Harley Camping Trailer and Camp-Out

I finally did it: bought a trailer for pulling behind the Harley. It has opened a whole other dimension for me in terms of what I can do. Again, my daughters, Elian and Amy, were not impressed. I had been thinking about getting a trailer for years.

Picking up my new trailer at USA Trailers.

I had an upcoming camping trip with my Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Clemson (UUFC) and wanted to use the trailer for it. A great opportunity to try it out! As it turned out, the trailers were produced in nearby Greenville, SC. What luck! However, I was facing a deadline as the camping trip was barreling toward me. The folks at USA Trailers worked with me, and I drove over to the factory and picked it up, already assembled.

The Trailer

This adventure of getting the trailer had evolved from two directions: a chance encounter with an older Harley rider towing a trailer back in 2016 and from a dream I had had a month earlier.

Meeting the old Harley rider with a trailer years before

Having returned from a quick trip to the bathroom at the Louisiana/Mississippi eastbound, state line rest stop, I was admiring the rig when he walked out. We struck up a conversation. He said he spent half of his year up north in the warm months and the other six in Florida. The trailer was fancy and was probably homemade, but he had a cooler mounted on it. He showed me some of its other features. I was between Harleys at the time but thought as I pulled away in my truck with all my camping gear in back, that I would like to get a trailer like that if and when I got another Harley. I liked to motorcycle camp. In fact, my first to trip to Big Bend was a Harley camping trip. So here I was, seven years later, with a trailer on my Harley. Maybe that encounter wasn’t so much chance after all?

Dream

Dreams can be such insightful adventures, and I keep a dream journal. A lot of time, your dreams are your subconscious trying to tell you something. My dream a couple of months earlier was about two old guys, two old trucks, and some young guy on a motorcycle that he had left blocking my lane. I was one of the ‘old guys’, representing my ego, and was driving an old truck down a narrow country dirt road. All along the other side, in the other lane, was a long line of parked cars headed the other direction. They were empty. I came around a curve in the road and there was a motorcycle in the middle of my lane, blocking it. I couldn’t go around and slowly pulled up to it, and gently bumped it with my truck. (I won’t go into what that was about as it was an aggressive action from being blocked, I am thinking.) When I bumped it, the motorcycle fell over against an old truck in the opposite lane. This was the only other person in the dream, an old guy like me. I got out of my truck, having retrieved one of my business cards to put my contact and insurance info on, and asked the other old guy if the bike had damaged his truck when it fell against his door? He said, “Nah. It’s an old truck, anyway.” I asked him what was going on with the motorcycle blocking the road? (It was a Japanese bike, not a Harley.) He said he didn’t know. Some young guy had ridden it here, saying he was late for a meeting, couldn’t find any place to park it, and ran off, leaving it there. I started to write my info on my business card and stopped myself. “Wait,” I thought, “He’s the idiot who left his motorcycle here blocking my lane. I’ll be damn if I am going to pay to have him repair it.” That’s when I awoke from the dream.

I interpreted the dream that the Harley was somehow blocking me with all the limitations it imposed. Among other things, for example, riding in bad weather, rain, cold, etc. Was my dream telling me that I needed to get an old truck? One I could drive around here locally? I had looked a year ago when I returned from my bicycle tour of the Big Bend area, and wasn’t going to pay the outrageous prices that were being asked thanks to the pandemic. So, I bought the Harley instead. I loved riding! Still did, but with my age, I had to be even more careful about it than when I was younger. So, here I was, a year later. My dream/subconscious was telling me I needed to at least get an old truck? Again, I looked around and was disgusted with the prices and my options again. Then it occurred to me, “Wait, how could I make the Harley less blocking? Get a trailer! Then I could haul stuff around—and use it for camping, remembering the old Harley rider and his trailer back in 2016! So, here I was, finally getting that trailer—and going camping with it.

Camping at Oconee State Park

Camping with a trailer is a lot different from throwing and tying gear to your motorcycle and taking off. For one, you can carry so much more gear and be a lot more comfortable camping. I was able to take a folding chair to sit it, a camping table to cook and prepare meals, a cooler with food and drinks, my bigger, two-person and gear tent, etc.

Picked up the trailer on Thursday, loaded my gear Friday morning, and headed to the campground at Oconee State Park around 3:00. The trailer pulled great. No problems. There is a slight front wheel wobble when you take off. You have to get used to that. There is initially not as much weight on the front wheel as you start off. Once you get moving, that disappears. You have the same phenomenon pulling a trailer with a car or truck, but don’t notice it because you have more vehicle weight.

I also found that the trailer was a great conversation starter. At the two stops I made on the way to the campground, people walked up to me, told me about their own experiences and/or asked questions, wanting to know more about it. One old guy said he was from Harley-Davidson and had to drive any original and interesting Harleys he came upon. So, he needed to drive mine. Good try.

Got to the campground, set up my tent and gear, and went to camping. Saturday morning started out with some excitement. I had made coffee and turned the burner down really low. As I sat there sipping my coffee, I heard the burner ‘pop’ and go out. Didn’t think much about it and continued drinking my coffee. When I had finished the coffee, it was time to fix some breakfast. Needed to relight the burner. That’s when things got exciting.

To be honest, it had been several years since I had used the stove and I forgot some of the precautions—like turn off the burner. After the burner had gone out, I should have reached over and made sure it was all the way off. As it was, the burner sat there slowly leaking fuel. When I lit it—whoosh! With help, we managed to get it put out and was able to fix breakfast after letting it cool down a little.

I brought one of my cast iron campfire cooking Dutch ovens and fixed my famous BBQ beans for our pot luck meal on Saturday afternoon.

It was a great camp out. Made a lot of new friends. Got acquainted better with others. Learned a lot and made notes on what to bring and take on my next Harley camping trip.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. William Bennett

    Regarding Terlingua, in 1981, I was a research Scientist at UT Med School in Houston, and also at Rice across the street. My friends and I formed a chili team, and started entering chili cook offs. Our chili was well-liked and we won enough cook offs to qualify for Terlingua. The experience of participating in that cook off, and just being in that “Instant community “ for a few days was unforgettable. One of my best memories. I hope you pull it off.
    cheers
    bill

    1. Darrell Yardley

      Wow, Bill, that is so cool ?—and encouraging. This will be my third shot at it and most likely, my last. Don’t ask about the other two aborted efforts. FYI: in 1983, I did a sabbatical at the Baylor College of Medicine’s Cell Biology Department, working on the phenylalanine hydroxylase gene from rats.

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