Friday, May 16, 2008

What's motorcycle touring without a great trailer!

So we're busy getting ready for our first motorcycle trip of the season. 4 fun filled days in Winchester, VA with 150 or so of our Goldwing friends. I thought I'd show you what has quickly become our favorite travel accessory our Aluma MCT Trailer. In fact, we just finished lining it with carpet to give it a more finished look. First the story behind this little gem.

Back in 2003, when we first got our Goldwing, my husband was looking for a utility trailer for his business, we were out for a ride and stopped into a local trailer dealership. After looking at the utility trailers we were on our way back to the bike when we spotted a small motorcycle trailer in front of the showroom. We went over to take a look. It was white with aluminum trim, it was boxy and clunky looking and not very aerodynamic at all.

We both decided that it was probably the ugliest thing we had ever seen compared to other trailers we had looked at. It was nothing like the sleek, low profile, "painted to match the bike" trailers we'd previously looked at by companies like Bushtec , Hannigan and Tailwind. We left thinking "who in their right mind would own one of those." You know what they say, never say never!

Fast forward 3 years and we're now the proud owner of one of those "ugly" Aluma trailers (also affectionately referred to as a hot dog cart for obvious reasons), go figure! After seeing them in use up close and personal, and talking to the very happy owners, we decided it fit our needs and budget. Besides the look actually grows on you. Aluma trailers have developed almost a cult following in the Goldwing community and after owning one I can see why. They are a great value for the money, for around $1700 you get 13.4 cu. ft. of cargo room which may not sound like much but you can get quite a bit of stuff in this little gem.

The trailer is very customizable to fit your needs, plus, you can easily also strap some items to the top for extra storage. It pulls easily down the road and it's completely waterproof (don't ask how I know, that's a whole other story!). Having a trailer has changed the way we travel. For the first 3 years we had the bike we it was always quite a ritual to get everything we needed in the bike especially if the trip was more than a couple of days. The limited space on a motorcycle, yes even on a Goldwing, really teaches you how to travel light and pack only the bare necessities. You quickly realize that one pair of jeans really can last you more than 1 day so you decide that "wear a pair and pack a pair" goes a long way. No matter how light you pack, it seems there's always something you end up leaving behind...ok, maybe I just forgot it!

Now we have plenty of room for all of our necessities, not that we over-pack, but we take what we need, plus folding chairs for post ride BS sessions in the parking lot, rain gear, covers for the bike, extra helmets and a cooler for cold beverages and snacks. We never have to worry about getting everything to fit. We even have room for souveniors. Here are some things we've learned in the 2 years we've been pulling a trailer behind our Goldwing:
  • If it's pouring rain and you need to turn right at a steeply inclined intersection, don't stop on the incline, continue around the corner until you can safely stop on a level surface.
  • A swivel hitch will allow the bike to lay down with out affecting the trailer (don't ask!).
  • When traveling with others who do not have a trailer and swear they will never pull a trailer, always leave room for some of their stuff it'll end up in your trailer.
  • Always pack the Corona and Captain Morgan(for above mentioned parking lot BS sessions) first and be sure it is secured before anything else.
  • Just because it will if in the trailer, doesn't mean you have to take it.
  • The flat surface on top makes a great serving area for cocktails, snacks, and yes even hot dogs!
As an added bonus, my husband has even found a way to use the trailer in our home heating & cooling business. During air conditioning season he hitches the trailer up loaded with his service tools and performs air conditioning cleanings on the bike. It's quite a conversation piece and gets much better gas mileage than his service van!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Parks, lakes and of course ice cream!

It was a beautiful, sunny, warmer than usual for this time of year, day. Perfect for a nice leisurely ride around the countryside. You didn't have to ask me twice, let's go!

First stop, Mendon Ponds Park, this is the largest park in Monroe County, NY and nice place to ride or picnic and take in the local "wild life" which usually consists of several large herds of deer. If you cruise through the park at dusk, keep your eyes open because you never know when you're going to round a corner only to be met by Bambi and her entourage! The park was just awakening from it's winter slumber. The picnic tables were still stacked neatly near the pavillions and the last shaded mounds of snow were finally giving way to the matted grass below. Not alot of activity in the park a few joggers and some picnicers but mostly pretty quiet.

After a nice ride through the park, we decided to head out to take a ride around one of the Finger Lakes, we weren't sure which one but we'd know it when we got there. That's pretty much how most of our rides go. Head out the driveway, pick a direction and go. Fortunately the GPS is usually pretty good a helping us find our way home.

It really was a beautiful spring day, the sun shining brightly, warming the air just enough to make me comfortable in my leather jacket. We ended up riding around Conesus Lake. Conesus is one of the smaller of the FingerLakes it's located at the western end of the Finger Lakes region in Lakeville, NY. The lake is 8 Mi long and 66 feet deep at it's deepest point.

We always enjoy riding around the Finger Lakes Region, the roads are nice and curvy, and the scenery especially in the fall is breathtaking.

As we made our way around the lake, all around us were signs that spring was here. People were out in their yards clearing away the last vestiges of winter, and preparing their cottages for what I'm sure everyone hopes is a nice, long hot summer. Winter around here is just too long!

We know several people who live on the lake but none were home so we rode on planning our next destination, which was a no brainer, we simply can't take a ride around Conesus Lake with out visiting one of our favorite stops Minnehan's.

Minnehan's is a nice little restaurant that also offers, an arcade, mini golf, a go cart track and the main reason we cream. You see, as Goldwing owners, required that after every ride we must stop for ice cream. The owners manual specifies Dairy Queen, but since those are practically non existent around here, we've received an exclusion to include any establishment that serves the sweet, frozen treat. So Minnehan's it was. If you're ever in the area check it out, it's a great place to take the kids too!

By the time we finished the ice cream, I was sufficiently chilled from the inside out. I didn't care though it was worth it! But it was getting late and time to head home, the back way of course!

What a great day and a perfect way to start the season.

See ya all next time!