Our Ultimate North American Road Trip

posted in: Bucket List, Motorcycling, Outdoors, Travel | 21

Does anyone have any experience of flying their motorbikes half way around the world, riding several thousand miles on them for a few weeks, and then flying them home again?

After a lot of dreaming, and a few discussions with our employer, LincsGeek and I are going to have a bit of an adventure. It’s fair to say that while what we’re planning isn’t an expedition in the sense of those had by many of the people I admire when it comes to adventure travel, it is going to be the biggest adventure we have ever had. And might just go some way to beating that Wild West Motorcycle Tour that we have quite rightly labelled as our trip of a lifetime up until now.

Riding over the Golden Gate Bridge into San Francisco

Riding over the Golden Gate Bridge last Summer (read about it).

LincsGeek and I have most definitely been bitten by the travel bug in recent years. The fact is that is that ever since having motorbikes we have wanted to travel on them. Not just rides on the roads around our own front door, but further afield. We have explored Wales, Ireland, France, a lot of Scotland, and most of England. But we want more, so much more.

Next week we are heading to Germany and Austria for a tour, and as it happens it is going to be a bit of a trial run for what’s to come next year. We’ve got the channel crossing booked (assuming the tunnel is actually open when we want to use it!), and somewhere to stay on the first and last night, but that’s it. We are going to be relying on my nearly-20-year-old GCSE German and a vague idea of the direction we want to go in to explore a bit of these countries. We figured that we might as well just get on and try this credit card touring thing that so many people seem successful at; rock up at a hotel in any given town and book a room for the night before getting back on the bikes in the morning and seeing where we end up that night. We have a destination in mind, we’d like to see Obergurgl in the Austrian Alps in the summer having fallen in love with it in the winter, and a few must-ride roads in mind that will hopefully get us there and back without any major issues.

Assuming that we don’t completely hate it or end up getting divorced because we spent every night sleeping on the side of the road by our motorbikes, we will be doing very similar next summer but on a bigger scale.

The Bikes in Glenshee, Scotland

Our bikes – my BMW F650GS and LincsGeek’s Triumph Tiger Explorer – in Glenshee, Scotland a few weeks ago (read about it).

The dream, rapidly becoming the plan, is to fly us and our bikes into Vancouver and ride our way around Canada and the USA over 10 weeks. We’re not going to be able to do it all with any meaning in that amount of time, so we’ve chosen a handful of places that are at the top of our combined travel bucket lists and will do our best to make the most of them – Canadian Rockies, Glacier National Park, Yellowstone National Park, Utah (as much of it as possible, including Bonneville), Yosemite National Park, Arizona and the Pacific Coast. We’ve made some notes and some enquiries and will be doing lots of thinking and reading and imagining over the next nine months, trying to get ourselves organised without over planning or getting stressed out or it being too contrived. Assuming things go as we would like, we will be on the other side of the pond with our own motorbikes in early May 2016 for our ultimate North American road trip.

There are some things we must do in order to make this happen, but I have been struggling to keep the excitement to myself so I thought I’d just blurt it all out here on Splodz Blogz so you all know where my mind is when I seem to be daydreaming. A very wise man once told LincsGeek and I that if we have something we really want to do, somewhere we really want to go, we should work out how to make it so, and we shouldn’t wait too long or the opportunity might be gone. Having done the guided tour last summer (the subject of that comment), we have realised we have fallen in love with it all, and so this is us chasing our dreams.

I’ll keep you informed…


PS: We were thinking we should have a catchy name for this North American motorcycle trip of ours. What do you reckon? Any clever suggestions?

30 Days Wild - Riding in Scotland

Riding in Scotland a few weeks ago. 


21 Responses

  1. slo

    So pleased that the dream is going to become reality. Well done the pair of you for going for it 🙂

    • Splodz

      Thanks 🙂 I’m very excited. It still feels a long way off but I’m sure it’ll come round quickly. Must not wish my life away…!

  2. Steve

    Ex Brit now living in the Canadian Rockies area, BC side. So if you need any hints etc give me a shout. Your trip sounds awesome.
    Train Hard, Live Easy.

    • Splodz

      Hi Steve and thanks, will definitely take you up on that and give you a shout with my questions nearer the time 🙂

  3. Shybiker

    Wow! Just wow! It’s not hard to ship motorcycles and being on one’s own bike is preferable. I’ve had friends do the reverse of your idea and go to Europe to ride. Your selection of the west side of my continent makes sense; that’s where the more scenic places are. North America is large so crossing it eats up valuable time. I’ve been to two spots on the west coast (Vancouver and San Francisco); let me help you with those places.

    • Splodz

      Hey thanks! We are very excited. I’ve enjoyed reading about your trip to Vancouver and all the help we can get is greatly appreciated. We have been to San Francisco very briefly before – 36 hours I think it was – so we are by no means experts on what’s on offer. We have a very long list of places to visit and know we won’t be able to do everything, should make a rather splendid road trip 🙂

  4. J. Brandon (@AmericanSahara)

    Sounds like a fantastic trip. Seeing Bonneville and Yosemite also means you will be crossing Nevada and the Eastern Sierra, where I live and ride. Happy to help you sort out that portion of your journey in any way I can.

    • Splodz

      Thanks very much. Yes we’ll take all the tips and ideas we can get so we should definitely talk! We scratched the surface of the “Wild West” last summer and loved it, would like to see more.

  5. Phil Kopp

    I live in Seattle so I have probably been to every place you’re likely to go. One note: May in Canada, especially in the Rockies can be a bit early. You may want to do your high country and far north travelling nearer the end of your trip rather than the beginning. It is winter here now.

    Note: All these high passes may not be open in May or early June. Depends on the snowfall. The lowest point in Montana is 1800 feet, all of the interior west is high country.

    Places and routes to consider, in no particular order
    1. Going-to-the-Sun Road in Montana in Glacier NP.
    2. Beartooth Pass in Montana – takes you into Yellowstone from the NE.
    3. Columbia River Gorge – a river that cuts the Cascade mountains
    4. North Cascades Highway in WA State to/from Winthrop, WA. Cool old west town.
    5. Grand Coulee Dam and Dry Falls State Park. Extraordinary scenery in the high desert of WA.
    6. Highway 95 from Sandpoint, ID south to New Meadows, ID. Sandpoint is a lake resort, 95 follows the western edge of the Rockies, South of Grangeville is the White Bird grade (big hill, great views), and from there to Riggins you are in the Salmon River canyon.
    7. From Lewiston, ID to Lolo, MT is Highway 12 – Lolo Pass. It is on every list of great rides.
    8. 93 south from Lolo to Salmon, ID. Great mountain road in the heart of the northern US Rockies.
    9. 28 southeast from Salmon to 33 to Rexburg, ID to Driggs to Victor and over Teton Pass to Jackson.
    10. World class museum in Cody, WY.

    I have bikes, beer, tools, a truck, and a spare room in Seattle. FYI.
    Ask if you need more. 🙂

    • Splodz

      Awesome thanks so much Phil this is really helpful. Actually we realised about the weather and have decided to switch round – so head south first and come back to Canada at the end, pleased we realised as that would have been a silly mistake! We are plotting places on a map at the moment so I’ll add all these suggestions, thanks so much 🙂

  6. Phil Kopp

    More resources: LIke maps?
    1. Destination Highways series – http://www.destinationhighways.com
    I have the BC and WA books. Excellent guides. The #1 road in BC will take you to Nelson, BC. Lots more recommended roads in and around that area. I have ridden every road in the BC book. Recommended. PS: Find a used one, they don’t change much. Nelson is great fun.
    2. Butler Maps. http://www.butlermaps.com Excellent resource with color coded maps. Both on and off-road. Highly recommended.
    3. Mad Maps http://www.madmaps.net – Another excellent riding map collection. They do loops, but you can string them together and make great one-way trips. We used them extensively in the Southeast US with great success. Recommended.

    Too much!

    • Splodz

      Hi Donna. We used MotoFreight, they were super good from start to finish I would definitely recommend them.

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