My Dad and I went down a similar path, looking at the cost (in time and money) to truck/fly the bikes out, ride, and get them back. Way too much hassle. Plus it's cheating too!
In the end it was much more fun to have ridden them out, especially when Harley guys ask in absolute horror if we really rode those things across the country. I actually enjoyed riding the DR650 on long stretches of tarmac. Only issue is some extra engine vibs when I'm cruising at 70+ mph, but on the backroads and in the twisties it is a lot of fun and handles the curves with ease. This trip has made it my new favorite bike, due to its afford-ability and versatility.
Tires was initially a big battle, but we settled on D606's for a few big points - cheap, long lasting, and the knobs would give us an advantage in the rougher sections. I did consult this as a resource:
Originally Posted by basketcase
Your photography is outstanding! What type of camera were you using?
I was going to wait a bit to go into detail of my camera choice, but now is a good time to cover that subject.
Camera is a Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS1.
It is the "older" version, with the TS2 being newer but the only big difference is the TS2 can handle 10m of submersion, while mine can handle only 3m. Yes, it is water proof, shock proof, and dust proof. After dragging my big Canon 40D on various motorcycling, backpacking, and rock climbing trips, the shutter broke and I said enough with hauling that chunk of glass and magnesium around. So I did a bunch of heavy research on weatherproof point and shoot cameras, bought a few, tested some out, and decided the Panasonic was the best ADV camera on the market. Below is a good reference. I also did buy the new Pentax W90 and wanted to love it, but the photo quality was terrible so I returned it (thank you Amazon.com). I should also add that the TS1/TS2 has a 28mm lens, which is one of the widest lenses you can get in an APS. There are 2 Canon's that have 24mm but they are not waterproof.
I love my TS1. It has great photo quality, good low light results, and can do 30-60 second exposures under a mode called “stary night”. I really wanted to bring the DSLR to capture some amazing shots but I just didn't want to worry about shock to the camera from the rough roads as well as afternoon thunderstorms....and even if I did, how the hell would I pack it such that I could grab the camera and take a shot in 5 seconds?
I keep my TS1 in my Aerostich pocket with a lanyard around my neck. This allows me to grab the camera, while riding, and take a shot in less than 5 seconds. And if it rains, I keep snapping shots (water drops will collect on the lens though and make the picture look funny). Speed of accessibility is the most important part of picture taking, and this setup resulted in well over 1000 photos in 3 weeks of riding.
I also did take a few photos with my HTC Incredible, but that was so I could send updates from the road.