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Discussion Starter #1
Hey everyone,

First, thanks for all the great advice in the many threads. I already have a great idea for what I'm in for this summer and feel a little more confident heading out for a long trip. I'm looking to travel light for this trip and would like to keep it simple.

2008 650/ABS, new Battle wings, new sprockets and chain, auxiliary lights and battery all ready to be installed in the next month or so. Bike has roughly 50000k and and the end of this past season got a clean bill of health from my mechanic with good brake life left.

When packing I'm thinking of going ridiculously light as it is full summer weather when I leave the first week of July and estimate is to return to the Toronto area by Aug19/20. I will be using a 30L soft dry bag from MEC (The Scully) and a couple of 35L side bags. (Would love a recommendation for these as I know that there are other brands than GIVI that might be just as good.) And of course a small tank bag to hold the phone, maps, etc.

So I would love to get some advice on how to keep the packing light. Can I get away with 1 pair of jeans/pants, 2 shorts, some tees and drawers and of course, cold/wet weather gear? Or does this even sound feasible?

I have a ton of other questions, but I'm sure they will come out as this thread builds steam.

Also, if you are travelling to the T.O. area anytime in the Spring or Fall and need a place for a night, pop me off a PM. I have an extra bedroom and looking to pay it forward to friends on 2 wheels.

Brent
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Oh, I forgot….lol……apparently I'm getting too excited….

I'm heading up to visit family in northern Ontario before shooting across to Calgary to visit friends. From there I'm going directly south to Arizona to catch up with university friends and then meander back through the deep south and up the bourbon trail until I get home.

So, looking for advice on where to stay, what roads to run, great places to find veggie food. This trip is keeping me away from the coast lines as I've driven them before and looking to see the middle part of the continent.

Again, thanks everyone!
 

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For packing light, check into back packing under wear. I get REI nylon convertible rip stop nylon pants. Or some equivalent. Pants and shorts all in one.
Wash and dry easy.
 

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A few things about your route: If it works for you and you have never ridden up to Tobermory and taken the ferry across to Manitoulin Island, I would suggest that. It will allow you to ride on #6 north out of the island towards Espanola which is an amazing ride in the summer and will link you right up to the Trans Canada Highway. The ride across the north shore of Lake Superior is really nice with places to stay along the way - camping or motels. Once you are down in Arizona, the 89A between Flagstaff and Prescott is an amazing road. That is a such a beautiful state! After you run into the deep south think about coming home via Alabama and stopping in at the Barber Museum - it's a moto heaven. Then from there, pass through Deals Gap and then ride the Smoky Mountains and the Blue Ridge Parkway all the way north. If you are a CAA member, you can get free maps of every state and Canada. Don't forget to get good travel medical insurance.

For veggie food, I don't eat meat and without knowing where the good local spots are along the way, I now defer back to Subway. I grab a foot long for lunch and only eat half. Then ride until evening and eat the other half for dinner. Cheap and easy and I always know what to expect. When I was down in Alabama and Mississippi, I have stopped into restaurants when riding and since there were no veggie mains on the menu I ordered just sides of veggies and sometimes they come in meat broth/gravy. So now I just do the Subway thing. I stop in to grocery stores and grab a few apples or fruits and trail mix to keep as snacks. I will also say that sometimes I have been told of amazing places by locals in whatever town I am passing through, or Google is your friend.

For luggage, my preference is towards the Givi E41's, because they have a small combination lock top door that allows for easy access to smaller items. They aren't the best looking cases, but they are very strong and withstand many a dropped bike. For a tank bag, I prefer the ones that lock onto the tank, so they are elevated off the tank and allow for quick removal, as opposed others that use magnets or straps and often scratch the bike in some way. I have a Givi tank lock bag that I like very much. Some have map pockets and some have wiring capabilities to help facilitate hard wiring your devices into the bike. If I am riding on a trip and packing light, then I don't bring the side cases and go with just a top case and a 55L dry bag on the passenger seat which acts as a backrest.

For moto gear, if you don't already, you might be well served with a 3 season type jacket/pants that allows you to stay warm in the cool mornings with liners, and then has zippered vents for air flow during the hot mid day portions. I would also suggest a hydration knapsack like a camelback that will allow you to drink whenever you feel like it while on the road. It helps if you have good rain gear.

For inner gear since you are going for 6 weeks I would suggest not packing too light. Know that it can be quite cool in the mornings along the north shore of Lake Superior even in summer. I like wearing Bamboo or Eucalyptus tops because they are super soft on the skin and naturally antibacterial. You can also get athletic wear that is moisture wicking to wear as your base layer. I personally like Brubeck long sleeved athletic tops for all season riding and long distance touring - keeps me cool in the summer and warm in the winter. Bring clothes that are easy to wash/dry, so if you need to wash a shirt in a sink it will dry out fast - and the moisture wicking materials are usually much better for this than materials like cotton. They also pack down really small and are very light. For jeans/pants, I would bring pants that have zippers at the knees, so I could wear them as pants if I need to or wear them as shorts, so I get the benefit of both and saves space. Marks Work Wearhouse usually has some decent ones that pack really light.
So for 6 weeks I would pack something like:
3 thin riding socks + 3 casual socks
2 zippered pants
2 shorts
1 pr sandals and 1 pr shoes
4 casual t-shirts
2 long sleeved riding shirts
1 hoodie
Underwear
Electronics (mp3, phone, gps, chargers)
Snacks
Camping gear
Maps, Documents
Copies of your ID and some spare cash hidden on your bike
Rok Straps, tools, chain lube
Small towel for windscreen and helmet visor cleaning
Grocery bag to store dirty laundry in

I'm sure there is more - I'm in Mississauga if you ever need more tips.
You will find a wealth of info about routes and roads in a thread I started a long time ago here: Re: The best roads/routes in Ontario/Quebec/U.S.
 

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what he said.

Tell us the gear you have now.

If you are not wearing dedicated riding pants then 501 Tac pants are excellent ...some protection and add some knee guards underneath.
Shop 5.11 Pants, Men?s Tactical, TDU & Cargo Pants | 5.11 Tactical

Convertible pants also from Columbia
Men's Silver Ridge? Convertible Pant | Columbia.com
wear really well...pack down small.

Old Navy and Marks has good dri-fit gear.
Take no cotton at all.
I like Columbia fishing shirts as they dry fast and have lots of pockets.

Performance Fishing Gear - PFG Fishing Shirts & Apparel | Columbia

Ex Officio underwear is terrific ...comfortable fast drying ...not so cheap
https://www.amazon.com/ExOfficio-12410016-Mens-Give-N-Go-Boxer/dp/B001M0MMWQ

I like DarnTough socks.
I can pad around in them and they wear like iron.
https://darntough.com

An Oxford thin balaclava is really useful - keeps helmet clean, easier to put on helmet with earphones on ....
https://www.amazon.com/Oxford-OF465-Reversible-Ultra-Thin-Balaclava/dp/B000R57X7G
It's really thin, I never bother with the face portion but keeps your neck warm.

One of the best things is https://shop.antigravitybatteries.com/products/micro-starts/xp-3/
Sooooooo useful, so small.
 

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Not sure if you have decided routing or not but here is a suggestion for getting from Calgary to Phoenix.
Takes in Beartooth Pass, Chief Joseph hiway, Flaming Gorge, Hiway 12 in Utah, Bryce Canyon, possible Zion Park, Painted desert, etc.


Ist leg.
Calgary to Torrey, Ut (note: you can head west of Cody and go through Yellowstone, Jackson and get to Vernal that way as well but it will be slow going through the park.)
https://www.google.com/maps/dir/Calgary,+AB,+Canada/Pincher+Creek,+AB,+Canada/Great+Falls,+MT/Red+Lodge,+MT/Cody,+WY/Vernal,+UT/Torrey,+UT/@37.7621819,-112.695858,8.73z/data=!4m79!4m78!1m10!1m1!1s0x537170039f843fd5:0x266d3bb1b652b63a!2m2!1d-114.0708459!2d51.0486151!3m4!1m2!1d-114.1718486!2d50.1101799!3s0x536fd5dce828194f:0x4c4124456b201e45!1m15!1m1!1s0x536f0a654fcc4e27:0xb161e144ca4fb420!2m2!1d-113.9502548!2d49.4863458!3m4!1m2!1d-113.2714733!2d48.5865998!3s0x5368953fd4af8f31:0x691b01ac2d0eb91!3m4!1m2!1d-112.180895!2d47.8091808!3s0x5342818e3a45613d:0xb60b0287d41c80fc!1m15!1m1!1s0x5342378d658cb83b:0xd6de56b18e5945a8!2m2!1d-111.2833449!2d47.4941836!3m4!1m2!1d-110.9045039!2d46.4377567!3s0x53445e3c6e4e3e4f:0x20939750c4617cb9!3m4!1m2!1d-109.4738895!2d45.4161149!3s0x534f3653af71849d:0xc9afeeebae3d1ab1!1m15!1m1!1s0x534f2a19f746fcf5:0xb58a35f67520d70b!2m2!1d-109.2468211!2d45.1857782!3m4!1m2!1d-109.5482694!2d44.9391278!3s0x534eef2f36a9c11f:0x47f6b25921e57c00!3m4!1m2!1d-109.5482694!2d44.9391278!3s0x534eef2f36a9c11f:0x47f6b25921e57c00!1m5!1m1!1s0x534c1ebf215bbe5d:0xba76f4463ccdcc50!2m2!1d-109.0565308!2d44.5263422!1m5!1m1!1s0x87456247a3c18f8b:0xa2a4006fbbc124dc!2m2!1d-109.5287479!2d40.4555157!1m5!1m1!1s0x8749ff8e155131c1:0x7d4e6314e22a6876!2m2!1d-111.4190654!2d38.2988691!3e0?hl=en

2nd leg.
Torrey to PHX,
Hiway 12, Bryce Canyon, Zion, North Rim, Painted Desert, Sedona, Jerome, etc.

https://www.google.com/maps/dir/Torrey,+UT+84775/Bryce+Canyon,+UT/Zion+National+Park,+Washington+County,+UT/Kanab,+UT/North+Rim,+AZ/Marble+Canyon,+AZ/Flagstaff,+AZ/Wickenburg,+AZ/Phoenix,+AZ/@37.3255558,-113.5373052,7.28z/data=!4m86!4m85!1m10!1m1!1s0x8749ff8e155131c1:0x7d4e6314e22a6876!2m2!1d-111.4190654!2d38.2988691!3m4!1m2!1d-111.4182927!2d37.784343!3s0x8735eda4d022393d:0xc104dac025d7141d!1m5!1m1!1s0x8735691fee384c6d:0x759c376c7a49fd62!2m2!1d-112.1676947!2d37.6283161!1m5!1m1!1s0x80caead08844f8d9:0x7c2e3a15aa3656f5!2m2!1d-113.0263005!2d37.2982022!1m10!1m1!1s0x8734d4210af85b03:0x884e8329a56fd317!2m2!1d-112.5263145!2d37.0474855!3m4!1m2!1d-112.1783179!2d36.6248772!3s0x8734993d7a7c2c85:0x1ceba3da69128976!1m10!1m1!1s0x873312b1b7729043:0xa8cb5d02c0c5c50a!2m2!1d-112.0612802!2d36.2105382!3m4!1m2!1d-112.1740045!2d36.6307453!3s0x8734991666293b5f:0xd55240ddde6f2a92!1m5!1m1!1s0x87346e958c9f77bb:0xc9d2d894c17b79b9!2m2!1d-111.6373384!2d36.816235!1m20!1m1!1s0x872d8ef7da2e2631:0x8e1f3ca1cedbb300!2m2!1d-111.651302!2d35.1982836!3m4!1m2!1d-111.7661795!2d34.8480933!3s0x872da6a8de721d75:0x1831ffe4863c3825!3m4!1m2!1d-112.1538132!2d34.7158876!3s0x872d17481a9d5e89:0x484f9edfc6b6961!3m4!1m2!1d-112.5399801!2d34.4489332!3s0x872cd5f0e4b366f9:0x3460793c437971c2!1m5!1m1!1s0x80d34e93354c02bd:0x964ea2333ee6ce3a!2m2!1d-112.7301882!2d33.9697664!1m5!1m1!1s0x872b12ed50a179cb:0x8c69c7f8354a1bac!2m2!1d-112.0740373!2d33.4483771!3e0?hl=en

Alternative is to head to the west coast. Do Hiway 1 from Astoria, Or to Los Angeles and then head to PHX.

https://www.google.com/maps/dir/Calgary,+AB,+Canada/Osoyoos,+BC,+Canada/Astoria,+OR/Los+Angeles,+CA/@37.4423769,-127.5182947,4.72z/data=!4m81!4m80!1m15!1m1!1s0x537170039f843fd5:0x266d3bb1b652b63a!2m2!1d-114.0708459!2d51.0486151!3m4!1m2!1d-117.7938796!2d50.2432617!3s0x537c73e2dee9c9d7:0x51ccc1bf05677cee!3m4!1m2!1d-118.3644458!2d49.023047!3s0x5362b1e4e34d2cd5:0xe7463e8ff06296a5!1m15!1m1!1s0x5482c5b162651d67:0x9138986d547b0fcc!2m2!1d-119.468163!2d49.032304!3m4!1m2!1d-119.4592764!2d49.0283187!3s0x5482c5ba0f365b19:0x2d00abc7cdc705cc!3m4!1m2!1d-120.6452966!2d48.5250582!3s0x5484ac762e446d31:0xfcc28039a4c5e32a!1m40!1m1!1s0x54937b440995fb8b:0xf7dd72f1a11b8abf!2m2!1d-123.8312534!2d46.1878841!3m4!1m2!1d-124.4212043!2d42.4056788!3s0x54dace2fff01f271:0x7694555b6444554f!3m4!1m2!1d-123.8083566!2d39.3431262!3s0x80804ca54d20d2d1:0x45fe1649362a8ff7!3m4!1m2!1d-123.0523409!2d38.3449253!3s0x808427c3d679fa7f:0x4d6fb3bdcafb8e05!3m4!1m2!1d-122.7406106!2d37.9831067!3s0x8085c03cdfed1b01:0xb4825973d8cc828b!3m4!1m2!1d-122.3848596!2d37.1838141!3s0x808f003bf025c099:0xb49e021bad19283b!3m4!1m2!1d-121.9167098!2d36.9811507!3s0x808e15c189ae13ad:0x3a786c982c385f7e!3m4!1m2!1d-119.4410234!2d34.3562768!3s0x80e907c1e453bdaf:0xe72e3d63c0b7f443!1m5!1m1!1s0x80c2c75ddc27da13:0xe22fdf6f254608f4!2m2!1d-118.2436849!2d34.0522342!3e0?hl=en
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Wow…..thanks a lot everyone. I appreciate every bit of advice here. Starting to put together my list of needs and haves. I have a lot of athletic dry/cold gear for running, so I think I'm ahead of the game with the clothes. Definitely going to pick up that balaclava and good socks. I was finding that my feet were burning up last summer in the city heat and I blamed the socks. I have a Tourmaster 3 season jacket and touring pants, both with removable liners.

I like the route suggestions and have my map laid out on the floor already. I'm not much of a camper and don't want to worry about tent/bag, etc. Looking at motels and friends places along the way. Usually, I just wing it and pull into a motel with fingers crossed for a room when travelling, and will probably stick with that as I'm only using it for sleep anyway.

The Givi bags I need to find sooner than later. I had thought about a couple of ammo boxes and having a buddy rig them up to the bike, but maybe the lockable route is the way to go. Will post the pics when I decide.

Oh, and because tank bags are a nightmare to search through online, anyone have a recommendation for a small simple one that can hold a few small things, a bottle of gatorade and my cell phone? Would love to buy this online, but a touch worried I might buy one that doesn't actually fit the wee.

Thanks again everyone.
 

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Tank Bag: I have a few and am currently using this one - and really like it: https://www.revzilla.com/motorcycle/givi-3d603-tanklock-tankbag
I also have this one which I used to use until I got my Givi - I would sell it because it's just collecting dust now: .:: Welcome to motopakluggage.com - Premium sportbike and cruiser luggage bags ::.

Motels: When I do longer trips and stay in motels on the fly, I use a website like www.hotelcoupons.com for last minute deals. Basically around 3pm, I know where I will be in a few hours and needing a place to stay. I check the website to see the hotels in that town that have deals going and usually find a good place to crash for $60 or less. For winging it - I have found this website to be a great help.

Side Cases: You can ammo cans that lock, but just remember they are pretty heavy. Lockable plastic or aluminum cases are pretty light.

Socks: A few good pairs of light dress socks are usually really comfortable to ride in. Some will swear by Tilley socks. I wear Sokz for all my long distance travel and love them: Ceramic Sock - Performance Technical Socks

What are you going to do about seat comfort? I find the stock seat pretty horrible for long rides.
 

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I recommend proper armoured riding pants vs jeans/pants. jeans are great for in the evenings walking around but offer no protection. you can wear riding pants over a pair of shorts and you should stay reasonably cool.
the active gear you can usually hand wash and hang to be dry the next morning though you probably will want to have 2 sets just to alternate.
I had some gears soft bags before i got my givi cases and they were adequate.
hotels are not cheap in northern ontario, particularly near Kenora, when i went out west I brought along a tent with sleeping bag, thermarest and dry sac, grabbed a breakfast sandwich combo in the morning, sandwich at lunch and sit down meal for supper. many places have free wifi but for the most part i was too tired to do much at the end of the day besides set up the tent, prep my stuff for the next day and grab a hot shower.
it is recommended you stop riding before dusk, there's some big critters in the woods that like to come out in the dark
Gas is expensive up north, check out apps like gas buddy to see where the most expensive spots are (like marathon) to try to plan your gas stops accordingly.
Leaving Winnipeg you will want to follow highway 2 to Lethbridge to try to get closer to the Canada/us border, the roads are more interesting on this route as you'll be in the badlands instead of the flat plains of the Transcanada. this is also the same route the red coats took to bring law to the west (red coat trail) so there's a number of historical sites and museums along the way.
Towns in Saskatchewan are about 15km apart how ever some of them have dried up and not all of them have gas stations, some are ghosts of their former selves with just a couple houses left (like Forget), some are just a marker on the highway.
the scenery will be much nicer halfway across Saskatchewan where you get quite a bit more hills.
you might look at a camelbak style hydration system so you can sip while riding avoiding dehydration. also that way you don't have to worry about it leaking in your tank bag onto your phone.
for charging i had my phone plugged into the bike while riding, also had a hot plug for my blue tooth head set to charge when stopped. the bluetooth headset allowed me to listen to music and hear directions from the GPS with out having to have wires to the bike, though i did bring wired headphones as a back up (they don't take up any space).

once you get onto the plains it's meat and potatoes land but there are still plenty of vegetarian options and usually there is a subway, though many places do an all day breakfast where you can get an omelette or the like if you do eat eggs and cheese and you're in a pinch.

oh and bring chain lube so you can protect the chain. one of those faux muffler tool tubes work great for that and some tools.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
This is amazing…..your opinions and riding hints are greatly appreciated. I'm also feeling A LOT better about this ride and how to have fun doing it.

Looking into those Mosko Moto bags. I love the idea that you can easily attach other things to them with aux straps and they just lift off the bike to take into the motel. And they look really well made. Safety gear is in check, just adding a few reflective areas.

I drove the country a few summers ago in a Mini Cooper, but had no idea about that southern route. Definitely going to take that way during this trip!! And i've got friends/family every stop from Toronto——>Winnipeg. So my first hotel/motel stop will be 4-6 hours west from Winnipeg.

Looking at picking up the camel back and small LED's for extra light up front. Not looking to ride at night, but thinking that making myself a little more visible is never a bad thing. Grabbing a new chain and currently doing a full wiring check of frays, cuts, etc.

Thanks again,
Have a great week everyone!
 

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Not sure if you have decided routing or not but here is a suggestion for getting from Calgary to Phoenix.
Takes in Beartooth Pass, Chief Joseph hiway, Flaming Gorge, Hiway 12 in Utah, Bryce Canyon, possible Zion Park, Painted desert, etc.
absoposilutely.....Arches is a potential as well...Bryce and Zion are lovely. Here's a taste https://500px.com/macdoc/galleries
 

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This is amazing…..your opinions and riding hints are greatly appreciated. I'm also feeling A LOT better about this ride and how to have fun doing it.

Looking into those Mosko Moto bags. I love the idea that you can easily attach other things to them with aux straps and they just lift off the bike to take into the motel. And they look really well made. Safety gear is in check, just adding a few reflective areas.

I drove the country a few summers ago in a Mini Cooper, but had no idea about that southern route. Definitely going to take that way during this trip!! And i've got friends/family every stop from Toronto——>Winnipeg. So my first hotel/motel stop will be 4-6 hours west from Winnipeg.

Looking at picking up the camel back and small LED's for extra light up front. Not looking to ride at night, but thinking that making myself a little more visible is never a bad thing. Grabbing a new chain and currently doing a full wiring check of frays, cuts, etc.

Thanks again,
Have a great week everyone!
It's oil country so hotels can be pricy, but but the bottom has fallen out of the oil barrel so that may help. I'd recommend staying in the skyline in carlyle. it's the biggest town before you hit the city of weyburn, after weyburn there isn't much but badlands.

with night riding in ontario the issue is moose and deer, out west you will also see deer. they are grain fed out there if you know what i mean.

If you were going over the mountains i'd recommend the crows nest highway, which goes west from lethbridge.
 

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Here's the set up I had on my vfr



E38 givi side cases, cooler on the top rack with snacks/sandwiches/Gatorade, strapped to the seat was my warmer jacket, sleeping bag, tent, thermarest and a fold up camp stool. Icon tankbag, on the handlebars I had mounts for phone, gps & camera with USB for gps/phone/bt headset.

If your riding during the heatwave that happens every year you will want all exposed skin covered. I recommend good compression gear, my personal favourite is VNMgear. It's pricy but it works.

Oh I know you said you are planning on hoteling it but you might want to bring along a tarp just in case you end up being stuck because of some event.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Just sending another thank you to everyone who has given me great advice. Heading out to pick up a few fold open, old school, maps to start plotting my route. When I finally get the idea down, I'll upload a picture and itinerary. Would love meeting up with anyone along the way for coffee or drink.

Anyone heading to the motorcycle show at the Ex next weekend?
 

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Discussion Starter #19
First of all a huge thank you to the many people who sent me ideas, recommendations, and hints when I asked. Your advice truly kept me going during the trip. And if anyone wants to know any of the details of my particular adventure, throw me a PM with your questions.

So, in the end the 2007 650 did a cool 12663km or just under 7700 miles in roughly 4 and half weeks. We started in the Toronto area and drove through the following states….NY, OH, WV, VA, TN, AR, OK, TX, NM, AZ, UT, CO, WY, SD, ND…..and then I shot up through Manitoba before finishing across the top of the great lakes and down through "cottage country" in Ontario back home to Toronto.

Briefly, I learned:
The south is too hot to ride through in the summer. Jesus Arizona, 47/125 is a touch too warm….

The north gets cold overnight. Northern Ontario went from 26/78 to 6/42 overnight. Thank god Canadian Tire had its hunting clothes out on display already!

People are generally amazing when you are in a bind. If you ever have key trouble in Moab, Utah, just call Gary. 11:45pm on a Friday night and this guy is in his garage workshop grinding out 2 new keys to my side cases and then says, "ya owe me nothing, no worries". First, I insisted to pay him….second, I need more people like him in my life.

Camping isn't as fun as I thought it would be. People aren't all that friendly in campgrounds and there is no relief from the heat.

A 650cc, fully loaded is almost not enough to hit the speed limit in Colorado. I got to 80mph, briefly.

I can't wait for my next trip.

Again, thanks everyone. Safe travels.
 

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"People aren't all that friendly in campgrounds and there is no relief from the heat. "

Some folks may not be friendly but I've met a gob who were. European bicyclists, camp hosts, fellow car and motorcyclists.
Not all campgrounds are created equal. Some KOA's are a POS and others are great. i found the Good Sam places less costly and cleaner.
Nothing much to do about the weather except motel. But then you might miss an incredible Milky Way night sky.
I never worry about the speed limit. I travel at my comfortable pace. I haven't been run over yet or threatened either.
Didja have any culinary treats in out of the way places? There is a little place on the way to Kayenta AZ that has a motel and cafe. I've found it tasty and full of French tourists, some of the women were pretty tasty looking too!
 
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