2016 Northern States Tour – updates

I have looked ahead at each night of the northern leg of my trip, getting a bit more familiar with camping and lodging options at each of my nightly destinations.

As a result, I have marked some evenings as ones to “plan ahead”  – in these cases as I get more certain I am on schedule, I’ll try to make reservations.

If I find this look ahead useful, I’ll repeat it for the southern leg of the trip.

The Northern Leg (Red)

Week 1 

I have reduced the total mileage for the first week to 2,040 miles, a reduction of 131 miles. By not going into the corners of four Canadian provinces, my daily travel time is reduced and potential for delays at border crossings eliminated.

I’m planning on camping the first two nights, then motel/hotel the next few nights. We’ll plan the remainder of the week as it goes.

  1. Seattle to Kettle Falls UPDATED – (Aug 21, 341 miles) Highlights include the North Cascades National Park. I expect to camp at Kettle Falls Campground, located on the shore of the Columbia River. I camped here in 2015 on my way to Glacier National Park. [Make reservations]
  2. Kettle Falls to Eureka – (Aug 22, 327 miles) Highlights include the town of Yaak and Kootenai National Forest, and then along both the western and eastern shores of Lake Koocanusa. Camping options include Rocky Gorge Campground (first-come, first-served) and Rexford Bench Campground, if that is available and desired. There are a few motels in Eureka should the weather not favor camping. The Silverado seems popular. [Play lodging by ear]
  3.  Eureka to Cut Bank UPDATED – (Aug 23, 206 miles) I am reducing the number of times I cross into Canada to just once. This new route uses the Going-to-the-sun Road through Glacier, a road I very much enjoy. [Play lodging by ear]
  4. Cut Bank to Fort Peck UPDATED – (Aug 24, 306 miles) Across the plains of northern Montana north of the Bear Paw Mountains. I might stay at the Fort Peck Hotel. According to their website, the historic hotel was built in the 1930s, has fine dining and a well stocked lounge. Sounds like a pleasant steak and scotch evening 🙂 [Make reservations]
  5. Fort Peck to Devils Lake  UPDATED – (Aug 25, 390 miles) Hitting North Dakota, the first of the states I haven’t yet ridden through, I will follow Hwy 2 the whole day . The updated route again avoids the border crossing into Canada (and back). [Play lodging by ear]
  6. Devils Lake to Red Lake  UPDATED – (Aug 26, 197 miles) I arrive in Minnesota and just picked Red Lake as a place to stop for the night. [Play lodging by ear]
  7. Red Lake to Silver Bay – (Aug 27, 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. There seems to be a selection of lake-side campgrounds south of Silver Bay and lodging in town. Still, it will be Saturday, so I should [plan this one ahead].

Week 2

  1. Silver Bay to Copper Harbor – (Aug 28, 373 miles) Travel along the shore of Lake Superior. Fort Wilkins would be a great place to camp for the evening. The fort is a restored 1844 military outpost and one of the first lighthouses on Lake Superior. [Make reservations]
  2. Copper Harbor to Mackinaw City UPDATED – (Aug 29, 348 miles) Travel to Lake Michigan’s northern shore and cross the toll bridge to Mackinaw City. Lots of motel options here. [Play lodging by ear]Motels near Mackinaw City
  3. Mackinaw City to Port Austin – (Aug 30, 295 miles) Travel along the western shore of Lake Huron. Camping and motel options seem sufficient.
  4. Port Austin to Niagara-on-the-Lake – (Aug 31, 272 miles) Travel from Michigan to New York via the province of Ontario and along the southwestern shore of Lake Ontario. With the most recent changes to my route, this may be my only visit into Canada. Lots of lodging options in the Ontario city of Niagara-on-the-Lake, recommended by a friend in the office. [Splurge some for Canadian lodging]
  5. Niagara-on-the-Lake to Fairport – (Sep 1, 112 miles) I’m expecting to need a service and there is a dealer in Fairport, NY. I’ll likely stay a few nights in Fairport or downtown Rochester. [Arrange ahead for best pricing – Hilton Garden Inn?]Motels near Fairport
  6. DAY OFF – (Sep 2) Scheduled motorcycle service for Friday, September 2nd [Long weekend so plan ahead]
  7. DAY OFF – (Sep 3) Scheduled maintenance continued to Saturday if needed [Long weekend so plan ahead]

Week 3

  1. Fairport to Port Henry – (Sep 4, 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. [Long weekend so plan ahead]
  2. Port Henry to Conway – (Sep 5, 182 miles) Traveling through the Green Mountains of Vermont and the White Mountains of New Hampshire.
  3. Conway to Rockwood – (Sep 6, 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 – (Sep 7, 292 miles) Reaching north into New Brunswick, we turn south again and finish the day in Caribou, Maine. Motel tonight in case we are camping in Acadia for a few days 🙂  [Make reservations]Motels near Caribou
  5. Caribou to Acadia National Park – (Sep 8, 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. Looks like there are two campgrounds (of the three) that will be open (see https://www.nps.gov/acad/planyourvisit/camping.htm). [Make reservations]
  6. DAY OFF – (Sep 9) Acadia National Park
  7. DAY OFF – (Sep 10) Acadia National Park

The Southern Leg (Blue)

Week 4

  1. Acadia National Park to Jaffrey – (Sep 11, 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 – (Sep 12, 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 – (Sep 13, 288 miles) Taking a tour of the Catskills before turning south and traveling through New Jersey and into Pennsylvania.
  4. DAY OFF (Sep 14) – Visiting Norristown
  5. Norristown to Norfolk – (Sep 15, 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.
  6. Norfolk to Willville Motorcycle Camp – (271 miles) Back for a visit at the motorcycle only camp I stayed at in 2015.
  7. DAY OFF – (Sep 17)  Maybe ride some of the Blue Ridge Parkway north of Willville

Week 5 

  1. Willville to Lexington – (Sep 18, 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 – (Sep 19, 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 – (Sep 20, 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 – (Sep 21, 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 (Sep 22) – hang out in Sioux City
  6. Sioux City to Hot Springs – (Sep 23, 428 miles) Travel parallel to the border of Nebraska.
  7. Hot Springs to Red Lodge – (Sep 24, 427 miles) Through Bighorn, I prepare to do Beartooth Pass tomorrow.

Week 6

  1. Red Lodge to Jackson – (Sep 25, 251 miles) Taking Beartooth Pass into Yellowstone, we continue south through the Grand Teton National Park.
  2. Jackson to Boise – (Sep 26, 450 miles) We travel through the Boise National Forest along a route similar to the one taken in 2015
  3. Boise to Joseph – (Sep 27, 251 miles)  I’ll try to stay at Wallowa Lake State Park as I did in the Fall of 2015.
  4. Joseph to Lewiston – (Sep 28, 93 miles) I’ll get a chance to ride Rattlesnake Highway again on the way to Lewiston.
  5. DAY OFF – (Sep 29) schedule a level 1 maintenance in Clarkston, WA
  6. Lewiston to Seattle – (Sep 30, 358 miles) Back home!

4 thoughts

    1. I’m looking forward to it! I also changed my route to skip Canada and do the Going-to-the-Sun Road again. That is such a stunning road.

  1. I see you are driving the Beartooth Pass in MT – we drove it several times while we lived in MT and it is a beautiful drive with heart pounding grades and curves. Also, when you are traversing Northern Michigan, there are several state campgrounds right on Lake Superior then on Lake Huron as you round the mitten to head to Canada. They are rustic with only a vault toilet but right on lake.
    Look forward to your reports.

    1. Thanks for the Michigan camping tips! I am really excited about the possibility of riding Beartooth Pass – I was prohibited from riding it last time I was in the area as it was snowing up there.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.