Taking a motorcycle trip by yourself is a unique and rewarding experience. It presents challenges that do not otherwise come up in a group setting. One of those challenges is keeping yourself entertained. You will have several hours of downtime each night before you turn in and often in rural locations or in the middle of nowhere.
So, what do you do to kill the time? Of course, there are the obvious solutions like, read a book, listen to music or podcast, listen to audio books, etc. Those are good options, but let’s look at a few more interesting ways to stay busy.
Here are 5 ways to entertain yourself when you’re on a solo motorcycle trip.
1. Go Fishing
Fishing is a great way to pass the time when you’re on a solo motorcycle trip especially when traveling through the mountains. Take advantage of mountain streams, rivers and lakes along the way and catch yourself some dinner. Here are a few tips on fishing while on a solo motorcycle trip.
- Do some research before you leave on your trip and find out what kind of fish are biting in the areas you’ll be traveling.
- Make sure your fishing license is up to date and valid for the state your fishing in.
- Check with local park rangers or bait shops for regulations on size and limits, or if a certain lake is catch and release only.
Here are a few suggestions on what to pack on your motorcycle so you can go fishing while on your trip.
- Rod and Reel – of course you’re going to need a fishing pole and a reel. Set up your line before your trip based on the type of fish you are most likely to catch. Consider using a telescopic rod. They pack down perfectly for a motorcycle and don’t take up much room on your bike.
- Tackle box – again, do some research before you leave and pack a small tackle box with hooks, lures and bait that will catch whatever fish are biting in your travel area. Don’t forget to bring a small multitool with pliers to remove hooks and cut line.
- Bait – Live bait doesn’t take up much room and if you prefer to fish with live bait, you can purchase a small container of night crawlers along the way, just be sure to pack them in a place where they will keep cool.
So, with a compact rod and reel, a small tackle box, and the right kind of bait, you can go out early in the morning before you pack up and leave for another day of riding. Fish doesn’t take long to cook, and would make a great breakfast.
2. Bring an Instrument and Learn to Play It
Instead of listening to someone else’s music, you could learn to make your own. Obviously you can bring your tuba with your on your motorcycle, but there are plenty of musical instruments that are perfectly suited for such a trip, some can even fit in your pocket. Here are a few suggestions:
- Harmonica – Inexpensive and easy to play. They are small and easy to pack. They don’t require any power except the power of your lungs. Bring an instruction book and it won’t be long before you’re playing some blues. Did you know that doctors prescribe playing the harmonica for patients with COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease.) Apparently it helps with strengthening the diaphragm. So, not only are you being entertained by your mad harp skills, you’re keeping your lungs in top shape.
- Tin whistle or penny whistle – This is a traditional Irish instrument that is relatively easy to learn. It’s a long, narrow whistle with 6 finger holes and a 2 octave range. It’s inexpensive and very compact so it’s easy to travel with. Bring along a lesson book and you’ll be stomping your feet to an Irish jig in no time.
- Ukulele – A bit bigger than the other suggestions, but, a typical concert ukulele is about 24″ in length, and the soprano ukulele is even smaller. Get yourself a beginner ukulele book and start learning the basic chords and by your first night you’ll be singing by the campfire. You’ll need to take good care to protect it from moisture and from being crushed, so pack it well.
- Backpacker’s Guitar – If you’re a guitar player there’s no need to leave home without your instrument. Backpacker’s guitars come in compact sizes and, while still larger than the ukulele, it might be a good option. They don’t sound as good a standard guitar, but if you’re only entertaining yourself, it may not matter. Again, pack it well and protect it from rain or moisture.
3. Draw, Paint or Write
Riding out in the countryside or in the mountains will provide you with a lot of inspiration to create some art on paper. Drawing or painting is the perfect way to pass the time. If you see something along the way that you want to recreate, take a picture of it on your cell phone. If it’s already dark when you want to draw, fire up a headlamp and have at it.
Drawing doesn’t have to be limited to just pencil drawings. Consider packing a small set of colored pencils or pastels. You could also carry a few sheets of pastel paper for your dry pastels. I like to carry mine in a small tin box. It’s compact and easy to pack.
If you like to paint, watercolors are a great option. A small set of paint and a few good quality brushes will work along with your sketch pad. Sketch out a pencil drawing and make it pop with color using your paint set.
Solo trips give you a lot of time to think and sometimes you want to get those thoughts down on paper. Pen and paper is all you need to chronicle your journey or create a great short story. Many people have developed the habit of daily journaling and you don’t have to give up that habit when you’re traveling.
Also, when traveling alone, you are almost guaranteed to have uninterrupted time so you can concentrate on your writing. Why, you may even be able to finish that novel you’ve always wanted to write.
If you would rather not write by hand, or your thoughts flow so fast your handwriting can’t keep up, considering bringing an iPad or tablet computer with a portable keyboard. Keep in mind, however, that this will require charging and should be included in your list of items that will require battery power.
4. Visit Local Tourist Spots
Every town, no matter how big or small, has a history. And if you love history, consider visiting a local museum to find out how the town was discovered and how it’s evolved over the years. But, in any town, your adventure starts with a visit to the local visitor center.
The visitor center will give you an idea of what’s available to see and do. They can give you advice on the best restaurants or watering holes and nearby attractions. Consider staying for a day or two if you’re in a larger town. If you’re in a small town, find out where the locals like to hang out. You may end up having a great conversation, or make a new friend along the way. You would be surprised at how many people will want to chat with you when you ride up on your motorcycle.
Can you picture an old man sitting in his rocking chair on his front porch out in the middle of the Louisiana bayou whittling a fox out of a piece of scrap wood? Well, that could be you too. Grab your favorite pocket knife and a piece of wood laying around and see what you can create.
There are a lot of great books available to teach you some basic wood carving techniques. Take one with you or learn it at home, then practice your new skills on your trip. You can whittle without any special tools other than a good, sharp pocket knife, but it you find yourself want to do some more advanced carvings, consider adding some specialty wood carving tools to your saddle bags.
There are a ton of specialist whittling tools available, some with special shaped handles and unique blades for different types of cuts and carving techniques. You can also get these tools in pocket knife form, such as the Schrade Old Timer which has six folding specialty blades in one pocket knife. Check out the prices here on Amazon (affiliate link). You might also considering getting yourself a thumb guard to prevent cuts if you happen to slip.
Whittling is a great pass-time that has been around for ages and you might be surprised at what you can create while on a road trip.
As you can see there are so many ways to keep yourself entertained on a solo motorcycle trip. You simply have to pick one, or several, that you love to do. You’ll never get bored.