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From Santa Monica to New York… Almost 12.500km, 19 US States, heighest point of 4.278m, lowest -71m… Below is the route and schedule for this trip!

♦ Day 1, Sept 20, 2011: Santa Monica, CA – Las Vegas, NV
distance: 621km
min height: -71m | max height: 1671m | avg height: 662m
highlights: Santa Monica Pier, Death Valley, Las Vegas

The kick-off day… Leaving early in the morning from the very end of the Santa Monica Pier, the route takes me through Death Valley to Sin City: Las Vegas.    

 

♦ Day 2, Sept 21, 2011: Las Vegas, NV – Grand Canyon, AZ
distance: 624km
min height: 140m | max height: 2134m | avg height: 1106m
highlights: Hoover Dam, Oatman, Grand Canyon 

Leaving Vegas, I will be crossing the Hoover Dam on my way to Oatman, AZ: a famous Route 66 town. From there, through the twisty Oatman Highway, it is on to the Grand Canyon. 

 

Day 3, Sept 22, 2011: Grand Canyon, AZ - Boulder, UT
distance: 580km
min height: 1163m | max height: 2384m | avg height: 1765m
highlights: Horseshoe Bend, Antelope Canyon, Hwy 12

Leaving early morning, I head for the Horseshoe Bend and Antelope Canyon. After a few quick stops here, I turn onto the scenic byway 12, classified as an ‘all-american road’. I diverted my original route to be able to ride this road; that should say it all.

 

Day 4, Sept 23, 2011: Boulder, UT – Bluff, UT
distance: 523km
min height: 1138m | max height: 2923m | avg height: 1666m
highlights: Hwy 12, Glen Canyon Recreation Area, Moki Dugway, Monument Valley 

Continuing on Hwy 12 in the morning, I ride through an amazing scenery to Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. From there, on to the Moki Dugway (which is almost scary) and on to Monument Valley for some awesome nature.

 

Day 5, Sept 24, 2011: Bluff, UT – Durango, CO
distance: 540km
min height: 1322m | max height: 3374m | avg height: 2251m
highlights: Mesa Verde National Park, San Juan Skyway 

After passing Mesa Verde National Park, it is on to a beautiful day of riding in the mountains on the famous San Juan Skyway. A day of just riding and enjoying the views.

 

Day 6, Sept 25, 2011: Durango, CO – Gunnison, CO
distance: 358km
min height: 1964m | max height: 3522m | avg height: 2524
highlights: Wolf Creek Pass, Black Canyon 

Another day of just pure mountain riding, passing the Wolf Creek Pass (3522m) and being the second-highest average height day. Being a relatively short ride, I might go explore the Black Canyon near Gunnison at the end.

 

Day 7, Sept 26, 2011: Gunnison, CO – Aspen, CO
distance: 525km
min height: 1605m | max height: 3675m | avg height: 2394m
highlights: Monarch Pass, Royal Gorge Bridge, Garden of the Gods, Independence Pass, Aspen

Right from the start, we head up the Monarch Pass at over 3,400m. Next is the Royal Gorge Bridge, at 300m the highest suspension bridge until 2003. Then we head for some unreal nature in Garden of the Gods, before we ride to Aspen over the Independence Pass at a height of 3,686m.

 

Day 8, Sept 27, 2011: Aspen, CO – Granby, CO
distance: 442km
min height: 1749m | max height: 4278m | avg height: 2628m
highlights: Interstate 70, Mt. Evans

A day of many records. First of all, the highest paved road in North-America at 4278m. Also, the highest average height of my entire trip at over 2628m. For the records, there is barely any paved road in the entire Alps that is higher than my average height today! Also, we have slopes of over 22%… An absolute awesome day!

 

Day 9, Sept 28, 2011: Granby, CO – Laramie, WY
distance: 413km
min height: 1509m | max height: 3698m | avg height: 2361m
highlights: Trail Ridge Road 

A relatively short ride today. However this should be another top-notch day, since I am riding the Trail Ridge Road! The highest continuous highway in the States, reaching heights of over 3600m!

 

Day 10, Sept 29, 2011: Laramie, WY – Rock Springs, WY
distance: 417km
min height: 1817m | max height: 3305m | avg height: 2244m

A day in the middle of nowhere… After another ‘3000-er’, I head for an unpaved road. Lets just hope that out of all places, my motorcycle does not break down here…

 

Day 11, Sept 30, 2011: Rock Springs, WY – Antelope Island, UT
distance: 555km
min height: 1281m | max height: 3259m | avg height: 2094m
highlights: Flaming Gorge Reservoir, Mirror Lake Scenic Byway, Antelope Island

Long ride ahead today, but it should be worth it… Starting off along the Flaming Gorge Reservoir, we head up to Highway 150, also known as the Mirror Lake Scenic Byway. We just can’t get enough of mountain passes… The day ends at Antelope Island: a surreal island just of Salt Lake City.

 

Day 12, Oct 1, 2011: Antelope Island, UT – Jackson, WY
distance: 493km
min height: 1281m | max height: 2529m | avg height: 1747m
highlights: Idaho, Teton Pass

The one and only day that I ride through Idaho… That should be a highlight by itself. Also, with today’s Teton Pass at 2529m, it is a great lead-in for the day to come in Yellowstone National Park…

 

Day 13, Oct 2, 2011: Jackson, WY – Red Lodge, MO
distance: 355km
min height: 1696m | max height: 3334m | avg height: 2291m
highlights: Yellowstone, Yellowstone and Yellowstone!

Be aware of buffalos today, as we head into Yellowstone National Park. That’s all I have to say.

 

Day 14, Oct 3, 2011: Red Lodge, MO

Today is a day of resting. To read a book, to take a little walk, to do some laundry, to grab a extra hot double-shot non-foamy skinny vanilla half-caf latte with soymilk at the local Starbucks… Or not. Definitely, I will take the Goldwing back into Yellowstone to discover some more twisty roads. Oh, and I might actually do some laundry.

Day 15, Oct 4, 2011: Red Lodge, MO – Gilette, WY
distance: 482km
min height: 1110m | max height: 2864m | avg height: 1479m
highlights: Bighorn Canyon

Although every day on the road is a good day, it is a sad day today… For the last time, we’ll reach a height of over 2000m. Bighorn Canyon, a relatively unknown national recreational area, should make up for it though! Then it is up to Gilette (no, it has nothing to do with the well known razor-brand…).

 

Day 16, Oct 5, 2011: Gilette, WY – Rapid City, SD
distance: 345km
min height: 998m | max height: 1947m | avg height: 1420m
highlights: Wind Cave National Park, Custer State Park, Mt. Rushmore 

Another day that should be a highlight of this trip (but which one isn’t…). After a mellow ride we head for some serious windy roads and panoramic views in Wind Cave National Park, continuing in Custer State Park. From there, Mt. Rushmore shows up on the horizon! Spending the night in Rapid City, a place that I want to go to but I don’t know why.

 

Day 17, Oct 6, 2011: Rapid City, SD – Theodore Roosevelt Ntl Park, ND
distance: 578km
min height: 594m | max height: 1870m | avg height: 972m
highlights: Theodore Roosevelt Ntl Park

Because we can never get enough, we start the day with some footpeg-scraping just outside of Rapid City. Next we head straight up north, into North Dakota where I will be camping in one of the Roosevelt’s, probably the northern park.

 

Day 18, Oct 7, 2011: Theodore Roosevelt Ntl Park, ND – Devils Lake, ND
distance: 440km
min height: 438m | max height: 756m | avg height: 562m
highlights: me and the road

Thank god for the cruise control! Today is the day of long and straight stretches of tarmac… Guess I have to load up the Zumo with the Beach Boys, Elvis and Joe Cocker.

 

Day 19, Oct 8, 2011: Devils Lake, ND – International Falls, MN
distance: 532km
min height: 240m | max height: 471m | avg height: 332m
highlights: still me and the road

If I ever want to escape the country, this is the day… On the most northern part of my trip, I continuously have the Canadian border in sight. Staying overnight in International Falls. What an original name. Do I want to mention that the record low in October is -17 degrees Celcius?

 

Day 20, Oct 9, 2011: International Falls, MN – Hurley, WI
distance: 553km
min height: 181m | max height: 619m | avg height: 347m
highlights: Lake Superior, MN-61

Leaving the Falls, we head into some rolling hills passing quite a couple lakes before heading to the coast of Lake Superior, where we follow MN-61 down south: a designated ‘All-American Scenic Byway’.

 

Day 21, Oct 10, 2011: Hurley, WI – Gaylord, MI
distance: 590km
min height: 111m | max height: 516m | avg height: 304m
highlights: Mackinac Bridge

Nicknamed the ‘Peninsula Day’, we drive from one to another peninsula today, connected by the highlight of the day: the Mackinac Bridge, being the longest suspension bridge between anchorages in the Western hemisphere.

 

Day 22, Oct 11, 2011: Gaylord, MI – Chicago, IL
distance: 564km
min height: 178m | max height: 445m | avg height: 260m
highlights: Chicago

A day of mainly interstates unfortunately… But it is for a good reason! We want to end up in Chicago on time, so we can spend the evening there!

 

Day 23, Oct 12, 2011: Chicago, IL

After thousands of miles, I might want to consider giving the motorcycle some necessary maintenance… After which the whole city of Chicago is waiting on me! It will be my long envisioned visit to this city, so I definitely want to see some highlights…

Day 24, Oct 13, 2011: Chicago, IL – Cleveland, OH
distance: 578km
min height: 174m | max height: 326m | avg height: 219m
highlights: another day on the road

At 578km, we have another day of many, many miles… These being on the interstates, it will go rather fast… Purely ‘in transit’ today! Maybe a short visit to downtown Cleveland today afterwards.

 

Day 25, Oct 14, 2011: Cleveland, OH – Allegany State Park, NY
distance: 475km
min height: 168m | max height: 649m | avg height: 249m
highlights: Niagara Waterfalls, Allegany State Park

Today we ride into the state of New York for the first time this trip. But the absolute highlight of this trip is the Niagara Waterfalls! Widely known and shown countless times on TV, I still think it is going to be immense to see all that water falling down… Afterwards on to Allegany State Park, where we rise to a whopping 649m! After all those ‘low’ days that must feel like climbing Mount Everest…

 

Day 26, Oct 15, 2011: Allegany State Park, NY – Tunkhannock, PA
distance: 435km
min height: 191m | max height: 735m | avg height: 441m
highlights: the entire route

Today can be nothing but a beautiful day: the windy roads and rolling hills are lining up today! 435km of pure adrenaline-boosting roads. Sweeping high-speed corners and 1st gear switchbacks… The last day to unleash the beast within the GoldWing!

 

Day 27, Oct 16, 2011: Tunkhannock, PA – New York, NY
distance: 244km
min height: 0m | max height: 546m | avg height: 260m
highlights: New York, Brooklyn Bridge.

After 12.500 miles, 19 states, countless highlights, many adventures and strange encounters, we end the trip underneath the Brooklyn Bridge in New York after 25 days of riding. I’m sure I will be sad but satisfied at the same time.

 

Day 28 & 29, Oct 17-18, 2011: New York, NY

Taking it easy in New York, having breakfast in Manhattan, relaxing in Central Park… A dream has come to an end, but we can only dream of more: one who hasn’t seen much, has the whole world to explore! Up to the next adventure!

Day 30, Oct 19, 2011: New York – Reykjavik – Amsterdam

It is over. Time to go home and to dream of the memories. I’m flying home over Reykjavik, Iceland. Let’s hope there’s no volcanic eruptions that day…

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