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Observations from Days 0 & 1 of Motorcycle Road Trip USA Adventure!

  1. Motorcycling is cold. We followed everyone’s advice and got leather jackets, gloves, chaps (yes, leather), and we layered up, but the wind bites. Even when it’s warm.
  2. Puppy does not like motorcycling. Despite several practice runs, and time getting used to the sidecar, she spent most of Day 0 trying to get out with all her might. She was a little better today.
  3. Everything smells AMAZING. Unexpectedly, the best part about exploring the country on a motorcycle is the smells. Pine trees, a wood fire in someone’s home, freshly-cut grass, an Italian restaurant a quarter mile away, the earth. You smell it before you see it, and it’s so different from riding in a car.
  4. Motorcycling gear makes you feel badass. The jacket alone feels like it weighs 30lbs. And it’s stiff and full of armor and makes you feel tough.
  5. People treat you like a badass when you’re wearing motorcycling gear. This one might be in my head, but it feels different striding into a convenience store with your full moto getup than with regular clothes.
  6. Everyone loves the Ural. Little kids, grizzly dudes on Harleys, grannies, soccer moms, gas station owners, cops, car drivers at stop lights, everyone gets a kick out of this bike. We’ve probably gotten more smiles, thumbs ups, and waves on the road in two days then I have in all my years driving a car.
  7. Shifting smoothly is hard. But I’ve driven automatic transmissions all my life, so manual is all new to me. I expect to be an expert by the end of this trip.
  8. Traveling with a dog is hard. This one we expected, but finding hotels in busy areas that will take a pet and have vacancy for tonight has been a challenge. We hope to camp more once we get to warmer terrain.
  9. Motorcyclists have a secret code! It’s like a peace sign held 45 degrees down and away from your body. You give it when passing a fellow biker and they give it back (or return a simple nod of acknowledgement). On the road no one cares if you were a dorky Indian kid whose life once revolved around spelling bees and debate camp and the stock market club. On the road with your helmet on, you’re a biker and you’re part of the club. Jessa counted we exchanged 31 salutations with fellow bikers today in 4-5 hours of riding.
  10. New Jersey is beautiful. Who knew?


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