2-Wheel Adventures: One Couple’s Story

July 19, 2011

Although her husband Mike has been riding for nearly 40 years, Teri Mundahl hasn’t always been a biker. In fact, she’d sworn she never would be. Then came an unusual Mother’s Day gift that changed everything.

“Mike gave me a motorcycle,” she laughed. “I mean, I was thinking a vase of flowers would be nice, and he gave me a motorcycle?”

And that motorcycle sat, for almost a year, with Teri refusing to ride it. Until a fateful day—and a fateful argument—led her to jump on the seat, fire it up and drive it around their suburban cul de sac.

She was hooked.

A decade later, Mike (an information systems pro at KOA) and Teri (a team member in the KOA Company-Owned Properties division) are happily a part of the biking community. Summer or winter, rain or shine, they love the feeling they get when they hit the roads on their Harleys.

“We do weekend poker runs and short trips,” Teri said. “But then every other year we do a longer ride.”

“Two years ago we went to North Carolina to get our son, a Marine,” Mike said. “We traveled 5200 miles in eleven days.”

Later that summer, the couple traveled from their home in Montana to the West Coast, hitting Portland and Seaside in Oregon, and Vancouver, Washington. They also had the chance to ride across the famed Astoria-Megler Bridge that spans the mouth of the Columbia River.

“Our next trip will be a ride to Monument Valley, then down to the Grand Canyon,” said Mike. “It’ll take about a week.”

When they’re on the road, the Mundahls prefer to travel less than 500 miles each day, stopping every 100 miles or so to get off their motorcycles and take a break. And they have also made it their habit to avoid freeways and interstates as much as possible.

“We ride the back roads,” said Mike. “You get to meet people that way. You can stop and talk, really see what the country is about. People in small towns have a different view of what’s important and what’s going on in the world.”

And what do the folks in those small towns think of the Mundahls?

“It’s fun when you walk into a bar and hear ‘uh-oh, the bikers are here’,” Teri laughed. “I’m like ‘honey, I’m a grandma!’”

There are other benefits of riding the back roads as well. Although it may surprise some, the couple says that they can hear birds and all of the sounds of nature as they’re cruising down the road. They also relish having a 360-degree panoramic view of the world around them as they travel.

When they pull off the road and get ready for the night, the couple says they look for KOA lodges, and have stayed in a number of them in Kentucky, Tennesee, North Carolina and Florida.

“I like having our bike parked right in front of the lodge,” Mike said. “But I also like the atmosphere.”

“We sit out on the patio and enjoy a drink,” Teri said. “And then we get to know the people around us.”

“At hotels, bikes can be targets for theft,” Mike said. “Plus people aren’t interested in getting to know you. When we stay at lodges, everyone is friendly.”

The Mundahls said being in the biking world is a good way to meet people. And it isn’t what a lot of non-bikers might assume.

“The biker population is different than it was 30 or 40 years ago,” Mike said. “The equipment’s better, but the people are different too. Most of them are 25 to 65 years old, and are in the mid- to upper-class. Dentists, electricians, lawyers—you name it.”

“I’m amazed I wasted so much of my life not riding motorcycles,” said Teri. “It’s taught me that life isn’t about the destination—it’s about the ride.”

Think you’d like to live the biker life? Here are some recommendations that Mike and Teri have for you:

1. Take a rider’s safety course.
Frequently offered by the state, you learn how to balance and control a motorcycle, as well as the safety rules.

2. Buy a bike that fits you.
First, define how you’re going to use your bike; for instance, if you’re dreaming of long days spent heading cross-country, a touring bike might suit you better than a cruiser. Then choose a bike that fits your frame and riding style.

3. Work with someone experienced. 
When you’re considering purchasing a bike, or when you’re heading out the first time, go with someone who is an active, knowledgeable biker.

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