A cross country motorcycle ride is an adventure you will
remember a lifetime.
By cross country I mean a ride of more than a thousand miles
one way across two or more states.
I have taken several such rides, sometimes solo, sometimes
two up with my wife.
We also rode many miles locally (no overnight).
The longest cross country ride we made was ten thousand
miles in thirty days.
Some of the things I learned about cross country riding are
contained in this article.
If you are a motorcycle rider and are considering a cross
country ride I hope you find something here that will help you on your way.
If you are an experienced rider but have never ridden
cross-country you have missed out one of the biggest pleasures you can have on
If you are a novice rider that’s OK but before you take off
on a cross country ride polish up your riding skills by taking some shorter
trips. Say 300 miles one way with an overnight stay.
Whether you are a seasoned rider or have recently started
riding I recommend completing a
Motorcycle Safety course. They can be found in most cities. MOSEC (Motorcycle
Safety and Education Foundation) is the sponsor of most of the courses, which
typically last 1 to 2 days and are reasonably priced. If you live in Texas you
are required to complete a safety course in order to get your motorcycle
A successful cross country motorcycle ride takes some
planning and preparation.
Make sure your motorcycle is ready for the trip. New tires
are a good idea as well as a relative new battery. Either of those items can be
a problem if they need to be replaced on the road. A CB radio is almost
essential especially if you are going on this cross country ride with one or
more motorcycle riders. It enables you to stay in contact with each other and
by listening in on the trucker conversations you can pick up valuable road
information. A good sterio and CD player will add enjoyment to the ride. Get a
small piece of 5/8 inch plywood, about 8 inches square and stash it in an
easily accessible place. If the weather
is warm, place the plywood under your kickstand when you park on asphalt paving
to keep your kickstand from sinking into the pavement.
Lay out everything you will need on the ride. Space is
limited even on the big touring motorcycles. Speaking of which the bigger your
motorcycle the better. (That’s personal opinion) Be sure to take a good rain
suit including gloves and booties. Also include a warm coat, even if you are
leaving on your ride in the middle of summer.
First pick your destination. There are many wonderful places
to visit in this Great Country we call America. Pick something you’ve always
wanted to see or a place you’ve always wanted to visit
Next you need to plan your route. For this you will need a
good road map of the United States that shows secondary roads as well as main
highways. Get some tour books (AAA has some good ones) and look for things to
see and do along the way. Plan out your itinerary; where do you plan to stop
each day. A good days ride on a long cross-country is around three hundred
miles. Take individual state maps of the states you will be riding through.
Rand McNally makes a US road atlas that includes a US map and all the states.
Even if you will be using a GPS, take the maps.
If you plan on
camping out either some of the time or for the entire trip be aware that not
all camp grounds will take tent campers so check ahead. If you are staying in
motels it saves some anxiety at the end of the day if you have reservations at
your planned stop. Call ahead in the morning before leaving your current
overnight location. A word of caution here. If you book too many stops ahead
you can end up having to hurry in order to make your reserved room and miss
something you wanted to see or do along the way and if you misjudge a leg time
you can have a very long day in the saddle. Get plenty of rest. There’s no
hurry. Take enough time to enjoy your very first Cross Country Motorcycle Trip.