Trip Preparations and Motorcycle Training

by | Sep 30, 2018 | 0 comments

Pile of travel medication

It’s been two weeks since my last day of work and our trip preparations are in full swing. Our time has been split between packing, finalizing travel documents, doctor’s visits and vaccination appointments. However, in spite of all the running around, we managed to squeeze in some fun by completing our motorcycle endorsements.

Scratch world map with some countries revealed
Where Tom and I have travelled together thus far. So many places to still uncover!

It wasn’t until researching travel insurance that we realized the need to get endorsements. What we learned is that you’re only covered for injuries abroad if your licensed to drive the same motor vehicle back home (based on US citizenship). There’s many scenarios we could see renting motorbikes in, and so decided to check the laws. Turns out Washington State requires a motorcycle endorsement for any 2-wheeled vehicle over 50cc. It’s pretty common for bikes to be above that engine size, and thus determined it was worth pursuing the endorsement to maximize our insurance coverage. Plus, it’s always fun learning new skills (RL level up!).

View of Puget Sound from Seattle ferry
Heading to class. Had to take a ferry to get there.

The course we selected was taught by Pacific Northwest Motorcycle Safety. This particular session was out of their Silverdale facility, but they have multiple locations available. Although Silverdale is a bit far from Seattle, the price was right and it gave us an excuse to enjoy one last camping trip in the Pacific Northwest.

Sleeping bags in back of Ford Explorer with trunk open

Normally the course costs $275 per person, but sometimes they have subsidized seats available to Washington residents thanks to their partnership with the State. We were lucky to snag a couple, dropping our cost to only $125 per person! That’s a steal considering the tests cost $85 on their own, meaning we each only spent $40 extra to receive personalized instruction and use of their equipment. Well worth it in our opinion.

The course was taught over two days, with the first half of each session spent in the classroom and the second half on the driving range. Our instructor was very knowledgeable and I learned much more than anticipated. Needless to say, time went quickly and before I knew it our instructors were conducting the Washington licensing tests. I appreciated this setup since the training was still fresh in my mind. Once the test was complete and scores tallied, the students that passed received a card to turn in at the Department of Licensing (DOL) for the official endorsement.

Motorcycle class manual and course completion card

I was initially worried for the written test since there’s a lot of material covered in those two days, but it ended up being multiple choice and way easier than expected. I actually had more difficulty with the skills test. Not because I hadn’t received enough training, but because I was first up and psyched myself out over it; in my nervousness I became sloppy, which caused me to lose points on a few of the exercises. It was frustrating because I had no problem executing the maneuvers during training and knew I could do better.

The good news is we both passed! Next stop, the DOL 🙂


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We’re Laura and Tom, two geeks with a passion for travel and nature.

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