CRAIG'S LATEST RAMBLINGS AND WORDS OF SEMI-WISDOM

Living Off the Slab Blog
The Best Way to Traveling in Retirement? | Pondering the Options
10/11/2021

As of January 2021, I submitted my resignation and have transitioned to the next stage of my life...which is of course retirement. As I am writing this commentary, I am approaching my one year anniversary of not officially working, and while overall it has been a great year, it has also been a bit frustrating and not exactly what I was expecting.

Of course the freedom from normal work-day responsibilities has been amazing, and my outlook on life has dramatically changed for the better...just ask my wife...however, having all of this time on my hands is proven to be a bit of a challenge. I am sure other new retirees can attest to this phenomenon.

Yes, I have been able to do a good deal of riding, completing a 10 day trip through New England, a four day excursion into Vermont and a another 12 day adventure on the North East BDR...well that one was actually cut a little short due to a mechanical breakdown, but we will not go into that here. In addition, I did a couple of three day camping trips with my friends.

The problem is that all of this great riding was finished early in the year--before August--which left me with a lot of time to think about my next steps. I am starting to crave another big adventure like I had in 2019, so what will 2022 bring?

My travel “jones” is still satisfied by jumping on my bike and hitting the road, so it will still play a big role, but will it be in the same way? The quandary that my wife and I have been discussing is trying to balance time on the bike, with other non-saddle time experiences. Riding is great, but when on the bike we are all geared up and space is limited, so extra-motorcycle adventures are typically restricted to short walks or occasional museum visits. There are a lot of other things we would like to see and experience, so it is time to reevaluate how we travel.

The first thing we want to change is how we allocate our time. In the past we have had vacation time restrictions that required us to move from place to place at a relatively quick pace. This time we want to stop and stay in the beautiful places for a few days, before getting back on the road. This will allow us to make shorter day trips and work more off the bike excursions into the equation.

Along with this major philosophical change, we are also questioning how we travel. Does it need to be all by motorcycle? In the past, this question would have been sarcaledge to me, but now I am considering other alternatives.

Option #1: Pull behind, motorcycle trailer.
Given that I am now retired and our income is fixed, the cost of travel needs to be considered. For me, this means I am planning to do more camping, at least while I am going solo. The major issue is, how can I carry my gear, my wife’s gear and our camping gear on the bike for extended periods? This brings up options #1, buying a pull behind motorcycle trailer.

I would be pulling this trailer behind my K1600 GTL, so power and brakes should not be an issue, but I still want to keep this as light as possible while providing adequate space and off course quality. The two options I have been looking at are the UniGo single wheel trailer and the BushTech Quantum Sport.

The BusTech is widely known as the best in the business, but they are expensive at around $6000 for the trailer and hitch, however the quality is top notch and it should last for years to come.

The UniGo, is lighter and less expensive at around $4000, but is smaller and I have read about issues with customer service and build quality.

I am leaning toward BushTech…

Option #2: Pulling the bikes behind my truck.
The second option is to trailer the bike(s) from place to place using my Kendon trailer and throwing the camping gear in the back of my truck. This would allow us to carry more gear and of course have the truck for those rainy days and or long stretches of interstate. Of course, this also changes the nature of our adventures, making them less motorcycle focused. There are pros and cons to this.

The biggest thing in favor of this option, is that I already have the truck and trailer. I would update a few pieces of camping equipment, but overall there would be very little outlay of money.

Option #3: Getting a small you hauler.
The third opinion is to purchase a small toy hauler that can be pulled behind my Toyota Tacoma. Basically, I would need to stay around the 5000 pound GVWR range. There are a couple of trailers out there that could do the job, including the Cherokee Wolf Pup and Intech Flyer Discover. The biggest drawback to this option, is the cost of the RV at between $20,000 to $30,000. In addition, I would need to make some modifications to my truck and there are of course other considerations like wear and tear, maintenance and gas mileage. Any savings we get by providing our own living space can be more than offset by the decreased fuel economy and upkeep on the truck and RV.

Are we ready to join the RV lifestyle?

Of course these are the proverbial “first world problems.” Just the fact that I have these options to choose from is a good thing, but it will change the nature of our travel.

In my heart, I still want to travel by motorcycle, so the trailer is very attractive to me. This option would preserve the feeling of adventure, while allowing me to carry the gear necessary for

two-up camping. When my wife joins me, we can mix up the camping with occasional hotels or KOA camping cabins.

Trailering the bikes is also an option, but I think we need to try it a few times before committing to a long trip. I definitely see this as my go to for any future off-road excursions.

Getting an RV sounds fun, but I am not sure I am ready. If Cathy would agree to sell the house, I would get a Class C and hit the road for a few years, but I don’t think we are there yet.

Hmm...so what would you do?

Ride Safe My Friends!
--Craig Ripley

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