Archive for the ‘motorcycle touring’ Category

ssr 1I knew this film existed but I did not know it was part of my Amazon Prime subscription.  What is Sit Stay Ride? “The Story of America’s Sidecar Dogs is a delightful and inspiring documentary film about motorcyclists and their beloved canine co-pilots.”  To see it on Amazon Prime (if you have that) click here. (It appears to be on HULU as well but we do not subscribe to HULU so I cannot confirm.)

My wife and I were very pleasantly surprised with Sit Stay Ride.  Not only was it well shot it was well told.  It was also quite inspiring, to the point that Debbie stated “almost makes me want to go buy a sidecar!”ssr 3

Enough people must have watched the film to inspire a sequel.  Sit Stay Ride 2 appears to be in production and has a kickstarter campaign underway.

We enjoyed this film and can highly recommend that you do a search on your Amazon Prime account and watch it yourself.  Unless you hate dogs, you will not be disappointed.

4 out of 5 stars.

4 out 5 stars

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There’s nothing like setting out for open road in search of a new locale, a different straight of pavement to travel down or a destination you’ve never been to before.  What’s exciting here is the opportunity that awaits in exploring something unique and not knowing exactly where the road might take you.

When preparing for adventure road trips, it’s important to keep a note of certain things. A simple to-do list would help.  From extra layers of clothing to a supply of snacks, there are a number of things that you’re going to need along for your journey.

You obviously not like to spoil the experience because you forgot to carry your riding jacket or stuck on the way for a toolkit. Isn’t it?
Swag for every season

Because there will be nothing between you and the elements, you’ll need to be prepared for every weather condition that strikes you on the way.

Instead of heavy items that will weigh you down and take up extra space, pack synthetic fabrics like polyester or items with wicking properties that will keep you warm and dry.

You’ll want some lightweight shirts, a fleece vest or jacket, a bandana, a set of gloves, and a pair of extra pants.

It’s also important to prepare for rain and cold weather. Pack a rain suit, neck warmer, a heated jacket and extra gloves.

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Toiletries, tools & accessories

Ensure you carry some basics with you. Your ID, insurance papers and phone charger are must. A map would help, if by chance you get off the grid. You must not forget camera and a torch (ed. a Flashlight for us Americans).

Directions would still be handy even when you are fairly aware of the track. You can even install a compass on your smartphone just in case.

Carry some cash but not much. Have your credit/debit cards ready.

Not every time you would find a motel down the highway. Take your kit with essential toiletries. Toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, soap, lotion, lip balm and sunscreens, these should all be there.

You cannot ride for hours at a stretch. Your motorbike also needs a bit of rest and maintenance.

Ensure the toolkit is there with all the tools properly greased and working. An adjustable wrench, hex key, screwdriver, and an air pump can be required any time.

Helmet is the first thing that you put on before pushing the ignition button.

Although the helmet visor works well most of the time but sunglasses and night goggles are always a good idea to carry. They are almost a necessity for less predictable journeys.

Motorcycle luggage and saddlebags are other essentials.

You’re almost all bases covered stowing away these items.

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Food, medicine & extras

Items that you’re not going to use will take needless space so carefully decide on what to take and what not.  Let me give you a tip – If you decide to leave something out at the last minute, you’re more likely to need it later. So it’s worth finding some room for it.

Carry a notepad and a couple of pens to note down important events. These will also come in handy when it comes to drawing directions.

Be prepared for any illnesses. It’s not easy to locate pharmacies when out in other places. You should always carry tablets and common medicines. Nausea and headaches are common on a road trip.

When it comes to food, choose snacks that are healthy and keep you fit during the trip.

Dry organic foods can be a good option. Try and pick items that are non-greasy and spill-proof.

Keep some candies and chewing gums in your pocket. They are a great way to keep you alert. Prolonged highway riding can be monotonous. They can make you lethargic and sleepy.

It’s easy to think there will be places along the way to eat, but a few granola bars and some nuts can serve as a great option in quashing hunger.
Final items to check before you start

If you’ve got a heavy load, it’s a good idea to test it out on the road before your trip creeps up on you.

Instead of leaving it until the last minute, take a short ride with your bike packed up to determine if your luggage & racks feel right.

You may also want to give your tools a little bit of a test, especially when you have not used them in a while.

Check for air pressure, oil levels, coolant and also the brakes to avoid any malfunction on the way.

Last but not least, make sure to tightly secure and fasten your load before taking off.

So now, are we not better equipped for our next road trip? Or is there still anything missing?

Sure there would be a thing or two but what’s important is to decide whether it’s worth carrying its weight all the way.

When you’ve got the right gear and all the goods, you’ll be surprised at how limitless the road will seem.
Author Bio
Ashley is a former journalist who quit her job to pursue her wanderlust and meet new people around the globe. She always prioritize motorcycle trips. She tries to pen down her entire travelling experience and has been constant contributor to bboffroad.com.au.

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A lot of memes are just terrible, in fact, I think that the vast majority are horrible.  But, there are those select few motorcycle memes that make me smile!

I collected those motorcycle memes that I really liked though out the year, which turned out to be only 14 in total.  From those 14 memes I worked them down to the best 9.  Why 9?  Because everyone does 10 and 11 is to much work.

 

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I enjoyed Tim Notier’s motorcycle book “Maiden Voyage, The Prequel to The Adventure of a Lifetime.” This book chronicles his and his girlfriend’s (Marisa) first long motorcycle tour/adventure.  A ride that would that would change their lives.

Tim and Marisa started their motorcycle much like many of us with weekend trips around their home.  Of course the travel bug bites and they then expand their scope, this book chronicles their trip to the Rockies where things start to evolve.  By evolve I mean get married, sell everything they own and start a multi-year ride to where ever they are today!

You can tell Tim is very passionate about his story (as well as for Marisa).  His stories are quite relatable as they travel though the deferent National Parks and camp grounds.  If you put a lot of miles down while motorcycle touring you will see yourself in the rain and heat of their story.

There is only one nit to pick with this book and it is not a big one.  I think that, while I really enjoyed the book (enough to pass it on to my wife), a strong editor would only make this a tighter/better book.

I am giving the book 4 out of 5 stars.  You can follow their continuing journey (as of this date they are in Belize) at their website, www.notiersfrontiers.com.

4 out 5 stars

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Travelling the AU By Motorcycle

When I decided to tour Australia by motorcycle, most of my friends and family thought that I had lost my mind. In truth, I really wanted to enjoy some solitude and forge a stronger connection with nature. By exercising my independence and absorbing new sights and sounds, I came away from my trip feeling better as a person. While it was admittedly difficult at times, I have no regrets. The challenges were merely opportunities to learn, and I’m never one to turn down a challenge.

Preparing for My Trip

I planned to be gone for a month. I don’t have any pets, so I didn’t need to worry about them. I threw away all the perishables in my refrigerator, unplugged all the things I wouldn’t be using, and made an arrangement through Spacer to find a storage and have my valuables stored somewhere safe in my absence. I made sure I let my family know the places I was going, when I intended to be there, and how long I planned to be gone. It was easy to get a hold of them by phone, but it always helps to have someone who knows your whereabouts just for the sake of safety.

Packing Smart

Between the motorcycle and the weather, I needed to make sure I was wearing appropriate clothing. Light, breathable long sleeve shirts were the best bet. My skin was motorcycle-933022_960_720protected from both the sun and the wind. I also brought a lot of extra sunblock so I could remember to reapply it every few hours, and enough refillable water bottles so that I’d never run out before I had a chance to stop.

I also brought some campsite tools with me. I had a camping hammock, a small tent, and some basic campfire cooking tools. There are plenty of beautiful places to motorcycle camp in Australia, and it was much cheaper than relying on a hotel every night. I wanted the full experience, and I could only get that by sleeping in nature whenever possible.

Setting Up My Itinerary

I mapped a general route before I went, but I was careful not to put too many specifics on my map. There were a handful of landmarks I wanted to see, mostly beaches and natural formations. I also gave myself a rough time estimate for how long it would take me to get from point to point along that route. By not meticulously overscheduling, I was able to live in the moment. I could find campsites that seemed interesting to me, rather than limiting myself to things I chose before I even got a chance to see them.

Planning my Long Stops

I was eventually going to need to shower and wash my clothes – being on the road for a long time is no excuse to smell bad. While I brought camp hygiene products with me, nothing is a legitimate replacement for an actual shower. I found all the places along my route that I could stop at night to sleep in a real bed and get access to a shower and laundry facility. You never know when you might need one of these places, so it’s best to be aware of how many you can potentially encounter.

Although it was exhausting and trying at times, it was a worthwhile experience. I got to enjoy some time to get my head together and experience the world. If you’ve ever read Zen and the Art of Motorcycle maintenance, you’ll find that most of its sentiments ring true. It’s half hard work, and half finding yourself.

Sarah Kearns is a hard working mother of three daughters. She is a Senior Communications Manager for BizDb, an online resource with information about businesses in the UK. She loves cooking, reading history books and writing about green living.  Her dad was a motorcyclist and he passed that passion on to her. Sarah loves to travel the world on her motorcycle and she hopes that one of her daughters will become her partner in the near future.

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The best part of the 2017 motorcycle riding season is nearly over for this year.  But we did put a dent into our motorcycle bucket list! We love touring these places by motorcycle. 

During out 2017 motorcycle vacation we made it to Nigeria Falls and Mount Washington.  We also knocked out the Appalachian Waters Scenic Byway.  All three were on our bucket list. 

Because we knocked a few items off the list I added a couple more.  I added Mount Rushmore, Beartooth Pass and US Route 50 coast to coast to our motorcycle bucket list! 

What’s on your list?

LOL…. London to Glasgow, West Virginia.  The towns are about 8 miles apart!

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Location – Lock 6  

Milepost– 5.4 

Historical Comment – After the canal was closed by flood in 1924 this building was used a Civilian Conservation Corp local headquarters.

Ride to the Site – Very easy.  This point on the canal is near Washington D.C.  Traffic might be an issue during the “rush hour” phases of the work day.

Amenities – There were no restrooms or picnic tables.

Road Conditions (from main road) – This lock is directly off the main road.  But there is steep, rocky trail down to the lock area itself.  

Railway Situation – no railroad tracks or crossing.

Parking Lot Condition – All paved with about 10 parking spots.  

Main Attraction – This is one of the lock houses that can be rented for overnight stays.

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Twisting and turning through the West Virginia panhandle counties of Jefferson, Berkley and Morgan the Washington Heritage Trail is a lot of fun on a motorcycle.  Riding through an area that George Washington surveyed, fought for during the French and Indian war and represented as part of the Virginia House of Burgesses was very interesting. 

Leaving the house about 9AM we decided to stop for breakfast at McDonalds in Bunswick, MD.  The McDonalds is just off a roundabout and, as you know, traffic coming into the roundabout must yield to traffic in the circle.  Well as most of us in this part of the world knows, traffic rules do not apply to operators of Maryland automobiles.  A gray haired lady nearly took us out by not yielding the right of way.  Luckily, being aware of the fact that the rules of the road do not pertain to Maryland drivers, I was paying close attention and was able to turn tight against the inner curb allowing for a near miss. This was not our only run in with a Maryland driver that day. 

 After breakfast we headed out and, after crossing the Potomac and Shenandoah,w3 were quickly riding our motorcycle on the Washington Heritage Trail. There are a lot of places to stop and take in the history and culture of life in the West Virginia panhandle but for us this day was about riding the motorcycle.   

Riding our Daytona Blue Harley Davidson through the towns of Harpers Ferry, Shepardstown and Martinsburg was a ride through the rolling hills and country roads of the Shenandoah Valley.  Bucolic county side, cattle in the fields and sadly decaying main streets made for a visually stunning ride.  

It was in Martinsburg that our second run in with a Maryland driver occurred.  Sitting at a traffic light, the first in line, we waited for the light to turn green.  At the green I released the clutch and started through the three way intersection when the pickup truck waiting across the pavement decided that left hand turns had the right of way.  Not this was not a close as the incident at the traffic circle but having a pickup pull up short when they realize they are in the wrong is not a fun moment.  The truck was no less than half way into our lane.  The young girl at the wheel thought it was very funny and was laughing as I shoot her my strongest “dirty look”…..it must not have work. sigh 

w1 (2)Our motorcycle tour of the Washington Heritage Trail started into the Appalachian Mountains shortly after passing through Martinsburg on WV Route 9.  Steep accents and deep valley roads brought us to the little town of Berkeley Springs.  This town was once the regions greatest tourist destination due to its famous springs and “baths”.  Lots of little shops dot this downtown and you can spend an entire day just wondering around town.  But, as I mentioned earlier, we were about motorcycle touring today, hanging a left we headed out of town on Valley Road. 

It was not long before we turned east off of Valley Road and onto Big Oak Tree/Shanghai Road.  This would be a great road for motorcycle riding or touring if it were in better condition.  I am only guessing but, I would think that the elevation from Valley Road to the top of the mountain had to be over 1000 feet.  Some of the 160 degree (or more) switch backs had you gain or lose dozens of feet of elevation in a single turn.  Sadly the road is poor shape, the patching of patches on top of other patches to the tarmac make for a rough and tumble ride.  It is worth it in my opinion but take it under advisement.   

Coming down the other side of that mountain leads you into the town of Shanghai,WP_20170904_12_58_57_Pro WV.  A four way stop intersection and a blink and you have rolled past.  Climbing and deciding another mountain and we were back into the Shenandoah and heading towards the 136 mile marker and the end of the Washington Heritage Trail. 

 All in all, our motorcycle tour of the Washington Heritage Trail took about 3 hours.  If one were to stop and enjoy the towns, parks and points of interests this ride could take all day, there is that much stuff to check out.   

The Washington Heritage Trail is just one of the many roads comprising the amazing American Byways. If you have not checked out the website please do, you just might find an amazing road in your area.

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Debbie and I decided to take a quick Sunday morning motorcycle ride this past weekend.  Our ride took us to three national parks in about 5 hours!

Leaving home about 8AM we headed out to the George Washington Parkway (a national park). It took us about an hour to get to the southern terminus which is also Mount Vernon home of George Washington. Riding north on the parkway gives the rider a wonderful, at times panoramic, views of the Potomac River and surrounding country.

Coming abreast of Washington D.C. the view is remains panoramic as well as breath taking. The Washington and Lincoln Monuments clearly in view, the Kennedy Center and the spires of Georgetown make the few minutes you ride past the city quite awe inspiring.  Just past those sites you come across Theodore Roosevelt Island.  This is an often a much under looked memorial to a great president.  Take the time to walk across to the island and view this memorial. We did not stop this time…the parking lot was full, otherwise it would have been 4 national parks in 5 ½ hours.

The second park of this motorcycle ride was the C&O Canal National Park.  If you follow this blog you will see that I am attempting to get to all the motorcycle accessible stops along the canal.  I have knocked out a few but there is a lot of stops remaining.

Lastly we stopped in and took a look at Glen Echo National Park.  Just a short distance from the Clara Barton Parkway (named after the founder of the American Red Cross) this National Park started life in 1891 as a school and in 1911 transformed in to the premier amusement park of the great D.C area.  In 1971, shortly after the amusement park closed the Park Service took over and it is now a national park!  The park is an easy motorcycle ride coming out of or into Washington D.C.

Leaving Glen Echo we returned to the Clara Barton Parkway and headed west towards home.  All in all…a great day for a motorcycle ride!