The Beauty of Two Wheels

While planning for our adventure we debated what vehicle to bring with us. The motorcycle gets better gas mileage and is easier to tow. The car is better for long trips and we could carry more groceries but it gets worse gas mileage and will take expensive accessories to bring with us.

Ultimately, after lots of research and many changed minds, we decided to bring the motorcycle. And we couldn’t be happier with our decision.

A Money Saver

The trailer that hauls it, complete with home-made bicycle rack also carries a propane bottle and extra water jug while costing about half of what a car dolly would have. We can resell it for the same price that we bought it for if we ever decide to. While the RV gets a whopping 8.3 mpg on average, the motorcycle helps to even that out at about 48 mpg – much better than our car’s 23 mpg. A tank of gas doesn’t go very far in the motorcycle but, at a 2-gallon fill-up, stops are quick and affordable.

Though we knew it, we have still been surprised to realize how much the motorcycle saves us when shopping. On the one hand, you can fit a surprising amount into our tiny saddle bags and laps on the ride home. On the other hand, we are severely limited in what we can buy due to space constraints. This not only saves us money and forces us to be intentional in our shopping, but it also works well with the small space of the RV. No value packages of paper towels for us – not only can we not easily get them home but we couldn’t store them even if we did!

Just park wherever

While riding a motorcycle in a city can be a bit of an adrenaline rush, there are certain perks that come with driving something smaller than a Smart Car. Quick responses and small size make it easy to maneuver in traffic (leading me to actually feel safer than in a car, generally). Parking is normally easier to find on a motorcycle – tucking two wheels into a sliver of a parking space is a simple matter, making parallel parking jobs a delight.

See what you can see

We love the motorcycle for its expansive views. With no roof, dashbord, or door-frames to block our view the world is wide-open to us as we ride through it. Which is more than perfect as we are touring about locations filled with natural beauty. Our rides through the Badlands were some of the most beautiful rides we’ve been on since we’ve been riding.

Experience the weather

Unfortunately, without those doors, windows, or roof we ride out in the open, experiencing the weather up close and personal. On the chilly mornings we have to bundle up to make it into town. Hot days out in the sun have us rueing our safety gear (who wears black leather jackets in the middle of summer!) Climbing mountains involves a stop half-way to add or remove layers – on the way up you freeze and coming back down you melt.

This is actually one of the perks, though. If we had gone with the car, there would have been numerous days when we would have just “gone for a drive” as a way to pass time – wasting fuel and causing us to miss the area immediately around us.

A good decision

Yes, there have been times that our car would have made for a more comfortable day. Or when we would have been able to combine multiple errands into a single trip. And Ashley would run errands on her own from time to time.

Ultimately, though, we are happy with our decision and the results it has had on our adventure. We love motorcycling and this gives us a chance to ride, to experience the world around us more fully, wherever we may be.

It might not be the most convenient option for living a traditional life and just running to the store. But we aren’t aiming for a traditional life, are we? 🙂

Weekly Newsletter – Mashley’s Adventures – Exploring Glacier National Park

(See even more photos in our FaceBook album.)

Current Location: Glacier National Park, Montana

Perhaps we all need time to be free, time to be alone in nature, supported and encouraged to discover our own wild selves, to reconnect with who we are and what we want from life.
~ Jennifer Hanson

~~~~~//~~~~~

This week, Adventure-Some is in a different state for the first time since May! We’re currently exploring Glacier National Park in western Montana, with Jackie joining us. To make the trip easier we’ve actually left Lady Galapagos (our RV) back in Bremerton and are gallivanting about in the truck this week, which allows us to explore Glacier in more depth.

Because our plan is to be out hiking just about every day this week, we assumed that internet connections would be few and far between, if available at all. As such, we actually wrote and scheduled this email a few days ago. (So we’re speaking to you from the past – Huzzah for time travel!) Fear not! The juicy details of the trip will be passed along in next week’s email.

If you’re looking for more reading – check out the most recent post on Adventure-Some.

Lessons Learned (or relearned):

  • Nature is stunning! (glow in the dark water?!)
  • People make the place
  • Homemade pizza cooked on a grill is the bomb

Last week was low on adventure as we wrapped up projects at work and prepared for this excursion and our upcoming move. Thursday we drove out to the Hood Canal after dark and stood in the water, swishing it around to agitate the phytoplankton. Once disturbed, they lit up like tiny green sparks – it was like the stars in the sky were reflected as shooting stars in the water around us. Like we’ve said before, Washington is a pretty cool place.

Bremerton Mugs!

Friday we held a grilled pizza party for friends as a thank you for such an amazing time while in Bremerton (and to let them check out the RV if they hadn’t already seen it.) We are truly thankful and amazed by the friends we’ve made! We definitely are blessed.

Adventuring away,

Matthew & Ashley

P.S. – Want to see pictures from our adventures? Check out the Adventure-Some instagram page for regular updates.

Ride Your Own Ride

This time last year, Ashley and I were half-way across the state of Iowa, participating in the Register’s Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa, along with somewhere between 17,000-25,000 others. How many different riding styles do you think there were?

We had a great time! It was our first trip across the state and we picked up a few tips along the way. Most notably, in our mind, is the fact that you can ride the route in many different ways, each of which is well within the recommended safe guidelines. Here are a few:

Wake early and stay ahead of the crowd
This is what we ended up doing as the week went on. The course officially opens at 6 (sunrise) and by leaving then you can stay ahead of the huge throngs of people and skip the worst of the lines. We arrived in the final towns early enough to have a good array of campsite choices.

Sleep late and ride leisurely
Some friends did this, since it was their vacation. They slept late-ish and meandered their way from stop to stop, thoroughly exploring and seeing what each town had to offer. They ate supper on the road and upon arriving in the overnight town only had to set up their tent and shower before bed.

Ride fast!
While we were solidly better-than-average riders, there were definitely the “hot dogs” who flew by us on the left. I don’t know if they are professionals, serious amateurs, or just riders from the mountains who were enjoying the relative flatness of Iowa. Either way, there were lines of riders who would handily pass us by. Within this speed, I am sure there are sub categories:

  • those who slept late and rode hard all day long to arrive early at the overnight town
  • others who rode hard from stop to stop, enjoying lots of time at each location

Deviate from the route completely
We spoke to one gentleman who takes daily detours off of the route, visiting towns that have been passed by just a few miles away. They are more than happy to see him, he encounters no lines, and he gets to see something that most others don’t.

Don’t ride the whole week
Many people didn’t ride the whole week, opting for one-day passes, or multiple one-days. This requires less training, allows them to pick and choose their terrain and towns visited, and fits more easily into their schedule.

Only ride part of the day
Some groups, in order to save money on shuttle service each day, traded off riding and driving between members. One person would drive in the morning to a designated meeting spot, trade with one of the riders and ride in the afternoon.

Don’t ride at all
A lot of teams have support drivers who come along for the trip, bringing along luggage, food, drinks, and more. While they travel a different route, the supporters still get to participate in RAGBRAI, without all of the pedaling!

There are a lot of options, and I’m sure that we overlooked a number of them. Some are tailored to the amount of time you have, some are to the energy and riding ability, while others are simply designed around what and how you want to ride, or whether you want to ride at all!

Designing your ride doesn’t apply only to the RAGBRAI, or even other touring bicycle rides. It also applies to life. While it might appear that there is one route, one path to success, there are many ways to get there. Explore all of your options:

  • Maybe you can really rush for a bit and then have time for a mini-retirement.
  • Perhaps slow and steady will get you where you want to be.
  • Or maybe you should just deviate from the course that is presented to you all-together (does traveling around the country in an RV sound familiar?)
  • Step back and play a supporting role of some sort, perhaps taking care of friends and family who, in turn, provide a place for you to live.

Whatever option you decide to take, be sure to get out there and go on an adventure! You never know what you’ll find and who you might meet.

Top 10 Frustrations About Living on the Road in Our RV

In lieu of the previous post listing the things we love about our life on the road, we thought it only right to also share some of the frustrations we’ve encountered along the way.

 
1) Size limitations on roads and in campgrounds. It doesn’t happen all the time, but sometimes we are detoured from our intended route due to size restrictions on the road. Either we won’t fit through a tunnel, a grade is too steep, or the turns are too sharp to accommodate Continue reading

Top 10 Things We Love About Living on the Road in Our RV

1) We’re always home, no matter where we are
It doesn’t matter if we are dispersed camping in the woods away from any sort of amenities, at an RV resort, in a National Park/State Park/Forest campground, in someone’s backyard, on a sidestreet, in a rest area, or in a Wal-Mart parking lot. Although some areas are more preferable than others, we always feel right at home because, well, we are home. Not once since we hit the road have we been homesick for our old lives (besides seeing our friends and families, of course!). We’re also very glad we remodeled; the RV is uniquely our space. A comfortable refuge that we enjoy spending time in. Continue reading

Worst Case Scenario

Well-meaning friends and family members have often asked us “What if…” questions while we were preparing for our trip.

  • What if the RV breaks down?
  • What if the RV breaks down and you can’t afford to fix it?
  • What if you run out of money?
  • What if Ashley gets pregnant? (this one seemed to come up a lot)
  • What if you get sick?
  • What if Ashley gets pregnant and has morning sickness while you’re driving?
  • What if you don’t like RVing?
  • What if you get tired of traveling?

Continue reading

Silver Linings

During yesterday’s hike, it rained on us. Cold rain. Fortunately, we had our rain gear with us, and we knew that the rain was coming – just couldn’t hike fast enough to beat it (and if we had, it would have rained on us as we rode the motorcycle.)

Even taking the rain into account, it was a fabulous hike. We traveled though a variety of environments, ate lunch sitting next to a beautiful alpine lake, and met a delightful gentleman enjoying his vacation.

The rain only lasted for a few minutes Continue reading

Just Keep Pedaling

This is the seventh and final in a series of posts sharing lessons learned while bicycling more than 1,170 miles in preparation for the RAGBRAI bicycle ride across Iowa. You can see them all here.

In less than five months, Ashley and I have moved from thinking that our 10 mile training ride was quite an impressive feat to considering 25 miles a leisurely jaunt. It’s amazing how quickly your perspective can change! Continue reading