American Skid Marks
Setting out on a great American motorcycle roadtrip.

The Route

Here you will find the details of my route. The big figure 8, broken into 6 legs! I’ll be updating the route as time goes on.

Leg #1: Seattle to Kansas City.

This takes me through some of the most beautiful places the United States has to offer. Some of the highlights that I’m looking forward to are Glacier NP, Yellowstone/Grand Teton NP and Rocky Mountain NP. As I traced this route I was astounded by the number of national parks and forests that I’ll have the opportunity to traverse.

I’ll also have a chance to check out the Great Salt Lake near Salt Lake City in Utah and the Boulder/Denver area. It looks like there will be an opportunity to soak my sore butt and back in a couple hot springs along the way and maybe even a swing by Dinosaur National Monument (Rar!).

The last stretch takes me through the midwest from Denver to the plains of Kansas. If anyone out there either lives along this stretch or knows anything about it, please send some suggestions of places to see or things to do. Frankly, this stretch looks a bit boring.

Leg #2 – Kansas City to Key West

I’ll have a chance to visit several iconic American cities along this stretch. St. Louis, Nashville, Memphis and New Orleans. A healthy stretch of the trip skirts the Mississippi river and I have this notion that I’ll somehow be able to find a freight ship that will take me and my bike down the Mississippi from Memphis to Vicksburg or Baton Rouge.

From New Orleans I’ll be following the coast of the Gulf of Mexico down into Florida past Tallahassee, Tampa, St Petersburg, The Everglades and finally Key West the southernmost point in the continental US.

Leg #3 – Key West to Quebec

The longest of the 6 legs runs the length of the United States’ east coast; first stop Miami. I bounce between the Atlantic coast and inland Florida at first. Ever since I was a kid I’ve wanted to see that “big hole in the middle of Florida”, Lake Okeechobee. Then, back to the coast before detouring back inland to visit Ocala National Forest. And again back to the coast through Jacksonville, on into Georgia and South and North Carolina. Further north, I’ll see Virginia Beach and the famous Hamptons before turning toward the nation’s capitol, Washinton D.C..

Starting in D.C. it becomes a series of short rides that will allow me to spend time in a number of historic and important American cities. Philadelphia, New York, Providence and Boston all lie a few hours from each other. I’ll also visit Cape Cod and Plymouth Massachusetts before heading into Maine. In Maine, I’ll follow the coast to Acadia National Park and the eastern most point in the lower 48, in Quoddy Head State Park. North along the Canadian border I’ll ride through Houlton, Caribou and Van Buren before crossing the border into Canada and ending Leg #3 in Quebec.

Leg #4 – Quebec to Oklahoma City

The start of Leg #4 runs through several Canadian cities, Quebec, Montreal, Ottowa and Toronto. At Niagara Falls I cross back into the states and ride along the shores of Lake Erie through Cleveland, Toledo and Detroit before turning accross Michigan through Grand Rapids to Lake Michigan.

Chicago is my next ‘must stay and extra day’ city where I turn south toward Springfield and make a second pass through St. Louis. After a few days making my way through the Ozarks in Norther Arkansas I end Leg #4 in Oklahoma City.

Leg #5 – Oklahoma City to San Diego

Leg #5 is the most convoluted portion of the route, snaking its way through the deserts and canyonlands of the American Southwest. From Oklahoma City I head to Carlsbad and the grand caverns there. Beyond there I visit the freaks in Roswell, the birthplace of “The Bomb” in Alamogordo and White Sands National Monument before I turn north at Las Cruces toward Albuquerque, Santa Fe and Taos.

To the wst I make the requisite stop at Four Corners and head out into some of the most beatuiful places I’ve ever seen. The next few days take me into some of the most photographed places in the country; Monument Valley, Natural Bridges National Monument, Canyonlands National Park, Arches National Park, Capitol Reef National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park and Zion National Park. All in all a grand tour of Utah’s canyon country.

After such a grand set of days surrounded by natural beauty, I’ll ride into the glitter and lights of Las Vegas before heading west into California. I’ll then pass through Big Bear, Palm Springs and past the Salton Sea before ending Leg #5 in San Diego.

Leg #6 – San Diego to Seattle

From San Diego I follow the coast to Los Angeles and then north staying as close to the Pacific Ocean as possible. I ride through Santa Barbara, Pismo Beach, Morro Bay, Big Sur, Monterey and Santa Cruz. Entering the Bay Area I’ll ride Skyline Blvd through the South Bay to Fremont, CA where my parents live.

If all goes according to plan, I’ll have a couple days to visit with my family and prepare for my trip to Burning Man. All supplies loaded I head inland past Lake Tahoe and into the desert of Nevada before arriving at Black Rock City!

From there things are very much in the air. I’ll probably visit Crater Lake National Park, before heading west to the Pacific and re-tracing my path from a few years ago along the Pacific coast. This time, instead of heading east from Aberdeen, WA I’ll continue north around Olympic National Park to the ferry at Port Angeles. Back into Canada, I’ll pay a visit to Vancouver before I turn south again and end my trip back home in Seattle.

5 Responses to “The Route”

  1. […] The route is broken down into 6 legs and each leg is broken down into riding days. This allows me to see how many days I need in the saddle to cover the distance. Much more importantly it then gives me an estimate of how many ‘rest and sightseeing’ days I have available to me. That is, I’ll be taking days off in between riding days to sight-see, rest, work on my bike, update my blog and catch up on correspondence. There are links to all of the legs in the ‘Quick Navigation’ section in the right column of the blog. […]

  2. I LOVE IT!
    Can I get a postcard from Key West ?
    Please?

  3. You’re doing it for the rest of us, man.
    Wanderlust ; We, men, all have it. At least I do. You’re the brave one who acts.
    Did I ever tell you that when I have trouble falling asleep at night, I pick up “Travels with Charley”, read a few pages, and surrender to Morpheus fantasying about it…

    Does your motorcycle have a name?


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