Friday, July 2, 2010


I'm getting the gear ready to hit the road. First and foremost is the bike itself. This past winter, I had new Hyperpro shocks installed. The electronic suspension adjustment (ESA) that came with the bike had failed, leaving me with several expensive options. Replacing it with original BMW parts was hyperexpensive, over $4,000! Couldn't do that, especially to spend that kind of money and even when done, have mediocre quality shocks. So, long, long story and some $1,500 later, the Hyperpros were installed. I like them, and they should last a long time. They're very high quality, on a par with the very best aftermarket shocks and a little cheaper.

I installed highway pegs on the RT a few days ago. Highway pegs (for non riders) are footpegs that mount forward of the normal foot pegs, giving the feet a different resting place so legs can be straightened out from time to time. There's another benefit of having wind rush up the pants leg, cooling more than when the feet are directly below your hips. However, I'm not satisfied with them for two reasons--1) They make the bike very wide because they mount on the valve covers on the heads of both cylinders. The cylinders were already the widest part of the bike, and now wider. And 2) The fairings on the bike are constructed with a sharp edge that hits your calf near the knee when feet are on the highway pegs. Not comfortable for long rests. I'm just hoping they'll let my legs rest some and help with cooling.

The last major servicing of the bike was done at 70,000 miles, so nothing major has to be done to it. The rear tire has some 7,000 miles on it, which is about 70% of the normal mileage I get with a rear tire. Since I estimate the trip to be between 3,500 and 4,000 miles, I'm not sure there's enough tread on the tire to make the trip. So, I'll have a new one installed before leaving town. Hate to take off a good tire, but it's not good enough to make the trip.

Need to change oil and filter, and that should do it for the bike. Doing that is an easy job, so the bike is ready when that's done. I may wash it, just to get some of the grime off it, but otherwise it will be ready.

I don't need to buy any additional riding gear. I'll wear my Olympia Phantom mesh suit most of the time, but take my faithful yellow bumblebee for cooler (hopefully) times and for rain. Most likely it will stay stowed away most of the time.

I have all the polyester riding clothes I need. I like them because they're almost entirely wash N wear, even overnight in a motel room. I'll have to wash some every few days, but it's no real hassle once you get the hang of it. The biggest issue is that I'm tired at night, and washing smelly clothes is not a fun thing when all you want to do is to get horizontal and rest. But it's a part of the ride.

I haven't decided whether to pack for camping. Right now, I'm leaning towards taking the stuff, partly because when packed, it makes a good backrest. If yes, it will also give me an option to camp if I need or want to. Camping is fun in a way, but it is work and takes time to set up and to tear down the next morning. If I rested better overnight, I'd like it better, but I never sleep well camping. We'll see...

I've looked at routing so much I'm sick of it. I read in forums and blogs that people do intricate route planning, picking out very detailed and specific routes. I've done it on the computer, but have found that I don't use them. So, I plan to wing it, doing a mix of Interstate when I need to make distance, highways when it makes sense, and my favorites, the small "county" roads. I love the county roads; they always find interesting things, and they're fun to ride. But you can't make any time with them. Most wander around, ending in another road that doesn't go where you're headed, so you end up meandering around, putting a lot of miles on the bike, but not making any progress towards where you're headed.

I am considering getting on US 52 and riding it as far north as I can. It goes through the town I was born in and the town I grew up in, so it's a road with which I have roots. And it goes almost exactly where I want to go. The major problem is that it does a lot of meandering and goes through every town between here and Canada (or at least looks like it is going through most of them). So, I may do pieces of 52, and skip it some. I haven't decided.

Ok, enough of this discussion for tonight. Maybe one more post before leaving town in less than two weeks.

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