11.) Train like a boxer:
Spend some time in the weeks up to your vacation taking longer day trips and weekend trips.
10.) Stay stocked:
Always keep your cooler packed with food, water, ice, and beverages. Always.
9.) Share your plans with your mechanic:
Explain to your shop just where you are going (i.e. time of year, terrain, luggage, etc). This will help to ensure you push off in tip top mechanical shape. Talk about tires, shocks, and the general wear-and-tear of running with a full load. Most definitely discuss seat comfort. Not upgrading can shorten a trip
8.) Pack smart:
Saddle bags, tour packs, and luggage rack versus a tow behind. We've done it both ways. Hint: For those that have been on a couple of extended trips and plan for many more, then a quality pull behind trailer is well worth the convenience when stopping for the night. If you don't have many extended trips under belt, it might be wise to pack every square inch of your bags and install a luggage rack on your tour pack. Bungee cords and a waterproof camping bag will do wonders for extra room (I used Outdoor Products 40L dry bag with roll up top and loved it).
7.) Make the nights right:
Figure out what type of nightly accommodations you want to experience. One of our trips was strictly a Motorcycle/B&B vacation and it was a blast. Most B&Bs are more than welcoming to today's cycle vacationers (plus you roll outta the drive with a full belly, providing an extra hour of daylight for you). Otherwise, if campgrounds are your goal, most will welcome you with open arms.
6.) Base camp or free range?:
Have the discussion on whether you want to get to a set area and use your accommodations as a base camp or whether you want to travel out to an end point (stopping along the way) and take a few days to meander back. Both are good approaches to a successful motorcycle trip.
5.) Pack, Re-Pack, Test Pack, Repeat:
Start with the essentials-- quart of oil, gas additive, and basic tool kit. Now add small cleaning supplies, windshield bug deterrent, etc. (Think leak proof for any & all liquids, cuz we've all been there). Now add in gear and luggage. Looked easy on paper, we know. That's why it's better to pack, re-pack, test pack, and repeat.
4.) Remember-- when you stop, the world is still turning:
What I mean by this ,is watch out for the effects of taking a day or so break in the middle of your trip, as your body may have trouble catching up afterward.
3.) Respect mother nature:
Learn to work around the weather reports. Be able to adjust your route for a day or two based on weather. If heat is the issue, plan on extra early starts with extended midday breaks. Don't forget-- if the heat is an issue for you, it could also be an issue for your machine.
2.) Start early and pace yourself:
Try to stay in the habit of early starts. This will help overcome weather issues and fatigue. Additionally, figure that each stop to gas up and/or eating takes one hour out of your day.
1.) Don't over-plan your route or destinations:
It's all about the ride, so don't lose sight of that. My best trip was fourteen days that included just one reservation four days out. We knew we had to be in New Orleans four days after we pulled out of the driveway.
Our loosely laid plans allowed the freedom to travel as we saw fit, with very little pressure and a whole lot of pleasure.
*Image courtesy Flickr Creative Commons.