Some people give me a hard time when I say I have a “bucket list”, but seriously, if you have goals, write them down. It’s proven that written goals are more likely to be achieved. Long time followers of the blog know that I have managed to pick off a few of these over time, refreshing this list with new challenges after others are completed.
This is my list as it stands today, in no particular order:
The Kentucky Adventure Tour (KAT)
Incidentally, I stumbled across the DBBB while looking into the KAT on ADVrider. As it turns out, portions of the DBBB and KAT overlap in the northern parts of Red River Gorge. The KAT is a (roughly) 900 mile loop around eastern Kentucky, including the previously mentioned parts of Red River Gorge, Black Mountain (the highest point in Kentucky), Kentucky coal country, and even parts of Virginia and Tennessee. From what I have read, over half of the route is unpaved, and that amount is increasing with each passing month. Similar to the DBBB, “Overlanders” are scouting old, rural, public roads that are legally passable by motorcycle and adding additional sections to the route. Optional “Hard” sections are also available on the loop; it is suggested that these sections should only be attempted by experienced offroaders and typically require proper dirt-oriented machines. I’m hoping that a “dry run” through the DBBB prepares me for the challenges I will face on the KAT with Rosie the Scrambler. From my experience thus far, it’s all fun and games until water is involved. I suspect I may get to the DBBB this year, however it’s going to take about a week’s vacation to traverse the KAT in its entirety.
Key West, FL
I’ve been to Key West a couple times already, via boat. Key West is a cool party town, not sure I’d ever want to live there, but I’ve always had a good time. I’m put under the impression by my co-workers I’m a bit of an extremist; that might explain why I want to ride from coast to coast on a motorcycle. If not in a “C2C Iron Butt challenge”, I still want to ride the causeway all the way to Key West. Hopefully I’ll find some sweet places to grab some grub on the keys on the way down.
The Bun Burner Gold
After completing a Saddle Sore 1000, the next “rung” on the Iron Butt Association ladder is the Bun Burner 1500. Operating under similar rules to the Saddle Sore 1000, to certify a Bun Burner 1,500 a rider must document a 1,500 mile ride in less than 36 hours. That challenge has another level of difficulty called the Bun Burner Silver, documenting a 1,500 mile ride in under 30 hours, and a final tier of difficulty called the Bun Burner Gold (BBG), for completing 1,500 miles in less than 24 hours. Completing the ride on the Scrambler (or similar bike) is going to be incredibly challenging considering the sheer number of fuel stops, however the current record for most fuel stops is 21, I’d like to think I can keep it under twenty and still finish in time. I’ve looked at several maps laying out plans for possible BBG routes and have contemplated combining the southernmost point and the BBG into one ride. If I head far enough east, I can grab gas outside of Pittsburgh and head south to Key West; top off my tank in the Conch Republic and have a beer waiting for me at Sloppy Joe’s, logging just a hair over 1,500 miles in one day. I’d like to think I won’t have to twist too many arms to get someone to meet me in Key West for a long weekend to be my documented “end witness” when I roll up after a ride like that.
Located in the Presidential Range of the White Mountain in New Hampshire, Mount Washington is the second highest peak in the Appalachian Mountains at 6,288 ft. (Mount Mitchel, 6,684 ft.). The mountain is legendary for erratic weather. In April, 1934, the Mount Washington Observatory recorded a wind speed of 231 miles per hour at the summit, the world record until Cyclone Olivia in 1996. While I don’t think I’m a “High Pointer” just yet, I can’t deny the allure of visiting the second highest place east of the Mississippi River.
Route 66, New Mexico
Coming home from from his vacation in 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. 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
It’s kind of silly thing, but I like seeing the highest points in each state. 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 evolution of this Moto Bucket List, 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, 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.
I took a trip out to Vegas for work a few years back; while there the wife and I had big plans to rent a bike and ride out to Hoover Dam. Naturally, that was the one day it rained in Nevada. To my surprise, I truly enjoyed Las Vegas, and intend to return someday, if I’m lucky it’s be on two wheels. Hoover Dam is on the way, certainly there’s some history to see there as well.
The Grand Canyon
I’m told I visited the Grand Canyon around age 3; I remember nothing. Having traveled abroad, thanks to Uncle Sam, I am of the mindset that you can see pretty much anything you’re looking for right here at home. I hated the desert when I was in the Middle East, now I’ve come to despise the snow in Ohio; suddenly I’m convinced Arizona would be perfect for me. Grand Canyon by motorcycle seems like an excellent plan to prove the point.
Devils Tower, Wyoming
I probably watched Close Encounters of the Third kind at way too young of an age. Either way, Devil’s tower is yet another western landmark on the bucket list; if for no other reason than it is right smack in the middle of prime motorcycle real-estate. Devils Tower is probably just over an hour from Sturgis, SD; while I find most people are extremely hot and cold about the Sturgis Rally, the Black Hills and surrounding areas are loaded with good rides.
Bonneville Salt Flats, Utah
Speed… The fastest that man has traveled on Earth is Bonneville. If the World’s Fastest Indian comes on TV, I’m pretty much chained to the couch for 2 hours; captivated and pondering dreams of breaking land speed records on my own contraption.
Prudhoe Bay, Alaska
Closely related to Key West, Prudhoe Bay is the other side of the coin as the northern most point (well… almost). After reading several articles about Iron Butt competitors racing from Key West to Alaska, I put Prudhoe Bay on the list. At a minimum I want to ride to Alaska and see Denali.
Barber Vintage Motorcycle Museum
The world’s largest motorcycle museum located near Birmingham, AL. Triumph actually hosted their dealer conference there during Barber Vintage Days the past three years; I was really hoping to go, just wasn’t in the cars. I don’t believe that Triumph will be on site going forward, but that’s no reason not to see Vintage Days. Beyond the festival, Barber Motor Speedway is also on the grounds. The museum houses around 1,200 motorcycles from all over the world; dating from 1904 to present. While I still have hopes of seeing the National Motorcycle Museum, I still see Barber as the better destination.