I want to ride and I want a challenge
I took a leisurely group ride in South Florida and found myself at Cowboys in Okeechobee, Florida at a table with some interesting folks. They talked about the Hoka Hey Challenge and I said it was my intention to retrace the 2014 route between Key West, FL and Homer, Arkansas. One rider, Robert Saunooke rider #814 offered his rebuttal, why don’t you ride in the upcoming 2016 Challenge?
I said that is cut into time that I planned to be at the Black Hills Rally. He explained that it would be over in plenty of time to make it to the rally in Sturgis, South Dakota. I confirmed the dates and he was correct. My plan was born, I will go on an epic motorcycle journey that pushes me further than I ever thought it possible to go. I’m going to need a new ride to do this. For inspiration into my future I explored the past to see what other long riders had used to get them across the long distances.
I had to learn a very different way to ride
I have been a motorcycle rider for over 30 years. I have piloted many different types of motorcycles and felt very comfortable on the road on any 2 wheeled conveyance. Having said this it brings me to the point. I geared up to ride based on what I could expect to see on the road for only that segment of the day that I had planned to be riding. This plan is good if you are just going to cover the local area and be home for dinner. When you commit to ride out for a long distance and several days how you gear up becomes critical to if you can continue riding.
Then I had to test out the gear and my system to make sure it would be successful. My first big purchase was from Klim. I now had a jacket, pants and gloves that offered full protection from the rain, cold, wind and crashing. I bought Forma adventure boots. Full protection from the same elements that I encounter with the suit.
I wear the best helmet that can be had at any price Nexx North America X40 is a modular helmet that is like no other in it’s ability to convert to suit any condition. Then for the extreme cold I use Gyde by Gerbings plug in heated liners for the jacket, pants, gloves and insoles.
I went out to test all of this gear over many thousands of road miles and I can certify that it all works far better than anything I have ever experienced.
I rode when I had the time but sometimes I didn’t have the weather and the cold to make a proper test so.
I rode from South Florida to Missouri to get into a descending cold front that as I turned back to the south dumped freezing rain on me for the next 12 hours. I was neither cold nor wet because of my gear. I know that I can ride in any weather that the bike has the traction to roll through. Mission success.
I am all geared up with the proper long rider equipment so is Greg on the right…..but in the center is Kenny, everyone has one of those buddies!!!!
The plan develops
So I was talking it over with my regular riding buddies and together we made a rough plan for the riding that was going to be done over the Summer. Lot’s of destinations were thrown out as possible stops during the ride. In the end I decided that I wanted to go to all of them, Sturgis – SD, Homer – AK San Diego – CA, Houston -TX Las Vegas – NV, Washington – DC, Maine, Idaho, Wyoming, Canada, Mexico, Route 66, Pacific Coast Hwy, Moab – UT, Glenwood Canyon – CO, New Orleans – LA, Nashville -TN, Rocky Mountains, Appalachian Mountains, Smokey Mountains, Cascade Mountains and everywhere in between.