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Hello all, the wife and I are planning a trip for summer 2020 out to Atlanta area to visit her family. I've got plenty of ideas, favorites, and 'next time' routes from home (SLC, Ut) to Carlsbad, NM. So many in fact my problem on this leg is paring it down to allow time to get out East...
I've driven from ATL to SLC (up to the corner of IL then basically straight through on I-80), and once each from Houston and Dallas, to Utah (through NM, up to Cortez, CO then home).
None of those trips were for fun, and all in 4 wheel cages and the goal was getting home ASAP. That said, what little I saw of Texas (I-20, IIRC) doesn't fill me with excitement and anticipation.
So I'm hoping those of you who know the terrain can help steer me onto the good roads I'm sure must be there.

Current plan includes a stop at Carlsbad caverns in NM. This could be either on the way out or on return trip. No shortage of choices to get SLC to Carlsbad (or return) though I'm open to opinions here too. Everything else is wide open.
I've got 3-5 days each way to fill, so I can wander a little bit if needed. We are good for 8-10 hrs in the saddle, so short hops between hotels isn't a must, but if interstate is the best route I'll likely plow through fast as I can to get it done.

I prefer to vary our route, so return isn't the trip out reversed (unless it's a stretch that's really just that awesome.)

Not afraid of interstates, they just typically aren't the best routes for enjoyment. I won't pretend the K16 is a GS750, but limited gravel isn't a problem for the bike and I'm capable if not comfortable there for short times if needed.

I'm pretty much wide open and unaware of all roads East of Denver, so all suggestions are appreciated.
 

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Hello all, the wife and I are planning a trip for summer 2020 out to Atlanta area to visit her family. I've got plenty of ideas, favorites, and 'next time' routes from home (SLC, Ut) to Carlsbad, NM. So many in fact my problem on this leg is paring it down to allow time to get out East...


As always, I recommend a quick consult with Butler Maps and Best Biking Roads.com.

In the meantime, I'm going to throw out a recommendation or two for your consideration:

CO Hwy 149 (South Fork-Creed-Gunnison. Desolate. High. Spectacular (prefer it south to north)

NM Hwy 64 Eagles Nest-Angel Fire-Taos-Tres Piedras-Chama. Awesome. (prefer it east to west)

NM Hwys 224/537/130 in the Ruidoso/Cloudcroft area. More awesomeness.
 
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Mississippi - About half the time I through Mississippi, I take HWYs 22 and 16. I do it if I just want to get off the interstate and it is daylight. I don't like the thought of using a motorcycle to hunt deer at night.

It is well maintained, relatively empty and straight so passing is pretty easy, and not patrolled by police. Even in the towns, I don't think I have ever seen ever cop running radar (nor has my radar detector).

There is nothing spectacular, but it is a nice break from the interstate, and while obviously adding time, it is about the same number of miles. There is Silver Star/Pearl River Casino, which is a pretty good casino despite having no nearby competition.

Heading West to East, you can pick up HWY 22 just past Vicksburg, MS, which turns into HWY 16 (I think) in Canton. HWY 16 will take you to Alabama. Take a right on AL-17 for a couple of miles to 116, and 22 miles later you are back on I-20.

From Birmingham, Al to Atlanta, it not worth getting off the I-20 due to traffic, traffic lights, and strip malls. In fact, with 50 miles straight line distance of Atlanta, never leave the interstate.

Keeping in mind Birmingham, AL is only two hours from Atlanta, you could add a day by heading up to Tennessee, arriving West of the Cumberland Cumberland Plataea, take 41, to 64, then bike around until taking US 19 (Recommended) or US 23 back to Atlanta. For places to ride once you get to Tennessee and North Ga, well, that is a whole other post.

And don't forget, where ever you go, you still need to get on a HWY and travel that last two hours to Atlanta.
 

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I got bad news for you, anywhere east of the Rockies is going to be flat and almost all of it is not entertaining. Eastern NM ... FLAT. West Texas ... FLAT. Eastern Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, Alberta ... FLAT! With a few exception like Custer National Forest in South Dakota or some of Texas Hill Country everything is F L A T !!!

I do recommend CO65 over Grand Mesa, CO92 through Black Canyon and CO149 over Slumgullion Pass as mentioned by SBennett. Stop at Clear Creek Falls on the south side of Slumgullion. Then Pagosa Springs, Chama, Taos, down to Las Vegas. After that, it basically sux, but I would stay on NM285 to Carlsbad. Avoid Albuquerque like the plague.

If you decide this is something you want to do, I can give you some more routes through Texas that keeps you away from most of the metropolitan areas (a good thing!). Summer through Southern NM and Texas will likely be sweltering. But then summer anywhere may be sweltering. There were days this past summer where it was hotter in Denver, than in Houston. Go figure.
 

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If you are heading from NM, I would stay south of Dallas and then slowly work your way north across northern LA, MS and AL. You can follow I-20 but alternate roads north of I-20 can be interesting if you want to take the scenic route. Northern AL has some great moto roads as does north GA. Northern LA isn't bad either.

Note that I-20 is shut down through downtown Birmingham while they completely rebuild the interchange there - you'll be diverted to the 459 bypass. Note sure when it is going to be completed but I suspect late next year or beyond.

If you hit Atlanta on a weekend or non rush hour during the week, the traffic won't be too bad. Just be prepared for crazy drivers on the freeways. All bets are off though if there is a wreck (and there are lots of them - did I say crazy drivers before?) so some type of Nav with traffic would be a good thing to have.
 

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If you're wanting to see some sights along the way, then here is a couple of suggestions for Texas; Just south of Amarillo, near Canyon, Texas, is Palo Duro Canyon. It is the largest canyon in at least America, second only to the Grand Canyon. I believe it is a Texas state park, and it is beautiful. Go North to Roswell, then to Clovis, NM, which I remember to be a junky little town, then up US 60 to Canyon, then East on 217 to Palo Duro Canyon. Of course, you're in the middle of nothing in that part of Texas, besides the canyon.

OR:

You could go South, making your way over to US 287 and heard south to Pecos, Texas. Not much there, but I think a little history about a judge back in the 1800s. Here you catch US 67 and head SW to Marfa, which is a quirky little town in the middle of nowhere. It's worth a quick look, maybe lunch, take 90 East to Alpine, then 118 to Terlingua, where they have a national chili cook-off each year, then finally to Big Bend National Park. It's absolutely stunning. It has lodging with a nice restaurant that serves good food, or you can camp if you're interested. Big Bend National Park is HUGE!

You could keep going SW from Marfa down towards and then along the US/Mexico border, and you'd ride thru Big Bend Ranch State Park, which is adjacent to Big Bend National Park. The state park is pretty impressive, as well.

After you visit Big Bend, then you could make your way NE towards San Antonio. Just NW of San Antone is the hill country; Fredricksburg, Bandera, Kerrville, Luckenbach, etc. There's some beautful riding in this area, and you'd want to ride the "three sisters", aka "three twisted sisters", which is very scenic and twisty.

"The Three Sisters route starts in Medina, Texas, located 63 miles (101 km) North West of San Antonio. The Three Sisters comprise of Ranch Road 335, Ranch Road 336, and Ranch Road 337 all of them two-lane roads...."

You could then visit San Antonio, which is really neat city, then either go to Austin, or head NE towards the piney woods of East Texas, going thru Bastrop, College Station (home of Texas A&M University), towards either Davy Crockett National Forest, or Sam Houston National Forest.

Just depends upon how much time you want to devote to it.
 
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