Judging by the number of motorcycles on the road, everyone is in full travel mode. I am in the middle of getting my bike, personal affairs and myself ready for a two-week ride out west. I wanted to pass along some of the things I do to get ready for a longer journey like this.
My first consideration is how long I am going to be away and how many miles I intend to ride. As of now, I am looking at a 5,000-mile trip. For this, I have to plan out my resources. I believe I need a budget of $250 a day for hotels, gas, food and a few things I may pick up along the way. I need to get cash, not a debit or credit card, for those possible situations that require you to buy your way out of trouble.
I do take two credit cards and keep them in separate wallets. One has just enough money to kick around town. That way if I lose my wallet or get robbed, I can still continue with my trip. I also keep some money in the bike in a waterproof bag just in case everything goes wrong.
You may need to contact your credit card company if you are bouncing around the country or especially if you’re crossing the border. They may think someone stole your credit card and not approve your purchases.
On to the bike. I know people who just jump on their bike and go and everything turns out great. I also know people who do that and never make it out of town. Getting ready for a trip this long requires my bike to be in tip-top shape. If all goes well, we will hit some roads with altitudes of 14,000 feet that will include some cold and some high- heat areas along the way. This will add stress to my bike, my body and my gear. My bike will need fresh tires and an oil change before I go. I also clean the bike by hand and make sure I touch and tighten any bolt or screw that may have worked its way loose.
A good checklist is like gold. It will save you time and money in the long run. It will also help you focus on the right things to take and should help prevent you from over packing.
My list is always being improved. I have an “oh crap” bag that holds odds and ends — not obvious necessities, but things I’ve needed over the years. In this bag, I have various zip-ties, fence wire, a hose in the event I have to siphon gas, an old prescription bottle with extra bolts, screws and fuses. I have duct and electrical tape wrapped around the bottle. I also have about a foot of electrical wire in the event a wire gets cut. I had a small set of jumper cables, but those are being replaced with a power pack that can jump a car and has a USB charger in the event my phone dies. This bag has saved me many times and has been handy in helping out a fellow motorcyclist who was stuck on the side of the road.
For a long trip, I also carry a spare set of old glasses. You never know when you will suddenly be rendered blind because you accidently stepped on your good glasses. My bike now requires an FOB. So I have an extra FOB in the event I lose my primary. This is a real show-stopper and is expensive. If you have a key bike, you still should carry a spare somewhere.
Carrying a garbage bag is a nice touch. Everyone who rides knows you will get wet sooner or later. When you stow away your rain gear, put it in the garbage bag. This is a simple way to keep your other gear or clothes dry and mildew-free. Remember to let your wet gear dry when you stop. It is hot this time of the year. Stay hydrated, take breaks often, stay alert and stay alive.
If there is a topic that you would like to discuss, you can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. RIDE SAFE!