You have three straight weeks of challenging travel looming on the calendar. It’s taunting you. It knows you’re bracing for impact; that you just hope you make it through without too many issues. But that trip is still a couple of weeks away. What do you do? How do you get yourself ready for traveling in a way that isn’t your strong suit?
You take a little trip on your terms first, of course! For me, the rhythm of the coddiwomple is what lights my travel fire. There’s such freedom in travel when you’re not tied to exact timelines, reservations, and expectations. That flexibility is intoxicating.
Back in April, I had about a two-week window between spring break with the kiddos in Lake Tahoe and heading to the southeast for my intense FrankenTravel adventure. Knowing I had unusual and difficult travel ahead, I wanted to take advantage of that window to adventure on my terms—to be entirely me. I also wanted to get in some good riding, knowing I would be off the bike for several weeks.
At the get-go, hitting the road wasn’t meant to be anything other than an exploration ride to take advantage of that window and travel my way. But it ended up being so much more. A simple coddiwomple became important in unexpected ways.
As I prepared, I did some traveler soul searching. The conclusions? Many aspects of my travel life have shifted over time—the how, where, and why. Other aspects have become routine. Gradually, almost imperceptibly, I worked myself into a travel rut. Not that my travels have been unpleasant or bad, just autopilot-like—unimaginative.
Clearly, I needed to shake up my mini-adventures. So in the course of this little eight-day jaunt, I did some new things, refreshed some dusty skills, and identified problem areas I need to refine. In this April Escape series, I’ll share those thoughts and tales. For now, though, the bones of this trip are where it all began.
Issue #1 – When
I had a two-week window but I couldn’t dedicate that entire time to travel. I had to pick about nine to 10 days. That became difficult with my dear man having a previous commitment right smack in the middle of the available time. While it added some complication, it was clear we were going to have to split up this adventure. Either we would start off together and have him return home before me, or I would have to start off without him and he would catch up. After much discussion of all of the pros, cons, and considerations, we opted for him to meet up with me. No set time or place, just a vague notion that we’d figure it out based upon weather and where I was by that time.
Issue #2 – Where
Originally I wanted to poke around southern Nevada and explore the cluster of state parks there. The weather laughed at me. Forecasts of sustained 30-mph winds in the area filled my entire travel window. As I shifted my gaze around the state in search of a different general direction, but hoping to stay in Nevada, there was simply no place the winds or temperatures would be agreeable for a motorcyclist.
That pushed me to look at the Sierra Nevada mountain range. Winds and temperatures there would at least be manageable though not ideal. So I pointed myself southward in the Eastern Sierra with no intent to get very far, just explore more deeply and remember how to travel solo. This trip was about how to take eight days to not go very far.
Issue #3 – How
I also desperately wanted to camp. I had not camped at all, much less off of the bike, in an embarrassingly long time. So adding to the plans and preparation was finding all of my gear and dusting off those dormant skills. I waffled tremendously on how to go about it—tent or hammock, which sleeping bag, what food to take, and those sorts of details. My ability to pack up and go on a camping trip on a whim had atrophied. I fussed and overthought every detail for lack of exercising that perishable skill. But more on how that worked out in a later post.
Issue #4 – Delay
At long last after all of the hemming and hawing, I had the bike packed. Now, while just watching weather forecasts to pick the optimum departure time, we heard from our dear buddy, Neil. He would be coming our way and was hoping to get together. Certainly my dear man would be home to greet Neil since he wasn’t leaving with me. I didn’t want to miss seeing Neil though. Decision time for me.
Quite honestly, the weather wasn’t cooperating all that well. I was feeling a little bit intimidated by it when considering all of the other details I was trying to manage. I also knew the further I was into the trip the harder it would be for my dear man to catch up with me, given the weather conditions. So holding back a day didn’t seem like a sacrifice. Granted, it ended up being a day and a half delay since we had a good bit of fun hanging out with Neil which left me not moving too quickly the next morning.
Eventually I did get on the road. With the men-folk waving me off, I set out for my first solo motorcycle adventure in easily two years, probably closer to three.
Overall the trip was only 1,132 miles. If you’re doing the math, that’s only about a 140 mile-a-day average. But big mileage wasn’t the point. It was about diving a little deeper into places I normally fly through. It was also about reclaiming some solo travel, figuring out how to blend that with couples travel and meet up mid-trip, and refresh my languishing skills. And it worked. But I’ll get back to that later in the series.
I hope by sharing the thought and planning process, I can show you that it can take a lot to put a trip together, even for a seasoned independent traveler. Especially when you’ve allowed some areas of your expertise to wither. Toss in aspects that are out of your control, like weather, and there are a multitude of things to consider before setting out.
But I love traveling. And traveling on my motorcycle is my favorite thing in the world. Even in the context of some complications, it’s always worth it.
And as always, once I was on the road, everything fell away. All of the challenges, decisions, and details came together into accomplishment. Freedom, empowerment, and joy all swelled into a giant grin on my face as Nina Simone sang “Feelin’ Good” in my headset and I hit the throttle into the unknown.
Much more to come in this series. Stay tuned and adventure on, friends!