Week 2 – CANADA, eh!

Day 8

We awoke from our last night in McGreggor, Iowa to a beautiful sunshiney day, without a rain cloud in sight. After crossing the bridge from Iowa, we stopped for a mediocre meal in Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin. We’re learning the hard way that ‘country breakfast’ doesn’t mean the same thing once you’ve left the south. Our entire day would be spent meandering along the Wisconsin side of the Mississippi River, making stops in each little town we came through.

In the tiny town of Trempealeau we caught the attention of a couple from Fountain City, Iowa at a gas station who suggested we see Buena Vista Park and overlook. It was one of those places we never would have known about it if weren’t for locals telling us.

This park was quite a treat with its beautiful aerial view of the town and the Mississippi. A train just happened to be coming through as we were enjoying the view, which really helped give perspective. 

On up the road, we stopped in Gally, Wisconsin when an old French car caught our eye. It was a Citroen. A nice family who was traveling through had also stopped to see the old car. When they saw we were the bike owners, conversation struck about our trip. They offered their prayers for our safe journey as we parted ways. We decided to grab a snack at a pub across the street where I finally had my first Wisconsin cheese curds! We talked snow storms and dialects with our waitress, who has the thickest Wisconsin accent we’d heard yet. She laughed when I asked how many inches of snow they get. Apparently their snow comes in feet. ☃

While enjoying the curds, we decided to browse Craig’s List for the upcoming area, and Jeff found a new tire for his bike listed. We already had plans to camp at the home of fellow biker in Prescott, WI. The tire was about an hour from there in Montgomery, Minnesota. Jeff’s rear tire only had about a thousand miles of life left on it, and this new tire was convenient and priced right, so we decided we’d make the trek to Montgomery for it once we had camp set up at Bill’s house in Prescott.

On the way to Montgomery, Jeff hit 100,000 miles on his bike! We stopped for odometer pics, but otherwise it was a pretty uneventful moment. No confetti or streamers shot out from anywhere. It just rolled back over to zero. 

While in Montgomery, Minnesota we met avid motorcyclist, Brad DeWitte, who installed Jeff’s tire and had us back on the road in no time. 

This guy has changed a few tires!

As we made the journey back to Bill’s yard, it was getting late, so we just grabbed a quick dinner at Dairy Queen, which seemed to be the only place near Prescott to eat. We rolled in just after dark and climbed into bed. It rained all night long, but we stayed warm and dry in the tent. 

Day 9

We began our day in Prescott, Wisconsin, where would end up staying for a second night. Bill had kindly opened up his yard to us and extended the offer, if we wanted it. When we woke up to rain, we decided indoor activities would be best for today, and took him up on his offer of staying a second night. 

We left everything set up and rode up to Mall of America for the day, which was only about 45 minutes away. The place is MASSIVE! We knew we could easily spend a day there and it was nice to be out of the rain. Their parking garage provided nice coverage for the bikes out of the weather and it gave everything, including us, a chance to dry out. 

There were four levels housing hundreds of stores, mini golf, theaters, amusement park rides, an aquarium, restaurants of every flavor, mirror mazes, Legoland… You name it! We were like two big kids playing hooky for the day. We opted for unlimited amusement park access and got our money’s worth! We lucked out with short lines all day since school is still in session, and we squeezed in at least a dozen rides between shopping, dining, Legoland and the aquarium. It’s safe to say we had a blast!

Jeff and I as Lego people

Can you believe this guy is made entirely of Legos?!

Time flies when you’re having fun. We spent nearly the whole day at Mall of America. At our host’s recommendation, we went to see Minnehaha Falls on the way back, which was definitely worth the stop. We also had just enough time for Jeff to get to the local BMW shop for some brake pads before we heading back to the tent at Bill’s house for the night. 

Day 10

We left Bill’s house in Prescott, Wisconsin and headed towards the Minneapolis area, where we took a northern route towards Manitoba, Canada. Clouds quickly rolled in and it started pouring. As the day went on, the temperature kept dropping. We knew it was going to be a longer riding day than usual to make it to Canada. It was so miserably cold and rainy, and even began to sleet at one point, but we persevered. After a long, chilled to the bone day of riding, we crossed international borders for our first nights stay in Canada – a first ever for me!

The border crossing wasn’t too much of a hassle. They wanted to see our passports and asked if we had weapons, firearms or tobacco of any sort, had ever been arrested, our reason for being in Canada, how long we planned to stay, and what our plate numbers were. The whole process took less than ten minutes before we were out from their covered shelter and back in the rain again.

The ride had been so cold, boring and wet, but our hosts for the night in Winnipeg were a godsend. Claudio, Robyn and their beautiful lab, Remington, greeted us with smiles and fresh baked cookies that looked like they came straight off the cover of a magazine. They are also adventure riders who have covered much of the United States, as they travel a few weeks every year. Without hesitation, they completely opened up their amazing home to us, even offering their laundry room for our use. Their toasty abode was a dream come true after the cold and miserable day of riding we had! Their incredible hospitality had me loving Canada already, and their memory foam bed left Jeff and I sleeping like babies. #theyspoiledus

Day 11

Claudio and Robyn graciously made us a breakfast of toast and fruit that included the largest, tastiest blackberries I’ve ever seen, accompanied by a huge, perfectly brewed cup of joe. Over breakfast, they offered their suggestions of places in Winnipeg to see. As if they hadn’t already done enough for us, they kindly allowed our request of a second night with them 

As they departed for work, we went our separate ways to explore Winnipeg for the day. Our first order of business was to check on Canadian cell service, which was a fail, and get the oil changed on Jeff’s bike, which was a success. 

For lunch, we took Claudio and Robyn’s suggestion of a restaurant that specialized in Laotian and Thai cuisine called Vientiane. It was delicious! Be sure to try the green curry soup, they said. And so we did! My tastebuds exploded with excitement at the amazing combination of green curry and coconut that was this soup. 

After lunch, we continued to follow their advice and visited a historic site called The Forks, at the confluence of the Red River and Assiniboine River in Downtown Winnipeg. I was captivated by the variety of arts of The Forks Market. We spent much of the day window shopping and then gave in to a riverside nap.

The cottonwood floated around like big snowflakes in the sky, and there were hundreds of the most beautiful caterpillars all over the place. 

After leaving The Forks we went downtown to check out MEC, the Canadian version of REI. We were in search of a ‘scruba’, a portable laundry bag Robyn told us about, but MEC was out of stock. We’ll stick to our portable sink method for now, when laundromats aren’t available.

We arrived back at Claudio and Robyn’s house in the evening, where we all got ready to go out for dinner. They had told us of a top notch Indian restaurant, which we all agreed should be a dinner date. This place is so good, infact, that Claudio and Robyn had their wedding catered by the restaurant. One taste and we could see why. Jeff and I thought we had tasted good Indian food in California, but this place was the bees knees of Indian food. The elaborate spread they had prepared and the warm welcome we received as friends of their friends was just unbelievable. 

All four of us returned home with full bellies. Claudio and Robyn were the most welcoming hosts. We thoroughly enjoyed the time we spent with them. They’re an amazing couple, an adorable family with their fur babe Remington, out-of-this-world hosts and just great people. We’re so thankful to have met them!

Day 12

This day began like our last in Claudio and Robyn’s home, with another delicious breakfast and a huge, amazing cup of coffee. I don’t know where these Canadian’s get their coffee, but it’s way better than anything I’ve ever had in the U.S.

We had all checked the weather and knew rain was inevitable for our travels today. Jeff and I braced ourselves and hoped for the best. Claudio and Robyn gave us a sweet send off with the rest of those delicious, homemade gingerbread cookies! 

(We are so sad that we failed to get a group picture with the fine folks who were incredible hosts! 🙁 Claudio, Robyn, if you guys are reading this, please send us a pic so we can show the world who so graciously welcomed us to Canada!)

The forecast was certainly correct. It poured all day long. We sought refuge midday in a vacant car wash stall. You’d think an gas pump awning would be easier coverage, but they’re hard to come by due to the amount of snow they’d have to support in the winter months. 

We found a small golf course clubhouse adjacent to the car wash, and thankfully, they had wifi so we could keep an eye on the radar. When worst seemed to be behind us, we hit the road.

All was well, even in the residual rain, until we took off from a stop light and hit a patch of sludge. I’ve never been so thankful for a red light in all my life. It slowed our speed to a crawl, which may have saved us both from a major spill. Dirt parking lots adjacent to the road had become mud in the downpour and as semis pulled out, they were tracking a thin layer of slick mud onto the road. The roads looked like any other wet road, but we found out quickly that they were slick as ice

Jeff, who rides in front 95% of the time, was able to relay through our communication system just how slick the road was, right as he was went down. Thankfully, this allowed me to back off the throttle and get stopped with just a little bit of slipping. Unfortunately, Jeff’s bike slid uncontrollably until it came to a stop on its right side. We are so thankful Jeff was not injured. His bike landed on the aluminum pannier, which now has a knarly scar, but nothing else was touched. I was shaking so badly I couldn’t even get off my bike to help him. The man behind us in a pickup truck stopped to make sure he was ok and helped him get the bike up safely. 

We decided to take a breather and escape the mud and rain for a little while at a nearby convenient store. While Jeff tended to his pannier, I browsed the aisles. This stop is where I first noticed some differences in Canadian products as compared to American items. Nestle KitKats for example…

Anywho… The rest of the day would prove to be a slow ride, as we were leery of all damp road conditions. We battled intermittent rain and intense winds all the way to Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan.

In the small town of Moose Jaw, we got a hotel room for the night, ate a simple in room dinner of sandwiches, and tried to relax and shake our nerves from the events of the day. I can only image how Jeff must have felt, but I can tell you that seeing the person you love most go down on his motorcycle right in front of your eyes is a very unsettling feeling. We were very blessed today and thankful there were no injuries.

Day 13

We awoke refreshed and feeling better about the day ahead. We counted our blessings and hit the road. On the way out of Moose Jaw, we found the big moose and got some pics. 

We stopped shortly past Moose Jaw in Herbert for breakfast at Scuttlebutts. Filled to the gills with locals, this restaurant proved to be appropriately named.

Midway through our day we stopped for a pallet nap and a dose of vitamin D. Man, that sunshine was NICE! We soaked it up and enjoyed the last of the delectable cookies Robyn had sent us away with.

Jeff explained that Waterton Lakes National Park was a little out of our way, but worth seeing, so that’s where we headed. We were blessed with a sunny and beautiful ride! About halfway through our day, we passed from Saskatchewan into Alberta

At last, the scenery was changing from flat, barren land to snow topped mountains in the distance. The closer the mountains got, the more excited I became.

Just as we had taken off from a hydration break, Jeff realized something had happened to the rack on his bike. We pulled over and realized a bolt had come loose on his pannier rack, likely after his spill yesterday. After a half hour or so, he had it all fixed and we were back on the road.

As we approached the scenic Waterton Lakes area, we scoped out camping, and for the heck of it decided to check online to see, if just by chance, there might be a host in the area. Lo and behold, there was! We wrote to a cool girl named Tanya, who said in her profile that she also rides. She agreed to host us but wouldn’t be home for a couple of hours. We decided to go on into the park to pass some time while we waited for her to get home.

We went to the small downtown area of Waterton Lakes National Park and Jeff showed me around. Night was falling, and you could clearly see the historic Prince of Wales Hotel all lit up on top of the hill, overlooking Waterton Lake. It was amazing at night, but I was so excited to come back tomorrow and see the daytime views

Just as we were about to give up on hearing back from Tanya, she texted us. We told her we were in the park, expecting that we’d have several miles to go in the dark to find her house outside the park. To our surprise she instructed us to come just half a mile or so up the road to the employee housing

Not only was she a badass woman who took a road trip through the northwest U.S. on a vintage Honda CB 350, but she works at Waterton Lakes National Park!! No way, right?! Yep, it’s true. And it gets even better… Tanya has an equally-as-cool roommate named Michael, who also works at the park, and who she’s teaching to ride a motorcycle, AND he followed her in his minivan on the road trip they took. They said the bike fit perfectly in the back of the van for when she needed a break. How freakin’ AWESOME is that?! 

We got in late, and the pictures and map on her wall got the conversations going, but all any of us wanted to do was sleep, so we made plans for coffee together the next morning so we could talk more about their hardcore road trip.

Day 14

How did we get so lucky to wake up at a fabulous apartment in the middle of Waterton Lakes with, SURPRISE, a view of  the mountains!? 

Once everyone was stirring, Tanya, Michael, Jeff and I talked a little more about their trip and how Michael is an up and coming rider who is practicing to retake his motorcycle test.

We all mounted our motos and headed downtown to the java shop in Waterton to continue our conversation over coffee. Tanya and Michael were the nicest, sweetest, most knowledgable couple. And they’re freaking adorable to boot. We exchanged stories, heard all about their rockin’ road trip, learned about bear spray and the best ways to avoid a bear attack, and just had the best time all while being surrounded by the beauty of the park. Deer were literally passing through on the crosswalks as we all sat there chit chatting. I was just stunned. 

Tanya and Michael had to report for work, so Jeff and I spent the rest of the morning exploring Waterton. We walked the waters edge, and it was so clear you could see to the bottom. Vibrant rocks glowed of red, blue and green hues, lining the floor of the lake like stained glass. I couldn’t believe how crystal clear the lake was. 

Several boats were docked on the lake. There’s even a small vessel that will take you from Waterton Lakes National Park into Montana. The views were just breathtaking. I couldn’t believe my eyes.

We made our way up the hillside to the Prince of Wales Hote, and the panorama from there was astounding. What I thought was beautiful at night was only glorified by the daylight. The hotel itself was a site to behold. 

After seeing the downtown area, we took a scenic ride to Red Rock Canyon where we would spend half the day hiking and splashing around in the gorge. Roadside wild flowers led the way to alpine meadows and jagged mountain peaks. It was another gorgeous, sun filled day, and that cold glacier water was the perfect way to stay cool. The brilliant contrast of the striking bedrock layers to the lush surroundings was extraordinary.

We enjoyed Red Rock Canyon so much that we contemplated staying another night in Waterton with Tanya and Michael, but ultimately decided to make our way up to the Calgary area instead. Just outside of Waterton was a bison paddock, where we had our first bison selfie opportunity of the trip

The ride up to Calgary was a scenic make up of rolling hills and green pastures with mountains in the distance. I was thankful to finally be in the area of Canada that I’ve heard Jeff speak of so highly
We ended our day in a suburb Calgary, Alberta called Cranston, where new friends and riders Doug and Wanda opened up their home to us. At this point, I am already blown away by the Canadian hospitality. Then much to our surprise, when we arrived, Doug and Wanda had set their fifth wheel camper up for us to use during our stay with them. 

Immediately, they offered their state of the art shop for any bikes maintenance we may need, took our dirty laundry bag inside for washing, starting handing out water, beer and vodka, and made us delicious grilled cheese sandwiches. We were flabbergasted. Their house was so cozy and comfortable that we just felt right at home.

Doug, Wanda, Jeff and I all sat around the dinner table for hours, swapping stories of travels, comparing Canadian policies and politics with the United States, and talking motorcycles. Jeff and I are usually ‘early to bed, early to rise’ kind of people, but before we knew it we had all sat up well into midnight just chit chatting like old friends.

Jeff and I retreated to the camper that was just outside the house and found it be our own personal little tiny home. They had hooked it up to electricity and water, made the beds and fluffed the pillows, and left us drinks chilling in the fridge. It was a luxurious little home away from home. We slept so soundly and comfortably thanks for our amazing new friends, Doug and Wanda.


Stay tuned for week three on the road with MotoHippies. Spoiler alerts: Autumn experiences her first natural hot springs and sees her first moose! 

Week 1 – Glasgow to McGreggor

Thirty-six days in, thousands of pictures taken and a million memories already made… I’d says it’s about time we fill you guys in a bit, eh?! It’s hard to put into words what 6,000 miles of vivid landscapes, volatile weather conditions, vivacious strangers turned friends will do for your soul, but I’m going to try.

Though Jeff and I have traveled off an on since we met, this journey, our biggest haul yet, “officially” began in Kentucky on May 23rd. The one and only thing we had planned out in any way was to make the ‘Dust to Dawson 2016’ motorcycle event in Dawson City, Yukon on June 16th. Otherwise, no plans were set and we’ve just be figuring it out day to day.

Thus far, we’ve ridden in six states (which we will visit again in more depth), and five provinces of Canada. We’ve now planted ourselves in Alaska for the summer. Ok, I think that gets everyone up to date in a nutshell. Now if you care to know about our individual days of travel in more detail, please proceed. Here’s a breakdown of week one on the road with MotoHippies.

P.S. Check out our MotoHippies Facebook Page for even more pics.


Day 1

Monday, May 23rd… a week later than anticipated, but the day of departure is finally here! Our bellies were full of good ol’ homecooking, thanks to my sweet aunt Lisa who brought a smorgasbord of country goodness for a breakfast send off. As we prepared to depart from my mom’s driveway in southern Kentucky, the excitement of this adventure had’t yet hit me, as I was a little preoccupied with how ‘Beverly Hillbillies’ my bike looked. As I started to mount my moto, I found myself in an all too familiar predicament, with my KLR slowly laying over for a nap. Oh, no, I thought, our trip can’t be starting like this! 

Jeff picked it up for me, as he always does, and with frustration I began unloading, realizing that I shouldn’t have waited to the last minute to pack for such a big trip. After a several minutes of cutting weight considerably, I finally had things down to a more manageable mess. At last, we were all smiles again, and on our way… to where? We really weren’t sure other than general direction of ‘north’.

My small hometown of Glasgow, KY had never looked quite so lovely to me as it did today. It will always be home, and though it already holds many memories, it was now also the starting place of our biggest adventure yet!
Jeff and I said from the get go that we wanted to avoid the interstates and take the scenic routes as much as possible. From Glasgow, we let 31-E lead us to Elizabethtown and then took 31-W to Louisville. We stopped on Dixie for a protein packed lunch at Zaxby’s before bidding adieu to the Bluegrass. From Louisville we hopped the bridge to Indiana and continued to follow 31 up to the town of Nineveh, where we spent our first night camping.

The way the backroads braided themselves through the small country towns and farmlands was so serene. We couldn’t have asked for a more picture perfect day of riding. The sun shown bright and the air was warm and refreshing. It was an ideal first day on the road.

Upon reaching Edinburg, Indiana, we decided to call it a day and scoped out a small secluded campsite bordering the river. We were bummed to find out it was for RVs only, but we soon found an even better place just up the road in Nineveh that had some great primitive camp sites. We had the primitive area all to ourselves and found a cool animal skull and an arrow tip at the space next to ours. #souvenir

Our first trip to the grocery store ended with dinner being a fresh PB&J with a tall glass of cold milk. It was a perfect end to a hot day as we set up camp and reflected on our new simple life.

Day 2

We awoke to sunshine in our face, a great indicator of another glorious day for traveling. Breakfast at camp included donut holes, coffee, and deliciously cheesy shrimp and grits. We weren’t exactly sure where the day would lead us, but we sure started it off right with a delicious breakfast.

As we headed in the direction of Indianapolis, we stopped to check out the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. There wasn’t any action on the track that day, but we did get to ride through the tunnel and inside the track when we visited the museum. This made for great trackside moto photos! It was interesting to see the elaborate transformation Indy cars have made in a century!

We caught a flick about the history of the track and were surprised to learn that their first event was a balloon race, soon followed by the first motorsport event held on August 14, 1909 – which was not cars, but motorcycles! The Indianapolis Motor Speedway is the highest capacity sports venue in the world.
After an informative day at the historic track, we continued our plan of beautiful backroad riding and found ourselves only a couple hundred miles up the road in Elkhart, Indiana when we decided to call it a day. As we pulled into a shopping center parking lot to check the map for camping, a local guy approached us to chit chat. Little did I know, this gentleman was only the beginning of the crowds we would draw along the way. He kindly offered us a bed in his house when he found out we were looking for camping. Just as we had decided to accept, he explained we’d need to put some locks on our bikes overnight. As nice as the offer was, we decided to seek out a place where security wasn’t so much of a concern. He was very understanding.

It was only our second night on the road and we splurged for one of those fancy KOA-type places. We certainly hadn’t set out for that type of upscale camping, but it’s what we came to first, so we took it.

We were the only tent in the whole campground and quickly caught the attention of our RVing neighbor, Mark, who is also a rider (of a stunning Victory). He was in the states for some customizations of his sweeeet Slingshot that he was trailering behind his RV. Mark invited us over for coffee and a campfire, where he and Jeff talked all things Canada while I sipped my freshly ground cup of Joe and took it all in. It just so happened our new friend was from Ontario, so he had lots of great advice for two motorcyclists who were headed to Canada. His coffee was the best I’d ever had.

Day 3

Our day began in Elkhart, Indiana, home of the RV/Motorhome Hall of Fame Museum. There was no way we could pass up seeing the evolution of RVs. We just got into the toy haulers a few years ago and now we enjoy learning about campers of all sorts. It was amazing to see how RVs and motorhomes have evolved since the 1916 ‘telescoping apartment’.

After a quick lunch at Micky D’s, we hit the westward backroads. The cottage homes of Elkhart lined the water’s edge, making for a charming display on our way out of town. It was quite a nice town after all. Our choice of route skirted us around Lake Michigan, never actually allowing us to lay eyes on it. As we approached roads for Chicago, we decided to see Chitown later on. This would turn out to be a good decision, as we later learned they got the bulk of the storms that were rolling in.
As the day went on, the sky grew darker. At our last fillup somewhere in Illnois, we decided we should probably seek shelter nearby and wait for the approaching storm to pass. Dinner time was nearing, so we whipped into a Popeyes and covered the bikes. Our timing couldn’t have been more perfect. As soon as we were indoors, the sky unleashed. We had dinner, checked the weather and looked for a place to camp.

The skies remained dark, but the rain had passed, so with a campsite in mind we hit the road. We made it to the town of Morris, Illinois, where we found primitive camping in Gebhard Woods State Park. The campsites were all nestled next to Nettle Creek, and as night fell, we had the whole place to our selves. As lovely as that sounds, it meant we were the only mosquito bait around, and boy did they know it! We set up quickly, essentials only, and hit the hay to escape the mosquito madness. It rained calmly off and on throughout the night.

Day 4

The morning brought dryness for a little while. Usually we make our own coffee, but the mosquitos were relentless. We packed up and found a local java house, Brewed Awakenings, for our morning fuel. Their slogan is “life is too shot for bad coffee”. Boy did they deliver! I had a Black Squirell and Jeff had their Dare Devil Dutch. Both were ahh-mazing, as were their pastries!

The morning sky began to look dark. We checked the weather to find rain headed straight for us. The coffee shop was so accommodating, allowing us to hang out and get wired on coffee refills until the rain passed. The small doctors office next door even allowed us to park the bikes under their eve to keep them out of the rain.

While at the coffee shop, the helmets in the windowsill intrigued the customers. Where are you guys headed? Looks like you might get wet. Where are you riding from? Jeff talked Mexico adventure riding with another moto enthusiast while I kept an eye on a weather and made plans for the day.

Once the sky cleared, we hit the road with idea of seeing Antique Archaeology (from Discovery Channel’s ‘American Pickers’). LeClaire, Iowa was our next stop, where we hoped to see Mike, Frank or Danielle from the show, but of course did not. It was still SO COOL just to be there. We have a little bit of that picker blood in us, and we love the show, so this stop was a must.

We just visited their Nashville store a few weeks back and got some stickers for our panniers. The only souvenirs we took away this time were some cool pics of their notable space with our bikes.

Riding along the glorious Mississippi River was just stunning! The towns were small, but the smiles were big. We had a ball in the sunshine. The flowers filled our helmets with the sweetest perfume. The cottonwood filled the sky like giant snowflakes. It was a beautiful day to be on two wheels.

We reached Pikes Peak State Park in McGreggor, Iowa and decided to call it home for the night. We had just read about this place and how it has the best views of the Mississippi, so we had to see for ourselves.

Upon arriving, we decided to set up, grab some groceries, and make dinner. We still hadn’t seen the views, yet. What we did notice is that nearly every campsite had a reserved card in place for the upcoming weekend. That’s when we realized it was Memorial Day Weekend. Would all the campsites up the road be full for the holiday, too? Probably so. We spoke to the camp host. He explained they only had a couple of vacancies left for the weekend.

We checked the weather. Rain was coming, so we slapped our names on a reservation card and decided to hunker down for the long weekend and wait out the rain. This turned out to be an awesome decision! Iowa is beautiful.

We enjoyed our tasty campfire dinner of grilled brats and onions, toast, and hand mashed potatoes (with ham bouillon) #secretingredient. It was time to relax and unwind, knowing this was home for the next few days.

Day 5

We have settled down in McGreggor, Iowa. Memorial Day Weekend was beginning and the campers were rolling in the by the dozens! We were pleased to see that even a few tenters were there, despite the wet weather. We enjoyed our camp coffee and biscotti as we watched everyone fill in around us and get set up.

We took the walk around the grounds to admire everyone’s setup, and found ourselves at the Pikes Peak overlook that the park is known for. Trough this pleasant discovery we quickly realized we were higher above the river than we thought. We could see up and down the magnificent Mississippi for miles and miles! While hiking a few of the trails, we saw our first little waterfall of the trip where the springs feed into the river, and we even and caught a glimpse of our first wildlife of the trip – a whitetail deer.

We took advantage of a lengthy break in the rain to go explore the little towns near us. It turns out McGreggor, Iowa is where the Ringling Brothers are from and the town was celebrating the 150th anniversary of their circus.
Marquette was another tiny town just skip up the river from McGreggor. The railroads squeezed right between these towns and the river. Watching that Canadian Pacific chugging along the mighty Mississippi looked like it was straight from an old timey picture.

We noticed Marquette had a small river boat casino. Upon returning to camp, our neighbors informed us of the good casino buffet with crab legs. Our dinner of grilled pork chops, potato cakes and toast wasn’t quite so elaborate, but it sure was good.

Day 6

We started yet another day in the time capsule little town of McGreggor, Iowa. Instead of cooking, we opted to check out the cafe downtown, which turned out to be what we call a ‘Sysco restaurant’. We had hoped for small town, homemade goodness, but most things were straight off the truck and just heated up. Aside from breakfast, we enjoyed waking around downtown, window shopping at the arts and crafts festival, exploring the nooks and crannies of old buildings and reading historic plaques. We were surprised to find caves right in the middle of town. So much history in such a small place! We loved it.

We ventured on up he road to National Historic Monument of the animal shaped tombs called Effigy Mounds.

Later, we crossed the bridge into Wisconsin where yet another old little town called Prairie Du Chien was waiting to be explored. We found a beautiful park by the river, grand old buildings and gnarly old boats, a really nifty thrift store, a tiny local health food store, and a legendary burger joint called Pete’s that you could small from anywhere in town. It reminded me of Dovie’s in Tompkinsville, Kentucky. This little town had something for everyone!

We returned home with bacon to cook for dinner, as we knew the rain was about to hit again and confine us to the tent… so bacon sandwiches it was.

Later as we were coming out from hiding, our neighbors, Guenter and Rosie, came over with firewood and wine. We enjoyed their company around the fire, talking about traveling, Germany and genealogy. They’re retired and enjoy traveling the country with their fifth wheel camper. We had a blast exchanging stories, and we made plans to stay in touch on facebook.

Day 7

Our last full day in McGreggor, and we have survived the downpours. Out came the sun and it dried up all the rain!

The American flags were flying high everywhere. Patriotism was displayed all over each town we passed through and at many neighboring campsites.

We took advantage of this dry day to get a few things done. First up, laundry – our first load of laundry on the road. Next, we found a Cabella’s and bought a few supplies. We were refueled, refreshed and ready to hit the road tomorrow morning.

Our last exploration was up to Yellow River State Park where we shared the gravel roads to the tops of the hills with only horseback riders. The overlooks were so peaceful.

After leaving Yellow River, we took the long way back to camp and passed through Hapers Ferry, Iowa. There were these precious handmade turtle crossing signs all over this tiny town, but we didn’t see any shelled slowpokes on our path. #saveaturtle

It was an incredible ride and a perfect end to a great weekend! We went back to camp, thankful that the weather had forced us to stay here and travel back in time through this quaint area.

It was wonderful meeting Guenter and Rose, and there was a lot to see and explore in these little river towns that we may have otherwise missed had we rode straight through. Our night ended with a fabulous Italian dinner of spaghetti and meatballs.


Stay tuned for our second week! Spoiler alerts: we make it to Canada, Jeff takes a spill on the road 😦

We love your comments and questions, so please don’t hesitate to leave them. We are loving this life and thankful for the opportunity to take this adventure. The outpouring of love and support from everyone is amazing! If you have any suggestions for must see places, please share them with us. Here’s our MotoHippies Facebook Page. We’ll also post additional pics there.

Family, friends, and even strangers have expressed interest in wanting to know what we’re up to. We had planned to blog once a week, for you all and for us to reflect back on. However, we soon realized that time spent with new people and exploring new places consume our days. In addition, our off grid days won’t allow for posting. I could only use my phone on wifi while in Canada, so online time was very limited. We will continue to post snippets on our MotoHippies Facebook Page as often as we can and will to try to update this blog frequently while in Alaska. We are also working on getting our YouTube and Twitter accounts going so we’ll be able to post GoPro footage.

The Q&A Birthday

Today is my birthday, which seemed like the perfect time to debut our MotoHippies adventure blog. It’s surreal to me that in a matter of weeks Jeff and I will be on the road, traveling full time… motorcycling every day, camping every night, meeting all sorts of interesting people, and seeing so, so many new places. I turn 30 today and am beyond excited to see all the adventures that unfold in this next era of life. Getting older has never felt so good!


The thoughts of traveling dirt roads that lead to the middle of nowhere, seeing national parks and monuments, and all those notable North American places that make it on to bucket lists is absolutely enthralling to us. In a few short weeks we will leave our cozy little dwelling in Northern California for an epic cross-country adventure.


Before we jump into the Q&A, allow us introduce our hippie selves to those who may not know us. We are Jeff Rhodes and Autumn Young. Jeff and I are an adventurous, fun loving, outdoorsy couple who enjoy motorcycling, traveling, and exploring together. At my request, Jeff, who is a lifelong rider, taught me how to ride a motorcycle two years ago, and it has changed my life. There’s no substitute for the happiness you feel on two wheels. There has since been no end in sight for our moto adventures. In 2014 we made the trek from the Florida panhandle to the Bay Area of California to relocate for my job. Due to our jobs, many of our moto getaways have been on weekends or holidays. Those weekend jaunts are always a blast, but we knew it would be even more fun without the time restraints. We’ve had enough of traveling on someone else’s time frame and have decided to leave the corporate world behind to travel on our own time. We’re putting our worldly belongings in storage, loading the bikes and hitting the road indefinitely. We will be exploring in depth the lower 48 states, Canada and Alaska on this epic moto journey.

We have been talking about this trip for several months now, and have received a lot of questions from friends, family and acquaintances, but with no real time frame or official plan set, those inquiries went unanswered… until now! For those of you who asked, here you go. Keep those questions coming, and we will update this list as often as we can. Stay tuned for more posts from these MotoHippies as we prepare for the adventure of a lifetime. Thank you all for your love, well wishes and support.
#peace #love #motos

Q: When do you plan to leave?
A: We originally planned to leave at the end of April 2016, but that has changed to the middle of May 2016 (so that we may attend a couple of family functions at the beginning of May).

Q: How did you come up with the idea of this trip?
A: Many weekend getaways turn into conversations about wishing the weekend didn’t have to end. And now it doesn’t. Through Jeff sharing his stories and photos of Alaska with me, I had a great desire to see The Last Frontier myself. What started as planning a trip to Alaska turned into a trip to the lower 48 and Canada, too.

Q: How long will your trip take?
A: There has been much discussion on this topic, and we’re now up to the 6-9 month range. However, we don’t mind how long it takes. We’re going to take our time and enjoy all the sightseeing and adventures that come our way. We are in no hurry. We want to see, do, and experience all we can.

Q: Where will you stay?
A: We plan to camp for the most part. In addition to camping, we will be hosteling, couch surfing, staying with friends and family as our locations (and kinfolk) allow, and staying in the occasional hotel.


Q: What is Couch Surfing?
A: Per Wikipedia, Couch Surfing is “a hospitality exchange and social networking website. The website provides a platform for members to ‘surf’ on couches by staying as a guest at a host’s home, host travelers, or join an event.”

Q: What is a hostel?
A: A hostel is like a hotel, but with shared dorm style bunk beds and bathrooms, to facilitate backpackers and travelers from around the world, and costs much less. When a guest books a stay in a hostel, they typically reserve a bed for the night, not a room. The guest’s bed may be in a private room, a room with four other travelers, or in a room with up to twenty travelers. The kitchen and common area are shared by all, leading to great introductions and conversations.

Q: You mean you’re going to stay with strangers?!
A: Yes. We’ve done this before, and hosted ‘strangers’ in our home as well through Couch Surfing and have had several positive hosteling experiences along the west coast. Both are very fun, cool ways to meet interesting people from all over the world and hear their travel stories. 

Q: Camp?! You’re really alright sleeping in a tent for that long?! Won’t you freeze?!
A: Actually, we quite enjoy sleeping outside. I have loved camping since I was a child. The smell of tent brings back so many sweet memories for me. Who doesn’t love a tent?! They’re just so cozy and fun. As for freezing… No, we will not freeze. We both have quality sleeping bags that keep us cozy in below freezing temperatures. (Yes, we’ve tested this at Yosemite.)

Q: What if you get tired of traveling and want to take a break for a while?
A: Tired of traveling? Who ever heard of such? We plan to stop frequently and take in all that surrounds us. It’s hard to get tired of something when every day is a new adventure. Should we decide to take an extensive break, we can. That’s the beauty of it. There’s no time limit to our travels.

Q: Where are you going first?
A: We will start the trip in my home state of Kentucky. There’s actually a lot to explore in Wildcat nation that I never got around to in my first quarter century of life there. Once we’ve left our mark on the Bluegrass, we’re planning to head up to the Northeastern states first, then across Canada and up to Alaska before coming back into the Northwestern United States.

Q: How will you get your mail?
A: Our snail mail will be forwarded to a relative’s house.

Q: What kind of bikes do y’all ride?
A: For this trip, I will ride my 2009 Kawasaki KLR650. Jeff will be riding his 2005 BMW F650GS Dakar.


Q: If you meet other riders along the way will you do a group ride?
A: We love meeting fellow motorcycle enthusiasts, especially adventurists. We would be open to the potential of group rides along the way if our paths crossed with other motorcyclists who were interested.

Q: How did you decide where you wanted to go?
A: We would ultimately love to moto the world, but the world is a big place. We kept it narrowed down to North America to start with (our ‘baby steps’, if you will). We thought before seeing what the rest of the world has to ride, we should first explore all the jaw dropping scenery and extreme elevations we have here at home.

Q: How did you come up with MotoHippies?
A: We tossed around a lot of names for our blog. Our family helped create many unique names to choose from. We needed something short, simple and to the point. Of course ‘moto’ describes our favorite mode of travel. To wrap up everything else that Jeff and I are in one word, well, ‘hippies’ seemed to fit the best. We are a very earthy, fun loving, clothing-optional, creative, free-spirited, healthy minded and peaceful couple who will be traveling around, living in a tent for the next several months and are happy about it. Yep, definitely hippies.

Conveniently, MotoHippies was available as an email, website, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube channel, so we can be consistent across the social media board.

Q: What are you looking forward to seeing most?
A:  We are excited to see Route 66, the Grand Canyon, Niagara Falls, Salt Flats of Utah, Washington D.C., New York City, Denali, the continental divide, everything in Canada, and these hot springs that Jeff has amazing pictures of, just to name a few. I am excited to explore the New England states with Jeff since that’s a region of the US where neither of us have spent much time.

Q: What types of sights will you stop for?
A: We will stop for anything that catches our attention. This could mean old ghost towns, mountains and valleys, natural hot springs, monuments, state parks, weird and bizarre attractions, unmarked dirt roads, or anything in between.

Q: What are you doing with your stuff while you’re gone?
A: We live fairly minimally already. We don’t have a lot of “things”, but we sure share a lot of memories. As for the things we do have, we are selling most furniture, and for the few things we hold near and dear to our hearts, we will be storing them when we give up our awesome apartment in Hayward, CA. We are sad to see our unique little place in the city go, but there’s no point in keeping it up while we’re on the road.

Q: Do you really think you can fit everything you need for a long trip like that on your motorcycles?
A: Absolutely! The bikes will be fully loaded down, with no room for a passenger, and there is no film crew following in a rescue vehicle.  Jeff is a backpacker, which translates into being spectacular at minimalizing. We have compact camping and cooking gear. I don’t do so bad myself either, for a girl. I am perfectly fine leaving the makeup and razor behind, lol. We will wash clothes often along the way, so it’s not like we are taking our whole closet. Everything we need will definitely fit.

Q: What will you do if it rains?
A: We know there will be times that we have to ride in the rain. We are prepared with rain gear. However, in the event that the weather is calling for multiple rainy days, we will stay put in an area and seek safe shelter until the storms pass.

Q: Why are you doing this trip?
A: Jeff and I decided to do this because… well, why not? As of right now, there’s nothing in life holding us back from going. We both love the outdoors, camping, motorcycling, and a challenging adventure, so a trip like this was bound to happen. Live before you die, right? So we are living! #bucketlist


Q: Will you eat out every meal?
A: No way. We do expect to eat out regularly, and experience the regional cuisine of our travels, but we are equipped with camping kitchen equipment and can whip up gourmet meals whenever we want. We will use a small cooler to keep our cold items fresh while we’re on the road.

Q: How many miles do you expect to go total?
A: We don’t know for certain, but I estimate 25,000 miles and Jeff estimates 15,000 miles.

Q: How many miles or hours do you expect to ride daily?
A: This will vary greatly since some days may be all traveling between destinations and other days may be 100% exploring on foot with no riding at all. A rough estimate is 200 miles a day on average.

Q: Where will you shower?
A: We will use rivers and streams, showers at the campground or gym, and enjoy the occasional hotel room bathtub.

Q: How will you keep your phones and GoPros charged?
A: Just like in a car, we can charge our devices on our bikes as we ride. In addition, we have a portable solar panel that will also charge devices. Many campgrounds offer an electricity option for tent sites if we need that. There will be days when we are off the grid and will forgo the electronic devices all together.

Q: How will you structure your days?
A: Our days will be structured differently depending on where we are and how much there is to do and see that day. We are both early risers, so we can make the most of our daylight hours. Breakfast is a must to get our days started on the right track. After that it’s either riding, exploring or a combination of the two until it’s time to plan our evening accommodations. We hope to stay prepared a few days in a advance on our sleeping arrangements so we can enjoy our days to the fullest knowing we have a place secured to rest our heads.

Q: What will you do if your bike breaks down?
A: If it’s something we cannot fix ourselves, we will reach out to our motorcycle community network, or take the bike to the nearest shop for the help of a professional. 

Q: What will you miss the most from your house while on the road?
A: I will miss our trampoline and bathtub. What I can say, I like to jump and take bubble baths. Jeff said he will miss our bed, and having a garage.

Q: How much do you expect this to cost?
A: There’s no way to know for sure due to the unforeseen expenses of motorcycling, but we are starting out with a goal of $100 per day or less on average. The less each day costs, the longer we can travel.

Q: Will you go back to work after this?
A: Lol. Yes. We are not filthy rich people. We will eventually have to work again in our life, in some way or another.

Q: What does your family think of this?
A: They think we’re crazy, but in a good way. They had their reservations about such a large trip, but they are very supportive of our ambitious ideas.

Q: What made you create a blog for this?
A: We love reading about other peoples’ adventures and sharing all the places we go. We started out sharing our weekend trips on Facebook. Then friends and family told us they live vicariously through our posts. This blog is meant to serve as a journal, both for us and you. We want to have something to look back on and relive all the amazing places we’ve visited. At the same time, we want anyone who’s reading to feel like they’re living the adventure with us. 

Q: What does your moto portfolio look like?
A: My moto journey began on an ’86 Honda VT500 Ascot in a big field outside the Pensacola Airport. I killed the engine every time I took off, refused to go any higher than second gear, and ended up in some bushes. It has expanded into riding my KLR all over the Florida panhandle and entire gulf coast, the back roads of Alabama, the mountains of Tennessee and Georgia, a 4 day trek from Kentucky to California, and much of beautiful Northern California over the past 2 years.

In addition to my portfolio, Jeff has ridden Alaska and Montana, and attends rallies all over.

Q: Did you say you’ve been riding for two years? Do you really think you’re ready for such a challenging ride?
A: Yes, I was taught by the best, and I am ready to take the bull (my KLR) by the horns. I am confident in my skills and am glad to be lead by a lifelong rider.

Q: What do you hope your trip accomplishes?
A: We hope this inspires people to do what they want! As I neared my thirties, I took on the motto “I do what I want”. Jeff is the first man to ever understand that, and even encourages it. Don’t let circumstances in life hold you back. Surround yourselves with those who love and encourage you and your passions. You don’t have to have a million dollars to live out your dreams. Don’t wait for a terminal illness or tragic life event to open your eyes and spread your wings. Live now, today!

Q: How can I follow your MotoHippies adventure?
A: We will be blogging as often as possible. Posts will vary depending on internet service. There will be times where we are off the grid completely, but we strive to keep our entries written even if we cannot post them right away.

Our official website is: http://www.motohippies.com

In addition to our blog, you can follow us on Instagram and Twitter under MotoHippies. Our Facebook page for this trip can be found by searching MotoHippies on Facebook. We also each have a personal Facebook page, Jeff Rhodes and Autumn Young.


That concludes our Q&A section for now. I’m headed to celebrate my big 30th with my handsome hippie! 🙂

Thank you all again for your loving support and encouraging words as we venture off. Stay tuned for more as we prepare for our trip. Keep those great questions coming. We look forward to seeing our favorite Kentuckians in April.

Peace, Love, Motos — Jeff & Autumn