5 Crucial Items I’m Gathering for My Epic Cross Country Road Trip on a Motorcycle
When I was a boy, I used to fantasize about embarking on a journey with nothing but a tent and a map to guide me. I can still remember the intense urge I felt to see what was out there, and to see if I had what it takes to live like a true nomad. I wanted to see the world and live on the edge, even as a child.
As it would turn out, my journey from small town USA to the media ivory tower to world roaming nomad (that I’m detailing in an upcoming book) has put me in a position to finally live out the dream some 30 years later. It will be nothing but me, a motorcycle, a tent, my Nikon, and a handgun (for protection) as I embark on the journey.
I’ve already picked up extensive experience living on the road by driving a semi for 100,000 miles coast to coast. Before returning to that job to extract more money from the matrix and return to my adventures abroad, I’ll be two-wheeling it all across America to see how many experiences I can have.
As a consummate minimalist, I’m also working to see how little money I can burn through to realize my dream. Here are 5 items I’m gathering for this 30-45 day epic voyage on two wheels, coming this spring. Of course, I’ll be blogging about it here on TNMM.
1. Coleman Sundome Two Person Tent and bare bones accoutrement. Reviews on the Coleman Sundome are typically sparkling, especially considering it’s a tent a man can pick up for under $50. It should be the perfect tent to strap to my Kawasaki as I begin my journey. And, if it tears up somewhere along the way it will be cheap to replace with another just like it. Inside the tent will be an air mattress with hand pump, a sleeping bag, LED lanterns, an assortment of pocket and hunting knives, and little else.
2. Rock Island Armory .38 Special Revolver. Based on my research, it’s legal to transport guns and ammo nationwide as long as they’re unloaded, securely stored and locked in separate saddle bags. This is even true in National Parks since a law passed in 2010. (Check local laws and don’t take this blanket statement as something that is chiseled into a stone tablet.) I grew up around guns, so I’m ashamed to say I haven’t owned one in years. However, doing some research I found that I can pick up a well-made .38 special for under $250. This is for nothing more than protection and peace of mind, since I’ll be alone in a tent. It’s not the sexiest gun, but it’s well-made and that’s what a minimalist is all about: value rather than show. I’ll also have a couple of cans of Bear Spray for when I’m in Grizzly country.
3. Wikicamps App. This is a great, simple little app to find free tent camping sites around the U.S. – and the world for that matter. (After my trial run in America I plan on motorcycle and tent road tripping abroad in the coming years. India is a destination I’ve already researched.) Wikicamps also offers a wealth of information on points of interest, where to find gas and entertainment, and even where to find the nearest Walmart.
Another feature of Wikicamps is the ability to find scenic campgrounds, motorcycle accessible campgrounds, and reviews from other campers. Wikicamps is a free app, and allows users to download offline maps for those times when cell reception isn’t available. This app will save an enormous amount of money and aggravation. If I had to stay in hotels or pay campsites every night this trip wouldn’t be possible on my minimalist budget. The power of keeping women out of your life and avoiding the many traps of the matrix is stunning!
4. Nikon Coolpix P900. I picked this camera up near Yellowstone National Park last fall. It’s a solid camera, and since then I’ve also adorned it with accessories like a polarizer, gradiated ND filter, and tripod. It takes good quality, professional photos which I then tweak slightly in Corel Aftershot Pro 3, which is a cut rate (but solid) version of Adobe Lightroom.
I’ll be able to relay incredible scenes from the road as the trip takes shape in mid-April through the first of June via my laptop and Verizon MiFi account. My tentative route takes me from Texas to San Francisco, then up and around the Cascades back across to North Dakota and down through the Great Lakes into the Appalachians. I plan on spending extensive time in the western states. Needless to say, photo ops galore.
5. GoPro Hero. What motorcycle and tent camping road trip would be complete without a GoPro strapped on to the bike showcasing the journey?
This camera seems like a good deal at $199, but in all honestly I may opt for a knockoff since money is the lifeblood of my entire operation. There are highly-rated knockoffs available for under $50. As a man the American system threw away, my life often consists of knockoffs as I have been pushed to the margins of society. (But, I’m starting to like it here on the edge!)
I’ll be taking the journey on my new Ninja 650, which by all accounts from owners who use them for these types of journeys should make a reasonably comfortably touring bike. I’ll also be breaking the trip up into bite-size tidbits with no rush to do anything. At over 50 miles per gallon, the fuel efficiency will be a big reason this extended road trip is possible. If you’d like to help finance part of my journey, you can make a donation here. Every little bit helps.
Needless to say, my sense of adventure will also be coming along for the ride. I’ll be seeing how many chicks I can bag along the way, too. That is, when I’m interested in being bothered with them. Stay tuned for updates as the warmth of the spring season approaches, and your host Rel heads out on the road in true nomadic fashion.
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