Recommended by Hal “BikerDoc” Mette.

“SkyMed is the coverage I use to make sure I & my Spyder could get home after a medical emergency occurring during my long Spyder Trips.”

 Select the image to learn more

Select the image to learn more

SkyMED is one of the only companies that covers you at home, away from home, and worldwide.  The at home part is significant, because the majority of medical emergencies occur within five miles of your home.  When traveling SkyMed will get you home, your significant other home, your children and grandchildren home (under age 18), your Spyder Motorcycle home, your car home, or even your RV home. 

Select the image to get the full scoop on SkyMed

Register with SkyMed:

AuthorDave Van Verth

The Spyder Aftermarket Source Group designed for Manufacturers to discuss their products for the Spyder Riders around the world. Riders can join and have first viewing of new Products Aftermarket suppliers want to introduce while being able to talk and discuss the products posted.

Click the image to join the Group on Facebook. We encourage all Spyder Riders to join to stay One step ahead on all the new innovative products to come to provide a stylish upgrade or better ride.

AuthorDave Van Verth

By Hal Mette, AKA BikerDoc


First let me say thank you to Central Florida PowerSports for allowing me an extended test ryde of the new 2018 F3 Limited with BRP Connect.

The handling and performance characteristics of the 2018 are virtually identical to the 2016 and 2017 F3T and F3 Limited so no need to focus much on that if you test ryde for an upgrade. Of course the much mentioned cluster is the big upgrade on the bike. The visibility on the all digital gauge is indeed greatly improved. If you are an old folk like me you will need bifocals to read the small print in the trip stats and a couple other areas, but the real excitement was when I took my non-visually impaired next door neighbor for a ryde and he could read even the fine print on a sunny Florida day while sitting in the back seat. No more screen sunshine washout.


One comfort factor that I had not expected came from the elevated back seat. That increase in the back seat height also increases the amount of seat support for the back of the driver. For the first time since 2010 I could ride the Spyder over 100 miles at a time without a driver backrest and experience no pain. Granted I currently ryde a 2016 F3T so the 2017 model may have already provided this feature.


The joystick (the replacement for those little directional buttons) is easy to handle in terms of maneuvering through the screens and I particularly liked the trip stats report that I left up on the right of the screen most of the time. Of course, the joystick takes you through all the the setting features previously available on the Spyder. The features of pairing the Spyder with the smart phone and the driver comm system went smooth as silk although in two days I was not able to pair the passenger comm (Sena 20S) with the bike. The music from FM and my iPhone was amazing on the six speaker sound system on the limited. Also I was surprised to get better FM reception out in the countryside than I had ever experienced before.  

When you access BRP Connect life gets a little more complicated. First of all you need to download the BRP Connect apps to your phone before you arrive for a test ryde and you need to configure your phone so that all privacy and security blocks are removed to allow BRP Connect unbridled access to your phone information, otherwise you will be asked to authorize it on the phone every time you start the bike. By the way, when you start the bike there is a little download time from the smartphone to the bike that is required before you can really get started. For the experienced ryder, I recommend you study everything available about the cluster and BRP Connect before the ryde.

I got stuck in a loop, i.e. frozen within BRP Connect, a few times and I wondered if it was my technical ineptness but I had it rechecked by the GM, Master Spyder Tech, and top sales person and they verified my findings. There seems to be some minor issues with BRP Connect to be resolved - not uncommon with new software. I studied every video I could find on the new bike and on BRP Connect. I find there is a need for a more detailed tutorial for BRP Connect that focuses especially on the mechanics of its use, not its concept.


If a newbie friend decides to take a Spyder for a test ryde, I suggest you counsel them to take two separate and distinct test rydes. One without BRP Connect focusing on the Spyder's handling and performance characteristics that differ so much from other rydes and then after considerable study and preparation, take a second test ryde using the full screen with BRP Connect capabilities. This ryde could be mind blowing for a newbie if you try to digest everything at once. 

Your comments and personal experiences with the new 2018 Instrument Cluster and BRP Connect are welcomed. 


AuthorDave Van Verth
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View all the National Spyder Events taking place in the United States. With the exception of Daytona Bike Week, Deadwood 3 Wheeler Rally and the Sturgis Event, all events shown here are exclusive Spyder events.

View Events

AuthorDave Van Verth
hals RW map.jpg

Getting Ready ...

White Hat, my sixth Spyder is all packed and ready to hit the road early Monday morning.  I will join up with the Road Warrior Group on 10/24 in Greenville, MS and ryde the balance of the journey with them.  I have reviewed the google files and can see that Craig Anders of the Road Warrior Foundation has done his usual fine job of designing this ryde.  The combination of ryding these fantastic roads and getting to know these committed veterans, will make for quite a week.

Each evening I will describe our days journey and reception events at the welcome stops.   I should have some great pics for you and will do my best to describe not only the physical journey but the feelings generated along the way.  Several Spyder Ryders are accompanying the group for most of the trip and we hope dozens or even hundreds of others will join us for various segments of the trip.

Its about 800 miles from my home to my meet up point in Greenville, MS.  I will ryde 575 miles on Monday and the balance of the trip on Tuesday so I will be there well ahead of time to greet the arriving Road Warriors.

For those of you who can not join physically, I hope you will enjoy my blog and offer your comments and support.  This coming week will be another opportunity for a once in a lifetime journey.    P.S.   Be sure to buy your raffle tickets to support the Road Warrior Foundation and have a chance to win a new F3T.


Road Warrior Foundation

Raffle Tickets for 2017 Custom F3T Limited

Day 1 - 2017 Road Warrior Ryde - Guest Post from Jay MacLeod

Day 1 of the 2017 Road Warrior Ryde began in Austin, Tx. After orchestrating a successful Spyders In The Hills Rally, Jay MacLeod still found time and energy to ryde with a few fellow Texas Hill Country Chapter US Spyder Ryders and meet up with the Day 1 send off of the 2017 Road Warrior Ryde. 

Jay, Dot McGehee Bailey,  Cheryl Burns Grove, and  Tom Grove were ready to depart from Woods Cycle Country in New Braunfels, TX heading to Austin but were delayed an hour due to a storm cell moving through and flash flooding.  Not to be deterred by Mother Nature, The "Drowned Rat Crew" made it to the send off. 

Preparations were happening everywhere at the kick off hotel. The Road Warriors packing up, the support crew and their vehicles along with other Spyder Ryders who were able to follow along were all getting their gear and their rydes ready.

The "Drowned Rat Crew" followed along too ... that is until Jay's Tonto needed to make a stop for gas. Jay claims that this was the fastest pit stop EVER and he had to ryde at unspeakable speeds to catch up to his crew and the Road Warrior ryde in only a short 10 mile stretch while they never rode over the speed limit. 

Jay and crew rode to College Station, TX with the Road Warriors before they reluctantly had to return and head home. 

Jay, thanks for sharing your Road Warrior experience and your photos. We wish you could have continued the ryde too. There's a few more pictures from Jay below.

Check back  for more experiences and highlights as the 2017 Road Warrior Ryde continues.

Day 3 – Hal BikerDoc Meets Up With The Road Warrior Ryde

Shortly after the arrival of the Road Warriors to Greenville, Mississippi a local brewery who had already closed, opened their heart and their doors to provide a venue of a welcome pizza party for the Road Warriors. The more adventuresome Road Warriors may have even made it up the hill to the casino before calling it a night. No matter how late they might’ve been they were all at their Spyders at 7:50 AM this morning ready to roll again.

The departure temperature was 43° and our riding wind-chill was soon between zero and 9°. While waiting to depart I interviewed some of the Road Warriors. Generally, they were very impressed with the Spyder. They like the comfort and ease of handling and were anxious to have an opportunity to try the full capabilities of the Spyder. One of them even mentioned that they hope they wouldn’t be monitored too closely on the track at Barber Motorsports as they would like to see how fast the Spyder could go.

Well the group is on its way to Birmingham Alabama.

Day 4 - Greenville, MS to Birmingham, AL

What an amazing day.  We left Greenville, MS with our regular core group of ryders which numbered a surprising 30 to 35 Spyders and we stopped for lunch to pick up our escort at Columbus, MS.  We picked up enough motorcycles and Spyders to put the group over 75 strong.  Thank goodness we had a police escort for most of the way to Birmingham.

We stopped at the Barber Motorsports Museum and Track. While the support ryders viewed the history of some of the finest motorcycles in existence, the Road Warriors themselves were slipped onto the motorcycle racetrack to test their Spyder skills a bit further. Of course, once again the local VFW came through with enough food for supper to feed twice as many folks. Again, kudos to Craig Anders. He is the all-time master of using google earth at his desk to find some of the most exciting back roads you could ever dream about. The ryding in the hill and curve country surrounding Birmingham is superb. I can see why the local Spyder chapter is always so busy with rydes.

Day 5 – Road Warrior Ryde - Birmingham, AL to Pigeon Forge, TN

This morning as we prepared I chatted with specific Road Warriors as has been my daily practice. I told them I was so impressed over the years that every one of them I had met had such a positive attitude. One of the two fellows responded, “Hey man I was a complete mess and I didn’t care about anything until this opportunity came about. This trip turned my life around.” Now that is precisely why I think BRP and each one of us should continue to support this charity.  We can make a difference because the Road Warrior Foundation makes a difference.

We hit wheels up a little after 8am with our usual temperature near 40 degrees and our wind chill near zero. As soon as we left the Birmingham metro area you could tell we were headed to the mountains.   The scenery became quickly beautiful and the roads very challenging.  We had a police escort all the way to the Tennessee border so we rocketed along occasionally approaching 90mph. Oops must have misread my speedometer lol.

In Tennessee the hills got bigger and the roads more challenging. We stopped once for lunch and again for a mayor proclamation honoring our Road Warriors. Everywhere we went they were honored and once again we logged about 300 miles.

This is the ryde of a lifetime. Every Spyder owner should consider it at some point. I will warn you that it is a demanding and challenging ryde in addition to being one of the most satisfying experiences you will ever feel.

Day 6 – Road Warrior Ryde to Woodstock, GA shared by Chris Banas

The morning started with a ride briefing and the Star Spangle Banner sung by a Spyder Ryder who has done it for the previous years as well. We started out in the fog and cold. Temp was 38 degrees but dropped in the valleys and low hollows. We rode the Inez Parkway, Foothills Parkway, and Cherahola. The lunch stop was at Lynn's Place.

The ryde continued to Woodstock, GA where we picked up a police escort with a rolling road block on the Interstate for 30 miles through multiple counties. The escort was led by a Police version of the Spyder. Fire trucks lined the overpasses as we rode beneath. The Road Warriors and support ryders pulled into downtown Woodstock to flag waving crowds where we were met by the Mayor and a nice ceremony. After the ceremony we were all treated to a nice dinner.

Everyone is looking forward to Charleston, hopefully without too much rain.

Last Day - 2017 Road Warrior Foundation Ryde

RWF 2017 Final day – We loaded up the gear in a light drizzle and suited up for the projected rain. The route was changed to try and get us ahead of the worst weather so we played in Interstate traffic for a bit. Thankfully for all, it was a Saturday so no weekday rush hour traffic. By the first break it was still overcast but we were ahead of the rain so we got to shed some layers. Thanks to SpyderDeb Pauly we got an impromptu police escort for a bit. Good thing too as the two officers that were not providing escort were busy writing tickets!

The ryde continued to a quick lunch and fuel stop before pressing on. Next stop was God’s Acre Healing Springs where we met a local riding group (9 bikes and 1 Spyder) that made a presentation to the Road Warriors and rode escort towards Charleston. Just outside of Charleston we stopped in a rest area and were met by the local Combat Vet riding club and picked up more riders for escort. These guys were AWESOME!

We took Charleston by storm which included the Combat Vets doing a rolling roadblock to get us on the Interstate and then surrounding our group all the way in. At the Charleston River bridge we picked up a police escort. They supplemented the Combat Vet group, not the other way around. We received a warm welcome, dinner, and a chance to relive the events and friendships made over the previous week.

Thanks to support of so many we have a new group of RWF Alumni and 2017 is almost a wrap.  Ticket sales continue at  be sure to pick up an extra, two, or ten to get us on track for 2018.


Road Warrior Foundation

Raffle Tickets for 2017 Custom F3T Limited

AuthorDave Van Verth

Garmin 590 and 660 owners, update the Spyder dealership listing in your GPS. Keep the most current addresses and listing at your fingertips when you need it. Click the image above to access the update link from Can-Am BRP's website.

AuthorDave Van Verth


Tour of Honor is a great reason to hit the open road, honor our nation's heroes, and contribute to a few good charities. The event is a season-long, self-directed ride to memorials and monuments around the continental U.S., Alaska and Hawaii. Beginning April 1, visit as many sites as you want, with any route you choose.

Registration opens on December 1.

Click To Register With Tour Of Honor.

Memorial Awareness Challenge


 Check Us Out On Facebook

Check Us Out On Facebook

Register with Tour Of Honor.  Click to register.

Visit all 7 memorials for the current year in one of these five states plus 3 memorials for each year 2014 through 2017 in that same state.

The mission behind this "challenge" is to raise money for Tour Of Honor & its charities and also to raise awareness of all the great memorials in our United States.  Even if you register and are not able to visit all memorials the goal will have been accomplished.

Go to the Facebook group ToH Memorial Awareness Challenge, create a new photo album, and post your pictures to the album.  Photos should follow Tour Of Honor guidelines.  Follow instructions on the pinned Facebook post.

AuthorJames Gerdes

The U.S. National Parks Will Have 10 Days of Free Admission in 2017

by Christopher Tkaczyk January 5, 2017   Travel And Leisure -

Here are the 137 national parks, monuments, and recreation areas that will waive entrance fees. 

The U.S. National Park Service has announced the dates when all of its sites will offer free admission this year. Most of the days fall on or around a weekend, which helps to make a perfect three-day trip.

With more than 400 national parks, monuments, and historical sites to discover, there’s no shortage of places to visit. While 137 sites typically charge admission, entrance fees will be waived on these 10 days in 2017.

  • Monday, January 16: Martin Luther King Jr. Day
  • Monday, February 20: Presidents Day
  • Saturday and Sunday, April 15-16 and 22-23: Weekends of National Park Week
  • Friday, August 25: National Park Service Birthday
  • Saturday, September 30: National Public Lands Day
  • Saturday and Sunday, November 11-12: Veterans Day Weekend

Don’t want to wait? Opt for an $80 annual pass. The U.S. National Park Service has multiple passes available, depending on your qualifications. Seniors 62 years and older can buy a lifetime pass for just $10.

Here are the 137 National Park Service sites that usually charge entrance fees.



  • Casa Grande Ruins National Monument
  • Glen Canyon National Recreation Area
  • Grand Canyon National Park
  • Lake Mead National Recreation Area
  • Montezuma Castle National Monument
  • Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument
  • Petrified Forest National
  • Park Pipe Spring National Monument
  • Saguaro National Park
  • Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument
  • Tonto National Monument
  • Tumacácori National Historical Park
  • Tuzigoot National Monument
  • Walnut Canyon National Monument
  • Wupatki National Monument
  • Read: A Guide to the National Parks of Arizona.


  • Fort Smith National Historic Site
  • Pea Ridge National Military Park


  • Cabrillo National Monument
  • Death Valley National Park
  • Joshua Tree National Park
  • Lassen Volcanic National Park
  • Lava Beds National Monument
  • Muir Woods National Monument
  • Pinnacles National Park
  • San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park
  • Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks
  • Whiskeytown National Recreation Area
  • Yosemite National Park
  • Read: A Guide to California’s National Parks.


  • Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park
  • Colorado National Monument
  • Dinosaur National Monument
  • Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument
  • Great Sand Dunes National Park & Preserve
  • Mesa Verde National Park
  • Rocky Mountain National Park
  • Read: The 3 Best National Parks To Visit in Colorado.



  • Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area
  • Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park
  • Cumberland Island National Seashore
  • Fort Pulaski National Monument



  • Craters of the Moon National Monument & Preserve
  • Yellowstone National Park


  • Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial


  • Acadia National Park


  • Antietam National Battlefield
  • Assateague Island National Seashore
  • Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park
  • Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine
  • Fort Washington Park
  • Harpers Ferry National Historical Park
  • Massachusetts Adams National Historical Park
  • Cape Cod National Seashore



  • Pipestone National Monument


  • Gulf Islands National Seashore
  • Vicksburg National Military Park


  • Harry S. Truman National Historic Site
  • Jefferson National Expansion Memorial
  • Wilson's Creek National Battlefield


  • Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area
  • Glacier National Park
  • Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument
  • Yellowstone National Park


  • Scotts Bluff National Monument


  • Death Valley National Park
  • Lake Mead National Recreation Area

New Hampshire

  • Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site

New Jersey

  • Thomas Edison National Historical Park
  • Morristown National Historical Park

New Mexico

  • Aztec Ruins National Monument
  • Bandelier National Monument
  • Capulin Volcano National Monument
  • Carlsbad Caverns National Park
  • Chaco Culture National Historical Park
  • Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument
  • White Sands National Monument
  • Valles Caldera National Preserve
  • Read: A Guide to New Mexico’s National Parks.

New York

  • Eleanor Roosevelt National Historic Site
  • Home of Franklin D. Roosevelt National Historic Site
  • Martin Van Buren National Historic Site
  • Sagamore Hill National Historic Site
  • Saratoga National Historical Park
  • Vanderbilt Mansion National Historic Site

North Carolina

  • Wright Brothers National Memorial

North Dakota

  • Theodore Roosevelt National Park


  • James A. Garfield National Historic Site
  • Perry's Victory & International Peace Memorial


  • Fort Smith National Historic Site



  • Allegheny Portage Railroad National Historic Site
  • Fort Necessity National Battlefield
  • Johnstown Flood National Memorial
  • Steamtown National Historic Site

Puerto Rico

  • San Juan National Historic Site

South Carolina

  • Fort Sumter National Monument

South Dakota


  • Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park



Virgin Islands

  • Christiansted National Historic Site


  • Appomattox Court House National Historical Park
  • Assateague Island National Seashore
  • Colonial National Historical Park
  • George Washington Memorial Parkway's Great Falls Park
  • Prince William Forest Park
  • Shenandoah National Park


West Virginia

  • Harpers Ferry National Historical Park


  • Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area
  • Devils Tower National Monument
  • Grand Teton National Park
  • Yellowstone National Park
AuthorJames Gerdes

The Villages Florida day trips and one tank trips described here on Florida Backroads Travel are all within 100 miles ofthe community.  

The Villages is located in the central part of the state, not far south of Ocala.

We calculate that most cars can go at least 250 miles on one tank of gas, and smaller compact cars can do even better than that.

These round trips can be made from The Villages with gallons to spare for wandering around a bit on the back roads. 

Unfortunately, however, most of these trips are not within golf cart range:)

These day trips and things to do are all within 100 miles of The Villages.  The map below shows you some of the major towns and places within this radius.

Bronson is a small town northeast of Gainesville that is notable for the gravesite of the great rock and roll icon, Bo Diddley.

Cassadaga is a spiritualist community near DeLand where you can get your fortune told by one of the resident mediums or spiritualists.

Citrus Tower is an old Florida attraction in Clermont where you can take an elevator to the top and see where all the citrus groves used to be.

Cross Creek is between Gainesville and Ocala and was the home of Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, author of The Yearling, Cross Creek, South Moon Under and other classics.  Her home is now a state park that you can visit.

Crystal River attracts manatees in the colder weather.  There are numerous business set up to allow people to see the manatees and even swim with them.

Daytona Beach has hard sand beaches that you can drive your car on, the International Speedway, and many other attractions.

DeLand is the home of Stetson University and has a fine downtown with many murals, good shopping and dining places.

Eustis is on the lake of the same name and has a nice downtown with parks, shopping and restaurants.

Evinston is near Cross Creek south of Gainesville and is home to the old Wood & Swink general store on the National Register of Historic Places.

Flagler Beachfront Winery is in Flagler Beach, north of Daytona.  Watch wine being made and enjoy tasting it while soaking up the ocean breeze.

Gainesville is the home of the University of Florida and its many art galleries, museums, a vibrant downtown area with good shopping and dining.  This can be one of the best of The Villages Florida day trips.

Gatorland is one of the oldest Florida tourist attractions.  It is between Orlando and Kissimmee and has some of the neatest alligators in Florida.

Ginnie Springs is a park with great opportunities for swimming, camping, canoeing and enjoying nature.

Hutchinson Farm Winery is a small family owned vineyard and winery south of Apopka.  Nice selection of red, white and blended wines.  Tastings, tours.

High Springs is a typical little Florida town with a fixed up downtown that has several neat antique shops and at least one very good restaurant.

Lakeland has a beautiful downtown and Florida Southern College has the largest collection of Frank Lloyd Wright designed buildings in the world.

Lakeridge Winery near Clermont is one of Florida's largest wineries.  You will enjoy watching the wine making process and sampling their wares.

Leu Gardens in Orlando is one of the country's foremost botanical gardens.  If it grows in Florida, it is probably here.  Self guided tours or formal tours.

Marineland is on Highway A1A just south of St. Augustine.  Founded in 1938, it was once the most popular tourist attraction in Florida.

Micanopy is a small Old Florida place with some nice antique shops and restaurants.

McIntosh is near Micanopy and is a fine example of Old Florida homes.  It's just fun to wander around the quiet streets.

Mill Creek Farm is a retirement home for horses.  Admission is a couple of carrots.

Mount Dora has a New England look.  It is on the east end of Lake Dora and has many fine shopping, dining and lodging opportunities.  Only 45 minutes from Orlando.  It is one of the favorites of the Villages Florida day trips.  Here is a list of restaurants in the Mount Dora area.

New Smyrna Beach has some of the nicest sandy beaches in Florida and a bit of history that influenced St. Augustine.

Ocala is in the heart of Florida's thoroughbred horse raising and training country with plenty of rolling hills and lush oak forests.

Orlando is where the big tourist attractions are like Walt Disney World, Universal Studios and SeaWorld, but it also has plenty of other quieter places to visit.

Orlando Tree Tour is a self guided tour of some of the oldest and largest trees in Florida.  You will see many magnificent oaks.

Princess Place Preserve is an old hunting lodge near Palm Coast.  It is open to the public and is a nice glimpse into the Old Florida of yesteryear.  Free.

St. Augustine is the oldest continuously inhabited city in the United States.  Much to do and even more to see.

St. Augustine Alligator Farm has more than just the famous reptile it is named for.  Crocodiles, birds and a host of other animals.  It's on the National Register of Historic Places.

Tangled Oaks Vineyard is a family owned winery between Palatka and Gainesville on State Road 100.  Tours and tastings, nice wines.

Tavares is known as the seaplane city.  People fly in for events and weekends;  it is on the west end of Lake Dora not far from Mount Dora and Eustis.

Webster flea markets are the biggest in Florida, but only open on Mondays.

Weeki Wachee Springs is one of the oldest Florida tourist attractions;  you will enjoy the shows with the beautiful young mermaids performing in the clear spring waters.

Whispering Oaks Winery offers tours and entertainment;  they specialize in blueberry wine and are only a few miles west of The Villages.

Winter Park is just north of Orlando.  In addition to a wonderful boat tour of the chain of lakes, it has some of the finest shopping and dining in the state.

There are interesting back road maps you can use to explore this part of Florida from your base in The Villages.  Here they are:


AuthorJames Gerdes