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  • Moto Camping

    Looking to ride my bike back home to Madison Wisconsin from Tucson Arizona after graduating with my PhD from the University of Arizona. Going through Denver to visit a cousin of mine for a few days before continuing on my way. My route to Denver is pretty well planned. My route from Denver is a bit more up in the air.

    Picking up a buddy in Flagstaff and running up through the four corners to Durango from Durango we will head north on 550 through Ouray and eventually East towards Crested Butte. We will camp there night two and hit Denver on day three. My buddy will hang in Denver for a day or two and ride back to Flag on his own.

    He's riding a 2011 Bonneville with 550 miles. I'm riding an 04 Roadie with 60k on the clock.

    Trying to decide whether to shoot straight through Nebraska and Iowa (quickest route) or head up to Montana to visit another friend and then head East through the Dakota's and Minnesota.

    I feel like the AZ CO portion of the ride will be so much more exciting than the NE IA portion. Granted I haven't done much research on the potential rides in those areas. Can anyone from the area correct my ignorance?

    I've also been putting together a kit.

    Gear wise I've been looking at getting a hammock with a bug net and rainfly. I was looking at a brand called Wise Owl. About 110 for the hammock, tarp, and bug net. All individual pieces so I don't have to use the bug net up at altitude.

    I have a nice mummy sleeping bag.

    Was looking at Wolfman dry luggage for the sleeping bag/pad/hammock. Has anyone used Wolfman products or have other suggestions for dry bags?

    I just ordered a micro start xp3 that I'm excited to get. Kind of a splurge at $100, hoping I never have to use it but glad I shouldn't have to worry about a dead battery in the middle of nowhere.

    Also putting together a tire kit. Im looking at pumps. I don't think I wanna do an electric pump. I found an interesting compact foot pump called the stomp pump.

    https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07MTXQTRK..._FWn-EbYXMG0FF

    It's marketed to bicyclist and made by battle bots engineers lol. No reason it shouldn't work for the motorcycle as well. Very compact. A bit pricey at 70 though. What do y'all think? Stick with CO2? Again hopefully it doesn't need to come out at all!

    I have 2 hard saddle bags, a sissy bar, and a passenger seat to load up. I'd like to not over pack. I have a few sets of rok straps.

    The only non moto camping item I'm bringing is my knife roll. I like to cook and once I get to wisco I'll be cooking up a storm while I look for a big boy job. The knife roll is too big for a saddle bag so it'll probably go on top of the dry bag on the sissy bar luggage rack

    Getting a cooking kit together too. So welcome any advice there.

    looking at a little burner (msr pocket rocket) and some collapsible silicone cookware with a metal base. I have a gorgeous 6.5 inch cast iron pan from Australia I'm going to bring for eggs and onions.

    Wondering if I need a tank bag. Does it cover the speedo?Magnets or straps?

    I also picked up a ram mount. Not sure how much use it'll get. I hate cell phones... and mine in particular lol. Want to be able to charge the phone while I'm riding though.

    I've also been looking at the brake away cruise control. Anyone use it? Should I just get a plastic throttle lock?

    Don't anticipate using it a ton in the mountains but things flatten out after Denver.

    Appreciate any guidance on gear, camping strategies, or route!

  • #2
    Actually NE Iowa has some pretty decent country scenery. And you're not going to get interstate like travel for the most part. Now coming across eastern Nebraska and western IA on i-80 (if that's you're route) isn't going to excite anyone.

    Now if you were taking 2 lane highways and not interstate you'll get a lot of small midwestern towns and such along the way. Would take more time for sure, but at least give you some variation albeit not a lot.

    I'm near Iowa City and have made the trek to LInconln and such for track meets on I-80. Not a lot to see so just hammer down and suffer through it.

    Comment


    • #3
      What's the doctorate in? When I got mine I just moved home and worked.... Should have taken a trip
      LET'S RIDE

      Comment


      • J89k
        J89k commented
        Editing a comment
        Sociology. Dissertatiom on turnout in mayoral elections.

        Research methods, stats, and programming are the skills that will cash the checks once I find employment.

        Gotta get home somehow!!

        You?

    • #4
      Look up Duke when you ride through four corners and Farmington.

      Comment


      • #5
        When are you planning to leave on your trip? If you haven't gone thru Monument Valley, this would be the time to do it. If you run thru Tuba City, Kayenta, Az, then thru Bluff, Ut. On into Cortez, Colo., Durango, I think you'll find a lot of beautiful country. You said your going from Durango. To Ouray, Colo., and your going to love that ride. From there, going to Montrose you can head east to Gunnison and on over to hwy 285 on into Denver. That's a great ride!

        Comment


        • J89k
          J89k commented
          Editing a comment
          Ill have to look up monument valley!! Def going through tuba city and kayenta. That's the exact route I'm taking lol

          Don't have an exact date nailed down. Some time in the second half of July. Gonna spend a few days riding around flag before we head out.

      • #6
        I have never been in the flyover sttes but if I were in your shoes I'd be going up through Colorado, There is some gorgeous country through there!
        2000 Roadstar 1600 - BAK, Pumpless, Curt's manifold, Mikuni HSR42 Freedom Combat Pipes Jumbo Strong bags, PPG 'HellFire' Paint.

        Comment


        • J89k
          J89k commented
          Editing a comment
          Def going through CO. Just not sure where to after that. Straight home or up through Montana

      • #7
        I helped data collection for a new neuropsych test my chair created... Dean Woodcock Sensory Motor Battery... I examined a full big long personality test (MMPI 2) to a brief "signs and symptoms" measure that is easier to administer and cheaper etc within the framework of an overall neuropsychological assessment. Cannonical correlation analysis factor analysis were the stats I used. Basically showing the utility of using a small 50 item measure instead of a 567 item measure within the specific framework of conducting a neuropsychological assessment.
        LET'S RIDE

        Comment


        • J89k
          J89k commented
          Editing a comment
          Measures get me excited lol. 567 is insane.

          I teach criminology. We do a week long unit on psychopathy and talk a bit about how to measure it. The MMPI 2 is one of the tests we talk about. Not an expert on it though.

          My sociology subfields are political sociology and legal sociology. Crim falls into that legal subfield. Most of my research is on the political side.

      • #8
        Tank bags? Anyone have experience?

        Comment


        • #9
          Hey, J!

          I live in Minnesota, and have made several trips out to Wyoming, Colorado, and Idaho, since my brother lives in Idaho. I would ride west, he would ride east, and we would hook up in Custer State Park in South Dakota. I have also taken several different routes: 94 through ND and MO; 90 through SD and WY; and 14 across. I have ridden pretty much most of Highway 14 from Madison to Yellowstone on different trips.

          Here are a couple routes you could take that are favorites of mine… but first some highlights you would want to hit on this route would include Yellowstone and perhaps take the John D Rockefeller National Highway down to Grand Teton National Park… there is absolutely nothing dull on that ride. Then the Big Horns and Devil’s Tower in Wyoming, the Black Hills and Badlands in South Dakota, and hit Pipestone National Monument in Minnesota.

          First Route

          Here is the first route I might suggest… it is a bit quirky, and a longer distance, but I think you would find it amazing. This route assumes you are coming from Western Wyoming. Come down 89 through the North entrance to Yellowstone… follow south through the park past Old Faithful and to West Thumb. Go south from West Thumb on the South Entrance Road, and that will take you through a fantastic gorge down to the John D Rockefeller Memorial Parkway. This will take you down along Jackson Lake and some great views of the Tetons. Rather than going south at Moran, you would go East following Highway 26 through Dubois and Crowheart down to Riverton (I won’t take time here to tell you about the time I almost got into a brawl with a group of cowboys at a genuine cowboy bar in Dubois).

          At Riverton, head North on 26 to Shoshoni, then head East on 20 Casper. Here is where things would get really quirky… follow 25 North to highway 259… (I think it is maybe 20 miles) then take that exit and follow to 259 North to Midwest. At Midwest, you would take a right to Edgerton, following 387 all the way to Wright, about 50 miles. Get gas in Wright, don’t fool around. You won’t see a gas station for a while after this. From Wright, South about 2.5 or 3 miles to Clareton Highway, and follow that for 66 miles to Newcastle, WY. From Newcastle, you would take HWY 16 East to Keystone, SD, the gateway to the Black Hills, and from there North to Rapid City. Then from Rapid City to… well, I’ll come back to that below.

          If you go this route, definitely go through Custer State Park, camp there if you can. My favorite campground there is Grace Coolidge… almost no one seems to know it is there, tents only, only a few camp sites. But there are other fantastic campgrounds around Keystone in the Black Hills before you get to Custer.

          This route definitely takes you through some undiscovered and untypical country you won’t see elsewhere. Especially through the middle of Wyoming, which is very primitive, and there will be no traffic, except the occasional mining vehicle (on this route, I once passed under a giant dump truck box that was loaded on a over-wide Semi trailer… the box was wider than the highway). The disadvantage of this route is you don’t get to see the Big Horns and Devils Tower.

          Second Route

          If you go through Yellowstone, head out the East Entrance on Highway 20, and follow to Highway 14. You may want to stop at the Buffalo Bill Museum in Cody… it is actually several museums, and you really can’t tell how fantastic it is from riding past it. A natural history museum covering Yellowstone Park, and art gallery, a Buffalo Bill Museum, and American Indian museum, and a gun museum. I am not a gun person, but I still found the gun museum pretty amazing.

          After Cody, follow 14 to Greybull, then 16 South to Worland, and follow 16 East from World to Buffalo. This will take you right through the Big Horns. When 16 dumps you out of the Big Horns at Buffalo, follow 90 East to Moorcroft and you can follow 14 North to Devil’s Tower National Monument.

          I would strongly recommend camping in either the Big Horns or Devil’s Tower, or both.

          From Devil’s Tower, you could either head back South to 90 and catch 90 East to Rapid City, or Head North on Highway 24 to Hulett and Alva. Definitely gas up at one of these. Then follow 24 all the way to Belle Fourche, SD. Again, sparse opportunities for gassing up along the way, so don’t skip a gas station. Follow 85 South to Spearfish, then hop on 90 East towards Rapid City… yes, you will pass Sturgis on the way. Personally, I have passed by Sturgis many times, never around the time of the Sturgis Rally, and always avoided the rally. No interest here.

          The advantage of this route is the Big Horns and Devil’s Tower, and you pass through the Black Hills, but don’t really get full impact of the Black Hills that you might get going through Keystone and Custer State Park.

          On Either Route…

          After Rapid City, you should definitely hit the Badlands. I personally would take a pass on Wall, SD, but some folks seem to really like it. The world’s biggest tourist trap, bar none, but that is half the fun. You could stop at Wall Drug for lunch, decent food. I really enjoy camping in the Badlands, but not guaranteed to get a campsite. There is a decent KOA south of the Badlands, if you need something.

          Post Badlands

          Again, a couple options:

          Post Badlands Route 1

          After exiting the Badlands, assuming you go out the East Entrance on HWY 90, take the next exit, HWY 73, and follow North to Philip, SD and HWY 14. From there, head East, and you can pretty much follow all the way to Madison. This route takes you through a lot of interesting small towns, including Pierre, SD, New Ulm, MN, and Mankato.

          After Mankato, you could continue East on 14, or you could head South to catch HWY 90, or head North on 169 and catch 94 East to Madison. 169 North brings you up through the Minnesota River Valley, and is a fascinating ride, but then you have to ride through Twin Cities traffic. Yuck. But I’ve seen much worse elsewhere.

          I think your best option is to just follow 14 East all the way… it is really a nice ride through Southern MN and all the way through Wisconsin to Madison.

          Post Badlands Route 2

          I had to edit this post because I forgot to add Post Badlands Route 2, which is simply to follow HWY 90 East from the Black Hills or the Badlands. highway 90 is not too bad as far as Highways go, a lot of rolling farm country and prairie.

          If you come this way, feel free to look me up… or maybe could arrange to join you for a short stint of your ride, social distancing and all that. We could chat about the Mayor of Minneapolis, I have Masters Degrees in Public Admin and also Nonprofit Management, and worked for the City of Minneapolis for a number of years. I have strong feelings about the Mayor and City Council right now–and for some years have argued for a total restructure of the City leadership structure. It is a mess right now, and you have probably been reading about Minneapolis in the news. I am still recovering from the PTSD I experienced while working for the City, one of the worst work experiences of my life (and I have had some doozies). Even after almost two years after I left the City, the City Council recently had a public and televised foot fight about me specifically. So, yes, I have strong opinions about the City of Minneapolis.

          Feel free to PM me if you wish, and if you are heading this way, I will send you my contact info.

          RTT
          Attached Files

          Comment


          • #10
            Hey J,

            Also, as another alternative route, if you decide to skip Montana, you could head up from Denver into Wyoming... there is a "back way" into SD and into Keystone that I have long since forgotten... I was on a ride back, and I think it ran from Glendo State Park in CO to Keystone SD from the South.

            Short story on this one, a few years (maybe decades) back, I was gassing up somewhere North of Denver, I think in Glendo. There was another motorcyclist there, I asked him if he new best route to Keystone. He said he actually lived in Keystone, and said he had a back route he followed, and started giving some complicated directions. I asked if I could just follow him. He said okay, but seemed irritated. And it seemed he was trying to shake me... he was on his shiny new Honda VTX, and I think he wanted to show how much faster his VTX was than my dusty old Royal Star. I think it really pissed him off that he couldn't shake me. He was riding pretty hard, and he seemed surprised on more than one occasion that I was still right behind him.

            Anyways, from my shaky memory, A few miles north of Glendo, we took a right on US Highway 20, and followed that East until just shy of Chadron, Nebraska, then headed North on 385 to Custer. After Custer, I headed East through Custer State Park.

            RTT

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            • J89k
              J89k commented
              Editing a comment
              I really appreciate your thorough responses. A route through Montana, Dakota's, Minnesota sounds absolutely exciting. You've got my wheels turning. I will absolutely let you know if I end up heading that way. It feels like a very real possibility!

          • #11
            Originally posted by Brad_G View Post
            Actually NE Iowa has some pretty decent country scenery. And you're not going to get interstate like travel for the most part. Now coming across eastern Nebraska and western IA on i-80 (if that's you're route) isn't going to excite anyone.

            Now if you were taking 2 lane highways and not interstate you'll get a lot of small midwestern towns and such along the way. Would take more time for sure, but at least give you some variation albeit not a lot.

            I'm near Iowa City and have made the trek to LInconln and such for track meets on I-80. Not a lot to see so just hammer down and suffer through it.

            Yep - don't do I-80. I grew up in Indiana and lived in Iowa (Cedar Rapids) for 10 years. I've nothing against farmers, but driving through hundreds of miles of flat-land corn fields is no particular pleasure. I'd recommend US 30 as more scenic. Lot's of small towns to break things up, there's plenty of gas stations (it's the midwest after all), hotels, etc, and you're not particularly far from larger populous areas should you need to service your bike.

            Comment


            • Brad_G
              Brad_G commented
              Editing a comment
              Yep 30 is going to be better than I-80. Hwy 20 across is all 4 lane now I believe. Better scenery less truck traffic than 80 and would be direct to his destination.

          • #12
            The few times I went road Star camping I found that US army duffle bags a lots of stuff and go straight across the passenger seat up against the sissy bar how to make a dandy backrest. I wish I was familiar with the country but I'm not h. yethave to travel but in a year and a half when I retire I will in my toy hauler that's already done and ready. Speaking of criminology have you seen the series on Netflix called professor t. I think it is also on PBS. It is a Belgian series with subtitles. Which I usually hate subtitles. But this series is good. It stars a not so perfect man akin to the fictional character Adrian Monk with respect to his peculiarities of compulsion. But it's his compulsion that makes them so good at what he does.

            Comment


            • J89k
              J89k commented
              Editing a comment
              I have not watched it. I'll check it out!

              I have watched Mind Hunters and enjoy it. I've used a few clips in my class. Like the one where the profilers realize serial killers are most likely to kill in their own racial group.

              The FBI sends white cops to parks in black neighborhoods to try to see if they can lure kids into cars. The black kids aren't having it and are teasing the cops for being in a black part of town. They ask the cops to pull their dicks out to prove they aren't cops lol...

              One of my best students just wrapped up her Master's Degree in Forensic Psychology at Arizona State. Excited for her. She wants to do some Criminal Minds type stuff. Just gave her an excellent reference for a job with the county in Phoenix.

              My background as a criminologist focuses more on the social determinants of crime and deviance (income, education, gender, race, neighborhood effects, family effects). Students from psych, criminal justice, pre law, sociology, and social work were the kinds of students you'd find in my classrooms.

              I find criminology interesting, but if I'm honest, I mostly studied it because the prison industrial complex pays the bills.

              Nearly 1/3 of the world's population of incarcerated people are in the US. We imprison more people than China and Russia both in absolute numbers and in percent of the population. It pays to know a little something about crime in the US. Some, especially my colleagues, might find it distasteful to acknowledge it. I like job security lol. I've applied to a few research and stats jobs with the DoJ and DoC.

              For me, who votes is more interesting than who commits crime. I'm particularly interested with the local level because it has such low participation rates. About 15% compared to 50% nationally (which is the lowest among developed countries).

              We all sit here and bitch (or cheer) at the spectacle we call Washington DC and yet we ignore the level of government closest to our lives. That arguably impacts us more. That certainly has a greater effect on our everyday lives. It's a puzzle I'm interested in.

          • #13
            So, just for fun and to bring back some memories, I thought I would throw together some maps of some of the routes I have taken... threw these together on Google Maps. All three routes run through Yellowstone and the Badlands, not to mention Central SD. avoiding freeways as much as possible. (Having said that, HWY 90 is not all that objectionable along pretty good stretches in these states.) I presume a starting point of Boseman, MT.

            Route 1 runs South through Yellowstone and has the advantage of taking you down to the Teton Range. However, it doesn't actually go through Grand Teton National Park. Instead, runs down through Dubois. The highlights of this route are the Tetons, Bridger Teton and the Wind River Range, then through Thunder Basin National Grassland, and through Custer State Park in SD. Takes you through Togwotee Pass just North of Dubois... I ran through here on a cloudless night with a full moon one October... pretty amazing. It was icy and just above freezing, wouldn't normally have done this but was making my escape from some rowdy cowboys.

            Whenever I go through Thunder Basin, I can't help but think I am going to see a brontosaurus stick its head up over one of the hills... very primitive countryside. Lots of antelopes and sheep playing there. I happened across a mother grizzly and two cubs at the north end of the John D Rockefeller Memorial Highway a few years back.

            Route 2 runs more directly East, but takes you over the Big Horns through Granite Pass, then Devils Tower, and along the Northern Range of the Black Hills. Coming out the East Entrance of Yellowstone, you would first run through Sylvan Pass, which is one of the most scenic passes I have ever seen. Shortly after, you would run past Buffalo Bill Reservoir. Use caution, it can be dangerously windy as you pass through a gorge at the East end of teh reservoir... but this is classic motorcycle riding here.

            Route 3 is pretty similar to Route 2, except you would go the Powder River Pass of the Big Horns, at almost 10,000 feet. Steep grades and very curvy, lots of fun, take it easy on this route, easy to lose track of slope and curves, plus some other minor variations from Route 2.

            I have had pretty interesting adventures on all these routes, from cowboys (see above note) to blizzards in June, a conscientious cow looking both ways and waiting for me to pass before crossing the highway, nearly getting blown off my bike (on more than a few occasions), nearly starting a forest fire in the Black Hills when my camp stove exploded, having the same camp site at Custer invaded by buffalo, and other crazy happenings.

            I hope these are helpful! It was quite the trip down memory lane!

            RTT
            Attached Files

            Comment


            • #14
              As far as the hammock goes I’d go for a double wide. I’ve been exclusively hammock camping for the last ten years (will never sleep on ground again) and with a wider hammock you are able to lay at an angle which provides less of a dip to your sleeping surface. I’m a side sleeper so this is a necessity. Also make sure to have a sleeping pad underneath you. Even with a good sleeping bag you’ll get cold if the temp drops below 60.

              Comment


              • #15
                If you do Facebook, might want to take a look for the Bunk-a-biker and the motorcycle camping groups. Lots of good info there and bunk-a-biker for possible places to get a bed and a shower or a tent spot...
                2000 Roadstar 1600 - BAK, Pumpless, Curt's manifold, Mikuni HSR42 Freedom Combat Pipes Jumbo Strong bags, PPG 'HellFire' Paint.

                Comment


                • Brad_G
                  Brad_G commented
                  Editing a comment
                  That’s cool. I’d never heard of either one.

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