“A journey of a thousand miles begins with s single step.” This Chinese proverb is so appropriate for my upcoming cross-country motorcycle trip this summer! I’m still working on the itinerary, but the general scope of direction is to travel The Great Northern (Hwy 2) east from Acadia Natl Park to Washington state along the historic pioneer railroad route. From there, I plan to take the Pacific Coast Highway south, then pick up Route 66 in California and follow it east to Chicago. The journey entails over 10,000 miles and approximately three and a half months of time. The beauty of travelling alone is that if it stops being fun, I can head back home at any time- no harm, no foul!
With the Chinese proverb echoing in my head, I hooked up my new-to-me motorcycle pop-up camper and went camping at a local campground for a shake-out trip. I bought a second-hand Leesure-Lite motorcycle camper in the fall, but hadn’t had a chance to take it out camping yet, so I broke it in a few days ago at Smith Lake Campground at Fort Bragg. I haven’t installed the hitch and wiring harness onto my motorcycle yet, so I towed it with the truck for this outing.
I prefer to travel light and agile, but my “seasoned” body no longer tolerates sleeping on the ground without significant padding nor is getting dressed lying down painless. My little camper allows me to travel with a very comfy bed, ample space to stand up and move around inside, and even enough storage space for luxuries like a table, chair, and cooking supplies.
The camper came with an awning and 7×7 foot screened in porch, but I discovered upon trying to set it up that the poles would not stay up, so I had to scratch that part of set-up and add it to the “need to square away list.” And that’s why we do a shake-out trip!
I also learned that I need to adjust my weight distribution. Not a problem when towing with the truck, but the way the camper handles will be critical when being towed behind two wheels. The general rule of thumb for motorcycle camper towing is to not exceed 50% of motorcycle weight. My bike’s wet weight (ie, with gas, oil, etc.) is about 834 lbs, so that means I shouldn’t exceed 417 lbs. I towed my fully loaded camper to a local landfill scale and discovered it is roughly 390 lbs. Not much wiggle room, so I’ll have to really re-evaluate WHAT I’m packing. Add to that the tongue weight (ie, downward force the tongue of the trailer puts on the hitch) guideline of 9-14% of total trailer weight, and I’ll also have to re-evaluate HOW I’m packing. Whew, good thing I took this single step now instead of later!
Now, back to planning and experimenting. . .