Our first, official, long haul, moto-camping trip. It has been a long time coming. There were thoughts that we would have already taken our mini-bikes to the Rocky Mountains (and several other places) by now… but life sometimes takes a different path than we expect.
At any rate, now is the time, and we have a plan that should work… we’ll see how it all works out.
The main purpose of this 340 miles and 36 hours will be the ride. To maximize the potential fun from the time on the road, the choice of road is critical. Using our favorite route planning tool, Furkot, we have painstakingly found the most remote, smallest, curviest, and least traveled path through the Hoosier National Forest up to the Brown County State Park (and just a little extra).
For a few of us, this type of trip has been the inspiration for the motorcycle / mini-bike obsession of the past few years. It is hard to explain the attraction to this particular style of road trip. It is more about the challenge, difficulty and even the pain (hopefully in small amounts) than normal sight-seeing or tourism.
This trip will be the first real test to see if our expectations of adventure are met by the reality of the experience… it is very much a proof of concept for future plans. Who knows, some of us might be ready to sell off all these two-wheel-death-machines even before we get back home.
By the numbers
The route to camp is 197 miles. If you figure an average speed of 65MPH (as you would do on a regular highway) that is a quick 3 hour trip. However, if you did 65MPH on the roads we have planned you would have to be a world famous racer, or insane (or both). In fact, if you let Furkot calculate the trip based on the actual speed limit of the chose roads, it projects 7 hours and 25 min which is an average speed of only 25.9MPH.
By now, we have taken a few dozen similar – but shorter – rides on very similar roads around the tristate and we typically average 35-40MPH (despite the speed limits being lower). So we are going to use a 35MPH average for our calculations. When we put that speed into Furkot, it trims 2 hours off the trip – right at 5 hours 32 minutes to be exact.
For those of you who have ridden motorcycles, you know that 5-1/2 hours ain’t no joke. I mean, we all know plenty of folks who jump on a Honda Gold Wing and ride for 8 hours… but we don’t ride Gold Wings, and these roads won’t be a place to “relax” while riding. At the time of this writing, most of us have only ridden about two or maybe three hours in a single day. That is typically enough to cause bones and muscles start to ache (particularly in the caboose region).
That is why we are planning on taking nearly 12 hours to ride 5-1/2. Yup, we’re planning on spending over half the trip taking breaks. The route includes stops roughly every 30 miles on average. At our projected speed, we’ll be stopping about every 45 min or so. Some stops will be short 10-minute bathroom / fuel breaks, but a few stops will be longer sight-seeing type events.
Of course we will be “roughing it”
We will be camping at the Paynetown State Park on the banks of the Lake Monroe in the Hoosier National Forest. We landed at this location because the Brown County State Park goes “bat-crap-crazy” during the fall. Even now, a month and half in advance, it is hard to find empty camp spots. The Paynetown State park, however, is only 23 miles outside the Brown County State Park and is virtually un-reserved for the same weekend (particularly in the non-electric “primitive” camping area we have chosen). So that “extra” part of the trip mentioned in the third paragraph will be us riding all the way north through the park and then heading southwest back towards home a few “extra” miles to Lake Monroe.
Although we are all fans of the camping experience, the timeline on this trip is highly focused on the ride. Unfortunately this means time-at-camp for those of us that are taking on the entire back road experience will be limited to after 6PM Friday and before 10AM Saturday morning.
The ride home is slightly shorter, at 140 miles, but no less scenic and remote. About the same number of stops, but slightly shorter durations means we’ll make it back to where we started by 7PM – 36 hours all included.
Now, this is an important part… we don’t have any “requirements” for the trip, and the folks that choose to join us can pick their “adventure level”… Which means any vehicle (2 wheels, 4 wheels – or more) is perfectly fine, any road to get there will do (even the 4 lane Interstate 69) and arriving / departing early, staying / departing late is totally up to each person that chooses to join in.
So at roughly six weeks out, we have a plan… it is up to those invited to decide how (or if) they choose to participate.
Stay tuned to see how the adventure develops… to be continued.