Planning the route

#1
I'm currently working 7 days a week, but I should be rolling back to a more normal schedule next week. That gives me time to enjoy the bike again. I'm looking at places to go and planning a trip from Lake Charles to Memphis and back. The route I'm planning on using keeps me on the interstate system through a good portion of it, so I know there will be easy access to fuel. The rest of it is on roads I'm somewhat familiar with, so I know fuel is readily accessible there too. That's kinda the extent of my planning for this ride. Start in Lake Charles, head up to Shreveport, then Texarcana, then over to Little Rock, and on to Memphis. When I get there, maybe check out Graceland or some other attraction, then head back on I-55 and I-10. I'm thinking it will be a good way to get reacquainted with my bike since I haven't been able to spend much time with it while working 7 12's, and I'm itching to get back on it.

I've never been one to meticulously plan out a route. I'm more of a "get a general idea of what roads to take and see what happens" kind of guy. What about you? Do you plan out every minute of the ride, or play it by ear?
 
#4
Note to self: Don't ask about what other like minded people do. Just lurk on the forums and wait for them to volunteer the info.
I'm sure that you aren't trying to come across in a negative way. But this is the internet. Similar to text messages or email, the only tone or intent that is perceived by the reader comes from the reader. So it is real easy for folks to read some of your comments like this and those on the "poll" thread and conclude that you have an attitude. And generally speaking, being new to a group such as this and having what is perceived as an attitude doesn't make a lot of folks want to open up and share/help/answer questions. I debated on replying with this because I try to follow the basic rule that I should assume those who read my comments will do so in the worse possible way and if my comment/post could be taken in a bad way, I edit or delete. So don't take this as an attempt to start any type of disagreement, we are all here because we enjoy riding long distances and gathering with like minded individuals.
To answer your question, it depends. If I am riding for a goal such as a rally or a ride that has very little room for error or making changes on the fly, yes I plan it out in detail. Examples:
I am planning an in-state EggSanity Gold for Easter weekend. That ride will require that I visit all 4 chains, while riding over 1000 miles, all without leaving the state. Doesn't seem difficult and I can do a minimal amount of planning for this ride. Just pick a route that hits the mileage and 4 egg dish minimums while staying inside the state. So I'll pick my 4 locations and verify that they are still open (took 4 Huddle House tries last time to find one still in operation and open after 10pm last time), then add a few shaping/turn around points to be sure I'll hit my mileage and play the fuel and other little stops by ear. So this one gets a moderate amount of planning.
I rode a SantaSore 1000 on 12/25-12/26. With that ride, knowing I just needed the miles on a certain day, I simply worked out a quick 1000+ mile route. I knew I had time to find gas/food and take breaks along the way and I had plenty of freedom to ride as I wanted.
I am considering a BBG on Leap Day. This ride will take a great deal more precision than the others. I have to complete at least 50% of miles and hours on 2/29. So I can't leave out before noon on 2/28. I also have to be at work the evening of 2/29 at 6pm so I don't really have time to stretch the ride out very far into BB1500 Silver territory. So, I will plan fuel stops, based on Garmin maps (basecamp) and google maps/street view so I know what side of the road they are on and I'll check for road construction on my planned route. I will plan it as close to down to the minute as possible. And I will set time/location markers along the route to make sure I am on time and know if I need to abandon the BBG and convert to a SS1k.
So I suppose to answer your question, the ride determines how in depth my planning is. I'm sure those with multiple BBG's under their belt can hop on the bike and ride one with almost zero planning, silimar to how I can ride a SS1k. So plan your ride until you are comfortable that you can acheive your goal with your plan and then ride the plan.
 
#5
Living in the north (where its snowing and 7 degrees today) gives me plenty of time to plan possible rides for the upcoming season. I like to plan rides during the winter months since I work long hours as well and I like being able to load a route and go. I plan the ride and ride the plan while being ready to adapt to changing conditions.

Last year I did a Saddlesore 3000. I started in St. Ignace MI and rode US2 out to Everett WA. Its just over 2000 miles, so I planned to do a Saddlesore 2000, but a storm passing through Montana held me up longer than I expected and it took just over 49 hours to get to Everett. I got some rest, than jumped on the interstate and rode back to Rawlins WY. That part wasn't planned, but I knew I'd be able to find fuel along the way. I had other rides I had originally intended on doing after Everett, but I scrapped them to salvage what I'd started. I rode back to Port Huron MI, did the Lower Great Lakes the next day, then got up and rode back home which had enough miles to get a BB1500 with the LGL nested inside it.

The point being is I only accomplished the first part of my planned trip. I adapted to salvage the initial ride, dropped the others and accomplished different ones I'd already mapped out. It wasn't disappointing as I was able to complete the Great Lakes Series last year, including the Great Lakes Gold.
 
#6
The rest of it is on roads I'm somewhat familiar with, so I know fuel is readily accessible there too.

I've never been one to meticulously plan out a route. I'm more of a "get a general idea of what roads to take and see what happens" kind of guy. What about you? Do you plan out every minute of the ride, or play it by ear?
What's your definition of "fuel is readily accessible"?

For me, I prefer to just get on and ride. I'll plan a little more when it comes to rides involving going somewhere and not coming home the same day. It's more of a general area / route. Here in the states, I've not been concerned with fuel... unless I'm headed someplace where it can be 30+ miles in any direction to find fuel. I like to surf Google Maps and zoom in on specific backroads to get a general idea... and just go. I'll also check out motorcycleroads.com or Butler Maps for highly rated twisties. Fuel? I'll start thinking about fuel when my light comes on and the bike tells me I've got 40-ish miles remaining. Again... unless I'm headed somewhere I know fuel stations are far between. I think there's too many variables (speed / wind / MPG variances) to plan specific gas stations. Riding into a 10-12 mph headwind for 500 miles across west Texas just blew your whole 'plan'. So don't bother putting in that time to plan it all out to that much of a specific detail.
 
#7
I am planning a very similar route as my first IBA ride. I don't think you'll have time to sightsee at all though as that route is about 15 1/2 hours of riding. Also, unless you are a huge Elvis fan, I would not advise going to Graceland. It'll take forever and getting to/from there will run you through about the worst neighborhoods in the whole city on a motorcycle so bring a gun if you must. :cool:

I live about 25 miles from Memphis and am pretty familiar with the roads in and out. I-55 is fine. Easy riding. The run in in I-40 and the the I-55 interchange can get really hairy. PLan a stop to refresh at least 25 miles west, study your map, and be prepared to deal with a LOT of heavy truck traffic. The I-55 river crossing is a skinny two-lane bridge. It'll be fine, all I'm saying is that you should try to be nice and frosty going through there. It's no time to be sleepy.
 
#8
I'm more of a plan every gas stop down to which side of the road and every rest stop when doing IBA rides. If it's just a go out for a ride with my wife then it's more of a general direction, e.g, NW to the Canadian border. But always try to avoid any city bigger then Portland ME. :)
 
#9
What's your definition of "fuel is readily accessible"?
[snip]
Riding into a 10-12 mph headwind for 500 miles across west Texas just blew your whole 'plan'. So don't bother putting in that time to plan it all out to that much of a specific detail.
Readily accessible in this particular route is small towns within about 15 miles of each other. I don't think there is ever a stretch of road with more than a 10 mile ride to a fuel station. I'm pretty sure just about any bike would be fine going another 10 miles for fuel. I don't typically run mine that close to empty. The downside is that those little towns come with small town cops and quickly dropping speed limits. They'll happily get you for 38 in a 35 even if you're slowing as you cross the sign. That I know from experience. :(

I also know what you mean about west Texas. If I was going through there, I'd definitely be looking for gas stations and planning on which ones to stop at. There are some dangerously long stretches out there with no fuel. I made that mistake while towing a camper before. My fuel light was on, and the miles to empty counter had been at 0 for a few miles before I was able to get to a fuel stop. I was so relieved to find that truck stop. Now I have an in-bed fuel tank, so I can drive all day long without needing to stop for fuel, even when towing.
 
#10
I am planning a very similar route as my first IBA ride. I don't think you'll have time to sightsee at all though as that route is about 15 1/2 hours of riding. Also, unless you are a huge Elvis fan, I would not advise going to Graceland. It'll take forever and getting to/from there will run you through about the worst neighborhoods in the whole city on a motorcycle so bring a gun if you must. :cool:

I live about 25 miles from Memphis and am pretty familiar with the roads in and out. I-55 is fine. Easy riding. The run in in I-40 and the the I-55 interchange can get really hairy. PLan a stop to refresh at least 25 miles west, study your map, and be prepared to deal with a LOT of heavy truck traffic. The I-55 river crossing is a skinny two-lane bridge. It'll be fine, all I'm saying is that you should try to be nice and frosty going through there. It's no time to be sleepy.
Whoa! I was totally unaware of Graceland being in a bad part of town. I'm definitely not a huge Elvis fan. I just happen to know Graceland is near Memphis so I thought it would make a memorable stop. I guess I'll have to find a different stop in Memphis. Though the route is firmly in SS1000 territory, I'm very undecided on making it an actual IBA ride or not. I haven't even taken the cover off the bike in weeks so I'm a bit rusty to say the least. My current work schedule is very unfriendly to all non-work activities, and it's been miserably rainy for quite a while.

Thanks for the tips about I-55. I've never been on it near Memphis before.
 
#11
Something neat to see in Memphis is the huge BassPro shop in the pyramid downtown. You'd get to it over the iconic I-40 bridge over the Mississippi River river. If your not running up against a clock that would be a neat place to see that's unique and there's food and fairly safe parking right there. I'm not even a "sportsman" and I think the place is crazy cool. If you're from southern Louisiana you have the French Quarter right there so I think Beale Street would be very disappointing.

Plan a stop for gas and such in Southaven or Hernando, MS just across the Mississippi state line. Between Memphis and the border you don't want to get off the highway if you're on a motorcycle.
 
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cacomly

Premier Member
IBR Finisher
#12
Something neat to see in Memphis is the huge BassPro shop in the pyramid downtown. You'd get to it over the iconic I-40 bridge over the Mississippi River river. If your not running up against a clock that would be a neat place to see that's unique and there's food and fairly safe parking right there. I'm not even a "sportsman" and I think the place is crazy cool. If you're from southern Louisiana you have the French Quarter right there so I think Beale Street would be very disappointing.

Plan a stop for gas and such in Southaven or Hernando, MS just across the Mississippi state line. Between Memphis and the border you don't want to get off the highway if you're on a motorcycle.
I did a double take when I saw that during my first ride through town