2012-2013 Motorcycle Adventure – The Big Picture

Today begins Leg 4 of our 2012-2013 Winter Motorcycle Adventure. And what an adventure it has been! My sweetheart (SH) and i came up with the idea of a segmented winter road trip as a unique way to see the country, an opportunity to extend our biking throughout the year and a really special way of experiencing quintessential Americana together – great memory-making material!

SH has done all the itinerary planning, checking in with me for feedback on routes, shipping, storage units, etc. It is such a treat for me to just pack my bag and show up! My job is trip photographer, blogger and finding things to do and places to eat along the way. And of course, being an adventurous, enjoyable travel companion!

Here is a recap of our trip so far and a sneak peek at what’s ahead. We started this Winter adventure at the end October 2012, when we shipped our two Honda ST 1300s to Los Angeles via Federal Motorcycle, a division of Allied Van Lines. They strap the bikes on to a pallet and fork-lift them right onto the truck van! After attending Uncles Walter’s 103rd birthday party, we hit the road and biked to Tempe, AZ, over three days. One of many highlights was stopping in Lake Havasu City to have dinner with my cousin Dave, who i had not seen since we were kids. We stored the bikes in a 10×10 storage unit, walked back to our hotel and the next morning rode the hotel shuttle to the airport to return home to Minnesota.

In January 2013, we flew to LA to visit Walter for a day, then flew to Phoenix to spend the night at the same hotel. Early the next morning, we walked to storage unit to pick up bikes. We had a slight delay due to a dead battery on SH’s bike, but soon enough were on our way to breakfast with friends who were snowbirding in AZ for the first time this year. We made our way to El Paso, TX, were we enjoyed local sightseeing, including the amazing White Sands National Monument, then stored the bikes and flew home.

In February, we combined a visit with Walter in LA with a James Malinchak Mastermind meeting, before flying from LA to El Paso to pick up the bikes and head for Dallas. Highlights of that trip included exploring the Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico and an overnight visit with a friend in Prosper, TX. And then once again stored the bikes and flew home.

I’m on a Sun Country flight to Dallas, as I write this entry. We’ll travel from Dallas to St. Louis on this leg of the journey. The first weekend in May will mark the completion of this amazing adventure. It has already more than met my expectations – SH and I have met wonderful, colorful and gracious people. We’ve experienced small-town America, travelled historic byways, stood in awe of natural wonders, and braved the freeway systems of LA and Dallas. And to think I had never ridden – let alone driven – a motorcycle as recently as four years ago!

You might be surprised at how affordable this adventure has been. We’ve probably spent less than the average 2 week winter vacation. The single most costly expense was shipping our bikes to LA, which was about $1,100. We belong to the membership programs of several hotels and airlines. We are accumulating or using reward points on every trip. The multi-city hops on one airline or multiple one ways on several airlines usually result in total airfare for each leg of less than $350 each. We eat at the local mom and pop diners which are usually very affordable. We get to chat with the most interesting people at those friendly joints. We occasionally splurge on a fine dining experience, asking the locals for recommendations. Our usual rule is no chains, but we make exceptions now and then for the sake of convenience or time. After many motorcycle trips over the past 3 1/2 years, I think I’ve finally learned what and how to pack. More on gear and packing in a future blog! I’m now in the Super Shuttle, enroute to the storage unit, so signing off for now. Until later . . . Love, Tomboy Tam

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