Sunday, February 19, 2012

USA 4 Corners Tour Planning 2012

USA 4 Corners Planning 2012

As crazy as it sounds, I'm doing another 4 Corners Tour later this year. Am I a sucker for punishment, or what?

I've received my rider packet and the pre-addressed envelopes. All is set for a mid-May departure. My good friend Ted and I plan to depart at 1AM on May 12 and return by late May.

There will be some differences from the last time I rode this as I'd like to quicken the pace a bit and get the entire ride completed in 2 - 2 1/2 weeks. I will do the ride on my trusty BMW GS this time (vs. my Triumph that's been causing me so much grief of late). As well, I plan to use a "Modified X" route. It'll save some mileage initially, then add about 500 miles to the overall ride.

As well, I now have a SPOT GPS tracking device so interested parties can keep track of our progress via these links:

Here's the 4 Corners portion of the route:

Here's the entire route, including the loooooong road home:

Here's the website:

We need to do a few things before, during and after the ride.

1. (BEFORE): We need to send in the paperwork for the USA 4 Corners Tour AND the SCMA membership AND the AMA release. That's $125 ($100 for the 4 Corners Tour and $25 for the SCMA membership. DONE!

2. (DURING): The clock starts once we get the first gas receipt at the initial corner (San Ysidro). It only takes about 15 minutes to get the secret phone number, photo and gas receipt. When we mail the first letter from the San Ysidro post office, that starts the ride.

When we arrive at each point along the way, we must snap a photo of us in front of a certain landmark and mail the pre-addressed envelopes (with receipts and mileage) from the location. We must also write our motorcycle license numbers on the gas receipts.

3. (AFTER): The final stop is a biggie. We must make sure to obtain a dated, timed receipt showing the location (I ask for a 2nd copy from the gas station attendants).

I estimate that the actual 4 Corners ride will take us about 11 days or less and we will travel about 7,100 miles -- well under the 21 days allowed.

Once we mail off the final letter, we have completed the USA 4 Corners portion of the tour and it's just a matter of returning home (no rush as it's not counted as part of the 21 days). Ted plans to visit friends in Mississippi after we complete the ride and take his time getting back home. He may head south from Louisville and I continue west. I plan to travel back fairly quickly, putting on as many miles as I can safely ride.

4. Expenses: Fuel and hotels will likely be our biggest expenses, with gas at $4.60 a gallon in California (cheaper around the US, more expensive in Canada).

5. Route planning: This is a biggie for several reasons. We've decided against the new "True X Route." It'll take more time and more fuel. Where do we go from San Ysidro? Or do we want to start with San Ysidro at all? Maybe we can use that as our ending point. Do we want to travel through Canada? It'll save time and a lot of miles, but it can be complicated and the roads aren't as good. Beautiful riding, though! I prefer the "Modified X" route, where we go from San Ysidro to Blaine to Key West to Madawaska. Returning home, we will cross our previous route somewhere near Des Moines or Omaha.

6. When do we want to depart? I can budget no more than 3 weeks off of work this year, and I prefer to do the entire ride in about 2 weeks. The last time I did this ride (May 25-June 10, 2010) it took me 12 days to ride 7,000 miles. I predict that the way we ride, it will be 10 days to ride it and 3 days to return to San Diego (for me). I have obligations in April, June and July. I hope these dates work as I’m unavailable during certain dates: May 14 – June 1.

See my ride report from my 2010 USA 4 Corners Tour.

More to follow...

Let’s break out the maps and start planning!


  1. That looks an amazing trip. Looking forward to seeing how it goes.

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