Archive for February 8th, 2010

Life is short.  Vacations are even shorter.

I don’t know about you, but every year I find myself running up against a shortage of vacation time.  Even if I have the budget for the motorcycle event, I don’t always have the allotted vacation time.

There’s another consideration. Riding anywhere from the Northwest during November – February isn’t like the southern California sunshine or early spring in Arizona! So, with limited time off work and riding round trip to a motorcycle rally means either you reduce the number of events you’ll attend each year or look for alternatives.

I’ve tried several alternatives.  Shipping with a professional transport company, Fly-n-Ride and friends who trailer.  It’s not that I wouldn’t love to ride the round-trip distance. I’ve just got, you know, a job.  Does this mean I’m lame?

That depends on your viewpoint.  Built vs. bought, driven vs. trailer, riding vs. shipping are all very common debates in the motorcycle community.  Individuality has been part of Harley-Davidson experience for over a hundred years and the issue of riding vs. shipping can touch off an emotional reaction for hard-core enthusiasts.  Being “authentic” some would argue, means the tires never leave the blacktop.  On the other side of the opinion page are those with an eye on their shrinking vacation balance.  They know that a journey – even with part of it in a shipping truck – is still an experience in riding, but just in a different way.

A couple of examples from my portfolio of rides.  A few years back I took advantage of a Fly-n-Ride out of Miami, FL.  Traveling 3300 miles one-way across the country is something I would only read about in the trade magazines, but the F&R program afforded me an option of enjoying the open air in a part of the country I rarely visit.  Or take the 105th Anniversary Celebration in Milwaukee a couple years ago.   Being limited on time I rode the 2100 miles out, but had the bike shipped back.  For both of these events I wouldn’t have been able to participate had I needed to “keep the tires on the blacktop” for the entire trip!

I was thinking about this topic after making travel plans for the so-called land of “trailer queens” – Laughlin River Run (April).  I’ve read the blogs too.  L.A. riders who take a whole day in a t-shirt to travel to Laughlin, NV.  About 366 miles and yet they trash talk anyone who arrives via an alternative method.  I say ride it, push it or trailer it is fine as long as you’re out there enjoying the sport.   My plan is to have the bike shipped to Las Vegas and our group is doing a Grand Canyon – Sedona – Laughlin loop over a 4 day period.  Start to finish will be about 1000 miles.  Sure, I’d like to have the extra 4 days to ride roundtrip Portland to Las Vegas, but it’s a question of using those 4 days later in the summer for a trip to Sturgis.

For me it’s about balance and participating in more rides/events.  The perennial debate – fewer trips with more riding miles vs. shipping – will continue as the motorcycle community questions if there is a something better.

Photo courtesy of H.O.G.

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