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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
So I got a sudden "opportunity" for a long ride when family needed me. Strapped a duffel bag to the passenger seat, tossed the tank bag on, and headed out not long after daybreak. Told myself I'd grab a motel room, or just lay out the sleeping bag if I got tired on the trip. Could have flown, but I hate flying and love riding. Made the 813 mile trip down, no problems. Was hardly even tired when I got off the orange Zuki.

First 50 miles or so were in surprisingly heavy, cold rain. Ugh. Glad I had the rain jacket & heavy gloves. A couple of coffees and a sandwich saw me through the day just fine. Remembered to spray a little chain lube once.

Trip was from central Washington, through Oregon and into northern California. Didn't take a lot of photos. These were taken today, on the way back north, to Washington. I broke the 933 mile return trip into two days instead of another long haul.

Bug guts on windshield:


Central Oregon is very pretty, with some GREAT roads and scenery:


The tour bus:


Some observations:

The 650 Strom is a really good light touring bike! Comfortable. Dependable. Good handling and brakes. Strong performance. Great fuel economy, easily topped 55 mpg with most tanks. My '09 is all stock except for a passenger backrest, skidplate & bars and some hand-guards. I've got about 9,400 miles on it now, in not much more than a year.

Oregon has a 55 mph speed limit, which sees most people cruising along at about 60 or so (actual). This is boring and slow, but helps the Strom deliver great fuel economy.

It's good to have a "rabbit" out in front. Much better than being the rabbit. This morning, coming into Bend Oregon, my rabbit passed me and got an award shortly after doing so, from a Bend motorcycle cop. Very happy with the performance of my rabbit. All riders should have one! There's always someone who wants to cruise along at 15 - 20 mph over the limit. :mrgreen:

Traffic. Give 'em room! There's a LOT of vehicles out there, much bigger than our bikes. Don't see winning the argument if they happen to bang into the bike. I just give 'em a lot of room.

Bug guts... I wear a full face helmet and cleaned it a couple of times every day. How do guys tour without a full face helmet or a barn-door sized windscreen?

Birds. Took out a bird last night. It flew low and destroyed itself on my boot and skidplate. Am glad it flew low instead of head height. The perils of touring...

Temperature. It was only a few degrees above freezing in central Oregon when I started this morning. I was fine with two layers under my riding jacket, but I think I'm going to look into some of that electric heated clothing...

Although a set of hard bags would be nice - mostly because they lock. I do like the simplicity of a duffel bag on the passenger seat. Same as I did 30+ years ago. Cheap. Light. Easy to remove. Kept my gear dry. It's out of the wind. Doesn't seem to affect the balance or aerodynamics of the bike at all.

Headlights. The Strom's lights rock! I had opportunity to ride hundreds of miles at night, some of it on deserted back roads in the middle of nowhere with mighty poor lane marking and no other light source. These things are the best I've seen on a motorcycle.

Tank bag is handy for things often needed like heavy or light gloves, camera, map (yes, even in the age of the GPS, I carry a map or two). Flashlight. Water bottles, and a couple of snacks. Tank bag can scratch the tank, which is bad. It carries stuff well, which is good. Take your choice.

Harley riders are EVERYWHERE. Like 'em or not, and I do have a big soft spot for the nostalgic air-cooled big twin touring bikes, they're on major roads, remote back roads, at the diner, at the fuel station, in singles, pairs, small groups and giant packs. It seems to me that they're a lot better about waving to, and talking to, guys on Japanese bikes than they were in the past. I got waves from almost every group and a timely warning about the Oregon State Patrol from another group - yes, they knew and delivered the good old helmet tap in enough time for me to slow down appropriately. Very kind of them. I get along great with the Harley crowd. Maybe someday I'll grow up and get a Road King too... Perhaps for my 60th birthday, I've made it this far without one, and have only been considering the purchase of a Harley for 30+ years. No need to rush the decision you see.

Speed & power. Hmmm. Bikes are fast, but when out on the public roads, with road construction, lots of other travelers, old ladies driving, new kids driving, etc... I sure don't seem to find a lot of opportunities to really hammer it and roll down the highway at high speeds. Maybe I'm just getting old? If I'd had a 'Busa, I wouldn't have covered the 800+ miles any faster. Where the bike does excel is during passing situations on two-lane roads: twist/gone. Also going up long grades... The bike's power-to-weight ratio is superb for conquering grades without slowing. Love it.

Comfort. My bike has the stock seat and no additional "highway" pegs. I was good for about 700 miles, then started wishing for another position. The Suzuki seat is very comfortable for me, but on it, I'm locked into pretty much one position - and that gets old - even with a stop for fuel every couple of hundred miles. Other than wind noise, the stock windshield isn't a problem for me. A set of earplugs solves the noise issue. Cheap solution. I like those.

Fuel. Sure is nice that the bike gets great fuel economy AND has a big tank. I was never worried. Usually fueled up around 180 - 220 miles, mostly because I was tired and wanted off the bike for a bit. Had one tank that was mostly on I-5 at high speed and averaged about 52 mpg. All the rest were 55+ mpg. A couple topped 60 mpg! I can live with that sort of range and mileage. You bet!

Really ought to get one of those cruise/control or throttle lock do-dads someday. Didn't need it, but it would have been nice.

Tunes. My wife bought me an IPod thingamajig and put about 600 songs on it. I only know about six songs, so the rest were a mystery to me! I used it for a few hours, and it worked great except that my HJC helmet is pretty noisy, so I had to turn up the volume pretty good on the IPod gizmo to hear the songs. That just made it noisier inside the helmet. Ideas? She gave me some weird songs. We need to discuss that. I did like my the country ballads though. DON'T start listening to Santana while riding through a low-speed limit area!!! :green_lol:

Anyway, I've done some big trips, and a 400 mile day isn't at all unusual but 800+ miles in one day was a new one for me, by a couple of hundred miles. And no prep time at all. Just tossed my gear on the bike and headed out. There, a few observations from what turned out to be a very good ride. One day down, two days home, 1750 miles all told, mostly on two-lane highways, except for a stretch of I-5 on the way down.

Guy
 

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Congratulations.

My family "needs' me next weekend.
Not enough for mr to break away from work, though.

On our way back from Ohio on Labor Day, while riding for 300 miles through Tropical Storm Lee, 95% of the bikes we saw in the rain were Harleys. There was one in particular I just couldn't shake.

Cheers,

Norm
 

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It's good to have a "rabbit" out in front. Much better than being the rabbit. This morning, coming into Bend Oregon, my rabbit passed me and got an award shortly after doing so, from a Bend motorcycle cop. Very happy with the performance of my rabbit. All riders should have one! There's always someone who wants to cruise along at 15 - 20 mph over the limit. :mrgreen:
Sadly, nobody seems to want to go 21mph over!

I tend to hold it to 20 over on all long roadtrips, and you're right, it really is the upper bound. Occasionally you'll have someone sneak by, but then you end up passing them a few miles later when they slow for some corners or a hill or something. I remember only 2 vehicles (both trucks, one a duallie) that passed me on my AK trip. Average northwest <-> bay area roadtrip, I get passed by 1 car. Usually nobody, occasionally 1 or 2.

And I try very hard not to crack the throttle just to stay ahead of someone as if it's some kind of game. I truly hold my speed fairly tight in the 16-22mph over range, pretty tight.
 

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Some ear buds (head phones) have rubber grommets (well, what do you call them?) that fit snugly into the ear and seal out noise. The size and shapes vary and there is no one-size-fits-all.
 
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