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