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Thread: My first motorcycle camping trip.

  1. #1

    My first motorcycle camping trip.

    I bought a 1986 Intruder 800 in 88.
    I took a trip to Louisville Kentucky. To the Streetrod Nationals.
    First trip by motorcycle I ever took, camping 4 nights. Two in
    KOA's one at a Ar. campground, near Buffalo River. Before Cell phones.
    I told the wife I would call. Went to the Campground Office. Pay phone
    was damaged. So when Park Ranger came by, asked him to please call my
    wife, and tell her I made it OK. Sure he said. But when, He called he started the
    conversation with " Hello, Mrs. Morgan this is Ranger (-----), in Ar. MY wife almost
    had a heart attack, thinking Mike is in a ditch in Ar. He has had a wreck......

    He said your husband ask me to call you and say he made it OK..... Her blood pressure
    came down a little. LOL LOL



    I put up a two man tent in a KOA in KY., right across from the campground pay phone.
    I got to hear the horse Trainer, tell the racehorse Owner why the horse did not win the Race.
    I got to hear the same story, 5 times.....LOL Then I went to sleep.... Most Fun Trip I ever had on a bike..... at the time
    Riding with no time set, going, stopping, eating, when ever I wanted. Scary how much fun it was. LOL

    Buttset from Mo.

  2. #2

    Re: My first motorcycle camping trip.

    First time was with girlfriend (later wife). Two up on the bike with a backpacker's tent and what ever else I had laying around. No reservations and when we got to where we wanted to go we found out that there was an Indian Pow-wow that weekend there. So of course we couldn't find a place to camp but while stopping to eat at a small diner the girl behind the counter said there was a small place up the road... Ended up camping in a yard in the small tent that was too small to fit both of us into that we could actually see through it was so thin. Had to go out side to get dressed in the morning. Only time we used that tent! 'The rest is history' as they say.
    2014 Ultra Limited, 2017 RAH, 2006 Kompact Kamp
    ABATE, HOG, IBMC,
    VVA, VFW, American Legion, NRA

  3. #3

    Re: My first motorcycle camping trip.

    My first motorcycle camping trip would have been overnight rides when I was stationed at Fort Carson Colorado. Most of the time it was just my army sleeping bag strapped on. My first multi day motocamping trip would have been after I moved to Juneau Alaska. I rode my new 1976 CB750 to Valdez Alaska to visit my brother. It was also my first time on the Alcan, back when it was all dirt.Click image for larger version. 

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    GL1800 & KLR650 Mine 2009 Rollahome
    GL1500 & XR650L Hers
    IBA #66870

  4. #4

    Re: My first motorcycle camping trip.

    Here is a little post about my first motorcycle camping trip that I put on Adventure Rider.

    My First Adventure Ride

    It was the mid-summer of 1976 and my boss says you have a week’s worth of vacation, you need to use it by Labor Day or lose it. Well I guess I have to take a vacation … what to do? I could go hunting, deer season opens in August… no, I like waiting until snow for tracking… Well I have a new 1976 Honda CB750 I could go to Valdez, Alaska to see my older brother but I can’t go until a couple days before Labor Day weekend, might be chilly.
    It’s decided I am going to take my first motorcycle trip. I will take the Alaska ferry from Juneau to Haines, Alaska. Then I’ll ride the Haines Highway to the Alcan and follow it to Tok, then hang a left to Glenallen and finally to Valdez. What could go wrong … I am a 24 year old Army vet with a can-do attitude. I have a new bike.

    I started getting my travel gear together.
    Stock tool kit… check.
    My pump and tire patches off my 10 speed bicycle… check.
    My 3-4 person Northface tent… check.
    My 20 below Northface sleeping bag… check.
    My army mess kit and a POS stove… check.
    Juneau sneakers … looks like a good touring boot… check.


    Click image for larger version. 

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    Down parka … check.
    Woolrich Malone hunting pants … check.
    Helly Hansen Highliner commercial fisherman rain gear … check.
    Waterproof Army stuff sack with electrical tape on the holes for all my touring gear … check.
    For trip planning I made a few copies of the map pages from the Milepost … check.

    Looks like I have all the required touring gear… check.

    I am ready to go on an Adventure Ride :-)

  5. #5

    Re: My first motorcycle camping trip.

    The day finally arrived and I arrived at the ferry terminal in the middle of the night at the appointed time, O dark-thirty. It was my first trip on the ferry and it was enjoyable. We docked in Haines after a five hour ferry ride and my adventure started. I topped off my gas tank in Haines. As I was riding out of town I noticed a man in a uniform running out of a shed yelling at me… what the heck? It appears I was trying to evade customs…. What, no sir I am just wanting to go see my brother in Valdez. Well after giving me crap and searching me, I was free to go on my Adventure Ride.

    For those of you that have driven in or out of Haines on what currently is a beautifully paved road, that isn’t how it was in 1976. The Haines Highway was dirt starting at the edge of town and was flooded from the river. I followed a pick-up truck for a mile with two inebriated guys in the back (including the driver), trolling for salmon with fishing poles. As the road started to climb to the summit it was wall-to-wall switchbacks and foggy. I couldn’t see anything. The guy at Customs had warned me about all the truck traffic on the road and to stay clear on switchbacks. Guess what I ran into on a switchback in the fog… I don’t think the semi even knew I was there. I ended up off the road in the brush. I was okay but pissed and scared. I could have died on that mountain side not 50 miles into the trip… what am I doing?!

    I got my bike out of the ditch and continued on. Eventually I crested the summit, and a short while later rode out of the fog. The view stunned me - it was amazing and terrifying at the same time.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    As the day wore on it started raining… mud, mud, mud. I stopped and ate some trail mix a couple times, but I was getting hungry. As I approached Dezadeash Lake I could smell food! I pulled into an old roadhouse at the south end of the lake. I walked in with mud from my boots to the top of my helmet and asked the lady if she would serve me. She grimaced and said yes, but sit at the table closest to the door. I said thanks and asked if I could use the washroom to wash my visor, again she grimaced and said yes. I had a hamburger and a Coke so I had a new lease on life and hit the road again.

  6. #6

    Re: My first motorcycle camping trip.

    Just as I neared Haines Junction, the rain stopped and the scenery of the St. Elias Mountains and Kluane Lake was wonderful. It was on this day that I fell in love with the Yukon.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    While stopping for gas in Haines Junction I asked the attendant about camping up the road. He mentioned a campsite around Destruction Bay, and another one I had seen in the Milepost near Beaver Creek. It was here that I joined the Alcan highway for the first of my 29 motorcycle trips on this amazing road. The Alcan in this area followed the terrain of the rolling hills (unlike the flat road it is today). The section had been freshly graded so the gravel was loose and rocks were flying as vehicles passed. It was here that I learned to slow down and stop for approaching traffic. I was scooting along at 55-60 mph and met a semi heading south, which threw a rock that hit me on the shinbone … OMG that hurt!

    Some miles up the road I crested one of the high spots. I thought I saw something a few rolling hills ahead. Due to the fresh grading I had to stay in the packed tire tracks and could run about 60 mph. As I crested a rise I found out what was in the road. A big grizzly bear was standing on its hind legs in my tire track and I was going fast. I was weighing my options: If I stopped to turn around the bear would eat me. If I got out of the tire track I’d crash in the loose gravel and the bear would eat me. If I stayed in the tire track I would hit the bear and the bear would eat me. Do you see a theme here?

    As I approached the bear I pulled the clutch and revved the engine, honked the horn and screamed as if my life depended on it. The bear dropped to all fours and stepped out of my tire track. We passed each other by a few feet OMG I am still alive! What a first day it’s been but it’s not over yet. I need to find a campsite for the night.

    As I passed Destruction Bay I gassed the bike up but did not see a campsite, so I kept going to the one noted in the Milepost and found it late that afternoon. It had been a long day with having to check-in at the ferry in Juneau at midnight the day before, but my day wasn’t over yet.

    As I pulled into the campground I didn’t see anyone. That’s odd, maybe it’s due to it being later in the year? Nope, I figured out why it was empty. Bears! One grizzly charged at me from an overturned trash bin and three others were closing in. I was thankful I grew up riding dirt bikes because I was racing through campsites and bushes, trying to get out of there with a string of pissed off bears chasing me.

    I kept riding and soon passed Beaver Creek, then decided I would keep going as long as I could get gas. Soon I was across the US border and onto a patch of pavement. I turned the wick up to near 100 mph but it was short lived. I suddenly came upon a little rise and instantly was at US customs. I skidded to a stop and the agent immediately said “pull over there”. Oh crap. They searched me, they searched my belongings and they took my bike apart. They pulled my seat off, they pulled my gas tank off, they pulled side covers off, they pulled my hand grips off. After an hour they said I was free to go but to slow down. I stood there looking at my bike and gear scattered around the parking lot. I spent another hour putting my bike back together and packing my gear up. What a first day it’s been.

  7. #7

    Re: My first motorcycle camping trip.

    I crossed the Tanana River and pushed on to Tok.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    I decided to call it a day in Tok. As I pulled into Young’s Chevron to gas up I pulled off my rain slicker, pants and parka so I could use the rest room. I was swarmed with bugs. When I came back to the bike the bugs were even worse. I changed my mind about camping here and pushed on, hoping to find a place to stop with less bugs!

    I turned onto the Tok Cutoff (the Glenn hwy) and the pavement ended. It was rough construction with grapefruit sized layers of rock most of the way to Glennallen. A few miles in I rode up behind an old station wagon with their load stacked on top like the Beverly Hillbillies. They had three kids in the back window waving like little kids do when they see a motorcycle. As I started to pass, their gas tank fell onto the ground. We all stopped to check it out. It hadn’t leaked and the fuel line was still there, but the mounting straps had rusted through and the rough road had taken its toll. I asked him if he had some wire or rope to tie it back up. He said they didn’t have anything and kept saying he had a pipeline job starting on Monday he could not turn back. I dug in my gear and pulled all the guy lines from my tent and a bit of baling wire, so we were able to raise the tank back into position. I followed them all the way to The Hub gas station in Glennallen and waved goodbye after filling up. It was now dark and I pushed on because I could no longer set up my tent.

  8. #8

    Re: My first motorcycle camping trip.

    My plan was to do this 700 mile ride in two days. I had planned to call my brother from Glennallen to set up a meeting place. It’s late and I’m only 115 miles away... I’ll push on. I remembered my brother saying I’d drive by a glacier and Thompson pass. Gee would I miss them in the dark? Yup. I knew I was close to a glacier because I was freezing. In those days the Worthington glacier was a stones throw off the highway.

    As I entered Valdez at 3am I’m exhausted and trying to remember my brother’s directions to his friend’s travel trailer he was staying in. This is during the pipeline building boom and everyone with a shack was renting it for top dollar. He said I would cross a set of railroad tracks - bump bump – that must be them. Oh I see the fuel distributor on the left, he said that. Next he said look on the left for a house that a banker would have, yup I see a fancy house. I see a travel trailer in the back, yup… hey, there’s a light on in the trailer. Knock knock - hi bro, you’re not going to believe the ride I had :-) I made it! I think it was the longest day of my life until I started doing Ironbutt rides years later.

    After relaxing a few days and playing tourist I started back home to Juneau. I’ve always said when you reach your destination you’re only halfway there, and this trip was far from over. My brother recommended I take the Richardson highway because it was paved and skip the Tok Cutoff due to the construction, so I did. With paved road I made short work of getting to Tok. The weather was a nice early fall day and fall colors were out, but things had cooled a bit the last few days. I had picked up more para cord so I was able to use my tent and camped in a campground near Tok.

    Click image for larger version. 

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  9. #9

    Re: My first motorcycle camping trip.

    My first motorcycle camping trip was only several hours away at Geneva-on-the-Lake Ohio.

    (Not so much motorcycle as motorscooter. I was on a Vespa ET4.)

    I was already familiar with the area so it wasn't a far away journey to a far away place. It was more like a practice overnighter in preperation for longer trips I hoped to make in the future. It was about three hours from home on the highways, but I intentionally took an off-highway route (150cc's of raw scooter power ya know) that bought it up to about 5 hours.

    Overall, the trip was fun, and as usual for a beginner motorcycle camper, I overpacked. I wasn't a novice at camping, but it was the big-tent-inna-car type of camping.

    The most valuable experience I took home was a hard lesson in making sure I was equipped for a good night's sleep. I bought along an inexpensive foam roll up camping mat to save room and after the first half-hour it felt not quite, but very close to sleeping on a slab of cold concrete. I slept miserably. Actually, I barely slept at all.

    I bought up a blow-up mattress as soon as I got home.

    Other lessons were to be learned on later trips...Like how a that inflatable mattress was comfortable, but did little to insulate from the cold ground. I spent another miserable night somewhere in Iowa learning that little gem.

    By now I've long established a good tried-and-true setup for packing and I've acquired the right gear for getting a good night's sleep, but it was hard won knowledge.
    I don't need a compass to know which way the wind shines.


  10. #10
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    Re: My first motorcycle camping trip.

    Quote Originally Posted by BigBob View Post
    My first motorcycle camping trip would have been overnight rides when I was stationed at Fort Carson Colorado. Most of the time it was just my army sleeping bag strapped on. My first multi day motocamping trip would have been after I moved to Juneau Alaska. I rode my new 1976 CB750 to Valdez Alaska to visit my brother. It was also my first time on the Alcan, back when it was all dirt.Click image for larger version. 

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    That was The BOSS Bike back in the day...loved the 750...green with envy....definitely a camping trip that would either make ya or break ya....

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