Posts Tagged ‘motorcycle touring’

Currently on Amazon Prime, we get to follow Guinness Motorcycle Endurance World Record hold Kevin Sanders lead a group of ordinary riders on a 21,000 Kilometer (13,000 miles) trip from London to Beijing.

Divided into six thirty minute “shows” we follow this group from their initial meet and skills evaluation all the way to Beijing.  Yes, this is reality TV but it is a real group of riders from the UK, US and Poland with a broad range of adventure motorcycle skills.

Generally following the Silk Road, they are impacted by snow, ice, altitude sickness and political upheaval during there run though 20+ countries. The cinemaphotography is spectacular through out and more so as they pass though the Mount Everest Base Camp.  

Once on the road, nothing seemed contrived as you would expect of many reality TV shows. While the show focused on those riders with large personalities it is not unexpected, you could tell that these were real people, including the one motorcycle abusing twit that broke his bike.

I give this motorcycle TV show a 5 out of 5 because it isenjoyable, I binge watched the whole thing. Also, it is quite likely that this will be on my top shows to watch thiswinter.  Oh, it was producedby Cambridge Filmworks.

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We rode motorcycle across the Highland Scenic Highway as part of our long get away weekend.  I left this and another road off those posts as they deserve their own discussion.  In a nutshell, if you are anywhere near this road you owe it to yourself to enjoy this ride.

Ijustwant2ride.comIt is not a technical, twisty motorcycle road but fun in its own way.  It is more like the Blue Ridge Parkway or Skyline Drive, 43 miles of ridge top riding with spectacular views and vistas.  Just a sit back, relax and enjoy kind of road.

The Highland Scenic Highway runs from Richwood WV to US Route 219, or vice versa.  The highway is also an “American Byway” that rolls through Monongahela National Forest. We were a week or two early for the peek fall foliage displays but if you time it right it is going to be a wow moment with all the hardwood forests on leafy display.  There are 4 overlooks to stop and view undeveloped wilderness, not all had open facilities, but each had paved parking and picnic areas.

As for the road itself, it was well maintained with mostly rolling ridge top riding.  Toward the IMG_20181005_145617771_HDRnorthern end there was a long, steep incline, parts of which are 9% or (seems) greater!  With over two thousand feet of elevation change, I had the motorcycle in 3rd gear and used engine braking for what felt like miles of decent.  Had the day not been getting late and the shadows long, I would have turned around and rode the Highland Scenic Highway again.

Make sure your tank is topped off before riding, while it is relatively short there are no fuel or snacks along the route.  This road would make for a nice picnic ride, pack your lunch in, stop at an overlook or trail head (there are a lot of hiking trails) for a fun afternoon.

This Scenic Highway is not as easy to get to as most others, it really is in the middle of nowhere.  However, the roads you need to take to get to this byway are just as fun as any we have rode.  If this area and the Highland Scenic Highway are not on your motorcycling bucket list, you need to add them right now! 

 

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 Click here for part 1. 

After stopping for a break and lunch at the Cass Scenic Railroad State Park we were back on the motorcycle.  An hour or so later we make it to the southern terminus of the Highland Scenic Highway. 

About 43 miles later we came out on the other end of the highway near the Snowshoe Resort Area. I am going to do a separate post on the Highland Scenic Highway.

 

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The view from the top of Snowshoe Mountain.

In the mid-Atlantic area of the US Snowshoe is one of the premier snow skiing areas, and in the summer is renowned for mountain biking. For us, today, it was the end of a day of riding and touring on the motorcycle.  We rolled up to the Snowshoe Inn, got a great meal at a nearby restaurant and turned in early. 

The folks at Snowshoe Inn were very motorcycle friendly. The allowed us and three others to park our bikes under their covered entrance, somewhat out of the elements.  

ijustwant2rideThe next morning, we awoke to dense fog in the valleys that climbed quite away up the mountain sides.  We rode at a slower pace due to visibility issues and not wanting to run into any deer, literately.   

The ride out of the Snowshoe area could have been great fun.  If we could have seen more then a couple dozen yards ahead!  Oh well, maybe next time. 

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There were a LOT of hairpin turns!

 

By the time the fog had burned off we were back at Yokum’s Store in Seneca Rocks.  A sausage, egg and cheese sandwich with a Dr. Pepper hit the spot and now both the motorcycle and its passengers were full and ready to roll. 

Roll we did, through the rolling hills of the Greenbrier and Canaan Valleys, up and over a couple ridges we were soon at the last stop of our long weekend, Blackwater Falls State Park outside Davis, WV. ijustwant2ride

Blackwater Falls gets it name from the color of the water that flows over the waterfall.  A very dark brown to black flow, picked up from the rocks over which it flows.  400 steps round trip for some wonderful pictures and a good time with the wife. 

The last major road we traveled was Corridor H (US Route 48) or as many call it, the “Road to No Where”.  It starts north of Davis, WV and ends near the VA boarder running for about 100 miles.  I am going to do a separate post on this road as it is a real beauty.  

Our weekend covered 3 days and 610 miles of awesome Twisty, Technical, Tight, Scenic roads.

 

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Location – Ferry Hill Plantation

Mile Mark – 72 (as it is not on the tow path it does not seem to have an actual mile marker)

Historical Comment – A 19th Century Plantation Ferry Hill overlooks the C&O Canal and the Potomac River. Prior to the civil war the slaves of this plantation were some of those that John Brown hoped to inspire to revolt when he attacked the Harpers Ferry Arsenal. This was the home of an officer in Stonewall Jackson’s army and was used during the Civil war by both sides to secure the river. The plantation is only a short distance from Antietam, the bloodiest battle in American History. Currently operating as a Visitor’s Center and as a Headquarters for the C&O Canal National Park Service.

Ride to the Site – Very easy. Directly of the main road.

Amenities – Restrooms and picnic area.

Road Conditions (from main road) – Paved

Railway Situation – no railroad tracks or crossing.

Parking Lot Condition – Mix of paved and gravel with about 20 parking spots.

Main Attraction – The visitor’s center and the view of the river, and Shepherdstown, WV.

My Thoughts – Interesting stop when you put it into historical context. Hundreds of slaves were used to farm the 700+ acre farm, who were targets of John Browns raid and the Civil War.

 

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Location – Dam #5

Mile Mark – 106.6

Historical Comment – Originally constructed of timber in 1835, Dam No. 5 was an important source of hydro power for millworks on the river. As soon as the dam was built, Edward Colston paid $100 a year for water rights and began the area’s long history of milling and hydro-electricity.

Unfortunately, the dam’s timber construction was no match for the many floods that swelled the Potomac River. The canal company decided a masonry dam would be stronger, but completion of the new 700-foot “high rock” dam was delayed by more floods and the Civil War. In fact, the dam was a target for destruction on several occasions but was successfully defended by local Union militia each time. [Taken from the C&O Trust website.]

Ride to the Site – Very easy. Not far off of I-70 access to Dam #5 is an easy ride.

Amenities – There is a picnic area but no rest rooms.

Road Conditions (from main road) – This lock is directly off the main road.

Railway Situation – no railroad tracks or crossing.

Parking Lot Condition – Gravel with about 10 parking spots. Pick your spot as a few have a drainage slope.

Main Attraction – The Dam, fishing and the view.

My Thoughts – As you exit the road you go down a shot but somewhat steep hill (gravel).

Whether your next cross-country ride is a laid-back road trip or a high-stakes poker run, you will definitely need to find accommodations along the way. Bikers, however, haveijustwant2ride specific needs that some regular establishments just don’t have. Knowing this, you need to plan your itinerary in advance so that you can find the best biker friendly accommodation for your next motorcycle travel.

Here are five resources that you can use to find the best biker-friendly establishments and lodging en route to your destination.

Trip review websites

There are websites that list hotels, inns, and bed and breakfast places. TripAdvisor, Agoda, and Gumtree are good examples of these. There are establishments on these sites that proudly advertise that they are ‘biker-friendly.’ And the best thing about these websites is that you get to read reviews from fellow bikers who have used the accommodations before. With these sites, you already get an idea of what to expect from each place before actually booking.

Mobile apps

Aside from TripAdivsor and Agoda (which also have mobile apps), there are also mobile apps that allow you to check accommodation reviews, reserve a room, and pay for your stay. AirBnb is an example of an excellent app that lets you do this. And like the aforementioned websites, there are lots of listed establishments that are proud to be ‘biker-friendly – with testimonials from previous motorcyclists as proof. The best part – you can do all of these through your smart phone.

The ever-reliable Google search

A Google search can also give you listings of biker-friendly places that can be found along your trip. Of course, when you use Google search, the keywords that you use matter. Try doing a search using the “biker friendly accommodations” and add the place where you’re headed to the keywords. You’ll be surprised that there are quite a number of biker-friendly establishments en route to your destination (and around your country too).

Blogs by other bikers

Of course, what other best way to find the best biker-friendly accommodations out there than to get advice from someone with first-hand experience. There are fellow bikers who write blogs on their adventures around the country. Aside from learning a thing or two from them about riding, you can also keep track of recommended routes and their favorite places to stay. To add, there are also specific blogs that specifically discuss biker-friendly accommodations. BikersAreWelcome and Beds4Bikers are good examples of blogs listing establishments that are biker-friendly.

Ask the hosts

Compared to most travelers, bikers have needs that are quite specific – and this is mostly

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Sometimes they will let you park undercover.

attributed to the motorcycle and the gear. You can directly ask the hosts either through phone or email (or chat) if they have the facilities bikers require.

One of the most important – if not the most important – thing to ask is if the place has overnight motorcycle parking. Ideally, an establishment should have covered parking that will protect your bike from the elements. If there’s none, a private parking area would also do – as long as you’re not parked on the main road. You can also ask if they offer bike covers and tarpaulins.

Another must-have are laundry facilities. If you’re on a week-long cross-country road trip with only panniers for luggage containers, then you definitely need a wash of clothes. You also need access to at least a bucket, some water, and motorcycle cleaning detergent to clean your bike. If you’re lucky, some places even have pressure cleaners.

Some Final Thoughts

Planning is always the key to a successful and safe motorcycle trip. And with a week’s-long road trip ahead, it’s always best to check what biker-friendly accommodations are available to you during the trip.  Always remember to do your research (and in this case – use technology), so you can find – not only the best deals – but also the best biker-friendly establishments around.  

Sarah Kearns is a hard working mother of three daughters. She is a Senior Communications Manager for BizDb and Populationof an online resources with information about businesses and demographic statistics of world population. 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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Long motorcycle trips can be very rewarding, with a lot of fun along the way. Whether you are travelling solo or with a companion, there are lots of ways to entertain yourself during those points where the scenery is not so thrilling. For those night stops, you can use these tips too.

  1. Listen to music

There’s nothing like the right soundtrack to make the road feel even more epic. Take care about playlist choice and volume – you can’t skip a track when you’re riding, and you don’t want to block out important noises which could warn you of hazards.

  1. Play counting games

If you start to get bored, you can initiate a counting game. If you’re travelling with someone else, you can make it competitive, but it works alone too. Pick something and count it – like the number of roadside pubs you pass, or so forth. You can also count decorations on houses that you pass around Christmas or Halloween.

  1. Watching films or TV

When you’re at your stop for the night, you can fill in some time by watching TV shows or films on your smart phone or tablet. If you need to download them, make sure to use a VPN connection for safety. You can also download them before you set off so you’re ready to watch.

  1. Listen to a book

A bit like listening to music, only more intellectual. You can load up an audio book on your phone and pop your headphones in to listen to a story which will accompany your journey. A lot of audio books tend to be many hours long, so this will work well.

  1. Film yourself

If you set up a GoPro camera and a microphone in your helmet, you can actually record a travel video while you ride. This is something you can edit down later and use to showcase your journey. You could even start a vlog for this purpose.

  1. Sing to yourself

If you don’t want to fill your helmet with music, how about providing your own? You can sing out loud on a long journey, especially if you’re on a long highway without much variation. It will keep you awake as you try to remember lyrics, too.

  1. Wave at people

If you’re travelling through populated areas, try waving randomly at passers-by. Especially if you spot kids, this is a lot of fun as they get excited! Only do this if it is safe, such as when you are stopped at a light. If you’re riding a long motorway or highway, you might not get a chance.

  1. Write a novel

You won’t be able to write it down, but why not make up your own fantasy world in your head? Make up a story with characters and decide what happens to them. This can be a lot of fun to stretch your creative imagination while you’re trying to find something to grab your attention.

  1. Think about life

Finally, why not use the long journey to think about life in general? You can do some real soul-searching and think about what you want out of life, and how you can get there. This is a time to answer the really big questions. By the time you reach your destination, you might have made an important decision about the rest of your life.

There can be dull moments even on the most exciting motorcycle road trips, and you can find yourself getting sleepy or bored because of the monotony. These techniques will help prevent that from now on.

Sarah Kearns is a hard working mother of three daughters. She is a Senior Communications Manager for BizDb, BizDb.co.nz and Datastical, an online resources with information about businesses. 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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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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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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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.