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; here’s for hoping.
This is my list as it stands today, in no particular order:
Daniel Boone Backcountry Byway (DBBB)
Officially opened in spring of 2016, the DBBB is a (roughly) 100 mile loop around the Red River Gorge area of Eastern Kentucky. While parts of this route are paved, sections of the DBBB are extremely rugged, including a multitude of creek crossings among other dual sport and OHV obstacles. Incidentally, I actually rode a few short sections of this route while wandering through the gorge with my buddy in November of 2016. Per my comments about “Rugged”, while on Spaas Creek road we decided to turn back, fearing the road ahead may be blocked or impassable. Upon the discovery of the DBBB, it was evident that Spaas Creek does in fact connect from end to end, at which point I vowed that I would traverse that road in its entirety, along with the rest of the DBBB route that happens to be smack dab in the middle of my favorite riding area. Considering that the DBBB is still relatively new, I struggled to find decent images of the trails. Fortunately, through the help of Instagram, I linked up with a fellow Kentucky Adventurer, @cdalejef, to get some good muddy photos.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
“Iron Butt” motorcycle Challenge
I have high hopes for finishing 1000 miles in less than 24 hours this year. Along with a list of other items I missed in 2014, plans fell through on an Iron Butt ride last year. I may discover that riding 1000 miles in a day is an awful idea and I’ll never do it again; however I find 400 mile days still leave me wanting more, so we’ll see what happens. For those interested get over to ironbutt.com for rides and details. Even for folks that aren’t interested in timed long distance riding, there is a wealth of advice on their website; great input from the most dedicated riders.
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.