Gearing Up for the Big One! (for me at least) - Stromtrooper Forum : Suzuki V-Strom Motorcycle Forums
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post #1 of 27 Old 04-10-2014, 09:16 PM Thread Starter
BluesCruiser's Avatar
Join Date: May 2011
Location: Bay Area
Posts: 167
Gearing Up for the Big One! (for me at least)

Hope this is the right place to start this thread!

I'm about 4 weeks away from riding from the Bay Area to Texas, and back, for my 50th high school reunion (yep...your math is right...I'm 68 going on 17). I've been riding off and on for 50+ years and have done a few weekends of 1-2 nights, but never anything like this. I've been dithering for weeks about whether to ride it or to "act my age"...but I have never been too good at the latter.

So OK...I'm in reasonable health aside from the usual rot that sets in after 60, and I am planning on motelling it there and back. I am planning on jumping on the old Lincoln Highway in (US 50) in Sacramento and following that at least as far as western Colorado, then down through new Mexico and Texas to College Station (yeah I am an Aggie!). The route is open on the way back depending on how I feel.

I know that many of you have lots of touring miles behind you and I am hoping for some tips. First of any general sort about long distance touring, particularly in the west. Second about some specific questions...

1. The PO of my bike had fitted it out with a Givi top box and Givi E21 Cruiser side bags. They don't look very waterproof to me and I'm guessing I should pack everything in bags. Sound right to you?

2. I have the usual 1st aid kit, but is there anything in particular you think it should include?

3. I am looking at a couple of long hot days across Nevada and Texas. Any advice about how you handle the heat would be appreciated.

I will probably think of more things to ask but this is a start. What do you think? Any advice would be appreciated.


2009 Wee-ABS
"Anything worth doing is worth doing slowly" (Mae West)
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post #2 of 27 Old 04-10-2014, 09:31 PM
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Seattle
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Coimcidently I just rode us 50 from Nevada to Sacramento in these last two days. Ots a nice road but there are far better roads to take where you are going. Im typing on a smartphpne right now but when I get back ill post some tips.
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post #3 of 27 Old 04-10-2014, 09:47 PM
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Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Miami/Managua
Posts: 1,322
first off, congrats on taking the ride and best of luck to ya!

flat fix kit and air compressor.
carry more water than you need and deal with it. better to have than not.
couple of spare fuses.
in the desert, evaporative cooling works wonders. you dont have to spend big bucks to get fancy gear. get your t-shirt damp and ride. wrap a wet bandana around your neck loosely.
not knowing the route, carry a stack of granola bars and some nuts. high energy food in the unlikely event you breakdown.
cell phone and a charger that you can use on your bike. if you don't already have a 12v accessory outlet, get one.

'08 DR650, '07 DL1000
"And anyways, if they don't have motorcycles in heaven, I'd rather go to hell. I'm pretty sure they will have loads of them there." (deelip, 2016)
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post #4 of 27 Old 04-10-2014, 10:06 PM
Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: Near Cincinnati Ohio
Posts: 288
Well I camp and motel it when I travel so I tend to carry more camping gear than you will need. But I can give you my 2 cents.

I'd pack your stuff in waterproof liners of some sorts. For me they look a bit small. But then again I am running Mermite cans which are huge. If space is a problem then you can get a heavy weight waterproof bag (mine is yellow) and pack in that. The plus to this is you can put it between your top box and your back and it makes a good back rest. I usually put my sleeping bag in one and some clothes etc.

As for a first aid kit. Well I usually have a normal one. I figure if I need much more than that I will need help from EMTs etc. Only thing extra I take is some pain meds. I also had LASIK eye surgery so I through in the meds from that just in case. They are small and light and I had them. They actually came in handy when I was on a Kayak/fishing/camping trip with my dad. He got dirt in his eye and after washing it out with water we used the meds to keep him from having to head out to find a hospital...which was a long ways away.

For the last thing. Mesh gear... I picked up a mesh jacket and it is worth its weight in gold on hot days.

2005 V-Strom 650
w/ to much added stuff to list.
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post #5 of 27 Old 04-10-2014, 10:16 PM
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Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Nevada
Posts: 66
Sounds like a fun trip. I live on Hwy 50 in Nevada. Couple things to be aware of. The wind east of Fallon can be pretty stiff in the afternoon. I'm thinking about a Scotts Steering Dampener to reduce my pucker factor.

Make sure you get gas in Fallon. Next town is 100 miles away.

It may be pretty warm 4 weeks from now. I drink plenty of water. I wear a mesh jacket. I have a small spray bottle with water. If I get too warm I'll dampen my shirt under the mesh jacket to help keep cool.

Enjoy your trip.


FPD Ret., USN Ret.,
Never Underestimate the power of stupid people in large groups.
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post #6 of 27 Old 04-10-2014, 10:39 PM
Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: North Augusta, South Carolina,USA.( C.S.R.A. )
Posts: 194
"1. The PO of my bike had fitted it out with a Givi top box and Givi E21 Cruiser side bags. They don't look very waterproof to me and I'm guessing I should pack everything in bags. Sound right to you?"

I use zip lock bags to keep things dry then pack them into a bag and then put that bag into the side case. I also pack some snacks meat sticks like slim jims and gator aid in the side case stay hydrated drink 64 oz each day.Get a good rain suit and rain boots.put the heavy items in the side case.the lite you need to get to quick in the top case.

"2. I have the usual 1st aid kit, but is there anything in particular you think it should include?"

Get a good kit go to the EMT guys at your local Fire Department they will give you a laundry list of things to have in that First Aid Kit.

"3. I am looking at a couple of long hot days across Nevada and Texas. Any advice about how you handle the heat would be appreciated."

Get some under armor under wear skives and t shirt then wear a lite mesh long sleeve jacket to protect you from the sun .Gloves, sunglasses, and a yellow pair of sunglasses for night driving they help at night. a Camel back water pack stored in fridge freezer at night on each overnight stop keeps the water cold all day long as the ice melts you can sip on water untill your gasoline stops every 200 miles take breaks when your legs or butt cramps up .check your chain at each stop adjust and lube as needed carry a can of blue Tac Bel Ray chain lube.Also get a nice tool kit sockey set and ratchet style box wrenches,update your gps and keep your cell phone charged.

"I will probably think of more things to ask but this is a start. What do you think? Any advice would be appreciated. "

Enjoy the trip take photos and post them here take care and May the Blessings of Lord Jesus be with you on this trip may his holy angles keep you safe.God Bless and God Speed.




My Current Motorcycles

2010 Honda VFR1200F Manual ABS Sport Touring

2008 Kawasaki VN2000J Vulcan 2000 Classic LT Big 2053 cc Cruiser
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post #7 of 27 Old 04-10-2014, 10:49 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Madras, Oregon
Posts: 566
#1. Stay Hydrated. You will hate the trip if you don't.

2. Put everything you think you need out on the floor, then put 2/3'rds of it back away. Seriously, if this is your first trip you'll be so tempted to just keep adding stuff. Every long trip I go on, I pack less than the trip before. Last year when I rode to Colorado Springs from Oregon, I sent 12lbs of stuff back home with my wife who flew down there to meet me.

3. Avoid Interstates if at all possible, there's so much to see and enjoy when you take the road less traveled.

4. Do your best to get your ergonomics correct for you. Bar height, seat comfort, peg height, etc.

5. Get some type of throttle lock, cramp buster, whatever works for you, but this is super important for long trips. Last year's trip my grip worked loose from continually moving my cramp buster and I had to ride all the way home without any type of throttle lock/wrist rest. My hand and wrist muscles were really telling me to stop.

6. Watch out for sunburn. The first long day I had major sunburn on my wrist between my gloves and jacket. I stopped at a sporting good store and bought some wrist sweat bands which I wore the remainder of the trip. I'll be purchasing gloves with longer gauntlets in the future.

Those are some of the lesson's I've learned so far.

Enjoy the ride and take your time pouring over maps and "best motorcycle roads" websites to plan your routes. The time you put into planning your route will pay dividends in awesome roads and big smiles.

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post #8 of 27 Old 04-10-2014, 11:25 PM
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Colorado Springs
Posts: 3,122
Bring your insulated jacket liner. Not for TX, but for possible cool weather in the mountains. In the high country of CO and NM, it can snow in May. I rode through northern NM one May, and it was chilly.

06 V-Strom DL650

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post #9 of 27 Old 04-10-2014, 11:26 PM
Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: st augustine fl
Posts: 223
Be on the road at first light....stop every 100 miles or 1 1/2 hours no matter what.....I don't mind the interstate and the vee cruises it very easily...spread all the stuff you want/need to take on the floor, prioritize it....3 days worth of clothes is what we take no matter how long the trip.....tire plug kit and pump or co2 the trip goes on you might see your total daily mileage drop, esp if you push it on the first couple of days...we do 400mi a day or donalds has $1 sweet tea....all you can drink....
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post #10 of 27 Old 04-11-2014, 12:40 AM
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Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Bay area, ca
Posts: 2,019
Don't sweat the little stuff. Dehydration and hypothermia are your worst enemy's in long distant riding. As previously stated,
bring some warm gear for early mornings and mountain passes.
Hydration pack with ice and water every stop, mesh jacket with pads. Over 110 we use cool vests under our mesh. When it's hot, hydrate, hydrate, hydrate
You will figure the rest out, that's part of the adventure

'09 VEE
'09 ST1300P
'06 ST1300
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