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We recently got our first Harley. It’s a 2005 Road King Classic.
It’s our first motorcycle together in the 12 years that we’ve been married, though it’s been on our bucket list for years.
A couple weeks after we got it, Jim signed up for a Motorcycle Rider Education course through the MidTenn Motorcycle Education Center. The class cost $200. The class size was limited to 10 riders. They met 2 days in a row one weekend and took both a paper test as well as a riding test.
It was great because Jim learned everything there is to know about riding a motorcycle in a very short time and he was able to get his motorcycle license the next day! Plus, many of the things learned in that class have come up in our conversations together and when we’ve been out riding the bike. It’s amazing how much he learned in such a short time.
We didn’t waste any time before we planned our first long-distance motorcycle trip on our new Harley less than a month later.
Our First Multi-Day Motorcycle Trip
It wasn’t a cross-country trip (that’s planned for the Spring), but before the weather gets too cold around here we wanted to get in a few multi-day trips.
Our first 4-day motorcycle trip was from our home in Middle Tennessee (Nashville) to East Tennessee (Gatlinburg) and North Carolina (Asheville).
Why? Because we’ve driven on the Dragon’s Tail several times in our Jeep Wrangler (I know, it’s really no comparison) and we are keenly aware of:
- how dangerous the road can be; and
- how many super-fast motorcyclists gravitate there to increase their personal speed records.
We didn’t want to get in the way of all the experienced riders out there while we were still getting to know our new bike, so we decided to save The Dragon for a future trip. (Fortunately, we live close enough to enjoy it several times in our lifetime!)
Motorcycle Checklists, Maps, & Tips
Here are the best tips that we learned firsthand about packing and preparing for your first multi-day motorcycle trip:
- How To Pack & What To Take – our favorite motorcycle luggage, how to pack your saddlebags, and the best motorcycle checklists
- Best Motorcycle Maps, Apps & Tips For Planning Your Trip – the best maps, websites, online programs, and mobile apps for planning your own motorcycle rides
- Worth Considering Before You Go – additional tips and things to pack on motorcycle rides (beyond the bare necessities)
- How Our Blessing Bell Saved Us From Gremlins – you do have a motorcycle bell, right?
A Word About Motorcycle Roadside Assistance
Roadside assistance is something that is often overlooked until it’s too late and you find yourself in a predicament.
It’s not until you actually need roadside assistance that you realize how valuable something like that can be — especially for new motorcyclists and those who travel long distances.
We haven’t purchased either of these yet, but we intend to.
I thought I would share the basic details for both, since other new riders probably have the same questions that we do regarding these 2 services:
- AAA Motorcycle Membership – We like the added discounts at hotels and attractions. However, the AAA Motorcycle FAQ is a must-read.
- Harley Owners Group (HOG) Membership – Fun stuff just for Harley riders. Interesting benefits include 15% off at Best Western hotels and 17% off your AT&T monthly bill!
My wish list of fun & practical motorcycle stuff is growing daily. I’ve bookmarked this page of Harley gear on Amazon. They’re always adding new things. I refer to the categories in the lefthand margin quite often.
Photos From Our Trip To East Tennessee / North Carolina
In addition to the photos seen in the 4 article links above, these were also taken on the same trip:
UPDATE: After a 5-week cross country trip on the Mother Road (Route 66) on our Harley-Davidson Road King Classic, we traded it in just 1 year after we bought it. It was on that Route 66 trip that we realized we wanted the next level in terms of comfort for all these long-distance rides we do. So, 1 week after we returned from the Route 66 trip, we traded the Road King in for a 2013 Road Glide Ultra. We’ve taken several long trips on the Road Glide already including: Key West Florida, North Carolina mountains, and Alaska — yep, another 5-week cross country adventure!
As a lifelong traveler, I like to help people find unique ways to do things that will save time & money — so I write about "outside the box" Travel Hacks that most wouldn't think of. I'm SUPER organized and I love to pack! I've lived in 6 different states (Florida, Indiana, New York, Ohio, Tennessee, and Texas) and have visited every other state in the U.S. — except Hawaii. (Can you say bucket list?) I've been on several different cruises, airplanes, and boats in my life and I currently enjoy the outdoors by bicycling, motorcycling, Jeeping, RVing, camping, or just walking my dogs. My favorite "hobby" is riding on the back of our Harley-Davidson Road Glide traveling cross country — which we usually do at least once each year. We even rode from Tennessee to Alaska once! When I'm not on the road, you will find me at the corner of Good News & Fun Times as publisher of The Fun Times Guide (32 fun & helpful websites).