Adventure Time Planning

Posted on Apr 26, 2016 | 7 comments

This time next week I’ll be heading home from DC. I’m inheriting my mother’s car (early 2000s Toyota RAV4) and rather than pay to ship it, why not use it as a chance to see the US again?  Heck, it’s been almost three years since I made the 3000 mile trek; I’m totally due.

My father will be delivering the car to the annual 5k we run (I’ll be walking this year – injuries… bummer) in my mom’s honor/in support of brain cancer. He’ll be bringing it packed with the road bike I had purchased for his place following my mother’s passing (I need to sell it and the Portland Craigslist will do a much better job). I’ll combine the car and bike with a bunch of stuff that I’m bringing and be ready to spend a week or two on the road – camping, working, riding, driving.


This bit worries me the most. Will I find camping along the way? Will it be warm enough if I take the route I had originally planned (northern through the Yellowstone)? Is camping a dumb idea I should bail on and instead stick to cheap motels? Should I go for a more southern route?


Free wifi has got to be pretty abundant across America. If I plan my days appropriately this shouldn’t be too much of a problem. Mobile hotspot + libraries are always a good fallback. I’ve scheduled some vacation anyway just in case I need it, but I’m hopeful I won’t. I have pretty regular meetings three days a week so those days my schedule will be pretty fixed to traditional hours and I’ll need a reliable connection so motels are looking good there. Other than that, anything goes – my work can be done pretty much at any time of the day.


Thanks to the internet I should be able to find some pretty solid rides everywhere I go. If nothing is published for wherever I may find myself, a quick look at a map should give me an idea of what’s possible. I picked up a Garmin Varia for a little added safety since I’m sure to be on roads that are less cycling friendly than I’m used to (hopefully lower traffic though).


I’m not sure how I’ll combine the above with managing to drive across the country, but that’ll be part of the fun. Every day will be an adventure. Ride now? Drive now? Work now? Drive to where? Where will I sleep? Where can I get a shower? Do I need a shower? Where will I work? Laundry day? I theoretically have until June 1st to get home, but I certainly don’t want to live on the road that long and if it proves to not be as fun as expected I can always hightail it back. My estimate is 10ish days.

Tips? Advice? Comments? Things I must see? Things I must avoid?


  1. Pro tip: get a Karma hotspot. It’s pay-by-the-gig, which is a lot more sane than needing a subscription.

    random thoughts:

    I did my last crosscountry by moto in 2008. Generally I’d go to an RV park every third night for showers, the other two nights I could rough camp or dry camp. The Badlands of South Dakota was one of the highlights for me. If I did it again I’d organize that region around a missile silo tour:

    Walking (“hiking”) around Devils Tower is kinda cool. I avoided Mt. Rushmore. Camping on the shores of Lake Erie was rad, as was visiting the rock and roll hall of fame. Motorcycling through the leftovers of a hurricane was less cool.

    Outer Banks of North Carolina was pretty neat too.

    I’d love to cycle up Pikes Peak. And around the Black Canyon of Colorado. And some of the passes.

  2. Thanks, great stuff here.

    Outer Banks/NC shore are very familiar to me so I’ll be skipping those.

    Colorado after Badlands takes me a good bit out of my way – I’m still looking for a fairly efficient route so it’s one or the other and I’m erring on the Badlands/Devil’s Tower/Yellowstone. That was our planned route when we moved out here, but it was foiled by a blizzard and the National Park Service being on strike.

    The whole mountain region is an unknown right now – I’m not sure it’s going to be warm enough for me to really enjoy myself (currently freezing in Pikes Peak and snow forecasted)… Trying to pack somewhat light and having gear for all weather does not fit the bill. I suppose I have a few days to look at forecasts and figure it out.

  3. is what I’m eyeing.

  4. Glad you’re familiar with OB, neat area.

    Mountain region- brrrr. It is early in the year. No reason to be miserable.

    Wyoming- look at Beartooth Pass, you can enter Yellowstone up at that “corner” and then see the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone too. I have a soft spot for Heart Mountain Relocation Camp (ww2 japanese internment), it’s easy to kinda drop by that. IIRC it’s just north of Cody.

    Idaho- consider going across Idaho instead of the “interstate” leg, takes you through Craters of the Moon. Otherwise just blast across Idaho and spend time elsewhere 🙂

    Farther east, I camped at Great River Bluffs State Park and then walked the bluffs the next morning. That was a really special place.

    You’re going up to Wisconsin- make sure to have fried cheese curds. I can recommend a great place to eat in Madison.

    If you’re at all interested, the Harley Davidson museum in Milwaukee is good. I dislike Harleys but the museum is still legit.

    I kinda blasted through Pennsylvania so I haven’t seen anything good there. It was rainy and meh.

  5. Thanks again. Added a lot of that to the plan.

    Unless I go way south, which adds a ton of mileage to the trip, it’s inevitable that I’ll hit some chilly weather. I suppose I’ll just have to pack for it.

    What’s your curd spot? I’m quite familiar with fried curds and a stop might be warranted.

  6. My rec is The Old Fashioned in Madison:

    Yeah, road trips and weather. Good fun.

  7. Added.