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Old 04-21-2009, 01:16 PM   #1
toddlamp OP
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My first cross country trip; from beginning to end

I'm finally going to get to go on a cross country trip

A friend and myself have set the date for Sept. 2010. While the actual trip is well over a year away, we have decided that we're going to try to document the hell out of it. And that means from the very begining to the very end. Between now and the trip we'll be taking some practice trips to figure out what we're made of. Since our actual trip will ideally consist of 75% camping, that will be our focus on many of the trips. As the departure date nears, we will also be attempting some Iron Butt style rides to build endurance and prepare for any days we need to make up time.

I've read up on many of the ride reports here (especially my favorite: http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=366117) and can't wait to share my experiances with this crowd. We are also looking to do this as close to real time as possible. We plan on posting updates at least nightly (or at least when we have cellphone coverage; WWAN FTW!). I will also be useing my SPOT to allow for a follow along.

I definitely don't want this to be a one side thread since while we consider ourself experienced riders, we are not experienced campers, and my guess is that nothing can fully prepare you for a trip of this magnitude. All input is encouraged. While we want to be prepared and appreciate constructive critisism we are looking at this trip as an adventure and really aren't interested in knowing EVERYTHING. One thing am interested in is what type of weather to expect. So if you have any information regarding your area during that time of the year, please let us know what to expect (see map below for general route). We will do our best to let the roads guide us where they want. And speaking of roads, we have made an agreement to NOT use Interstates unless we need to make up time. This will be a backroads, see the country type of ride. We will only have a lightly arranged route with several key points that were on an agreed "must-see list" (POIs that we each want to see. We are hoping to plan out major stops with a 3-4 day span between them for us to roam, hence the 75% camping thought. The trip is planned to take place the last two weeks in Sept. and finish in mid Oct and will start/end, for me at least, in Washington DC. The other guy, Jeff, will be starting from Philly PA.

We have started a blog at http://mototour2010.com/weblog/ (like the domain name?) and this thread and that blog will be the primary areas for updates. Honestly they will probably be the same damn thing; copy/paste.

We have done two day rides to get familiar with each other's riding style and I can tell that we ride the same way. Our first practice camping trip is this weekend. It's also my first ever motorcycle camping trip, so we'll see what happens.

More to come as it happens.... or I think about it.


toddlamp screwed with this post 04-21-2009 at 01:22 PM
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Old 04-21-2009, 01:18 PM   #2
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Today's blog entry from mototour2010.com/weblog

So I spent the better part of 8 hours Sunday and about 4 hours last night running what felt like a couple hundred feet of wiring onto my bike. I was on a mission to add a second fuse box that will be dedicated to my accessories.

Before now, I had an individual lead from the battery to each accessories relay. It was a mess and looked even worse. At that point I only had three pieces of Farkle (Definition- Farkle: Motorcycle accessories intended to increase the function of a motorcycle. These are the opposite of those intended to glamorize (Antonym- see Bling.). F.ancy A.ccessory R.eally K.ool & L.ikely E.xpensive.). Those three were:

1. Heated grips
2. Fog lights
3. Wiring for Hella 500 driving lights (yup! Big ass lights)

Since I was adding a hardwire for my AutoCom unit and Garmin GPS, it was going to be an utter mess; not that I could even attach anything more to the + battery post. If that werenít enough, I plan to add a heated seat at a later date. My next issue is going to be all the relays I am using; there are a bunch!

My solution was to utilize a second fuse box. I ended up getting the perfect one off of eBay. It started its life in a 1985 Honda Sabre VF700 and was perfect. It has 7 slots, 5 of which share the same power feed. This was great because it immediately cut down on the number of wires I needed to deal with. It was also slender and fit perfectly in my under seat storage.
Some slight modification, bolts/nuts, and solder and itís installed. Since I am a HUGE advocate of an ďOEM lookĒ I like to frequent the local junkyard for bits a piece to use on my projects. I stopped over Sunday and cut off some OEM spec wire harnesses. I donít know exactly which make/model I pulled it out of but it is pretty beefy and uses a rubber seal to keep the water out. In addition to that, a nice cosmetic touch I add was wire loom. If you donít know, wire loom is flexible plastic tubing used to organize wires. They sell it at home theater places and office product stores for $$$$. What I realized is that every car in the entire junkyard is littered with it. Sure itís dirty but you can usually get it from there pretty cheap. So I snagged a bunch and use it where I want to tidy up projects. It also helps protect the new wires from the elements.

Iím pretty happy with the way it turned out. I tested each piece and they all power on. My only concern right now is whether the wiring gauge I used is sufficient. And it is because of that concern that I will likely redo some of the wiring with a thicker gauge. It is really just the leads for my Hella 500s that is a concern. At 55 watts each they are pulling ~9.2amps on the 12volt system. Iíll have to check to see which gauge I need in order to carry that amperage. The guides that Iíve seen (http://www.rbeelectronics.com/wtable.htm) state that I can use 18 gauge wire for 10 amps. If thatís the case then Iím all good. I guess Iíll know if I have an electrical fire (Iíll do my best to get pics if thatís the case).
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Old 04-29-2009, 01:13 PM   #3
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Practice trip #1 April 24th-26

So this past weekend was our first multi day practice trip. We went up to Clearfield for the STN.com meet.

For me, it was the second time that I had ever set up my tent. And even in the dark, my Kelty Grand Mesa 2/3 person tent proved very easy to set up. I almost didn't get a free standing tent, but now I couldn't be happier. My co-rider wasn't having as much luck with his (ridiculously small) tent. The first night was spent at a campsite in Harrisburg. The following day we would head north.

We started at the same time:


His bike, for this weekend, was a 1999 Honda VFR. He is still trying to decide if he should take that or is 200X Suzuki Bandit.


And this is my 1994 BMW K75. And unless I strike it rich between now and the trip, it's what I will be riding:


........still putting up his tent.......


Eventually he got it up. He swears that it is a 2-person tent, and while even those tend to be small, he likes to say that this one should have been labled as a 2-child tent. It was one of the smallest tents I have ever seen (not that I have seen many). Jeff said that he has to sleep in a semi fetal position to fit and he's maybe 5'6". This is a bad angle to get accurate size dimension, but his longest side was about as long as my shortest!

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Old 04-29-2009, 01:30 PM   #4
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Around noon we were traveling down Newburg Rd (Rt 641) and we saw this on the side of the road:



I have always been a fan of the classics and owned a few myself. I signalled to Jeff, and we turned around to take a peak. Turned out that the 6 bikes on the road side were only the beginning.

Not more an 1 minute after we stopped, we were approached by an interesting fellow; George.



The building in front of us was being renovated to become a one stop shop for motorcycle sales/restoration. It's an old poultry building so it's very long; ~100 yards i'd guess. This is what was taking up half of it:



After wetting myself George mentioned that there were close to another 300 bikes waiting to be transported to the shop. I believe the shop is called Parts Heaven.
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Old 04-29-2009, 01:40 PM   #5
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We continued on and eventually met up with a fellow STN.com member, Derrick. We asked him to meet with us since he had quite a bit more motorcycle camping experience. After having a nice lunch (sorry no pic) we went on our way.

It was starting to get warm out and it was time to stop for a drink. This was an interesting picture.



It totally looks like i'm giving Jeff a noogie. I was actually trying to turn the faucet on and spray him with water. In retrospec I should have given him that noogie. Oh, there it is... my bald spot.

We rode some more, met up with the sport touring guys in Clearfield, had some pizza at Mabel's Pizza Shop (fantastic homestyle pizza by the way) and made our way back to camp with a couple 6-packs of Yuengling.



....my attemp to be creative. I told them to stay still but obviously they are not very good at taking orders. Once I got started messing with my cameras settings I couldn't stop. Derrick even decided to pose for a couple of them



By this time it was Saturday night and I hadn't had a shower in 48hrs. It's been YEARS since i've gone 2 days without a shower. I was feeling pretty gross. And while there were showers at both campsites, I was forcing myself not to shower to get a feel for what I can expect on our main trip which will likely be 75% camping. To my surprise I didn't smell that bad. Or at least no one pointed it out to me and I was just getting used to my own funk. Oh, and my tent in the background is being lit up by a $6 Walmart disc light with ~20 white LEDs. It's F'ing awesome! It fills the tent with nice even light. The only thing is that the switch is in an awful postition when packing it up.
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Old 04-29-2009, 01:41 PM   #6
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Subscribed!

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Old 04-29-2009, 01:49 PM   #7
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Sunday morning consisted of getting some breakfast and heading to Denny's (no not that Denny's, although I really wanted a Grand Slam) Pub for the main meet. Here's what it looked like from the top of a hill (aka small mountain) I had to climb



We only stuck around for about 30 mins but that was long enough for Derrick to buy, eat, and regret a Slim Jim.
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Old 04-29-2009, 02:08 PM   #8
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And here are the SPOT logs. For some reason they are labled opposite of the actual direction traveled.

Friday:


Saturday:


Sunday:
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Old 05-02-2009, 07:13 PM   #9
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Bike Prep

Here is my valiant steed and it's current accessories; 1994 BMW K75:







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Old 05-02-2009, 08:25 PM   #10
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keep going!!

Dont stop now.
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Old 05-02-2009, 08:31 PM   #11
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Old 05-02-2009, 09:18 PM   #12
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looking good so far cant wait till the trip gets a movin
cheers
josh
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Old 05-03-2009, 03:01 PM   #13
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Thanks guys. I wasn't sure how everyone would feel about me posting up a thread for a trip that is still 16 months away, but I wanted to document it all from the first practice trip to the end. It's a learning experience for me.

Anywho.... Based the hope/assumption that we will be doing 75% camping, and at least some in unapproved areas (ie back roads/fields), I figure there will will be at least one or two occasions where fresh water will not be readily available. So I was trying to think up ideas for how to carry additional water and fuel. I came across the PegPacker. Unfortunately the guys over at BestRestProducts.com couldn't tell me if it would fit my K75. And with the threat of a restocking fee if it didn't, I headed to the garage to see what I could do on my own. ~$15 in materials and 4 hours later I had come up with this:




Quality is definitely DIY and my welding capability is non-existent but a couple of test rides prove that it'll hold. I'm in the process of making one for the other side that will be for the gasoline. I'm using Scepter 1 1/4gal jugs and I'm hoping that will be plenty. If Jeff has some room between his front pegs and saddle bags i'll slap together a pair for him as well and we should be good to go! Speaking of pegs, I was worried that adding these would not give me any free space to move around, but thankfully that's not the case.
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Old 06-15-2009, 01:15 PM   #14
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I've got another weekend trip coming up. I leave this Friday after work and will head out to Front Royal, VA. I think we're going to get a hotel room since Jeff is coming from Philly and probably won't get in til ~9pm. Since it will be late, and there is a chance for rain, he opted to use some Club points and get a room.

Saturday morning we'll be headed south to Natural Bridge, VA to meet up with a group of Sport Tourers. I think we're going to camp out Saturday night. I'm going to do what I can to document the trip. It'll be the first time that I try to focus on pictures and video.

I finally decided on, and purchased, a Givi 45L trunk for my Beemer. That thing is frickin' huge. I'm already thinking of ways to modify it. The first one being to add an interior light. I first have to install the rack.

I'll post up with pics once it's mounted.
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Old 08-10-2010, 12:47 PM   #15
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Wow, I can't believe that I started this thread over a year ago; talk about premature. In retrospec I should have waited til about now to do it. I guess I thought we were going to take more than 2 or 3 practice rides to get ourselves ready. However since this became a reality I have been working 7days a week a t 2 jobs to save the money needed to take the journey.

We're now 5 weeks from departure and the anxiety, excitement, and genuine fear is kicking it. I have made the needed arrangements (hotel/campsite reservations) as well as covered my shifts at both jobs for the 4 weeks we'll be on the road. It's on.

I'm going to try to post and upload photos everyday that I have Internet access but I know that that might be a bit unrealistic.

Here are the most recent pictures of my bike during the prep work:





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