I love road trips. Especially road trips that involve long windy rides in isolated areas, surrounded by beautiful mountains, spectacular clouds, bright sunrays, good weather and the purr of my trusty iron steed between my legs. But not all road trips are smooth sailing. I’ve had my fair share of unexpected mishaps along the way. The key, and I hate to sound clichéd, is to” keep on trucking”, “roll with the punches”, “go with the flow” and most vitally, think of solutions. Here are a few situations that I have gotten myself into and most importantly, gotten out of.
Breakdowns: I’ve started with the worst first and unfortunately the one that I have experienced the most. There is nothing worse than hitting the road and not getting to your destination. But if I stick to my mantras, there is always a solution to the problem. As a rule I don’t travel long distances after sunset. I do not want to be stuck on a desolate road at night, hoping someone will be kind enough to stop. Plus you cannot work on a bike in the dark. I’m no mechanic, I leave that bit to the professionals, but I still always have a small tool kit that allows me to tinker with the bike. I can see if a strap needs tightening or a screw needs turning. I’m always surprised how, with just a little bit of intuition and experimentation, I have been able to get a bike running again. Temporarily of course! As soon as I hit the town, I’m in search of the first service stations that will take a good look. Moral of this, is don’t leave home without your tools.
Family emergencies: Unfortunately this has happened to me more times than I care to remember. Once is too much, but I seem to have had the bad luck of taking road trips at times when my family has needed me at home immediately. Sometimes I have been too far down the road that I could not turn around and ride back. So I ride to the closest town with an airport and make arrangements to have my bike shipped back to me. Oftentimes, motorcycle shipping companies will have terminals that you can deliver your bike to and they can ship it home. I have used this type of service before when I have done one-way trips, but it comes in handy too, when you have to leave your trip unexpectedly. If they do not have terminal in the city you are flying out of, it is usually not a problem for the hotel that you are staying at to hold onto the bike until the motorcycle shipping company can come pick it up. It really is a simple fix to a horrible problem. An unforeseen expense to a shortened trip, but when you’re needed, you’re needed!
Weather: Bad weather is not fun. It’s not fun to ride in; it’s not fun to be stuck in. It’s just plain not fun. It’s also the problem I’ve battled the most with this, in finding a solution. It’s hard when the surrounding 300 miles are flooded, the roads are closed and the conditions are hazardous to ride in. There’s not much you can do about it except stay put. So you have to get creative about what you’re going to do in the place you’re stuck. It’s not so bad if you’re travelling in a group, but when you’re like me who really likes taking solo trips, it can become an issue. Usually I take the opportunity of catching up on a movie marathon. If I’m lucky enough to be stuck in a city with a multipex cinema, I can usually get three movies in over the day that I’m stuck. Also in this day and age of technology, you can be stuck up in your hotel room with a wireless connection and you have the world as your oyster. I’d still rather be on the open road experiencing the visual delights, but the comfort offered in a hotel bed are not so bad.
So those are a few issues I’ve had to overcome on my numerous trips. I don’t think there will ever be anything that can discourage me from being a lover of being on the road. There’s always a solution to a problem. As long as I have my health and a bike, you will find me out there, testing the boundaries of what the world has to offer.
If you have any tips on motorcycle riding and unforeseen problems, please comment below.