When it comes to motorcycle trips I’m not a big planner. Instead, I have general destinations in mind, usually several, and just shoot from the hip as the opportunities arise. I had planned on a Southwestern ride this past June, a Northeastern ride in September and the North Carolina mountains somewhere in between. However, as the year unfolded it became apparent that riding was not going to be a priority. Now that we have entered into the winter months of what has been one of the most challenging years of my life, I’m looking ahead to what I hope to be a good year for my family and an exciting year on two wheels.
Here are the ideas I am mulling around for road trips in 2016:
- Let’s call this the “year of the beer.” I’ve been on a Founder’s Brewery kick lately, enjoying their Breakfast Stout and Backwoods Bastard when I can score it. Michigan is a nice place to ride and Founder’s calls Michigan their home. Not only that, but my daughter, son-in-law and grandsons are right on the way, near the Michigan border. And if that isn’t enough of an excuse to ride Michigan next year, if I drift a little west on the way through Indiana I just might be able to score a Three Floyd’s Zombie Dust. And since I will be on two wheels I might as well hit the Tunnel of Trees along the western coast. Think I will take the Scrambler.
- I’m sure I’ve mentioned it in the past, but my childhood vacation destination for about 11 years in a row was Nestor Falls, Ontario. That road trip took us from one end of Wisconsin to the other, along with the Northeastern corner of Minnesota. I would call this trip one part nostalgia, one part microbrewery exploration and one part moto gear. The nostalgia is obvious; it has been 35 years since I traversed those Wisconsin roads, passing through towns like Spooner, Bloomer, Rice Lake, Chippewa Falls and Eu Claire. Who knows, I might even get a wild hair and go all the way to Big Pine Lake in Nestor Falls. Then there are the microbreweries. New Glarus, just south of Madison is on my list. After that I’m headed to the small town of Decorah, IA, home of the number 2 rated microbrewery in the country, Toppling Goliath. I’m hoping to get lucky and get my hands on a glass of the elusive Kentucky Brunch Brand Stout. As for the moto gear, I’d like to head to Duluth, MN, home of what I think is probably the least sexy and most practical riding suit made, the Aerostich Roadcrafter one piece suit.
- Asheville and the North Carolina and North Georgia mountains are on my list every year. I’m only a few hours away so there is very little reason not to spend a few days riding around some of the best roads in the country. This year I think I will put a twist on the trip and ride my KTM 690 Duke instead of the more travel friendly Vstrom. Speaking of which, the big question for next year is: “Will I still be riding the Vstrom next summer or will I succumb to the new African Twin or the powerful and lusty KTM Super Duke?” Time will tell.
- The lobster shacks of the Northeast are still calling my name. I’ve planned the trip twice. Once I made it three quarters of the way before I had to turn around. The second time I had to cancel before I even left home. Maybe next year will be the year.
- I have a few “alternates” in mind as well, including: the Ozarks, the North and South Carolina coast, as well as the West Virginia and Virginia mountains.
So there you have it, the road trips roaming through my mind. My hopes are that next year will be kinder to us all and that it will find us enjoying the gift of the open road.