Although I know my dad rode a motorcycle when he was younger, I don’t have any memories of him doing so. Nor do I remember our family camping when I was growing up. My wife and I have taken our kids camping a few times since they got old enough that it wasn’t too much of a hassle, but it has always been car camping. This past summer was busier than usual, and when I knew we weren’t taking our usual big family trip and I still had the CFMOTO Ibex 800 T (see my Ibex 800 T review here), I told my son, Jameson, that we should go motorcycle camping.
As with most things that elicit excitement in a 10-year-old, he latched on to that idea and wouldn’t let go, so I decided we better make it happen while I still had the bike. I wanted him to have that memory.
Of my younger children, my son has taken to riding with me more so than my 13-year-old daughter. It’s not a “teenager thing”; it’s just not her thing. But for whatever reason, my boy, who is fearful of many other things, likes to get on the back of the bike. He still gets nervous on curvy roads, but on straightaways, I’ll sometimes see him in the mirrors with his arms spread out like he’s flying. I can relate to that feeling. And maybe part of it is just doing something with Dad. I can get on board with that too.
So we planned our trip. Although we were only traveling a little over an hour away, it would be Jameson’s longest ride with me. It was also the first motorcycle camping trip for both of us. Honestly, it was about as close to car camping as you can get on a motorcycle – except not as comfortable since I couldn’t take as much on the bike as we normally shoehorn into the car. But we were only going to be gone overnight – and not far off the beaten path. We would be camping at a place that served diner food, but I wanted at least one meal cooked over a fire, so I packed some hot dogs – and marshmallows, of course. Otherwise, we went pretty barebones, with just a tent, two old sleeping bags, and some snacks.
When it comes to life with a 10-year-old, you’re not always sure when you’ve hit a homerun. Sometimes it’s obvious, like when they ask to do it all again the next weekend. Other times, you have to pry a little more, and when you have a gracious kid like mine, then you have to figure out if he’s just saying he had fun because he knows it’s important to you.
I know he enjoyed parts of the trip. He liked being on the back of the motorcycle – and I saw those arms spread out a few times. He didn’t like some of the twistier bits of the ride, but we talked about it that night at camp, and he felt more comfortable on the way back…I think. He was glad to arrive at our campground – especially since there was a pool – and he liked helping me with the tent. I made him leave his iPad home, which is a tough one for my kid, but we kept busy enough. Later that night in the tent, I caved and we watched a couple videos on my phone.
Mostly I’m guessing he enjoyed the experience because it was just him and me, but like most kids with a sibling, I think he might’ve liked it more if his sister had expressed some jealousy. But she didn’t. She at least displayed some interest when we showed her and my wife the pictures, but there was no request of “Can I go next time?”
Cooler temps might’ve helped as well. It’s hard enough convincing a kid to get in full gear in the summer – it’s hard to convince myself sometimes – and he was especially ready to be done by the end of our trip when it hit the 90s and we were waiting in a drive-thru for our burgers before going home.
Our trip was a month and a half ago. So far, he hasn’t asked to do it again, but the rest of the summer continued to be as busy as the first part, so we’ll see how it goes next year. I hope he had fun. Or at least I hope he remembers the good parts above the rest. I’d say that’s the goal of parenting in general.