With the riding season over and our motorcycles stored away for the winter season, it gives us time to look ahead and plan for next year. This is a lot of fun for me, sitting at the computer and using all the available tools to plan our upcoming trips for next year. It makes the long winter days go by faster. In our house there isn’t a week that goes by that we aren’t discussing where we would like to go and the route we will take to get there.
Along with the usual programs that are used for mapping out your route such as MapSource or BaseCamp, I also use the winter months to try different software to try to keep up with any new developing software that may pop up on the market. One software that I actually got to beta test a few years ago was Tyre. The company actually gave me a lifetime subscription to their software for helping them through the trial period.
Another great tool that I use in planning is Google Earth. This is a very important software that I make sure I use prior to planning my route. I use it to zoom in on roads that I think would be interesting to take, whether they have a few more curves or are a little more scenic. Most importantly I look at the conditions of the road. If the road is part of Google’s mapping system, and not all of them are, then I zoom in and travel the road a little to view the condition of the road. You can actually see if the road is busted up or if it is in good condition. You can also determine if the road is a blacktop road or a gravel road. One nice feature when you use Google Earth and BaseCamp is that you are able to import your route from BaseCamp into Google Earth and actually follow the route on the fly.
Since getting a new Gold Wing I wanted to track all my gas mileage and maintenance of the motorcycle with an App. I found one that is very simple to use called Fuel Monitor, and it does everything I need out of it. If you want to track your car along with your motorcycle you will have to step up to the paid version of the App, which is only 99¢. If you get a different phone in the future it has an import/export feature that makes it easy to transfer your data without having to start all over. The App will keep track of not only your gas consumption, but also calculate your miles per gallon. It’s a simple App for basic needs.
Some people will pre-ride their planned routes to view the roads to see if they are good enough or under construction. While this is a good idea for local rides, in most cases the routes are too far from home and wouldn’t be feasible. We have already planned the route and called a few of the longer distance County Supervisors and talked to them about their upcoming construction schedules. In one case our planned route took us on a county road that happened to be under construction the day we were coming through. After talking our plans over with the secretary and giving her detailed information of our planned route, she helped reroute us around the roads that were under construction. Using the County Supervisors is a great tool, especially for long distance routes.
Using the internet is another great tool. In Wisconsin we have a website called https://511wi.gov/. When you go this site there is a tab that you can click on called “Construction Projects.” When you click on that tab it takes you to a map that breaks the State into different regions that list construction projects going on within that region. This is a very useful tool.
When you are planning your trips for next year, keep in mind that the District will again be putting emphasis on riding in 2019. As a District Ride Coordinator I am asked to formulate four District rides per calendar year. We again are going to have two rides leaving from the campground at Dust Off in May. On June 21-22 we will again have two rides going out from our District Rally to be held in Wisconsin Rapids. In July we are going to have a District Picnic where we will meet at a Park in Westfield for lunch. On August 8-11 we are having a Ride-In in La Crosse. If you like riding your motorcycle like we do ours, please try to attend these events. If you like having fun, don’t miss out!
As you can tell there is always something to do during the winter months to pass the time. Doing these things during the winter not only passes the time during the coldest part of the year, but also helps you be more prepared when you start your riding season in the Spring. Being prepared takes a lot of pressure off of you when it comes time to get on your motorcycle and ride. These steps helped us on a 5,000 mile trip out to the East coast a few years ago. On that trip we only had to get off our planned route once due to a small construction detour that only took us off our route by 0.2 of a mile.
So if you want to make your summer trips a little more relaxing, try and use some of these tools during the winter months when you have some spare time. I know for a fact it is a far more relaxing trip knowing the planning and routing was done ahead of time.
Cheri and I would like to take this time to wish each and everyone a Very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!!!
Wisconsin District Ride Coordinator