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I am riding next month from Southern California to the midwest (Chicago) and back. I expect it will be a four day ride in each direction.

I was wondering how far in advance most people plan their routes. I was thinking it might make sense to select a couple of different route options and make my final choice the day before heading out when I can look at the weather forecasts along the various route options.

I would prefer to avoid riding in a lot of rain.
 

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I am riding next month from Southern California to the midwest (Chicago) and back. I expect it will be a four day ride in each direction.

I was wondering how far in advance most people plan their routes. I was thinking it might make sense to select a couple of different route options and make my final choice the day before heading out when I can look at the weather forecasts along the various route options.

I would prefer to avoid riding in a lot of rain.
Riding in heat, rain good weather is a roll of the dice although that time of year heat most likely heat won’t be an issue 4 days is long days doable on interstate, I usually program my GPS with waypoints rather than the whole route at once’s
If it doesn’t do the whole route to my liking,
I usually avoid Chicago with the traffic and many highway tolls that iis challenging to pay on a bike
I carry 1 gallon spare gas, rain gear a must
Have a great trip
 

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On long trips I set a long range destination, and then the night before I decide how to "trend that way", depending on weather and whether I'm in the mood for slab or secondaries.
 

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I have investigated an entire route, then decided how long I want to take to get there.

Day zero - New Mexico
Day one - Texas
Day Two - (west) Arkansas
Day Three - (east) Tennessee

Day zero was leaving after work, and getting a few hours into the trip.

I look up places to stay, but during the week, I don't typically make reservations in advance.

Ideally, there's a place to eat within walking distance.

Once you've done this a few times, you intuitively know how far is enough. Weather certainly changes things, and has caused me to delay a departure day only once.
 

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If it's a pleasure trip, which is about the only kind I do, I pick an end point and then look for the more challenging route to get to it. I don't really plan where to stop. I try to fill up at 1/4 tank. I used to carry a spare gallon of gas but I never ended up needing it so I quit doing that. When I do stop for the day I take a closer look at possible routes and decide my route for the next day. I use hotel. when I get tired I book a room and ride to the nearest, cheapest hotel. Avoiding the rain is futile. If it looks like there is a front with rain lined up along your route and you think it's going to be too rough to ride in you may decide to stop. I can't comment on that, it just doesn't bother me if I'm riding single. If my passenger seat is occupied there might be some discussion, just sayin.
 

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I look where I want to go, and pick the wiggliest line on the map to get there. :)

On a multi-day trip, I estimate how far I think I can/want (think rest stops, places of interest to stop and see) to go each day, and then look for lodgings to book in that area.
 

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I am riding next month from Southern California to the midwest (Chicago) and back. I expect it will be a four day ride in each direction.

I was wondering how far in advance most people plan their routes. I was thinking it might make sense to select a couple of different route options and make my final choice the day before heading out when I can look at the weather forecasts along the various route options.

I would prefer to avoid riding in a lot of rain.
Considering meteorologist have the easiest job in the world (you apparently can’t be fired for poor job performance) I take the weather forecast with a grain of salt. Unless there are major fronts coming in I don’t pay too much attention. Too many times I have took off on a trip with nothing but sunny skies in the forecast only to be hammered by thunderstorms. I have found that lots of the weather is what they now call pop up thunderstorms. Especially in the summer. I either ride around them or wait them out depending on the severity. When I am on the bike I am out there for the fun of it and not in a major hurry. Trusting the weather man/woman is foolhardy at best. I plan routes on longer trips in stages/legs. I check for road construction on WAZE, if there is lots of construction, I avoid that area if possible. I also hate to ride on the interstate for the most part. A great alternative is US highways. They usually have some four lane stretches. The roads are pretty good, not too much traffic. Lots of twisty’s. Old Americana scenery. Mom and Pop restaurants etc. When you ride on the interstate it’s the same at every exit. California to Virginia, Steak and Shake, Cracker Barrel, O’charleys, Applebees, McDonalds etc. When you are on the US highways there are a lot of local choices like BBQ places, fish places, areas where certain ethnic groups settled. I was in Kansas one time and there was a Czech festival going on in some little town. Go figure. I also have a lot of flexibilty. If I am going on a ride and the weather turns sour I have no problem changing my plan. I have started out toward the Great Lakes and wound up in Texas chasing the good weather. Have a great ride!
 

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I use the Scenic Motorcycle app on my phone to make my routes. Very easy to use and you can use a usb drive to load it to your bike if it’s 18 +. Or you can use it right off your phone app.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
 

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A road atlas is my go-to method of overall trip planning. GPS and online route planners just don’t provide the overall picture of a route like an atlas along with viable options along the way. I guess I’m old school as I jot my daily route on a sticky note and put it on the gas tank. Sometimes I miss a turn but so what? The only time a GPS or cell phone is useful is in getting directions to a specific place, usually in a city. Once I turn that GPS or phone on I become a slave to it and it is a distraction.
 

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The first long trip I took on a motorcycle (sometime around 2004 or 5) I just headed out and rode. I did not have a GPS then but did have a map in the bike's (Valkyrie) saddlebag. I then got a GPS but the Magellan did not do routes. Then sometimes around 2006 I got a Garmin (6830) I think and stated planning trips.

I used Microsoft Streets and Trips to plan my trips (and yes I still use it today even thought the maps are out dated). I plan the trip based on where I want to go and what I want to see on the way there or when I get there.

Next the time available for the trip determines what roads I can and cannot take. A trip from SC to AZ and then North to MT with only two weeks to do the trips means I take the interstate to AZ and then non interstate roads until I turn East again for home. That sets the interstate miles to 500 or so and non-interstate at maybe 250 miles per day.

Today, being retired, I limit my travels to non-interstate roads as much as possible with daily mileage between 200 - 300 miles. I do know where I am going to stop and I do plan the routes to get there.

There are those who will say that is way to "controlled". I want to be more free in my riding, not prescribed.

I can only offer the following analysis. I have discovered, been on, many roads I might never have traveled if the route I developed did not take me there. While the "waypoints" were planned, the roads were not.

As I said, I use Microsoft Streets and Trips. I plan the whole route (current one is eight days) and provide that route to my family so they will know where I/we (when the wife goes with me) are going.

Next, I break the route into individual days and save each day as a GPX file. I then, upload that GPX file to my GPS (Garmin 665). I then let the Garmin device calculate the route and then I look at it on the device and see what it looks like.

I carry my laptop with me on the road so, if I need to, I can easily change the route using the laptop and the process above. I don't do it often but, on a trip to Florida some years ago, we did stop at a local Honda shop made some route changes (on the outside picnic table) based on what we were experiencing (lots of traffic and stuff). Took about 15 minutes to change the route and up load.

As for roads I want to take, I do use the website below to look at recommendations. It is not a great reference but it does provide some information I would not easily get.


As I said, I do plan the end point. I am old enough now that I really want to have a reasonable place to stop on my trips. And when the wife is along, its even more important.
 

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1. Preview the intended route and/or destination on Google maps for mileage and all possible routes
2. Check satellite imagery to make sure intended route is paved all the way
3. Once a route is decided upon, I use Harley's Ride planner to create the route and convert it to a gpx file
4. Load said file onto the GPS and off we go.

General touring rules:
1. While I can do 1000 miles days, I usually keep it about 400 miles or so
2. Take into consideration the type of roads you'll be riding when planning daily mileage
3. You will get wet
4. You will get cold
5. You will get hot
6. I try to find a hotel with an on-site restaurant or one within walking distance. It's nice to get off the bike at the end of they day
7. Try to keep the SWMBO happy, otherwise you'll have a constant whine from the back of the bike
 

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My rides are split between day trips / one night away and rides of 5-9 days. On the short trips I know where I'm going to ride and stay. Longer trips I normally have a general destination in mind. The night before (at home and hotels) I pick a general direction avoiding freeways. When the late afternoon rolls around I decide on where I'll stay. If you don't have a plan you don't have to worry about sticking to it. I try to find roads I haven't been on before. If there is heavy rain in one direction I go another. Having said all of that, there are a few roads I will try to ride. Lolo pass Idaho to Montana , Chief Joseph Scenic Byway, & North Cascades Highway are definitely worth "finding" here in the northwest. When riding in other areas I'll come to this forum for suggestions. As the Doobie Brothers said,
"Many roads to travel
In your search you might find
That getting there will have no meaning
If you can't enjoy the ride"
 

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I am still trying to find a good replacement for Microsoft Streets. That software had a feature for planning multiple day trips that no current software considers as a need....... We are not machines and need to stop for sleep!! MS Streets let me tell it when I will start and stop driving globally or individual days and plan a stop for the night where lodging is available instead of in the middle of the dessert. I could plan a 3 week trip to Alaska and back in a half hour and be happy with the route because of those settings being available. Today, it would take me several hours to days to plan out because I must plan each and every day as separate trips and add one extra "trip" as a combined route ignoring that it has the 9K-11K mile trip as a 7-8 day event.

On one of my cross country trips, I stopped for the night in Tucumcari, NM at a KOA. Just ahead of me was a group from Europe touring the US and was very confused about not making it to Arkansas from California because Google Maps had them making it in a day. The clerk (as well as me confirming) had to inform them that they were still a very long day away if not 2 days away.

Not even Tyre is useful to me for a multiple day trip. I have tried several others that let me try before I buy and none of them was worth a crap, at least to me.
 

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When time allows (time to ride, not time to plan) I plan out backroad routes on Google Maps and then build them in BaseCamp to match. Otherwise, I pick one-to-several intermediate points and an end-point in my 590 and just ride. The key is stitching together a route for pleasure, not for speed. If I need speed, I'll take the truck or my wife's treehuggermobile.

For weather forecasting that puts the overpaid prognosticators to shame, I use Ventusky dot com and look at the precipitation tab to plot out several days' of the directions to go. It's not perfect, but it's kept me out of more rainstorms (or better prepared) than the local forecasters.

Edited to add: My Microsoft Streets software gives me my estimated multi-day split locations. (Thanks DDL for reminding me.)
 

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I am still trying to find a good replacement for Microsoft Streets. That software had a feature for planning multiple day trips that no current software considers as a need....... We are not machines and need to stop for sleep!! MS Streets let me tell it when I will start and stop driving globally or individual days and plan a stop for the night where lodging is available instead of in the middle of the dessert. I could plan a 3 week trip to Alaska and back in a half hour and be happy with the route because of those settings being available. Today, it would take me several hours to days to plan out because I must plan each and every day as separate trips and add one extra "trip" as a combined route ignoring that it has the 9K-11K mile trip as a 7-8 day event.

On one of my cross country trips, I stopped for the night in Tucumcari, NM at a KOA. Just ahead of me was a group from Europe touring the US and was very confused about not making it to Arkansas from California because Google Maps had them making it in a day. The clerk (as well as me confirming) had to inform them that they were still a very long day away if not 2 days away.

Not even Tyre is useful to me for a multiple day trip. I have tried several others that let me try before I buy and none of them was worth a crap, at least to me.
Don't give up on Microsoft Streets even though it's no longer supported. I still use my Microsoft Streets software for rough estimates and to build my multi-day ride split destinations. I just know not to trust it for updated construction info or to identify newer roads. That was some of the best money I've spent....not throwing it away just because it doesn't update any more.
 

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...
I used Microsoft Streets and Trips to plan my trips (and yes I still use it today even thought the maps are out dated). I plan the trip based on where I want to go and what I want to see on the way there or when I get there.

...
I have to jump through several hoops and fire up a really old Windows XP machine to use Microsoft Streets. The last time I needed to plan a trip for multiple days and be sure I could make it to all of the locations I wanted to go and spend as much time as I desired there all while still making it home in time for work, I had already wasted several hours with other tools. I gave up and turned on the old XP machine and was done with an acceptable route in less than an hour including getting past all of the issues the old machine had for not being turned on for a couple years.
 

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I have to jump through several hoops and fire up a really old Windows XP machine to use Microsoft Streets. The last time I needed to plan a trip for multiple days and be sure I could make it to all of the locations I wanted to go and spend as much time as I desired there all while still making it home in time for work, I had already wasted several hours with other tools. I gave up and turned on the old XP machine and was done with an acceptable route in less than an hour including getting past all of the issues the old machine had for not being turned on for a couple years.
I've reinstalled it from scratch several times on updated or reimaged Win10 computers. It reinstalls just fine if you still have your registration number.
 

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I've reinstalled it from scratch several times on updated or reimaged Win10 computers. It reinstalls just fine if you still have your registration number.
I cannot do that. I got it installed on the machine it is on from a subscription with Microsoft as a Professional Administration type thing (I forget what it was called). I tried to move the "license", but that was not going to happen because it was out of support. So, I am stuck having to keep an old desktop running just to plan a multiple day trip.
 
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