Tips and Tricks

Most of these apply to traveling long distances on an motorcycle, however, some of them can also apply to regular travel.  Some are serious and some are more humorous, but all have come out of actual experience, funny or not.

  1. GIVE YOURSELF AN EXTRA DAY (at least) – It is best to plan on arriving at your destination a day before you actually HAVE to be there.  Things come up (like weather, breakdowns, and kids needing your help..etc) that can alter your course and you don’t want to have to make several long day runs in a row. It is not safe or good on the body (or mind).  You may even find a place that you would like to explore more instead of just spending one night and leaving in the morning.
  2. DON’T FORGET SUNSCREEN!!  Even if it is overcast outside or cold, the sun can still get you, and riding with a sunburn is no fun.
  3. TIME CHANGES – If you are traveling across time zones, remember that you will lose or gain an hour. Gaining an hour isn’t so bad, but if you lose an hour and aren’t expecting it, it can really mess things up (see tip 4)
  4. THINGS CAN CLOSE EARLY – Remember that in small towns, businesses shut down early, even convenient stores and restaurants.  They usually close between 8 and 9pm, so plan ahead.  If you know you won’t get to your destination before 8, you might want to stop somewhere and eat, or you may end up having a vending machine dinner. (oh, and not all hotels have a food vending machine)
  5. BE FLEXIBLE – You can’t make hotel room reservations too far in advance because you never know what will happen and how you will feel.  You do however need to check along your route several potential stopping places and check out how many hotels are available and how many rooms are available so that you don’t  get stuck with no place to stay at all.
  6. ALWAYS CARRY A PAPER MAP – I love my GPS, but it is important to always carry a paper map.  You never know when your GPS won’t work (we all know that how reliable GPS systems are).  You also should verify the route on a paper map.  You never know what you might miss by seeing it on paper.  I suggest the HOG member map book.  It has a ton of information on it, including highlighted routes that are considered scenic for motorcycle rides.  Plus, there is something really cool about following a real map.