I suppose our upcoming trip is really years in the making, but the difference between a plan and a dream is the steps in between. Kate and I aren’t just idly talking about where we’d like to go “someday.” After I’m done with the Veterans Charity Ride to Sturgis this August Kate and I are off.
We’ve been having weekly meetings for a few months now. Spreadsheets are being filled out, maps are being made, lists of tools and equipment are being compiled… this is real. For me, planning a big trip is like half the fun, but I’m happy we are over the biggest hurdle now: we have a bike.
Dave Frey over at Veterans Charity Ride has a perfect machine from his MotoDono program. It is a 1990 Honda Goldwing with a massive 2-seater sidecar. Eventually this machine will likely be donated to a needy disabled veteran or re-sold to finance another build, but before that happens Dave is going to let us circle the US with it, so long as we take care of it.
It will need the rear suspension rebuilt and it came with a low mileage spare engine we might swap out, but it’s in running order right now. I’ll still have to get pretty deep into the miles of plastic in order to get the thing ready to carry all our gear, but this thing is like a 3-wheeled RV… it even has a CB radio.
The ability to fully enclose Kate (with an electric blanket even) means we don’t need to worry as much about cold weather, and a locking trunk in the sidecar means we have tons of space, even though the right-hand saddlebag on the bike is filled with an auxiliary fuel tank.
With the weight of the sidecar and all our gear I suspect we’ll be limited to about 60mph, but this trip isn’t about eating miles every day, but lapping up what the world around us has to offer. We want to be in places and not just go through them, and this machine is a great partner for that.
Kate is learning old-fashioned map reading so we don’t get too dependent on cell phone service and can save some battery power for pictures and such. We do still enjoy technology though, and have been plotting a map on Google of possible stops and points-of-interest. I’ll probably use my cell phone to track our route on REVER, but it’s best to let it track in the background with the phone in airplane mode to save battery. That means most our navigating will be 20th-century style: road signs, mile markers, and trying to fold the map without ripping it.
Having the world on lockdown because of COVID-19 is a great excuse for us to huddle together over a map or discuss the best travel insurance to have: things that need answered well ahead of time. August seems far away but those who fail to prepare are preparing to fail (Ben Franklin?).
Stay tuned for more updates as we get this ball rolling!