We read some articles by others who have taken some long motorcycle trips. There is lots of advice out there. After sifting through many of them, we settled on what was most important to us.
- Hydration is very important particularly when traveling in the summer months.
- Good rain gear….it will not always be a sunny day
- Motorcycle cover is highly recommended with some sort of an alarm system. The cover will deter thieves and keep the dew off the seats for those early morning starts.
- When it comes to clothes, layers are best so we can adjust for the temperature throughout the day. Fashion is not critical, we will probably be wearing a jacket most of the time anyway.
- For emergency situations, a tire kit and a small tool kit for minor repairs.
- AMA membership it comes with emergency road side assistance.
- Electronics – phones, gps, helmet communication system, iPads, camera, computer and power supplies for each
- Meds – prescription and otherwise
- Snack foods – nuts, granola bars, etc.
- Helmets, doo-rags, gloves, hair glove
- The best advice was to take half the stuff and twice the money.
We have a decent amount of space on the Spyder for carrying gear. There are two saddle bags, a rear compartment and a front compartment. Our big question was can we get by with the storage room we have or will we have to pull a trailer? We really don’t want to pull a trailer, so we decided to do a test-pack with the gear we will carry and the goal was to get it into the storage space on the Spyder. If it doesn’t fit….do we really need to bring it along. The Spyder came with a rolling suitcase that fits in the front, but it takes up a lot of space. We opted for packing cubes from Eagle Creek that are very lightweight and flexible. They even have handles for easy transport into the hotel at night.
We decided we will take time to do laundry about every 6-8 days, so enough gear to last that long. Jeans can be worn for multiple days, so the pair we are wearing and another pair should work well. T-shirts for a first layer and we can get away with wearing a t-shirt 2 days in a row, so 4 t-shirts should work. Changing socks and underwear every day is a good idea, so we invested in gray socks to reduce the number of loads of laundry we have to do. Hate to do a load of laundry for just socks! We had some nice Gander Mountain fishing shirts with pockets that should work well for a second layer, they even have vents to help with air flow on hot days. Next for a light-weight jacket we picked up jackets from L.L. Bean. They have a zippered chest pocket for easy access to our phones. We were able to get all of our clothes into 3 full cubes that fit into the front compartment.
We like to have our computers with us and since we currently have Microsoft Surface Pro 3 tablet/laptops, they take up very little room. Our lightweight backpack from REI was capable of holding 2 Surface Pros and the 2 iPads. It slips nicely into the back compartment. A tube cube contained all the electronic power cords we need to support our electronic addiction. It slipped nicely next to the backpack. We wanted to be able to take some quality pictures along the way, so we packed our Canon EOS 70D into it’s carrying case and it went into one of the side saddle bags.
Toiletries and medication
All of our toiletries fit into a half cube. Medications and first aid kit fit into a quarter cube. Marj’s insulin pump supplies were a bit of a challenge. Toting all the supplies for 72 days just isn’t possible, 24 days of supplies fits nicely in a half cube. We’ll have Marj’s sister Angie send some replenishment supplies along the way. Moving into the Chet and Marj years, just glad it didn’t take a larger cube for the meds, LOL! These all went into the left side saddle bag with the camera.
Hydration and snacks
We plan on stopping about every 150 miles for fuel and we will hydrate with some water while we are stopped stretching our legs and “fluffing our butts”. It’s also an opportunity for a quick snack if energy is running low. We tucked two water bottles and some light snacks into the back compartment with the backpack for emergency situations.
Doo-rags and Hair Gloves
Both of us have long hair, so riding with your hair whipping around in the wind may sound cool….it’s not! You’ll end up with a tangled mess at the end of the day that will take hours to untangle!
We found a product that works wonderful for containing our pony-tails, it’s called the hair glove. It hooks into an elastic hair band, wraps around your pony-tail and snaps. Marj has extremely thick “Jungmann” hair and this particular model of hair glove has a bungee cord that can be pulled looser or tighter as needed. That worked wonders for keeping our hair from flying around in the wind. The other problem is loose hairs that fly around and tickle your face inside the helmet. Doo-rags solve that problem. We looked all over for them on a trip to Albuquerque, stopping in all the motorcycle shops we could find. We ended up finding them at Wal-Mart, LOL! Doo-rags are great for hiding the good-ole’ helmet hair too!
With all of this packed on the bike, we still had a complete side saddle bag open for rain gear and the motorcycle cover. There is some room under the seat for the tire kit and tool kit, so they will tuck in there. Helmets….will be worn at all times while we are riding, so no need to store them. We generally take them with us when we are going into a restaurant, but we do have a cable lock to lock them to the motorcycle if needed.
So….it was looking really good for our trial trip to California. Everything we thought we would need was packed up and fit in the storage available. We were planning to shop for rain gear and a motorcycle cover while in California. Lots of motorcycle shops out there. Stay tuned…we’ll let you know how the trial trip went and lessons learned along the way….yes…some adjustments will most likely be required to our packing routine!