Road Tripping on a Big American Motorcycle is second to none. I for one love the open road, the wind, the smells, the temperature, the sky, the bugs. Oh ya I wish I was buring up some gas, taking a turn, winding down a country road right now. Here are a few stories and tips on getting out on the open road safely and most importantly returning home saefly. "Ride Safe" and we will see ya at the next rally.
The Basics of Motorcycle Touring 101.
Where to go, when to go, how far to travel, what to expect,
and what to pack? If you have a month, a week or just a
couple of days, or an afternoon of these basic rules apply.
More than the love of getting on a motorcycle and going for
a ride, Motorcycle touring involves a few more details.
Prepare your machine: Making sure your Motorcycle is in
good mechanical working order and that all the current
maintenance has been done. Don't put off that necessary
maintenance. Riding around town, is a lot different than
riding across country. If you think I can get a few more
miles out of that tire, or that loose light will be ok, it
won't be. When crossing Wyoming, the towns are few are far
between. If you get a flat tire you may be stuck way out in
no where land wondering what to do. This exact thing
happened to us one year on our way to the Sturgis
Motorcycle Rally. We went knocking on a local farmers door
asking for help. Little did we know the farm dog was
docile, but the attack ducks took us for invaders and
attacked. Seriously the ducks had a case of stay off our
land and charged us. To get back to the tire story we had
to push the bike to the barn and air up the tire, then
drive about 70 miles out of our way through three different
towns looking for a town large enough to change a tire on a
full size Harley. Looking back on the experience we should
have changed the tire before we left home for a 7 day 2000
mile trip. As a side note my loose headlight fell off
later in the trip, so we certainly had some adventure. But
I blame the loose headlight on shaking rattling and rolling
not a lack of maintenance.
Plan your trip, but also let your trip guide you just go
with the flow a bit. I don't know if this makes sense or
not but have an idea where you are headed and how long you
plan to take to get there. Plan about 300 miles a day, and
roughly figure out stops along the way. One thing I always
learn or remember the hard way on my trips is big is bad,
small is fun. On a motorcycle stay away from the big
cities and the big roads. Small windy country highways and
small towns offer a better experience on a motorcycle. Big
freeways and big cities are full of busy grumpy people, but
little roads just meander, little towns offer, small hotels,
local restaurants, and more home town flair. The whole
reason I get on a motorcycle for vacation is to relax. My
idea of relaxing is not hammering along on a freeway all
day long only to stay in an overpriced hotel and listen to
the trucks roar by all night. A lot better plan is a bed
and breakfast in a town of 10,000 people and the chance to
listed to the cows at night. With that being said a
Motorcycle rally like Sturgis is a whole different
Toss your watch, you won't need it, pack it someplace that
is very hard to get to. The only important time to
remember is the what time work starts on the day after your
trip ends. Just kinda relax on the road and if you get
hungry stop at a roadside dinner, or find a local hamburger
malt shop. Let your body tell you when you are tired, and
need to rest. Once again, stay away from the big cities,
and stop along the way and ask for advise on local
accommodations. I have found that this works about half
the time, meaning sometimes I get a great deal on a cute
hide away, other times I get a room that I will never
forget and still laugh about to this day. We are never
afraid to stay in the little dive places, but on a couple
of occasions they were real dumps. It build character I
The the whole reason you are out on an adventure is the the
wind, the sun, the sound's, the smells, and the bugs.
Look for places on the map that are green, and roads that
are twisty and windy, like mountain roads, or the flat open
desert highways, or the scenic beauty of our many national
parks. The more varied the terrain the better the
highways will be.
What should you pack? Well this is where the more prepared
you are the better your tip will be rule comes into play.
You must master the fine art of balancing what you need,
with what you can carry, and how to get to it along the way.
If you plan to stay in hotels your packing is greatly
simplified, if you plan to camp along the way you must also
plan a tent, sleeping bags, and various other outdoor type
gear. Pack less, pack less, and pack less, than you think
you will really need, plan to buy some clothing along the
way, and leave room in you bags for these souvenirs. Sun
screen, is a must along with some sun flower seeds to
nibble on along the way, and water lots of water.
When should you plan a Motorcycle tour? Pick a warm and
dry time to go, not too hot, not too cold, and not rainy. I
know this is harder than it sounds but with a bit of luck
you won't end up in Oregon headed east toward Utah late in
the fall, following the biggest earliest rain and snow
storm to hit the west coast. If you do may end up driving
in freezing cold for five days only able average 100 to 150
miles a day. I know from experience that a trip like this
is too cold and too dangerous for my liking.
That about sums it up, have fun, relax, stay dry and
remember it's the journey, and the adventure, not the
destination that awaits you. As you can tell I have
certainly had some fun on the open road. You will too I'm
sure, you will be amazed and what you find out on the open
road, and remember Ride-Safe!