW dealers ahead of time to avoid delays on the road. Some dealers require booking weeks in advance during the summer riding season.

I had posted the Northern Leg recently. Those details are copied below along with the Southern Leg details.


Total trip distance – 10,224 miles
Total trip travel time – 40 days
Total number of US States – 27
Total number of Canadian Provinces – 7

The Northern Leg (Red)

Week 1 

  1. Seattle to Kettle Falls – (368 miles) Highlights include the North Cascades National Park
  2. Kettle Falls to Eureka – (327 miles) Highlights include the town of Yaak and Kootenai National Forest, and then along both the western and eastern shores of Lake Koocanusa
  3. Eureka to Browning – (226 miles) Traveling into British Columbia and Alberta, I’ll add these two provinces to the tour simply for bragging rights at the end of the trip 🙂  Leaving extra time for the multiple border crossings means a lower mileage day planned.
  4. Browning to Fort Peck – (338 miles) Across the plains of northern Montana north of the Bear Paw Mountains.
  5. Fort Peck to St John – (412 miles) Hitting North Dakota, one of the new states, I will also cross the border into Saskatchewan and Manitoba before dropping back down into North Dakota. This will be a long day with two border crossings.
  6. St John to Red Lake – (309 miles) I arrive in Minnesota and just picked Red Lake as a place to stop for the night.
  7. Red Lake to Silver Bay – (273 miles) Traveling north a bit to ride through the Kabetogama State Forest and the Superior National Forest until arriving at the western shore of Lake Superior.

Week 2

  1. Silver Bay to Copper Harbor – (373 miles) Travel along the shore of Lake Superior
  2. Copper Harbor to Naubinway – (300 miles) Travel to Lake Michigan’s northern shore
  3. Naubinway to Port Austin – (344 miles) Travel along the western shore of Lake Huron
  4. Port Austin to Niagara Falls – (276 miles) Travel from Michigan to New York via the province of Ontario and along the southwestern shore of Lake Ontario.
  5. Niagara Falls to Fairport – (112 miles) I’m expecting to need a service and there is a dealer in Fairport, NY.
  6. DAY OFF – Scheduled motorcycle service
  7. DAY OFF – Scheduled maintenance if overnight needed

Week 3

  1. Fairport to Port Henry – (321 miles) Starting with Cedarville Road, Llion Gorge (Hwy 51), through the Adirondack Mountains and finishing with Ensign Pond Road into Port Henry, situated on the western shore of Lake Champlain.
  2. Port Henry to Conway – (182 miles) Traveling through the Green Mountains of Vermont and the White Mountains of New Hampshire.
  3. Conway to Rockwood – (282 miles) State Highway 17 and 27 have sections that are considered the best for motorcycles. If this route is followed, we enter the province of Quebec briefly so that travel back down through dense forests of Maine.
  4. Rockwood to Caribou – (292 miles) Reaching north into New Brunswick, we turn south again and finish the day in Caribou, Maine.
  5. Caribou to Acadia National Park – (270 miles) It would be amazing to be able to stay in the park. We’ll have to see how far ahead I would have to plan this to make reservations. I consider this the end point of this leg of the trip. If that happens, I would stay at least two nights.
  6. DAY OFF – Acadia National Park
  7. DAY OFF – Acadia National Park

The Southern Leg (Blue)

Week 4

  1. Acadia National Park to Jaffrey – (375 miles) This day takes me inland and back to the White Mountains before turning south. The plan is to stop just before the border of Massachusetts. If this route is followed, I’ll be riding Hwy 112 in New Hampshire for the second time. Can you tell I’m trying to avoid the congestion of that part of the coast?
  2. Jaffrey to Catskills – (238 miles) I ride from New Hampshire into Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, and back into New York state to visit the Catskills. Three new states off the bucket list today 🙂
  3. Catskills to Norristown – (288 miles) Taking a tour of the Catskills before turning south and traveling through New Jersey and into Pennsylvania.
  4. DAY OFF
  5. DAY OFF
  6. Norristown to Norfolk – (287 miles) Travel through Delaware to its southern tip and cross into Virginia via the Cheasapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel (Hwy 13), a four-lane 20-mile-long vehicular toll crossing of the lower Chesapeake Bay.
  7. Norfolk to Willville Motorcycle Camp – (271 miles) Back for a visit at the motorcycle only camp I stayed at in 2015.

Week 5 

  1. Willville to Lexington – (341 miles) This is the day I ride Hwy 16, referred to by some as the ‘Back of the Dragon’, referring to ‘Tail of the Dragon’, a famous motorcycle road I had the chance to ride in 2015.
  2. Lexington to Carbondale – (389 miles) Modified slightly from the original plan posted here, the route now heads north off of Hwy 62 into southern Indiana, then east along parts of Hwy 66, through part of the Hoosier and Shawnee National Forests.
  3. Carbondale to Quincy – (345 miles) Traveling first through the Mark Twain National Forest, then heading north and a bit east to the Great River Road Byway, joining it in Louisiana, Iowa and traveling up to Quincy or somewhere in that general area.
  4. Quincy to Sioux City – (427 miles) A long day traveling west through Iowa, starting near the Mississippi River and finishing along the Missouri River. Reaching Iowa means a completion to the task of riding all the states (except Hawaii). Celebrate!
  5. DAY OFF
  6. Sioux City to Hot Springs – (428 miles) Travel parallel to the border of Nebraska.
  7. Hot Springs to Red Lodge – (427 miles) Through Bighorn, we prepare to do Beartooth Pass tomorrow.

Week 6

  1. Red Lodge to Jackson – (251 miles) Taking Beartooth Pass into Yellowstone, we continue south through the Grand Teton National Park.
  2. Jackson to Boise – (450 miles) We travel through the Boise National Forest along a route similar to the one taken in 2015
  3. Boise to Joseph – (251 miles)  I’ll try to stay at Wallowa Lake State Park as I did in the Fall of 2015.
  4. Joseph to Lewiston – (93 miles) I’ll get a chance to ride Rattlesnake Highway again on the way to Lewiston.
  5. DAY OFF – schedule a level 1 maintenance in Clarkston, WA
  6. Lewiston to Seattle – (358 miles) Back home!

5 thoughts

  1. I will be in Fairport area from Aug20-ish to Oct 12. Met u in Fredericksburg TX at the Austin Street Java coffee house. I go back there in the summers since i sold my place in Maui . Went to college in Fairport and grew up very close by. Email me if u want

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