The Road Trip Planning Guide is a practical guide for planning a motorcycle road trip.
Using a road route planner or following the sun,
Packing for a road trip or stuffing some socks and undies in a bag,
Planning for cheap road trips or riding in style,
Motorcycle camping , or staying in hotels
All of these are choices you must make, and need serious consideration in your guide.
Our Road Trips involve the use of a Road Route Planner, and not following the sun.
Sure, we like to hop on the bike and just go, but those are the day trips.
Over-nighters require some thought and preparation, or you will suffer.
A perfect example was our motorcycle road trip to Nova Scotia.
We found ourselves 50 miles from the nearest hotel, in up-state Vermont, in the middle of the night.
And, unless you are un-employed and/or independently wealthy, you have a time-schedule to keep.
We have to eventually, go back to work, and therefore must adhere to some sort of schedule.
Plus, you want to find the best motorcycle roads.
Maybe you’ll have time to ride one or two of the Top 100 Motorcycle Roads.
Road Trip Planning Guide -Tip #1 Plan your route:
Determine how far you plan on riding every day (we plan for 400-500 miles a day).
If you like to Iron-butt and ride at night, you can easily double or triple our miles.
If you don't have a motorcycle GPS, get on Google Maps, or a similar site, and enter your start and end points. They will tell you your total miles.
From your total miles, divide by your planned daily miles, ex: 2,000 total miles divided by 500 miles a day equals 4 days. Round trip would be 8 days.
Next, your Road Trip Planning Guide should help you decide on your best motorcycle roads and stopping points.
We chose to use a lot of highways (as much as we hate to) on the way to Nova Scotia, so we would have more time to ride the great motorcycle roads once we got there.
Now you can add time to your plans, and fill in the extra days.
Are you planning on visiting a friend along the way? Is there something you want to see en route?
Let’s say you have a 2 week vacation, 14 days. You already know that straight-line riding will get you there and back in 8 days.
Now you can alter your plans, spreading things out for another 6 days.
The nice thing about Google maps is you can click and drag your high-lighted route onto different roads.
We find it best to just play with each day, in a relaxing, meandering route towards our eventual goal.
Things to consider are ending the day at motorcycle camping grounds, or bigger cities for a choice in hotels.
It’s best not to reserve hotel rooms too far out. This will keep you flexible in your travels.
It won’t take too much tweaking to turn 8 days into 14.
Road Trip Planning Guide – Tip #2 Pack Light
I had many life lessons while serving in the U.S. Army, one of which was how to pack.
We would go “camping” for 30-90 day stints, and you quickly learn how to pack, and what to pack.
Too little gear, and you’re going to freeze, or get soaked…..too much gear, and you’ll be bogged down with added weight that you have to lug around.
Of course, this is twice as important if you plan on riding with a motorcycle passenger.
Rolling your clothes, rather than folding flat is one good tip.
Plastic, sealable, bags is another good tip. Dust, bugs and water always find a way in.
I recommend 2 jeans, for 2-3 days each. Then hit a laundry-mat.
Motorcycle Rain Gear is a must. Don’t get caught without it.
A good quality leather biker jacket serves many purposes. It keeps you warm, it saves you from road-rash, it has many pockets to hold your important doo-dads (cell phone, keys, cigs, chap-stick, etc.), and it makes a great pillow.
Motorcycle chaps, Motorcycle Boots, and motorcycle gloves are strongly recommended.
Whether you wear one or not, a motorcycle helmet is required.
Your state may not demand that you wear a helmet, but odds are at least one state you’re riding through will demand it.
Camping Gear for those who plan cheap road trips, or just enjoy camping.
This is an area that can really bog you down. A small tent and a fart-sack, or bed roll is all you need.
If you plan on cooking, do it with little to no utensils. Aluminum foil is a good substitute for a cast iron skillet.
And it stands to reason that any groceries should be purchased on the day of cooking, not carried with you.
Remember the Road Trip Planning Guide Tip #2….Pack light.
The more you start loading up with coffee pots, spatulas and potatoes… the harder it’s gonna be to hold up your bike.
Road Trip Planning Guide – Tip #3 Don’t forget your toothbrush
I know, it sounds silly, but the bare essentials are easily forgotten.
If you plan on staying in hotels, many bathroom items are supplied for you. I don’t know about you, but I like my own toothbrush.
But there are many campsites that cater to anybody.
Bikers will do just fine at these locations too.
Ohio State Park Campsites lists all of the state parks, as well as the rates for camping. Usually $20.00-$30.00 per night.
Each state should have similar websites, and this should be part of your Road Trip Planning Guide when you plan your route.
There are plenty of spots that you can just pull off and pitch a tent.
You should avoid private property, at the risk of being shot, and just be respectful of the property.
Putting out fires and picking up your trash will go a long ways with respect towards bikers.
Part of your Road Trip Planning Guide should be dedicated to taking care of your bike.
Road Trip Planning Guide –Tip#4 Pack some toolsNo matter if your motorcycle is brand new or 50 years old, preventive maintenance and preparing for a breakdown are a smart man’s game.
A multi-purpose knife, pliers, adjustable wrench, torx and/or Phillips, and flat-head screw drivers, some duct tape and electrical tape, and maybe a tire patch kit should be all you need.
I packed these tools in an old sock at the bottom of a saddlebag.
A few tools can go a long ways. And they’re not just needed for the bike.
You might have a stuck zipper that requires pliers, or knotted string that’s in need of a knife.
But you might also pack your HOG membership card, or AAA for towing too.
Road Trip Planning Guide – Tip#5 Prepare your motorcycle
Take a quick refresher by reading Motorcycle Safety Tips.
There is a section on checking the mechanical condition of your bike before riding.
- Tire pressure and tread wear are important. Don’t leave home without enough tread to get you there and back (unless you plan on spending a day getting a tire changed on your motorcycle road trip).
- The same goes for your brakes. Make sure there’s plenty of brake pad, and they are in good working condition.
- Get your oil changed before you leave, and depending on the length of the trip, when you get back. If your primary is close, get it done before-hand as well.
- Check your belt, battery, lights, horn, gauges, etc. Make sure they’re all in good working order and will get you through the entire trip.
- Give your bike a good cleaning. This will put your hands and eyes on every nook and cranny, to inspect for broken welds, missing bolts, or other damages.
There’s nothing worse than getting out on the road and having to deal with little issues, that could’ve been resolved at home.
Nobody wants to spend a day of their vacation hanging around a motorcycle shop waiting for repairs…..or worse yet, in the middle of nowhere waiting for help.
It wouldn’t hurt just to remind yourself of other important motorcycle safety tips as well.
Road Trip Planning Guide- Tip#6 Make a checklist
If you’re anything like me, you need a checklist to remember everything.
Here is a good start. Add your own items to the list:
- Wallet, with license, insurance, registration, cash and/or credit card.
- Motorcycle GPS, Map, printed itinerary from Google maps with your road route planner.
- Cell phone, and MP3 or Satellite radio, camera..if you use any of these items.
- Clothes, including a second pair of shoes or boots. I pack a pair of tennis shoes for hiking…and they take up less room than boots.
- Motorcycle camping gear.
Your Road Trip Planning Guide will make your motorcycle road trip a whole lot easier.
Remember the 6 P’s to life…..
Prior Planning Prevents Piss-Poor Performance
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