Kelsow, how's the new bike?
Hi to Brian and our other NSDSC friends!
Neck braces are no problems at all.
A word about safety. Someone asked off-line about other concerns besides deer and school buses. In short, we felt safe at all times, certainly relative to our life in NYC where, as you know, untold horrors lurk around every corner.
Truth be told, the route is so remote, that potential interactions with other humans is few and far between. When you cross paths with them, locals are curious and friendly... no one picked on us, or cheated us, even though we're Yankees. (Not Yankees fans, just for the record).
There was only one point where we felt we were riding through an area of high unemployment at the periphery of a small town, and people were staring at us from their front yards as we rode past. It was a little uncomfortable, but that was probably more in our heads than in reality.
The photos in the RR of scenery and riding terrain are representative, maybe 1% of what we saw and rode; In contrast, I think we took photos of 100% of our human counterparts in social interaction. Maybe we missed the crowds of NYC a little?
In reality, therein lies the danger. If something happens to you on one of those remote stretches; A broken leg, an engine grenade, a concussion, a heart attack, a tornado, hypothermia, bad allergic reaction, a snow storm, etc.. You could very easily get into big trouble real fast.
So the name of the game is preparation. Riding solo definitely ups the ante, but even in a group; the group spreads out, you stop to take a picture, you miss a turn, and now you're solo.
You can read some about our preparation from our previous prep thread
, but almost all we've incorporated I have seen here on ADV in various places.
Motorbikes: Know your bike, prep it well pre-ride, be able to diagnose and troubleshoot it, carry a tow strap, appropriate tools and spare parts, know how to field-service typical issues: flat tire, flooded carb, drowned bike, blown fuses, dead battery, filthy air filter, etc.
Survival: Be able to bivouac in place for minimum 48 hours. Food - stow energy bars, carry nuts and snacks at all times, freeze-dried meals if you can boil water. Water - top-off your hydration pack each gas stop, carry purification tabs, or even better a filter (Katadyn hiker pro
is what we have). Shelter - know the weather in the area and what the extremes can deliver. Minimum; a space blanket and a dry change of clothes.
Safety: First-aid training and supplies... knowing how to use a tourniquet is probably the single most useful skill to have given what we're doing. Critters - both 2 and 4 legged will be repelled with a big can of bear spray. We carry it, in reality it lives at the bottom of our pack, but I'd get it handy if we had had to fix a flat after dark in the area which that guy warned us about the Meth-heads. Or for that matter, when we are in bear country.
Communication: Cell-phone coverage is almost non-existent with T-Mobile. Even NOAA and AM radio reception is lacking in places. Next section we do we'll be carrying a SPOT unit. This trip, LDF would call in to her folks whenever we had a cell signal and update our location. At least it would narrow down the search.
So with all that, yeah, we felt safe. Without it, I'd have been a lot less comfortable. Hope that's helpful.