The Lost Adventure https://www.thelostadventure.com The UK's #1 American bike hire and touring experts Tue, 12 Nov 2019 18:30:12 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.2.4 https://www.thelostadventure.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/cropped-favicon-1-32x32.png The Lost Adventure https://www.thelostadventure.com 32 32 5 Bars to wet your whistle! https://www.thelostadventure.com/5-bars-to-wet-your-whistle/ https://www.thelostadventure.com/5-bars-to-wet-your-whistle/#respond Tue, 12 Nov 2019 18:29:52 +0000 https://www.thelostadventure.com/?p=9133 I love a good bar to wind down in at the end of the day on the road – not always as session but a couple beers and a chance to meet the locals. I have to confess a weakness for both dive bars and bar maids with more tattoos than me .. and I…

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I love a good bar to wind down in at the end of the day on the road – not always as session but a couple beers and a chance to meet the locals. I have to confess a weakness for both dive bars and bar maids with more tattoos than me .. and I have a few. Bars must have character for me and the following 5 all tick the boxes required for me so check them out.

The Jackalope, Austin, TX.
The Jackalope – Austins favourite dive bar – they proudly proclaim themselves – well it’s certainly mine. Part way along Austins busy 6th Street which is awash with live music bars is this great bar. I’m a fan of dive bars generally and they don’t get better than this. Dark and slightly spooky with signature drinks such as the Kentucky Corpse Reviver and Fuego Bandito I think you get the picture. Great food and often live music. Great place to start or end your night on the town in Austin.

Hogs & Heifers, Las Vegas, NV.
It’s fair to say you won’t struggle to find good bars in Vegas (my other close favourite being Atomic Liquors) but Hogs and Heifers off of ol’ Fremont Street is in a whole league of it’s own. Think how sleazy you thought Coyote Ugly was and then take it down a few notches! Proper biker bar, decked out in beer mats, sawdust etc. Hogs Pi** is the shot of choice although don’t ask what’s in it! Be aware you must have ID to get in even if you’re 90. Bar maids in hot pants who sporadically line dance on the bar … I go every time I’m in Vegas.

St Elmo Bar, Bisbee, AZ.
Another locals bar – and a very quirky bar in a very quirky town! Only a couple minutes walk from great Copper Queen Hotel this is another quality dive bar. Memorabilia on the walls includes guns, pictures and “wildlife” dating back hundred of years. Good selection of local beers (Bisbee has a couple breweries) as well as the usuals and theres a very good chance you’ll end up playing pool against the locals while some good ol’ tunes are coming out of the juke box.

Bobs Bar & Grill, Buckeye Lake, OH.
When I stopped here the bar had no name .. and no grill .. I doubt if it has a grill still! A locals come biker bar I came across purely by chance seeing the flashing Budweiser sign in the window as I walked from my motel into town for food. My whole stop that evening was pure chance as I had overstayed a visit during the day and stopped in this town on its name alone. Certainly not a fancy bar but the locals are friendly, love travellers and I didn’t buy many drinks … and my evening meal was one of the biggest and best subs I’ve ever had which came from the “shed” next door which also didn’t have a sign …

Matts Saloon, Prescott, AZ.
Prescott – one of my favourite places in Arizona to visit and it still has a street named Whiskey Row which is predominantly all bars going back to its frontier town days. Matts Saloon has been there in one form or other for years. Popular with locals as well as visitors its a great busy night out. The only place I’ve had my short whistled down the bar to me like they do in the Westerns – I even caught it! Always worth a visit if I’m in town.

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5 Diners you shouldn’t miss ! https://www.thelostadventure.com/5-diners-you-shouldnt-miss/ https://www.thelostadventure.com/5-diners-you-shouldnt-miss/#respond Sun, 03 Nov 2019 15:49:49 +0000 https://www.thelostadventure.com/?p=9121 Going coast to coast in USA you will not be short of places to eat however rather than stopping at the usual chain suspects my recommendation is to generally go where the locals go. So here’s five of my favourites I’ve come across. The Bear Wallow Cafe – Alpine, AZ. Tucked away up in mountains…

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Going coast to coast in USA you will not be short of places to eat however rather than stopping at the usual chain suspects my recommendation is to generally go where the locals go. So here’s five of my favourites I’ve come across.

The Bear Wallow Cafe – Alpine, AZ.
Tucked away up in mountains of Arizona this is a perfect stop off point before riding the Devils Highway (route 666). This truly is small town America at its very best. Alpine has two diners, this which is open for breakfast and the other that is open in the evening. One of my favourite breakfasts in America is heuvos rancheros and I can honestly say the ones served here are the best I have had. That said all the meals served here are hearty and large accompanied by mug after mug of steaming coffee.

The Midpoint Cafe – Adrian, TX.
Literally the midpoint of Route 66 this diner will be familiar to many people who have made that journey. A perfect piece of 50’s Americana – inside and out you could be in an episode of Happy Days! While the menu contains all the staple meals you would expect to see the real treat lies in the made daily pies. All kinds of fruit filled delights which while maybe not normal fodder for breakfast it would have been rude not to 🙂

Evel Pie – Las Vegas, NV.
Las Vegas has almost as many bars and diners as it does casinos and hotels. You can get anything from Asian street food through to a 12 course banquet. My own personal favourite is Evel Pie – Evel Knievel themed pizza place. It’s decked out in genuine Evel memorabilia and is part owned by his son. All the pizza is fresh cooked on (you can watch them cook it) and served by the slice. A variety of the usual toppings but also a must try is the rattlesnake! Wash it down with a pint of Evel Ale! It’s a 5 minute walk from the Golden Nugget at the end of Fremont Street.

Roadkill Cafe, Seligman, AZ.
Another Route 66 institution! In all honesty there are several diners eligible for this list in Seligman but my favourite is probably the Roadkill. Another authentically decorated American diner with a menu packed of staples of the road. In all my trips in USA I’ve rarely bought a burger anywhere .. but when I saw the burgers being served here I was sold. Cooked like a steak the way you want it. The diner itself also sells all the usual Route 66 type souvenirs you could want as well.

Neptunes Net, Mailbu, CA.
Cruising down the Pacific Coast highway towards Los Angeles you are spoilt for choice when it comes diners with a sea view. Recommended by friends and family to me was Neptunes Net – a local institution when it comes to fish ‘n’ chips along the coast. I’ve had fish and chips there and also the amazing chowder which is served in a bread bowl which you also eat. A firm favourite with locals for a reason. Sitting on the bench tables overlooking the pacific is a nice way to eat your lunch.

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Baja With Boorman https://www.thelostadventure.com/baja-with-boorman/ https://www.thelostadventure.com/baja-with-boorman/#respond Wed, 04 Sep 2019 16:44:16 +0000 https://www.thelostadventure.com/?p=9114 November 2014 – spontaneous email from Tim of the Lost Adventure asking me if I’d be interested in a short cheap trip somewhere interesting in USA. A check of remaining holiday balance later and I’m in ! EagleRider were doing a celebrity trip from Los Angeles to Cabo San Lucas in Baja Mexico … not…

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November 2014 – spontaneous email from Tim of the Lost Adventure asking me if I’d be interested in a short cheap trip somewhere interesting in USA. A check of remaining holiday balance later and I’m in !

EagleRider were doing a celebrity trip from Los Angeles to Cabo San Lucas in Baja Mexico … not this trip for me but the return leg where the bikes needed to be returned to Los Angeles.  5 day trip covering pretty much the same ground but without the celebrity accompaniment

Flight to Los Angeles with the exceptional Air New Zealand who I would recommend flying from London to Los Angeles to check out. A day mooching around the human zoo that is Venice beach, including freak and show and the most excellent Bartels Harley Davidson (one of the oldest dealerships in USA) before a short flight down to Cabo.

A most excellent evening meal including said celebrities before we set off in the morning – instant bonus for me was inheriting the Indian Chieftain motorcycle your man Charley had ridden down there.

The ride up through the Baja peninsula is simply stunning – the Sea of Cortez is without a doubt the most “blue” sea I have ever laid my eyes upon.  We were a mixed bunch of Brits, Aussies, Kiwis and Americans, mostly Harleys and Indians but a couple adventure bikes also. Our tour guide was Eagle Rider legend Steve Feather – veteran of many a tour and if you ever get him as a tour guide you will be in for a treat – the guy knows his stuff and is hilarious also.

I was interesting riding through some of the areas as levels of living for many in the area are not high.  One highlight was San Ignacio – beautiful town some of the best tacos I have ever had .. cooked on a hot plate with power from overhead cable .. not sure of the hygiene star rating but fantastic.

Last night Baja side was Ensenada – the biggest of the towns we stayed and a real eye opener being so close to the USA border as so different from the towns we had been passing through.  Tequila may have happened.

Crossing the border was long winded but not unexpected followed by a great, but slow ride up the Pacific Coast Highway back to Los Angeles.  Being California us Brits were in our “lane splitting” element whilst for the Americans this was a whole new experience that they seemed to enjoy.

I would wholeheartedly recommend EagleRiders Baja tour and certainly a return to Baja is on my agenda.

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Don’t Be Afraid To Go It Alone! https://www.thelostadventure.com/dont-be-afraid-to-go-it-alone/ https://www.thelostadventure.com/dont-be-afraid-to-go-it-alone/#respond Fri, 16 Aug 2019 15:05:49 +0000 https://www.thelostadventure.com/?p=9111 Having done 7-8 tours in the USA now, many “solo” people often ask me doesn’t it bother you going alone and my answer is quite simply “no” – solo can go two ways. Three examples of how I’ve gone solo and how they work for me. Organised Tour There are many people who would love…

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Having done 7-8 tours in the USA now, many “solo” people often ask me doesn’t it bother you going alone and my answer is quite simply “no” – solo can go two ways. Three examples of how I’ve gone solo and how they work for me.

Organised Tour
There are many people who would love to do a trip in the USA but can’t convince enough friends to go, can’t all marry up the same time off etc. and to them I would say book an organised / package tour. My very first tour in the USA was just this. 8 riders all met up at Heathrow airport to fly out. A mid-day flight so we met, did the introductions, had breakfast etc. and by the time we were boarding friendships were forming. First day in USA we collected the bikes from EagleRider and all bar one had never ridden a Harley and so more bonding occurred in the “face of adversity” as we got to grips with our bikes for the following week.
Being an organised tour everything was sorted for you and so all you had to do was ride and enjoy the scenery. This meant plenty of time for chatting over meals, attractions etc. Talk of home, families etc. all crept in other the week and genuine friendships occurred. By the end of the trip I had made four good friends from the UK, I am still in touch with. I did a similar trip with Eagle Rider from Mexico to LA where there were only two UK riders the rest being from Australia, New Zealand and assorted Americans – I now have good friends in all those countries I keep in touch with and in the case of USA have even visited.
In a nutshell you may start the trip alone but by the end of it I can guarantee you won’t be.

The Not So Organised Tour
The Lost Adventure in conjunction with EagleRider run an annual coast to coast trip. This is a one way, bike only deal and great value. No set route, just a start and end location. The first time I did this trip I was part of a group of 6. Most of us ride together in the UK and so the group dynamic was already there. I’ve done the same trip something like 5 times since “solo”. Now the great thing about this trip is every year there are more than a few solo riders, who don’t want to do the organised tour (or have already) but don’t necessarily want to ride 3000 miles or so on their own either. The trip has great and thriving Facebook group where trip goes old and new share questions, tips, routes, places to stay etc. Even before touchdown in the USA some solo riders (or pairs) will have hooked up with others to ride part or all of the way with. Doing it this way if you want to split off for a day or two on your own you can but you always have the “comfort” of knowing you can rejoin a group.
I’ve seen couples making friends with other couples, individuals riding with other individuals, mixtures all these riding together and indeed I’ve been part of groups ranging from 1-10 at different times. Again that “in it together” mentality kicks in and friendships are forged. I can honestly say that every time I have done this trip I have ended it with more friends I started with and all of which I keep in contact with back here in the UK and as far away as South Africa.

Completely Winging It!
As a result of doing both of the above my confidence in touring completely solo has grown immensely to the extent a couple years ago I completed 14 day pilgrimage from Milwaukee (home of Harley D) via some of old route 66, Gettysburg, the Blue Ridge Mountains, whiskey country in Tennessee and ending in Daytona for the weekend of Biketoberfest with no qualms at all – although I confess I did spend a riding in a group of retired motorcycle police from NY around the Tail of the Dragon and the Cherohola Skyway.

In summary – just because for whatever reason you think you’d be going it alone don’t let this put you off taking the trip of a lifetime – whichever way you choose to do it I can guarantee you’ll make friends.

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The milwaukee 8 Street Glide https://www.thelostadventure.com/the-milwaukee-8-street-glide/ https://www.thelostadventure.com/the-milwaukee-8-street-glide/#respond Thu, 13 Dec 2018 19:56:31 +0000 https://www.thelostadventure.com/?p=911 ErgonomicsMaybe I’m just lucky but the new M8 Street Glide is a perfect fit for me at around 5’8”. Reach to bars is perfect for natural riding position and the seat is genuinely all-day comfortable. I put in a 450 mile day on most recent trip with no discomfort. The screen is high enough for…

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2018 Milwaukee 8 Street Glide

Ergonomics
Maybe I’m just lucky but the new M8 Street Glide is a perfect fit for me at around 5’8”. Reach to bars is perfect for natural riding position and the seat is genuinely all-day comfortable. I put in a 450 mile day on most recent trip with no discomfort. The screen is high enough for me to get no buffering or discomfort in an open face helmet although taller riders may disagree. Controls are all reasonably placed and easy to use. The two panniers and a tail rack are more than ample for two weeks touring. I use one pannier for waterproofs etc., one for my helmet bag with sundries and a 25 Litre rollbag on the rack.

Performance
The Milwaukee 8 is what one could call “a great leap forward”. I’m sure some die hard Harley fans will disagree but for those who think of the Harley as agricultural you should try one of these. Even in stock factory guise, the motor pulls smoothly right through the engine range and easily surpasses the old motor. You can roll on from about 40 mph in top gear and it won’t struggle at all.. In fact I rode with some guys all on Screaming Eagle 110 equipped bikes with uprated suspension and the Glide stuck with them the whole time. The suspension has been upgraded and, while no sports bike through tight twisties, many will be surprised just how agile it is for such a long bike. I rode the Tail of the Dragon and at no time felt the mid corner “flex” that I have on the older model. I believe the new bike to be lighter than the outgoing also.

Extras
The Street Glide comes equipped with enough goodies to keep most people happy, decent radio system that you can connect to through both Bluetooth or the dash mounted pod which contains a USB connector. Cruise control, which again is a big improvement on the previous model, abs etc. are all there.

Verdict
As I said at the start the Street Glide has always been a great solo tourer and with the new version Harley Davidson have raised that bar that others solo tourers / baggers need to aim for. For any similar road trip in the future it would be without a doubt my number one choice of motorcycle and I would recommend it to anyone contemplating similar.

Don’t expect a drink here 🙂 

Backstory

Matt’s been riding bikes of all sorts since the age of 16 and is very experienced in US riding, starting off with a Fatboy on a guided tour with a luggage/support vehicle. He followed that with a solo trip of a similar route with another trip a year later, where he guided four friends.

Then, since discovering The Lost Adventure, he’s completed three Coast to Coast runs, taking a different route every time. As Matt says “There are literally an unlimited number of routes you could take. On the first trip I was part of a group of six, the next two trips were technically solo, but riding with others as and when you meet them… and you almost certainly will. I’ve done it twice on Street Glides and once on the Chieftain and both bikes have been perfect for my trips. Undoubtedly the best part for me is the lack of schedule and fixed route – and the friends you make. Every trip I have come back with more friends, many of which I keep in touch with on a regular basis and meet up with.

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The Repeat Offender https://www.thelostadventure.com/the-repeat-offender/ https://www.thelostadventure.com/the-repeat-offender/#respond Thu, 06 Dec 2018 20:51:27 +0000 https://www.thelostadventure.com/?p=612 I’ve completed The Lost Adventures annual Coast to Coast trip five times now and every year friends and family ask me if I’m doing it again and when I say yes it’s always “why – aren’t you bored with it ?” so I thought I’d share why I don’t think you could ever bore with…

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I’ve completed The Lost Adventures annual Coast to Coast trip five times now and every year friends and family ask me if I’m doing it again and when I say yes it’s always “why – aren’t you bored with it ?” so I thought I’d share why I don’t think you could ever bore with it.

My first trip was a group of four friends although we gained two more along the way! A couple of us had done trips in the USA before but for all the notion of crossing from one side to the other was an adventure with slight trepidation. Months of route planning meetings, often with a beer or two involved resulted a in route with identified stops etc. We within a couple days of leaving Orlando that was shot. Travelling as a group was great and ticked many boxes but as you can imagine involved all us of compromising on things we wanted to see. For me I possibly compromised a few too many and felt the need to go back and see them.

Thus trip number two came about. This was planned on being a solo trip but I ended up riding some stages with groups I’d met along the way also doing the trip. This has pretty much been the case for trips three to five also. Riding with these groups has led to some lasting friendships and meet ups back in the UK and also friends from foreign lands who are regularly in contact.

Every trip and in between them I have come across new places I want to see or visit, stretches of road that are recommended to ride etc. I have come to love small town America and most of my overnight stops or mid-day visits will result in people saying “Where ? Never heard of it … “. For most people, especially those who see it as a one-off I fully understand the need to party in New Orleans, visit the Alamo, get to Grand Canyon etc. and over the trips I’ve done those things but having done so I think now I am largely seeing the “real” America. I do stay in chain motels (for cost more than anything) but wherever possible avoid chain bars and food places. I’ve found local bars to be a goldmine of information for places to go and roads to ride. Local independent diners, where the locals go for breakfast, will be no more expensive than a Denny’s and the food will be 10 times better I guarantee.

America being the size it is the options for routes are endless and sometimes the unscheduled stops in a small town prove to be the best. Most recent trip for example we were forced off the road due to the storms and stayed in a small town called Cuero. The sort of town normally you might stop for fuel or most likely just roll on through on the way to somewhere else, as we would have, en route to Austin. It turned out this town had one diner option for us … which by half way through our meal was packed with locals and some of the best food I had on the trip. Strolling around the town itself it turned out to be the oldest town in that county with an abundance of history going back to being settled by largely German immigrants and this German influence still being very apparent even today. Not Disney I know but for me personally very interesting.

Five hidden gems such as this I’ve found are:

● Jerome, and especially it’s Grand Hotel. Found it on the 89A between Prescott and Sedona. A recommended road. Took me 7 years to finally stay at the hotel.
● The Bear Wallow Cafe, Alpine, Arizona. Found again because of a road, the Devil’s Highway. Probably the best Huevos Rancheros I’ve had in America .. and I’ve had them in quite a few places.
● Hells Kitchen on the Ortega Highway (see a pattern forming ?) in California. A great bike hang out and diner one of on America’s greatest roads to ride.
● Buckeye Lake, Ohio. Again another town you’d normally just ride on through. Picked it as a stop as liked the name! Ended up having a great night in the locals “bar and grill” that had no name and no grill. Breakfast by the lake in a proper locals diner (recommended in the bar) turned it into one of those trip memories you don’t plan on.
● The AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame, Pickerington, Ohio. On the way to Buckeye Lake spotted a sign for this and had time to kill. I’d never heard of it but it’s probably one of the best collection of motorcycles, predominantly but not exclusively, “sport” oriented. Certainly not as famous Barber but the some of the exhibits probably even rarer.

I’m not the only person who has done this trip multiple times and I’m glad to see the number of repeat offenders growing each year and I think if you ask any of them their reasons for doing it again would largely be the same as me .. or maybe not ! I think the flexibility of this trip lets you make of it what you will. If you want to hit the “tourist” spots you can or if you want to go off the roads most ridden you can. For me it allows me go places no guided tour is ever going to go, interact with the locals, and genuinely have an adventure … and occasionally getting “lost”.

Am I going again? Hell yeah.

Backstory

Matt’s been riding bikes of all sorts since the age of 16 and is very experienced in US riding, starting off with a Fatboy on a guided tour with a luggage/support vehicle. He followed that with a solo trip of a similar route with another trip a year later, where he guided four friends.

Then, since discovering The Lost Adventure, he’s completed three Coast to Coast runs, taking a different route every time. As Matt says “There are literally an unlimited number of routes you could take. On the first trip I was part of a group of six, the next two trips were technically solo, but riding with others as and when you meet them… and you almost certainly will.  I’ve done it twice on Street Glides and once on the Chieftain and both bikes have been perfect for my trips.  Undoubtedly the best part for me is the lack of schedule and fixed route – and the friends you make.  Every trip I have come back with more friends, many of which I keep in touch with on a regular basis and meet up with.”

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The 2018 Road Glide https://www.thelostadventure.com/the-2018-road-glide/ https://www.thelostadventure.com/the-2018-road-glide/#respond Thu, 06 Dec 2018 20:48:28 +0000 https://www.thelostadventure.com/?p=610 “You’ve done it on an Indian Chieftain and on a Street Glide .. do it on something different, how about a Road Glide?” – “I’ve ridden one .. I don’t like them …” was how my discussion with Tim Orr, Eagle Rider UK, started when selecting a bike to ride coast to coast (Orlando to…

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“You’ve done it on an Indian Chieftain and on a Street Glide .. do it on something different, how about a Road Glide?” – “I’ve ridden one .. I don’t like them …” was how my discussion with Tim Orr, Eagle Rider UK, started when selecting a bike to ride coast to coast (Orlando to LA) in March 2018. Six months later I found myself looking at a very shiny, almost new, black Road Glide in the car park of Eagle Riders Orlando branch. “Hmm, not a looker I thought to myself”. So what did I think after 4287 miles across 8 States of America on her?

I’ve made similar trips 4 times previously, twice on Indian Chieftains and twice on Street Glides, and found both bikes to be excellent solo tourers more than up to the task with probably the Street Glide being my preferred tool for the trip. The Road Glide would struggle to impress I thought.
First impressions? As I said I don’t think it’s a looker but others do. Sitting on the bike undoubtedly comfortable with the handlebars being slightly higher than the Street Glides. All other controls the same and the easily (more so than Street Glide) accessible pods for charging phone, stashing stuff a nice touch. Quick ride around the block before the trip in earnest. The key difference between this and the Street Glide is the fairing. The bat wing of the Street being handlebar mounted while the Roads is frame mounted. I’ve never owned a frame mounted faired bike, well I have but I took it off, and I found when riding a previous Road Glide the fairing not moving “odd” and a little disconcerting – and I did again.

Once out on the highway the fairing seemed to offer good wind deflection even with the short screen fitted. I saw other Roads with a higher screen and presume this is a HD option. I’ve always been lucky in that I seem to be the right height for HD’s short screens and rarely suffer any buffeting. The 107 cui Milwaukee 8 motor in the bike is a peach. The last Street Glide I toured on had the same and it’s low down grunt makes riding effortless and at a standstill is much less vibey than the HD’s of old. The transmission is still clunky but I found myself dropping back into heel change mode without thinking. All displays and controls are clear and easily selectable and I have to say over the course of the trip the sound system was excellent for helping to pass the unavoidable less interesting stretches of road you come across.

Part of my trip I revisited two of America’s greatest biking roads, the Twisted Sisters in Texas, and the Devils Highway (191) in Arizona and formerly designated US666! So how did the bike cope with these? Simple – flawlessly! I think HD have done a great job with their new soft tail chassis with improved ground clearance and feeling much more stable in the bends, especially tight ones. While still no sports bike the Road Glide will carve through the bends far better than most would expect. Both roads left me smiling and at no point did I feel the bike was out of shape. Where I really noticed the difference to the Street Glide was on open roads with cross winds and crossing the many bridges you find in the Southern States particularly. The Streets bat wing tends to be a bit of a sail in these conditions causing a little handlebar wobble, the Road had none.
The bike has two hard panniers fitted as standard, which I used to store waterproofs and other sundries I need quick access to while my main luggage, a waterproof roll bag, fits on the luggage rack. More than adequate for two weeks solo touring I find.

So at the end of journey had the Road Glide won my heart over? Yes – never thought I’d say it but the Street Glide has been supplanted (although that’s not to say I won’t have an affair with another one ) and I think Road Glide is my new tourer of choice. Having done several 400+ mile days and one 500+, It is genuinely all day comfortable. The tank will easily give you 300 miles range and the motor, chassis etc. all add up to really great package for a trip such as this. I’m a convert!

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How many shirts do I need? https://www.thelostadventure.com/how-many-shirts-do-i-need/ https://www.thelostadventure.com/how-many-shirts-do-i-need/#respond Thu, 06 Dec 2018 20:35:56 +0000 https://www.thelostadventure.com/?p=609 Two weeks on a bike in the USA and wondering how much to take ? The first time I did an unguided, and so no support vehicle to carry my kit, trip I did what many people did and took too much – in fact due a to a mishap with some cheap travel scales…

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All the luggage you need for two weeks

Two weeks on a bike in the USA and wondering how much to take ? The first time I did an unguided, and so no support vehicle to carry my kit, trip I did what many people did and took too much – in fact due a to a mishap with some cheap travel scales I actually thought I was taking more than I was and still took too much ! One of the key things to remember is whatever you load on the bike, you’ll be taking off each night and repacking / loading again in the morning.

Over successive trips I’ve got my packing down to a fine art now. Enough to be comfortable without over packing so these are my tips. I can get away with a 25l bag for two weeks – with space to spare.

  1. Multi-functional – if you can take a garment that can be used for more than one aspect of the trip do it. Some examples are my trousers I take. Hiking cargo trousers with zip out bottoms. Can be worn as long trousers for the cooler evenings or shorts when hotter. Two for one. I also take a kevlar lined hoodie for some of the riding. Makes a perfectly good jacket to wear out in the evenings when cooler also.
  2. If you can take a separate riding top – I’ve got a cheap cycling top that wicks sweat etc. away that I rinse out each evening ready to wear the next day. Keeps the number of “going out” tops you need down.
  3. For the fashion conscious – don’t worry you’re on the road each day so apart from the people you’re with nobody will see you in the same outfit twice 😉 For a two week trip I probably take 4-5 tops to wear, a mixture of t-shirts and long sleeve. I can guarantee you’ll buy souvenir shirts along the way – well I always do. Majority of hotels / motels have laundries so one or two laundry nights over the trip keep things fresh.
  4. Gadgets – do you really need to take laptops etc. ? You’re on holiday, every gadget, every charger is more to worry about.
  5. Hand luggage – I have a large Oxford helmet bag which I carry my helmet (obviously) but it also has enough space for all the usual sundries I would take on-board a plane as hand luggage normally as well as my trusty maps so again it’s that doubling up principle.
  6. Lotions and potions – many years ago I was advised to always buy the sun lotion locally when on holiday as it’s designed for that market. So I do – first morning quick trip to Walgreens to buy the local high factor stuff. I buy small so generally by end of trip next to nothing left. I saved on carrying it over and saved on bringing it back. Same goes for paracetamols or any such item – it’s the USA not the third world. Walmart and Walgreens is everywhere and to be honest most gas stations carry as much as a small pharmacy.
  7. Undies – prior to a trip I stockpile “near life end” undies to take and literally wear them and bin them. Frees up luggage space for souvenirs and as before … a pack of pants in Walmart for $5 will see you through to end of trip if you run short 🙂
  8. Waterproofs – depending on time of year and where your trip is you may need them. If you do take them get the lightest / smallest to pack you can. Your European touring set will almost certainly be overkill – and if the rain really is that bad, pull off the road and chill at a local roadside cafe to sit it out. Most of my riding gear is waterproof to a certain extent anyway but another bonus of a thin set is should your find yourself riding in cooler conditions it gives you an extra layer for warmth too. If the layers principle is good enough for the army it’s good enough for me.
  9. Documents – it might seem obvious but I always take a printed copy of all my documents for travel as well as passport, license etc. and also have scans up in t’internet cloud that I can get to if things go astray. Better safe than sorry.
  10. Most importantly – your sense of humour – don’t leave home without it ! There will be days when plans go astray, you get a hold up etc. Let it wash over you – unscheduled change of plans can make a trip sometimes … by the evening you will be smiling about it over a cold beer 🙂

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Considering a guided tour in the USA? https://www.thelostadventure.com/considering-a-guided-tour-in-the-usa/ https://www.thelostadventure.com/considering-a-guided-tour-in-the-usa/#respond Thu, 06 Dec 2018 20:29:45 +0000 https://www.thelostadventure.com/?p=608 So you’re considering a motorcycle trip in the USA for the first time ? It’s a big place how would you know where to go ? Where to stay ? How to fit it into all into your holiday allocation ? These were exactly the things going through my mind.  The simple solution and the…

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So you’re considering a motorcycle trip in the USA for the first time ? It’s a big place how would you know where to go ? Where to stay ? How to fit it into all into your holiday allocation ? These were exactly the things going through my mind.  The simple solution and the one I took, is a guided tour where someone “answers” all those questions for you.

Knowing all your routes, hotels, places to visit, fuel, food (mostly 🙂 ) etc. is all planned out for you allows you to really soak up the environment and concentrate on enjoying all the new experiences.  It also allows you to make new friends who are doing exactly the same thing – I’m still in touch with people I met on the very first guided tour I did and subsequent one also !  Below are my tips for how to get the best from your guided tour experience.  Another benefit not to be ignored is apart from your spending money it’s a one off cost so no need to worry about what the hotel costs that night or how much dinner is.

In summary who’s a guided tour for ? Anyone !! Solo, couples or groups can have a stress free trip where all you have to do is ride.  It’s not just for first timers either – I’ve done a guided trip in between solo trips and the need not to “plan” anything was really refreshing and allowed me to relax into the groove of the trip and benefit from the wisdom of the tour guides.

How to get the most from a guided tour.

  1. Most importantly enjoy it – it is a holiday – 99% of the work will be done for you so apart from turning up with money, license etc. nothing to worry about doing.
  2. Don’t over pack ! Although your luggage is going to be carried for you in a van there’s no need to overload the guys / van carrying it. Apart from riding gear a few changes for evenings will suffice as laundry facilities are to be found in most hotels.
  3. Look after your van guys and they’ll look after you. It’s not all plain sailing sat in the van following you all day … but rest assured they will have a cold beer waiting for you at your final destination.
  4. Don’t worry about “having to ride a Harley” – yes they’re bigger than most bikes you probably ride but they’re all modern when it comes to handling, comfort and rider aids such as cruise control – don’t let your friends put you off because you’ll be on a “tractor”. Take it as one of the holidays new experiences !
  5. You won’t be bored riding – the myth that America is all big long roads is that just that a myth ! Your able guides will make sure you see some of Americas best roads and while some will be “straight” it won’t be for long.
  6. Trust the guide ! These guys know their stuff and as well as the roads will take you to some of the best eateries and bars there is – many you wouldn’t find by yourself at least not without a recommendation from someone local.
  7. “Do as you’re told” 🙂 – if the guide says a stretch of road requires care it almost certainly will. Likewise if he says you can “go play” for the next 10 miles .. go play but don’t go beyond it. If the guide advises taking a comfort break at a fuel stop as next stretch is long .. try your hardest to 🙂 Having to make an unscheduled stop a few miles down the road causes delays, frustration etc. for rest of the group.
  8. Don’t over do it ! It’s good to relax and unwind at the end of a day – but it’s not fun having to ride a couple hundred miles in the heat if you have a hangover ! If you’ve got a rest day next cut loose but if you’re riding keep it sensible.
  9. You will be one of a group be considerate to your new found friends. When riding don’t put pressure on the guy in front if he’s a little slower you’re all going to get to the same place at the same time anyway. This applies to all parts of the trip not just riding.
  10. Embrace the culture and try new things ! Be it food you wouldn’t normally or a beer you’ve never seen .. give it a go ! The guides and van guys are always very knowledgeable about places you stop so ask them about it. A selfie in front of an old west building has more meaning if you know that Billy the Kid drank there.
  11. Most importantly – book another ! Guided tours are a great stress free way for many people to see some of the best roads and places that America has to offer.

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Car vs Motorcycle https://www.thelostadventure.com/car-vs-motorcycle/ https://www.thelostadventure.com/car-vs-motorcycle/#respond Thu, 06 Dec 2018 20:16:29 +0000 https://www.thelostadventure.com/?p=607 Ten Reasons Travelling by Motorcycle is Better Than Travelling by Car: Although traveling by Bus, Camper, or Car can still provide thrilling experiences, here are ten reasons why traveling by Motorcycle is much better: Part of the Landscape While on a motorcycle, a person really has to be aware of the terrain. Leaning into turns…

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Ten Reasons Travelling by Motorcycle is Better Than Travelling by Car:

Although traveling by Bus, Camper, or Car can still provide thrilling experiences, here are ten reasons why traveling by Motorcycle is much better:

  • Part of the Landscape

While on a motorcycle, a person really has to be aware of the terrain. Leaning into turns and flowing back and forth with the winding road along a river or the sweeping turn around a mountain makes you feel part of the land you are travelling through.

  • Temperature

While in a car, it is sometimes fun to watch the outside temperate by looking at the changes on a dashboard thermometer, but looking at the change from within a car is nothing compared to the amazing sensation of physically feeling the changes as the temperature quickly drops while riding up a bit of altitude in the mountains or over a bay bridge.

  • Smell

This is one of the major things that is missed while riding in a car (even a convertible). On a motorcycle, you are aware of the subtle smells that millions of people miss every moment in cars. Sometimes it will be the smell of smoke from a distant cabin chimney, or it might be the smell of lavender flowers or even the smell of salt while riding along the sea. These spectacular scents often provoke a more emotional connection to the place you’re riding through.

  • Meditation

While riding a motorcycle, one’s motor-skills and reflexes must always be on high-alert, but the mind is free to wonder and after hours on the motorcycle,these thoughts can become very relaxed and meditative allowing you to explore your own life as you move along through it.

  • Privacy: Time to Think

Things have changed a bit over the past years, and wireless communication and radios are becoming more common on motorcycles, but historically (and if one chooses to switch off), the motorcycle is a place where no one can interrupt you. You generally can’t answer your phone, and your partner or friend (even if on the back of the motorcycle) can share the experience, but they can’t really have a conversation with you.  The only person you can really talk to is yourself, and this can create some very reflective internal thoughts that many people no longer access. These personal thought scan be relatively simple or entirely life-changing.

  • Belonging

Everyone wants to belong to something, and by riding a motorcycle, you automatically become part of a pretty tight group with a common interest in riding. On the open road, it is rare that two bikes would pass each other without a subtle nod of the head or an enthusiastic wave, and each signal is a feel-good acknowledgement of the camaraderie and shared experience among motorcycle riders.

  • Personal Expression

To be fair, cars can be a personal expression of the individual driving. The difference between a VW bus and a Maserati tell a huge amount about the driver,but most cars fall into an unnoticed category somewhere in-between.Furthermore, being exposed, you are more visual as you ride your motorcycle.For some, a motorcycle is just a vehicle, but for most, the motorcycle is are presentation of themselves, and this is overtly seen in some radically customised one-of-a-kind works of two-wheeled art.

  • Compact Size

A motorcycle simply takes up less space than a car. Multiple times, I’ve been to Grand Canyon, Yosemite, and many other National Parks around the country, and it is obvious that these places are absolutely amazing because so many people want to go there … and they do. I think people should visit these places no matter how they travel, but a sad fact is that both traffic and parking can become a major issue. This is often the biggest complaint from visitors, but this can be eliminated on a motorcycle. In a car, I’ve spent literally hours looking for a parking space along various park overlooks, but with a motorcycle,there always seems to be the perfect little spot just big enough for the bike,so stopping wherever you want becomes easy.

  • Created Discomfort

Yes,you read correctly. I think riding forces the rider to accept a few things that you might consider less comfortable than a car. Some of these are that you are limited in space by the motorcycle. Whether you have to strap a pack to a seat,have saddlebags or even a top-case, space in limited, so you must really think about what to bring and what to leave. Secondly, a rider is much more affected by the weather. When it is sunny, it is hot and when it is raining, it is wet.The rider is forced to either ride through the elements (feeling like a crazy,tough person) or find shelter. On the bike, you seem to identify with the life of cowboys and times of old when these factors weren’t a choice, but a way of life. Of all the motorcycle travelling stories I’ve heard in my life, it is stories about having to deal with tough situations that people tell the most and that people remember fondly when all is over.

Making Friends

Of all the reasons why travelling on a motorcycle is better than travelling by car,I think making more friends is the number one reason. When you are in a car, you are confined within the “walls” of the vehicle, but on a bike, you are open.Furthermore, generally while travelling on a motorcycle, you are forced to stop more often to stretch the legs and to get fuel. In a car, I generally don’t stop more than every three or so hours on a long trip, but on a motorcycle,stops are more like every hour and a half. Also, if I’m in a car, pumping gas,generally no one says a thing, but while putting fuel in my motorcycle, almost inevitably,someone will say, “Nice bike.” Or, they might begin talking about how they used to own a motorcycle and still dream about it… Similarly, sitting at a café or a bar with a riding jacket, someone will say, “Is that your bike out front?” or“Where are you headed?” and the conversation begins, often evolving into a friendship.

Since,I believe people travel for two main reasons: 1) to see beautiful landscapes and 2) to meet people, the above ten reasons make it obvious why travelling by motorcycle is simply better than travelling by car.

Erik Seversen

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