WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU THOUGHT about that big road trip? I've been wanting to ride the Southern Tier for some time now, but I've been denied either for health reasons or finances. Big trips are expensive, and there's a lot of leg work to be done before the rubber ever meets the road. And considering it's a 30-day tour--well, that's a big deal in more ways than one.
The solution for many is the over-nighter ride. They're cheaper, less planning is required, and by staying reasonably close to home, you can't get into too much trouble.
As soon as the weather gets a little more predictable, I'm planning an over-nighter from Jax to Clearwater Beach, FL--about 260 miles one way. I'll spend one night in Mt. Dora, and complete the ride the following day. I'll spend a day or two with friends, and if I'm feeling up to it, I'll ride home using a different route. If I'm not feeling up to the ride home, I'll throw my bike on Amtrak, it's a cheap and relaxing way home. My choice will be to ride home, but it's nice to know I have that option, without a lot of painstaking planning and budgeting.
So, even if that dreamed about long tour is out of the question right now, because of finances, job demands or family obligations, consider riding an over-nighter to a small town, or a park in your region. It's fun, you can meet some great people on the road and in towns along the way, and you can still get in some serious cycling and adventure.