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In 1972 I travelled Ottawa/Montreal/New Hampshire/Maine etc. When I began that trip (Norton Commando) I had no plan and just took cash. I didn't book motels or camping sites and just rode and found motels. Wandered all over but ended up in Bar Harbour Maine.

Skip 10 years.
In the 80s I rode (GL1000) all through the west coast from Vancouver to Mexico with no plans and picked up maps along the way and had no problem finding motels or campsites.

Skip 15 years.
In late 90s I rode down the west coast Vancouver through Washington State to Cannon Beach and we were told there were no rooms anywhere and that we should have started looking at 3PM. It was suggested we try Seattle but by that time we got there it was early morning so we rode home. Vancouver to Cannon Beach return is about 700 miles and I didn't want to ever do that again (VT1100C2) so travelled with camping gear..

Skip 20 years.
I am past my camping stage not due to infirmary but due to camp sites being full and if I have to book I prefer a motel. With Nav, Internet, cell phones etc travelling is a lot simpler than the 70s/80s/90s but I still dislike planning and setting schedules etc .

So that's the background. My question is do any of you just ride and look for motels or do you pre-book everything before you leave? Are the days of just wandering a dream that has long passed? I realize the summer months may be more crowds but I am thinking May/early June or September. My area is Pacific Northwest.

G.
 

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Between Booking.com and Trivago, I've had no problems finding hotel rooms. Usually start looking a couple hours before I want to stop for the night at somewhere down the road, and have always found good values... (Don't try this on fall Saturdays in South Bend during Notre Dame home games, though.....)
 

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This is good information as I'm planning a Seattle to San Francisco this late Spring.
 

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I too, will start at a gas stop in the afternoon, with an estimated stopping point up ahead somewhere. Sometimes it’s close, and I’m off the road early that day, or it’s farther away, and a later turn in that night. GPS and cellular connectivity is great for this kind of travel.
 

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I book out 1 day in advance at the most...
usually though, I just wait until I am "getting tired" and set the Garmin GPS for "Look ahead on route" and see what motels are available.
then I just ride up to the one I like best, and usually there is always a room available.... but, I quit at 2:30-3:00 to find a room..... wait until 6 and they can be full up.

I always go for one that offers breakfast, as that removes the requirement to find a restaurant in the morning, and it allows me to eat, pack, get on the road by 0730 at the latest.

I like to ride early while it is cool, when the temps hit 85* I am done ( bad accident 2008 )

.
 

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I USUALLY FIND ONE WHEN I START TO GET TIRED OR IF CAMPING BEFORE DARK . NEED TO BE AWARE OF AREA YOUR GOING THRU . I WAS IN TX LAST YEAR IN MIDDLE OF OIL FIELDS . SUPER 8 WAS $220 A NITE (CHEAPEST AROUND) AND MOST WERE BOOKED SOLID AND 150 MILES TO BASIC ROOM/ MOTEL . LOTS OF TIME CAN BOOK ONLINE WITH CELL PHONE OR STOP AND USE LAPTOP IF GOT ONE. GOOD LUCK N ENJOY !
 

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Most of my trips are planned from Point "A" to Point "B". Therefore, since the end point is known, I make reservations in advance. It allows me to select hotels which I like, in locations which I approve (which generally means there are good places to eat nearby), at a price i know in advance.

I have taken some long trips (1000 plus miles) in my early riding days where I rode and then stopped when I wanted. But today, I plan the stops so I fully know what and where.
 

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I always book ahead. Stakes are too high to be tired and hungry and 63 y.o.a., then be turned away from the only campground for 50-100 miles. Or have to settle for a trashy motel on the wrong side of town, where I worry about the bike all night.
 

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In 1972 I travelled Ottawa/Montreal/New Hampshire/Maine etc. When I began that trip (Norton Commando) I had no plan and just took cash. I didn't book motels or camping sites and just rode and found motels. Wandered all over but ended up in Bar Harbour Maine.

Skip 10 years.
In the 80s I rode (GL1000) all through the west coast from Vancouver to Mexico with no plans and picked up maps along the way and had no problem finding motels or campsites.

Skip 15 years.
In late 90s I rode down the west coast Vancouver through Washington State to Cannon Beach and we were told there were no rooms anywhere and that we should have started looking at 3PM. It was suggested we try Seattle but by that time we got there it was early morning so we rode home. Vancouver to Cannon Beach return is about 700 miles and I didn't want to ever do that again (VT1100C2) so travelled with camping gear..

Skip 20 years.
I am past my camping stage not due to infirmary but due to camp sites being full and if I have to book I prefer a motel. With Nav, Internet, cell phones etc travelling is a lot simpler than the 70s/80s/90s but I still dislike planning and setting schedules etc .

So that's the background. My question is do any of you just ride and look for motels or do you pre-book everything before you leave? Are the days of just wandering a dream that has long passed? I realize the summer months may be more crowds but I am thinking May/early June or September. My area is Pacific Northwest.

G.
I just HAD to reply/comment on your groovy post. First of all, I like your style !! Quickly, let me tell you what I have done and still do. The longest trip I ever took by bike ( a 2000 Goldwing ) was from New York to California and back to New York with many, many stops in between. 11,100 miles in all. I DID NOT just go east to west. Along the way, I went in any direction I chose BASICALLY going east to west. there were many miles and stops north and south along the way. All told, I was gone 7 weeks to the day which also was NOT PLANNED. To answer your question, I rode from stop to stop, ONE day/night in each place with the exception of Las Vegas. I stayed there for 3 nights. What a hoot !!!

WAY too much to tell here. But, I believe this is the ONLY way to travel by bike. Never made a reservation anywhere along the entire trip. THAT is part of the fun !! No timetable !! Crazy as it may seem, in those 7 weeks, I only hit ONE day of rain and that was in South Bend, Indiana when I visited the University of Notre Dame. Another great part of not having a schedule and reservations is that you can often dodge rainfall. I did. For 7 weeks !!!

That long trip was from mid April and I got home the end of May. The further I got away from home ( east coast - NY ) the more questions I got along the way. "Did you ride all the way from NY ?" " How far are you going ?" And on and on. I stayed in the most inexpensive motels I could find ( except Vegas ). But, not flea bag places. Super 8, Motel 6, Econolodge, etc.

On SEVERAL occasions, the motel owner/operators would ask if I needed my laundry done ( at THEIR expense ) , needed any extra tee-shirts for travel ( YES REALLY !! ) and stuff like that. People were kinda intrigued that I was going across the country on a bike.

Anyway................ the long and short of it, DON'T plan anything. Just go with a general idea(s) of what you want to do.

BTW.............I'm doing something similar this Spring ( Nova Scotia ) if all goes well. However, it will be a much shorter trip by comparison.
 

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I prefer to plan in advance and make reservations in advance. I feel I have a better chance of finding a decent room at a reasonable price that way. I have even changed my stopping location by several hundred miles to get a hotel that I liked. I typically am riding by 7 AM and frequently ride till after 7 PM.
 

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If Mrs Wahoo is with me I make reservations in advance to Make sure we have a room. long story there.... let’s just say I’ve learned the hard way.

If I’m alone or with a few buddies, we may “wing it” and look for rooms as we go. Depends on the area and the time of year. If in More touristy areas or at busy times then I make reservations in advance
 

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I usually just start looking for a room or campsite along the way as I go. I am leaving on a trip to Death Valley in 3 weeks and since finding a room in west Texas (at a decent rate) has got so hard to find. I am going to book ahead this time.
 

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If Mrs Wahoo is with me I make reservations in advance to Make sure we have a room. long story there.... let’s just say I’ve learned the hard way.

If I’m alone or with a few buddies, we may “wing it” and look for rooms as we go. Depends on the area and the time of year. If in More touristy areas or at busy times then I make reservations in advance
If Mrs Wahoo is with me I make reservations in advance to Make sure we have a room. long story there.... let’s just say I’ve learned the hard way.

If I’m alone or with a few buddies, we may “wing it” and look for rooms as we go. Depends on the area and the time of year. If in More touristy areas or at busy times then I make reservations in advance
If Mrs Wahoo is with me I make reservations in advance to Make sure we have a room. long story there.... let’s just say I’ve learned the hard way.

If I’m alone or with a few buddies, we may “wing it” and look for rooms as we go. Depends on the area and the time of year. If in More touristy areas or at busy times then I make reservations in advance
I book ahead ,I go with buddy and his wife and once and while he will say let's go ride .Try find one evening
It never works out ,seems like we are always going out the way get one and pay more
 

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We used to simply ride until dark and then look for a motel - but in the past few years, the economy is booming and everything seems to fill up fast and we've been caught out late with no place to stay.

So - we'll try to book something early afternoon via smart phone.
 

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I usually plan ahead for the next day. I figure 500 miles is my max distance so I look for a town/motel on my route down the road at that approximate distance and book my lodging at something that looks reasonable. I HATE looking for a place at 4 PM and being told repeatedly 'sorry we are booked'. I'm hot, hungry and just need a beer to quench my thirst. So I plan ahead and life is good, travelling is easy.
 

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My destination may be planned but how I get there is just a general idea. Don't like to ride the interstates unless I REALLY have to. Flop out the atlas at breakfast and again at lunch and find a route that looks good and head that way. Now I can and will have places I want to see and roads I want to ride but don't like hard and fast planned places to stay. Makes you bypass nice stops to get to your booked stay if you're behind the time curve or makes you stop too early in the day when you reach your overnight stop early.

If the wife is along now, we agree sometime in the afternoon a reasonable place to stop and she works the cell phone and finds us a place. If I'm alone, I'll have Siri call her from the bike and give a stopping area and she'll find one for me and call me back or just text me the address. The a quick talk with Apple Carplay and the nav sets the stopover for me.

I never plan all my stops and waypoints before a ride. Just have a destination and then plan the morning the evening before and the afternoon ride at lunch. Crisscrossed the country several times doing it this way. No hard and fast rules or destinations I have to adhere to.

But what works for you is what matters most.
 

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Discussion Starter #18 (Edited)
... Another great part of not having a schedule and reservations is that you can often dodge rainfall....
Thanks for all the replies so far. It seems, with modern technology, most of you book a day in advance or same day and that sounds good to me.

The quoted post reminded me of how I ended up visiting Bar Harbour Maine in 1972. I was heading south toward New York. Saw dark clouds up ahead so turned left.

I forgot to mention I ride alone, and I think that is relevant. Once a year she rides with me to the local exhibition but that's it. When we travel (non-motorcycle) we book in advance and the hotels are usually pricier than I require. I also should mention my time is highly flexible so I don't need to leave or return on any particular day. My one rule is I won't start out in the rain.

My first trip with my new GL will be 4 days in April, from Vancouver south toward Portland and then east toward Spokane Notice my use of the term TOWARD !!

G.
 

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Just depends if I'm riding to an event and will be staying there for 2-3 days I always book in advance but if I'm out for a week or two of "exploring through multiple states" I've never had a problem of finding a place the day I arrive. Live dangerously is my motto! ;)
 
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