Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Post-May Road Trip Thoughts

Some thoughts and notes as I return to regular work day normalcy after having been "on the road" for 13 days.  The trip grew from a two day drive (both ways) with Milli the URV dragging a trailer with Scarlett lashed securely on top to Chicago for work; to 13 days as I added more destinations.

States that were trailered through:  NE, IA, IL, OH, MI, IN, PA, MD, VA, WV, KY, MO, KS.

The idea was to explore several concepts:

1.  Viability of Milli, the 2006 PT Cruiser as a URV: Ural Recovery Vehicle.  In terms of towing capacity and highway speeds, she did great!  She did use a bit of oil, the AC failed, but mechanically she remained sound.

2.  Viability of using Milli as a mini-camper.  Grade: B.  It was OK, though I only camped one night.

3.  Test how much of a PITA it is to dismount/mount Scarlett from the trailer when the opportunity presents itself for a ride in an interesting area.  Got the process down to less than 20 minutes each way, but it was a bit of a hassle.  Also, no matter how hard I tried, couldn't get Scarlett to look good in pictures while on the trailer....just wasn't happening!

At the West Omaha KOA

The thought had been too to claim more states that I'd motorcycled in.  All I had to do was stop somewhere, get Scarlett off the trailer and go riding around a bit right?  Due to time constraints and general lack of will, there were several states I just drove through, electing to not unload the rig.  So much for that idea, and besides, it just didn't feel right in the end.

Parking in downtown Chicago is ridiculous!  Very expensive.

As I drove hour after hour along the super slabs, my thoughts turned to:

This thought came up repeatedly:  Why am I trailering?  If Scarlett develops issues, better now while she's under warranty than later when she's not!?  URAL support has always been outstanding so why use the URV concept.

I wasn't in a race and it's not like I was in the wilds of British Columbia or Alaska!  Note, I would have been limited to 55 mph had I decided to ride Scarlett instead of trailering.  Using the URV enabled speeds in the 65-70 mph range so we covered the same distance faster.

It sure was nice to bask in the air-conditioning in the car on the hot portions of each driving day.  That is, until the air-conditioning failed, then it was miserable; but at least I didn't have riding gear on I suppose, since I was in a car!

KOA campgrounds and their Wifi, slow at best, and on this trip, quite pathetic at the KOA near Omaha that I stopped at.

You can drive, from Orlean, VA to Centennial CO in two days but they're a long two days!  I was a bit punchy when I got home Tuesday evening.

About 2050 miles outbound, with Orlean, VA being the turn-around point.  About 1668 miles on the return half of the trip.  Rough total: 3718 miles.

So, not sure I'll be repeating the same transportation conditions on the next road trip.

Still, I got the chance to visit friends I'd not seen in too many years, saw an awesome flyover by WWII aircraft, met new folks, rode with a pioneer moto-blogger and finally met in person a legend in the moto-blogging world.  All in all, a good road trip.


Low Buck Rider said...

I like the idea of a Ural & their reliability has greatly increased, but that & there very limited top speed becomes an impediment in cross country riding with any kind of time restraints. I found your solution to be a nice compromise, but like all comprises they aren't perfect. The PT Cruiser is not a vehicle that would be my first choice for camping and because of the age some problems can be expected on a long trip. What could you do to make your trailer a little more friendly to load & unload?

redlegsrides said...

Low Buck Rider....Mike....sure there's hardware options out there for quick release/fastening of motorcycles...but the point is, not sure trailering is the answer.

SonjaM said...

Trailering a bike is an option but getting somewhere yourself is just so much nicer ;-)

I would probably look for a trucking solution... going the distance oneway with a bike, and have it trucked back by professionals, similar to the service certain bike tour operators offer (Gary France coming to mind...)

RichardM said...

i think that trailering is a viable option if there is a real time constraint. Otherwise, 55 mph is still a reasonable speed it you avoid the interstates. And there is so much to see. I am impressed with the scenery on Kari's bicycle trip. Most of that would be missed if you stuck to the Interstates.

Trobairitz said...

I think you nailed it when you said you could travel distances faster.

If you had to cover those same distances on the Ural, you'd be beat every night and might not have enjoyed it quite as much.

redlegsrides said...

SonjaM, well, there is the option of having one's rig trucked back but what would I ride in case of unexpected snow? :)

RichardM, truer words....and really, time is not that big a constraint given the flexibility of present job. I do remember though, during inclement and windy periods, how nice it was to be inside the cage.

Trobairitz, oh I'd definitely be beat up if I did the same daily mileages as the car did...300 miles/day is about right when Uraling it.

Steve Williams said...

I have mixed feelings about trailering, time constraints, etc. Obviously if you only have a short time available and you need to chew up miles the speed limitation of the URAL might demand a trailer.

I've made many long trips in a car and the journey is absolutely not important, just the destination -- I endure the drive for the reward at the end.

When I'm riding the journey is everything. Riding even at 55mph only drains the life of things. Racing across America on Interstate 80 to spend a few days riding in some far flung national park never made much sense to me. I suppose I've gotten greedy in what I expect from my riding. It's why I admire Lost with Mike so much -- he's squeezing the life out of every mile.

redlegsrides said...

Steve, I am moving towards less mixed feelings and more certainty that the next road trip will be sans trailer....