Where we're going, we don't need roads.

Obviously, when I bought my Kawasaki KLR 650, I needed to register it before I could take it out on the road. I did that, got insurance and state inspection, and it's all good to go. This past week, I did something kind of crazy. I registered it a second time—for the trails.

Like many places, the state of New Hampshire requires all off-road vehicles to be registered if they leave the owner's property. This allows the owner to ride (with permission, of course) on other people's land, as well as public off-road riding areas all over the state. Off-highway recreational vehicle (OHRV) registration is a simple process, much easier than registering for the street. You don't even have to prove ownership of the vehicle, just provide the required information about the vehicle and owner.

The main disadvantage of an ATV or a true off-road bike is that you have to load it up in your truck or trailer, drive to the park, unload it, do your riding, load it up again, and take it home. A dual-sport is the best of both worlds, capable of riding to, around, and home from the trails completely under its own power. The laws still apply, though, and your street registration does not grant you access to these parks and trails just because your bike can handle them.

KLR On Trail

The solution is easy: register the same bike both ways. My license plate covers me on the street, but when I hit the trail my OHRV registration is in effect. Some people see this as a money grab by the state, and anyone who's watched North Woods Law knows that New Hampshire Fish and Game is ruthless about issuing tickets for missing OHRV stickers. I understand why this situation exists, though. My street registration, in theory, goes toward funding the highway departments that maintain our roads. None of what I pay for that registration goes toward parks and trail maintenance, which is what the OHRV registration funds. If I'm using both, I should pay for both.

That's the biggest advantage of having a dual-sport motorcycle registered this way. I now have access to more places to ride than pretty much any other type of vehicle in the state. While off-road trails usually permit such vehicles to cross public roads for the purpose of staying on the trail, I can hop on and off the trails on any road I want, since I'm allowed to ride both. The other day I was amused by riding a trail that paralleled a road. I can ride on either, but I'm not allowed to cross between them on private property.

I wonder if I'd need a snowmobile registration if I converted my KLR into a snow bike? Or if I'd need a boat registration if I tried to set a new open water world speed record on Lake Winnipesaukee? No, vehicle registrations are not Pokémon. I don't have to catch them all.