As much as I hate to say it, winter is definitely on it's way. With highs in the 40's and lows in the 30's it's most assuredly an indicator that colder times are ahead. Time to winterize the bikes? Absolutely not!! I've managed to pick up some decent cold riding gear and will ride any chance I get over the coming winter, about the only thing that stops me is snow and ice covered roads. Fortunately, here in Kansas we've had some mild winters in the past and I'm hoping for another one.
So what does one do with the extra down time in the winter? You plan a trip, that's what! In September of '08 we were fortunate to be able to take a 5 day trip on bikes to Arkansas and enjoy the roads and scenery that the Ozarks has to offer. It was an absolutely incredible feeling for those 5 days to be able to do nothing but ride and explore. Each day we looked forward to getting up early and hitting the road and just riding, no real schedule, no real destination, just riding. '09 wasn't as cooperative, between family, work, and the economy a trip just wasn't in the cards this year. However next year one thing will change it up a bit, we'll officially be "empty nesters". Our youngest son was 1st, he joined the Navy and is now well into his adventure, our oldest son will be finishing college next May and then onto his life. My wife and I decided that we would treat ourselves to a bike trip.
The next question was, "Where to?" and "How long?" Now, my wife is Korean, there are many things in America that she hasn't seen, even though she's been here with me for the past 19 years. Between both of us working and raising a family there was never the time or the money for extravagant family vacations. A weekend here, a weekend there, was about the extent of it, our '08 trip to Arkansas was the closest thing to a family vacation we've had since a family reunion in the Black Hills in '97. My wife has always wanted to go to the mountains, I mean real mountains, so our trip heads for Colorado first! It's a good days ride to Ft. Collins so that where we head 1st, hopefully in July of '10. From there we'll meander south by southwest traveling whatever roads we feel like while riding to such places as Mt. Evans, Pikes Peak, and Royal Gorge. The rough plan is to spend a week in Colorado and as long as we're heading southwest we may as well make the ride to the Grand Canyon. From there we'll make our way east through Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, and back home to Kansas. We'll have 18 days to complete our journey and it'll cover around 3000 miles. Since saving money is always a concern we've decided to mix staying in motels and camping. We are so excited for this trip!
Now onto the more difficult question. How to fund this trip? Even with saving some back from our weekly(or should I say weakly, lol!) checks it won't be enough to cover the trip. I'm also putting in as much overtime as my boss will allow(not alot in this economy), and taking on cash and weekend projects. Either way we're determined to make this trip a reality!
How determined one might ask. Determined enough that I am considering giving up one of the most enjoyable bad habits I have left, smoking. To some, it may sound idiotic that I would call it enjoyable, but the truth is, I do enjoy it. I like the smell, the taste, how satisfying it seems after a good meal. I know it can kill me, I know and feel what it's doing to me right now. I'm in decent shape, my line of work is physically demanding every day, I've been doing it for 20 years. Facts are facts though, I have very little endurance anymore and I run out of gas quickly. The "cough" has started. A couple years ago I tried the medication method of quitting, Chantix and then Zyban. With Chantix the side affects were hell, I constantly felt bloated and had extreme heartburn 24/7. Zyban on the other hand did absolutely nothing, zero, zip, nada. The only way I'm going to quit is cold turkey, make up my mind and just do it. The money side is also a motivator to quit. Smoking costs me just over $2000 a year, now that's a chunk-o-change!
Anyhow, enough rambling for now.