Do Motorcycles and RVing Mix?

Do Motorcycles and RVing Mix? 1

Before becoming full-time RVers, we traveled as motorcycle nomads for decades. We would spend days, weeks, and months in the saddle with just a small bag of clothes, gear, and what we had on our backs. We loved the road life.

Our motorcycle quests were not so much about the destination but about the journey. In our minds, there’s nothing like riding down the road with feet up on the highway pegs, leaning back with the sun on our backs and breeze to the knees to see America! We each had already ridden over 100,000 miles.

Lisa on her Harley

As time went on with each cross-country motorcycle adventure, we seemed to hit a few roadblocks. Finding respectable lodging on our routes became few and far between. Due to the influx of the pipeline and railroad industry workers, hotels and motels were being contracted out leaving no room at the inn for wayward travelers like us.

We needed to figure out a way to conquer our lodging issues if we were going to continue our passion of motorcycling.

Our "Ah-Ha" Moment

One day while enjoying our window-seat lunch at a restaurant, we were intrigued as we watched two motorcycles being ridden up a ramp of a toy hauler. We looked at each other with raised eyebrows.

I was cooking a few days later when I heard Tom Selleck’s voiceover on a Go RVing commercial. First, what girl wouldn’t stop dead in her tracks to listen to Tom Selleck’s voice? So, I stopped what I was doing and watched. The commercial showcased an RV toyhauler trailer with motorcycles. I thought to myself, ‘this must be a sign’!

When Dan came home from work, I threw my excitement at him; telling him “let’s DO this!” I think he was already sold but like a good man, he let the woman take credit for the idea.

Fast forward six months later, we took delivery of our 2014 Heartland Cyclone 4100 King 44′ fifth wheel toy hauler. At the same time, we put our home on the market and moved into our Cyclone full-time. While waiting for our Kentucky home to sell, we acquainted ourselves with our new minimalistic RV life by moving into our new toy hauler full-time.

Nearing the end of the year, our home sold. We, along with our two Harley Softtails chocked and strapped in our toy hauler, rolled out of Kentucky to start living our dream!

We considered ourselves ‘twice blessed’; living the dream with motorcycles AND our RV!

5th wheel with motorcycles

Once we parked our toy hauler, our motorcycles were unloaded and off we’d go! In our first year, we rode fifteen new states. Some of our favorite rides during this year were the Spanish Peaks and southern Colorado, the National Seashore in the Florida panhandle, through the battlefields in Gettysburg, the Northwest, Sandhills regions of Nebraska, and the Shenandoah Mountains of Virginia. We also rode to Rolling Thunder in Washington DC to honor our Nation’s P.O.W.s and fallen military heroes.

It Wasn't All Fun and Games

Though we had immeasurable fun exploring new destinations, we also faced some challenging logistical issues. Ordering parts became difficult because it meant we had to be parked in places for lengthy periods. And, most motorcycle repair shops typically are backlogged three to four months. We also had to conduct our maintenance with limited resources and tools.

Furthermore, our Cyclone toy hauler was already overweight with our two Harley Davidson Softails (about 800 pounds each) and gear, so taking Dan’s rolling toolbox was out of the question. Adding to that, most campgrounds where we’d park weren’t fond of us shade tree mechanics. And as far as keeping them clean, we’d ended up sitting in the dirt to clean them.

Another Speed Bump

We absolutely loved our toy hauler. One reason being the ramp converted into a raised patio deck! Though, we’ve learned the hard way that they are not waterproof. If the deck patio/ramp door is left out in the snow, hail, rain or moisture, it will become saturated, warped and de-lamination will ensue. Because of the water saturation, the ramp door will become extremely heavy creating a whole other issue for the RV weight limitations.

It’s most likely it won’t be covered under warranty because the damage is considered negligence. It can be extremely costly to replace the ramp door/patio to the tune of several thousand dollars. We had to accept that our beautiful patio deck wouldn’t be able to be set up most of the time because of weather fluctuations.

Finding campgrounds or RV parks in our chosen destinations that could accommodate our 44′ toy hauler with drop-down ramp and have room to maneuver our motorcycles to ride up the ramp became challenging. It limited us where we could park. Not saying there aren’t any out there, they just weren’t in places we vied for. We also found some RV parks that charged us extra for the motorcycles as ‘extra vehicles’. So, we had to make a difficult decision.

Shifting Gears

In the spring of 2016, while we were parked in San Antonio, Texas, we sold our Harleys and traded up for a luxury fifth wheel geared more for full-time living.

However, that didn’t end our motorcycling ventures. Shortly after, we purchased a pre-owned Idaho Tote from a seller on Craigslist.  The tote came with an attachable yoke that connected to our single ball hitch on our dually. We then hired a professional welder to fabricate a dual receiver so we could connect/disconnect the Idaho Tote to the back of our fifth wheel.

Do Motorcycles and RVing Mix? 2

A month later, we bought two pre-owned Yamaha XT225 dual-sport adventure motorcycles. This allowed us the freedom to either street ride or go off-roading. We admit, the smaller, more simple machines were easier and less expensive to maintain on the road.

New Journey, New Destinations

Do Motorcycles and RVing Mix? 3

With our new toys in tow, we searched out new destinations that offered off-road riding opportunities. Off to the mountains and the woods we went with bikes in tow. Our favorite place to ride them was through the Bitterroot Mountains in Idaho and Montana. We also enjoyed playing in the Arizona desert and mud flats near Death Valley.

During the Xscapers Quartzsite Convergence in January 2017, we organized a small group ride that took us out in the backcountry of desert. We had a blast weaving through saguaros and chollas with other like-minded Xscapers riders.

Do Motorcycles and RVing Mix? 4

All Good Things Must Come to an End...or Do They?

The following spring, we returned to San Antonio before heading back east to visit family. We found a local wooded trail to enjoy some single-track riding. However, our adventure didn’t end too well. Unfortunately, my little XT225 decided to take a nap midstream on the trail throwing me off my motorcycle into tree. I ended up with a shoulder injury, four broken ribs and a broken finger and a very wounded ego.

For months following the accident, I made every excuse to Dan not to ride again. Our adventure bikes were chocked on our Idaho Tote more than they were being ridden. Not only did my psychological apprehension hold me from riding again, we found it difficult finding trails in the Midwest and East coast. So, we decided once again that perhaps, for us at least, that our RV life should be just that…”RV” life.

Dan and Lisa hiking

We have promised ourselves that when our time comes to hang up our RV keys, we will most likely pursue getting back in the saddle again. For now, our adventures will take us down different paths than originally intended. But that’s okay! Isn’t that what our RV life is about? Finding new paths of discovery, exploration, and adventure!

Always on Liberty

Author

Lisa Brown

There are no rocking chairs for Dan and Lisa Brown of Always On Liberty. A few years after Dan retired from the U.S. Coast Guard, they sold their five-bedroom Kentucky home with everything in it and set out for the open road to see America with their new fifth wheel. They and their two Maine Coon cats have been full-time, adventurous RV nomads since 2014 with no plans of stopping. Now, two RVs later, they are still searching for destinations unknown and forging their own paths. Their passions are motorcycle riding, hiking, kayaking and learning our country’s history. They also enjoy sharing their on-the-road experiences, RV tips and tricks, product reviews and how-to guides of RV life through their blog and writing.

2 Responses to “Do Motorcycles and RVing Mix?

  • Thanks for sharing and you bring up so many good points for those of us that love motorcycles but it certainly adds some challenges on the road. I’m not ready to take a break from 2 wheels yet, but how I pictured it on the road has been way different.

  • Thanks for your feelings about biking.
    I had a quad before we got our toy hauler.
    I too love the rear deck that allows my disabled hubby to enjoy the outdoors without going outside!
    I chose a TH under 40′ and dual axles because of maneuvering curves and park sites.
    Anyway, upgraded to a Honda Pioneer side by side so he can go off road with me, or to town for supplies.
    Hope you enjoy the RV life however you haul it!

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