It’s cold outside. A rainy, yucky, slushy mess. I feel like it’s mid-December and I’m living in Pennsylvania again. Mid-December is not supposed to be like this in Charlotte. Not in the South. Not in MY south at least. Between the lack of sunlight and being held hostage by the cold many people say that they get depressed, or even S.A.D. during these long frigid winter months. I’ll admit that I become a little stir crazy at times myself, but I’ve found a way to get me through it. Planning
Whenever the weather gets cold and too yucky for even a stupid person like me to ride the motorcycle I start looking forward to the spring by planning trips. For me, planning the details of the trip is not nearly as important as choosing a destination or sites along the way. My preferred way of planning a trip is to choose a destination and work my way backwards making notes of interesting things along the way. My generic phrase of “interesting things” can include everything from a twisty road, old general store, interesting cemetery, or pretty much anything else.
But how do you choose a place to go, or what to see? That’s the fun part. Don’t let it stress you. There are countless sites, and numerous books that list interesting places. Some of my favorites websites for finding unique places include Roadside America and Fieldtrip.com. Often when browsing these sites I’ll venture off their beaten path onto different corners of the web on exploratory adventures. I guess I plan for a trip much like I actually take it. Which ever way I go is fine by me.
There is another place that is good for finding events that you can plan a trip around. TwoCamels is probably the best place I’ve found that lists fun festivals, and odd events. The creators of the site break down the festivals in numerous ways so you can quickly and easily find the right one for you. Maybe you are looking for a local, or semi-local, festival that you can do in a day trip. If so, I’m betting they have one listed that you could hit up.
Once I have the destination, or multiple destinations strung together, I then get to the easy part. Finding a route.
For me, the route is nothing more than a guideline. I’ts not a hard and fast rules that I’m going to be disappointed if I stray from. Some of my best adventures have come from making a split second decision to turn down a road that wasn’t on my route. Although, I’ll admit this has also led me down some very long gravel, dead end roads. It does give me a story though, so I wont complain.
Finding good roads also has a plethora of methods you can try. Google maps or any GPS software work just fine. But for me I love the traditional sitting down with one of the Delorme maps and staring at criss-crossing red and blue lines for hours. Another option is to use one of the MANY motorcycle roads websites. (I’ll even permit this if you are in a car) There are plenty of sites for this purpose. MotorcycleRoads.com, MotorcycleRoads.us, Open Road Journey, and pashnit.com for the California riders – and after reading many of the road reports on that site I truly wish I was. I just realized that many more of these sites popped up since last winter. So now I’m even more excited to start planning.
The only trips I KNOW I will be taking as of right this second include my yearly trip to the Hillbilly Prom -A nickname for our annual trip to the Hillbilly Days festival in Pikeville KY and a stay at Breaks interstate resort – which is usually my own unofficial kick off to the riding season. I’d also be willing to be there will be at least one trip out to the Dragon this year also. Even though that is becoming a little overplayed and I like the snake a little more for a less trafic having road.
What else do I need to find? What roads, sites, attractions? Don’t say the self kicking machine. I’ve already done that.