We must be around the same age, one of my first bikes was an X6 Hustler,
which at the time was the fastest production motorcycle on the market,
I also rode Harley for 30+ years, got my first Beemer in 1988,
sold my last Harley about five years ago.
One of the things we hear a lot from newcomers is:
this bike doesn't handle like the bikes I'm used to riding,
it's not me so there must be something wrong with the bike,
Sorry but that's not correct, it is you, you're not used to it yet,
rather than find fault with the LT, ride it,
by the time you have worn out your first tire
chances are you will prefer the LT to any bike you've owned,
Sure she's a "big girl" but let me tell you this big girl can dance.
Now granted she is "too big" for some guys,
she's "top heavy" but then so is my wife
(I'm a lucky guy!)
I've never dropped her in almost a hundred K
and I have no problems with U-turns, hairpin turns or low speed handling, it just takes a little "finesse"
If I can do it, so can you,
accept her for what she is and you'll learn to love her
No she's not a Harley, Harley is a tractor,
anybody can ride them.
Regarding your trip sounds like a great adventure, take pictures,
share them with us and if you're into it post a ride tale, here's one of mine,
in other words, take us with you.
May is a good time to travel, off season, milder temperatures
it's also the "windy" time in the western states.
But you left out Utah,
there are so many cool roads and National parks in that state
you "owe it to yourself" to check it out