What Worked and What Didn’t on my Motorcycle Vacation


tripSo the trip is over, the bike is waiting on new tires to get back on the road and I am finally unpacked. Here are my final thoughts on what worked and what I would do differently on my next trip.

Here is a map of where we went. Part at South Dakota didn’t track for some reason. We went straight across SD then down.

tripIt was around 6,500 miles and the Trailwing tires I put on right before the trip were totally bald and done for when we got home. The bikes had no trouble that mattered other than minor things that needed adjusting. My DR650 held up really well. I had to adjust the valves halfway through due to the entire trip west was into a 25-30mph headwind and the bike was at wide open for entire tanks of gas at a time and worked hard for 2,000 miles.

The packing worked out good. I didn’t take my winter gloves and other parts for cold weather riding. The weather was really cold through all of California and across until we made it to South Dakota. Even SD was a bit cool. If I would have had the winter gloves and a few other things it would have made going through Nevada much nicer. Other than that the under armor and other clothes worked out good. I washed my under armor each night while taking a shower and let it dry overnight then packed it away in the morning and got out my other set. My gear stayed clean mostly due to the rain.

The camping didn’t work out as good as planned. Most of the time we ended up getting somewhere near dark and all the campgrounds we checked were around the same price as a hotel room. There isn’t much point in paying $40 for a campground with no electricity when a hotel is typically $55 and include a breakfast buffet. The weather also played a big part in our decision to stay in a hotel most of the time. It rained a lot and was really cold. We didn’t bring our winter camping gear so it was pretty cold when we did camp.

2009-06-13 13.54.18 - (100_0775)The extra gallon of gas I carried came in handy a few times and was good to dump in sometimes when we just wanted to go a bit farther before stopping somewhere. It used two straps to hold the in that position. One strap went to the stock grab bar and the other went around the frame beside the carb. It held the can on nice and tight and was easy to remove when I needed to use it. When I was riding the bike the can was tucked up and to the side so I never hit it or felt it while riding. It was the perfect spot and if I went on another long trip I would probably make a bracket to hold it there a bit better. I could use the stock passenger peg bolt holes to mount a small platform to strap the can down to.

The pack on top of the top case was just strapped around the bottom of the case. If I would have had some loops on the top of the case it would have made getting into the case much easier. Instead of having to unhook the three straps then open the case I could have just opened the case and let the pack stay attached to the lid. It would have made things much more convenient. I took the windshield off for this trip. I didn’t want to deal with the turbulence on my helmet and the loud booming noise. The wind pressure really doesn’t bother me so that was no an issue. I mostly wanted it for keeping bugs off my gear but I never could get it smooth enough to not drive me nuts after a few hours of riding. The seat worked out great and made riding for 12 hours in a day no problem. The ability to adjust the air pressure while riding was really nice.

Overall the planning for this trip worked out good and except for a few minor things the whole trip went off without a problem. For the next trip I am taking my winter gear no matter where we are going. The weather is just to strange anymore to be able to predict what it is going to be like and it really isn’t that much more to pack. I still don’t see much need to pack any tools beyond the toolkit that came with the bike. Maybe add a 13mm to it since that is the only thing it doesn’t have.