Being an old hand at long road trips, I wanted to cover a few of the obvious points that often get overlooked when preparing for a road trip. I also wanted to discuss how hitting the road has changed since the introduction of smart phones.
- First and foremost, make sure all of your paperwork is in order, Registration, tags, insurance. There is nothing like being pulled over outof state to find the reason the cop stopped you, is that you hadn’t attached your tag to your plate. A certain dampener to your trip.
- Always carry a small set of tools for roadside repairs. Now I’m no McGivar and not really a handyman, but I have had to pull over a few times to hear what that knocking is, only to find the problem could be solved with a simple turn of a screw. Always good to have a wrench or screwdriver handy.
- Prepare to dress for all weather scenarios. Since you are moving a long distance and crossing different weather patterns, you never really know what to expect. Waterproofs are essential as well as warm clothing. Part of the beauty of being on the road is you can divert at any stage. Sometime there is a hot spring that is begging to be visited or a mountain to climb. Be prepared to dress for the occasion.
- Get a smart phone and Internet access. For me this is the best addition to road trips in the last ten years. There are a plethora of apps that I use that really enhance the trip. You never run the risk of getting lost, always know when accommodation is near, and can actually find where the cheapest gas is to top up. Here are a few app that I would never leave home without:
- WAZE – This is a social GPS app. There is a video right on the home page. The most important feature is obviously that it is a navigation system. But it also allows you to see who else is nearby or on a similar route to you. It alerts you to accidents on the road, road closures, traffic conditions, alternate routes and interesting sites along the route.
- MCR MOBILE – this app finds your locations and suggests the best bike rides in the area. So you’re not stuck to travelling on the freeway, MCR finds those “off the beaten paths” that make a road trip all that more exciting and unique
- AIRBNB – This is my favorite app as one of my least favorite things about being on the road is staying in the dingy motels on the road. AirBnB finds local B&B’s, rooms in host houses and other alternative accommodations that are always interesting and enjoyable to stay in. If you’re on a solo trip, this is the way to go. The people that open their houses are always friendly and interested to hear about your trip. They also always have recommendations on local activities so you get a real local taste of where you are visiting. Oftentimes these people are bike enthusiasts too. The other bonus is almost always there is a washer and dryer for your convenience. We all know how grungy you can get after a few days on the road.
- YELP – This is a user contributor site that critiques everything from hotels, restaurants, service stations, and repair shops. It’s perfect for the person who has no idea about any of the surrounding facilities. You get recommendations and warnings of almost anything. A very helpful tool.
If you have any tips for motorcycle road trips, please leave them in the comments below.