Feedback on cruising America on a motorcycle

Some of you may remember that I mentioned long ago of a plan to buy a RV and tour the complete IMSA circuit after I retired… well I retired last year, was looking into an RV, and even with a 30k down payment, financing the rest would of been 500 bucks a month for 15 years… we could afford that but after much thought didn’t want to waste that money… so… fast forward to today… researching motorcycle cross country cruising… I could pay cash for a 30k cruising motorcycle like the Honda Goldwing… and the thought is to go to each race, sleeping under the stars or in cheap hotel rooms across America…

anyone have a cruising MC, or ever done anything similar… just researching now… pros and cons?

thank in advance.


Biggest issue is choosing the correct bike. Do you have your heart on the goldwing, or just mulling it over? have you had much time on the goldwing before? 1 up or 2 up?

Then you need to work in maintenance schedules around your trip. Are any trips remote?

Definitely get country wide tow assistance if you break down or drop it.


I don’t have a bike but there are some great routes around the Arizona area. I-10, I-8 are the thru ways through the state, but Northern Arizona has some GREAT riding routes - Highway 40 through Kingman/Needles, and of course there’s Route 66. In college, I used to do a lot of road-trips in that area with my VW bug, and we’d “camp” in sleeping bags next to the car or inside the car itself if the weather was bad enough. Williams, AZ is a train town, if you’re into that sort of thing. It’s also a hop and a skip away from the Grand Canyon. Sedona, Prescott, Jerome, Cottonwood also have some great “cruising” roads, although it won’t be exactly on your way. Watch for traffic in Sedona, if you head there - LOTS of looky-loo tourists and not a lot of smart road designs makes this area dangerous.

If you happen to run through Tucson, look me up!

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Yeah, i’d go for something different too, although that is very much a matter of taste. Goldwings are heavy as ****, and they’re not cheap either.

just thinking now… have a Honda 750 shadow now… so it will be a upgrade and learning curve.

One of our former pilots took off and went on an Alaska motorcycling trip across the country a few years back. His was more of a sprint than a tour…33 days from Charlotte to Barrow, Alaska and back.

Pretty crazy trip - but it was one of those life goals for him. Sort of like my life goal to sail to the South Pacific in a Pacific Seacraft Flicka…maybe someday…

Anyway - I definitely think you should go for it. Life is short man…do the things that you want, and you worked damned hard to get to retirement.


Oh…and here is his blog on preps:

Hard to advise without knowing your two-wheeled experience and expectations. The best resource that I’ve found for motorcycle touring, with a slant towards adventure touring (but not limited to) is without a doubt is ADVRider. There are on-going tour blogs that you can follow from around the world to the Lewis and Clark trail on everything from a BMW GS1200 to a mini bike. There is probably not a question that hasn’t been asked that isn’t covered ad nauseam on this site. Equipment, bike, and hotel reviews. Downloadable GPS routes. Want to ride from Labrador to Tierra del Fuego on a moped? It’s probably already been done and blogged or vlogged on this site somewhere.

BTW, my longest trip was 3 mos, and I was a much younger man :slight_smile: Basically NE and SE US on a Suzuki 550. Was a long time before GPS and cell phones. Limit to weekend trips now. Best advice I can offer is always have a good rain suit, and never expect to find a hotel vacancy on a weekend.

I agree with all the above so far. 3 mos chipwich?! Wow. Here’s my two cents …

One of those BMW 1200cc GS’s are definitely on my wishlist. The beauty is that you can ride countryside trails with them.

I rode from Toronto to Vancouver and back (8800 km/5400 mi) in two weeks on a much less suitable 1100 cc bike when I was a lot younger and all I have to say is that life alone on the road alone gets … well … LONELY! Especially in campgrounds on Indian reserves where you’re the ONLY guy spending the night and there are a bunch of locals riding around in a pickup truck checking what you’re up to! I’ll definitely take a “wingman” if I ever do that again.

Also, if you don’t have anything else to do to pass the time between riding stints, then riding becomes your only hobby on the road, which isn’t the ideal scenario IMO. Oh, and keep an eye on your fuel! I don’t know about the US but in Canada there are looong stretches of road between gas stations. Luckily I only ran out of gas once, and a friend I’d made on the road towed me to the next gas station … he was riding a Goldwing BTW! One more thing … get to know the other riders you encounter on the road because a lot of them might be running the same route you are … and you’ll meet up with them again, and they’ll either bail you out of a problem or vice versa. I got to know four other riders in my measly two week stint alone! I think that’s the true definition of the term “brother” … I think the kids call them “bros” nowadays. :slight_smile:

Also, accommodations/food over an extended period of time can get pretty expensive if you can’t find a cheap campground/grocery store … and that includes staying at cheap motels!

I’ll stop rambling now … my two cents.


Sounds like an adventure @Linebacker - one of those things that will probably stick with you forever. You are right about lonely stuff being lonely. I’ve been on some extending solo camping and kayaking trips and was always struck by how “alone” alone was. LOL. It can be nice in some circumstances to get away from it all…but all you are left with is to tick over stuff in your own mind. (Which again, can be good…but can also not be good…). One of my last solo trip was to a swash in Death Valley - I turned around after the first night out because I just felt like without someone to share the trip, it wasn’t the same. Glad I’ve got a wife and kid now that want to go pretty much anywhere…LOL…(I say that now anyway)…

Thx for the info… my trips wouldn’t be months, would be more like a week or two for a race weekend then back home to recoup till the next one. :wink:

Oh heck…you don’t need a motorcycle…you need one of these!


Ahhh, good ol’ Piper Cub. :slight_smile:

Also, DO NOT bring a book called “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance” to read on one of your trips. A friend recommended it to me and it only seemed to amplify the loneliness because it was slowly driving me insane. :grin:

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Likewise - don’t bring The Stand when climbing a 14,000’ + peak in the winter. Or if you do, just tear the first 1/4 of the book out…unless you were planning to be stranded by a storm for weeks on end.


Your Piper Cub post just reminded me that I should’ve put the logo on the rudder and NOT the stabilizer!

That “rubby” piece at the front has to get sanded off too! …

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Is that a model or R/C?

I really don’t want to derail Magnum’s post about Motorcycling but …

R/C. Only the tail section survived the first flight/crash. I keep it as a reminder to always do a thorough pre-flight/trip inspection. There was an aileron switch in the reverse position (!) that I overlooked.


Back on topic, and back to the bike. If you are unsure on the bike, then use some of the posts above to nail down a few generic types for touring.

Bikes as you know magnum are more than just a tool for the job. You want to feel happy on it, with its performance, looks and sound. So i would after getting a few models in mind, ring up the dealerships and test ride a bunch. specifically ones with different seating postions. Personally for my old back, hunching over a tank for long hours does me in. But you have upright sitting and legs forward.

Depending on your body size and motorbike styling, some will be more comfortable than others, the only way to know is to test drive and imagine being like that for 2 hours (your typical touring driving stretch before refuelling or stretching your legs)

Also think about where you will be parking and how you are going to deal with the bike. I guess a lot of race fields have grassy areas for you to camp on. Riding a big bike like a goldwing on a large grassy padock and then ensuring the stand doesn’t sink into damp soil overnight toppling your bike, is a real consideration.

The seating position, performance and style are the main considerations for you to look into. I am not saying don’t go for the goldwing, it will make long motorway drives a pleaure, plus no car will miss you. Just take all factors into mind.

All touring bikes have paniers or saddle bags, and todays personal tech will give you refinements that you don’t need a specialsed bike for. With a quick power connector your phone will do music, gps, communications.

You can get blue tooth headsets like the sena10c that does everything from camera (which i highly recommend for any rider) sinking up your phone, music and wireless communication with other riders (really great if you get a buddy to go along with you or chat to your missus on the back)

Due to these great gadgets, you can have great refinements on any bike.

But test drive and seating position for 2 hour stints is the best thing i can recommend

Thx, ya, going to San Diego for my dads military reunion in later April… already got a HD touring bike, easy glide or something like that rented for a day to take down the coast… a good test drive, will also research and test drive, won’t upgrade my bike till near the end of the year.

thx again. (the most active answers of any forum I asked in… nice job.) :wink:


I suppose it also depends on if this is going to be a year round type out and back type thing (?). In that case, you’d probably want something with all those bells and whistles like heated handgrips and stuff like that (I’m assuming that motorcycles have those like snowmobiles do).

And I guess another consideration (regarding size and type of bike) is if you EVER plan to take anyone with you.

As for saving money on hotels…check this out!

I wonder how towing something with a motorcycle is. Seems like it could add an extra component of danger though…