Full-Timing on a Harley and a Tear-Drop Trailer

The VERY good life!

The VERY good life!

 

I follow quite a few blogs and I especially like those with brave, adventurous people; today’s guest post by Jaclyn Heyen epitomizes those qualities!  Visit her blog, “Blue Road” here: http://www.jhblueroad.com/  

I was pretty excited when Bob emailed me asking to do a guest post.  I am always amazed how many people know of my travels or have seen me on the road.  I didn’t set out on this life to be known… my initial goal was to disappear.

All of my life I’ve dealt with severe depression and an Eating Disorder.  I was in treatment both in and out patient since I was 18.  I was someone who made a good fly on the wall if I was out and about but preferred to be by myself playing music.  I was also someone who felt like I started living life late.  I figured I wouldn’t live past my early twenties and now in my mid thirties I think of every day as bonus.

I have always barely made it by financially.  Figured if I got a degree it would help but it turned out the more educated I was the less money I made.  I realized I was going to have to work the rest of my life… Retirement will not be an option… So, if I was going to have to work I was going to live as close to retirement as possible.

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My little brother and I on our grandpa’s motorcycle in the 80s. Milford, Nebraska

I started researching living on the road when I got my Harley (called Blue) in 2007.  I had never rode my own bike before I got my Harley but grew up around motorcycles.  I took the weekend class and by the next week I put a down payment on a 2007 FLHT.  Yep, I went big for my first bike… With every intention of riding around the country.

Blue and I before TicTac on a back road outside Nashville Tennessee.

Blue and I before TicTac on a back road outside Nashville Tennessee.

I thought about toy haulers but wouldn’t be financially doable. Thought about an older RV and pull a trailer for my bike but still not financially doable.  I finally came across the Little Guy Rascal, which said you could pull with a 1500cc motorcycle… I have a 1584cc.  The great thing about a teardrop trailer is there is no setup.  I can stay at Walmarts, truck stops and bear country and it gets me out of the weather.  Even bigger bonus is that I get to ride my motorcycle every day.

Walmart in Perry Utah, summer 2014.

Walmart in Perry Utah, summer 2014.

After many years of dreaming and researching how to live on the road, from public lands to workamping, I finally decided 2012 was going to be the year of the RV.  I worked 3 to 4 jobs for 8 months and lived in a shed for 3 months to make enough money for the Little Guy Rascal trailer (I call TicTac) and set out on my new life the end of October 2012.  I left Rosendale New York the day before hurricane Sandy was suppose to hit that area with $1000 to my name.

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Big Blue, Little Blue at a rest stop in West Virginia, October 2012.

I do not have a consistent income, as I’m not on disability or social security of any sort.  I make the little money I have by doing some virtual gigs.  I have a masters degree and do marketing, social media and audio/video editing contract gigs for small businesses and non-profits.  These gigs are usually modest pay with either very limited hours or for a limited amount of time.  I have also done workamping gigs.  I worked for Amazon.com as Camperforce in Campbellsville Kentucky for 2 seasons and I worked at Wallace Street Photo (old time photo place) in Virginia City Montana for 2 seasons.  I have also done some house/pet sitting gigs, which gives me a chance to spread out with all the amenities for a bit.

On my way to my house sitting gig the day after Christmas 2014 just south of Santa Fe New Mexico

On my way to my house sitting gig the day after Christmas 2014 just south of Santa Fe New Mexico

I am also fortunate to have many Road Angels… RVers, friends and fellow bikers who will give me a place to stay and/or a meal.  I try to give back, when I can, helping them with their computer and electronic needs, give them an ear and a few good stories.

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Feeling like a bad-ass biker chick as I drove through snow and gave the biker peace sign wave to snow plows passing by. December 26, 2014 south of Santa Fe New Mexico. 

I love to tell the story of last summer, when I was going through Fort Wayne Indiana, where I had a trucker who drove next to me, honked his horn and gave me a hand gesture that looked like he wanted a sexual favor.  Completely horrified, as a single woman on the road, I just kept riding.  He came by three or four times throughout the city honking and giving the same hand gesture.  Finally, north of the city he came by again and honked, gave the hand gesture, pulled in front of me with his blinker on and slowed down to exit at a rest area.  I took a deep breath, knowing I had to pull over to see if there was something wrong while building myself up to be ready to give this trucker a piece of my mind and be sure he never wanted what that hand gesture suggested again, I start to exit.  Luckily, the trucker didn’t completely exit and went on his way.

I pulled into the rest area and breathed a sigh of relief as I get off my bike to realize that the 6-pin connector had disconnected and the cable had been dragging all the way through Fort Wayne.  I sent up a thank you to the trucker and apologized for assuming the worst and headed back into Fort Wayne to get it fixed. I’m still trying to figure out a better hand gesture… Maybe create a book of universal hand gestures for the road… But, really, that is about the only way to describe in hand gestures that something disconnected.  Always a good story for a laugh… Or maybe it is the facial expressions that go with the story that make it funny. It is a lesson learned and I now put duct tape around the connector so I don’t have to go through that again.

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Being pulled over in Utah because of no plates on TicTac. Not needed in the state of Kentucky so no ticket but made for a good picture. October 2014

That’s enough for one post, in my next post we’ll continue Jaclyn’s fascinating story!

Website: jaclynheyen.com

Blog: jhblueroad.com

Facebook: Facebook.com/journeytoworthy

YouTube: youtube.com/user/jpnr78

Twitter: #hdcomposer

Bob
About

I’ve been a full-time VanDweller for 12 years and I love it. I hope to never live in a house again!

49 comments on “Full-Timing on a Harley and a Tear-Drop Trailer
  1. Calvin R says:

    It seems Jaclyn has solved some of the issues we talked about a few posts back with motorcycle life and proven they work over time. I respect that! As Jaclyn mentioned, the teardrop solves the setup and weather issues of tenting. I suspect that no-tent campgrounds would probably allow these, which also matters.

    For those with less ability to make money, if you have tools and some skills, plans to build your own teardrop are available online. The question of how to acquire a big bike remains, of course.

    • Bob Bob says:

      Calvin, she really has gone a long way to making it doable and fun. But I know from experience that ride in the snow was miserable, and my days of embracing being miserable are behind me!
      Bob

      • John Dough says:

        Definitely riding a motorcycle involves some suffering. Sore butt on long rides, and exposure to the elements.

        There is some great equipment to lessen that. Stuff like http://www.aerostich.com windproof/waterproof Gore-tex jackets and pants, and electrically heated gloves, jacket, and socks, and helmet skirt.

        Before I found Gore-tex I used a Carharrt coat, and lots of layers which, being not windproof, and being porous, allows cold air to penetrate all layers and keep the cold next to my skin.

        I used to always ride all Winter in the NYC area, and did a Winter trip to Daytona in freezing temperatures. The coldest local ride I did was around 3 degrees F.

        Definitely a van is much more comfortable. But motorcycle touring is an exercise in minimalism.

        • Bob Bob says:

          There is just something so exhilarating, raw and wild about riding a motorcycle that it calls to the wild part of your heart, right John!

          My heart stills feels the tug, but my old bones keep saying, “Forget it buster!!

          They win!
          Bob

          • John Dough says:

            It’s definitely a great feeling of freedom.

            A few years ago I managed trip to the Smokies, Ozarks, Dallas TX, Yellowstone, Big Horn, and Sturgis, and a 1000 mile 1 day ride from Portage WI to home, all in the space of 2 weeks, and camping in a one man backpacker tent.

            Grueling, but rewarding nonetheless.

            But for full time, the van is a nice luxury by comparison.

          • Bob Bob says:

            We sound a lot alike John! So we know just how impressive Jaclyn is!
            Bob

        • Jackie Heyen says:

          Each time I ride in the freezing temps I tell myself I’m going to get some heated gear… but then I make it and my fingers didn’t fall off and I tell myself that it isn’t needed… now I think I am going to stick with warmer places instead of riding thru the cold and snow. Been there done that. 🙂

  2. Jan H says:

    I saw this with solo rvers…love it! If you’re ever in Ga you have a place to stay! I just got my own rv and am travelling too. But home in between the jaunts. Oh and I ride too but have to leave it home when I travel.
    Nice article
    Jan H recently posted…More modifications to my RVMy Profile

  3. I saw Blue and Tic Tac (complete with big googly eyes) in Calipatria last spring and assumed it belonged to some old retired fart like me. There was a URL on it, so I looked it up. A 30-something woman full-timing it? Alright! I’ve been following Jaclyn’s blog ever since.
    Al Christensen recently posted…I want this!My Profile

  4. Alan says:

    I am impressed!

  5. John says:

    That was an interesting article you wrote. It’s cool that you are living life on the road.

  6. Rob says:

    That was a great story, I’ll take a look at her blog.

    Bob, are you still camped up by Prescott?

  7. Clint says:

    What is the empty weight of your tic-tac tear drop?

    Does your bike have a 103 engine with a SE 255 cam?

  8. John E Vera says:

    So jealous. I want a Leisure Lite. It folds down and has more, not much more, room for my 6’5″ body.
    Oh how I would love to do that. Just to many bills and then of course there is the required insurance.
    Ride safe and if ever in Sidney NE, take a rest in the Cabela’s camp ground. Maybe see you at the store front door.

    • Jackie Heyen says:

      Great! Will do! I’m originally from Seward NE… have to make a trip there every once in a while to visit my nephews so I will be sure to stop by Sidney if it’s on the way.

  9. Joy says:

    Kuddos to this gal!

  10. Pj says:

    i’m thinking about the same size teardrop to pull behind my 1974 MGB GT.
    A great deal of admiration for this young lady on two wheels having ridden motorcycles for 50 years I’m now on four wheels but I can certainly appreciate what she’s doing. Don’t postpone joy b

  11. Carol Kehoe says:

    What a courageous woman! I am way too old for motorcycling especially towing anything but I do have an RV I roam in now and then. If you are ever in central Alabama and need a place to rest for a bit, I’m in a little town south of Birmingham and have plenty of room.

  12. Karen Rutland says:

    AWESOME story!!!! I know I am among one of many people who admire what you are doing. Good luck on your journey.

  13. Ming says:

    very funny story!! Kudos on finding what kind of life works for you!

  14. Great guest post! Very interesting person!

  15. Linda says:

    That could be me but I haven’t riden in year’s. I do miss it some days

  16. Curtis M. says:

    “So, if I was going to have to work I was going to live as close to retirement as possible.”

    The above really jumped out at me when I read it. Many of us have been lead to believe we should put retirement off to later but it makes more sense to embrace life now.

    Glad you are sharing this Bob, takes away excuses for not following our dreams.

  17. jonthebru says:

    Hey Jaclyn, I enjoyed your post and I’m going through your videos and Blog. Keep it up, I’m glad to hear your story!
    I really like the guest posts Bob!

  18. Scott says:

    If you guys/gals like this look up scooter tramp scotty, panhead billy and bean’re. They all live the life on the road on their Harleys.

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