The Long Distance Touring - BMW Luxury Touring Community
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post #1 of 27 Old Apr 25th, 2019, 3:51 pm Thread Starter
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The Long Distance Touring

I just about had enough of the glamorization my Adventure Rider newsletter gives to: riding around the world, and being a nomad rider. Maybe Adventure-riding is more glamorous than riding an RT.

Everyone I tell that "I spend most of the Summers on the road" immediately say something like: "how cool". Everyone thinks riding a bike cross country is a glamorous thing to do.

I personally don't think so. And, I been doing it for years.

Riding a bike cross country I experience a myriad of mental and emotional spaces: sometimes I get lonely, sometimes I am content, others depressed; I am often scared sheetless of radical weather patterns crossing Tornado alley getting from West to East of the US. Or giant weather storms crossing the desert which can seem to form in an instant. Other times I am just simply exhausted, tired and bored. I usually stop and stay in some town at these times to clear the cow-webs and re-energize.

I visit folks I know and these times are great. So are the times when I meet great people along the way. If I end up helping someone on the road it feels like a blessing from God.

Why do I keep doing it? I don't really know that answer to that. Its like a spiritual force that draws me back to the road.

I can tell you I learn a lot on the road...not just about people and places, but about myself. The solitude probably prompts one of the most contemplative and insightful times I ever have.

I know this may sound corny, but I venture to say riding makes me a better person.

I wouldn't trade neither, the hardships nor the highs I experience on the road for nothing...particularly work. I can do without work.
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post #2 of 27 Old Apr 25th, 2019, 4:16 pm
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Re: The Long Distance Touring

I know how you feel. I'm sure I don't put the miles on that you do. But riding has its ups and downs for me as well.

There are times I get tired of doing the maintenance. It's not hard working on the RT. But the wife has an RT so everything is doubled. Plus a lawn tractor, weed wacker, 3 cars, etc. Sometimes you just have had enough.

With ND winters, its nice come spring to get out and ride after being cooped up. But you hit a point where I start racking up the miles and I go, crap, I'm due for another tire or valve check. So I want to ride. But another part doesn't want to add on more miles. But I've paid enough for this bike, USE IT!

Once I'm out on a longer trip, I enjoy the scenery. I enjoy not having a schedule. The miles don't seem so bad now. Then I go back to work. Ugg. So I ride to work when I can. YEAH! Now I have to gear up extra vs. taking my car. Booo. But I get to feel the breeze on my way home and forget about work. Yeah!

I guess it's all a part of life's up's and down's...
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post #3 of 27 Old Apr 26th, 2019, 7:39 am
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I also enjoy my annual travels on my 2014 RT....94K as of now...usually start out with an idea of places to go...but without fail that turns into more of a direction than a destination...letting the weather guide me...more like wondering with my nav 5 set on curvy roads....so daily I will pick a point and head that way...change does happen...I always travel solo...at whatever pace...meeting people by chance and finding surprises along the way....I have done oil change in a parts store parking lot...usually use a bmw store for tire replacement...maybe hang out for an extra day doing laundry and catch my breath...sometimes yeah it's a little boring but you never know what's around the next curve in the road...making some great memories along the way...occasionally I will tie up with another traveler for part of the trip....the RT has been very good to me on trips with plenty of range and comfort...luckily my recent breakdowns have been right here at home....I live in Missouri and seems like I always head west...but one of these days I will venture to the east...safe and happy travels to you and maybe we will meet on the road someday..
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post #4 of 27 Old Apr 26th, 2019, 1:21 pm
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Re: The Long Distance Touring

I have never had my thoughts go from one extreme to the other as on my trip to Alaska. One minute thinking about something from your childhood to the next thinking of my parents who have passed, to thinking of friends and family . I agree with the previous post. It helps the mind. I agree the road now calls more than I can go. Also riding to work helps me relax before work and helps forget the day on the ride home. I have found that people that do not ride just cant understand, they say why would you want to ride a motorcycle that far. I say if you have to ask you won't understand.
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post #5 of 27 Old Apr 26th, 2019, 1:26 pm Thread Starter
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Re: The Long Distance Touring

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I have never had my thoughts go from one extreme to the other as on my trip to Alaska. One minute thinking about something from your childhood to the next thinking of my parents who have passed, to thinking of friends and family . I agree with the previous post. It helps the mind. I agree the road now calls more than I can go. Also riding to work helps me relax before work and helps forget the day on the ride home. I have found that people that do not ride just cant understand, they say why would you want to ride a motorcycle that far. I say if you have to ask you won't understand.
I hear you.

There is something, ehem, spiritual about riding over the road such that, if you haven't experience it, seems like it doesn't make sense. I have a friend who think I am crazy. My girlfriend always hassles me about it whinning at me that I am wasting my time.

We are an exclusive bunch of nuts, aren't we?
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post #6 of 27 Old Apr 26th, 2019, 8:25 pm
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Re: The Long Distance Touring

Zen and the art of . . . .
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post #7 of 27 Old Apr 26th, 2019, 11:23 pm
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Re: The Long Distance Touring

Long distance touring on a bike is either you get it or you don’t. To me it’s a compression release from the structured life we live in. I believe in the phrase “ the journey is the destination “. Good topic this thread.
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post #8 of 27 Old Apr 27th, 2019, 2:17 am
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Re: The Long Distance Touring

I divide long distance riding and the riders who do that into 3 major categories:

1) Road Riders These are the rides done by those just to experience the feeling of riding and getting away from usual monotone lifestyle by being on the road and immerse themselves in the middle of a constantly changing scenery. This type of riding is similar what those Iron Butt riders does. I mean style-wise. The whole goal is keeping the wheels turning as long as time and stamina allows. Great riding style for riders with type A personality. Generally not much planning involved. Eat when you're starving, go to bathroom before relieving yourself into your pants, stop and move around when you can't feel your butt, etc.,

2) Destination Riders These are the typical riders who do an Alaska tour, or ride over 1000 mile to go to BMW Rally in TX or GA or those who decide to experience Sturgis. The most riders in this category plan everything months in advance. Departure date, fuel stops, meal stops, accommodation stops, hotel reservations or campsites, arrival date and return date etc., They plan all aspects of this type of travel. Not much stops along the route or photo ops at every interesting vista point along the route. These riders generally are always on the go, because they have a place to be and a schedule to follow.

3) Fame Riders These are IMHO are generally (not always) are the guys with too much time or money or both on their hands or just the opposite end of that spectrum and have none of those at all... Extreme ends of the what you and I call normal people. They do this type of riding for the sensational headlines to create. Like Ewan McGregor and Charley Booman's "Long Way Round" Not many of us who work 48-50 weeks a year in order to pay a mortgage, send 2 kids to college, make 2 car payments can take few months off and circumnavigate the earth while a support vehicle and 2 engineers and a camera crew follow us. Simpler version of this type riding is the ones like 4 corners ride. Some riders think this type of riding will ensure them a place in the biking community and get some fame. Seattle to San Diego then to Key West and last stop Bangor, Maine... Ta da...

Still no matter what category above fits your long distance riding style, if you ever do any one of those you'll end up with a BIIIIG SMILE on your face...

In 1991 I was 33 years old and after returning from the battle field in Iraq ( Desert Storm ) I was kind of depressed and in search of the meaning of life and what I wanted to do the next. Then I passed in front of a bike dealership. There I noticed a 1991 Honda Transalp dressed up like a Paris-Dakar type of extras on a fake rocky hill display. About 2 hrs later I was riding to that bike to the nearest port. Then a few days at that port town and a ticket on a Ferry to Trieste, Italy. Started in Trieste ended in Trapani, Sicily then onto another Ferry to Egypt, then Libya, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, Western Sahara, Mauritania, Senegal and then back on to a container ship to London, UK. Approximately 4,5 months...

Trip of a lifetime, experiences of a lifetime but now at age 61 if you pay me a million $ I won't do it again! But for $1 I'll tell you stories for the next 4 months!

Ride safe friends!

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post #9 of 27 Old Apr 27th, 2019, 7:06 am
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I think it all comes down to the agenda. I have ridden on several continent's, ridden most of the BIG bucket list rides, and started off heading one place, only to find myself somewhere else. In my 50 year's riding I've easily wracked up a couple miles, ridden in weather, storms and tornadoes, but every experience is as pleasurable as the last when recalling the joys and experience. If you are getting hung up on the UPS and downs, you probably need to get off the roads you're riding and experience something new. I am riding the TAT this summer, alone, because it's different and I haven't done it yet.
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post #10 of 27 Old May 2nd, 2019, 7:19 pm
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Re: The Long Distance Touring

I find this thread especially cathartic and a bit depressing that I am sitting in my living room and not out riding on a journey right now!. I find that distance riding is both exhilarating and exhausting, adventurous and mundane, thrilling and boring, unique and same old, etc. I love being out on a wanderlust with a map and GPS looking for the next great route.

I find that every meal tastes better, every hot shower is more rejuvenating, every night sleep is more relaxing, every hot tub more invigorating, and every day unfolds in a more interesting way when my hands are buzzing, my butt is sore and my wrists and neck are stiff from watching the twisty miles pass beneath the wheels of my RT.

The bike was (is) a rip-off in many ways, the dealer kills me, and an issue I had with BMW Motorrad was brutal to deal with but through it all, I love that damn bike. I think that the happiest and most at peace I am with the world at large, and within my own head, is the time spent in the saddle of that machine. I actually have trouble sleeping prior to a trip from all of the anticipation and I sit day after day at my desk thinking of what it would be like to take off right now and not come back...

Safe travels to everyone and make sure to stop and smell the tarmac every time you are lucky enough to be on the bike and twisting your wrist.

Over and out...
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post #11 of 27 Old May 3rd, 2019, 12:01 pm Thread Starter
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Re: The Long Distance Touring

Thanks for your service Cpt. J. Davis
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post #12 of 27 Old May 3rd, 2019, 12:45 pm
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Re: The Long Distance Touring

Time slows down!
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post #13 of 27 Old May 3rd, 2019, 12:49 pm Thread Starter
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Re: The Long Distance Touring

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Time slows down!
That's what Einstein says...the faster you go...

The only problem with that is that time speeds up if a cop stops you for trying to slow time down.
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post #14 of 27 Old May 9th, 2019, 12:45 pm
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Cool Re: The Long Distance Touring

Agree with you all. Nearing 70 now and still have the desire, the bike (2016 R1200RT), the time and money. Wife not happy, but I can't let it go. At least one long solo ride a year. Ride on, be safe.
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post #15 of 27 Old May 9th, 2019, 9:13 pm
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Re: The Long Distance Touring

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Agree with you all. Nearing 70 now and still have the desire, the bike (2016 R1200RT), the time and money. Wife not happy, but I can't let it go. At least one long solo ride a year. Ride on, be safe.
I hear ya. Same here.
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post #16 of 27 Old Jun 2nd, 2019, 1:38 am
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Re: The Long Distance Touring

This thread goes straight to my core, I have been doing this (long distance riding) for around fifteen years of my 50 years of riding and as I get closer to retirement I am doing it more.
when people ask me what I do on my rides I say I meditate on the bitumen as I ride, I agree with Wethead, it is spiritual.
I often ask myself why I ride these long distances and I honestly don't have an answer except that my wife says that when I come home from a ride I seem more at peace so she encourages me to ride (she hasn't been on the back of my bike for 35 years).
My only complaint is that I can't find more twisty roads on the long rides over here.
Great to hear that I am not "alone" on my lonely rides ( although I must say I never feel lonely when I am on my rides), I have great Sena gear with Dylan, Stones, Seger and others (plus UHF and the mobile) in my ears all the time.
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post #17 of 27 Old Jun 2nd, 2019, 6:02 pm
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Re: The Long Distance Touring

I love touring distances on a motorcycle also. I have had friends to ride these trips with come and go. And it's come to a point where those freinds found other interests and i was left to cross country tour alone. Sure my wife will go on some shorter trips. But not alot. So i go solo. You know what?? I don't mind it. Your right. It is spirit and soul thing. I just feel it always pulling at me.
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post #18 of 27 Old Jun 2nd, 2019, 7:18 pm
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Re: The Long Distance Touring

I can echo many of the posts here. I began riding again in 2005 as kids were leaving the nest. I had done solo touring in the 1970's and 1980's. I wanted a R80RT in 1985, I finally got the 1984 R80RT in 2005. About 100,000 (solo) miles later I got the R1200RT. I retire at the end of June and plan to see how much riding I can do. The only change to my trips might be to stop more often to see the sights since I will not have a fixed time that I have to be back to work.
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post #19 of 27 Old Jun 2nd, 2019, 8:55 pm
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Re: The Long Distance Touring

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I love touring distances on a motorcycle also. I have had friends to ride these trips with come and go. And it's come to a point where those freinds found other interests and i was left to cross country tour alone. Sure my wife will go on some shorter trips. But not alot. So i go solo. You know what?? I don't mind it. Your right. It is spirit and soul thing. I just feel it always pulling at me.
Amen brother
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post #20 of 27 Old Jun 2nd, 2019, 8:56 pm
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Re: The Long Distance Touring

I'm in the process of planning my first long distance ride from CT. to the Rally in Lebanon, Tenn. and I'm riding solo. I'm riding a low mileage 2016 RT so I don't expect any mechanical problems. I'm most concerned about operator error and the challenges of dealing with the weather. By riding solo I can pace myself and ride my own ride. I have mixed feelings about it, I'm excited and nervous.
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post #21 of 27 Old Jun 2nd, 2019, 9:01 pm
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Re: The Long Distance Touring

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I can echo many of the posts here. I began riding again in 2005 as kids were leaving the nest. I had done solo touring in the 1970's and 1980's. I wanted a R80RT in 1985, I finally got the 1984 R80RT in 2005. About 100,000 (solo) miles later I got the R1200RT. I retire at the end of June and plan to see how much riding I can do. The only change to my trips might be to stop more often to see the sights since I will not have a fixed time that I have to be back to work.
I retired last July . It’s nice not having to hammer down back to the rat race. Instead of riding through places you can now stop and enjoy them.
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post #22 of 27 Old Jun 2nd, 2019, 9:09 pm
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Re: The Long Distance Touring

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I'm in the process of planning my first long distance ride from CT. to the Rally in Lebanon, Tenn. and I'm riding solo. I'm riding a low mileage 2016 RT so I don't expect any mechanical problems. I'm most concerned about operator error and the challenges of dealing with the weather. By riding solo I can pace myself and ride my own ride. I have mixed feelings about it, I'm excited and nervous.
I am excited and nervous about each trip I take and I have been doing this since the mid 70’s. Weather is weather. Make sure you have waterproof gear or a rain suit. You will do alright. See you at rally.
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post #23 of 27 Old Jun 3rd, 2019, 6:58 pm
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Re: The Long Distance Touring

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I am excited and nervous about each trip I take and I have been doing this since the mid 70’s. Weather is weather. Make sure you have waterproof gear or a rain suit. You will do alright. See you at rally.
I got a KLIM Gore-Tex riding jacket and pants so I'm set for rain, more concerned about the southern heat. I ride ATGATT and with the RT's wind protection, it could get a little uncomfortable.
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post #24 of 27 Old Jun 3rd, 2019, 10:38 pm
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Re: The Long Distance Touring

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I'm in the process of planning my first long distance ride from CT. to the Rally in Lebanon, Tenn. and I'm riding solo. I'm riding a low mileage 2016 RT so I don't expect any mechanical problems. I'm most concerned about operator error and the challenges of dealing with the weather. By riding solo I can pace myself and ride my own ride. I have mixed feelings about it, I'm excited and nervous.
Nowadays you can track weather quite well. 3y ago during a 26d 10K mile trip x-country and into Canada and back we simply were willing to deviate our route to stay in nicer weather, and it worked out quite well. We had one 1h downpour at the end of one day's ride that was unavoidable. We should have pulled over but we knew we only had 1h left--not a good idea it was hard to dry out the stuff in a motel room until we found ...a dryer ;o) I like the freedom to NOT stick to an itinerary that's half the fun of riding.
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post #25 of 27 Old Jun 7th, 2019, 2:39 am
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Re: The Long Distance Touring

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Agree with you all. Nearing 70 now and still have the desire, the bike (2016 R1200RT), the time and money. Wife not happy, but I can't let it go. At least one long solo ride a year. Ride on, be safe.
Oh Sir, you have hit the nail on the head! "Wife not happy, but I can't let it go". That is my existence. She won't go with me. I always ask, she always declines. Then I always ignore the shit storm headed my way. It's like our ritual after all these years.
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post #26 of 27 Old Jun 7th, 2019, 2:50 am
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Re: The Long Distance Touring

I can't agree more with the sentiments expressed here. I just know I feel "right" when I'm in the wind. Better than when I am home, or at work, or anywhere else. The wife won't go, but the daughters both love it, so I always have a passenger if I want company. Call it spiritual, meditative, relaxing, exciting, uplifting, scary, calm....pick your adjective. And you will be correct with all of them. All I really and truly know is I can't give it up. I wouldn't be me without it.
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post #27 of 27 Old Jun 7th, 2019, 8:47 am
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Re: The Long Distance Touring

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I can't agree more with the sentiments expressed here. I just know I feel "right" when I'm in the wind. Better than when I am home, or at work, or anywhere else. The wife won't go, but the daughters both love it, so I always have a passenger if I want company. Call it spiritual, meditative, relaxing, exciting, uplifting, scary, calm....pick your adjective. And you will be correct with all of them. All I really and truly know is I can't give it up. I wouldn't be me without it.
Amen, Great photo! Love the mountains! I always get that, "wish I was there right now" feeling when I see photo's like that.....

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