Taking to the open road and letting it all go, there is no better feeling in the world. If you are looking for an exciting and different way to take your next vacation, why not learn of the glory of traveling by motorcycle. When most people think about hitting the road on the back of a motorcycle, images of lone wolf soul living a nomadic life with no attachments come to mind, or they imagine the free-spirited modern-day cowboy heading from one adventure to another. The truth is that motorcycle touring is a great way to get out there and see the sights, take the path less traveled, and experience life on your own terms, even if just for a week or so.
Traveling by motorcycle gives you the chance to make your own itinerary, set your own pace, and be apart of things in a way that no other form of travel or touring can provide. With a motorcycle, you can go anywhere, do anything, and really get a feel for the world around you. It has long been said that four wheels move the body, but two wheels move the soul and no other statement has ever been truer. If you are wanting to try out a motorcycle vacation, here are a few ideas and some tips to keep in mind.
1) Take a camping trip through the high desert or the Sierra Mountains on a motorcycle.
2) Tour Northern California and the Pacific Northwest up to Vancouver, BC
3) Travel through Amish country on a motorcycle
4) Head from Boston to Maine via motorcycle and stop at some of the most popular seafood places along the way
5) Tour the California Wine country via motorcycle
6) Head across Texas on a motorcycle and see some of the most beautiful places and historic locations in the country
7) Take a trip down the iconic and historic route 66
8) Circle the gulf coast from Sam Padre Island, TX to Tampa Bay, FL
Here are a few tips for traveling by motorcycle that will help make your trip easier and more enjoyable:
1) Pick the right bike. While you may think it’s exciting to head out on a crotch rocket or live the legend on the back of a chopper, your best bet is to take a bike that is designed for touring such as a Honda Gold Wing or a Harley Davidson Rushmore. These bikes provide more comfort, better ride, better handling, and more cargo capabilities than other machines.
2) Pack only what is needed. The more items that you bring, the more weight that you will have to worry about controlling on the bike, and of course the more hassle you will have to deal with in terms of packing an unpacking.
3) Bring a motorcycle travel trailer along. This will allows you to easily take your luggage and other items without having to worry about how the weight shifting will affect your riding or how wearing a luggage pack will affect your enjoyment and comfort during the trip. There are three types to choose from.
a. Cargo trailers are great for taking a cooler, your luggage, and other items but they do not provide much space and are basically great for short hops where you will be staying in a motel, hotel, or cabin at a campground.
b. Airstream style teardrop trailers are great for one or two people to camp out in the woods or at a campground or national park. They provide enough space for sleeping and when you are on the road can take carry your cargo.
c. Pop up trailers are full-size cabana style tent campers. They provide all of the comforts of home and allow you to really enjoy your stay at campgrounds, naturist resorts, commune, or even in the woods or at a national park. They can be more expensive though and they do add a lot of weight to the bike so get comfortable pulling it before you head out as your ride will be different with the trailer behind you.
4) Make sure you have roadside assistance that covers motorcycles
5) Be prepared for weather changes as you travel
6) Understand that you will need to take more frequent rest stops for comfort and fuel (even though fuel economy is better on a motorcycle, remember that the tanks are much smaller)
7) Be sure that you are comfortable with riding a distance and have experience before trying to head out across the country. Start out with short trips of a hundred miles or so round trip. Also, start out by only riding a good distance by yourself and then add a passenger for moderate rides to help you adjust to the feel of another person behind you for a long time. Believe it or not, it is a big difference between short trip riding with a passenger and long over the road trips with a passenger.
8) Invest in a good helmet communications system for you and your passenger or fellow rider. There is nothing worse than having to try to talk over the sound of engines and wind while in motion. These systems often also allow you to pipe your music in from your phone or media player.
9) Dress for a long ride at every layer. While you may already know the old adage “dress for the slide”, and that is very sage advice, you should also make sure that you are dressing for the ride when you are going long haul. Make sure underwear is either moisture wicking or 100% cotton and well fitted. Wear good absorbent and well-cushioned socks that breathe, and wear high-quality footwear that supports and protects. Make sure that your legs are covered as well as wearing breathable fabrics on your torso and arms. Wear gloves as well but make sure that they are designed for the weather conditions you will be riding in.
10) Be prepared for being hassled at times while traveling. Many law enforcement officers like to get their jollies by picking on motorcyclists, especially if they see out of state plates. Have all of your paperwork and ID’s in proper order and make sure your insurance is up to date before heading out so you can be prepared for this better and can more quickly and easily get back on your way and back to enjoying your vacation.
With these tips and the above motorcycle vacation ideas, you are all set to head out for your motorcycle vacation. Once you see for yourself the glory of traveling by motorcycle you will be a lifelong convert. There really is no better way to see the sights and experience the joy of traveling than to do it from the back of a motorcycle.