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-   -   Cross country trip (http://www.motorcycle.com/forum/showthread.php?t=3665)

macmanjim 06-13-2006 03:07 AM

Re: Cross country trip
 
1st post. Do it.

JLWarrior 06-13-2006 03:13 AM

Re: Cross country trip
 
I say do it. Just stop for an oil change and ride some back roads for the first hundred or two miles so you can vary the rpm's a lot.

longride 06-13-2006 03:20 AM

Re: Cross country trip
 
Can't think of a better way to buy a bike. You can make in in 4 days easy. Do it.

joepierce 06-13-2006 03:21 AM

Re: Cross country trip
 
I bought a 2001 Concours last spring (a year ago) in North Carolina and rode it back to NYC; then my GF and I did a 9200 mile 2-up trip around the country on it in June. Connie never asked for anything other than scheduled maintenance. We had a tremendous time. Blog and pics at:



http://joepierce.org/roadtrips/aroundamerica.php



In terms of riding: I found that 300-350 mile days were comfortable; 400 mile days were do-able; 450 mile days made me feel like I was dead in the morning. Some Ironbutts will say there's nothing like a 800 mile day to make you feel alive, but they're not talking about the _next_ day's ride, IMHO.



The Concours community is basically right about this bike: she's a good compromise between size, power, and maneuverability; she's a little buzzy, and I'm always aware that she's "low-tech;" and, if you do your scheduled maintenance, she'll never ever leave you stranded. Great long-distance bike.



The GF and I are planning a trip up to the Bay of Fundy in July. ;) It's comfy 2-up, too.

Whatmough 06-13-2006 03:21 AM

Re: Cross country trip
 
Ride it. At 3=750 or 4=560 mi. Now 560 miles a day for four days with your new motorcycle should be a thing of beauty. Go for it!

cls 06-13-2006 03:50 AM

Re: Cross country trip
 
I'm w/them. Do it. But it won't be as easy as they make it out to be. You're going to get a little tired and sore, especially since you're not used to the bike or riding that much. But, that's all part of the experience. Do it.

pushrod 06-13-2006 04:29 AM

Re: Cross country trip
 
Take a break every half tank. Stretch your shoulders, back, stomach and legs.



Oh, yeah. Get gas every other stop.



Have a HUGE time!

bradbarker738 06-13-2006 04:38 AM

Re: Cross country trip
 
I own a Concours. Yes, do the trip! You will get a little sore, but just take a pain reliever of some sort along with you. Get the oil changed once and have a grand time. I'd plan on 4 days btw.

SRMark 06-13-2006 05:08 AM

Re: Cross country trip
 
Take along Advil. One 800 mile day is no big issue if you can recover over the next several. However, stringing 3-4 500 to 750 mile days will make you sore in spots you never new you had. Build in some time for bad weather, road construction and illness. Something about eating away from home can stir the pot if you get my drift. Imodium really works. Take some sunscreen and put it anywhere any exposed skin pokes out. Four days of sun will cook you to bits if you don't pay attention. Make sure you have ear protection. The wind roar at 70 for four days can give you permanent hearing loss. Take along some sort of visor, shades, etc., to block low level sun and road-reflected light. Check your tire pressure before you leave and each morning there after. Poorly inflated tires on a big bike can result in complete tread removal in 2,000 miles. Install a throttle lock before you leave. Have the shop throw it in as part of the deal. The Connie will buzz a bit and will put your hands to sleep. The throttle lock will allow you to get the feeling back. Have fun, take some pictures, write it up and send it to MO.

MileHiXX 06-13-2006 05:17 AM

Re: Cross country trip
 
Hmmm... Let's see... You just bought a Sports Touring bike... Ride it!!! Ride back roads, secondary roads, highways and Interstates. Spend the time becoming one with your new bike. By the time you get back home, youll have a pretty good idea of what works for you and what doesn't.

Oh, and take the pain reliever BEFORE you ride, that works better than taking 'em after the aches start.

seruzawa 06-13-2006 05:29 AM

Re: Cross country trip
 
Do it. Just remember that it's going to be really really hot in Arizona. So if you don't already have a mesh jacket get one. You might plan your trip by heading north first to avoid the worst of the heat.

bbtowns 06-13-2006 05:38 AM

Re: Cross country trip
 
I've ridden a Concours this kind of distance alot. That's a big ride to do in four days, but the bike won't hold you back. Make sure the tires are in good shape, the brake pads are good, the bike's had an oil change, etc. before taking off. It's a pretty bullet proof bike, so you won't be left stranded.

Get a Vista Cruise throttle lock, or at worst a Throttle Rocker, otherwise your set. Have a good ttrip.

mikenomad 06-13-2006 05:40 AM

Re: Cross country trip
 
Go to www.ironbutt.com and read their tips for long-distance riding. They specialize in endurance riding, and the tips they give on how to prepare and strategies to make a long trip work will be very useful. If you've never taken a long trip, there's probably a lot you haven't considered, and 2240 miles in 4 days is probably not realistic -- you'll beat yourself to death. Figure more like 6 days. When you ride all day, the fatigue builds each successive day. If you push yourself hard, you'll end up getting frazzled and riding fewer hours each day. There are techniques for making this work. Check out the Iron Butt site.

longride 06-13-2006 05:48 AM

Re: Cross country trip
 
The guy has a bike made for touring. 560 miles a day is too much? Maybe if he was riding my old Shovel!

Buzglyd 06-13-2006 06:16 AM

Re: Cross country trip
 
Don't ship. Ride!



Just be careful riding in the Southwest during the middle of the day. The Concours spews up lots of heat from the fairing and it can easily get 115 degrees in the middle of nowhere.



How many days you you take to do it depends on what kind of roads you take. If it's Interstate, you can easily do it in four days. If you want to sightsee a bit, take a few more. This will be the trip of a lifetime.



Get a tankbag to keep water within easy reach. Have some Advil handy. Wear earplugs. They cut down on fatigue. Get a good airflow-type protective jacket so you can keep the sun off of you yet still have protection. My Bates jacket is excellent.



Once you do a trip like this, riding 150 miles in a day will seem like a warm up.



Submit a couple of posts on the way and let us know how you're doing.

Buzglyd 06-13-2006 06:20 AM

Re: Cross country trip
 
I lived in AZ for a year and a half and one day it hit 123 degrees. I figured that was enough of AZ for me.



In the summer in San Diego, the AZ license plates out number the CA plates.

seruzawa 06-13-2006 06:30 AM

Re: Cross country trip
 
I suggest Gatorade instead of water. One trip I did I rode 400 miles across the desert in one day at 110 degree temperatures, drank a gallon of Gatorade and never once had to take a pi$$. Since I was on a shovelhead the rear cylinder added that extra bit of "adventure". Although I can usually do 600 mile days that heat really wears you out quicker than you might think.



It's also helpful to stop at gas stations and drench yourself in water. A water battle with a shaker top is handy to douse yourself occasionally as you ride between drenches.

seruzawa 06-13-2006 06:30 AM

Re: Cross country trip
 
Arizona is worse than El Centro?

Buzglyd 06-13-2006 07:01 AM

Re: Cross country trip
 
We consider Imperial County part of AZ!

Buzglyd 06-13-2006 07:03 AM

Re: Cross country trip
 
You didn't take a pi$$. It got shaken out of you and you just didn't know it.



I don't care for the taste of Gatorade. Smart Water adds electrolytes and such but it still tastes like plain old water.

Aero_Doc 06-13-2006 07:09 AM

Re: Cross country trip
 
Had the opportunity to travel across Australia by bike (R1100RT) about 10 yrs ago, did 11,000 kms in 3 weeks - loved it. Just to add to the advice, get your water sorted out, survival list etc - just in case! Pack a puncture repair kit (I needed mine after 500km on a new tyre), what helped me as I went across the Nullaboor was socks soaked in water around my neck and let evaporation do the rest. Do it you'll, never regret it and you may not have the chance to do it again - carpe diem! Keep us updated...

Fenton 06-13-2006 07:13 AM

Re: Cross country trip
 
However many days it takes you is the right number. Water, advil, vented jacket and the right attitude.

Go hard in the mornings and then cruise around in the afternoons.

Vary the rpms and get your oil changed along the way.



Enjoy

mikenomad 06-13-2006 07:27 AM

Re: Cross country trip
 
The issue is not the bike, it's the rider. He says he's never taken a trip longer than commuting to work. If he learns the do's/don'ts of long-distance riding, his chances of putting on more miles per day are better.

lindsey 06-13-2006 07:57 AM

Re: Cross country trip
 
I've owned two Connies, loving my second more than the first even. I'd recommend five days for that trip, think high mileage the first two, then descending mileage after. Have a blast, buddy, you're buying a gem of a bike. Fast, comfy, fun, bulletproof....

03zx12r 06-13-2006 08:30 AM

Re: Cross country trip
 
Is this bike brand new? If it is not I would not want to make that trip alone. The bike has a OK rep, but this specific bikes reliability is unknown to you. I'd ship it until you know the bike and its reliability.

crevans 06-13-2006 09:29 AM

Re: Cross country trip
 
Fly me out there and I'll ride it to Pennsylvania for ya in two days. Just make sure there's beer waiting for me at the end.

xlr8r 06-13-2006 10:09 AM

Re: Cross country trip
 
I can't even imagine that sort of mileage within one country. From where I live, it would take me to Moscow. I can't imagine a Kawasaki Concours either, since they have never, ever, been sold in the UK. But after five years of reading MO I do know that they are the finest motorcycle ever to grace the world's asphalt, or so seruzawa says, so you have made absolutely the right choice. No harm can befall you.

Joseph_Betor 06-13-2006 10:54 AM

Re: Cross country trip
 
Give yourself enough time so you don't have to ride after sunset. The Northeast is overrun with deer.

tomnort 06-13-2006 11:35 AM

Re: Cross country trip
 
I shipped my Honda 450 over from Japan back in 1973 when I graduated from high school. I made the trip from San Fran to Detroit in 5 days. The vibration was horrific but the gas was cheap!

The Concours is a great machine and you will love the trip. Get up early and quit before you get exhausted. Take your camera and get some pix of the Grand Canyon if you're close.

Enjoy & God bless.

Tigercub 06-13-2006 11:40 AM

Re: Cross country trip
 
Definitely do the trip!!



Don't know the bike, but I've heard they tour to the moon and back.



If I were you I'd plan on taking 7 days. That's about 350 miles per day and seems to be within your current conditioning. If you feel good and do 500+ miles then great!



Make it a vacation/sight-seeing tour coupled with bike transport back home.

SV650GLEN 06-13-2006 12:43 PM

Re: Cross country trip
 
First article of posts I have read in a long time with no snide comments. All of the above good solid information and suggestions.

JeffeVerde 06-13-2006 01:38 PM

Colorado's a blast! Here's a suggested itinerary
 
My riding background is similar to yours -- lots of 100-150 mile riding and the occasional long weekend. Last week I did the West coast version of your ride, from L.A. to Denver and back, on a similar bike - a BMW R1100 RT.



The 500 mile days you're talking about are definitely do-able for a "novice" distance rider on a sport-tourer like the Concours. Most of my route in between California and Colorado was desert, so I toughed it out and did 1000 mile days on the ride out and back. I'm 45, and of average health and (un)fitness, and while it was a little arduous, I was back on the bike the next day.



The IronButtAssoc tips are spot on. Stopping every hour for a quick stretch definitely makes a difference. Allow for these breaks in your trip-planning. On the road, I was averaging 80'ish. But with the stops, my average speed for the day was 65mph. And definitely wear earplugs. Ten hours of riding without earplugs, and your ears will be ringing the rest of the day.



Interstates 40 and 70 are fine in a car, but they're miserable on a bike - especially through Arizona and Utah where the temperatures will be in the triple digits this time of year. For your ride, I'd recommend --



Day 1 - Arizona to Durango, Colorado.

Get to Flagstaff from wherever you're picking up the bike, then ride north on 89 and west on 160 to Durango Colorado. This would make a good 1-day ride from most anywhere in Arizona. There are several hours of desert between Flagstaff and Colorado, so I'd recommend leaving Flagstaff no later than 9am. If you've never been to the Grand Canyon, it's only a short detour. Turn north at Williams (30 miles west of Flagstaff) and it will only add about 30 miles to your ride. Time it to be there around sunrise for a spectacular view, and you'll still get across the desert before noon. You might want to make a slight detour to pass through Monument Valley -- but be sure not to miss the photo-op at Four-Corners. If you got an early start and you arrive in Colorado mid-day, spend the afternoon at Mesa Verde National Park viewing the cliff dwellings. It's especially impressive in the late afternoon sun, so you'll have time to get a room and clean up first. Durango is an 1800's mining town something of a tourist destination, so just walk down the main street and take your pick of the many restraunts available. You'll see lots of bikers in Durango - but mostly Harleys (and mostly Rubbies). You'll also see a bizarre paradox in Durango -- notice that every bicyclist you see will be wearing a helmet, while every Harley rider will not. Are bicyles more dangerous than Harleys? Or do bicyclists just value their brains more than Harley riders do?



I was doing 80-90mph on I-40, and pretty much going with the flow of traffice. But watch your speed while riding through the Indian Reservations - speeding tickets are a key source of revenue.



**WARNING** spend the first day getting VERY familiar with the bike's handling - in Colorado you'll be riding mountain roads where an overshot corner could mean a thousand foot drop before the first bounce! The Connie was made for twisties, but the ride is VERY different from your Vulcan. KNOW your bike before you get throttle happy in the mountains. The Connie is quick and nimble. But get in over your head on some of the roads in Colorado, and quite simply, you will die.



Day2 - Durango to Denver -

Twisty mountain roads that were made-to-order for the Connie. Take the 550 north to the 50 east to the 285 north to Denver. Get off bike and attempt to remove stupid grin from face. The entire ride is mountain pass after mountain pass, with the occasional flat stretch tossed in just to keep it interesting :). Keep an eye on your mirror for great photo-ops on the climb out of Durango and down into Ouray. I did this ride in 9 hours, but with lots of photo stops on the way.



If you're not too tired when you get to Denver, consider going to Casa Bonita. Featured in a SouthPark episode, it's this amazing, bizarre, Dali-esque mexican restaurant with flame jugglers, cliff divers and mining tunnels -- all *inside* the restaurant! The food is terrible, but it's worth it for the experience. If Walt Disney built a restaurant instead of a theme park, it would be Casa Bonita.



The State Troopers in Colorado drive grey stealth-mobiles and are plentiful. But I was told by a local bike shop owner that most of the Troopers are riders and are bike-friendly. For my part, I rode 10-20mph over the limit most of the time, and never had a Trooper give me a second look. Just keep it under the limit going through the small towns.



Colorado is prone to summer thunder storms. If your jacket isn't waterproof, pack at least a rain jacket. And if you find a thunderhead brewing while your in a high mountain meadow, find some cover -- your tires will NOT insulate you from lightning ( http://www.crh.noaa.gov/pub/ltg/ltg_...iker_fatal.php )



If you've got extra time, I'd spend it touring through Colorado. The Connie will eat up the mountain roads and pretty much any road other than the 70 and the 25 will be twisty.



Day 3-4 -- Prairie grass and Corn fields

The next two days are mile after mile of prairie grass and corn fields. You'll defnitely be wanting a ThrottleRocker or a VistaCruise for this stretch! Take the 75 out of Denver and pick up the 80 in Nebraska. Try to ignore how slowly the clock is moving. If you're not in a hurry, you can ride the Lincoln Highway for a more scenic route (www.lincolnhighwayassoc.org). It's the northern equivalent of old Route 66 and it roughly parallels the I-80.



Day 5 -- Home again, home again, jiggity-jig

At this point, your in your own back yard and can choose your own route.



The Connie's got great luggage. Pack your gear in two small gym-bag sized duffels for easy packing in the saddle bags. I'd definitely recommend a tank bag - perfect for glasses, cell phone, chapstick (trust me, you'll want it), maps, water, etc. In the mountains, the ride will be plenty to keep your attention. But for the long hours through the plains, music is a definite plus. Either put speakers in your helmet, or use something like the Etymotics ER6. The easiest solution is *noise-attenuating* earplugs (not just the earbuds that came with the player) and an iPod or other mp3 player tucked in your jacket pocket.



Hmmm-- after writing about it, I'm ready to do it again. When are you going? :-)

Dangerousdave_2 06-13-2006 02:31 PM

Re: Cross country trip
 
I don't know if you've ever seen the grand canyon, but make the time to see it. Flagstaff is at five or six thousand feet, and lots cooler than the southern part of the state. From there it's about an hours ride North. Then, just park the bike and take the shuttles to take in some of the most spectacular scenery on the planet. Bring a camera. Take your time, check out the sights. It can be the trip of a lifetime, and will be a lot more enjoyable if you don't feel like you have to put in five or six hundred miles every day. That'll give you 'monkey butt' every time.

rapier 06-13-2006 02:59 PM

Re: Cross country trip
 
I'm a solo tourist from way back. We're a solitary lot. It isn't for most people. You might love it or you might hate it. You just as well do it and find out which one it is for you.



As long as your staying in motels then 500 a day isn't too hard. Easy for me to say I guess.



Interstate drones are awfull but the easiest way to make distance.



No matter what roads you take you will be hot, cold and wet at various times. Even though your going east the wind will still be fighting you many times. You'll often be uncomfortable. Why this is fun for me I have no clue. The only thing you absolutely need is a couple of pair of high quality moisture wicking briefs. Saddle sores, monkey butt, is the one absolute misery you need to avoid. All other discomforts are temporary, unless you have back or other orthopedic issues.



Stop often. For me I stop often early in the day, getting a rhythm going. If you've only done 100 miles by noon no sweat. Or mabye you might have a different clock. Maybe you'll want a nap in the afternoon. Almost for sure you'll find the big miles are easiest to make later in the day or in the evening. So if you don't have to stop and set up camp I think you will find 500 miles a piece of cake if you go till sunset.



Good fabric riding gear is something that is invaluable. If you have one of those plasticy rain suits you will be spending large amount of mental energy trying to decide if you should put it on or not. If you don't it will rain, if you do it won't, and you'll bake. It's going to rain, take my word for it.




Buzglyd 06-13-2006 03:59 PM

Re: Cross country trip
 
SV650s suck.



Oops I just ruined this thread!

jkgooch 06-13-2006 04:41 PM

Re: Cross country trip
 
Do it. But I would add a few more days (weeks) and really make it worth your while. Seriously, when are you going to get the chance to do this again? Make it work--take some time, and stick to the "red roads" on your Rand McNally. Stay off the freeways as much as possible.



Of course it can be done in 3-4 days. You just won't have as much fun. It'll quickly turn into an endurance contest with all the pain that implies.



I've done two solo cross-country trips, both on a Harley Sportster 1200. My longest day was Monterey, Mexico to South Padre Island, Texas. I wouldn't care to do that again, but it was doable. (The sub-text here is, if a 6' 230lb guy on a sportster can do it, anyone on a Concours can do it. It's all in your head. And your ass.)



My most urgent advice, though, is to take more time. You have a chance here to justify the kind of trip most bikers only dream of. RIDE IT, don't just jam back to PA on the superslab. That sucks.



Good luck.

jkgooch 06-13-2006 04:46 PM

PS
 
Drink fluids. High mileage days suck the water out of you more than you would think possible. Stay hydrated--it helps your comfort and your mental acuity. Tips about sunscreen are also well taken.



Oh, also: it will rain. Count on it. Especially if it looks really nice in the morning and you're in the middle of the desert and there isn't a cloud in the sky. I promise, it's going to rain. Something about being several thousand miles from home and on a motorcycle--clouds will find you. You become a minor diety, a low-grade Rain God.



So pack your rubbers.




jkgooch 06-13-2006 04:54 PM

Re: Colorado's a blast! Here's a suggested itinerary
 
Nice comment, dude. It's about time for me to do another one of these, I think...

jfgilbert 06-13-2006 08:27 PM

Re: Cross country trip
 
Ride it. I had the opportunity to ride from Chicago to San Francisco a few years ago and still remember it as a unique experience. I traded my VTR for a Futura for the occasion and did not regret it. I had never done such a long trip before but here are a few things I found useful:

- Mount a GPS on your handle bars and don't bother with maps and itineraries. Just go in the general direction and where the roads or the weather look good. Don't ride the highways and avoid cities; back roads are more interesting, more fun and you will discover places and people well worth the detour.

- Don't lock yourself into a schedule. Take 5 or 7 days if that's what's you need to be comfortable. It's not worth ruining your trip getting all stressed out because you picked up a nail in your rear tire and that puts you a day behind plan.

- You already got good advice about gear to ride in the heat of summer. In addition, I enjoyed starting the days very early, with first light (between 3 and 4 am) before the heat builds up, and stop when it get really hot by 2 or 3 pm, in a little small town motel. They are cheap, people are nice, and sometimes they may even have a pool to cool down. You will have the roads to yourself in the early hours and the sights are beautiful in the morning light. If you have any interest in photography, this is the time to make spectacular pictures. Of course, I was going generally West, so the sun was mostly behind me. You may want to adjust if the sun in your face bothers you.

- Think about the journey, not the destination. If you want to get there fast, you are better off flying, shipping the bike, and missing the whole point.

- Enjoy, you don't know when you will have another chance.

kihei 06-14-2006 01:34 AM

Re: Colorado's a blast! Here's a suggested itinerary
 
Go for it!!! The only other thing I might mention is to buy a Camelback-type of hydration unit. Keeping hydrated is the key to keeping yourself alert and refreshed.



This post has some great advice. Ride safe!!!


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