Preparing Motorcycle for Winter Storage

Here are some ideas on how to prepare your motorcycle for winter storage. Many of the things you can do to prepare for the winter months depend on where your live? I live in Missouri so very often in the past there have been times when even during winter seasons it was nice enough outside to ride. I am not a Cold weather rider as I find after your get to a point (COLD) the Fun seems to no longer apply to the ride and that’s my whole pint of riding! So in my state I don’t prep like I would when I lived in Michigan and the weather did not allow for as many rides during winter seasons as they do now.

Battery Tenders

There is nothing worse than planning on going for a ride only to get to the bike try to start the motor and NOTHING happens, the battery is DEAD! If your own a bike and have had to replace the battery your know two things.

One: they are not CHEAP!

Two: they are not always easy to replace depending on what make and model your have.

With this in mind it is easier to be PRO ACTIVE and spend a little time and money on maintaining your battery! Since the battery can cost $145 and above the price of the tenders pay for themselves the first time your use them. Below is on e that I have and it does the job nicely without breaking the bank:

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Here are some features: [ Charger, Maintainer & Desulfator ] – An all-weather battery charger, battery maintainer, trickle charger, and battery desulfator. Perfect for charging and maintaining all 12-volt lead-acid, flooded or sealed maintenance free batteries (AGM and gel cell). ETL safety standard Listed. [ Automatic Desulfation & Optimization ] – Automatic detection of battery sulfation problem. Applying with pulse current technology to desulfate the batteries effectively. Optimize the battery performance during charging without any manual operation. [ Energy Saving & Spark Free ] – Zero output in standby mode. No battery drain when connecting with the battery. Spark proof during lead connection for safety. [ Multi-level Safety Protection & Timer Set Up ] – Overcharge, short circuit and reverse polarity protected. Charge the battery up to 14.4V and Maintain the battery at 13.6V for long time to avoid gasing and to extend the battery life. 24-hour Timer is set up in the program to terminate the charge and enter the maintaining mode once the voltage is above 14V to ensure safety. It also comes with several connection points to work on almost any Bike.

This unit is quick to connect and disconnect so I don’t really need a lot of time to do either before or after riding which is always a plus in my book! It will also afford your the luxury of maintinaing your battery for a longer duration which is another cost savings.

Cover

I keep my bike in a garage when I am home as I have spent a considerable amount of money on making it a one of a kind ride I like to keep it clean. I went from this to:

So for me another step in prepping for winter is to cover MY RIDE. It is a small price to pay to ensure that dust and other things do not damage anything on your ride. There are so many it is easy to get lost in the research. Again doesn’t have to cost a fortune to get the job done, as I have a larger bike I went with this one:

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It is cost effective and fits well. I have not used it on an open trailer so unsure if it holds up to the wear and tea. I have lost several others covers while covering up my bike on open trailers in the past, however for storing no worries! here are the specs:

  • UNIVERSAL FIT-XXXL Large Designed to fit multiple motorcycles up to 116 inch—from Harley Davidson to Honda,Suzuki to Kawasaki,Yamaha and more—Our cover fits 99% on and off-road standard-sized bikes in USA market.
  • QUALITY MATERIALS-Made of High quality Oxford materiel,which is non-abrasive and water repellent.
  • IMPROVED WEATHER PROTECTION –Protect your motorcycle against rain, dust, heat, tree sap, damaging UV rays & inclement weather with top to bottom coverage.
  • LOCKHOLES & WINDPROOF BUCKLE-2 Aluminium lockholes,2 windproof buckles and 1 Professional Windproof Strap design, which help lock your motor and to better fit.

Oil Change

Depending on the mileage, which I change my oil every 5,000 miles and use Screaming Eagle 20W50 oil. This may be a good time to do the oil change if your are putting your bike up for an extended period you will have the time to do this on YOUR schedule and is more convenient to do if your have the needed tools. I do not change the oil unless I have achieved the 5,000 miles or I have been riding in some REAL weather 110 degrees or somewhere in that area for long periods of time. Since the Bike Stock cost around $18,000 back when I bought it in 2012 and I have spent a bit on upgrading, the cost of the oil, filter and time is much less than replacing or repairing an engine! So this part of the storage is entirely up to your and your Mileage.

Gas treatment

Here agin I do not store my bike for that long so do not use any winter gas treatment. I do however always fill up the gas tank before bring back to garage so I am prepared to embark on my next adventure without delay.

Conclusion

You know your Bike better than anyone and I know your want to keep it at peak operating function, as well as look good for the ride, so if your follow these simple instructions your will be able to achieve both with minimal time and money spent in the process. I look forward to seeing your out on the road this spring/summer and who knows maybe even on warm days this winter? Be safe and enjoy the RIDE!

Motorcycle Riding Boots and Safety- How to Select

I’ve been riding for as long as I can remember, from Dirt Bikes to Full Dress Cruisers. Each one has something a little different that can be taken away from the experience! It is important that you wear the correct foot wear for any Riding style you are participating in. Safety being of great concern especially when you are out on the road seeing the site this world has to offer. Comfort is very high on my priority list, especially the older I get, the less the COOL look means anything and the more the COMFORT fit, form and function becomes my primary goal.

Safety

When riding on the open road I’ve found it beneficial to wear sturdy Leather Motorcycle boots with superior traction and waterproof! The traction is essential when trying to navigate your motorcycle in and out of parking areas. My bike weighs around 800lbs (it’s a Harley Road Glide Custom) so not the lightest bike you can start out on for sure. I prefer to back into parking spots which allows me a clear and straight shot when leaving a facility to ensure there is no one coming in from behind me. Without proper traction on your Riding Boots this can be a monumental task as there is usually loose rocks, gravel, sand you name it in the parking area and trying to PUSH or PULL 800lbs while setting on it isn’t easy when you can’t find any footing! Now if you happen to have a significant other or passenger they can always assist you with this and that is usually the quickest and safest way to back into parking areas. But I am a GUY so I STRUGGLE in Silence and muscle my way through to accomplish this task on my own.

The waterproof aspect of the boot is something that I found to me important as once you get wet feet things don’t seem to be as much fun anymore? It may not look like there is a chance of rain in the forecast but I can assure you once you decide you want to ride the likelihood of rain, puddles or some sort of WET area is increased dramatically! During the summer in Missouri it’s like Forrest Gump says “you never know what your gonna get?” so it’s better to air on the side of DRY. The temps can be in the 90s to sometimes 100’s so wearing thin breathable socks can aid in the comfort aspect as sweaty feet do not add anything in the way of comfort in my book! I’ve many friends who also ride with me and most have Harley Davidson bikes as well so of course that calls for Harley Riding boots such as the ones below:

Motorcycle Riding Boots for Men

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I’ve a pair of these and the one thing I like about them is they ZIP up the side so easy on and easy off when the time comes. They are lightweight compared to some I’ve had and very versatile while still holding some style just for the SHOW. I water proofed them as they do not come that way from the factory. The Soles are oil and slip resistant right out of the box and I’ve been wearing mine for over 7 years and they are still in good shape! They can be resoled when wear becomes a problem and that is a plus in my book because I don’t have all kinds of money to keep replacing boots every year or so. I am a Marine so I do keep them polished and clean for the most part as our training puts a lot of focus on keeping your feet in good condition and that has a lot to do with your foot wear! I don’t like my boots to RIDE way up my leg just around the ankle to give me some protection from rocks and such is fine and it is usually cooler in the hot weather as well.

Comfort

I want to SEE as much of the sites as I can and that means WALKING ALOT! Now it is not always the coolest way to hike as I always wear jeans and boots no matter where I go on the bike. I’ve found once you get acclimated to the weather it makes it a little easier to deal with while hiking on trails and such. Hydration is a BIG thing especially when the temps get into the 90s or more! I always have a saddle bag cooler with something to drink on ice with me wherever I go! I’ve this one and it works fine plus is more affordable than many others I’ve had and had to keep repairing due to leaking issues.

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I can not stress the importance of having something handy to drink when the SUN and the HEAT start taking their toll on you!! I’ve had trips where there wasn’t anything around for MILES and the ability to just pull of the side of the road and get a drink of ice-cold water was one of the thing that made the trip enjoyable. You can also save yourself some money by having cold beverages on hand as opposed to the need to stop and buy something every time you get thirsty.

Rain Gear

As I’ve said before you never know what type of day it will turn out to be weather wise and I’ve been trained “it’s always better to have and not need than need and not have!” So if you r taking a trip and want to air on the side of caution rain suits are the best way to avoid going from HAPPY HAPPY JOY JOY to WET CAT! It’s not always easy to pack for trips depending on the type of bike you have? I’ve a cruiser so along with my saddle bags I’ve a quick connect luggage rack that I can use to PACK all the necessary clothes and gear I may need. It is easy to learn how to pack the biggest bang for your buck in your luggage many can be found on YouTube like below:

How to pack for motorcycle trips:

Important point on your rain gear is: VISIBILITY!! I can not stress this enough. It is already questionable if any is looking for a MOTORCYCLE so the best you can do is try to be as VISABLE as possible. Light colors and reflective garments are the best and most economical way to do this. You want to stay dry but you also want to stay ALIVE! I’ve the suit below as well as lights running in the frame, undercarriage and wheels of my bike to attempt to be as VISABLE as possible in rain or at night. The light colors and reflective tape STAND OUT and make me more visible in inclement weather. This coupled with LIGHTS have been a blessing during many of our road trips as I usually ride two up (with a passenger) and her gear is brighter than mine. (FLORESCENT PINK with reflective tape).

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Conclusion

There is so much to see and do out there on the road of life and trying to stay safe and enjoy the trip is one of the hardest things to do especially in this stage of the game. With all the things we need to look out for the one thing we should always look out for is EACH OTHER!! I want the trip that you choose to be one of the BEST TRIPS you have ever taken and with some helpful advice and our PRAYERS go out and LIVE A LITTLE!!

We will see you out there Safe Travels my Friend!

Making Long Distance Motorcycle Rides-More Comfortable

I have been riding for a long time and in my youth I could hold my own on IRON BUTT rides. Which are LONG distance rides with few breaks in between, usually gas, water or something to eat then back down the road I go. It wasn’t always fun but I could do it and that made me feel better about going places that where a LONG way away. My youth left like the RUNNING OF THE BULLS participants and reality sank in. There has got to be a better way to do this? I spoke to all my friends and family that ride and wrote down much of what they had to offer as again MEMORY is a terrible thing to waste. There was an abundance of things I could do to improve my travels and make my ride more comfortable.

Making Long Distance Motorcycle Rides-More Comfortable

I have been riding for a long time and in my youth I could hold my own on IRON BUTT rides. Which are LONG distanced rides with few breaks in between, usually gas, water or something to eat then back down the road I go. It wasn’t always fun but I could do it and that made me feel better about going places that where a LONG way away. My youth left like the RUNNING OF THE BULLS participants and reality sank in. There has got to be a better way to do this? I spoke to all my friends and family that ride and wrote down much of what they had to offer as again MEMORY is a terrible thing to waste. There was an abundance of things I could do to improve my travels and make my ride more comfortable.

Seat

Although many STOCK seats seam comfortable I found they were lacking in the LONG distance comfort I needed. There are SO many aftermarket seats out there it can get confusing at times. Some of my friends have several seats and they can change them as the need arises as on Harley Davidson Motorcycle such as mine it is a single screw to remove and replace to change seats. Now I haven’t ridden a lot a lot of other brands of bikes but I still think the SEAT replacement is worth whatever work it may take to switch out!

I found that not only was the aftermarket seat more comfortable for myself but also for the passenger, and believe me that makes a BIG difference on how the trip will go! Depending on if you are riding ONE UP (by yourself) or TWO UP (with a passenger) the upgrade is well worth the investment. There is nothing worse than going on a long trip only to find you are Worn OUT from just getting there that you really don’t want to do a lot of riding to see the sights.

Back Rest

Now I have always had a backrest for my passenger as I believe they are safer for both travelers. Sometimes the passenger gets distracted and is unaware you are taking off and (BAM) no more passenger as they forgot to hold on and FELL OFF. This also helps the driver as there is less jerking and pulling while attempting to TAKE OFF due to traffic conditions. The passenger back rest can be helpful when packing as well, since I travel with a luggage rack on the back and the Luggage I carry has a wrap/strap that goes around the passengers’ backrest to keep it in place while traveling.

The driver backrest was something NEW to me, so don’t ‘t get me wrong I have seen them just never used them. So again I did my research as there are literally hundreds of after market driver backrest out there. I also found that the backrest helps my posture when traveling long distances as I apparently Slouch more when I do not have one? It was also clear that the passenger would need a place to store small things like phone of money so a backrest with a pocket was ideal! I went with Kurakyn which covered all the needs!

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Solutions for Pressure Point Relief

Although the aftermarket seat was much more comfortable, I asked around and found that there was still more I could do to alleviate the SORE areas that I would have to deal with otherwise. It is important to note that the individual will have to make up their own mind as to what is best for them and I am just trying to provide some IDEAS and what worked for me! Not all REARS are created equal so to speak. I tried the gel seat cushion and unfortunately the one I bought did not have a way to secure it to the actual seat, so every time I would swing my leg over the seat I would KICK the gel cushion into the next parking lot?

I could have made the adjustments and added straps and so on, but I am a more PLUG and play kinda of person. Whatever I buy I want to be a simple install or with as little modifications as needed to work the way it is supposed to work. Besides the obvious it really didn’t do the trick, although more comfortable it didn’t fulfill my expectations and I was still working on improving the RIDE. I finally went with an AIR cushion for the driver seat, it is also capable of being filled with cool water for those extreme HEAT days. This provided the relief I was looking for and allowed me to RIDE to where I was going, as well as RIDE around and see the sites after I reached my destination!

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Engine Heat

If you have ever rode for long distances you know how HOT the engine can get! It’s nice while traveling on HIGHWAYS but as soon as you get to Cities it can seem like the heat is going to catch you on FIRE. There is really no where you can run so I had to investigate some solutions for that as well. I am a FAIR weather rider which means I usually don’t ride in rain, snow, extreme HOT or COLD but sometimes things just happen. If you are on a long trip and going through several states the weather can change abruptly! So in these times it is always better to HAVE AND NOT NEED THEN NEED AND NOT HAVE! So although the heat from the engine on cold days may be nice I usually dress or pack for such occasions, so I HEAT SHEILD for the engine was the next step on the way to comfort.

Always remember that if you are riding TWO-UP the passenger is feeling the heat more than the driver as their legs are further back from the engine and thus more exposed to the heat. Happy passenger equals Happy ride in most cases! I have a great deal of chrome on my bike so I went with something to match the theme, but there are again hundreds of options out there for you to chose from.

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See you on the ROAD

These things I have mentioned worked for me! There are several other ideas out there and many I may not have heard of. This road is ours and the more we share the better we can make it for us as well as others. I welcome your ideas and even some tales from the TRIP, as the more we know the better prepared we are in the long run. It’s a wonderful thing to be able to travel and see what the world has to offer and I look forward to hearing from you and possibly even seeing you out there.

Lee H

Founder of toptravelvacations.com


Best way to Travel Comfortably on a Motorcycle- Longer distances

Well like many when I first started riding I was MUCH younger and full of P&V, if you have to look that up you may still be young? I started on mini bikes graduating to Enduro’s or what are now called Duo Sport Bikes, which basically means you can ride on street or dirt as the tires can handle both surfaces. Yes I had to look up the Dual Sport definition as things seem to change without notice these days? While it was fun to have the ability to drive on or off road I didn’t think it was a suitable vehicle to go on LONG trips. So I ended up going to a dealer to rent a motorcycle and see what kind fits my need as well as my budget?

Back in 2005 I went and rented a Ultra Classic as I liked the look and it seemed to have enough storage for any length of trip I wanted to do. So the first thing I did was TURN ON the RADIO. Now up till now no bike I rode on had a radio, so this was NEW! I really like listening to music and getting lost in the song, as I drive to wherever it is I am going. I do this all the time in a car and took it for granted, however on a MOTORCYLE this was like the best thing ever to me! I drove it around and really had no clue where I was going and really didn’t care it was nice out and I was JAMMING. The Ultra’s come with 4 stock speakers , 2 up front in the fairing and 2 in back in what I call the QUEEN’S REST. I did end up buying the Ultra Classic as shown below:

This Seat looked SOOO comfortable that I was willing to ride back there and do the PRINCESS WAVE if she would drive? Unfortunately that never happened as apparently the Bike weighed to much? I had said that all you have to do is WAKE me up and I’d be happy to stand up and hold the bike upright; but NO WAY! It did weigh about 758 lbs but I wasn’t asking anyone to PICK IT UP off the ground. So even with the stock seat the bike was pretty comfortable, however for long trips I found that you tend to tire out and have those little aches and pains that come from sitting for long periods of time. But I was young and TOUGH so I suffered in silence on those trips, back then there weren’t that many due to working and having Acreage with a horse ranch.

So fast forward to more current times 20012 to be exact. I wanted to start riding again and this time wanted to see more of the States that were now not that far away as I live in Missouri as opposed to Michigan. First thing I remembered from my riding days was the fairing on my Ultra would turn when I turned the handle bars or they would try to turn if the wind was BLOWING hard enough. So to make things easier I decided to go with a FIXED fairing. This means that the front of the bike like the radio, gauges, speakers and such were stationary, they do not move or turn when the handle bars do. Now at first this takes some getting used to as I have never driven a fixed faring bike before. However once you get used to it and realize you don’t have to work as hard in gusting winds to keep the bike straight or upright, it’s a no brainer. This also allows you to ride further without wearing yourself out. So I opted for a 2012 Road Glide Custom as it fit the bill so to speak.

Well now comes the fun stuff, once you buy a bike you have to make it YOURS, so customizing it was next on the list. First thing was paint, then tires, then windshield. It is important to note that the Windshield is a critical element in comfort while riding, it can mean the difference between BUG TEETH and or BOBBLE HEAD and less neck stress, to actually being able to HEAR the radio which of course is another thing I changed! I have 4 speakers 2 in front faring and 2 in saddle bags lids. I then went with 18″ custom windshield and still found it lacking so upgraded to 20″ custom windshield. The size of the windshield is determined by the height of the driver. Here is a link which can help:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k2CA8JFrUPA

Next came the Drivers backrest, this is one of the NEW things I tried and believe me it makes a real difference on LONG rides. It seemed to be a little thing until I took my first long trip and that little thing paid off in spades! There are several hundred different styles and types of Drivers backrest, you will have to determine which is best for you. I usually drive 2 up meaning I have a passenger, so I found a backrest with a pocket on the back so she could put phone or whatever in the pocket and it’s right there at her fingertips. Here is an example

The stock seat although good for short trips wasn’t what I was looking for so I bought a Mustang seat. This seat has more cushion in it, plus added an air pad to alleviate and pressure points while cruising. Now there are air pads, memory foam and you name it out there to help but I found the air pad works best for me. Of course if you are 2 up (someone on backseat) better get one for the passenger as well because a HAPPY PASSENGER means a HAPPY TRIP! The rear stock shocks are  air shocks, which are good but not what I was looking for, so those were changed as well. Please know that all these changes happened over YEARS of riding, as you can go broke trying to do to many things at one time. I usually did a project a year so I could spread the finances over a longer period of time.

So now that I have completed the upgrades to make touring a LOT more comfortable, we have been all over the US from California to Florida and back again. You will need to find your happy medium on the things you need to make the trip not only MEMORABLE but COMFORTABLE as well!

If you have any questions or comments please fell free to leave them below as I look forward to hearing from you.

LeeH

Founder of https://toptravelvacations.com/

 

What Luggage to take on trip?

When preparing for a trip it is easy to get carried away with oneself. We never want to pack and then realize you are MISSING things you should have brought? The length of the trip and the size of the luggage do not always determine a good outcome!

Determining factors

The location of the travel will narrow down certain aspects of your attire;

  • What is the weather?
  • What are some events you wish to see or partake in?
  • Who is going?

These factors play a key role in determining what things you will need and thus what luggage works best? I try to travel as often as time and money allows, as there are so many things to see out there. Obviously time and money do not always allow me to do the things I wish to do.

So may times I just take short weekend trips and try to get away from the RAT RACE that seems to be a constant thing these days? It is surprising that just this short and most times inexpensive BREAK can bring a calming effect over me. The saying goes “It’s the little things” has never meant more to me then NOW.

Hard Shell versus Soft Shell

I myself like my things to remain undamaged when traveling. I have also worked at Airports before so I have a little inside knowledge. I am not trying to BASH the airport baggage handler here!! They have a very difficult job and to be honest I would not want to be required to work in 100+ or -30 degree temps on a daily basis! Not to mention they have very little time in between flights to get things organized and unloaded/loaded to begin with.

Although Soft shell luggage may be easier to handle at times it doesn’t provide the PROTECTION that a Hard shell does for obvious reasons. There are so many types of both it can seem overwhelming. You can research till your hearts content and still not understand which one is best for you as I did? I also found that in my youth carry on luggage was not that big of a thing. Then time takes its toll on us and WHEELS were made for a reason!

So I concluded that the Hard shell with Wheels was the way to go for me. Here comes the mass amount of information stating one brand or style is better than the other research journey. I spent a lot of time digging into this, and actually trying different types and brands to see what worked best for me. Here is a link:Luggage

Brand names

Although Brand names are great as it shows they have been around for a long time and thus can be trusted, it was just one of the factors I included in my research. I needed longevity as money does not grow on trees, I do not have a problem PAYING for something but I expect it to LAST as long as it can! I really don’t want to have to FIX anything that should not need fixing in the first place.

Most times I travel with two people, Angie and I. I am a Marine so I know how to get along with pretty much NOTHING but now I should not have to! She has come a long way from the time we met 7 years ago to now I have to admit, (plus she may read this). I know Women are very particular about certain items and such and I too have come along way (see you can teach on OLD dog new tricks).

It did hurt a little to find I really didn’t want to CARRY our luggage whatever type it was around the airport. Often times around and around the airport seems more like it? But I realize all good thing come to an end so Wheels it was. Here two comes another issue. What type? How Many? Really! How about ones that work and go where I pull the luggage, let’s start there. I found FOUR, MULTI-DIRECTIONAL OVERSIZED SPINNER WHEELS created effortless mobility and they are re-engineered to be lightweight to be the best for me. Luggage

Quantity

Ok so now I have determined which direction I want to go now how many do I need? This will again reflect back to your Determining Factors part. I travel with two people so depending on the other factors I usually can get away with two pieces of luggage maximum for extended trips most times one for all others. How you pack is another important part of the equations. There are many ways to fold your clothes and how many and what kind can play a factor in deciding? When I am on the motorcycle I find Rolling will allow you to pack more and the ever important issue WRINKLES are a non factor if done correctly. Here are a couple links on how to: Bundle Pack :Rolling versus Folding

There is also a need to ensure thatt least one bag fits certain requirements at the airport such as (meets carry-on size restrictions for those traveling domestically and looking to stay light). I also found it beneficial to have whatever luggage you have be secure or able to lock, not that I don’t trust people but things happen. It is always better “to have and not need then to need and not have so the luggage should also have EXPANSION capabilities to allow you to pack more items and compression which keeps clothing neatly pressed.

Conclusion

After research and of course trial an error I believe I have found some luggage that will not break the bank, provide the longevity that I require as well as have style. I hope this helps you on your journey to explore the places you have always wanted and allows you to bring the necessities you will need! If you have any other suggestions, ideas or comments please feel free to let me know as this is an ever developing product and Knowledge is POWER. Take a look at my findings.

Happy Trail

LeeH

Founder of toprtravelvacations.com

Where to stay when traveling?

I have found there are many variables to this question. I try to put them in order and depending on YOU that order will vary significantly. The important items I try to cover are as follows:

  • Where are we going?
  • Who am I traveling with?
  • What do I want to see?
  • How long will I be staying?

Once I get an idea of the above variables I can try to organize a plan to accomplish my GOALS. Everyone is different so your variables will reflect what you believe to be important.

Short Stays

When we went to Sturgis a few years ago, the GROUP consisted of 5 people traveling together. We decided to trailer the Motorcycles and spend time in a couple of places to get the most out of the trip. This was a TWO-WEEK vacation. Now as we all know YOU CAN’T PLEASE EVERYONE! So I spent a great deal of time again researching things to see as well as best places to stay.

It was a diverse group ranging in age and interests so that just added to the complication of finding something for everyone? So I made up a list of places around Sturgis Motorcycle Rally and started digging up information, yes there is a LOT of information out there, most of which had nothing to do with what I was searching for of course?

Since we were trailering the bikes we stayed at a few Hotels on the way to Sturgis Sout Dakota. I looked on online via my trusty IPHONE what was available once we started to get tired. I booked online while traveling before we arrived to attempt to have a smooth transition from being PACKED in a Jeep Wrangler with 5 people towing a trailer with 2- Harley Davidson Touring bikes and a converted Kawasaki Trike, and of course one of my friends found a LARGE bench that she just had to buy and take back for her boyfriend. Now is the time to probably mention you really need to LIKE the people you are traveling with A LOT to do it this way!!!

Extended Stay

I am not a HUGE fan of large crowds and of course the Sturgis Rally is one the largest Rally’s I’ve been to. We decided to stay OUTSIDE of the area. This would allow us the opportunity to SEE the events yet afford us the peace and quiet I would need after the stress. Don’t get me wrong, I love to ride and see new things, I just don’t like LIVING in my rear view mirror trying to make sure everyone is still ALIVE and caught up with the rest of us. Everyone has their own comfort zone as far as how they drive, be that a car or a bike. So it is not always easy to STAY TOGETHER especially in areas you are not familiar with. GPS for Motorcycle

We chose to stay in Lead SD which is about 17 miles away. The place I looked up on AIRBNB was fantastic!! It had Three bedrooms, kitchen, living room, downstairs entertainment area and the reason I booked it a Jacuzzi! My thought was what could be better than riding all day and seeing the sites, then returning to HOME BASE and grabbing a cocktail and relaxing in the Jacuzzi? We stayed here 4 nights at this location.

We went to the rally and saw the events. I had seen on a TV show Full Throttle Saloon many times so had that marked as a must see. It appears my luck back then was questionable to say the least, as the place had burnt down before we could see it in operation. They were however allowing you to walk through and take pictures as well as grab a drink and sit at one of the NOT BURNT tables they posted outside. Again it isn’t always about the destination but the journey and memories!

Destinations

There are many places we all wanted to see, one of these was the Grand Tetons in Wyoming. I really liked the ride to the top of the Grand Tetons in the cable car. The important thing to remember is we are riding MOTORCYCLES in August which is usually the HOTTEST time of the year, so we are wearing boots and Jeans for safety. Before we went to buy the tickets to the Top of the Tetons, I went back to my saddle bag and grabbed my Hoodie. Everyone was looking at me like I had lost my mind, its 103 outside right now. I know I am not a Rocket Scientist but as my Military training had drilled into my head the HIGHER up in elevation the COLDER it is, I tried my best to explain this but of course to no avail. It was breath taking literary and figuratively. Angie and I were nice and warm sitting on TOP of the WORLD, while my traveling companions shivered and shook in the 33 degree temp trying not to let me see their misery! Motorcycle Hoodie

Angie and I decided to walk back down the mountain as we had been riding most of the day and needed to stretch our legs. The trails are well-marked so no real problem following them. There should however be signs letting you know how far away your are from the next lift! This is a mountain you know! So we walked and walked took off our hoodies as it’s getting HOT, walked some more and finally came across the next lift to take you the rest of the way down. It isn’t for the faint of heart just so you know. The trails are for REAL HIKERS who are dressed accordingly! They are not all easy to navigate, some climbing over boulders and such are needed to ascend the MOUTAIN. First Aid  Kit

We decided Jackson Hole was the next stop and proceeded to have a nice ride everywhere BUT there due to my GPS that most have started drinking much earlier? It proceeded to take us down every GOAT trail that apparently Lewis and Clark couldn’t find? We are on Touring bikes and just so you know this is not the best idea in case you wanna try it? By the time we got our bearings straight the converted trike had broken one of the brackets that hold on the HELPER wheels and we had to turn around and go back to HOME BASE. Emergency Beacons

We did make it to Jackson Hole the next day minus the trike as it was now out of commission due to the Goat trails. We did the Snow King coaster it is a single or double person roller coaster type ride that you could slow down or just let it rip depending on your mood? Here is a link you can see for yourself what all there is to do there: Snow King Mountain Resort

Devils Tower

I remember watching Close Encounters of the Third kind when I was younger and I wanted to see it in person. So we packed up our things just like the Beverly Hillbillies and headed of that way. We stopped along the way to do a little horse back riding just on a whim. There was a little shack out in the middle of now where with a sign that read Horse Back Riding. So we dismounted our Iron Horses and went up to the shack. There was another sign that said we are on trail ride please contact office to make reservations.

We all agreed we really didn’t want to wait or come back as we had so much to see. While discussing our options LOW and BEHOLD over the hill comes a group of people on horse back. When they reached us the other visitors departed and I asked about riding. Well our bad luck must have taken its own vacation because they said they had a cancellation and we could ride right now! I have been Riding horses for a long time so this wasn’t a new experience but the views were incredible! On our ride we talked to the guides and each other, then when coming around a trailhead you look up and in the distance was the Devils Tower. I thought to myself, back in the old west days cowboys were out riding headed to the unknown and come across this THING out in the middle of NOWHERE. What would they have thought? Women’s Cowboy Hat  Men’s Cowboy Hat

 

Depending on the destination

So all of this was to try to get you OUT there and enjoy what life has to offer. You can choose anything that interests you and grab some friends and/or family members and hit the road. The World is your oyster. Try not to over think things and spend a lot of time researching as many of those things may or may not happen? Get an idea and swing for the fences, you only live once so why not start the next MEMORY now?

LeeH

Founder of topvacationtravel.com

Best Motorcycle Road Trips

There is always a question on where to go and what to do? Most trips be they planned or spur of the moment can take twists and turns that are sometimes Amazing sometimes Frightening. I try to view them all as a learning curve so I can use what went right or wrong later on down the line and hopefully avoid or improve the events.

What are some of the best motorcycle road trips? Well for some it is just the Ride and feeling of Freedom that comes from the trip itself, and for others it is all about the Destination. I can recall several trips that I was just Happy to have Survived till the end!

Planning the trip

Just recently my fiancé and I decided to take a trip on the Motorcycle. So as usual I spent about a week looking up sites and places to go. I even made and Excel worksheet that had the destinations, mileage and length of time it would take to get from one place to the other. I felt pretty confident about what I had accomplished! So we packed up the Bike for our trip it was going to be a week-long venture so packed fairly heavy and away we went.

Now here is where planning and Reality collide! I had forgotten that we were on the motorcycle with ALL of our stuff Strapped to the back out in the open. I have a travel bag several of them actually and it fits nicely right on the luggage rack behind the passenger. However, it does not LOCK so all you have to do is unstrap the hold downs and take the bag with you. Well that’s nice if it is your bag it is easy to remove, if it NOT your bag it still works the same way easy to remove and never see your stuff again!

So very first waterfall we reached was 1.5 mile walk to get to 3 miles round trip, so I locked up the bike, saddle bags and handlebars, looked over the Luggage that was nicely attached (but not locked) to the bike, and we started our journey. Motorcycle Luggage

You have to remember we are Riding so dressed appropriately for that, NOT hiking 3 miles. I wear jeans and boots anytime I ride just in case something goes wrong, better safe than sorry. So it is a little cooler than the surface of the SUN while on our little hike and we pass people going to the falls. Soon enough we came across a couple of younger folks on the way back to the parking lot. I asked how much further and they explained we were still a long ways away and probably wouldn’t make it back to parking lot before nightfall? Here is what we should have been wearing: For Women For Men

So in my mind I saw all of our belongings being taken and possibly even the bike itself and my better judgment took hold and around we turned headed back to bike. I am from Michigan and Detroit was where I spent a lot of time. I’m not saying it was a bad place just had some bad people in it back then so I don’t really trust people all that much. However, we reached the bike and our stuff was still intact. You become very Religious doing Motorcycle trips and I Thanked God for looking out for us!

Winging it

Well we tried to find a few other waterfalls and I now know what that song “Don’t go chasing waterfalls” mean as we did not find one. We did come very close to getting ran over by a pickup truck on the curves of AR though, so there is that. My fiancé was thinking outside the box and said ‘how about we go to San Antonio?” I had to stop for a minute and think, I asked what’s in San Antonio? She said the Alamo you have been wanting to go there for as long as I have now know you.

So I plugged in San Antonio to the GPS and off we went. What could go wrong? Well I do not watch the new that much as I haven’t seen anything good or even believable in I can’t remember when. Turns out there were riots and of course the Virus hitting pretty hard there. We didn’t have a place to stay and Angie (my fiancé) looked up places while we were riding she is a great multi tasker. She found the Riverwalk Plaza hotel and when we stopped to grab a bite she called and asked about vacancy and swimming pool. Swim Wear: For Women:For Men

Again Religion hit home and they had both, limited capacity for swimming due to well you now know. We stayed on the 4th floor, went to our room which had a door wall? Looked out door wall and there was the pool in all it’s glory. You had to call the desk and let them know you were going to pool so they could keep the count down on people in one place. Great place within walking distance to everything, even the Alamo. We Parked the Motorcycle right by the office and it was under a camera that they watched at the check in counter so really safe.

On the way Home

All good things come to an end and so did our vacation. We still had a few days to spare so Angie asked if I wanted to go to Gas Monkey Bar and Grill? I had watched the show and the episode where they found the location and for our trip to get it started. I said You Betcha and plugged into trusty GPS and off we went. It was a good thing the GPS knew where we were going because I had no clue. However, the fates aligned and we made it there safe! We had something to eat and a specialty drink and both were pretty good.

It was HOT of course so we needed to apply sun screen so we did not burst into flames! Angie removed her IWatch so she didn’t get the sun screen all over it, and placed it on the luggage rack while she sprayed herself down. I did the same thing and we were ready to begin again. Now as we were traveling down the road on our way to our next adventure she realized she had forgotten to put the watch back on after spraying. We pulled over and she called and they went out and looked and NO watch was found. IWatch For WomenFor Men

The next day however she received a call from the Manager of Gas Monkey Bar and Grille and they had found the watch and needed to now know if we were coming back to get it. We were almost home by this point so she asked if they could ship and we would be happy to pay the shipping cost and a Finders fee. They said neither were necessary and they shipped the watch to our house.

Either Or

As you can see by the story it really doesn’t matter which direction you chose to go, Ultimate Planning or Winging it the tales you will have and the memories that go along with them are PRICELESS! It is important to remember to ENJOY the time we have no matter what the outcome, I have found that things usually work out in the end. You now know the saying “Everything happens for a reason” well I am a firm believer of that NOW.

LeeH

Founder of toptravelvacations.com

Motorcycle Road Trips USA

There seems to always be a feeling of Freedom when you are on a motorcycle! I found that it is not always the destination but the RIDE that can be fulfilling. I have been riding for as long as I can remember and it never gets old. Rather, you are the Lone Wolf or ride with the company of friends and family there is no other feeling in the world! For some reason when you decide to Ride especially motorcycle road trips in USA the overabundance of information is confusing? https://www.onlyinyourstate.com/kansas/trip-kansass-castles-fairytale/

The Road Less Traveled

Motorcycle trips do not always have to be long and tiresome, they can be broken up into short PIT STOPS so to speak so the road doesn’t seem to get the best of you. I’m in my 50s now and remember laughing at all the OLD people who would trailer their bikes to say Sturgis. Then the unthinkable happened, I got older! There is an old saying “Work Smarter not Harder” well now I know what that means! Motorcycle GPS

I used to always take the back roads especially if I had time to get wherever it was I was trying to get. I felt it was not only Safer but you could enjoy the sites as well. Our country has some of the most beautiful sites to see, and i been all over this great planet. The people you can meet and the history that is around are sometimes Awed inspiring. There comes a time in one’s life when you realize you are not getting any younger! So I found myself returning to that BUCKET LIST and made it a mission to start marking somethings off it while I’m still Mentally (depending on who you talk to) and physically (again see the first quotation) capable of doing them. Motorcycle Seat Cushions: For DriverFor Passenger

Perfect timing

There never seems to be a Perfect Time for the things you WANT to do as the things you NEED to do always take precedence! It seemed that no matter how hard I would try things just didn’t go as planned. I have a saying “” it is never LACK of planning but EXECTUION of said plan that seems to fail”? My Motorcycle became a way to just get away and take a break from the GRIND. Most times it was short road trips that made all the difference in the world.

That’s when it hit me! I was always WAITING ON:

  • when the weather was better
  • When things settled down
  • if I could afford it

And the list kept going and going it seemed like? It was time to make a change. I made a mental note starting NOW if there are things I want to see and places I want to go NOTHING is going to deter me!

Motorcycle Events

I am really not a fan of LARGE crowds when it comes right down to it. However, I did need to experience the Entire Gambit of what it is like to truly enjoy yourself in whatever context you are presented. Adapt, adjust and overcome was The Marine Corp Motto, so LET’S RIDE! We went to Both Sturgis events Big Sturgis in South Dakota rented an AIRBNB that had a Jacuzzi on the deck so after a long ride you come home and relax for the next days events. We went to Jackson Hole, seen the Grand Tetons. Skipped over to Cody for a visit just because it was on our LIST.

There is also a Little Sturgis which is down in Kentucky, so of course that made the list just to compare, and there really is no comparison. Little Sturgis was fun but no where near the amount of people and vendors like Big Sturgis. I decided it was time to bring in My Mom on the fun, she retired from the Sheriff Dept. and had some free time so off to the Laughlin River Run my Boss had told me about. He has been doing it for years.

Now this is where planning did play a part, I know my Mom, she is as stubborn as I am (guess where I got it from?) So I packed up our stuff on the back of the bike and off we went, we were both younger back then just FYI. She was 18 years older than me at the time and I think I was around 46 years old so do the math. It wasn’t long and it was clear she didn’t really think she was going to be able to ride the entire time. Luckily (that Planning thing came into play) I had stopped to grab a bite to eat and it just so happened to be next to a CAR RENTAL establishment. GO FIGURE LOL I had already found a good deal on a car so we were all set. This was one of the best trips I can remember with My Mom and half of it was winging it as we went! Seat Cushions: For Driver    For Passenger

Travel Ideas

My friends would always tell me I needed to go with them to Eureka Springs AR? They said the scenery and the roads are great! It took me awhile to come around to agreeing to go, and I can tell you they were 100% correct! We took off on a Friday it’s about a 4-hour drive if you take the highway, which we did not do. We went the back way and saw all kinds of little towns stopped every hour or so to grab a bite or get something to drink and just enjoyed the sights. when we reached AR the roads are very winding so it is a good idea to TAKE YOUR TIME! We stayed at a little motel right on E Van Buren US hwy 62 called the Alpine Lodge. It was located in the perfect spot as there was a store attached to the motel and had a bar restaurant called the Rockin Pig right across the street. So when we finished riding for the day we could park the bikes and walk to wherever we needed to go.

We went downtown Eureka Springs and stopped in at the Pied Piper Pub also known as the Cathouse Lounge, met some great people and had a really good time. We went to the Crescent Hotel which is supposedly haunted. Went to the roof section and could see forever it seemed like. I saw something and asked what it was, they said it was the head of Christ of the Ozarks Statue? They said they had never been there as it was not easy to find, so I plugged it into the old GPS and away we went. Just a friendly reminder that my GPS doesn’t know I am on a Motorcycle and it was trying to take me places I don’t think would be a good idea so it took us a little longer but we found it.

There are so many things to see and do In Eureka Springs and the cost is very reasonable for most activities. I would also recommend seeing the Thorncrown Chapel. The views from here are truly breathtaking!

Cheap Travel

You don’t always need to spend a small fortune to enjoy some of the things LIFE offers you! I think all said and done for the weekend I spent $230 dollars on hotel, gas, food and some trinkets that I had to have for memory’s sake. I go there every chance I get and still to this day find new sights and freindly people to ride with. I have made many new friends most of which live in other states and that allows me to travel even more as if they are traveling through my state they always have a place to stay and vice versa.

So get out there and start LIVING LIFE because nothing lasts forever and time sure does fly by!!

Cheap Travel Vacations

These days there is ALOT going on out in the world! It is easy to get all caught up in the events and forget that Life is Short, If you do not take the time to enjoy what time we have here you may end up regretting it. There are a lot of ways to break up the monotony and save some money at the same time. Cheap travel vacations is not only a break from the constant ROLL of work and family responsibilities it can also provide you the timeless memories that money CAN’T buy!

The Scenic Route

Life seems to always move so fast these days, between work and home responsibilities the time flies by. It is important to remember to stop once in a while and enjoy your surroundings. There is so much beauty around us all the time and we take much of it for granted or don’t even realize it’s there? There were times when I arrived at work and couldn’t even remember the drive? I know I made it safely and obviously didn’t cause and accidents but other than that nothing? After several years of doing this I realized what I was doing and decided to change things up! I would program the GPS to avoid highways and leave a little earlier to ensure I made it on time.

It was amazing at the things that I saw that I never knew were even around. There were many specialty stores, fresh fruit stands and such. I would stop on the way home and pick up some goodies. There were it also changed my outlook on going into work as well. We all have the hurry up and wait syndrome from time to time, so I figured it was time to adjust my attitude to try to break my old habits.

Seeing the Sites

My job paid fairly well but I didn’t really have any good memories to look back on, traveling around the country like I always hoped I could? So I did some soul-searching and decided it would be a good idea to try to see some sights. Where to begin was the first question? I know there are many places in the states that I have always wanted to see, plus add that to the places abroad and it looked like the sky was the limit.

I started doing more research to try to get the best BANG for my buck! I had never been on a Cruise before and was a little worried that once on the ship what would happen if you didn’t like it, do you just swim back to shore? My Fiance’e had also never been on a cruise before and I found that no matter what we were doing it was always better when we were together. We discussed the opportunities and decided to just take the plunge! The first cruise was just us and we had a really good time met people from all over and gained some new friends along the way. We have been on three cruises with two different cruise lines and are looking at trying a third cruise line just so we know wish one we like best.

There are several benefits to cruising with one cruise line usually in the FREE perks they give you for return customers. This was clear however I really didn’t have anything to compare the first cruise with so decided to expand my knowledge base so to speak. We signed up for some excursions on the first cruise and they were very helpful to get to see some things you may not know are out there to do? We also did the fly by the seat of your pants excursion that we just made up as we went along and that turned out OK as well, so it is really about t what YOU want out of the trip!

Ireland Cheap Travel Vacation

Well for as long as I could remember I have always wanted to go to Ireland. I have Irish in my bloodline plus I like the old architecture! I have a friend that travels a lot and I spoke to him about the best places and such to see. He is a very organized individual and had an entire itinerary already made up that he followed. He also introduced me to the AIRBNB and VRBO sites I never knew about. After I looked over his itinerary ( I knew we liked a lot of the same things to begin with) I took the information to my fiance’e and we discussed. Our youngest daughter was graduating that year and we thought it may be one of the last times we will have an opportunity to do a Small Family Vacation with just the three of us.

I went ahead and as usual researched things and places and using my friends itinerary drew up a plan to go. I have always wanted to see the Blarney Stone and Castle, Cork, Dublin, have a drink in Temple Tavern. There is so much rich culture and wonderful buildings, it was amazing! There was the Ring of Kerry, dingle peninsula where we stayed on and actual Island at a Private cottage (AIRBNB) where they still speak Gaelic. The sites where amazing and the people very friendly.

The trip would not have been complete without seeing the Cliffs Of Moher. We bought the boat tickets for all three of us and soon found out our daughter get’s sea sick! Well we did the best we could try to keep her STEADY while enjoying the views. They actually tell you the stories that go along with the cliffs so it was not only interesting but educational as well. It was on e of the best trips and turned out not so EXPENSIVE using what I had learned from the research and friends and Family!

Let the Travel and FUN begin

While on this trip to try to make the most out of the time we have, always remember it’s not always the destination but the journey that can bring you happiness! There are so many sites to see and places to travel to it can seem overwhelming! Remember this is the start of many memories to come and try to enjoy even the rain when it happens as this to shall pass into memories.

I look forward to sharing the experiences with you, and I am always available if there are any questions.

Sincerly

Lee H

Founder Cheap Travel Vacations