Monthly Archives: May 2016

Vacation Planning: Is It Right For You?    Choosing A Trip    Planning A Trip   

How do I plan a motorcycle vacation?

I’m going to explain my process for planning, yours can be significantly less comprehensive and still be entirely satisfactory. I am the subject of many jokes about my planning spreadsheet.

I break it down to 4 major pieces:

  • Pick the Destination(s)
  • Choose the Route
  • Plan the Route
  • Stop planning, and DO IT!


  • Pick the Destination(s)
    Sounds easy, but this will sometimes dictate a lot of choices. My favorite destinations are National Parks, but there are relatively few hotel rooms available in/near the parks, so allow more drive time. You can camp, but that changes your packing, and so on.

    Choose the route
    Google Maps is my friend. I can spend hours looking at various routes, comparing distances and drive times. I also use StreetView to ‘preview’ the road sections to see if they are interesting; forest, vistas, water, etc. This is where you can decide to make your trip an Out-and-Back or a Loop, an Interstate Cruise or a backroads twister. In any case, make it interesting to you and the experience you want.

    Plan the route
    Wait, didn’t I just choose the route? What’s left to do?
    That depends – How many miles do you want to drive each day? More importantly, how long do you want to be riding, since interstate miles are much quicker than mountain twisties? Are there gas stations and restaurants at the required intervals? Do you have a Plan B in case of weather or other circumstances? Do you need reservations (tours, hotels) or just show up? I use a spreadsheet to do most of the planning, and I admit I get a little carried away.
    Trip_Plan

    Don’t sweat the plan
    I admit, this is where I struggle. My laminated, color-coded spreadsheet calls me to action, but I have to remember that the ride is what I’m here for, so once the ride starts we refer to the spreadsheet to understand the impact when we want to change plans.

    OK, you can stop laughing at my spreadsheet now.