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Since 1999, the #1 Motorcycling Magazine for Women and the Men Who Ride with Them









The Ultimate Motorcycle Vacation Part 2

So how did the Batey's big trip turn out?

By Genevieve Schmitt
1/9/2006

Click here to read Part 1.

Ann reiterated that the best part of their journey was the unknown of each day. "What are we going to see today? Who's out there? Who are we going to meet?"

The Batey's unplanned, serendipitous route.
The Batey's unplanned, serendipitous route.

When they left in May the weather was warming up, so they stayed in campgrounds half the time and motel'ed it or stayed with friends the other half. Progressing north and east, less time was spent in tents. In the end, weather dictated their route despite their best efforts to head counterclockwise and hit all four corners of the U.S. Each night they checked the forecast to determine the general direction in which they'd proceed. Initially, they headed south from northern California towards Arizona, but when they hit 120-degree heat in May in the Southwest, they did a 180 and headed north to Banff, Canada, crossing their fingers that the snow had cleared out. Their perfectly "unplanned" route after that had them riding through New England and the East Coast in the midst of fall's beautiful colors, and Florida to bask in warm sunshine in November. From there, they pointed their bikes north and west to meander back home with no particular return date circled on the calendar.

At the Finger Lakes in New York.
At the Finger Lakes in New York.

It wasn't until December, when they witnessed inch-long icicles hanging on the barrel cactus in New Mexico, that they set their bikes on a straight course for home. "That was the final straw and we couldn't get much farther south without going into Mexico and that wasn't on our list," Jym says. The heated vests they purchased to wear under their BMW riding suits came in handy about that time.

They never found themselves in one location for more than two or three nights, except for when they bunked with Jym's sister in New Hampshire using her place as a home base for day trips throughout New England. Daily mileage was not an issue. "It was never a goal for this whole trip that we were going to average 300 miles a day. There were days we went 18 miles and decided we had enough because we stopped seven times," Jym explains. Ann adds with a laugh, "We couldnÕt get through Vermont. It took us three days to go 150 miles."

The summit of Mt. Washington in New Hampshire in September. Riders must prepare for all kinds of weather.
The summit of Mt. Washington in New Hampshire in September. Riders must prepare for all kinds of weather.

They kept track of their progress with a GPS, the main reason they purchased one. It interfaced with the map program on their laptop allowing them to catalog their route... a route that, by happenstance, put them in some interesting places at interesting times. Like when they ended up at Mt. Rushmore on the fourth of July, and how they stumbled upon the world's second attempt at creating the largest grilled cheese sandwich while riding through the Everglades in Florida. "It was absolutely incredible," says Ann bubbling over with excitement. "And there it was in the 'Guinness Book of World Records' the other day when we went to the bookstore. And we ate a piece," she smiles proudly. The only time the Bateys scheduled a stop was when the motorcycles needed their scheduled oil and tire changes. "It really put a cramp in our style of not caring where we were going to be and when," says Jym. "We found, though, most dealers will give you preferential treatment if they understand you are traveling."

Riding a ferry in the Great Lakes regions.
Riding a ferry in the Great Lakes regions.

Jym and Ann each went through three sets of Metzeler ME Z4s, opting for the sportier compound tire as opposed to long distance rubber to match their style of riding. The list of North American BMW dealers they carried with them came in handy.

No major problems with the motorcycles except for a rear brake failure on Ann's bike early on in the trip that had them showing up at a dealership sooner than expected. Ann also got hit with a totally-out-of-the-blue case of kidney stones that forced her and Jym to park it for a few days in Arizona while the drugs she was prescribed made their way through her system.

Plugging in her heated vest in north Florida after a storm in November.
Plugging in her heated vest in north Florida after a storm in November.

When asked if they'd do this type of trip all over again. Without hesitating, they replied in unison, "In a minute!" adding that a grand excursion like that will have to wait until they fatten up their savings account. "It's expensive to do it the way we did it," Jym says, adding that their trip tallied up to $30,000.     

Home sweet home. After 28,000 miles, the Bateys look well and rested. Now that's a way to take a motorcycle trip.
Home sweet home. After 28,000 miles, the Bateys look well and rested. Now that's a way to take a motorcycle trip.

Ann already knows one thing she'll be packing next time. "We'll take two computers," she grins. Jym finishes, "...so she can do the diary and the finances, and I can do the Web site and computer stuff." That's right, two computers, but still no cell phone. To read more about the Batey's trip and see lots of spectacular photos, visit this link.

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