Dumptruck preparing to ride his BMW R18

There are a lot of things that come to mind when beginning the planning process of any trip. Where do I want to go? How long will it take to get there? What do I pack? What is there to see along the way? Where do I stay? Are there apps, websites, books that could help?

Sounds like a lot doesn’t it? Sometimes it can be. Sometimes none of that matters and all you feel like doing is heading in a certain direction with almost nothing in a duffel bag. In that case, don’t forget your toothbrush and get to leaving already! There is no wrong answer as long as you’re on the road and doing what you please.

How about we start with where you wanna go and work backwards? Cool.

This is pretty much the ultimate question. A lot of people decide on where they go based on how long they’ve been riding and what kind of riding they’ve been doing. I’m not sure how much of that kind of thought I’ve ever put into it, but it is great to consider. Safe at least. I’m more of a get out there and test your limits kind of gal. In my world it’s either a national park, camp out/festival, or personal connection to revisit. All right, you’ve picked your destination and now you have to figure out how long it’s going to take round-trip, including days to spend exploring/experiencing/visiting.

Riding Flagstaff to Austin

For example: When I ride from Overland Expo West in Flagstaff, AZ to Republic of Texas Motorcycle Rally in Austin, TX it’s a total of 1,016 miles.

With so much to see on that stretch I wanna make sure to leave time to stop and explore. Ain’t but one way to do that: Start early and stop often. Let’s call it 3 days there, 3 days at the rally, and 2 days back. That way we can spend our time riding the TX hills, checking out the shows, and watching some really great musicians fill the air with Austin’s finest vibrations during the rally. Ok, now it’s getting exciting! There’s something about being able to envision the journey and revelry that is just around the next turn.

Time for logistics. This part is my favorite in the planning process mostly because I like math and the research is always fun. So put your thinking caps on and get out your calculators. It’s time to apply that schoolin’ you picked up as a kid.

What we want to know first off is overall cost so we can set aside the proper budget for the travel, lodging, & food portion of the expense and get to the exploring part of the plan.

Motorcycle Trip Cost Breakdown

Motorcycles outside of Wafflehouse on a long distance motorcycle tripTrip: 1,016 miles +100 miles (just in case) = 1,116 aka 1,200 miles each way (always round up)

42 miles / Gal
1 Gal = $5
1,200 miles / 42 mpg = 28.57 Gal aka 29 Gal (always round up)
29 Gal x $5 = $145

Fuel Cost = $145 each way

Just for the sake of argument let’s say we ride another 400 miles while we’re at the rally.

400 miles / 42 = 9.5 Gal
10 Gal x $5 = $50
$50 Rally Fuel Cost

Fuel Cost: Roundtrip + Rally = $340

Trip Lodging

$150 per night x 5 nights = $750
Rally Camping $50 total
Air BnB $100-$250 x 4 nights

Total lodging cost = $1,100

Food for the trip

$30 per meal x 3 per day
$90 food x 8 days = $720
$20 per travel day for entertainment x 5 days = $100
$100 per rally day 3 days = $300

Total food and beverage = $1,120

Fuel + Lodging + Food/Bev/Ent = Total Cost

$2,560 Total Cost

Now we know the bottom line. Whatever I set aside in addition to the total cost is to set on fire or prepare for a “whoops”. I never cared much for having a line of credit of any kind, but when I did, the “whoops” became no big deal to handle. Just saying. Credit cards ain’t all that bad when you need em.

(DadTruck – Do yourself a favor and pay your bills on time so you can have good credit that’ll allow you to roam with more freedom and confidence through this weird existence.)

Apps and maps for motorcycle trip

Apps and Maps for Motorcycle Trips

Alright! The math portion of this dialogue is over! Now we look at some apps and maps to see where we wanna stop and reflect along the way. I always start with google maps on the laptop just to give me a general idea. Then I zoom in on what looks interesting and take some notes for cross referencing. Sure most of the relevant info is online, but maps are just better. I look at the internet and apps as assists not the cornerstone of my scouting efforts.

Here’s a short list:

  • Road Atlas Nat Geo Adventure Edition – I use this to quickly see where the national parks and two-lane roads.
  • Butler Maps – Great maps featuring scenic routes and two-lane roads focused on motorcycle travel.
  • H.O.G. Member Moto Atlas – Wether you own a Harley-Davidson or not this is a great atlas that features every dealership across the US, roads best suited for motorcycles, & state motorcycle laws.
  • Google Maps – Good for the big picture.
  • Google Earth – Good for finding twisty roads.
  • Rever – Good for a lot. Lol It’s uses the Butler Maps data in a digital platform and it has a million options like route tracking plus trip data, trip planning, and it’s got a great community to get advice from.

Now that we’ve got an idea of what we wanna stop and appreciate we need to find where we’re gonna lay our heads to rest. For this I use apps exclusively. Apps make this part of the journey the easiest of all.

Essential Apps

  • Hipcamp – This is my favorite of all. I always have a much greater and more connected experience when I can get settled. The people are usually the owners and they always have a great story and often put their heart and soul into their footprint.
  • RA Camping – Your state parks camping is here!
  • recreation.gov – This app will show you were to camp on Federal land. i.e. national parks
  • KOA – You guessed it! Find your KOA’s with this one. You’re so smart!
  • The Dyrt – This looks like the next best thing. I haven’t used this guy much, but I really like the dispersed camping on public land perk in the the pro version. 100% worth the purchase for this alone. They also have a lot of discounts on camping and adventure brands.

I told you this could be a lot! We haven’t even talked about pretrial maintenance or what to pack…

Thanks so much for reading this far down! Like and share for both Rider Justice and myself! By all means let me know what you think, what I left out, or how incorrect you think I am!

Work it out!

Dumptruck is an online personality, voice over professional, emcee, and motorcycle enthusiast. Read more about his adventures on the road here and on his website, ispeakgood.com.