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I'm working on my rally route. Riding from central Indiana. On my smaller bikes, I try to stick to US highways and below. When I road out to the rally last year (~600 miles) I stayed off the interstates as much as possible. On the way home, I was on them almost exclusively because of time. Since I was crossing the Appalachians, the scenery was nice either way. Not sure so much when crossing the great plains. You guys who do the long distance thing, what do you use?
 

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I'm working on my rally route. Riding from central Indiana. On my smaller bikes, I try to stick to US highways and below. When I road out to the rally last year (~600 miles) I stayed off the interstates as much as possible. On the way home, I was on them almost exclusively because of time. Since I was crossing the Appalachians, the scenery was nice either way. Not sure so much when crossing the great plains. You guys who do the long distance thing, what do you use?
For me, it depends on my purpose. Often I'll super-slab it to save time for extra riding at my destination as time is always at a premium. I live in Las Vegas and everything between here and anywhere is boring desert. When I get somewhere nicer to ride, that has low traffic, I always pick the back roads

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It looks to me that, whichever route you take, you have around 24 hours of ride time between yourself and Great Falls. If I were you, I'd consider taking this route as it takes you by The Badlands, Mount Rushmore, Devil's Tower and Beartooth Pass (and, other than the time you spend at each place, it only adds seven hours to your trip): Indianapolis to Great Falls. (NOTE: Evidently Beartooth Pass is currently closed and Google Maps isn't allowing the route from Red Lodge directly to the pass.) From Indiana to The Badlands I'd do the slab as there's really nothing to see.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I'm pausing in STL and Omaha to see friends and family. Slab looks attractive for that portion, other than going through STL and KC.
 

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I'm pausing in STL and Omaha to see friends and family. Slab looks attractive for that portion, other than going through STL and KC.
Well, add The Gateway Arch to your list, then! ;)
 

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I'm working on my rally route. Riding from central Indiana. On my smaller bikes, I try to stick to US highways and below. When I road out to the rally last year (~600 miles) I stayed off the interstates as much as possible. On the way home, I was on them almost exclusively because of time. Since I was crossing the Appalachians, the scenery was nice either way. Not sure so much when crossing the great plains. You guys who do the long distance thing, what do you use?
Since I ride LD all the time. How many days do you have? How many miles were/are you planning per day? I use Google maps to route my trips and then punch them into Garmin BaseCamp to fine tune the routes. I'll be more than happy to talk you through it.

Victor
 

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I rode I-40 to I-77 to I-77 to I-64 when I rode from Chapel Hill to Louisville a couple years ago...made some good time, roads were good and there was some beautiful scenery along parts of that route. I departed to Milwaukee after reaching Louisville on I-65. As a general observation, I would add the roads in Kentucky were in great shape when I rode I-65 last year, Nebraska and Iowa were great along I-80, and roads in Illinois are even worse than Colorado! Vandaldog noted some beautiful spots if your route takes you up that way. Beartooth Pass should be open by the Rally, but....I have seen it close down for a snowstorm in early June :) Could happen at any time!
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Since I ride LD all the time. How many days do you have? How many miles were/are you planning per day? I use Google maps to route my trips and then punch them into Garmin BaseCamp to fine tune the routes. I'll be more than happy to talk you through it.

Victor
Miles/day is up in the air. I'm think not more than about 500, unless I'm stopping with a point in mind. For example, on one leg of the trip, I'm stopping to see certain parts of family history in northern MN. My leg that day is about 300 miles, but I plan on spending a lot of time in that area. I'm trying to stay off the road between dusk and dawn, so I'm estimating about 15 hours of available travel time daily. My rear was hurting after the 600 mile sprint from Lebanon, and I don't want to repeat that day after day. Based on feedback from that trip, I'm going to plan for longer gas stops along the way. I've been using Google Maps for the planning. I wasn't planning on hitting Bear Tooth and Chief Joseph passes, but I realized that I have 39 days of vacation time to burn before mid-August, and that's after accounting for the 19 days I have planned for the trip already. Might as well take 3 weeks, visit family a bit more and start my ride early. I just want to be back in NC by the evening of July 3rd.
 

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I'm pausing in STL and Omaha to see friends and family. Slab looks attractive for that portion, other than going through STL and KC.
Not going to defend the slab around these parts. But if you need anything when you're passing through, give us a shout. Safe travels.
 

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Armymutt, if going through KC to Omaha, by all means take the beltway (I-435) around Kansas City. If coming from
St Louis on I70 take I435 north, it will drop you off on I 29 north to Omaha.
Having driven in KC pretty much all my life I can go around the downtown loop with my eyes closed, either way, but
I will be damned if I can tell anyone how it is done. The road will turn into one lane and if you don't know which lane
to be in, you are toast.
Try google satellite for how the spaghetti was dropped around KC.
If you have time, highway 36 across MO is kinda cool. It was one of the original cross country routes.
 

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It looks to me that, whichever route you take, you have around 24 hours of ride time between yourself and Great Falls. If I were you, I'd consider taking this route as it takes you by The Badlands, Mount Rushmore, Devil's Tower and Beartooth Pass (and, other than the time you spend at each place, it only adds seven hours to your trip): Indianapolis to Great Falls. (NOTE: Evidently Beartooth Pass is currently closed and Google Maps isn't allowing the route from Red Lodge directly to the pass.) From Indiana to The Badlands I'd do the slab as there's really nothing to see.
Another route if you are on I80westbound is to pick up highway 83 in North Platte NE and ride through the Sandhills in Nebraska to Murdo in South Dakota. The Sandhills have their own beauty and you can hotdog up the road as traffic is sparse. Double check fuel, it is lonely on some stretches.
This will put you just east of the Badlands, Sturgis, Deadwood, Devil's Tower........
 

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Beartooth Pass should be open by the Rally, but....I have seen it close down for a snowstorm in early June :) Could happen at any time!
This vid would tend to imply that if people relied on the snow there to just melt, the road would literally never open:


A friend of my wife’s is from Great Falls, and she went home to visit during last year’s Rally. It snowed there one day, and temps were mid-50s a couple other days. Of course, it could also be in the 80’s there, so it may be hard to pack, if you need anything from summer mesh to full electric gear.
 

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This vid would tend to imply that if people relied on the snow there to just melt, the road would literally never open:


A friend of my wife’s is from Great Falls, and she went home to visit during last year’s Rally. It snowed there one day, and temps were mid-50s a couple other days. Of course, it could also be in the 80’s there, so it may be hard to pack, if you need anything from summer mesh to full electric gear.
Yep! Even hundreds of miles south here in Colorado, we can get snow up on the 14ers in the middle of July or August.
 

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It would be a travesty to travel from the east coast to Montana and not ride The Chief Joseph and the Beartooth Highways. The scenery is stunning and thats coming from someone who lives and rides in Colorado.

I would stay south and ride up through the Tetons into Yellowstone and around the lake out to Cody for the night then up through the Chief Joseph and Beartooth the next day.
 

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Double check fuel, it is lonely on some stretches.
This can't be said too often for those traveling west for the first time. While in the east, you can usually find gas every 10-20 miles along just about any highway, that is just not he case in the west. There is a stretch in I-70 in Utah that has no gas for over 100 miles. I've also found singular stations closed, even during mid-day, or simply gone. Don't depend entirely on your GPS for that last gas stop.

I pulled up to one a year or two ago. It was unattended self-serve but the pumps had "crashed". They were blinking with some odd numbers and wouldn't work. I was on fumes nearly and had to hope I could get to the next one. I made it only because I dropped my speed down to where I was getting 50+ MPG.
 

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The scenery is stunning.... I would stay south and ride up through the Tetons....
Today's fun 5th-grade-humor factoid: So many people don't know that Teton is French for Boob, having been named by a French-Canadian member of an expedition. And of course, Grand Teton is the Big Boob. Probably an ancestor of Doug or Bob McKenzie: "On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me....a beer...in a tree."
 

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This can't be said too often for those traveling west for the first time. While in the east, you can usually find gas every 10-20 miles along just about any highway, that is just not he case in the west. There is a stretch in I-70 in Utah that has no gas for over 100 miles. I've also found singular stations closed, even during mid-day, or simply gone. Don't depend entirely on your GPS for that last gas stop.

I pulled up to one a year or two ago. It was unattended self-serve but the pumps had "crashed". They were blinking with some odd numbers and wouldn't work. I was on fumes nearly and had to hope I could get to the next one. I made it only because I dropped my speed down to where I was getting 50+ MPG.
I have been along that stretch of I-70 and was beginning to doubt my decision to not gas up when leaving Ogden that morning!
 

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Today's fun 5th-grade-humor factoid: So many people don't know that Teton is French for Boob, having been named by a French-Canadian member of an expedition. And of course, Grand Teton is the Big Boob. Probably an ancestor of Doug or Bob McKenzie: "On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me....a beer...in a tree."
Near Walsenburg, Colorado, we have the twin Spanish Peaks. The Native Americans —the Utes, Comanches, and Apache that once called this area home—named the peaks Wahatoya, which means Breasts of the Earth. A truly lovely pair of mountains ?
 
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