While the details are no longer fresh, I will do my best to document the my travels from Wisconsin to Key West and Back with as little embellishment as possible. Feel free to ask questions, I will answer the, and that will allow the next inmates trip to be as enjoyable as mine was, because this forum provided the spark and the instruction for this trip. This was my first trip but definitely not my last. I am already “planning” a 3 week trip this July to the west coast or Alaska. I use the term planning very loosely, it can be described best as picking a general direction and going. I made no reservations or plans except the destination of Key West, and that was even a last second decision. I made this trip solo, and essentially used my smartphone to find campsites, take photos, record gps tracks, find entertainment, and keep in contact with the world.
I've never actually taken a trip like this on a motorcycle, but I have spent my fair share of traveling out in unintended places with little gear in remote Alaskan bush towns. Typically in my experience I usually ended up in good accommodations just an unknown destination. It was the nature of the aerial survey business (ie what you see on google earth simply put)... you fly to clear skies. I've done a few backpack archery hunts which is a good model for packing a ADV ride. So for this trip, while much less remote, my accommodations would be a tent and sleeping bag. I followed most of the inmate advice on these forums with regard to packing. I tried to pack as little as possible and I still over packed I felt. Specifically on clothing. That aerostich suit can make up for a ton of different weather conditions. The wolfman bags and the pelican case would have nearly been enough storage had I packed really tight, but I had a sealline backpack drybag that I used for my clothing. That was the best backrest a guy could ask for bungied in front of the pelican case. A few tools, cooking equipment, tent, sleeping bag, and some other odds and ends rounded out my packing.
Prior to departing I read a lot of threads on ADVrider that would not only inspire, but prepare me for this journey. I outfitted my bike with a few “farkles”. Although not necessary they made a much more enjoyable experience for me. The madstadt windshield is a beautiful solution, it is very stable and I echo the sentiment of nearly everyone that has purchased one! I really think this is the difference maker for my typically hurting neck on other bikes. I also loved having a bluetooth connection through a comfortable helmet in the Schuberth S3, music makes my life go round. The famous DOO was done on the KLR. I through some new Kendas and a valve adjustment on the bike. I sourced a pelican case and some wolfman bags through the gear forum here. I packed my Elk hunting mountain gear (tent, sleeping bag, stever stove, and a few tools) All in all I was prepared. I even had some extra time to rig up the mallard decoy to my headlight housing, and I swore if I forgot anything I would blame it on the time I spent mounting the mallard to my bike!
Day One was to be simple.
I was departing straight from work to head down to Chicagoland by a good friends house! Turns out the weather was rainy and windy as hell. It was a 6 hour trip that had tested my nerve right from the get go! My good friend and I enjoyed some whiskey and conversation. We survived a metal concert at a local bar and met “the president” of a South American country. He had the handshake that never ended, and his slur was that of a foreign language. I never can get in and out of Chicagoland area fast enough... so it was a quick whiskey and breakfast layover!
16 days of freedom from work!
The Whiskey was on my good friend Karls...
...and Breakfast from my good friend Kristin!
First big day, It starts :)