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Discussion Starter #1
Not long by some of your standards I'm sure, but I'm planning to ride to the Calgary area next weekend which is 543km (~340 miles) through the Rocky Mountains. I've driven the route hundreds of times, so know it quite well.. but I also know I won't have cell service for about 2/3 of the way. On the way there, I'll be stopping half way to stay overnight (just because I'm going to leave after work, so won't have a lot of daylight), but I'll make the ride back in one shot.

I don't have luggage on my bike except for a top case that's just large enough to fit my helmet. I ordered saddlebags, but I'm doubtful that they'll arrive in time.

I'm not very mechanically inclined, so if there IS an issue, even with all the tools in the world, there's not much I could do. That said… any absolute ESSENTIALS I need to have on me?

Any tips or suggestions on how to pack the bike? Advice for the ride? What to wear? Anything?
 
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As dumb as RonK's reply may seem be, he is right. TP and duct tape (especially duct tape) can go a long way. But as you said you are not mechanically inclined so think beyond that. Hopefully though, you are creative. And that is where duct tape comes in to play. :)

Although 340 miles is not a big trip things can happen. Just check your bike real good before leaving on the trip making sure everything works as it is supposed too and all fluids have been checked. And be sure to check your tire pressure and brakes before leaving.
 

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First of all, l am so glad you are taking this step! You've come a long way :)

If your box can hold a helmet, then it can hold a whole bunch of clothing, toiletries, etc. I would abandon using it for your helmet for this trip. So you have to bring your helmet with you wherever you go...l do that all the time anyway. It's no biggie.

I would consider putting together a small tool kit anyway...ratchet, 8mm-17mm sockets, an extension, 10mm, 12mm, 14mm and 17mm wrenches, a 5-in-1 screwdriver, monkey wrench, pliers and needlenose. Maybe something happens and you are stranded...well, you may not be mechanically inclined, but the nice guy that stops to help you might be. But if you have no tools, and he has no tools...

Also, a tire plug kit, and a tire pressure gauge. And a flashlight.

Good luck and have an awesome trip!!!
 

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Have fun and don't sweat the small stuff.

Just because the trip is by motorcycle instead of car doesn't mean you need to go overboard with preparations and over thinking things.

My first road trip by motorcycle was 700 miles in one day. I'm a mechanic by trade and I didn't bring a single tool with me. All I did before I left was check my oil level and kicked my tires. Tubed tires so fixing a flat with a plug was a no go, and I just simply did not worry about anything beyond that.

As for packing? I'll echo the statement about just take what will fit in your top case. Don't need to go crazy with what you take along

Here's a picture of my old bike, packed up for the trip. The saddlebags didn't have much in them. If I recall correctly I had some food for the road in one of them, which I touched little of. The other was empty.




What to wear?

Wear whatever gear you wear normally. Take the weather and temperatures you may ride through into account. Try to be as comfortable as possible.
 

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Aging & Worn
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Remember the universal "Distress" signal..........placing your helmet on the ground. Use it if you need to................SOMEONE will recognize it. Heck, I've had people stop and ask if I'm ok even when I DIDN'T use that signal! (All I was doing was stopping for a smoking break........lol).

I remember my first 400 mile run........my body argued with me (mostly on the way BACK, because I was running on Adrenalin going UP to my destination). You will discover muscles and aches that you didn't know were there or possible. I guess I'd suggest bringing a basic First Aid kit (that includes Aspirin).

You didn't mention anyone else going with you, so I'll assume you are traveling alone (no other bikes and no passenger). In one way, that's unfortunate, in that having someone else along helps to alleviate some of the boredom and can help with the tempo of the trip (particularly if that other person is on their own bike, as opposed to having a passenger along).

Remember your S.I.P.D.E., and think about it as you travel. It's better than remembering work, and all the "stuff" you have to do at home, and it'll keep you from trouble, should it come up. I'm thinking "I-Pod" with those ear-bud things, and your favorite traveling music, too!!

Did anyone say "rain gear?" You COULD run into foul weather, so I'd pack some. It's amazing how much rain can accumulate in a pair of boots!! Underpasses are wonderful storm protectors (a bit noisy, but still) should you need them.

Would be a good idea to have some actual "cash" in your wallet, and not just your ATM or Credit Card(s). That guy that stops to help you IF you have trouble, probably doesn't carry a Card Reader, and might like to have a $10 spot for his troubles.

If you haven't checked it in a while, make sure your License, Registration and Insurance cards are on your person, and are up to date. Nothing more embarrassing than to be stopped by a PO and discover THEN that you forgot to swap out your current Insurance Card (for example) when it came in the mail last week!!

Let someone you trust, know your plans and your intended route. Give them some idea of your likely stops and assumed time of arrival and so forth. If you were to have trouble that you couldn't personally bail yourself out from, that other person can help trace your steps. Also.........VERY important to STICK to your intended route, unless it's absolutely necessary to alter your plan. I realize and know about the temptation to go an "unplanned" way, ESPECIALLY on a motorcycle; because that's what it's all about after all, isn't it?! Freedom..........the open road...........the internal "Rebel".............I get it...........just don't do it (lol).

As you are traveling, you may be tempted to push yourself, and ignore the fatigue..........HUGE mistake!! Take stops, even when you think you are fine and can continue. I'd rather be a little late, than dead, because I ignored the fatigue factor. "Stop and smell the flowers," as they say.

Phone that person you trusted with your itinerary, when you get there. Just so they know you arrived ok.

When you get ready to travel back, re-check all the things you checked before you left...........the lights, the chain, (or belt) the oil...........be as meticulous then, as the morning you left. You've just put your bike thru a scenario that is not typical..........expect that your bike may show some signs of fatigue that it might not, under normal weekly riding conditions.

You mentioned that you know your route pretty well, having traveled it before. All the more reason to be alert and careful. Sometimes (I don't remember the actual statistical numbers, but anyway......) the worst trouble happens on roads we are the most familiar with, because we don't pay as close attention as we should, running the route in our minds on "automatic" rather than as if it were completely new to us.


-Soupy
 

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Have fun on your trip. Dont over think it. Take snacks and water. Take more water than you think you need. There is always a need for water. Take a micro cloth to clean your helmet visor. It just takes a brief time to get too bug splattered to safely see through the visor. An adjustable wrench, pliers and some zip ties will see you through. Most important, have fun and enjoy the trip!
 

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Pale Rider
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Make sure to observe the Load Triangle on the bike: it demonstrates where to pack things, for optimal distribution -- avoids making the bike top-heavy! That trunk is only capable of holding around 10 lbs. of gear, before it makes the bike super top-heavy, and nearly impossible to balance! You can, however, pack more weight on the seat behind you, where a passenger would be sitting -- well within the Load Triangle, so it won't make the bike excessively top-heavy.

Frog Toggs are small, lightweight, and they compact down to a small package, for stowage. They will keep you dry, but they will also breathe, so you won't get soaked by your own perspiration, as you wear them.

VERY IMPORTANT: Take along current, up-to-date, paper maps... Even if you are very familiar with the area, it is a great thing to have with you, just in case you need to deviate, or find an alternate route, due to construction. Your cell phone may not get service (you stated this already, I know, but for others who rely on their phones), which means your phone GPS app won't work; your satellite GPS may fail, or it may have lost its map with the last update (happened to us, blew out the USA map, got a map of Guam, instead... no idea how it happened, but it did). There is no good reason not to carry current, paper maps. I find them easier to use, especially when I need to find an alternate route. It also helps me understand the area's layout, so I can recognize where I am at. If you have time, get some clear Contact Paper (kitchen supply area of stores, like Wal-Mart, cabinet shelf liner products; it is actually clear vinyl, with adhesive on one side only -- peel-n-stick), and apply it to both sides of your paper maps, to make them durable, and waterproof. We do this with State maps for the three States we typically ride in: the maps are free from their Information sites along the Interstate Highways, and the clear Contact Paper is inexpensive for a roll which will last for more than a dozen maps...

:71baldboy:

Other than these things, most has already been covered. Best of luck with the trip! Cheers!
:coffee:
 

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Pegasus trapped in a human body on a motorcycle
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Bring a few bottles of water with you. Staying hydrated is important. Maybe some granola snack bars, if you feel the need for something in your stomach.
 

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Aging & Worn
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ah what the hell........take a six pack and a couple of doobies along.......ya never know WHO ya're gonna meet!!

-Soupy
 

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As the former owner of 1-888-BIKETOW in southern CommieFornia, I suggest this above all else:

and EVERYONE should do this!

Make a copy of your bike's registration and ownership certificate (pink slip) and give it to your wife, brother, father, a trusted friend, etc., whoever will be responsible for bailing your bike out of impound when you cannot. (hereafter referred to as PIC - Person In Charge)

If you have the time, add the name of the PIC who will be pulling your bike out of impound to the registration as "additional registered owner as you "OR" him, not you "AND" him so they can independently claim the bike without your presence or signature. The tow yard will NOT release your bike to your father, wife or brother-in-law or "best friend" based solely on that person's word that "you are "...okay with it." Not if they are legit and follow the law.

Otherwise, a NOTARIZED letter stating that this PIC(s) is/are authorized to claim your bike on your behalf will be needed by the tow yard. Add a valid Power of Attorney sheet to the mix to dispel any concerns of the tow yard.

If you are in an accident, and you are not able to bail your bike out of an impound yard the next day, or for several days or weeks, you will have to get a friend to go get your bike out of impound for you, because the impound charges add up QUICKLY. Very soon, it will cost more to bail the bike out, than the bike is worth. No, you cannot call the tow yard from your hospital room and give permission, unless that tow yard guy KNOWS your voice.

I cannot tell you how many times I had to meet a rider at the impound gate, while he was seated in a wheelchair and wrapped in bloody bandages, because the tow yard's policy is to ONLY release the bike to the owner. Friends have actually pulled guys out of hospital rooms temporarily, just to claim bikes! Of course, I am talking about Commiefornia. Perhaps the rules in other states are more relaxed.

NOTE: The impound yards will NOT release a bike to anyone except the registered owner UNLESS the person claiming the bike has a copy of the registration IN HAND, and his/her name is ON the registration. "Let me go get it off of the bike..." does NOT work. They will not let the PIC near the bike until he can prove he already has the authority to approach the bike, and a copy of the registration in his hand.

Also, make sure the PIC has a copy of ALL of your keys, for the ignition, helmet lock, luggage, disk lock, etc. Also your garage and home, and any alarm codes and passwords he/she may require to put the bike into your garage. Did I mention that this should be a TRUSTWORTHY friend? :biggrin:

Give the PIC the name of your insurance company, and policy number, and agent, and call the agent to identify the PIC prior to your tour. The agent can issue a check for a large impound fee which can be picked up at a local office, or wired directly to the impound yard, or overnighted to the PIC, or wired into the PIC's account by prior arrangement.

I have had several customers who lost bikes to Lien Sales because they could not get their bikes out of impound in time, due to being laid up in a hospital for extended times. Sometimes I would show up at the hospital with a Notary, just to get the needed paperwork.

Also, if you had anything valuable on your bike (iPad, GPS, Camera, etc.) give a list of those items with serial numbers to the PIC so they can be sure to ask for them when they recover the bike. There is NO guarantee that personal items will be recovered. They may have been taken by someone in the yard or by a tow yard employee, or left on the side of the road at the accident scene. The tow yard is not responsible for anything that fell off of the bike in the accident, or during the tow.

The last thing to know: Cash is KING. Most tow yards will not accept personal checks or credit cards to bail out a bike. Some will, after tacking on an additional "Non-Cash Transaction" charge. Once a tow yard releases a bike and it is outside of the gate, the tow yard has no recourse for collecting towing and storage fees. This is why they seem so "mean" when you deal with them. They normally won't even let you "just see it" until you prove you are a PIC, because many people decide the bike is worth LESS than the impound fees and decide not to claim the bike at all. Then the tow yard is stuck with a worthless wreck that no one will bail out and a towing and storage bill that no one will pay.

They don't want the bike out of their custody until they know they have been paid.
 

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ah what the hell........take a six pack and a couple of doobies along.......ya never know WHO ya're gonna meet!!

-Soupy
And here I thought you was a tow the line church going bible thumper.:p
 

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I belong to the "church" of hard knocks.

-Soupy
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Survived my trip.. barely. Had a hotel booked at the half way mark for the trip out, since I was leaving after work and wouldn't make it the whole way before dark. So, a little ways out from my destination, the plastic cover around my ignition pops loose… silly little annoyance, so I thought.

I arrive at the hotel and get down to have a look at how to reattach the plastic cover and - holy crap - there's a huge bolt under there that connects the forks to the frame of the bike and it's 3/4 of the way loose! I had thought it felt a little wobbly on the last few turns, but, obviously, I had no clue how bad it was. Of course, none of the tools in my toolkit fit the bolt, so I finger-tightened it and the following morning I took it to the local bike shop. Yup, steering bearings were all loose! Thankfully, the shop took it back right away and snugged everything up, no charge! I was back on the road in no time.

Aside from that, and giving myself a wicked burn on my hand from the exhaust… it was a good trip!
 
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