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Story & Photos by Vicki Andersen


One of the biggest draws for packing up and getting out of town is the relaxation, peace and quiet one can (usually) look forward to. Yep, throw a few necessities and frivolities together, pack up the ole RV, and head out on the road. A weekend of warming the lawn chair and some quality time with your best buddy is an excellent way to finish up the week.

Unless your choice of RV in this particular instance is being towed behind a motorcycle.

There are many ways to camp if your chariot of choice rolls along on two wheels. You can bungee sleeping bags and tent wherever there’s room (…ice chest? don’t be silly…). You can take along a cargo trailer which will haul a fair amount of comforts (including the ice chest) and has the benefit of keeping everything dry.
Cycle Sleeper - Great for Shopping Trips or Day Tripping

Or you can opt for a motorcycle tent trailer.

Dozens of manufacturers produce motorcycle cargo trailers, and a number of these fabricate tent trailers specifically designed to tow behind a motorcycle, which also makes them terrific for small cars. They have plenty of room for sleeping bag, air mattress, pillows, cooler, food, changes of clothes and camp stove. In our particular instance, hating to leave any sign of luxury behind, add a porta-potty, propane and electric heaters, lawn chairs, barbecue, and an AC/DC TV.

Okay, I know…. where’d the “roughing it” go? Hey, I never said “relaxation, peace and quiet” had to be done in an austere environment!

Camping at the Coast
Camping in the Mountains

The biggest drawback you will find are your fellow campers awaiting your arrival at trail’s end. Most folks have noticed motorcycles cruising the roads with a trailer in tow, so wheeling along with an attachment doesn’t draw many stares. It’s when the time comes to set up camp that the double-takes from your neighbors begin.

First they notice your trailer is a bit larger than the average “cargo” hauler. (…“These folks must be packing supplies for a month-long vacation”…) Then comes a double-take as you pull down the jacks and level it up. (…“What, their ice chest leaks if it isn’t perfectly level?”…) Flip open the lids and insert the legs (…“It’s gotta be a traveling picnic table”…). By the time you’ve slid the bows into their uprights and are spreading the tent over the frame, a crowd has gathered in amazement.

The men-questions begin: What’s it like to tow a trailer? (…not much different -- just give more allowance for braking…) How slow do you go on the hills? (…generally it doesn’t pull you down much at all…) How much does it weigh? (…loaded to the gunnels ours comes in at around 600 pounds…) And if the observer is over 70 years of age, he inevitably has a story to share about a friend’s WWII-vintage Harley/Indian/Cushman he once rode into a barbed-wire fence/tree/brambles and “never been on once since.”
Sitting at the Table

The women don’t usually ask many questions, they just want to peek through the windows and door, bubbling with enthusiasm over the roomy double bed, handy cooking/food preparation area, cozy little table, and porta-potty nestled discreetly and readily beneath the bed.

Thus ends all illusions of a quiet, relaxing getaway. As the weekend progresses there seems to be a constant parade of friendly folks who would “just like to take a look… never seen anything like this before,” and share some congenial conversation about what it’s like to experience RVing from the seat of a motorcycle.

Our trips are always entertaining and filled with some new adventure. Fresh out of the paint shop, custom-matched to our Honda Aspencade, we headed off to explore Glacier National Park. Unfortunately, we didn’t know that northern Idaho had just resurfaced (read: oiled and graveled) their roads. The unavoidable rock chips on our new paint job nearly broke our hearts!
Cycle Sleeper’s Room for Two - Just

Then there was our arrival in the park campground. After settling in for the night, Mr. Ranger arrives to inform us our cooler and all food items must be secured inside a vehicle where the aroma wouldn’t attract the bears who were enjoying freshly ripened berries in the vicinity. Of course, inside a TENT trailer wouldn’t do, and one look at the saddlebags and trunk on hubby’s two-wheeled mount, and not even those accouterments on mine, made it obvious there was no room to be had there.

Despondent and about to break camp and head in search of a motel, a kind-hearted neighbor learned of our plight and offered us storage space inside his pickup canopy. Chalk up one of the few “cons” for a motorcycle/tent trailer combination.

We’ve learned how to get up with the pitter patter of rain on the canvas, dress, pack and stow our stuff, then don our raingear and helmets -- all before emerging into the elements. The entire unit can then be disassembled and ready for travel in less than five minutes. Try that with a conventional tent!

Aspencade & Penson Ready to Roll

If you’re a two-wheeled enthusiast, there are rules of thumb for bike size and weight versus towing capabilities. For suggestions and recommendations for your particular bike, talk with a reputable and knowledgeable motorcycle dealer. If your machine is set up correctly and properly maintained, you’ll discover a whole new world of adventure. And it won’t take long to wonder why you waited so long to add a hitch to your mount and became another two-wheeled RV aficionado!


Vicki Andersen may be reached at: skicat1@comcast.net.


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