Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Trabuco Canyon, CA, USA
Trip of a lifetime
The most important thing is to NOT WORRY about things going wrong. As soon as you are worrying about it, it happens.
I was trying to make this short, but then it turned into the following:
Packing a tire patch kit and know how to use it.
Cash is a precious resource, treat it as such.
Pay for as much as you can with plastic, carrying a pile of change is a pain in the behind.
Take an envelope for important receipts.
Carry a back up credit card as well.
One of my rules is that everything that I bring must fit INSIDE the side cases and top case on the bike. Security and overpacking aren't issues this way.
The Mrs thought I was crazy when prior to her first cross country trip (2 weeks) that I told her to pack the following:
3 days of clothes (shirt, underwear, socks, pants)
1 quick drying camp towel
1 set of cold weather gear
1 rainsuit (practice putting it on before you go)
Pack your bike the week before you leave and ride it packed so you get used to the different handling.
The next rule is "If you can't afford to lose it, don't bring it with you." (Definition of lose includes destruction, theft, excessive damage, or just plain leaving it somewhere.) Example: If you can't afford to lose your laptop computer, don't bring it.
Coordinate with your friend about what you both are bringing.
Example: If you both have the same bike, you only need 1 tool kit between you. If you both need to check in online, bring 1 computer.
I'm going to assume that you're traveling 1 up. The 1 thing that isn't packed in one of my cases is a soft side cooler strapped to my passenger seat to keep water, gatorade, and a few snacks in.
Have a general plan about where we want to try to be every couple of days. If something happens or you want to spend an extra day somewhere, your whole plan isn't destroyed, it just puts you on the interstate for a day rather than 2 lane blacktop.
Decide up front if we are going to camp or hotel it so you have an idea of how to pack.
Plan on doing laundry every 2-3 days, it makes a nice break for a couple of hours. Just buy the supplies at the laundrymat, don't waste the gas moving it across the nation.
Look up gas station locations that are west of the Mississipi River, as there isn't always a town another 5 miles up the road.
If you find you have extra stuff that you haven't used, ship it home. If you're the type that buys other people momentos of your trip, ship them home as well.
If you need something on the road, buy it.
One really handy item that we started taking with us last year is a small spray bottle filled with isopropanol (rubbing alcohol, 91%). After a long hot day in the saddle, spray the inside of your helmet, your jacket, and boots. It helps dry and deodorize your stuff. If you are camping, spray the inside of your sleeping bag with it and your camp towel for the same purpose. Its also handy for cleaning electrical contacts for your electronics (helmet speaker connections), general degreaser, and hand sanitizer.
If you are going to stay in hotels, if the night manager asks if you want to see the room first, SEE THE ROOM FIRST. We didn't and that's how I'll leave it.
RELAX AND ENJOY YOUR TRIP!!
Just my 2 cents worth,
2004 GSA Silver
2007 X Challenge