Great ride report. I have a yellow 800GS I bought in December. I put the same windshield you have on it. I have been waiting to decide on hard luggage....how do you like the BMW bags? I bought the top case but am holding out on the panniers.
I also put a bigger skid plate, brake resevoir protectors front and back, brush guards on the hand grips, and replaced the stock tires with Metzler Karoos. I ride in new mexico and do highways to get to the gravel roads and trails.
I love that bike. Exactly what works for me.
Look forward to following your ride.
If I was a dog my tail would be waggin'