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Four Trip Planning Resources for Touring Success

Things to know before you go

With motorcycle season in full effect, it’s time to get the bike out of the garage, the gear loaded up, and hit the road. Offering up maybe the world’s best touring topography, the Pacific Northwest is a scenic wonderland, like no other place on earth. It begs to be ridden. This year, dedicate yourself to making the most out of each trip by not wasting a single hour of daylight. A little research can go a long ways and these 4 websites can help put you in prime position to pack on the miles and enjoy every minute of it.

1. Weather - www.weather.gov

A no brainer. This isn’t just hopping in the family 4x4 for a ride down to Crater Lake. In addition to rain and thunderstorms, riders need to be keenly aware of both temperature conditions and the effects of topography on weather along any planned routes. A 500 mile day in the Pacific Northwest can take you through multiple climate zones and you might just find yourself exiting a nice, pleasant, afternoon heading up a mountain pass and into thunderstorms, or even hail on the downhill side. The National Weather Service's new “Enhanced Digital Display” (in Beta @ http://preview.weather.gov/edd/), allows users to enter their destination and get specific weather updates for their planned route. A great first and last step before rolling out.

We have a number of other weather options to choose from on our Weather page located in our resources section at http://www.soundrider.com/resources/weather.aspx

2. Road Conditions - www.fs.usda.gov

The super slab has its moments, but let's face it...that’s the last place most of us want to ride. Motorcycling is about exploration and whether  you’re hunting for that gnarly dirt track or searching for the perfect stretch of twisties, that means heading for the mountains. Keep in mind, though, that winter time can wreak havoc on some of the region's more spectacular riding areas in the form of snow build up, flooding, washouts and frequent summertime road closures. A few weeks of sunny mid-summer weather may lull you into a false sense of security leaving you and your trip literally dead ended. Oh and speaking of sunny, mid-summer weather don’t forget the forest fires….looking at you, Idaho.

For a complete set of links to both each National Forest and county road conditions in the Pacific Northwest, use our road conditions page from the home page of Sound RIDER! by clicking 'More' on the navigation bar, then Road Conditions under the Resources heading. http://www.soundrider.com/resources/road_conditions.aspx

3. Campsite Availability - www.recreation.gov

Summertime, of course, is a great season for more than just motorcycling and when heading out to some of the country’s more popular recreational areas, it’s important to plan ahead. If you’re relying on camping near “town” for easy access to fuel and restaurants or are anticipating pitching your tent in a campground with features like power and water, take note that these areas can book up weeks in advance (especially around holidays). After a long day of hot, summer riding, finding yourself low on fuel, food and with no place to camp, is certifiably miserable. Before you head out, do a little research and make sure that there are plenty of spaces to pitch your tent along the way.

4. Motorcycle Recalls - www.nhtsa.gov

When you buy a new or used motorcycle, the government registration process automatically enters owners into a database that vehicle manufacturers, in conjunction with the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, can access to update title holders with newly-issued recalls. Of course, if you weren’t the first to roll the bike off of the showroom floor then you might be missing out on important safety or mechanical updates which could derail your trip. Often times, recalls are simple, but it’s not unheard of for major brands (and models) to have problems with transmissions, fuel lines or brakes. Take a quick second to run your VIN number a few weeks prior to your trip and ensure that everything is mechanically sound before your departure.

Derek Roberts/June 2016


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