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 Preparing for a Long Distance Trip

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jdeereanton
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PostSubject: Preparing for a Long Distance Trip   Sat Mar 28, 2009 4:27 am

Scooterian wrote: "I'm seriously considering a 1000 mile trip this summer. Maine to West Virginia. My 30th high school reunion is in July. I've never ridden more than 150 miles on a single trip. I'm starting to consider what a person should take with them on an extended road trip. Any suggestions would be appreciated."

We've ridden quite a few rides of 1,500 miles since we started riding. Have ridden distance on our Reflexes and our SilverWings. Longest trip to date is 2,800 miles over 11 days.

The question of how to prepare for a long distance trip is not a simple one because riding style, personal comfort, and safety tolerances vary greatly. There is no one perfect solution there is only the one you find acceptable. You have to make a few adjustments and maybe plan a bit better since you don't have the cargo capacity of a car.

Obviously the 55 liters of under-seat storage is great, the Reflexes had a bit less volume. We started our touring with no extra storage other than what was available on the two bikes. On the Reflexes we gravitated to tank bags and tail bags. Having bags to carry into the motel definitely makes life a bit easier. Moving on to the SilverWings, we used the tail bags until this past spring when we finally gave in and bought GIVI V46 cases for each bike. We've added Corbin glove boxes to the seat backs on each bike and have found that every addition of storage is quickly filled.

Some of how you plan is dictated by your route choice(s). We don't use the interstate or multi-lane roads if we can avoid them. Back roads and small towns are our preference. The amount of time you spend on the road is shaped by how many hours/miles you sit in the saddle. Comfort drives that as well as speed and stops. We don’t ride to race and we stop often. A 350 – 400 mile day is good for us; we’ve ridden 500 and as few as 150 or so. Rain and fog will slow you down, so will tire problems. We carry no more tools than what the bike came with although we did purchase a small ratchet and metric sockets on one trip. To be fair we needed those tools to fix a non-Honda bike. But, we do have the Honda Rider’s Club of America and their road side assistance. Last trip out we had a chance to try them out – well worth the cost. Roadside hazards and waiting for repairs add to the travel time and reduce daily mileage. You will have to determine your daily tolerance as you start to plan the days you’ll need on the front end and on the back end. If at all possible plan your high speed miles on the front end when you are still fresh. Riding is much more strenuous than driving and the longer you ride the longer it takes to recover.

I think that it is easy to over pack. We take 5 changes of underwear and plan to do laundry every 4 days. We have mailed clothes to our destination and we’ve purchased dressy clothes when we’ve arrived at a destination. We’ve donated clothes to shelters while on the road and have mailed clothes home. We do not try to take a new outfit for each day we’ll be on the road. Heck, I’ve even worn the same jeans 3 days in a row (the horror). I’ve been deployed to Iraq for a few days ;-), that experience gave me the following perspective - as long as I can take a shower to start and finish the day I can wear the bike uniform no matter the condition. Kim doesn’t use make-up (naturally beautiful) and that reduces the load. Remember the more you pack the greater the weight and greater weight brings changes in handling, MPG, and CG (more weight higher on bike moves CG higher). We remove the GIVI case when we get to the motel and it only goes back on the bike when we leave that motel for the next one.

On the topic of gotta drag it all with me – We’ve begun to travel with our laptop and stayed once in a motel that did not have sufficient wall outlets for all of our wall-warts. We now carry a short extension cord as well. Our comfort need has increased.

This is a small peek at how we plan for and travel long distance – I’d like to hear as I’m sure Scooterian would from others and how they plan for long distance travel.
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skiwoods
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PostSubject: Re: Preparing for a Long Distance Trip   Sat Mar 28, 2009 11:08 am

/\ /\ That /\ /\

Was the voice of experience. Great post Dale.
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scooterbob
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PostSubject: Re: Preparing for a Long Distance Trip   Sat Mar 28, 2009 11:45 am

Great post jdeereanton.

Made several 1500 mile trips myself (Chicago to Mountain Iron, MN).

I'd like to add:
Camera,
Pack some snacks and water,
Hard copy maps of the trip,
GPS if you have one (it does come in handy),
Communications (ie cell phone, C.B., ect.),
and quality rain gear.

In out of the way places you might not have cell phone coverage, but theres always a trucker with a C.B. nearby.

Pack by importance. Most needed - easiest to get to.

Rain gear on top,
clothing layers next,
and so on.

The tunnel bag is a great place to put your maps, water, snacks, ect.

Hints:
If you think you are getting tired, you are. Stop and take a break.
If you think you might need to use the bathroom, find one soon.
If it looks like it could rain, put your rain suit on right away.
If you think something look nice, stop and take a picture.

Most of all, ride at your pace.

Have a great day
bob
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PostSubject: Re: Preparing for a Long Distance Trip   Wed Apr 08, 2009 6:44 am

Great suggestions jdeereanton. I have never taken a long trip yet. I do tons of day trips. And have only been once a bit longer where I stayed at a B&B for a few days but it was just over a hundred miles from here. I'm really looking forward to longer trips this year. Scooterbob great tip on rain gear on top. That seems to get buried at the bottom when I pack. I will listen to the voices of experiences :Not Worthy:
My dad's cottage is about 400 miles from here and that is one of my goals for this summer is to head up there and then take day trips while I am there.
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PostSubject: Re: Preparing for a Long Distance Trip   Wed Apr 08, 2009 12:43 pm

In the March 2009 issue of Motorcycle Consumer News (MCN), Fred Rau wrote about this every subject. Fred leads motorcycle tours & has had tons of experience.

He said the first most common mistake is new gear. Make sure your gear is comfortable and broken in before you commit to using it for the long trip. A new pair of boots that rub blisters or a new jacket that binds across the shoulders can dramatically reduce the fun.

The second most common mistake is over packing. Three problems with this is tiring of having to be so careful each morning in how you pack the bike, the undeniable fact that clothes expand during the trip, and the lack of free space when you want to buy something on the road. The order in which you pack also will impact the quality of your ride.

Money is third. You need to keep a stash of cash/cards somewhere other than your primary stash, in case of loss or theft. This may make the difference in how or if you get home. Make sure that second stash is in a water proof baggy.

The 2nd & 3rd items can be summed up in this statement: "Always take half the clothes you think you'll need, and twice the money".

Lastly, hide a copy of the bike's key somewhere on the bike where you can get to it without a key. You wouldn't want to hide it under the saddle since you can't get there without a key. Wherever you hide it, it needs to be somewhere where others won't find it & you can.

Enjoy your trip & God bless you!

Mark
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PostSubject: Re: Preparing for a Long Distance Trip   Wed Apr 08, 2009 2:57 pm

swing Mark you are so right! When I went from San Antonio to Sturgis in 2001 on a Honda Helix I stayed on the road for four months on a budget of just $100! I think that packing for a trip depends on how long the trip is. One instructor at the University of Central Florida rode on a Honda Silver Wing from Orlando, FL. to Anchorage, AK. and back twice in one year. That is a record busting trip for a Silver Wing and that record will never be broken.

I also think that packing for a long trip depends on where your going to stay when you get there. When I was at Daytona Bike Week this year I lived on the street the whole time I was there. The reason me and my peers lived on the street the whole time we were at Daytona Bike Week is because if there was a hotel room we would have been in it!
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PostSubject: Re: Preparing for a Long Distance Trip   Thu Apr 09, 2009 2:24 pm

jdeereanton wrote:
But, we do have the Honda Rider’s Club of America and their road side assistance. Last trip out we had a chance to try them out – well worth the cost. Roadside hazards and waiting for repairs add to the travel time and reduce daily mileage.

swing Honda Rider's Club of America doesn't do free towing anymore so you may want to look into getting Progressive Insurance which provides free towing through Cross Country.
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jdeereanton
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PostSubject: Re: Preparing for a Long Distance Trip   Thu Apr 09, 2009 2:44 pm

FACT - If you upgrade your Honda Riders Club membership (has to be done at a dealership) you do get free towing service.
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PostSubject: Re: Preparing for a Long Distance Trip   Thu Apr 09, 2009 2:49 pm

MarkLawson wrote:
Lastly, hide a copy of the bike's key somewhere on the bike where you can get to it without a key. You wouldn't want to hide it under the saddle since you can't get there without a key. Wherever you hide it, it needs to be somewhere where others won't find it & you can.

swing If you do accidently lock your keys in the trunk don't panic. Stick a beer bottle under the seat right in front of the spoiler and use the neck of the beer bottle to wedge the seat upwards away from the plastic. Then stick your arm into the opening and start removing things until you can easily get to your keys. Note: This will not work on the Yamaha T-Max.
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The Scootist
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PostSubject: Re: Preparing for a Long Distance Trip   Fri Apr 10, 2009 12:46 pm

So does it matter if the beer bottle is full or empty?
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The Scootist
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PostSubject: Re: Preparing for a Long Distance Trip   Fri Apr 10, 2009 12:49 pm

Last evening I was talking with my cousin who lives in Richland WA, and we may have hatched a plan to meet at Sturgis this August. Is anyone else interested in making such a trip?
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joncallihan
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PostSubject: Re: Preparing for a Long Distance Trip   Fri Apr 10, 2009 4:33 pm

If you have any idea where a person could stay in (or near) Sturgis without camping, yes, I would like to accompany you from the Denver area. I'm too
old to consider camping.
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The Scootist
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PostSubject: Re: Preparing for a Long Distance Trip   Fri Apr 10, 2009 4:41 pm

Jon:
I am also too old for the on the ground camping stuff. I think it is getting rather late (meaning that most local accommodations are all ready booked), but I will see what might be available in the area.
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joncallihan
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PostSubject: Re: Preparing for a Long Distance Trip   Fri Apr 10, 2009 6:08 pm

I've been told by more than one lodging supplier (i.e., motel / B&B) that year to year bookings are the norm, kinda like Bronco's season tickets.

I wish you a lot of luck.
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