HOW TO PLAN A SOLO MOTORCYCLE TRIP ACROSS THE USA
These are Laura’s tips for:
How to plan a solo motorcycle trip across the USA.
The first step in planning a motorcycle trip across the USA:
The Motorcycle.This is quite an obvious one; what bike are you going to ride? This really depends on what type of riding you want to do. I learned whilst on the road that I am a person who is driven by challenge and adventure. If I were to do this trip again I would choose an enduro motorcycle that rides well on the highway with deep treaded tires providing good traction for riding off-road. My poor Honda is emotionally scarred from our road-trip experiences but she remained loyal and reliable throughout. She didn’t complain when we were stuck in the desert and she never broke down when I fed her bad gas in Texas. When choosing a bike think reliability, control, power and most of all connection. You’ll know when you find the bike that suits you and when you do you’ll learn that this is the only travel partner a girl needs.
The second step in planning your motorcycle trip across the USA: Money.
What I did:
Accommodation for a motorcycle trip across the USA.As for accommodation, I bounced from camping to motels to staying with friends of friends. I recommend camping to anybody planning a trip like this. America is home to some of the most incredible parks and the best way to experience the magic of the landscape is to sleep in it. I had never camped before this trip and was positively terrified every single time. While this may be true, it was an absolutely incredible experience and gave me the most powerful, rewarding feeling.
How to plan your route:
To plan my route I held up a physical road map of the U.S.A and with a pen I marked the best motorcycle roads to take, all National and State parks and other sites of interest that I wanted to see. I researched each state by googling;
‘Best things to do’, ‘Best roads to ride’ and whatever
else Google spewed at me then I marked it on the map. When the map filled up with dots I began joining them with different colored pens. Getting in close and seeing how I can go from A to B to C. In doing this you begin to see your trip in terms of geography and secondary roads.
Google maps is an invaluable resource whilst on the road but before you get there it’s a fun process to see where strange geological things occur and then plan to ride through it. When you have this marked map with several iterations of where you might go, take it out for other people to see. You’ll soon find that most Americans will have something to add and you may end up with a long list of places to stay throughout your journey.
Top tip when choosing your route across the United States:
For me the most valuable piece of advice I received from sharing my map with people was how altitude is a factor to consider on a route. I had been living in the swamp for months and it never occurred to me how far below sea level I was. So of course if I’m ten feet below sea level now and its hot and humid, what’s it going to be like if I’m 10,000 feet above sea level? Cold and icy at certain times of the year. This realization changed the course of my trip.
With this in mind, remember to drink lots of water when riding in places of high altitude. Of course I never did and paid the price of becoming dizzy and fatigued in the Colorado mountains.
Is it safe to travel solo across the U.S.A?The American road trip is different from all other journeys. Challenges will arise that you could have never predicted and the fears you did have will vanish. Overall, it is a very easy country to travel as a female on a motorcycle. In saying this, take precaution, don’t be ruled by your fears, but embrace them and use that energy to fight off any threat. For my safety I carried bear spray, I’d arrive at my destination before dark and I didn’t keep food in my tent. That’s really all it came down to in the end. For me the hardest part of doing this trip was snapping up my kickstand and taking the first mile out of here.
In conclusionTo any female who dreams of riding her motorcycle across the USA, I say just go do it, you’ll be fine! The road will rise up to meet you, the wind will be at your back and the sunshine will warm your face. So in Irish, ’Go n-eiri an bothar leat!’
Do you have some tips of your own for planning a motorcycle trip across the United States?
Chime in and share your tips or experiences in the comments below.
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