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August trips

Joined
Mar 30, 2005
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171
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San Antonio, Tx
I just got approval from the CFO to take a trip in August. Does anyone have any opinions on where the weather is good? I did CO/NM a couple years ago, so that's probably out. Looking at probably a week or so..Does anyone have any recos?

Thanks!
CM
 

mlinkibikr

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With only a week you have to place a value on your time off and review the amount of time it would take to get to simply get to great riding territory.

How about flying out to San Francisco and renting a bike for a tour up the coast, into the redwoods, back through the Sierras and Napa valley?

If you can eat some miles on your bike I would also recommend Utah if you haven't been to their beautiful national parks.

Have fun!

Dave
 

Tourmeister

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Smoky Mountains. As long as you are up in the mountains, it is not super hot. It is not as dry as the Southwest, but the humidity is not too bad.

Arizona is also nice, and about as close as the Smoky's. Maybe start out in the SE corner of Az, head up US 191, then on into Utah, see the sights, come back down toward Phoenix, than head back East along the mountains South of I-40. Things to see: Mokee Dugway, Petrified Forest, Painted Desert, Monument Valley, Escalante NM, Capitol Reef, Bryce Canyon, Zion, Grand Canyon, and more. Buy an annual park pass. It will save you a lot on entrance fees.
 
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Arkansas was one of the places I was thinking...As were the Smokies...Ideally looking to get away from some of the heat and I don't know if either would do it...

CM
 

Tourmeister

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My experience is that Arkansas won't get you away from the heat in August, even if you stay up on the ridges. However, in the Smoky Mountains you do get cooler temps above 3000-3500 feet, which is where a good bit of fun riding is located. You will tend to drop down in to the lower elevations for towns and major road intersections, then get back up on the ridges for the fun roads. That said, it might still feel warmer because of the humidity compared to being out West. If you really want to beat the heat, you need mountains. Even if you get as far North as places like Wyoming and Montana, it is still quite warm if you are not up in the mountains. I don't mind the heat though if it is not muggy/humid.
 
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Smoky Mountains are looking more tempting...What are the MUST DO roads there? I assume the Tail of the Dragon is in there, from where to where? What else do I need to not miss?

CM
 
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Possum Kingdom Lake, TX
The answer you seek is the Cloudcroft/Ruidoso area.

Get up early & sink spur, you’ll be there by late afternoon. It’s very cool & rainy there.

I rode there Sunday. It’s was in the 50’s at night.
 
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Denton
I agree with cloud Croft especially if you are on a good adventure bike. It would take a month to explore the Lincoln national Forest

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Joined
Sep 4, 2009
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Arlington
3rd vote for Cloudcroft. A day's ride there. Lots of great curvy pavement once you're west of Artesia. Great roads from Mayhill through Cloudcroft and down the Crazy Curvy Road to Alamogordo. Also the Sunspot Hwy south out of Cloudcroft, and north from Cloudcroft to Ruidoso. And as mentioned, lots of dirt and gravel roads if you lean that way. You'll be at about 7,000 feet, temps will be blessedly comfortable, and Cloudcroft isn't nearly as overrun with tourists as many Colorado destination towns you've undoubtedly been through.

Or, for the same distance, go to Raton and base out of there to ride Cimarron Canyon, Red River, Taos. On the Colorado side of Raton, the road to Cucharas Pass NW of Trinidad is very near.
 

2WheelNut

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Head to the mountains. I know you said you had already been to CO and NM, but that's where it's going to be cool.

It also depends on how far you plan to ride in a day. If you like to ride a lot, you can go pretty far in a week. I went to NM, CO, UT, ID, WA, MT, ND and WY last year on my way to Glacier National Park and back. It was about 3500 miles, so about 500 a day average for 7 days. (In reality, I did 2000 of them in 2 days getting there and back and the other 1500 spread over 5 days at about 300 a day) I cheated a bit since I have a Goldwing and was on that....but an FJR is definitely capable of 500 mile days if you get up in the morning and get going.

Point being..... a week is a really long time, you can do a lot of riding or do a bit less and still go pretty far. Either way, I'd definitely head due North and head for mountains as that's where it will be cooler.
 
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Joined
Nov 25, 2012
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Lampasas
I just got approval from the CFO to take a trip in August. Does anyone have any opinions on where the weather is good? I did CO/NM a couple years ago, so that's probably out. Looking at probably a week or so..Does anyone have any recos?

Thanks!
CM
What roads were you on 2 years ago? Maybe get a Butler map(s) and ride a different route than last time? There are so many sweet roads in New Mexico and Colorado takes months to ride them all. The temps are good as you know at elevation. So that is were to head. Like several members,and 2WheelNut say the mountain regions are where you want to be. NM434,518,38,64 are all excellent and about every other road in Colorado are sweet.
 
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Joined
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Denton
I just got approval from the CFO to take a trip in August.
CM
When you say CFO, does that mean you chief financial officer or your commanding female officer aka "wife"

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Well you hit some of the same roads I would have recommended to you. CO92 behind the black canyon of the Gunnison is super sweet and CO 114 near Gunnison to Saguache is twisty also. I heard that CO141 is a great road also. CO160 to South Fork and CO149 from there north to Gunnison are many riders favorites.
 
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A ride in that general vicinity is on my bucket list. Thanks for mapping it for me; I'm gonna hang onto that.
 
Joined
Oct 10, 2006
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Sanger, TX
Don't forget Barber Motorsports Museum in Birmingham, Al.
Plan a day for it. Great place.

It's gonna be hot all the way out there....hydrate.

As for my edit, you didn't specify how long you had. If you have a couple weeks use the map you posted and skip the Georgia area and head up north after Barber/Birmingham and go to the Smokey Mountains. Head towards the Dragon, Cherhola area. If you do these do them on Monday or Tuesday in the morning. Even with other bikes there isn't much traffic and less cops. Then do some more research on the area. You know the guys that say to skip those and do other roads. Gorgeous areas other than the highly advertised roads.
 
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I can probably get away w/up to a week (I get WAAAY more vaca time than my wife from work.) So if there's things to do or see, lay'em on me!

CM
 

Tourmeister

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:tab I would head North MUCH sooner unless you just want to stick to I-10 along the coast. In general, I would avoid the interstates unless you are just trying to maximize miles/hour to get to the fun stuff and back. Even then, I would rather ride I-20.

:tab I have done the ride out/back to the Smoky Mtns several times from Huntsville. There are plenty of State highways that you can run at 70mph and make good time to get across Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama. I would not do the Natchez Trace Pkwy again though unless you want to stop and visit historical sites. As a ride, it is 45mph (patrolled) and kind of boring in my view. It eats up a lot of time.

:tab I've attached a file with two GPX tracks in it. It is a big loop from Anniston out and back. I had to make it two files because there was a tiny section of Big Laurel Rd. (1318 on the Google map in the upper NE corner of the loop) that would NOT route. So I had to skip that tiny gap and start on the other side. However, I have ridden this road multiple times and I know it goes through to I-26. I have ridden ALL of this route up to the point at Sugar Hill on Hwy 60 in NW Georgia. That bit going West from there should be paved, but I have not personally ridden it. I've ridden about 80% of the optional Asheville East loop, but the parts I have not ridden are state highways and should be paved.

:tab When I head so the Smoky Mountains, I am not really there to spend a lot of time stopping and seeing stuff. I am there to ride the incredible roads. I do stop often for pics, to each lunch, etc,... But I don't do things like visit museums or other stuff that eats up a lot of time. A 250 mile day in this area is a good day of riding. Anything over 300 miles is a LONG day of riding. It is not like riding in Arkansas, Colorado, or other places out West where the roads are not as twisty. I also like roads that are typically not heavily traveled. So I would only hit Deals Gap on a weekday. US 441 through the Smoky Mtn NP is a bumper to bumper RV cooked brake nightmare. I've done that loop up through Gatlinburg back over toward Deal's Gap and it is not much fun. So the routes attached are set up to maximize the awesome riding in the area. Figure this as a 7 to 8 day trip, leaving Saturday to get to Anniston by Sunday evening, riding 4 to 5 days to do the loop (5 if you include the Asheville East option), then you have Friday, Saturday, and Sunday to get home from Anniston/Birmingham. If you don't do the optional loop, that even leaves a whole day to do the Barber Museum if you like.

Anniston, Al., to Robbinsville, NC., 265 miles.
Stay in Robbinsville or Deal's Gap. Highlights are Hwy Ga 52, Tn 68, and the Cherohala Skyway & NC 143 over to Robbinsville. Be sure to check out Bald River Falls East of Tellico Plains.

DSC02307.jpg

Robbinsville, NC., to Hot Springs, NC. 221 miles, or Robbinsville, NC., to Asheville, NC., 276 miles
Hotel or camp in Hot Springs or push on to Asheville for more lodging/eating options. 276 miles might not sound like a long day, but it is a LOT of REALLY twisty roads. The roads on this day are some of my favorite in the area! Start the day with Deal's Gap, NC 28 down Wayah Bald, then back up 28 to US 19. Wayah Bald and 28 North of Franklin are superb roads. Then you have the option to run the first part of the BRP from Cherokee, which gets you up high enough to be cooler. If you like Museums, there is the Wheels Through Time in Maggie Valley. The make the awesome run up NC 209 to Hot Springs!

Wayah Bald Rd., and NC 28 are miles and miles of this
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Typical of much of NC 209 heading up to Hot Springs, NC.
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Optional Asheville East Loop - 252 miles of bliss
If you are having fun and want to do even more incredible roads, add this loop. It is all paved. Every single bit of this is a fantastic ride, even the first bit of interstate is not too bad (for interstate :-P). Most of this route does not have a lot of traffic. That little loop of NC 197 and Double Island Rd, then NC 80 going back down to US 19 is just out of this world fun. 226A South of Little Switzerland is also great! You can visit Mt Mitchell on the way back down the BRP to Asheville. I don't have ANY pics of these roads because they were so much fun I just couldn't make myself stop to take any :doh:

Asheville, NC., to Suches, Ga., 252 miles (if you stay in Asheville, otherwise 292 miles from Hot Springs)
Suches is home of the Two Wheels Only campground. This day also hits many many great roads and includes a nice selection of the Blue Ridge Parkway. NC 151 outside of Asheville just before you reach the BRP has some of the tightest twisty corners you might ever ride! 276 abd 215 run up and down the from the bottom of the mountains to the ridge and are super twisty as well.

A few shots from 151
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DSC02390.jpg


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Typical tunnel on the BRP
IMG_7488.jpg


NC 1001, Just SE of Franklin, NC., one of my favorite roads!
IMG_7453.jpg


You will run through Wolf Pen Gap on Ga 180 before reach Suches. This is a really twisty section, tighter than Deal's Gap in many places.

One of the less twisty sections around the Suches area
DSC02369.jpg

Suches, Ga., to Anniston, Al., 185 miles
This will be an easy day so you might want to push on past Anniston to Birmingham to see the Barber Museum.​

:tab If you have never been to this area before, it is hard to really grasp just how twisty so many of the roads are. Think of the tightest and twistiest sections on 335, 336, and 337 in the Hill Country and then imagine that going ALL DAY in many places. Not only that, the roads are usually in very good condition as well. If they have had rain recently, then you just need to watch for run off debris on the inside of corners where you are going around the edges of the mountains. If you run the whole route I have here, plus the optional Asheville East loop, you will have hit a BIG chunk of the best paved riding in the area!

:tab Oh, if you stick to the route you posted, just East of I-59 coming down from Chattanooga, look for the Little River Canyon National Preserve. Hwy 176 along the edge of the Canyon is fun with some good views. Then you can just hop back on 59.
 

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Tourmeister

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The problem is... Now I WANT to go ride all those roads again!! :doh: It happens to me every time I start trying to help people put together routes in an area I like :-P I haven't been out there since 2012!! Amazing how time flies! Maybe next year...:ponder:
 
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