10 Steps in Preparing for my Solo Motorcycle Trip

In two days, I begin 6 weeks (or so) on the road. Most of it will be solo travel, dotted by visits with friends along the way. And of course, it will be filled with friends I haven’t yet met.


There are many benefits to being self-employed, not the least of which is you don’t have to compete for a few precious vacation weeks with co-workers. I’m still not one to drop everything and take off on a whim, although this trip has come about rather quickly. Understandably, I’ve been at this a while, but there is still some degree of preparation required. But not a lot.


A trip such as this requires getting ready in 3 areas: motorcycle, gear and self. The first two are by comparison, easy. My bike is always travel ready. Like a dog that starts wagging his tail and prancing when he hears the word “walk,” it almost starts itself when it hears we’re going on a trip. I have the riding gear, tools and camping gear that I’ll need.


10 Steps in Preparing for my Solo Motorcycle Trip


  1. Decide on purpose for trip. This affects everything from where you go to where you stay and what you do. For me, it’s a time to recharge the batteries, get rid of clutter, gain clarity and experiment with working from the road.


  1. Set a date. I learned this from my own coach 10 years ago when I left the corporate world. I was hemming and hawing about leaving, not knowing how I’d manage if I left; knowing I couldn’t survive if I stayed. Finally she got me to write a date down on a piece of paper. August 1, 2003 became my target and the date I stepped into a new life. This time was a little different. I really wanted to get to the Carson Valley/Lake Tahoe Adventure Motorcycle Ride and Rendezvous and Women Riding into the Future. Browsing the internet on personal growth courses from my favorite role models, I came across one that was being offered in Utah beginning the end of July. Too convenient to turn down, that became my start date.


  1. Solidify plans. Even having decided I’m going and telling people what I was doing, I waffled on registering for the course, because that would commit me to this trip. Finally, less than 2 weeks before its start, I registered and booked my camping spots.


  1. Get an idea of route. I want to spend the bulk of my time exploring the mountains and plains of the northwestern US. Other than getting there and back, I’ve only set a start point (Utah – July 28th) and end destination (Lake Tahoe – Aug. 22-25) six weeks later. In between I plan to remain open to wherever I feel led to go. There are some areas I want to visit, but as for mapping them out, I’ll get an idea with Google maps, then pick up state maps at the welcome centers for each state.

Screen Shot 2013-07-18 at 10.02.23 PM

  1. Remember the purpose of the trip. Admittedly I’m anxious, even though I’m excited about going. There’s a reason I’m doing this, lessons to be learned and I have to quiet the gremlins who shout that it’s a crazy thing to do. Once I’m out there, that also means I don’t have to ride all day, every day.


  1. Stop planning. I have to fight the inclination to over plan. I can’t imagine every possibility that can unfold. The basics are covered; the rest will depend on resourcefulness and being open to opportunities.


  1. Look after administrative details.
    1. Bike is ready to go
    2. Riding gear is ready and appropriate for what I’m most likely to encounter weather wise.
    3. Camping gear is ready.
    4. Administrative details are looked after – i.e. Health insurance, roadside assistance, health concerns
    5. Measha has a home away from home, where she can enjoy the lifestyle to which she’s become accustomed.


  1. Remain open. My Type A tendency is to get myself so busy, there’s no room for serendipity or creativity. This is a working trip, learning about balance and working smarter not harder. There’s nothing like upsetting my daily routine to address this challenge.


  1. Stay focused. I know I’ll get lots of creative ideas on this trip. They come at me non-stop when I’m riding and in the moment, they’re brilliant. Much as I may thing that the Universe can’t do without me, I’m not running things. I have a specific purpose and message with which to use my unique skills and it’s important to stay focused on that. As excellent as some of those ideas are, sometimes the lesson is learning to say “no.”


  1. Go. I leave on July 25th.



The biggest hurdle to get over is the intangible – the emotional, mental gremlins that try and block progress. I’ve got the skills, so they don’t try and get me on that. My area of vulnerability is those gremlins trying to convince me I can’t afford it or that my work will suffer.


I can’t afford not to take advantage of this opportunity and there is no valid reason why I should NOT go. In fact, if I’m going to be true to myself, I must go. Stay tuned!




Healer, author, and motorcycle aficionado Liz Jansen combines her artistic mediums to create stories that inspire readers to embark on their own journey of self-discovery. No helmet or jacket required.

14 Comments on “10 Steps in Preparing for my Solo Motorcycle Trip

  1. While you’re out this way, if time permits, I strongly recommend you swing through Washington and Oregon. If you do make it there, ping me and I can recommend some great places to see, or even meet up and take you on a tour. I’d recommend places like Mt. Rainier National Park, Mount St. Helens, Mt. Hood, and Mt. Bachelor. And I can recommend some nice back-routes to the Reno/Tahoe area since I’ve done that trip several times, and will be doing it over August 2/3/4. Will you be doing all asphalt or is dirt an option? The WBDR and OBDR trails are fantastic.

    • Hi Rob,

      I already know 6 weeks isn’t going to be enough! Sounds like an amazing route – Not sure how much time I’ll have for WA & OR but let’s play it by ear. Would love to know about backroads to Lake Tahoe and have a tour. I don’t mind doing gravel but not off-road trails. My bike’s too big for that – at least for me.



  2. Good for you Liz! What a fabulous plan. You are going to have so many adventures. Look forward to following your trip….feel free to head up to Vancouver if the winds blow you that way:)

    • Thanks Colleen. I LOVE being out on the road. I will see where the winds take me – and if I do end up in Vancouver will let you know! If not this time, there will be another. That’s why I have to do these things now – there are SO many places to see, right here on this continent!



  3. Hi Liz.

    Awesome article! I read every word! I wish you a very, very safe journey. Look forward to reading your updates and seeing pictures.


    • Thanks Tessa. I know it’s going to be a wonderful time. I’m looking forward to posting updates and pictures! 🙂 It’s so much fun having a motorcycle for our journey isn’t it?? 🙂 Hope you’re doing very well also.



  4. Wishing you safe and happy travels! If you need a place to stay or anything at all in South Dakota please drop me a line and my family and friends would be happy to help.


    • Thank you so much Michelle. I will definitely keep that in mind. I don’t think i’ll make it on this trip – but my bike has a mind of it’s own. You never know where it’s going to take you! 🙂

      Hope you’re recovering well! Thought of you yesterday when a piece of road debris wacked me in the foot. Felt like being hit by a baseball bat but only damage was a bruise. Thank goodness for good BMW boots with good armor.

  5. PS – If you have time for rides in the Black Hills too, I can give you a short list of favorites/must sees that can fit into any timeline.

    • Thanks. Might do that on my way home. Will have a better idea in the next week.

      Take care Michelle.


  6. Liz I hope to follow you during your travels. If I know where you are and are heading next I can give you many suggestions for great roads. I have been solo touring since 1983 and would loved to share some of my knowledge with you. You can pick my brain anytime

    • Thanks very much Karen. I’m going to be planning the next 5 weeks on Sunday and will have a better idea of my route. I really appreciate your thoughtfulness. I’m no stranger to solo travel either. It’s a whole different way of travel isn’t it?

      Talk to you soon.



  7. My husband and I are just about to leave on our 5th Wedding Anniversary trip through Southern BC – Aug 9-23. I’ve solo-travelled from Victoria BC to Portland and back, as well as through Southern BC – Okanagan/Kootenays. If you do make it to OR, routes 103-202-47 North (to Clatskanie) from Highway 26 are great back-roads – roads are in great condition, tho 47 is a little rough at times, and VERY twisty, but great scenery and not a lot of traffic. Just drove it (crunched for time) in early July this year.

    Love the blog and such a great timely post!

    • Your trip sounds fabulous Jennifer! It’s the perfect way to spend your 5th anniversary IMHO. 🙂 Much appreciate the tips on the route. Glad you enjoyed the blog – timing is everything!

      Safe travels.


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