... SOOO, what advice can you gurus give me, more specifically...
1) What tools do I NEED to have with me that I may not think of taking?
There is one important tool that Mrs. Suzuki left out of our tool kits.
To remove the front wheel, you need an Allen key 12 mm in diameter. If you do not have one with you, you can cobble one up by extracting two 12 mm nuts and a bolt they fit, then turning the nuts together, but that is a poor substitute for the proper tool.
Sequel: I was 500 miles from home, with 42000 miles on the odometer, and my clutch cable was, I thought, on its very last legs. I minimized use of the clutch and carefully shifted without the clutch, probably squeezing the lever no more than 30 times on the ride home.
I did not take the risk of breaking the cable while investigating or trying to adjust it.
I ordered a new clutch cable, then investigated. Yes, some strands were broken, so the new cable was needed, but in fact the cable was way out of adjustment. Perhaps the adjuster and its keeper became loose when I parked with the left side a tad too close to the pavement.
I would have had a less stressful ride home if I had investigated and adjusted. Foo.