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Driving across country without major highways

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Ever try to use a GPS, Mapquest, or any modern driving rout planer and completely 100% stay off interstates, major highways, or toll roads, like back before 1956? (The year US Fed Gov started assisting in building interstate highways.)
I have tried and have not had any luck until I found Directions on Google Maps for walking and riding bicycles. This section of google maps is still in Beta testing but I for one think it’s pretty cool. Biggest down side is as it develops (and currently) they will send you down paths that are only for pedestrians on foot or bicycle, cant leagly ride my wing on them. :)
Anyone know of a web page that will let you plan a riding rout that will take you from… say New York to LA and never ever take you off basic roads avoiding all modern major highways, interstate highways and or toll roads?
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I know it might be a little on the expensive side, but my wife and I bought those state maps that are about the size and thickness of a US atlas. Red in color...So Far, we have Wisconsin, Iowa, MN, ND, Montana, Wy, and SD.

We use them all the time to avoid the major roads...Publisher is "DeLorme" cost is about 20 bucks per state....
Actually I use Google maps for this sort of stuff all the time. Just put in your starting and ending point... zoom in and drag the blue line that indicates the route to whatever secondary or tertiary route appears interesting to you.

Easy peesy!

here's an example:

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check out "Mad Maps". these maps have different routes that have been riden by motorcycyclist and involve loops. it describes road conditions, sites, gas, resturants. I only have the south east map and the loops overlap so you can jump from one to the other. They are always the best motorcycle roads in the country.

Or you could just ask "Dusty Boots" here on the formum and he has found and ridden the best roads in the country and has helped so many. He helped make my 30 day ride out west amazing
Not sure if you have a Garmin or not...

If you do, go on to Garmins website, they have a program called BaseCamp. Not sure if will work with other GPS makes.

It is free to download.
You can do custom routes and it can also be setup with Google Earth.

Pretty cool program. You can save your trips and then just transfer to your GPS.

I found a bunch of how to videos on YouTube thats makes it easy to learn how to do stuff with it.
The Garmin Basecamp works pretty well if you have a Garmin GPS to work with it. You can select Motorcycle mode and it will keep you off the interstates pretty well.

I also use Microsoft Streets and Trips. It works good because I can set way points then choose the highway preferences for each segment. It allows me to use interstates when near cities and 2 lanes the rest of the time. You have to check the route after importing it into the GPS because sometimes the GPS will change the route from what you expect to to be.

Some of the guys use a Map maker that is on the Harley web site. I have not tried it but someone who has should be along shortly to give some insight.

Bottom line is none of them are perfect so try a few out and see what you like.
We use a Rand McNally road atlas in our travels.
Easy to get a local map at visitor centers for special places of interest.
Have managed not to get lost yet without GPS:waving:
The best thing that I have found with the GPS is that if you make a wrong turn, it recalculates your route.

Works good when riding and wonder what is down that road :smiler:

I used to print maps of each leg of my route and then highlight them. They where then folded in order and I went on my way. Problem was when I hit a detour or mad construction. Then it was a half hour or so on the side off the road trying to figure it out.

With the GPS, I go in the general direction and the GPS automatically keeps figuring out the specifics. Releaves stress and lets me explore a little more.

Kind of like a good co-rider if she can read a friggin map :cool: When she just can't or you don't have one (good co-rider), the GPS works pretty good.

I have a Garmin Zumo 200 and really like it. I use it on the bike and also some times in the truck. I always take it with me when I travel for work because it helps so much when you are not in a familiar town.
I just plugged in Winnipeg (my hometown) to Pittsburgh on Google Maps. On the options drop down I chose 'Avoid highways' and 'Avoid tolls' and I got a route that doesn't take me down any Interstates. And that's a 1300 mile one-way trip.
Not hard to use secondary roads, just get a recent good old fashioned road atlas, unless your riding is closer to home. Sometimes its hard to beat an old fold paper map:wink:.
GPS is fine, I have an inexpensvie one, but paper maps work and don't need batteries.:D
I just tell my zumo that I want to go to place "A", take the shortest route, avoid highways and interstates, it's almost all back roads, some of them only have a state road number.
I just plugged in Winnipeg (my hometown) to Pittsburgh on Google Maps. On the options drop down I chose 'Avoid highways' and 'Avoid tolls' and I got a route that doesn't take me down any Interstates. And that's a 1300 mile one-way trip.

Yup .... that's the way I do it for the 'Basis' of my trips/tours.

For instance, I plot a route from my place to Port Orchard, WA using Google Maps and don't check off either of those options, I get the option of 3 routes.

If I check off just the avoid highways option, it suggests these 3 routes

If I check off both the avoid highways and tolls, it suggest these 2 routes.

If I check off just avoid tolls, then it suggests these 3 routes, which are variants of the others.

Now ... suppose I want to make a route correction to places I want to go to. I can grab hold of the route and change it to where I want to go. Lets just click the avoid highways option and drag the route around to where I want to go, like the Canadian Rockies and BC, before I get to Port Orchard.
You end up with this route, which is the route that Winger77 and I took out to NASSIR 4, last year. During the trip out there and back, we did more miles on gravel roads then we did Interstates. (some places, short sections of Interstates are unavoidable, for the time allotted)

So, seeing as I started using a Garmin Nuvi 765T GPS last year, I went to Harley Davidson Ride Planner and copied the same route I had on Google Maps (HD Ride Planner uses Google Maps as well), by dragging the route around until it copied what I had on Google Maps. I then downloaded it straight on to my GPS, as it accepts custom routes, which not all GPS have the ability to do. The one caution I will give about HD Ride Planner is ... make sure you zoom right in to where you place your way points, so that they are placed exactly where you want them, or else it could move to a side street, or the other lane of a highway/4 lane road and will reroute you to take you to that errant way point. Other than that, it is an excellent free program that I use all the time. A slight learning cure, but it is not steep, or long. It can't be ... after all, I use it! :grin:

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I just plugged in Winnipeg (my hometown) to Pittsburgh on Google Maps. On the options drop down I chose 'Avoid highways' and 'Avoid tolls' and I got a route that doesn't take me down any Interstates. And that's a 1300 mile one-way trip.

I did not know that this option was available. Thanks for pointing it out!
I did not know that this option was available. Thanks for pointing it out!

Richmond, Va. from my house in Spotsylvania is only about 50 miles. Our interstate here is 70 mph, which means it would only take about 45 min. to get there. I did the zumo thing with no highways and no interstates ride one day, two hours later I saw a sign that said Richmond, 10 miles. Love them GPS's
My Garmin zumo 660 set to shortest rout will take you a lot of the time off major highways
Part of the problem, is many of the major hiways that were 2-lane were make into Interstate hiways. So, going the back routes is sometimes very time consuming. For example, try crossing North Idaho from Spokane to Missoula without going on I-90.
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