Balancing road trips

Discussion in 'The Perfect Line and Other Riding Myths' started by CafeRacer99, Aug 14, 2013.

  1. CafeRacer99

    CafeRacer99 Been here awhile

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    This is what I need to do, just to see if I enjoy it. That will tell me a lot I think.
    #21
  2. eatpasta

    eatpasta Lawnmower Target

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    is that approval? or disapproval?

    :scratch
    #22
  3. eatpasta

    eatpasta Lawnmower Target

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    The reason that I never plan in advance is very simple; there's simply no way to know and/or prepare for everything. You can plan as detailed a route as you want but there is always going to be setbacks, unplanned this or that and then you're constantly chasing where you're supposed to be. This is probably also why I never ride in groups.....
    Why frustrate yourself for no reason? Bring a tent, some water and food, proper gear and allow the trip to take you. Any traveler will tell you that; you dont take a trip, a trip takes you
    #23
  4. eatpasta

    eatpasta Lawnmower Target

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    amen brother. There's nothing like a solo trip and just pointing your front wheel and going.
    #24
  5. RTLover

    RTLover Long timer

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    I pick a destination first and then look at maps for alternate routes to that destination. I normally don't fix waypoints because they get in the way of stops, possibilities for detours, exploring on foot, finding a nice place to stay even if it's mid-day, etc. Distance covered is of no particular interest unless I MUST get from A to B in a certain time frame.

    I tried riding with others but found that I had to make too many consessions.

    BTW, being retired really helps. :wink:
    #25
  6. mrbreeze

    mrbreeze Long timer

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    Can I go? Just kidding!!!!:D

    I am "planning", and I use that term very loosely, to take a trip the week of Labor Day. At first I invited my Uncle, but he never responded, so I just dropped it. I have asked my wife to try to get the time off from work so she can go too (she has her own bike). I have NOT told any of my usual riding buddies about it.

    I am not sure where we will go. Mrs. B wants to go to Florida. I would rather be beaten with a stick than to go to Florida. I want to go to Colorado. She did say she would like to go to Maine sometime, so we may end up there. Maine and Colorado are both about the same distance, two long hard days. I am thinking of throwing the bikes on the trailer and towing them, then set up a "base camp" for a couple of nights, or maybe the whole time, and just do day rides from there. If hte weather is bad, we can use the truck if we need to go some where. I am not sure if we will tent camp, or rent a cabin.

    There is still the possibility that she will not be able to get the time off, in which case I may just strap a small tent and sleeping bag on the bike and go by myself.
    #26
  7. Ceri JC

    Ceri JC UK GSer

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    Trick to really cover the ground is to turn the motorway drudgery into something interesting/exciting in itself. This means either really pushing the speed for a day's riding (sit at 100mph for 9 hours and only stop for fuel, nothing else), or better, doing a very long day in one hit to get the lion's share out of the way.

    The alternative (which I generally prefer) is to take twice as long and go via the backroads and really explore. If you have a road-based sat nav that you can set to "avoid motorways" and "shortest route", you can find some really neat places, yet still ultimately be travelling towards your destination.
    #27
  8. Rango

    Rango Phaneropter

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    To gather experience and memories is my goal.
    Therefore I need no more than a destination.
    My gps gives me heading and distance; a general map an understanding of the terrain.
    It is probably more wandering than traveling.
    What gives me pleasure is finding the route, next the experiences, encounters, discoveries along that route.

    I will miss opportunities and sites that would have interested me.
    I will surely loose time while backtracking because the road is blocked.
    That will affect morale temporarily, but never outweigh the good stuff.
    In the end the question is, did you reach your goal? :wink:

    :1drink
    #28
  9. NJ-Brett

    NJ-Brett Brett

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    I was thinking, a dual sport ride is much different from the long street rides I used to do.

    Bad things can happen dirt riding out west without plans and a gps I suppose.
    #29
  10. Dave in Wi

    Dave in Wi Long timer

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    I used to think that way too, but as I've gotten older (more mature? Softer? Less hardcore about riding?) my philosophy on this has changed. If you've got a lot of ground to cover to get to an area you want to ride , why not trailer there? There's nothing wrong with that.

    I've done 2 trips like this in the last few years. One was with my dad who really wanted to ride the Dragon, but as he's in his late 70s and not completely healthy, there was no way he was going to ride there. I rented a trailer and we spent 3 days riding the area. Another time my family and I were invited to a wedding in Manitou Springs CO. So I trailered my bike out. I really enjoyed driving across Nebraska, talking with the wife & kids, listening to music, and precisely adjusting the a/c along the way. Would have been a boring ride there. Once we got there I was fresh and really felt like riding, and had a great time.

    So depending g on the kind of trip you have in mind, I wouldn't dismiss this entirely.
    #30
  11. Jim Moore

    Jim Moore Long timer

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    Two thoughts. First, as you know living out West, there are huge expanses of nothing. There ar times when it makes sense to go 500 miles in a day to get through the nothing and get to something cool. Second, on a related note, that's the time to use the slab. If there's nothing to see don't waste time on two lane roads. Get on the slab and get to the cool stuff.
    #31
  12. CafeRacer99

    CafeRacer99 Been here awhile

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    I think you're right. I don't know why I have this mental issue with trailering. I suppose that's a whole thread of it's own.

    After reading everyone's thoughts I believe I need to adjust my thinking about these trips. Looking forward to the next year and the trips I've been thinking about doing, I need to get out of the "one-size fits all" mode.

    Any trip I take, I've got a 110 miles of desert to get through before I hit anything interesting. Unless I loop around Lake Mead and the Grand Canyon, that is. Which I suppose, is not that crazy of an idea...

    So I think I'm going to be using the truck to get to better places to ride during the hot summer months, and when my destination is a long way away. And when the weather is better, I'll try to slow down and enjoy the ride more, take more stops and plan less distance each day. Sort of scale down my trips to try to enjoy the ride more.

    Mainly I need to get over the "GOGOGOGOGO" mentality. The one that whispers in my head "I can't pull over now because I just passed all those cars and I'll just have to pass them again if I stop." That voice is sucking the fun out of these trips.
    #32
  13. SilkMoneyLove

    SilkMoneyLove Long timer

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    This is my first time "winging it" on a trip. This trip I am going solo so I do not have to compromise with anyone about mileage, when to stop and what to see. I have a start point and a destination 10 days later. The only hotel I have booked is the one the night before I fly back home.

    In the middle, if I am hot, I can walk to the river and dip my feet (or whatever). If I am freezing, I can bundle up and ride until I find a warm place for the night. I'm bringing my tent and sleeping bag but that is just a back up, unless I find a spot I really want to pitch my tent.

    I usually plan everything in advance (gas stops, hotel, food places...) so this is a big departure for me.

    Am I nervous that I will be SOL when I come to a town and I want to sleep only to find it booked out? Yes. But, I don't have the stress of making it to X town by Z day. Trade off there.

    If it sucks, I won't do it again ;-)
    #33
  14. genka

    genka SUV hater

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    I don't understand all this "just point your wheel" thing, unless taking a very short trip with a single destination. How can you hit all the great roads and scenic spots along the way? I plan my routes as detailed as possible, but don't set a certain mileage for every day. On my last trip it varied between 170 and 950 miles. Everyone hates slabbing, but it is unavoidable. This is a big country. Taking smaller roads works well west of St. Louis, the east is too densely populated to make a good time.
    I also went to Yellowstone and I think it was worth the trip. The traffic wasn't fast- all national park s have low speed limits, but it was moving. On the bike it was easier to pass the tourists stopping in the roadway to take pictures and to find a spot on busy parking lots near major attractions. Walking the trails in Gortex pants and boots was the biggest inconvenience.
    Overall I had a great trip, I doubt if I'll ever do anything better. Careful planning and slabbing when necessary was essential.
    This was the route I took http://myroad.info/showtrack.html?id=488&lang=en.
    (Also check out my home made Android tracking solution)
    #34
  15. B dub'ya

    B dub'ya Adventurer

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    That's understanding your meaning, despite the contradictory statements.
    #35
  16. hippiebrian

    hippiebrian Long timer

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    I'm different than most here. I ALWAYS start a trip, big or small, with a plan. Then I NEVER do what I planned! I'll start out, then see a road to take, or a coffee house to waste an hour or so, or a nice nature walk, or whatever. I get real aimless out there. And it works for me! If I ever stuck to my plans, I'd miss a ton of stuff!

    You have to understand, I guess, that in a lot of ways I'm still like an 8 year old boy. I pick up shiny rocks and study them. OOhhh, shiny!!!!

    One example. In '07 I started up the coast, with a goal of getting up PCH until I hit the Canadian border. Well, I found a campsite the first night in Big Sur, so stopped for the night. Then, when I got to Monterey the next day I thought "hey, I haven's walked around Canery Row for a long time" and stopped to hang out for a couple hours. Got some seafood and found a nice coffee house. Talking with a couple locals, I found out that the 40th anniversary of the Monterey Pop Festival was going on that weekend! I got a hotel for 3 days, and that's as far as I ever made it! Got to see some great music (what was left of Big Brother and the Holding Company, Jefferson Airplane, and several members of the Dead to name but a few). Good music, friendly people, good cheap booze and a weekend I'll never forget. Just because plans, in the long run, mean not a whole lot to this aimless wandering ex-hippie when I'm on vacation!
    #36
  17. Schnickelfritz

    Schnickelfritz pick, grin, repeat

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    I prefer this type of non-plan when I have the time and flexibility. But I'm good at detailed planning of long trips, too--in the last 25 years, I've taken numerous 3- to 6-week bike trips through Europe (many before the internet, so using the phone, fax, and the recommendations of fellow travelers was how things were done), and my ex was insistent on having reservations in place for almost every night. Seems a breeze now.

    On long trips without schedules or with just a few plans, I like to target a daily mileage and seek out several campgrounds or inns within 50 or 100 miles of that target to allow for lollygagging or three-digit cruising. Yea there's always the chance that rooms are booked, so a willingness to camp almost anywhere helps.
    #37
  18. bigphish

    bigphish Curiously Satisfying

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    After just completing a 7,000 mile 10 state trip leaving from Wi. I agree with this post. Next years planned trip out west my brother and I will trailer motos from Wi to Rapid City and take off from there. The highway, highspeed blast across the plains does nothing for me except tire me out.
    #38
  19. kamikazekyle

    kamikazekyle Been here awhile

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    Really, there's only one answer: just have fun.

    If taking a detailed, fully planned trip is what does it for you, then by all means run with that. Want to wing it on the fly? No problem. Trailer the bikes to get to the good stuff? That's great. So long as you're enjoying yourself and the trip then that's the right thing to do.

    Being a little more pragmatic, I tend to plan things a bit more when I'm shorter on time. I'll do my versions of Shamrock Tours (ala Roadrunner Magazine). Find a center hub then take day rides originating out from the hub in four different general directions. They tend to fit well into your average person's week off and can be as minimally or maximally planned as you want. Hell, there's plenty of times where I've felt like just trailering the bike to do a hub-based tour -- especially if lugging along camping gear -- but lacking a hitch, trailer, and a place to store said trailer I just deal with the inevitable point A to point B rush. Besides, outside of climate control my sport bike and car are the same in long distance comfort, so it mostly comes down to squaring off my tires and gas money.

    In three weeks I'm taking off three weeks from work without any solid plans. Just me and the voices I bring along in my head (and probably ADV from the peanut gallery since I'm most likely going to be doing a live ride report). I might figure out an interesting route for the day and take that, point my tire and go in some random direction, or plop for several days and basecamp.

    Anyway. Moral of the story is to give it a try. Can't hurt to try a trip without planning or seeing how a trip goes with trailering. It's your ride, so enjoy it, however that enjoyment may come.
    #39
  20. trc.rhubarb

    trc.rhubarb ZoomSplat!

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    I just got back from a 13 day ~7000 mile ride with one plan...
    I wanted to ride the Mackinac Bridge since I'd never seen it.

    Every day I'd point in a general direction, turn where it looked cool and talk to locals about cool places to ride.
    I only knew that if I wanted to stay off the superslab, I had to start heading west at the end of day 6.

    I saw 17 states, countless parks and passes, more than 8 national parks, camped, moteled and met a lot of great people along the way. The freedom to have no plan, no schedule to keep an ride as many or as few miles in a day is what makes it a great trip to me. I had days with 350ish miles and days with over 800. I had a 4 hour day and a 21 hour day. Schedules are too much like being at work for me. I love putting down big miles but more so, I love challenging my mind and body on these trips.

    Everyone is different and the only way I can do "my" rides is to do them solo.
    #40