Preparing for the Adventure!

Have you ever been sidetracked by that one missing screw?

Have you ever been sidetracked by that one missing screw?

I’d made a few modifications to the rig since last summer to make it more comfy and convenient for long distance travel, as well as protecting Barley from both rain and temperature extremes.

    • I added a single highway peg on the left side so I could stretch out my left leg on those long straight sections of road. There were a couple of convenient sidecar mounting braces on the right side I was able to use, but the left knee – my bad knee – often ached after a couple thousand miles on the road. I was hoping the peg would make a difference.


    • We added a cup holder on the right side. I know, it’s so Gold Wing or Dyna Low Rider! But there are times on the road when the only food available comes from a drive-thru, and balancing the drink that comes with the meal as we pull away looking for a shady spot to stretch out has always been a challenge. Gone are the days when my crotch feels the chilly effervescence of a spilled diet coke as I navigated those last few yards to a parking spot!


  • The sidecar sported a ragtop to keep Barley dry in wet weather and shaded in brutal heat. The lid has zippered side windows that can be rolled down and secured in place for normal conditions so he and I can share glances and occasional caresses, or zipped shut to keep him out of all forms of precipitation.  And while I hoped never to have to test it, it looked big enough that I could hunker down with him if the rain came down too hard to continue riding in safety.
There is a certain dignity in a dog who knows he is loved and respected

There is a certain dignity in a dog who knows he is loved and respected

With five weeks and a few days remaining till we set out for Oregon, our longest shared adventure yet, and I was nervous! There was so much to do, so many contingencies to prepare for! So much could go wrong! We might run into oppressive heat, torrential rain, road rage, erratic drivers high on meth, debris or potholes in the road… Come to think of it, we’ve faced all that before and managed to improvise, adapt and overcome.

But still I worried. Traveling with a dog is a wonderful experience, especially one as loyal and trustworthy as Barley. But he also adds complications that don’t exist in solo travel. His safety is a sacred trust, and I wondered if I had all the bases covered.

Barley spots a woodchuck near the summit of Smugglers' Notch

Barley spots a woodchuck near the summit of Smugglers’ Notch

We had done several training rides of over 100 miles getting ready for this trip, and a delightful 310 mile ride through the White Mountains of New Hampshire. Barley did very well on all of them, and I was able to fine tune my ergonomics for the long journey ahead. I wished work and home chores permitted more of those prep rides, but I said that every year and it never happened. No matter. By the time we cross the Mississippi River we’ll have rediscovered the rhythm of the road.

In mid-June the rig went in for service. I do much of it myself but this time let the outstanding master technicians at Max BMW do the work. They know these bikes inside and out, and once they are done I know we’re in great mechanical shape. A week later the rig went into my home shop for one last cleaning. The sidecar and painted parts of the bike got several coats of carnauba wax. All the wiring was inspected for chafing issues. A new front tire was installed and the rear was swapped out for a car tire so I wouldn’t have to worry about finding a replacement in the middle of Iowa on the way home. And then I start packing. And repacking. And redistributing the load first for convenience, then for handling, then for a compromise between the two.

I was sure I’d cherish the memories of this trip, and the incredible dog who shared it with me, for the rest of my life!

Barley waiting patiently as I work on his rig



Barley hunkers down as we ride the Kancamagus Hwy in NH

11 Responses to Preparing for the Adventure!

  1. Bill Taylor says:

    If you and Barley haven’t left yet, I want to wish you both a safe journey, sunny skies and a good trip to the MOA Rally in Salem. If I am lucky enough to catch up with you, either on the road, or at the fairgrounds, I’ll be sure to stop and say hi.

    Best wishes,
    Bill (BeemerBT)

  2. Sue says:

    You passed us at Erie around noon but we just caught up at the last turnpike rest stop in Ohio at 5 pm. What does Barley eat at Sbarro’s? Good luck and safe travels!

  3. Shari Woods says:

    Hi I have the pleasure of seeing you and Barley as you were travelling on Rte 17 westbound in New York thru the Binghamton area with all of that construction. i saw the bright yellow bike with the side car and initially thought that the side car was unoccupied. Low and behold as you passed alongside me I spotted your dog. I have to say this is a first for me and it made me smile for the rest of the day! Have a safe trip. Shari

  4. Judy Mirro says:

    Just checking in! Love the new photos from the “helmet cam”. Hoping you both have been missing these nasty storms!! Our road has washed out – again! Very frustrating.. Yes, a GS would come in very handy right about now. I will keep checking the site for new posts and pics. Have a blast and follow the sun! Happy Travels!!

  5. Ann Paradis says:


  6. Wayne says:

    Hi! I passed you around Port Allegany on July 5th on route six. I was riding a 2011 BMW Yellow Adventure Bike as well. Good luck and safe travels on your trip to Oregon.

  7. M says:

    I saw you both at a gas station in Minnesota off i-90. I don’t remember what town..maybe Jackson MN? Saw some lady take a picture of you. I jotted down your website. What an adorable dog! And such a nifty bike add on. Enjoy your travels!

  8. I see from that you are in Hood River tonight.
    What do you think of our busy little small town?
    Enjoy your ride South!!

    • barleyadmin says:

      Jeff – It was really fun meeting you! You and Shelly track very well together. I was surprised to learn she had only been riding solo a couple of years.

      Barley says hi!

  9. Bert Hefty says:

    it was good seeing and leading towards the Mississippi River on your way to Oregon.Sounds like the trip went well..Interesting website buddy may see you soon….Bertl

  10. It was great fun meeting the two of you up at the BMWMOA rally in Salem last week. I especially enjoyed watching Barley play with his wood clamp chew toy. What a Great idea! Your rig has inspired me to design and build a new coach for my sidecar outfit to accommodate our two labs. I will send you off some shots when it is done.

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