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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
It's a rainy day here today and I'm dreaming of my trip out west next year.

I want to do CO/UT/WY in 14 days from Virginia. Gonna take 3.5 days to get to Denver, pick up my wife at the airport there, and then tour Rocky Mtn Nat Park, Arches Nat Park, and Yellowstone. We'll also do Beartooth Hwy and Mt Rushmore.

Questions:

1) Am I trying to cram in too much if it's gonna take 7 days of traveling up and back? Is the remaining 7 days enough to enjoy those areas? Probably not, I know, but I'm trying to plan this for a group of maybe 3 or 4 bikes/couples and most folks can't take more than two weeks off (and that's pressing it). Can it be done?

2) Or should I plan to include Colorado in a Rockies Gold trip and scratch it from this trip and just do Yellowstone?

Some of the folks I'm hoping to recruit to go with me are not big long distance riders and I want to keep the longest days at about 500 miles. We'll do slab to out there and back in order to do it in the least amount of time.

I'd like to hear your thoughts.

Wingnutz (Dave)... I've been looking at your routes. Thanks for the insights and photos.
 

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Well, I don't know my Friend. I don't know how old You are, or if you've done such ridin' before. I'm 61 and took a 4,647 mile trip just three weeks ago from Michigan out to Glaicer Montana,Tetons,Yellwestone,Cody and even made it to the Sturgis rally on the way home.
I took the same trip 7 yeras ago with a good riding buddy. was 56 then and we did it in 2 weeks riding 15 hour days. I was a bit rough but we did it. We rode the last leg from a town called Columbus,Nebraska all the way back to Michigan. A 22 hour ride. Don't know how I did it. Took me two days to recover before returning to work.

This time I took 3 weeks to make the trip. Mostly because I had my Bride with me. Took 7 days to get there, 7 days to tour around and 7 days to get home. I'll tell ya, for me, that was the way to do it. Rode about 300 miles a day and felt teriffic when we got home.
 

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1) Am I trying to cram in too much if it's gonna take 7 days of traveling up and back? Is the remaining 7 days enough to enjoy those areas? Probably not, I know, but I'm trying to plan this for a group of maybe 3 or 4 bikes/couples and most folks can't take more than two weeks off (and that's pressing it). Can it be done?
Three days and ~1200 miles from home to Sturgis...that took three days at roughly 500/day (day three sucked as it rained all day...that was my SO's first time really having to deal with weather like that on the bike.) So, planning for three to four days to get in the vicinity is do-able. My routing up there took us along about 60% two-laned roads; when the weather turned crappy, I found my way to the Interstates.

A week to get all that in...I call those the "whistle-stop" tours - and with others that might also have never been in the area, it may very well be a bit much. It's a lot easier to add-in things along the way, rather than take 'em out as you've planned.

We did Yellowstone as well on that same trip in 2010 for the first time...an afternoon, followed by a full day (in June) when the temps did not get above 40 degrees. You and your SO might be acclimated to riding with temperature swings of 50 degrees in a single day, but are your friends capable of that type of riding extremes? (50 degrees? Yep - 40 when we rolled out of Yellowstone, 90 when we rolled into the Salt Lake City area.)

Planning is inevitable, but keeping it simple might be a good way to roll on a trip like that.

Wingnutz (Dave)... I've been looking at your routes. Thanks for the insights and photos.
He's done a fine job of documenting his neighborhood for the rest of us to pop up that way to play... :agree:
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for the replies thus far...

Mikey... Me (age 52) and my riding buddy (62) have done two long rides each of the last two years, so the distances aren't a problem, especially since the long days will be runnin down the slab. I just did a SS1000 this year, and I actually think it hurt my endurance riding (or traveling in a car, for that matter). BTW... Went right through Marlette on our "Great Lakes Ride" two years ago on the way to Port Huron. We were going to ride around the thumb but had to cut across, racing to beat a thunderstorm that was chasing us.

KW... Yep, it'll be the "Wild West Whistle Stop Ride". It's got a decent ring to it. I'm thinking three days in Yellowstone. I don't want to shortchange that one.

I'm hoping to make a Rockies Gold sometime soon to fully take in CO and environs.

Thanks for the help so far.
 

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Denver to Yellowstone via I-25, Shoshone, Thermopolis and Cody is about 550 miles, Cody to Chief Joseph, Beartooth Highway to Red Lodge and back to Cody is about 6 hours. Estes Park to Cody is about 8.5 hours. Seems like you have a lot packed in to a short time.

Good Luck with the planning, sounds like a fun trip !!!!!

YNP
 

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I'd say that based upon the amount of time that you have you should do Colorado/Utah or Wyoming/Montana. You indicated that you checked out my rides (Rockies-Gold rides, plus the ones in my signature block [that are long overdue an update]), so you have a good perspective on Colorado and Southern Utah.

Since you are up that way, you could do Yellowstone and Tetons, along with Cody, Chief Joseph Highway, and Beartooth Pass and you would be good. You'll probably want to hit the Black Hills on the way out or back also. If you work the time, you might work in Glacier National Park also. I know this is a long ways out here for you, but I highly recommend that you when you come to do it right and not rush it too much. Enjoy it all!

If once you have done some planning and have questions, just send me a PM.
 

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Just back from Yellowstone. 3900 miles in 9 days. We did Chief Joseph highway, Beartooth pass, Yellowstone, The Tetons, Mt Rushmore and the Badlands on the way home.
Did Colorado 2 years ago. If I had to choose I would do Colorado and wait on Yellowstone until you had more time.
We only had a day and a half in Cody and one day for Yellowstone. Not enough time in my opinion.
We had temps in highs of low 90's and lows in mid 50's. Rain and gusty winds.
 

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I did a two-week trip from Richmond, Va to the Rocky Mountains, Devil's Tower, Wyoming and South Dakota back in 2009 and it was not enough time (and this trip didn't include Yellowstone or any NP's in Utah).
If you add Yellowstone, you're looking at another two days of just travel time. Also, you need at least a full day for Arches and Canyonlands NP's.

I think you could do the Utah NP's, the Rocky Mountains and the South Dakota sites in two weeks (but you will still be pressed for time to truly enjoy the sites). If you're contemplating 500 mile days, then you're probably looking at three days of travel out and three days of travel back.

I discovered from my roadtrip out to California a few weeks ago that you should incorporate a non-travel day in your itinerary every couple of days to really enjoy a long roadtrip.

Whatever your do, have a safe and enjoyable trip.
 

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In my experience, 500 miles in a day is way too many miles to enjoy that part of the country.
Consider breaking it up into 2 separate trips a couple years apart if possible.
I promise, you'll want to stop and soak up the scenery so much that 200 miles is sometimes hard to do in a day.
I will get blasted for suggesting this, but you might want to think about trailering your bikes to Denver. You should be able to do it in 2 days from the Valley easy. You would save 3 days, be more refreshed when you pick up your wife, (crossing a windy Kansas is not fun, even in a vehicle) and have more time to enjoy the ride, not worrying about time restraints too much.
What ever you decide, I know you'll love it.


Ride Safe
 

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The wife unit and I are headed out to Yellowstone in a couple weeks. We have 9 days to do it.

Plan to leave E. MN on Friday after work and get a couple hours in right away. It'll I-90 to maybe Luverne, MN the first night then onto Buffalo, WY Saturday. Sunday we'll head to Jackson via Thermopolis - Riverton - Dubois.

Probably spend a day or so there doing the Teton NP then head up to Yellowstone and stay in Cody for a couple more days checking out the park, Chief Jos., and Beartooth Highways. The ride back will probably be one of the Hwy 14s over the mtns. to Ranchester then super-slab it home. If we end up ahead of schedule we can always waste some time in the Black Hills on the way back.

Don't really have a set schedule and I'm not too worried about finding rooms this time of year.
 

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Glad to see this post--
also considering a Yellowstone trip next summer. Trying to avoid the interstates as much as possible but may have to use for the sake of time. Keep me posted on your timetable. Sitting down for a beer or coffee in the park--a couple thousand miles from home, would be kinda cool. (I worked in the park in the 70's--bought my first bike just north, in Livingston, Montana. Haven't been back for years.)
OB
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I'm starting to re-think this trip...

I've got to talk about the folks I'm trying to recruit to go with me, but for anybody not retired, 2 weeks to 16 days is a lot of time off from work.

I'm still gonna go, but I don't wanna rush it. I'm going to do 16 days with 4 days going out and 5 days coming back. That's still significant daily mileage but may allow some non-slab riding and/or sightseeing on the way. I think Mammoth Cave Nat. Park in KY may be a stop.

That leaves 7 days to enjoy. I'm also only going to do Colorado and Utah. I'm gonna scratch Yellowstone. (Another option was the Grand Canyon) Take in Rocky Mtn Nat Park to the fullest, some of the routes used during Rockies Gold, Arches Nat Park, and Canyonlands Nat Park.

I think this is more realistic.

(In 2014, I'm planning a month-long US Perimeter Trip which I'll do Grand Canyon, Glacier, and Yellowstone... I'll just have to wait, Lord willin)
 

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I want to do CO/UT/WY in 14 days from Virginia. Gonna take 3.5 days to get to Denver, pick up my wife at the airport there, and then tour Rocky Mtn Nat Park, Arches Nat Park, and Yellowstone. We'll also do Beartooth Hwy and Mt Rushmore.
My first thought when I saw your original post was that it was a big chunk to bite off and chew in just 14 days. I'm hoping 9 days is enough for just the Tetons and Yellowstone and I'm 1,000 miles closer. You could easily take 2-3 days in just the Black Hills alone.

I'm thinking maybe another 9 days next fall in CO/UT with my son when he gets back from A-stan. Maybe Rockies Gold if there's a 2012 version? :p
 

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In planning big rides like this, sometimes it's good to plan what we call 'down' days. A bit of time to get a bit of bike cleaning, laundry...y'know, those non-fun things that can pile up when you're on a bike for two weeks.

Even scheduling a half-day for those sorts of things - in conjunction with some sightseeing - can make a trek like that a whole lot nicer.
 

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We just did a similar trip this summer but took 3 weeks. Left Lancaster PA, hit rt 50 in WV and followed ity all the way to CO. It took us 6 days but no slabs. The wives met us in Denver and from there we headed to the Black hills. Spent 4th of July in Belle Fourche SD for the rodeo and parade.Then Devils tower and on to Cody WY. Hit the Chief Joseph (where we had the pleasure of meeting DrJim) and the Beartooth Highway. Spent a day and a half in Yellowstone then down to the Tetons and Jackson Wy.From there we headed back to Denver via Rocky Mtn National Park and the wives flew home. They were with us for 8 days and in my opinion that was not even close to enough time to visit the places we did. Six days back to PA via rt 36 and then one more day for me back to NE. In my opinion you will miss a lot if you try to do everything you listed in the time you have.
 

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I'm starting to re-think this trip...

I've got to talk about the folks I'm trying to recruit to go with me, but for anybody not retired, 2 weeks to 16 days is a lot of time off from work.

I'm still gonna go, but I don't wanna rush it. I'm going to do 16 days with 4 days going out and 5 days coming back. That's still significant daily mileage but may allow some non-slab riding and/or sightseeing on the way. I think Mammoth Cave Nat. Park in KY may be a stop.

That leaves 7 days to enjoy. I'm also only going to do Colorado and Utah. I'm gonna scratch Yellowstone. (Another option was the Grand Canyon) Take in Rocky Mtn Nat Park to the fullest, some of the routes used during Rockies Gold, Arches Nat Park, and Canyonlands Nat Park.

I think this is more realistic.

(In 2014, I'm planning a month-long US Perimeter Trip which I'll do Grand Canyon, Glacier, and Yellowstone... I'll just have to wait, Lord willin)

That is a very doable trip in 16 days.

On my recent trip, I regret not allowing more time to explore Colorado, Utah and Northern Arizona. You could easily spend two full days in any of these states and still miss a lot.

My trip through these states reminded me that 'getting there is half the fun' (especially on US 191 through Utah and US 160 through Arizona).
 

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This thread is interesting...as there are so many differences in how one would 'tour' an area as opposed to others touring & seeing the exact same thing the exact same way. These differences are pointed out just in the direct replies to the original poster.

Now, this trip could be done in the allotted time. The key is in how we who are responding to this subject are framing our responses - in our frame of reference, not in the frame of reference the original poster may have had in mind.

What makes this a bit more of a challenge is really not knowing how the OP's potential ride partners handle these same things.

I think by the time you've done a few long rides, many of us know how we "ride our own ride", and doing a 500 or 600 mile day (or two) to get further from home to see "good stuff" becomes a fairly easy challenge to overcome. There are those, however, that a 300 or 400 mile day is quite a feat, and to do any more is 'pushing it' for them.

For those that have read this far...I guess the answer you get in asking about planning a trek of these kinds of magnitudes has to be weighted with your personal riding and touring style in the equation.

"Can I make it to so-and-so in three days?" Good question - can you? Some here will say "days?" Others might think that's waaaay too much time wasted - unless they are the ones where the journey is the destination.
 

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Lots of excellent advice shared so far. For myself and son we have found that staying in one motel for two nights and just doing day rides out of it are a true blessing. We've done that in the Black Hills and south west Colorado, we've also knocked ourselves out doing consecutive long days when time limited our vacations, we both prefer option 1 :yes1:

The time of year when you travel is extremely important -- weather and crowds can cast a dark cloud over a well planned ride. The best advice I received from my son "Dad, don't over plan the trip" -- darn kid is right :bow: It seems like the adventure of being on the road and discovering a non planned sight or having the time to just go at our own leisure were the best days.
 

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Hey Tim

Hey Tim ... Here's my 2 cents ...

For me the bottom line is always balancing how much time you plan to actually ride versus how much time you plan for stopping and doing activities or exploring a particular area in more detail on the way there and back. i.e. Is this a riding trip to explore great roads and scenery or is it a ride to take in specific destination along the way for the purposes of doing activities there?

For each additional person or couple on the ride with you the complexity gets high pretty quick. While it always more enjoyable to have others along it is way tougher to please everyone and we all have specific needs when we travel. One of the reasons I like to ride alone as there's no one else to please but myself. Set expectations for the group before you get on the road.

I also didn't see (maybe I missed it) any discussion at what month of 2012 are you planning this trip? One thing I learned recently from my recent road trip out west that I did end of May and first part of June is where is the Jet Stream and when will it moves back north of the Canadian border so you have a better chance of having great weather. For my trip the Jet stream was still plunging south (unusual) and made for a mix of bad weather all across California, Utah, Wyoming and Colorado. I had to stay south to avoid it and still had the wettest road trip I've ever taken. If you wait until mid June or later, if, you can you will increase your chances for better weather and hopefully the jet stream will have moved back north by then although nothing is for sure. In addition, if you do get to Glacier National Park and plan to ride the Road To The Sun (Highly recommended .. best scenery I've ever seen) July would be your best chance to have that road open for travel.

Have a great trip ... I looked forward to the pics and stories.

By the way if you do hit Kentucky Mammoth Cave let me know when I may ride up that way and meet you just to say Hi.

Donnie
 

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You could spend your whole time in Colorado (check out the SW corner Durango, Telluride and Mesa Verde) and Southern Utah (definitely a must with Arches, Canyonlands, Zion, Bryce, Deadhorse and Hwy 12) and not be disappointed with missing out on Yellowstone as there is a lot of nothing between Colorado and that part of Wyoming and Montana. Don't get me wrong, they are great destinations Beartooth and Yellowstone but there is sooooo much to see and great roads throughout Co. and UT. Best of luck either way, ride safe!
 
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