For as long as I can remember I’ve always had this dream of exploring the United States from the back of a motorcycle. It was floating around in my head as a “like to” daydream, then a couple of years ago it changed into a “I’m going to” plan. At that point I started testing and trying out different things, even moving to a different bike.
There is one lesson I’ve learned riding a motorcycle, and that lesson is, where you’re going is not as important as the journey to get there. My journey starts each time I throw my leg over my bike and turn the key. Each ride moving me closer to changing that dream into reality .
I’ve decided Motorcycle camping is a skill I need to master for two reasons. The first one is cost, money is a limiting factor, less money spent on hotels, more money to spend on gas and longer trips. The second is camping seems to be more representative of exploring from the back of a motorcycle. At least it is on the path I’m taking.
For my first overnight tent ride I picked a location about 300 miles from home. It’s what I’m calling a normal day’s distance (300-400 miles). This distance gives you 5-6 hours in the saddle and 5-6 hours to explore along the way.
I stayed at campsite that provided me power, Internet and showers and I paid for it. These are things for an overnight trip I could do without. Maybe they could also be mixed in on longer trips.
My gears for this first trip:
3 Man Backpacking Tent
Standard Air Mattress
3 Quart Canteen of Water
Can of Nuts – Tin of Oysters
WaterProof Bag (for my clothes)
Pillow Case–(stuff it with coat and sweatshirt to make a pillow)
Personal Kit (Soap – Toothbrush -Ect.)
2 pair of boxers
1 pair of shorts
1 pair of jeans
Cell Phone and Charger
The gear I packed was the same I’d pack for a longer trip. My wife had me to use all dark colors for my clothing so I could wash it all in one load every third day (while I wear the swimsuit).
Everything seemed to work out perfectly, my camp was comfortable and I had no trouble sleeping. In fact it was nicer than a couple of the cheaper hotel I stayed in last year.
I’ve ordered two new folding chairs that are smaller, making them easier to pack. They will also make it more comfortable to sit in the tent on rainy days.
This weekend I’m taking my daughter out for two nights of tent camping. I’m starting with my daughter to work out the bugs, because if my wife has a bad experience it will be harder to get her to try it again. Last night I test packed the bike with the all the gear for two minus the clothing. Loading two sleeping bag gave me some trouble, but I bought a small duffel bag and stuffed them both into it. The duffel bag gave me a larger waterproof top bag that will hold both sleeping bags.
I feel like I’m on the right path with motorcycle camping, it’s hard to tell when everything is working. Every time I read another rider’s post about long rides I get a twinge of envy, but I’m also grateful that they shared their experiences. One of those posts years ago helped light the fire in me.