Communication is the Key When you Plan a Harley Davidson Road Trip

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A Harley Davidson Motorcycle trip takes lots of planning. I like to research the stops along the way, search the eateries and hotels on Yelp and get a feel for the ride before we take off.

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Last year I first heard about the Kyle Petty Charity Ride and sent away for info for 2014. It looked like it was going to be an awesome ride hitting the road on our Harley Davidson from coast to coast for the 20th anniversary. When we received the info in January, I forwarded it to our two friends, Sidecar Mike from Idaho & Jon from Colorado. We had met them both on the Wild West HOG ride in 2012 and they had stopped to visit us on a Route 66 ride they took in 2013

Mike responded with the following: (The Kyle Petty ride was a no for him)

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I am thinking about a ride that I read about in the Hog magazine. Two peaks in Colorado above 14,000 feet and both are paved all the way to the top. Mt. Evans and Pike’s Peak. That should be a fun ride.

My wife and I rode through Rocky Mountain Park a couple of years ago. She got altitude sickness at the scenic overlook at 12,000 feet on that ride. We couldn’t stay long because I had to get her down off the mountain.

Jon also said no to the Kyle Petty ride, and responded:

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Mike I would be more than happy to join you on the two peak rides. I have done Mt Evans but not Pike’s Peak. Just let me know, as you are always welcome to stay at the house. Maybe the wife can come and get use to the altitude before going higher. Demea and Jim you are welcome to join us as well as I have plenty of room. Late last summer I did a CO Rockies ride for about a week and had a wonderful time. It would not take much of an arm twist for me to set one up for this summer.

Ultimately, we also had to say no to the Kyle Petty ride – we hope to join it next year (it is going on right now).

So….I asked if Mike had made definite plans and next thing you know I get this message from Jon:

Hi everyone:

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I am available the week of July13 if that would work with everyone. I would suggest everyone come to my house in Castle Rock to stay and we would do two-day trips. The first to Pikes Peak and beyond (my favorite day ride) and then Mt Evans and beyond (second favorite day ride). Then we could take off for three to five days depending upon how much time you have available. I have a couple ideas that would be fun. If there is a part of CO that interests you let me know. Remember I also have a Colorado ranch in Westcliffe, CO that if anyone wants to use it is also available. Check it out at fazendaranch.com.

Think about it and let me know.

Regards
Jon

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 As you can see it takes lots of planning, even when there are just a handful of riders, and this is only half of the messages that we had going back and forth. I can only imagine what the organizers must go through when they plan a big Harley Davidson bike rally.

Motorcycle Camping, Just Wishful Thinking I Guess

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After last week’s blog Jim reminded me that the last thing he wants to do is tow anything behind our Harley Davidson Road King. It’s funny how you forget things when you’ve been married for a while. If you have been following our blog, and if you haven’t, subscribe now at the bottom of the home page, you’ll know that we have a few trips lined up for the summer and early fall.

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We’ve got the New England motorcycle camping trip coming up, and the Colorado motorcycle camping trip. Speaking of which, I got an email from one of the guys will we be riding with. He seems to have a difference of opinion when it comes to camping on a Harley Davidson motorcycle. Here is what Mike had to say,

Hi Demea,

I just read your Travels With Harley from 12 May 2014 where you talked about camping while on the road. Often times when I take off for a few days by myself or when I take a longer trip with my wife, Lynn, I like to pack all of our stuff in my little Escapade trailer made by California Sidecar.

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California Sidecar used to be in California, but taxes in that great state forced them to look elsewhere. The state of Virginia offered them a sweet deal in terms of corporate taxes so they moved east.

Back in 2001, I planned a motorcycle camping trip along the northern tier of states, and the three places that I have always wanted to visit. Vermont, Wisconsin, North Dakota would finish off my list of states.

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I didn’t have a trailer, but I wanted one for my two-up tours with Lynn. I searched for a good deal on trailers for our motorcycle camping trip and found ours at California Sidecar in Virginia. They offered this small trailer painted to match the 2001 Electra Glide® that I had at the time but they wanted $500 to ship it to Idaho. So I hatched a plan to extend my northern trip to include Virginia and pick up the trailer myself. They supplied me with the wiring diagram and wiring harness so I could just plug in the lights and hitch it up when I got there.

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Lynn’s family lives in Richmond and Lynn travels back east to visit her family every summer. My new plan was to ride across the north checking off the states on my list and then ride down the east coast to Richmond to meet Lynn. She and I rode to pick up my new trailer at the factory location in the middle of Virginia and then we toured some of the old Civil War battlefields that exist in the state.

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Lynn rode with me up to York, and on to Pennsylvania to visit the Harley® factory and then we continued northwest through the hills of Pennsylvania and into Ohio where I dumped her off at the Cleveland airport. I continued to take in the Bean Blossom Boogie in the town of Bean Blossom, Indiana.

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The Boogie has since moved from Bean Blossom to the town of Springville, Indiana. I had a wonderful time for three days, in spite of the rain.

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Having the trailer when you’re traveling two up makes the trip a lot easier. Obviously, it gets most of the weight off the bike and puts it behind you with a very low center of gravity. Pulling this little trailer with a big bike is no problem at all. Honestly, I don’t even know it’s there, but I can’t forget that it is, and I’ve got to leave plenty of extra room in traffic for stops or quick maneuvering. Finding a suitable parking spot can sometimes be a challenge. You always want to park in such a way so you can go forward. Backing up with a trailer is a bitch because when you turn your handlebars, the mirrors turn with them and then you can’t see the trailer or where it is relative to the bike or the parking slot.

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I estimate that I have pulled this little box for about 27,000 miles but I am getting to an age where I don’t like sleeping on the ground as much as I used to even with all of the goodies that I can carry with me. I will probably look for a buyer for it in the not too distant future. This picture was taken in Wyoming on Beartooth Pass, east of Yellowstone Park. Take care, Demea. Say howdy to Jim. —Mike

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Thanks for the email Mike! Jim and I always enjoy hearing other peoples stories, especially about things that we don’t normally do. Maybe it will have convinced Jim to give it a try!

Speaking of which, if any of you have stories that you would like to share, I would love to share them on my blog. Who knows? Maybe we will one day meet on another, “Travels with Harley.”

A Harley Davidson Motorcycle Camping Trip Has Been Added to the List

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I have to admit that when Jim and I venture out on the Roadking for a real trip, not just a day ride, we don’t rough it. We usually stay at a hotel or a cozy bed and breakfast before we take off for day. We’ll stop for lunch at a roadside pub or a diner, drive-in or dive that we saw on the food channel. DCIM100GOPROWith that being said, anywhere we stop has been researched on the net. I’ll check Yelp and other online review sites before we eat, drink or sleep.

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Maybe this summer Jim and I will decide to sleep under the stars after a long ride on the Harley Davidson. Camping on a motorcycle trip would be fun, but I know that Jim and I would have to buy a few things, make that quite a few things, if we wanted to wake up in the morning renewed and refreshed instead of grumpy and grouchy.

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I went online to see what would need so that I could come up with a budget for our Harley Davidson motorcycle camping trip. What I found made me realize that Jim and I have been living in the 20th century and we don’t have to give up comfort to enjoy the great outdoors.

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According to Soundrider.com motorcycle camping is preferred over hotels and motels when it comes to Harley Davidson enthusiasts. When you go on a Harley Davidson motorcycle camping trip you do not have to worry about checking in or checking out. You can come and go as you please.

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The first thing we would need is a good Harley Davidson motorcycle camping tent. The tents that were around when Jim and I were kids are a far cry from what is available today. Easy to pack, travel with and set up the top makers of light and affordable tents have made it easy to plan a Harley Davidson motorcycle camping trip. Apparently, a new 2-man tent available, which only weighs 4.5 pounds and is the lightest tent on the market. It can handle serious weather and is no larger than a football when packed away.

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I don’t like to sleep on the ground. I’m not a teenager anymore and I like my sleep. Jim and I would have to invest in a good airbed that would fit in our new tent and shrink down small enough to carry on the Roadking. After spending too much time online and not finding anything suitable, as traditional camping air mattresses, or even airbeds are too bulky and heavy, I found a few mats that when packed are smaller than your old school thermos. The down filled mattress is my favorite, as it will keep me warm up to 0 degrees.

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There are so many things that Jim and I need to buy if we decide to go on a Harley Davidson motorcycle camping trip. A stove and an ice chest is a must, but how the heck do you fit that on the Roadking?

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I guess I’d better get back to my research. At this rate, we might have to find a cute little trailer that we can tow behind the Roadking when we go on a Harley Davidson motorcycle camping trip. Now that’s what I call camping.

Awesome Harley Davidson Owners Group Events

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I think I mentioned a few weeks ago about the New England Trailblazer Event we will be attending with the Harley Davidson Owners Group. Jim and I are really excited, which made me want to check out some of the other awesome Harley Davidson Owners Group Events events that happen in the United States.

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Most people don’t know about Pin Stops. Pin Stops are available to Harley Davidson Owners Group. At Pin Stop, which is usually located at most of the H.O.G events, members can pick up free commemorative pins at selected Harley David motorcycle events. The only stipulation is that you must be a national member of the Harley Davidson Owners Group and visit the distribution center during the events hours.

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Harley Davidson Owners Group Rallies are really fun and Jim and I have been to a few. We have met some great people who have become old and dear friends.

The Kentucky State Rally sounds like it would be a blast. Back to the Bluegrass goes from June 4 to June 7 and is located in Lexington, Kentucky. This H.O.G. Rally also includes scavenger hunts and guided rides. The H.O.G Meet and Greet is always a lot of fun as we get to meet up with old friends and make some new ones. I love checking out the vendors, as there always seems to be something that I want to buy. At the last H.O.G. Rally, I found a couple of really nice leather pieces that I fell in love with.

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If we had more time, we would love to register for the New York State Harley Davidson Owners Group Rally in July. The event is hosting a Peter Frampton, Doobie Brothers concert and I would love to see that. There is nothing better than rocking to the tunes that I grew up with. The event only lasts for two days, but it certainly packs in quite a few activities. Not only is there a distillery and wine tour, but the New York State Harley Davidson Owners Group Rally also includes a tour of the West Point Military Academy.

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When Jim and I retire, we would like nothing more than to participate in some of the great events sponsored by the Harley Davidson Owners Group. I’m hoping that we can fit in one or two before our September New England Trailblazer Event.