My first multi-day trip: CA, AZ, UT, and NV - - Kawasaki KLR 650 Forum
Southwest Riders Covering - Arizona - California - New Mexico - Nevada

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post #1 of 9 Old 04-16-2017, 01:16 AM Thread Starter
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Join Date: May 2016
Location: Arcata, CA
Posts: 24
My first multi-day trip: CA, AZ, UT, and NV -

Hey all,

I'm in the planning stages of my first big trip. Been combing the forums, checking weather and road reports, and writing what feels like too many 'To-Do lists But beside the trip itself, I'm already excited to contribute my first RR to the forum, so that keeps me focused.

So, I plan to leave Arcata, CA on 3/30 (Sunday) and return on the 10th. I'll be camping most of the trip. I'm not new to camping, but this will be my first moto-camping trip , and my camping 'system' is still in the works. Any personal tips n tricks? As suggested by others, I'll prioritize gear that keeps me dry and warm, and try to travel light.

Below is a draft of my proposed route, heading south on the 395 and then turning east to make a huge counter-clockwise loop through AZ, UT, and NV, and eventually back to Nor Cal. I'd love to hear any advice regarding travelling the 395 this time of year (of this year particularly). I think I'll be good once I'm south of Bishop, CA. I've never been to the southwest for an extended tour before, so feedback/suggestions are definitely welcome!

I plan on visiting many Nat'l Parks and scenic roads. The trip will probably be 90/10 on/off road, and a little over 2,200 miles total. I'd love to take alot of dirt roads when possible, but maybe not too remote since it's my first trip and I'll be solo with no spot or GPS. Paper maps and iPhone for the win!

Which brings me to my next question: Should and if so, when should I get new tires? I have about 2,500 miles on my stock tires and the rear is worn down to the wear bars in the middle. Front still has at least 2,000 miles I'd say. Beside safety and other obvious reasons, I'd like to avoid a flat as much as one can since I'm a noob wrencher and don't yet know to fix flats. Maybe getting two new tires will help ensure against a flat? I plan on installing 'Ride On' tire sealant whenever I end up getting new tires. Or maybe I just want some new 705's that I've been hearing so much about I was considering the idea of purchasing a Shinko 705 rear and have it waiting for me to get installed in Scottsdale, AZ while visiting family. I'm almost tempted to just say the hell with it, feed the addiction, and get two new tires mounted for the 2nd half of the trip. Thoughts??

At the moment I have a $50/day budget (with a little wiggle room) for a total expense of $500-550 for the whole trip. To you seasoned guys, does $50/day seem feasible for this type of trip, time of year, and considering the winter we've had?

Whew! Can't think of anything else at the moment. Thanks in advance for feedback, I know this thread got a bit long

Here's a pic of the bike that will soon make it's first big trip! Stoked!! It's starting to sink in! So glad I bought this instead of doing something more responsible, like paying student loans, haha!

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Last edited by otter_yonder; 04-16-2017 at 12:41 PM.
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post #2 of 9 Old 04-16-2017, 10:02 AM
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Location: Antioch Florida
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Set up your map for public access. I'd like to take a look.

Sounds like you'll be hitting up many of the National Parks in Arizona and Utah...amazing places to see from the saddle. Given your budget, consider looking into the National Parks Annual Pass. There will be a fee to get into each park and if you're doing enough of them the annual pass may be the cheaper route.
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post #3 of 9 Old 04-16-2017, 11:31 AM
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Location: Napa, Ca
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First, I've found that motorcycle tires never wear like each other, and always start a trip on a fresh set. Or at least as new as possible. Having a set waiting for you in Scottsdale is a good idea, but keep checking them at every fuel stop if you don't plan on getting a new set before you leave.

$50 a day? You can do it on a KLR with 45-50 MPG, and eating lite meals saving up for $20-35 a night for campgrounds. Or try stealth camping or couch surfing to save a few bucks. You could even get that down to around $30 a day depending on how many miles you ride. When you're an old dude like myself, I'm planning on $60-75 a day to be comfortable. I like getting a motel every 4-5 days to relax, get a good nights sleep, laundry near by, and have a place to sit & look at the map.

But most importantly, have fun. Look around, enjoy the sights, enjoy the ride, and don't push yourself to the point of being miserable.

And speaking of miserable, rain gear. Even a large trash bag works to keep your stuff dry in a downpour.

Have a great trip.

Confidence is the feeling you have before you fully understand the situation."

Jeff in Napa California
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post #4 of 9 Old 04-16-2017, 12:51 PM Thread Starter
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Join Date: May 2016
Location: Arcata, CA
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[QUOTE=Bill10;587354]Set up your map for public access. I'd like to take a look.[QUOTE=Bill10;587354]

Hey Bill, thanks for the tip on the annual park pass - what a deal! Dang we are fortunate in our natural and wild places. I changed the settings on my map link and it should be accessible now. Let me know if you still can't see it.

Camp, yeah regarding tires, I'm leaning that way as well. I don't really want to have a worry in the back of my mind about tires. Don't want to feel held back either if there's a sweet dirt road to explore!
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post #5 of 9 Old 04-16-2017, 04:14 PM
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Location: Antioch Florida
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Nice ride. I toured Arizona a couple years ago and Utah a few years before that. Here are some thoughts.

Maybe try and swing Moab into this route. Moab is the dual sport capital of the world, or so they say. Perhaps you could hook into a group desert ride or find some good trails yourself. Lots of friendly desert tails. I was out there on a big Super Tenere! Also, youíll pick up Canyonlands and Arches National Parks. Personally, I think Arches is the most magnificent of all the Utah Parks. Moab is a cool place to stay, too. Lots of things to do. Lots of places to camp.

As you enter Arizona, consider taking 64 West over to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. Route 64 is quite spectacular in and of itself; the south rim is amazing. I was amazed at the spectrum live colors in the Grand Canyon. Itís not just gray. Keep going south on 64 and onto Historic Route 66. Plan some time in Williams, Arizona. Williams is probably one of the best Route 66 Cities youíll ever see.

Lastly, thereís a cool loop just to the east of Phoenix called the Apache Trail. It starts in Mesa and circumnavigates the Superstition Mountains. The north part of the loop is an old stage coach trail. Itís about 125 miles, 22 miles are dirt, gravel, sand. Thereís one notorious steep section down the side of a mountain. I did the loop back in 2015 on a Versys1K. Better done on a dual sport. Link to my ride report. Versys Ventures, and more ...: Arizona Part 3
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post #6 of 9 Old 04-16-2017, 05:27 PM Thread Starter
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I considered Moab and Arches, but decided against it. Reason for this is I'm moving to Eagle, CO at the end of May and will be pretty close to Moab (about 3 hrs.). So I figure I can make that part of the next trip. For clarification, I'm going to be heading South through Eastern CA and into AZ, then turning north and heading into UT, and finally west to NV.

Thanks for cluing me into the Apache Trail. I adjusted my route and I'll get to do most of it, including the Fish Creek Hill! Thanks for sharing that RR, that place looks incredible. Then I'll turn north and make for Antelope Canyon as well as the North Rim! I agree about the colors of the GC, the whole thing is mind-stopping. Anyway, I've heard the north rim has less crowds. Then head north into UT and hit up highway 12, then onto the lonely 50.

I'm going to pull the trigger on new tires - 705's front and rear, and rest a little easier as a result
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post #7 of 9 Old 04-16-2017, 11:05 PM
Join Date: Apr 2017
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Get the tires before you leave. Worrying about things on the trip reduced the joy of the trip. Also get AAA insurance the premium will cover all your cars and your bikes. 200 mile tow mileage so that will get you to most bike shops. That is unless you are traveling with a group and have a recovery vehicle. Have all the tools you need for most common break downs. If you are in the back country you won't want to walk out 30 miles. Take extra fuel. Do a couple of overnights to check out gear and what you really need. I always take an extra nav system. Have you done any 300 mile days yet. If not you will do yourself a favor doing some long rides. You will see what modes you need to make to the bike to fit you. Enjoy I wish I could be going with you.
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post #8 of 9 Old 04-18-2017, 09:37 AM
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Join Date: Aug 2016
Location: Reno, NV
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I'm in Reno, NV. If you need a hot shower and a place to sleep, give me a call. (775) 560-0435.

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post #9 of 9 Old 04-18-2017, 11:19 PM Thread Starter
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Join Date: May 2016
Location: Arcata, CA
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Hey all!

Ordered some 705's today! I agree about the peace of mind, especially considering that this will be a bit of a milestone - I've never done anything like this trip in my life. I'll look into AAA, my current motorcycle insurer (Culver) has a great price for full coverage, but only covers towing for the first 15 miles. The bike is a 2016, but hey, anything can happen at any time. I'm trying to remind myself to just relax, be safe, and let the trip unfold, once it begins. Planning on getting away for an overnighter this weekend to test out gear and such.

Haven't done 300 miles yet, but I have done 200-220 and felt pretty good, maybe I'll make it a point to do 300 for that overnighter

Sarguy, thanks so much! I appreciate offers like that alot. I'm planning on bypassing Reno to instead stay on CA-89 and swing through Tahoe, but if plans change I'll give you a shout!

I've been keeping an eye on road conditions and things look good so far, but a little chilly! Good thing I have a 20 degree mummy bag

This trip gets a little more real (and surreal, ha) in my mind everyday! Can't wait.
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