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Old 02-13-2013, 06:21 PM   #82
Flying W Master
Joined: Jan 2013
Location: Taxachusetts
Oddometer: 10
Been lurking for a couple weeks. Time to post.

If you must be there by a certain date I would suggest taking a plane.

Having said that, seem set on doing this trip and I applaud you for it.
You've received a lot of great tips so far. I wish that I'd had them when I went from San Diego to Boston solo on a 500 Interceptor in 3 and 1/2 days back in August '87.

Your time table is doable under ideal conditions. But that rarely happens.
Here's some of what I encountered.
- Torrential rain across all of Arizona (of all places!) could barely maintain 45.
- 6 hours lost to diagnosing and fixing a fuel delivery problem in the middle of nowhere NM (Alamarosa I think it was called)
- Nearly hit a small critter at 1AM in TX Panhandle while STUPIDLY trying to make up for lost time by doing triple digit speed ("Was that one of those Armadillos? Man, if I hit one of those at this speed I'm toast! A skivvy staining tank slapper at the very best.").
- Had to make an unscheduled stop to clean the mosquitoes off my face shield in Arkansas. Took a soaked rag from the gas station and had to wipe them off again every couple miles for some time. Made sure to re-soak the rag at each stop and kept it at the top of my tank bag.
- Hallucinated an Armadillo on 65 in Kentucky. I actually swerved then looked back to see... nothing. (There are no Armadillos in Kentucky! Or the TX panhandle I found out later.) The mind can play some convincing tricks.
- Nearly hit and was air blasted across my lane and back by a semi going the opposite direction in the thick foggy hills of Maryland. Scary. (Still not sure how I "saved it". Dumb luck I guess.)
- The rhythmic "ta Tunk" of expansion joints on 84 in CT actually lulled me to sleep while riding. (I didn't think it was possible to fall asleep while riding a bike. It most definitely IS!) If it weren't for the beeping horn of the car next to me who's lane I was drifting into....I probably wouldn't be writing this.

At 25 years of age I was in supreme physical shape. And thought I was invincible. I made this "mad dash" because I was leaving for a war zone in two weeks and although the nice lady at the MAC office (only flight I could afford) could guarantee a return flight, the next flight home wasn't for 5 days. "Shoot, I could ride home in less than that. Think I will." Booked my return flight, put a change of clothes, my toothbrush, paste and a bar of soap, in my tank bag, bungeed the wool blanket from my rack to the back of the saddle, got some money from the bank, changed my oil, bought a new can of chain lube and a map and away I sped. The one thought that kept me going was, "I want to spend as much time with my family and friends as possible." The chances of me never seeing them again were going to rapidly increase in a couple of weeks. I didn't want to waste my leave time on the road. I wasn't trying to prove anything to myself or anyone else. Just the singular thought of getting home ASAP. I know now that this was a dangerous mindset.

This was NOT a fun trip. I made some really bad decisions (riding too fast and pushing my myself physically and mentally chief among them), and had some very close calls. 3 to 5 hours of sleep per day is not enough when you're performing a task like riding a bike. Mental fatigue sneaks up on you with little warning and can be deadly.
For this reason I urge you, nay beseech you to add at least an extra day to your trip.

I was going as fast I could get away with (young and dumb don't ya know) usually 10 to 20 over posted speed, sometimes more. And just barely made about the time and distance per day that you're hoping for. (Someone already posted that lesser speed would have required fewer fuel stops and the same results. He or she is right!)

Upon arriving home I slept for 16 hours straight. So, in reality, waiting for the MAC flight would have only cost me about six hours with my family and friends. Hindsight being 20/20, that would have been the wiser choice.

Sorry if I come across as "preachy". I'm only hoping you can learn from my mistakes. And I'm happy to see that you, unlike myself, are making proper preps.

Oh, not sure if any one mentioned these, but spare bulbs don't take up much space. Nor do spare levers (even an innocent "drop" at the fuel stop can snap one). And a sheepskin cover on my saddle literally save my butt (Warm in winter and cool in summer.)

Best of luck on your trip. And please keep us posted.

PS Didn't intend for my first post to be so long.
PPS This site rocks!
"Oh, what sad times are these when passing ruffians can say Ni at will to old ladies. There is a pestilence upon this land, nothing is sacred."
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