Coast to coast


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Jun 8, 2012
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This trip had been on my radar/to do list for a while, the seed was sown having read MikeO NZ RR, I also got some pointers from Shakeys unsupervised YouTube series. MikeO was not all that far away from us during this trip as I followed his daily updates. I didn’t want to advertise that we were away when there were a few days our house was unoccupied so wrote this over the last few days ready to post after our return.

Taking a month off work was proven possible last year after I tested positive for Covid two days and having to isolate for ten days just before our return to the U.K. following a 2-1/2 week tour of Spain.

There were a few fixed items on the must do list, these were added to by the nice to do if feasible things such as Death & Monument valleys.

East to West by motorbike, not a Harley
Antelope Slot Canyons
Yellowstone National Park
Visit friends in St Louis
End in NYC

Shakeys series on YouTube convinced me to hire a bike, we had hit a number of issues that may have been resolved with more time and effort but were eradicated with hiring.

We hired a R1250RT from Eaglerider through David Grist of Orange & Black, thanks to Bolsun who first suggested them. Eaglerider proved impossible to contact, but David and the team at O & B sorted it. A one way hire wasn’t cheap, but it ticked all our boxes. We wanted an RT as we had pannier liners and a tank bag plus a BMW Softbag that I bought from finn.

We used a travel agent to book the flights, b & b’s and hotels etc, something we have always done ourselves for Europe but decided to outsource it this time.

One other thing we did, more by luck, was buying USD and adding to our Revolut card, mostly bought at $1.30 or higher. We saw it fluctuate from 1.03 to 1.15 during the trip. We did buy £500 more at 1.08.

We flew to San Francisco at the end of August 22, sadly the Softbag didn’t appear on the carousel, although we were confident of seeing it as the AirTag confirmed it was in the terminal. We spent four days acclimatising and doing tourist things. Alcatraz was extremely good and highly recommended. Our B & B was a Victorian building some way out of town, sadly close to both a Police and Fire stations. The Softbag duly turned up 2 days after we did.

I collected the bike from Eaglerider who were not too far away from the B & B, I fitted my handlebar Ram mount for the Garmin XT along with the Wunderlich bra for the tank bag before leaving. The bike was a 2022 with 11,000 plus miles, lots of scratches and scrapes, which I pointed out and photographed before leaving.

I rode back to the B & B, loaded the luggage and picked up the wife, we headed South on what turned out to be the first of several record breaking hot days. We tried to see the giant redwoods at the Henry Cowell national park and a ride to the Big Sur as the temperature was over 100 F we ditched that plan and headed straight to Bakersfield our first night on the road.

The ride through Death Valley was just attritional, no fun, we just ground it out. We stopped at Death Valley filling station, when I had bad cramp in my left leg getting off the bike, we stayed inside for 20 minutes and drank a lot of water and isotonic drinks. More regular stops for drinks and breaks continued until the weather broke over a week later.

Pahrump was just a stopover on our way to Boulder City, the latter was built for construction workers on the dam project. The Hoover dam as it is now known, was very impressive and well worth the visit, we liked the city, but the Boulder City Hotel was very dated.

Next stop was Page, AZ where we spent two nights at the Bears Den, which turned out to be the best B & B of the trip. The wife had a tour booked to visit both the lower and upper Antelope slot canyons, a quite unbelievable natural phenomenon and worth the cost of a guided tour. We enjoyed both evenings and meals at a local brewery and an Italian called Bonkers, it was still very hot.

Monument valley was very impressive, but in my opinion not an absolute must do. The best view we had was at “Forest Gump Hill” it’s a place people stand in the middle of the road to take photos. There was a reduced speed limit and Police radar van, the only one we saw, although we saw plenty of Police cars with radars and stopping vehicles during the trip.

Moab was great, although the hotel was a couple of miles out of town we grabbed the shuttle bus into town eat a very enjoyable meal with local beers before walking back. I remember someone on here slagging it off, but we liked it.

In Salt Lake City we had a great dinner, but the B & B was poor, the a/c was old, noisy and about a foot from the bed.

Idaho Falls was a great hotel where we swam and did laundry, the next day we bought a phone with an A.T & T SIM card as there were many gaps in coverage especially data, which in hindsight we should have sorted before we left San Francisco. We saw fairly close up the wild fires, helicopters and planes dousing the flames, the smoke and ash spread over a very wide area.

There were times in the West we didn’t see fuel/cafe for what seemed like 100 miles, so I refuelled when the bike was saying 100 miles left.

West Yellowstone was next and although the Best Western Desert inn was tired and our pre planned tour was cancelled we had a great time, seeing Ole Faithful spurt 165ft, Eagles, wife saw a bear and many Bison/Buffalo. We did the lower loop in two parts the second being on our way to Grand Teton. A tour highlight.

Riverton, Laramie and Ogallala were just overnight stops, the last being fairly rubbish. We by now avoiding the Highway and riding route 30. Lincoln and Kansas City were much better places for us and we enjoyed overnights and dinner at these cities.

We had a fantastic four days with our friends near St Louis, we went to the Baseball, hoping to see Albert Pujols hit his 700th home run, sadly not, he did it a few days later joining a very exclusive club. We went to the Gateway Arch, which I have been to before, but this time we went up to the top, again well worth the effort.

Both Indianapolis and Columbus exceeded our expectations for the hotels, dinner and quiet nights as did two nights in Pittsburgh where we visited the Andy Warhol and Heinz museums, the latter was a bit crap.

Leaving Pittsburgh we donned our waterproofs, for the first time that they were actually needed, it hosed it down most of the way to Harrisburg, we also used the only toll road, fully automated, we haven’t paid yet, but having made an account expect an invoice for roughly $50. We rode fairly close to the location of the downed flight 93, Somerset, PA, on 911, very rural but we didn’t want to go to such a sad location.

Harrisburg Staybridge Inn & Suites was probably the best of the chain hotels and just what we needed after the rain and before we arrived in NYC for a few days, laundry done, dried and packed up.

The last day riding turned out to be more eventful than we might have hoped, having had over 4,000 miles of trouble free riding. There was a 20 minute delay on the interstate, never found out why. I couldn’t put my left glove back on at a toll booth, so my wife held it for the next 5 miles, only managed to get it back on when we refuelled for the last time. When we arrived at Eaglerider Belleville, Newark location their host dealer was shut on Mondays for the winter. After a number of phone calls to Orange & Black, Eaglerider in San Francisco and another location we hid the keys and left the bike. We booked a local taxi who took us to our hotel just off Broadway and Times Square.

I felt a bit emotional when we had completed the ride, not entirely sure why other than it had largely been uneventful and we had completed 80% of what we originally planned.

A misconception I had was that speed limits would be 55 mph, some are but the interstate highways were as high as 80 mph. HGVs are unlimited and will often be speeding downhill and on the flats. We didn’t like the grooved concrete motorways, a bit like corduroy, great for skiing, crap when riding a motorbike.

Hotel chains such as Hilton and Staybridge Inn & Suites always had great bathrooms, beds, a/c, often had guest laundry and easy parking, Elevators, baggage carts, often food nearby and breakfast. B & B’s typically had better breakfasts, but failed, often spectacularly on the other facilities.

I would definitely ride in the US again, probably restricting it to riding along the West Coast maybe LA to San Francisco, doing the things we missed, Pacific Highway, Redwoods, wine country all spring to mind.

Petrol pricing varied widely from $3.03 in Missouri to $6.00 in California. We used a Halifax clarity card for most fuel stations, which were pay at pump with the exception of three stations when a zip code was required or in Death Valley where nothing worked except pre-payment.

The prices of meals and clothing has risen significantly in the US in recent years and it’s no longer the cheap destination it was before, obviously the current exchange rate just makes it worse.

One other thing we learned from a previous trip to Spain was to buy in advance the Garmin micro SD card for USA, which for us was a must. We had a few problems with the power supply to the Garmin XT, but learned how to manage it.

Buying a local SIM before setting off would have been much wiser as we then had usable data and a phone signal whenever we checked. Buying a Samsung when we have both had iPhones for years was a PITA.

As the temperature range varied from low 30’s to 122 F layering was extremely important. Just before the trip, based on a number of positive reviews on this forum I bought a Klim Marrakesh jacket to go with my old but trusty BMW City jeans, Daytona Shorty boots, Rukka Ceres and BMW Rallye gloves along with System 7 helmet. The Rukka Ceres definitely need replacing as the liners often come out when taking them off, sadly that glove is discontinued. The boots might have done their last big ride as I found them slippery at inconvenient times.

4,232 miles, 17 days riding, average 250 mile days, 75 miles was the shortest, 300 and something the longest, definitely the longest trip we have ever done.

The pre-arranged transfer from our hotel in NYC to Newark airport was in a Lincoln Aviator, how we ended up in such a luxurious vehicle Im not sure, but it sure beat the crappy taxis we had endured since dropping the bike off. The driver was a Ukrainian, a place I am familiar with having worked and visited a number of coal mines before the trouble 14 years ago.

The news in the US over the last few days was all about hurricane Ian and the destruction, death and chaos in Cuba and the South East of the USA. In our last 24 hours in NYC the winds increased and temperature dropped, I don’t know much about flights and tail winds, but our 7 + hour flight became a 5 + hour flight. We sat on the Tarmac in Newark delaying take off as we could not land at LHR before 0600.

I hope you found this interesting, if you have any questions do not hesitate to ask.


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Prismatic Springs, Yellowstone NP

St Charles, Mo, main St


Random dog statue


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Polarsteps map


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Theres hundreds more and a proper map on MyRoute-app if anyone wants it.
Antelope Slot Canyons, definitely worth a trip.

The Navajo required face masks to be worn inside buildings and the canyons.


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WV bridge


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Great RR thanks for taking the time and detail to put it together. Antelope canyons looks stunning

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