living in Idaho, we became enchanted with the vast emptiness
of the western states, so we decided to plan a trip around that
theme, visiting all the places in Idaho, Montana and Wyoming
that looked the emptiest on the map. Whatever your theme, it
could easily emerge as the icing on the cake of your ride.
As you start accumulating places and things you’d like to see
along the way, one of the very best ways to keep them all organized is to start putting them into GPS software as waypoints.
Gas stops, points of interest (POIs), lodgings, restaurants, etc.
The ideas for organization are endless, limited only by your
imagination and your GPS’s maximum number of waypoints.
GPS waypoints can be shared, and there are sites where you can
download all the dealerships of your given brand, for instance,
for free. Our personal favorite is the free list of GPS waypoints
for natural hot springs. You can also record the positions of
things encountered along the way.
Avoiding Mechanical Meltdown
Don’t forget to calculate how far your bike’s particular consumables such as tires, chains, and service intervals will get
you and make a plan for maintenance along the way. Your
motorcycle’s stock setup might be fine for your daily commute,
but will its gastank get you to the far-flung gas stations you
need to reach? There’s a solution for everything, and admittedly
going ghetto works great, but it’s still nice to know beforehand
whether you have to hang an extra gas can off the back of your
bike on a given day.
I love the KTM 950 Adventure, but sadly it has a reputation
for failing fuel pumps. As insurance against a lengthy delay
while traveling, we now travel with a spare one underneath the
seat. Carry the often-broken or spare-parts-known-for-failure as
a backup. If you don’t know what they are, get online and do a
Google search for your bike. Most models have an enthusiast
website or fan forum in which others are more than happy to
share their technical expertise with you.
Adaptability Is Essential
Smart phones have certainly changed the landscape of adven-
ture travel, and they can be a great tool for “winging it” (read
that as not pre-planning). Mobile phones are only as good as
your cell service, and it behooves you to know your carrier’s
coverage area. If you or your loved ones like the security of
knowing where you are at all times, consider a device such as
a SPOT Tracker or a DeLorme inReach Explorer 2-Way Satel-
lite Communicator. Your local motorcycle dealer or electronics
store should be able to advise you on which device best suits
While it’s important to know as much about your journey as
possible before your trip, you simply cannot be prepared for
every single eventuality that may arise. After you’ve planned
and researched and waypointed as best as you can, put all of that
in your panniers and go. The journey is every bit as important
as the destination. Indeed, that’s one of the many reasons why
these trips are called “adventures.”
And whatever you do, don’t forget to pack your sense of
humor, and keep in mind that all the crazy things that happen
to you along the way are the very things that make for the best
stories once you return.
Above: Mid-trip tire changes sometimes become a community event.
;The MILEPOST: Alaska Travel Guide and Trip Planner
;Moon Anchorage, Denali & the Kenai Peninsula (Moon
;Adventure Guide to the Alaska Highway
GPS WAYPOINT SHARING
;Mad Maps ;Butler Map ;Benchmark Maps
;DeLorme Atlas & Gazetteers
; MedJetAssist.com ; GlobalRescue.com
;SPOT Tracker ;DeLorme inReach Explorer
2-Way Satellite Communicator
MOTORCYCLE ADVENTURE FORUMS:
; ADVRider.com ; HorizonsUnlimited.com
SMART PHONE APPS:
;The Alaska App
(Official Mobile Guide to Alaska’s Best Places)
;Travel Alaska App
;Scenic Map Alaska (3D topo map)
;Aurora Forecast App
Camping at Nahku Bay,
bear country with no place
to hang a bag, we put our
food in the Trax boxes and
placed them far from camp.