How To Prepare & Pack For Your First Long Distance Motorcycle Ride – Things We Learned Firsthand

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.

consider the length of time you'll be gone when packing for a motorcycle trip

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.

getting certified so we can take motorcycle trips


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).

Our beautiful motorcycle ride near the Tail of the Dragon on our first long distance motorcycle trip. photo by Lynnette at

The Dragon and Deal’s Gap probably come to mind. However, we made a point of riding a number of motorcycle loops near the Tail Of The Dragon, not on it.

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:

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:

My view most of the time on our motorcycle ride After packing for a motorcycle trip the rest is a breeze


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:

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:

The sights were beautiful on this motorcycle ride through the Great Smoky Mountains in October. photo by Lynnette at  Such a newbie... I always forget to take my motorcycle helmet off after our motorcycle ride


packing for a motorcycle trip got easier and easier for us over time


Our motorcycle ride led us to the Ironhorse Motorcycle Resort  what a beautiful motorcycle ride this was

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!

We have lots more fun Motorcycling Tips & Adventures and an awesome Motorcycling Board on Pinterest with unique ideas, tips, and motorcycle pictures from around the web!