Spring is technically here though it’s felt like summer here in Southern Michigan, and we are ready for our first road trip of the season! It’s time to get ready and go through our gear and get everything in order in time for our first weekend trip with friends, which will likely be out to the Irish Hills area. The weather next weekend is supposed to be cooler, but dry. Some necessity, some luxury, here are 10 things I make sure to pack for each excursion.
1. Tools. Wrenches, spark plugs, zip ties, tire gauge, tire repair kit, flashlight. Check your manual if needed, but make sure you have the right stuff for your bike.
2. Clear Glasses. You’ll leave with sunglasses on, but if all goes well, you’ll ride back in the dark. Even safety glasses work fine as long as they adequately cover your eyes.
3. Warm Gear. Jacket, chaps, gloves, etc. Does your helmet have detachable earflaps? Bring them. Rain gear also, if there is a chance in the forecast.
4. Sunscreen / Lip Balm. I’ve come back fried up crispy crunchy more times than I can count. You don’t notice until the end of the day how much sun you’ve gotten. Even on overcast days. And NOTHING is worse than chapped lips in the wind.
5. Cargo Net. You never know what you might find at a barn sale.
6. Camera and Journal. I’m never without my camera and journal, as this is what I do. I love to document and share our adventures and I jot notes at every stop.
7. Flip flops. Learned this from a friend last year. Guys will likely not care too much about this, but it’s SO nice to kick those boots off on a hot summer day and let your toes cool off.
8. iPod or MP3 player. Tucks nicely in a windshield bag. If you have speakers, great. If not, use one earbud so outside noise isn’t completely blocked out.
9. Blanket or Throw. In case you find a nice grassy spot or a place without picnic tables or benches.
10. You. You’re taking the trip to get away, to explore, to enjoy this day that you’ve been blessed with. Soak up every minute. Notice the sights, the smells, savor every detail. Leave work at work, leave worries behind for today. A good ride is great therapy, but don’t ride if you’re distracted or upset.
Go somewhere new, make some memories. And if you can’t get a group of friends together, just go. The timing won’t always be right for everyone, and if you always wait on everyone else, you’ll never get anywhere.