Wednesday, September 30, 2015

October Road Trip Planning

Updated 10-4-15

I'm working on the itinerary for my October road trip and am at the point I can share most of the details. Getting a decent road trip in during October is a good idea because it always seems that after Halloween it's all downhill into the Holidays with so much going on. Then it seems difficult to get back out of the state until like May again (usually headed for the Smoky Mountains).

Anyway, the Barber Vintage Festival is in early October and is a great kick off for a road trip. The Fest starts next Friday (October 9) and runs through Sunday (October 11) in Leeds, Alabama, just to the east of Birmingham. I plan on attending Friday and Saturday.

On Friday, I'm planning on visiting the world-famous Barber Vintage Motorcycle Museum first thing in the morning. Barber has so many vintage motorcycles that they can't display them all; rather, they rotate motorcycles, making every visit a little different. Here's a SLIDESHOW LINK to my last trip up to the museum. After the museum visit, I'm sure all the swap meet booths will be up and running, so I'll run through those. Then it'll be vintage motorcycle racing and whatever else they have going on until the end of the day Saturday.

After Barber, I'm planning to head west to pick up some rides I haven't been on in a long time, and some sites I want to see, and ride some more in Arizona and New Mexico. In fact, I was just out that way in July, but had a family emergency that required me to beline from Colorado Springs over to Dallas. From there I needed to head back home. As a result, I missed out on all my plans and sites in Arizona and New Mexico. Similarly, when I was coming back from my Alaska trip in 2011, I was planning to ride in some of the National Parks in Arizona and New Mexico. I made it to Utah (Zion and Arches), but my legs gave out and I had to head back to Florida. So maybe this time, I'll get the planned rides/sites in.

Here's a look at the tentative loop covering about 4,600 miles.

I've updated the map to add a desert loop in New Mexico that I read about online that looks interesting. It runs Roswell, northwest to Willard (just south of Albuquerque). It looks to be placed at a point where I'll definitely be looking for a break from the highways. Here's a look at the revised loop covering over 4,800 miles. This is based on my Tyre Travel Mapping Application that works in conjunction with my TomTom Rider SatNav.

From Barber (Birmingham, AL) I'll ride about 525 miles to the Ozark Mountains in northwest Arkansas, just before Fort Pierce, and spend the night somewhere in that vicinity. Then, the next morning I'll head into the Ozarks and ride the Ozark Pig Trail (aka, the Arkansas Dragon) and a few other road I haven't been on in a long time. I've got some nice routes mapped out on Tyre and should be emerging from the Ozarks near Clarksville, AR before heading on west.

Once done in the Ozarks, I'll track through Oklahoma and over to Albuquerque, New Mexico [after a brief jaunt down to Roswell] where I'll find something to do for a couple days.

Then on to Arizona. When I get to Arizona, I'm going to try and pack in:

  • Grand Canyon, Lower Rim, Only
  • Meteor Crater (near Winslow, AZ)
  • Petrified Forrest National Park
  • Apache Trail + Superstition Mountains (near Phoenix, AZ)

From there, I'll head back through New Mexico and down to San Antonio for a couple days.

A little to the Northwest of San Antonio proper is a famous riding loop called The Three Sisters (aka Twisted Sisters). It's 131 miles of mountains, canyons and lots of curves. I have only been on this road once and then only part of it, probably only 40-50 miles at that. It was some of the pavement work on an adventure challenge that ran from Junction, Texas to Del Rio, Texas and back. I remember it being very curvaceous and am looking forward to riding the entire deal.

I'm going to need something else to do after the Sisters, so maybe I'll ride over to the Alamo and check in the basement for Pee Wee's bicycle.

After San Antonio, me and the BigV will head on back to Florida. Egad! I'm dreading I-10 from San Antonio back to Florida, particularly through Mobile where it gets all bunged up by that stupid tunnel.

If I don't get distracted, I think we'll rack up over 5,000 miles on this trip. Amazing!


  1. Hi Bill,

    Johann here from coastal South Carolina. I have a 2008 Versys that I've been using as the occasional commuter and around town bike for the last year. I'm considering upgrading to the Versys 1000 for longer distance touring.

    Question: does the lack of cruise control on the big V pose any issues for you or did you install an after market throttle lock?

    Beaufort, SC

  2. Hi Johann. I'm a former owner of a 2012 Versys; stepped down to that from a Tenere. Stepping up to the Versys 1000 opens up the real touring opportunities without taking too much off the local, commuting and hooligan riding. Personally, I don't see the lack of a cruise control a problem; however, I've never had a bike with cruise or a throttle lock. Some of the members of the International Versys 1000 forum prefer throttle locks and have purchased aftermarket models. I can find references to Kaoko, of course, ThrottleMeister and Atlas. One device I have used on the V1000 is a Crampbuster. Crampbusters aren't throttle controls. Rather, they're throttle assists that I've found useful specifically for wrist fatigue. I've used them on a number of different bikes over the years. I discontinued using the Crampbuster on the V1000 when I added a set of Rox Risers. You can find my review of the Rox Pivot Risers as applied to the V1000 in this Blog. Feel free to join the International Versys 1000 Forum and get some first hand feedback on the throttle locks. We'd love to have you over there. Regards, Bill

  3. Thanks for the info, Bill. I'm a member of the 650 Versys forum and have been reading the V 1000 forum posts for a few weeks now. I think I'll join.


  4. Hey Bill,
    It was great talking with you at Barney's last Friday. Thanks for the helpful information about the V1000LT. Will keep in touch.