Wednesday, January 11, 2023

What Lessons Can I Apply to Trike Touring from 3 Years of Solo Full-Time RV-Life?


My upcoming tour will be using just my trike pulling a small trailer

I'll be leaving my truck and trailer behind

After 3 years of living solo full-time RV-life, considering a 9,000 mile, nearly year-long tour with just my trike will be quite an adjustment. I'm hoping that many of the lessons I learned while switching to RV-life can be applied to trike-touring life. My upcoming tour will be with just my trike. I'll be leaving the truck and trailer behind.




Switching to RV-life required surmounting a steep learning curve. I was very, very fortunate to have wonderful friends who are super generous with their knowledge about RVing. They helped make the transition to RV-life so much easier. My friends Lonnie, Dave and Paul helped me in so many ways that I'm not sure I could have done it without them. They have all continued to be a reliable source for good advice. To have this kind of guidance and support is truly a godsend. I knew nothing about RVs or RV-life and these friends helped make the switch possible and successful. Lonnie walked me through the process of buying the truck and trailer every step of the way. They all took me shopping for the tools I needed and then made sure I knew how to use them. These friends also helped me learn to drive and back-up with the trailer. All of them were patient and excellent teachers. Through their guidance, I started my RV-life with confidence. These friends are part of a community of cyclists that have helped me all through the years of touring. 

One of the earliest lessons I learned once I started solo full-time RV-life was to take things slower and give myself extra time to think through what I was doing. Getting ahead of myself and making mistakes could be very costly. I typed up a cheat-sheet to follow for hitching and unhitching the trailer from the truck. 3 years later, I still bring out that sheet every time to make sure I don't skip any steps. What I learned is the process, whether hitching or unhitching, takes about 45 minutes. While trike touring, the time needed to set up and break-down camp is something that always annoyed me. I was always bothered that it took a minimum of 45 minutes. Somehow, learning the time needed to set up my trailer is the same as setting up a tent camping site is reassuring for me. 

Often while trike touring, I come into camp tired from the day's ride and feel the need to lay down and relax even though I have lots of things I still need to take care of. I learned that driving my truck and trailer for hours is just as exhausting as trike touring. I discovered it's important to take a breather, relax for a bit and regroup when I stop for the day. 

Myrtle loves being on the road

When trike touring, I've always needed a concrete pre-planned destination for the day. The #1 priority every day I ride is to make sure I have a safe place to spend the night. I know if I don't feel safe I won't sleep. I've tried stealth camping and, even though I've picked a place that felt safe in the daylight, my imagination always got the best of me when the sun went down. I learned it's better for me to be in a bonafide campground or hotel rather than wild camping. While RVing, I did a lot of boondocking and really enjoyed it. Boondocking is camping on public lands. There are no services and you never know who else will be there camping with you. I always felt perfectly safe even if other campers pulled into the area after dark. It could be a car, van or RV and it never occurred to me that someone would do me harm. Maybe this is naive but I don't think a RV is going to keep me safer from bad guys than being in my tent. Certainly, I'll feel more vulnerable in a tent but I'm hoping that the experience of feeling safe while RV boondocking will help me feel safer while tenting. 

Because I have a limited budget, I will need to tent camp as much as possible on this tour. This will require living outside for probably a few days at a time. I have friends that love, love, love being in their tent and look forward to living outside. I'm hoping I can make the mental adjustment to appreciate the tent camping aspect of touring more for this tour than I have in the past. One thing about RV life is I haven't had to deal with weather issues as much as I do while trike touring. I'm protected from the elements in my trailer. I have heat, AC, a bathroom, kitchen and very comfortable bed. This trailer is like a cozy little nest. If I see bad weather coming that looks dangerous, I can put the key in the ignition and drive to safety.  The best I can do while touring is make sure I find a hotel when the weather looks bad. I think the camping part of my tour will be the hardest for me, mentally and physically. 

There is an aspect of RVing that I never got used to. I didn't like experiencing the world through a windshield. I wanted to be out in the environment. In a RV, I can't pull over whenever I want. The world goes by much faster than trike touring. Too fast. There were so many times I wanted to stop to look at a view or something along the road more closely but I couldn't stop. The RV needs room on the road and enough time to stop. I love taking pictures and video and flying my drone. I'm really looking forward to having that freedom again to explore what's on the road. It's something I've really missed. 

I also think that tackling the RV life so successfully will give me more confidence for this tour. This tour will be the longest in miles and time that I have ever attempted. I'll be tent camping and living outside more than any other tour as well. The bigness of this tour is daunting. One thing that continues to surprise me is that I never did anything really stupid while RVing. I naturally do everything at a slower pace and I think this has served me well. It's possible all the years of trike touring also helped me with my RV-life. Aside from all my experience of trike touring for so many years all over the world, I am expecting that lessons I've learned while RVing will be a big help for my upcoming tour. 

Maybe there are lessons that I've missed? 

I'm expecting to have a great time, as usual, on this tour just like all my previous tours. I'm sure to meet lots and lots of wonderful people as I cycle around the US. It's always the people I meet that makes a trip special and I think this tour will be no exception.


  1. Nice vision of tackling rv-ing. I look forward to reading your treatise on tryk-ing in the future. You are an inspiration!

    1. Many thanks for commenting and following along!

  2. You have put a lot of deep thought into your tour. There will of course be situations you have never encountered. It is the old issue of - you don't know what you don't know and won't know it until it's all over. I think your idea of slowing down - stop and think - take a deep breath will help you through most everything on tour. Paul H.

  3. We used the rule of 2s when rving.
    In by 2, 200 miles and 2 night.

    1. Those are good rules. On my last big trike tour in Colombia, I stayed 2 nights and loved it. I also found hotels in all the towns and never needed to camp. That makes such a big difference. Thanks for commenting.

  4. Your years of experience will help you get prepared. Your flexibility and ability to stop and smell the roses. I’m really learning a bunch from your videos and posts.