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Riding in 2023

At the start of last year, I talked about my riding goals, and at the start of this year I wrote a recap of what I accomplished. I’m actually a bit proud that I hit a bunch of those goals, and now that it’s still early in the year, I thought I would post about the riding I want to accomplish this year.

I had high hopes that my much-anticipated Alaska trip would go forward this year, for a number of reasons – not least of which is the cornucopia of paid time off I have this year. Unfortunately, my riding mentor won’t be able to take that trip this year, and as that one is their dream, I will wait. Impatiently.

That impatience, and my bumper crop of holidays, has lead to some interesting planning for motorcycle trips for the year. I’m estimating that the Alaska trip will be three full weeks, so I had that in the bank, as it were. Now, there’s been a bunch of route planning going on for trips this year that were never on my radar before. It’s fun, on a rainy day in January with temperatures hovering around freezing, to pour a coffee, pull out my Butler Maps, and discover I actually HAD the maps that I was looking for. Making route plans, with pen, paper and maps, is always a real treat.

I always want to set some goals for the year, and this year is no different. Except it is, as my January has been completely filled with dreaming about motorcycling. This is pretty typical for me. There’s an annual ritual to watch Charley and Ewan go the Long Way Round and the Long Way Down (I don’t bother with Long Way Up, for many reason), which is the start of the unscratchable itch. This year, my wife suffered through all of the episodes, and enjoyed them immensly. However, this has not cured my desire to be peripatetic on my motorcycle. In fact, it’s only increased it.

Goal One: Ride more with my wife

A repeat of last year’s nugget, and an annual chestnut that I vow every year. This year will be really tough as she’s in the midst of a huge contract that will keep her busy for the first six months. However, there is the possibility of succeding here, for an interesting reason.

Last year I swapped out the OEM Metzler Karoo Street tires, which Metzler feels are somewhat of an off-road tire, but really they’re maybe a 90/10 or at best 80/20 road/dirt tire. Tires were impossible to come by last year. I was looking for some Dunlop Trailmax Missions, but couldn’t find them anywhere. Eventually I ordered some Shinko 705s which Shinko themselves call a 70/30, but most folks call them a 50/50. I like the expected tire life of about 15,000 to 16,000 km. However, tires were scarce all over, so I had to order mine from Fortnine and have them installed by my local dealer.

The dealer. The point of the story. My wife followed me down to the dealer in the cage, carrying the tires for me. While I was in arranging things with the service department, she was busy eyeing other bikes. The Goldwing, naturally – we both really like the new one – but also the Honda CB500X, a bike I really considered for my first bike before I got a V-Strom. We’ve talked about “the little red one” several times. And then Honda released the Transalp at EICMA.

My lovely and talented is intrigued. Her first bike was a Honda 50cc when she was just a tyke, so she has some dirt experience, and she likes the idea of exploring off the beaten path. We are going to explore this as an option, along with the 500x, once the Transalp pricing is known and there is actually one in a dealership. This may mean that we do ride more together, both on-road and putting along some gravel roads. And if she does get one, an off-road course is in order – and I’ll attend it with her as a refresher.

Attend the Touratech Rally in Plain, WA.

I’m signed up, as is my riding buddy and a few friends from the interwebs and elsewhere. This will be my fourth attendance (2018, 2019 and 2022), given the two COVID years where we couldn’t get over the border. I’m looking forward to another great long weekend of riding and camping and telling lies fantastic stories. Let’s hope for great weather with lots of sunshine again!

Two Rallies and a Long Trip

Given that I have this PTO on my hands, and no Alaska trip to plan for, I turned my mind to other things. I knew I wanted to one day attend the Revzilla Get-On Adventure Fest in the Black Hills of South Dakota (yeah, it’s at Sturgis, but before the big HD rally…), so I put that on my calendar. Then I started searching around and found that the weekend before Revzilla, Horizons Unlimited is hosting their annual CanWest event in Nakusp, BC (great magazine, Motorcycle Mojo). Let’s see – yes, both are doable, and it will take up two weeks of holidays. Magical! I’ve also talked my riding buddy into joining me – the unicorns have arrived!

I’m planning an interesting route from Nakusp to South Dakota, and we’re going to try and take in some pretty interesting sites along the way, including the Going-to-the-Sun Road, Devil’s tower, Leavenworth, WA, and whatever other interesting sites that are worth seeing along the way. This is why I had all my maps out, and I’ve ordered a special one that covers some of the outstanding riding roads in that area in more detail than already covered in the maps I own. The planning over the next 2 months or so is going to be a blast.

Ride more off-road, with some friends

I was successful at this last year. I’m already laying the groundwork for further success this year. I’m sure there will be some ride reports.

Get proficient in Garmin Basecamp

I have learned that Garmin Basecamp is frustrating, just like so many have said. However, this is the desktop software on which I can plan my route, and then fire it into my Zumo XT. with this long trip I will be taking in July, I don’t want to leave anything to chance, and I figure proficiency in software like this will only help to plan long rides, especially the one to Alaska. There are some good videos out on YouTube to help, and all of them seem to be from men older than me, so really I have no excuse. Or I bin it, and look for an alternative. Yes, I’m a Rever subscriber, but my phone stays in my jacket in case I’m thrown from the bike – that’s just basic risk mitigation, so that I can call 911 if I can’t get back to the bike. Plus, I really love my Zumo.

Take at least 3 motocamping trips this year

This one is pretty much done except for the taking of the trips. In May, I have a weekend check-out camping trip close to home. June is the Touratech rally. July is the big trip to Nakusp and South Dakota. All of those will involve camping. In fact, the US trip is going to be based around KOA sites – showers, pools, etc. – more as a test than anything else. I’ve only stayed at two KOAs before (Leavenworth and Mount St. Helens), and it will be interesting to compare several along our route.

Stretch goal: a week on the island

We have been having some trouble getting away anywhere for over a year, and are hoping to solve that issue. One of the things my wife and I are toying with is a week-long trip to Vancouver Island after Labour Day, to celebrate our anniversary. This would allow us to catch up with friends and family that are there, and get out and stretch our legs on the bikes, no matter which type, in a way we never have together before. We have only ridden to, and then around, a destination – like going to Portland. This would be my lovely and I moving every day to a new location.

Blog more, Youtube more

I’ve already blogged more this year than last. I want to continue it, and continue recording what I’m doing on the bike. I also want to actually cut together all the videos I’ve created, and post some ride reports about some previous rides. All of which is to say – follow me, please. Like, subscribe, etc. I’m just another guy with another site and another GoPro posting stuff – but hopefully it’s stuff you like.

That is, hopefully, what 2023 is going to look like to me. I’m going to try and rev some memories, that’s for sure!

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