Posts Tagged ‘Motorcycle Travel Network’

Gerhard Was Our Latest MTN Visitor

Thursday, October 26th, 2017
Motorcycle Travel Network site.

I neglected to shoot a photo of Gerhard and his bike so I’m using this screenshot of the MTN site.

As I mentioned previously, we had another Motorcycle Travel Network visitor a couple days ago, Gerhard from Illinois. Once again we enjoyed meeting a fellow biker and were happy to have him stay with us.

Gerhard, who is 83 years old, is a serious rider. I’m not sure how many miles he has put on his bikes at this point but he told the story of renewing his driving license eight years ago. In Illinois you have to take and pass the riding portion of the motorcycle validation test. On his big BMW cruiser he was not able to navigate the cones and was afraid he would lose his accreditation. The tester, however, told him privately that he noticed his “400,000 miles” sticker on his bike and figured that if he has ridden 400,000 miles on a motorcycle and is still alive then he was not going to deny him a renewal on his license.

So that was eight years ago; I don’t know how many miles he has added since then.

It was interesting, too, because I know just what Gerhard was facing. When I first got my motorcycle accreditation on my driver’s license I had no choice but to take the test on my Honda 750. That’s a big bike to take the driving test on. I failed it the first time but passed it the second time by intuitively revving the engine, dragging the rear brake, and working the clutch to walk the bike slowly and deliberately around the cones.

I told Gerhard about this and said he could easily do the same and he surprised me saying that yes, I could do it because I’m an expert, but he is not an expert. He has ridden probably more than 500,000 miles on a motorcycles and he does not consider himself an expert? Really?

But then I think about the guys I ride with and I understand what he’s saying. Dennis is the one in our group who has ridden more than anyone. And yet I’ve seen in numerous instances a demonstration that Dennis does not understand this same simple procedure for controlling the bike at very slow speeds. I gave a demonstration once riding my bike in a U-turn on a narrow road and then watched as each of the other guys jockeyed their bikes back and forth making a series of Y’s to get turned around. Guys, did you not see what I just did? You really can do it if you try.

So Gerhard is no “expert” rider. Well, he certainly is a distance rider. He came here from Kanab, Utah, in one day–600 miles. And he left the next day headed for Lincoln, Nebraska. That’s a shorter distance, and one that I myself have ridden in a day a couple times, but still what I consider a long way. I’ve never ridden 600 miles in a day. And then Gerhard was planning to ride the rest of the way home, to Illinois the next day.

And remember, he’s 83. Good for you Gerhard, keep going as long as you can. I hope to do the same.

Biker Quote for Today

Imagine life without motorcycles. Now slap yourself and never do it again!

Motorcycle Travel Network Brings More Good Guests

Thursday, October 19th, 2017
motorcyclists taking off gear

John and Cindy on their arrival.

In this era of AirBnB it may not seem as odd as it once did to open your home to total strangers, but that is what the Motorcycle Travel Network (MTN) has been about since long before AirBnB ever existed. We have belonged to MTN for years and have been hosts and guests numerous times. We had a chance to be hosts again last week, and as always, we thoroughly enjoyed it.

John and Cindy are from Pennsylvania and they had been on the road on their new 1600cc Beemer for a month, mostly out in Utah. Being from the east, they had never spent time in Utah and were thrilled with the beauty of what they encountered. Of course, those of us who live out west are fully aware of what Utah has to offer. One of the beauties of MTN is that if we were to go to Pennsylvania, I fully expect John and Cindy could direct us to some places we are just as unfamiliar with.

It was a spur of the moment thing. I opened my email that morning and there was a note from them, from Grand Junction, asking if we could host them that night. I quickly checked with Judy, who assented, and I emailed back that we would be happy to have them. They called a few minutes later to ask if we had any route recommendations.

Mind you, this was just after our snowstorm last week so I may have done them a disservice. I mentioned the storm and suggested they just stick to I-70, that they might find Vail Pass covered in snow and ice, which would be bad enough. As it turned out, Vail Pass was totally clear with 60-degree temps. Maybe I should have suggested Loveland Pass. But I have no idea if it was clear then or not.

They arrived and turned out to be really nice folks. You always kind of wonder before you meet someone but we have never had a guest we wished we had not met, and many have been people we would love to see again. Maybe it’s just that the kind of person willing to stay with a total stranger is just going to be on the same wavelength of the person who is willing to open their home to a total stranger. Of course, you always know right from the start that you are going to have motorcycles in common.

As it turned out, we had much more in common with John and Cindy than just motorcycles. And this has been their experience in the group as well. John told us about several good friends of their who they have ridden with many times who they met through MTN. I guess it’s just a good bunch of people.

So come morning we decided to ride with them a ways. They were going to be heading east but staying south to avoid colder weather so we led them out Parker Road down to Franktown and then east on CO 86 to Kiowa. There we said our good-byes and turned north on the Kiowa-Bennett road and looped back home while they continued east.

And you know what? We have another MTN guest coming next week. Oh, boy! This is fun.

Biker Quote for Today

Nobody gives you freedom. If you’re a biker, you take it.

A Woman Riding Her Own

Thursday, July 13th, 2017
motorcycle trailer

The bike and everything she owns in a Jeep and a trailer.

Women who ride motorcycles really do seem to be a breed of their own. Guys who ride are just guys who ride–nothing all that special about us. But for women it’s different.

I’ve know plenty of women who do ride and the latest one I’ve met was Carolyn, who stayed with us a couple days via the Motorcycle Travel Network. She arrived in a Jeep pulling a trailer with her 950cc Star cruiser and everything else in the world that she owns. Seriously.

The thing is, though, she just got that Jeep and trailer about a week before she came here. For a little more than a year before that she had been on the road just on the bike. About 27,000 miles of travel.

motorcycle helmet with fall in back

Why bother with long hair when you can just attach it to the back of your helmet.

I can’t give you her whole bio because she didn’t really volunteer a whole lot and we didn’t want to snoop. Plus, if she had gone into detail I’m not sure she would want me telling the world about it all here. But she basically decided sometime more than a year ago to kiss everything good-bye and go hit the road. She gave away almost everything and put the few things she kept in storage. And took off.

Of course she has had some interesting experiences. There was that Air BnB guy who, after letting her in the place she was renting from him, backed into her bike, knocking it over, and left in a hurry. Carolyn is not big, and the bike kind of is big, so she was fortunate that a fellow down the street saw it all and helped her get the bike back upright. He also signed a sworn statement about the mishap but even with that she had to fight with the insurance company for six months before she got reimbursed for her expenses.

Other than him, the great bulk of people she has encountered have been super nice. She was a little lonely being all by herself at Christmas time but that was the worst of it.

Now that she has the trailer and the Jeep it is proving to be a challenge of its own. She’s kind of wishing she was back on just the bike. She hadn’t figured out the tie-downs for the bike in the trailer and I wasn’t much help because I don’t have a lot of that kind of experience. But the morning she left here she went out without asking for assistance, got it all to work somehow, and was on her way. She’s got a lot of spunk.

Biker Quote for Today

My Prince Charming won’t be galloping up on a white stallion. He will be cruising up on a Harley!

MotoStays Provides Inexpensive Travel Option For Bikers

Monday, May 11th, 2015
Colorado MotoStays map

A map shows you all the locations of MotoStay members. Here's the current Colorado membership.

I have written a number of times about the Motorcycle Travel Network (MTN) and now there is another offering in the same concept.

MotoStays bills themselves as “the motorcyclist’s equivalent to Airbnb; the difference being the overnight stays are free.” That is to say, you join MotoStays and then when you are traveling you can contact other members and arrange to stay at their house, and when other members are traveling in your area, they can contact you to stay at your house. All at no charge either way.

The only difference between the MTN and MotoStays in this regard is the cost, although that is minimal. With the MTN, if it is just one person, you pay your hosts $15 “to cover expenses.” If there are two people then it’s $20 and for each additional person it is another $10. So with four people you would pay $40 and while that’s not free, compared to what you would pay at a motel it’s pretty darn close.

Whereas the MTN has been operating for a number of years, MotoStays has been in operation just about one year. MTN charges an annual membership fee, whereas in its first year MotoStays has offered free membership. That is about to change however, and MotoStays says the free membership will end on May 15–just four days from now.

Here’s the breakdown on costs:

  • MTN charges $40 for a one-year membership, $60 for two years, or $120 for five years.
  • Starting May 16, Motostays will be charging $49.95 for a one-year membership or $14.95 per month for a monthly membership.

What it all comes down to, whichever of these groups you might consider joining, is the issue of staying with total strangers in their home and/or having total strangers stay in your home. For many people that is just a bridge they cannot cross. But I can tell you from experience, if you can overcome your fears this is a doorway to some very rewarding experiences.

Judy and I have been MTN members for a number of years and we have had nothing but wonderful experiences with the people who have stayed with us. We have not had a single bad experience and have thoroughly enjoyed meeting and spending time with the folks who have stayed here. On the flip side, while I was extremely uncertain before I stayed my first night with strangers, those fears were ungrounded, things went great, and since then we together and I on my own have stayed with numerous other MTN people and again have had zero bad experiences.

The point is, we all share a common interest–motorcycles–and that’s a universal ice-breaker. We’ve been regaled with riding stories and have probably told our fair share of them as well, although none as extreme as many we’ve heard from some real world travelers. Whoever the host is, the guest benefits from hearing about all the best local roads from people who really know the best local roads. And while offering dinner to your guests is not required, we always do and we have usually been offered dinner when we have been guests. Or at the very least, directions to a good place to go eat.

Of course, if for any reason you need or want to say no to a prospective guest, you always have that option.

What regrets do we have from all this? None. Absolutely none. Honestly, we wish we had more people staying with us. That’s how much we really do enjoy it.

So if you’re at all interested in this sort of thing, you have four more days to sign up at MotoStays for free. I’m going to be doing that because between the two organizations we will have a lot more options. And if you join either and plan to come to Denver, give us a call.

Biker Quote for Today

Murphy’s Motorcycle Laws: 3. Motorcycles are to yellow bugs what aircraft carriers once were to kamikaze pilots.

Another Great Motorcycle Travel Network Visit

Thursday, April 24th, 2014
Michel and his GS

It was a little late when Michel arrived but he was in time for dinner.

Michel showed up a little later than planned on Tuesday night but was still in time for dinner. We ended up sitting at the dinner table talking with him till long past the time when we’re usually headed for bed. It was another good time with a Motorcycle Travel Network guest.

After five and one-half months touring the U.S. and Mexico, Michel is headed back to Toronto–but not before riding for a few days in Colorado with a buddy from Montreal who flew in today. And he’ll probably be staying with us one more day before he mounts the bike and starts the blast back home. Oh yeah, and what he’ll be mounting is a BMW 800 GS, not a Honda as I said before. Turns out his profile on MTN is wrong.

Of course he had some good stories to tell. Are you familiar with Mexico’s Copper Canyon? It’s like their version of the Grand Canyon, only bigger and deeper. And it has a road that runs through part of it.

So Michel was on his way to a town down there and saw some signs that the road was closed from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. That can’t be right, he figured, it must be incorrect or old or something, and he kept going. Twice he stopped and asked people and they assured him he could get through. I mean, he’s on this GS, so of course he can get through.

In the meantime, the road is getting seriously bad in places. On one side it is nothing but gravel about a foot deep and on the other side it’s hard-packed but there is a drop that goes a very long way down, with no guard-rail, of course. And it’s raining and getting foggy.

Then he encountered a guy going the other way in a truck who asked him where he was going. “You can’t get there,” he said, “the road is closed.”

“Sure I can,” said Michel, “I’m on this GS.”

“No, you don’t understand, we’re dynamiting. The road is really closed.”


“Of course, you can get through after 6 p.m.

“On this road? At night? Oh, no.”

So he had to turn back. But he didn’t have enough gas to get back to the last town. And he couldn’t get there before dark.

Nothing to do but to do it. He did find gas along the way but toward nightfall he could only find a place that seemed to rent rooms in season but that was closed at this time. There was a shed so he figured he’s spend the night there. As he unloaded and took off wet clothes a woman and child came around the house. He asked if he could please stay the night in their shed and the woman replied, “Well, yes, but do you want a room?” Salvation!

There was no heat, and it was cold, and he was wet, but it was a place to sleep. In the morning he pulled on cold, wet clothes and gear and set out, reaching the town he had left early the day before just as it started to snow. Two days of tough riding and he was right back where he had been, and he couldn’t have been happier.

These are the kinds of stories we’ve heard so many times from our MTN guests and hosts. We’re really sold on this organization.

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Biker Quote for Today

Quoth Dorzok, it’s a BMW. Just activate the levitation function that’s part of the optional accessory outer space adventure package.

Anticipating Our Next MTN Guest

Monday, April 21st, 2014
Motorcycle Travel Network website

The Motorcycle Travel Network connects riders when they travel.

Got an email Saturday from Michel. He said he was in Cortez, heading toward Denver on his way back home to Toronto. Could he stay with us a couple nights?

Michel, of course, is a member of the Motorcycle Travel Network, as are we, and that’s what the network is all about. You join and then when you travel you have other members to contact about staying at their homes. Or you are at home and someone comes to stay with you. We’re all into motorcycles so there’s never any doubt about a conversation starter.

Just from what little I know so far, it’s going to be very interesting hosting Michel. He has been on the road for five and one-half months, in the U.S. and Mexico. Do you supposes he’s going to have some interesting stories to tell? I’d bet my three bikes on it.

Truth is, we’ve never had guests who we did not find interesting, or enjoy getting to know. And we (or I, traveling alone) have never had a bad stay with other members. So we’re looking forward to this.

Of course, one of the better points of the Motorcycle Travel Network is that you can check out the person who is coming to your place before they get there. I went to network website and looked Michel up so I know a bit more about him. Not like AirBnB where you’re dealing with total strangers.

He’ll be arriving on Tuesday and staying with us two nights. Judy read my mind and said she foresees some blog posts coming out of this visit. Well, this is the first one but there will be at least one more soon. And depending on how it goes, maybe more. Stay tuned.

By the way
Totally unrelated, I just want to make a note here that in case anyone reading this blog would like to register to have it emailed to them each time it is published, that can be done but you need to email me to let me know. I used to have it set up so anyone could register but I was forever getting scores of spammers who signed up just so they could get their links on my site. It never happened because I always deleted them before any comment went up, but that didn’t stop them from registering and entering a comment. I got tired of deleting them so I changed the settings now so I am the only one who can register someone. I’m really sorry for any inconvenience this may cause a real person but if you email me at that address at right I’ll set you up.

Biker Quote for Today

He who rides alone can start today.

Plugging the Motorcycle Travel Network

Monday, February 3rd, 2014
Motorcycle Travel Network

Another year of MTN visits and hosting has kicked off for us.

I’ve talked about the Motorcycle Travel Network (MTN) previously but this time I want to flat out promote it. I’m not getting paid or anything, it’s just an organization that I strongly support and hope that a lot more people will join.

I mentioned it last week, saying we were going to have our first guests of the year this weekend just ended. Robin and Glenda came out from Lawrence, Kansas, and spent Friday and Saturday nights with us. As has been the case with everyone we have hosted, we really liked them and enjoyed having them here. Our one regret in this case would be that we didn’t have enough time to spend with them. They were tired from driving all day so on Friday night they went to bed fairly early. Then Saturday night we had plans for the evening and by the time we got home they were in bed. And they were up and gone before we got up on Sunday–they wanted to get home in time for the Super Bowl.

So what’s the deal with the MTN? It’s a group that you join and then when you travel you contact other members and arrange to stay with them instead of in a hotel or motel. Or they contact you about staying with you when they’re traveling in your area. The cost to join is $40 for one year, $60 for two years, or $120 for five years. What you pay (or receive) is a “gratuity” of $15 per night for one person, plus $5 per night for each additional person.

That means that Robin and Glenda paid $40 to stay two nights here in Denver and they had a comfortable room and bed. And rather than staring at the TV in some motel room in the evening they had other folks who share their passion for motorcycles to talk with, swap stories, and just generally have a good time with. Also, usually, the host(s) provide breakfast for their guests but Robin and Glenda had other plans for breakfast so we never fed them. We would have been happy to do so, and we generally invite our guests to have dinner with us, too, but that didn’t work out that way this time either.

Of course, Judy and I have stayed with other MTN people when we’ve been the traveling pair. We have stayed in some incredibly nice homes and met some wonderful people. Plus, we have saved a bundle of money and had locals who ride to direct us to some of the better roads in the area. How could you not love this situation?

Trust me, I understand the reluctance someone may feel about taking total strangers into their home, or staying with total strangers in their home. My first experience was as a guest of a couple in Utah. As I drew near their town I started fretting. What if I met them and we had a total personality clash right from the start, and then I was stuck for a long evening and night? What if they were super religious (which I’m not) and insisted that I participate in their devotional practices? What if . . .? The list goes on and on.

But you know what? They weren’t. It didn’t happen. They were just regular people, they were super nice, I had a great time, and I’ve been sold on the whole thing ever since. Then, the first time we were the hosts, I think Judy had some qualms but that particular couple was so much fun that we were very sorry indeed to see them go. She was sold.

At this point we’ve stayed with MTN folks in Minnesota, Michigan, and Florida, while I on my own have stayed with folks in Utah, Arizona, and Nebraska. Robin and Glenda told us they stayed with a whole lot of MTN folks in Canada and Alaska when they rode their Harleys to Alaska. Folks who have stayed with us have been from Nebraska, Germany, Montana, Iowa, Wisconsin, and a bunch of other places I can’t call to mind at the moment. And you don’t have to be on your bike; all you have to be is a member.

Which brings me to the point of why I’m doing this plug for the group. I may have had a vague sense of this but Robin stated it flat out, that it appears to him that the Motorcycle Travel Network is dying out. Some people don’t renew their memberships and not a lot of new people join. And yet, for those of us who are members, and who host other members and stay with other members in their homes, it’s such a great thing. Don’t let this die out! It’s such a great thing!

So what are your travel plans this year? If you’d rather stay with friends than in a motel, you really should consider this. They may not be your friends yet, but chances are excellent they will be by the time you leave. And who doesn’t enjoy making new friends?

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Biker Quote for Today

To travel is to discover that everyone is wrong about other countries. — Aldous Huxley