And just like that, it was November. I’m not sure who’s running the weather these days, but there seemed to be hard shift from summer to winter here in the mid-west. Between that and the wife’s health, October riding all but went out the window (with one, caveat… stay tuned). As I’m hording the last couple hours of vacation time I have left, now seemed as good a time as any to update the Moto Bucket List considering I’ve checked off a couple major items this year (Ride 365 and the DBBB).
Looking back over the last year and a half or so, I’m amazed at how my taste in riding has evolved so heavily. I said it before when describing the perfect ride, but now more than ever, the more remote, the less traveled, the better I like the road. At this point, the term “road” is even subjective. That statement alone had me considering removing select items from the bucket list as I feel certain destinations are much further in the future; simply because, like everyone else, I only have so many days off work each year. Despite that initial reaction, I’ve decided to leave those items in place, in the hopes that I can perhaps string a few of them together in one trip. That said, having checked off two more items from the list, it’s time to set new goals.
Route 66, New Mexico
Similar to comments above about time off, I skipped out on a family vacation this spring. Coming home from New Mexico, my nephew bought me a patch for Route 66 as a gift from the trip I missed. I caught a short section of Route 66 near Barstow driving a 5-ton truck in a former life, but I’ve never ridden it on a motorcycle. For that reason, I don’t think it’s fair to put such a patch on any of my motorcycle gear until I’ve “earned” it. Thus, I’m putting Route 66 (New Mexico) on the Moto Bucket List, on the “advice” of my 4-year-old nephew. I actually need a little help in this department, I know very little about New Mexico, or Route 66 for that matter, so I would love to hear from the readers regarding the best place to visit on Route 66 in the New Mexico area. I’m sure there’s a “to die for” diner (or dive) that is right up my alley; if you know such a place, please leave a comment below!
Mid-Atlantic Backcountry Discovery Route (MABDR)
It goes without saying I’m a member of several “adventure” groups on Facebook; early this year I started seeing posts about this new “Adventure Ride” nearby. Unbeknownst to me, Backcountry Discovery Routes (501c3) has put great effort into building various adventure routes together all over the country. Needless to say, these routes are easier to put together out west where the country is more sparsely populated, but they’ve finally published a new route here on the east coast. Starting right on the New York/Pennsylvania border, the MABDR runs south through the Keystone state, Maryland, West Virginia, and on through Virginia with a tiny section of Tennessee. Per my comments to Ted from the Motorcycle Men Podcast, in 2019 I want to focus on the KAT, but after tackling the best of the Bluegrass, the MABDR seems like the next logical, extended, off-road excursion.
Mount Mitchell, North Carolina
While I’ve not yet had a chance to chronicle my trip to deal’s gap this year (or last year for that matter), it did include a day trip to Sassafras Mountain, South Carolina. It’s kind of silly thing, but I like seeing the highest points in each state. Ohio’s highest point is kind of a joke (Bellefontaine, not far from Dayton); Indiana’s is even more so, which I’ve actually yet to see, but I’m sure I’ll wander out past Greenville to pick that one up at some point. In this case, Mount Mitchell is not only the highest point in North Carolina, but also the highest point of the Appalachian Mountains. Somehow I have shockingly not visited this point in North Carolina, despite my annual pilgrimage to Deal’s Gap each fall. This goal is actually a bit deeper than usual; beyond wanting to ride to the highest point in North Carolina (and potentially each U.S. State), I am also working toward a plan for a long vacation with my dad. While he hasn’t set an official date yet, I expect my dad to hang it up and finally retire in the next two years or so. There’s no question that my taste for all-day riding began when I started joining my dad on rides to see my grandma in Kentucky. While I was overseas he spent a week on the road, riding from Dayton to see my aunt in Florida; he talks about that ride frequently, wanting to do it again before his riding days are over. I’ve casually been laying out destinations for such a ride, and I think the full length of the Blue Ridge Parkway, along with visiting Mount Mitchell is a good start.
Mount Evans Scenic Byway
If you’re keeping up with the Moto Bucket List at all, it’s obvious I want to set goals and continue to expand how and where I ride. At last count, I’ve now ridden in 13 states, only one of which is west of the Mississippi River. As I have been steadily picking off the Appalachian states, I’ve started looking west for future destinations, specifically Colorado. The Centennial State is merely an Iron Butt ride from Dayton, so ideally I would be riding across the plains to visit some of the legendary mountain passes. While I’m at it, why not hit the Mount Evans Scenic Byway, the tallest paved road in North America? Essentially an access road to Mount Evans, the scenic byway gains 7,000 feet in elevation, taking motorists up to 14,130 feet. I suspect I better plan in some time to acclimate beforehand…
North East 24 Hour Challenge
Closing out 365 straight riding days (the streak continues for now), I mentioned the North East 24 Hour Challenge. Per all my comments about “extreme” motorcycling, I want to take off-road riding to the next level. After catching Steve Kamrad’s coverage of NE24 the last two years, this is unquestionably a rally I want to ride in. NE24 has classes for riders based on skill and age range, and riders can also sign-up as a team or join the “Iron Man (or Woman)” division. Starting at 10 AM, riders take on a wooded off-road course that makes about a 10 mile loop. Riders carry a “transponder” on the course, and in the end, the riders (or team) with the most laps around the course in 24, non-stop, hours win their class.