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Dear LT Brethren,

As I mentioned in an earlier post, a close friend and I are going on a trip of a lifetime. We are both in our early sixties and have found three or more weeks to head west and do whatever we like. I am self-employed and those of you who own a business know that you don’t really own the business - it owns you. To find three weeks for this trip is a minor miracle.

With my SO’s blessing (another minor miracle), I am going to meet my friend in Atlanta and our plan is to ride west. We’re going to spend a few days in the Teton’s and Yellowstone, we’re going to ride the Beartooth and Chief Joseph highways. We plan to spend a day or two in Red Lodge then head back through the Black Hills and then home. We’re leaving on the 10th of June and only need to be back by July 4th . (Afterwards, I’m taking my sweet wife on a cruise, an enjoyable price for a three week indulgence of my absence. I think they call this reciprocity).
I don’t mean to be long-winded but I need your advice. The bike is a ’05 LT with just over 9K miles. I have the windshield I want, I’ve installed a new Corbin seat, I’ve installed Mick-O-Pegs and XM Radio. It’s going into the dealer for a complete check-up and new tires before I leave. I expect this trip could be 5 to 6 K miles so my first question is, should I do the 12K service before I leave or after I get back? Do I need any special insurance? Is there any advice, those of you who have made journeys like this before, can offer.

Thanks in advance,

Smith
’05 Dark Graphite
Greensboro, NC.
 

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I would do the oil/fluid change and a good inspection before departure, and perhaps even change the oils 3k into the trip if it was convenient. I'd do the 12k when I got home.

I didn't see a reference to a GPS in your post. You might find one to be really helpful, especially to get you back enroute if you like to keep your routing loose and flexible as you encounter various places and suggestions along the way.
 

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Smith

I will be heading on a trip to Toronto Canada from Oregon. I will be leaving on the 15th and have rented a very big house in Hill City SD (Near MT Rushmore) for monday night the 18th. There are fellow riders converging there from CA, AZ and CO besides the guys from WA I am riding with.

If you are in the area, you are welcome to shack up with us all.

For what its worth...

PS you might look into AAA PLUS, its about $100 and would give you 100 miles of towing.

Mike
 

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I tour the West with a couple of friends every year - love to travel in Western Canada - some of the best motorcycle country in the world.

For your trip - even with new tires, carry a can of flat fix - with care, that's always gotten me into a town. Fuel won't be a problem, but expect it to be expensive during tourist season...

Be sure you stop in Jackson, WY - spend the night there and you're ready for the Tetons and Yellowstone the next day. Also note - there was an earthquake a couple of years ago in Yellowstone, and ever since, 'ol Faithful ain't - before eruption was regular, now it happens when it happens.

Keep the rubber side down & enjoy the trip.
 

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bflemingor said:
I tour the West with a couple of friends every year - love to travel in Western Canada - some of the best motorcycle country in the world.
Bill Would love to here some of your high points as I will be going back to Oregon from Toronto doing business in Calgary, Edmonton, Vancouver and down.

Mike
 

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Smith,

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.


Money:
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.

Packing:
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.

Planning:
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.

Most important:

RELAX AND ENJOY YOUR TRIP!!

Just my 2 cents worth,
 

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I would do the 12K service.

12K is a major service, checking the valves. Just think if a valve is out of whack and you put another 5 or 6K. I know it would be under warranty, but then putting more miles on it could void the warranty. So to be on the save side I would do the 12K and when you get back do the 6k. My ride as 34K and I had the 36K just for my Alaska trip coming up on June 7th.

Fresh tires and keep the old ones, unless money is big deal. Still have a couple miles left on the old tires. Just remember if you keep them, tell the service department you which to keep your old tires otherwise they will throw them out. Do not ask me how i know. :)

Do not need special insurance only if you are going in to Canada which is just a phone call to your insurance company and they send you card that says, which says. Canada insurance card.
 

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I just got back from a 3-week / 8K-ride around the south/southwest/westcoast. You're getting plenty of advise here so far, and so far it's all bad! :D :D :D OK, not "all" of it is bad. ;)

First of all, as far as the maintenance issues go . . . I would change the oil/filter, tranny fluid, and rear drive fluid. You're getting new tires, so you're covered there. Sounds to me like you should be good-to-go. I've yet to see an LT with valves out of spec at 12K. And besides, you'll be home with just 14-15K on the bike. Surely the 12K service can wait until then.

With all due respect, I totally disagree with most of what tbarstow had to say. I guess we'll just have to agree to disagree. 3 days of clothes for a 2-week trip? I don't think so! Nothing worse than running out of clean underwear on the road. And who wants to be doing laundry every 2-3 days?!?!

Here's a few things off the top of my head that you might want to consider.
  • Like deputy5211 suggested, I don't see a GPS on your list. Although, it's probably already too late for you to get one installed and learn how to use one effectively enough for a ride of this magnitude. Not to mention the distraction it would add if you're not use to the thing at this point.
  • Which reminds me...beware of installing new farkles a day or two before pulling out on a ride like this. That kind of distraction is NOT a good idea.
  • WATER! Buy yourself a 3-Liter CamelBak and take a drink every 10-15 minutes when all-day riding. It does great things for the body, mind, and soul.
  • Make a list of where everything is located and know where to find that list at all times. I have my packing down to such a routine that I no longer need to do this. But there was a time when I couldn't remember, "So where did I put my heated gear? The left saddlebag, or the right?".
That's the major stuff. I'll PM you my phone number and we can chat about some minor details. Most importantly, JUST HAVE FUN! And if you're NOT having fun...STOP DOING WHAT YOU'RE DOING! :)
 

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I agree w/ Joe.....mostly.
Last summer I did 9K and took a month and a half...........
most important is relax and enjoy.................................
Don't let the destinations be your goal, but the ride................
Stay off slabs if you can and meet the people......they are great !!
God Speed
 

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All good advise. I will pack for ten days and then do laundry after that,seem to work out great with room on the LT and leaves little room for things purchased. Hope uou have a great time, as a wise man once told me "don't sell to much of your time" All our days are numbered .
 

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If you will be in remote areas miles from cell phone coverage, you might want to consider renting a sat phone. Rates are pretty cheap compared to what they were a few years ago.
 

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Great advise on the Camelback and about the alcohol spray. I also carry a real small spray bottle of Wash & Wax All and a couple of microfiber towels to clean off my visor and windshield when they get all bugged up. If you run into love bugs it's great to get them off before they can do any damage to your finish and the W&WA works great on most of the bike. Four words: "Under Armor Heat Gear" cause it's going to get warm on your trip. Get the long compression shorts so you don't have underwear riding up your ass all day, and the long sleve T-shirts really help keep you cool. Recently I tried their Heat Gear Socks and loved them. They come up to the knees and stay up, plus they draw the heat away from your feet. Remember your camera so you can share your adventure with us. Have a great trip and like you've been told, relax and enjoy.
 

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If you have 21+ days of riding planned for 6k miles that is about 285+ miles a day. In other words a tank of gas a day.. You should have plenty of time to relax. I'm assuming that you have plenty of stopped activities planned? West of the Mississippi 250 miles is not many hours of riding. Even the back roads are 70 MPH.
 

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watch your speed in eastern wyoming. wyoming's finest frown on 82mph in a 65. cost me $92.00 and my n.c. insurance rate tripled. ride safe and have fun.
 

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It's interesting reading what people pack. I did my first long trip from East coast to Chicago and then 12 days on the road to California on Rt 66. Of the stuff I packed I only used about 50% of it. Last year I did Nova Scotia and Newfoundland with a lot less and about the same amount of time on the road. Unless you are staying in the same place you could wear the same outfit every day and no one along the way would be the wiser. With that said there are some great new clothing items out there that make traveling a dream. First get a good riding outfit I have a AreoStitch Darian Light top and bottoms (they are also water proof). They are good for about 30F and above. I wore it Saturday and the temp was 92F and I was comfortable. When traveling I take 2 pair of wrinkle free slacks, one pair has zip off legs to turn them into shorts. Three short sleeve cotton and one long sleeve polyester shirts. I try and make sure that they all will mix and match. Two primary pair of jockey shorts and a cotton spare. The primary ones are called forever underwear and sold by Hudson Trail Outfitters. These are hi tech and breath with you and air dry in under 4 hours. For daily riding under the riding suit I either wear Underarmor top and bottoms or a t-shirt and a pair of light flannel lounging pants. I also include a lite jacket and an electric jacket with zip off sleeves and normally 4 pair of ALL cotton boot socks with padded soles. Now since you have plenty of room any kind of shoes you want to go with your slacks. Two Doo rags and wash them out daily. Put all drugs and papers in ZIPLOCK bags that insures 100% moisture proof. For tools I carry a multi-tool, vice grips roll of electrical tape, spare fuses, tire plug kit, now I have a small electric pump but before I had a small bicycle hand pump and a credit card size multimeter from Radio Shack. Most everything else is pretty individualized. I carry an electric toothbrush.. I just recharge it before I depart and it's good for about 30 days. Digital camera with spare rechargeable batteries and a 3" x 3" recharger, small spiral bound notebook, a mechanical pencil and a ballpoint pen, a stack of CD's which I change everytime I stop for fuel cell phone and charger. DO NOT FORGET the BMW to EVERYTHING ELSE electrical adaptor. A cheap light weight nylon bike cover and spray it with HEAVY DUTY Scotchgard water repellent. A can of Plexus with a couple of microfiber rags.
Throw this in with everything else and then ponder what type of riding you will be doing, the the weather and temperature ranges, where you are staying and what you plan on doing during your stops. As you go forth remember the old saying.. "When in doubt leave it out..When in need take heed!". It's not going to rain every day unless you are in the tropics. even then it's only 6 months of the year.
 

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Wow

You lucky dog. I've made that trip twice in the last ten years and you will have a great time. Oil filter wait to do the service. One piece of advice check with Yellowstone, make sure that all the roads in and out are open.

Vinces BMW
1200LT
 

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Hey Smith, I you do ride on Chief Joseph's trail, make sure you stop in at Dirty Annie's. Good Steak, and friendly folks.
 

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Couple of items to consider medical kit with rubber gloves, along with spare set of keys, and one really big smile! I am headed out there for two weeks end of July same area should be a great time for you and your friends, enjoy!

Jeff
 

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danbrown said:
watch your speed in eastern wyoming. wyoming's finest frown on 82mph in a 65. cost me $92.00 and my n.c. insurance rate tripled. ride safe and have fun.

You too? Man, it was just me and the cop on the road in broad daylight. It is not like there is anything to hit out there......
 
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