I’m very excited. The airplane tickets have been purchased, the bike has been reserved, the BEST WESTERN Hotel reservations have been confirmed. I’m getting ready to ride.
This time, I’m a little bit ahead of schedule, for a change. I usually feel rushed when I’m planning a motorcycle trip, because things take a long time to come together. A motorcycle trip is a little bit like a Rubik’s Cube, with a lot of moving pieces that have to align properly before the trip clicks together. This particular trip has been clicking, which leaves me more time than usual to research routes, things to see and do, and pre-trip preparation.
For instance, I bought a new camera for the trip, the GoPro HD Helmet Hero ($299 direct). I’ll mount this tiny camera on my helmet and on my motorcycle during this trip, and I’ll set it to take still photographs at regular 10-second intervals. I’ll set up a Flicker stream to share some the photos when I return — hopefully, I’ll get some cool ones. I’ve been testing the camera at home, scaring my dogs and cats by wandering around the house with a helmet on. Much better to get the equipment working in the safety of my home than to discover that it wasn’t working properly after a week of riding.
I have checked my gear, and I’m executing a few tweaks to make sure that the riding experience will be safe and comfortable. I’m adding suspender buttons to my riding pants. That may sound trivial, but it will make my life much easier at every stop. My Harley-Davidson Men’s FXRG® Leather & Textile Overpants zip to my Men’s FXRG® Midweight Leather Jacket, but when I take the jacket off, I have to devote one hand to keeping the overpants from hitting the pavement. It makes for some awkward shuffling, and will be easily fixed with a set of suspenders. I’ll be doing some minor repair, cleaning and alteration to much of my gear for this trip, much of it long overdue.
Mostly, though, I’ll be planning the trip itself. Here’s the route: I’ll fly in to New Orleans, Louisiana and pick up a Harley-Davidson Electra Glide at EagleRider Rentals. Then, north to Jackson, Mississippi; east to Demopolis, Alabama; east to Columbus, Georgia; south to Midway, Florida; back west to Fort Walton Beach, Florida; and back to New Orleans to return the bike and fly home. I will keep to the back roads and scenic routes along the way, avoiding the highways and chain restaurants for a more authentic experience, and of course, staying at BEST WESTERN Hotels every night. I’m hunting for interesting places to stop, great roadside attractions, beautiful scenery and great roads.
I can use your help: Any suggestions for things to see, places to eat, roads to ride along my route?