Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Tis the Season for Planning and Reflection

The new riding season is fast approaching. Actually it is here, it has been an unusually mild winter for us Noreasters, but for me winter is a time for rest and rejuvenation of wanting to get back on the FJR.

The payments have been made and anxiously waiting for 2 rally towels for the GLMC USA Tour and Smoke Chasing 2012 Grand Tour.

The USA tour this year is capturing the town name on some object (building, park bench, water tower) other than a post office or town limit signs for towns that begin with U S or A. Here is a map of potential locations to grab for our trip to Florida.

Gotta be careful when ordering from the menu, one just might order more than they can chew, so I have heard

The Smoke Chasing Tour benefits Eddie's Road , a charitable organization centering on stopping the cycle of child abuse. This year tour will have a winner versus last year.. All of us will have to watch our waistlines even more, since they added joints with Smoke in their name.

We are heading for Florida this May to nail the IBA Silver Certificate National Park Tour. This will be my third tour and have been saying my last NP tour. This does not mean I will stop visiting National Parks, just means the FJR doesn’t have to be how we arrive at the visitor center. While I was at the NPS Motorcycle Touring forum, one of the posters said they were doing the IBA Lighthouse Tour. And I thought I was running out of places to go. Maybe this won't be the last NPT.

In the lower 48 states, I have only 5 states that I need to visit on a bike, North and South Dakota, Texas, New Mexico and Arizona.

Thinking back, the first Park Tour was easy to plan. I had a MapSource waypoint file with all the visitor center and affiliate sites east of the Mississippi. I simply had to create a route between each point and push the results to the GPS. The next one got a little more complicated, because I decided to throw in National Historic Landmarks into the mix. When planning these trips, it is easy to simply connect the dots with a line, but when it comes to execution, Time and Distance (mainly time) act as constraints. No point showing up at Flight 93 Visitor Center at 9:43pm, it is probably closed. Also traveling extensively at night has become a risky situation we are no longer willing to take. Our little mishap in Clyde Park, Montana has made us more aware of the risks.

Our trip in the spring will encompass the NP Visitor Centers and the Landmarks, but I have thrown in the USA Tour and Smoke Chasing 2012 GT waypoints into the pot. Sure has complicated the planning and has increased the miles from around 3,000 miles to 4,200 miles. Kind of like our national debt it just keeps going up. Still in the "connect the dots" phase. I develped a nifty spreadsheet that allows me to plan on arrival times, gas stops, and visit times. A write up of this is HERE.

We have 9 states from the west, so we need an additional 16 states to finish up our NP tour. That will be a shoe in. In addition, Smoke Chasing has a side menu (extra points) called the 15/15/15, which is 15 joints in 15 states in 15 days. We will be shooting for this. West Virginia has limited BBQ places to select from, so does Delaware on the path we are taking. States will be MA, RI, CT, NY, NJ, DE, MD, WDC, VA, NC, SC, GA, FL, AL, TN, WV and PA. That is 17 states, and 2 of those have a problem. We just may find ourselves heading for Mississippi and Kentucky for BBQ places. If this is the case I just might have to call into work and say I will be a little late returning back from vacation. Of course if we hit the lottery, we just might make it to those 5 states that I have not done.

Every winter I ponder if I just finished my last riding season. One of these years will be the last one, but everytime I start planning an extended route, the aniticpation and excitement that riding brings comes rushing back in. I guess this year is not the last one.

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