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Old 09-19-2012, 06:25 PM   #1
fnjeep314 OP
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First long trip, little freaked out... could use some advice(help)!!

I have been riding for 12 years on 6 different bikes, but outside of 150-200 mile one way trips, mostly on crotch rockets in my younger years, some(about 5K worth of multiple random trips) on my 01 Triumph Tiger. I am comfortable on a bike. I have done all the maintenance to my Tiger, other than a new chain, but I am still within limits and I am just a little freaked out about my trip. I am going from Fresno, CA up to Seattle area. Its about 1100 miles one way and I am just a bit freaked out about the what could happen's, what to pack(clothes and tools, fluids and such), anything that I need to do before getting underway. I will be on 2 wheels for the duration of my 9 day vacation. I dont really know how long I can ride for(both physically and mentally). I know that guys are knocking out 500 miles a day when heading up to Alaska(which is a future trip of mine) and I am just not too sure as to how much I can do. Time wise is another factor too. Driving I can go for 17-20 hours no problem, but riding is totally different. Will I be cooked after 5-6 maybe 8 or 9 hours? When should I take a break? Every 100 miles or just when I get gas? I plan on just running up the I5 and I am hoping to make 500 miles a day. What kind of things do I need to look out for? Other than idiot drivers! I have some music and an audio book(its the navy seal book about the Bin Laden mission) ready to go.

Sorry for all the questions. I know that most of the answers will be "when I feel I need to", but I may not exactly be sure when that is. I am the kind of person who will put his head down and push through. So I may push right through the point I should have stopped.

Thank you for your help/advice in advance!
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Old 09-19-2012, 06:48 PM   #2
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I know when you need to is not the answer you are looking for but it is different for different people and bikes.

When I find myself getting tired I will take a mid day break somewhere and just relax. Sometimes it is at McInternet with a large tea followed by a water chaser just to rehydrate other times I will stop at a park somewhere and take a walk or cat nap.

One thing that helps for me is to get off the interstate at certain points and get on the back roads for a while. Interstates are great for knocking down the miles but it takes a lot of mental work if there is heavy truck traffic. Breaking the routine gets you into a fresh area of your brain. Plus the scenery is much better.
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Old 09-19-2012, 06:48 PM   #3
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Well as for miles and stops, do what feels good and makes the ride fun. I can do 900 mile days and 200 mile days. Don't over think it. As for packing clothes, pack up what you think you need and them take half of it out and you should still be left with too much. I can travel a month in temps from 30 to 100 with 2 short sleeve T shirts, one long sleeve, 1 pair of jeans, 2 pair of sox, 2 pair of underwear/skins, 1 pair of shorts, 1 pair swimming trunks, and a pair of boat shoes and small toiletries. I use the microfiber quick drying stuff. Plus the ride gear Im wearing of course. I pack heated liners if needed. Tools and stuff? Join AAA and take minimal tools, some chain oil and Honda cleaner for cleaning my face shield. Simple fact I discovered; take less stuff more MONEY!
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Old 09-19-2012, 08:29 PM   #4
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Take a breath.... maybe many breaths... ... and try to relax. A trip is mostly just a bunch of day rides linked together.

Stop to - take pictures, take a leak, eat something, get gas, talk with some folks, explore someplace you've never been, look at your map and route (take good maps, and a gps if you have it - not required)....

Good for you for getting on the road and challenging yourself... like most things, it gets easier the more you do it..
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Old 09-19-2012, 09:34 PM   #5
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I am really excited for this trip. I have never been to the PNW. I am getting ready to leave CA in the next few weeks and so I am trying to take advantage of this opportunity to explore up in that area of the country. I want to go scope out Seattle. I cant tell you how many times I have been told that I would love it up there!! I guess I am finally going to find out! I am heading up to visit an old boss turned friend that retired in Whidbey Island. He has been hounding me for about 5 years now to come and visit him.

I do have a Garmin 60CS but I dont have a RAM mount yet, I need one. Clothes wise I know that I am going to need to pack some warmer things that will take up space. I am anticipating going out to a few nice places to eat, so I kind of have to pack a few nicer things. I will also be staying in hotels on my up there and back. I have been tent shopping, but I just havent found anything I like yet. I already have a sleeping bag and pad, might be a bit chilly just in that out in the open!!

I am wanting to travel heavy so I can get used to it. I view this as a prep run for my trip to Alaska whenever my friend gets his bike ready and he is geared up too. The tools that I do have are only a hand full and that till pretty much allow me to disassemble the entire bike!! I am also bring fluids like coolant, oil, brake fluid and work gloves.

I am getting out of the Navy after 10 years and I am really having to learn that its not just about getting the job done anymore. I have always been taught to just do it, knock it out, whatever. Having to shift my mental process to looking at whats around me as I go has been a very challenging thing for me. getting off the highway and just taking my time and enjoying every bit of this trip, I think, is going to help me break the militaristic thought process.

Plus on the way home I have to stop in Monterey and I will be traveling down the PCH from Seattle, something that I have always wanted to do!!

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Old 09-20-2012, 07:24 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by fnjeep314 View Post

Plus on the way home I have to stop in Monterey and I will be traveling down the PCH from Seattle, something that I have always wanted to do!!
This is a great stretch of hiway, although it's not necessarily real fast as you go along the coast because you are going through several towns. But it's scenic and gives you lots of opportunities for photos and stretch breaks. One section you should not miss is from Leggett to Fort Bragg.

Also, you didn't mention that you had heated gear. If you have it, you will want to take it with you -- the coast riding can be very chilly! If you don't have heated gear, take warm clothing for layering and be prepared for some cool temps along the coast.

Also, check out the Tent Space thread if you want to stay with some inmates instead of hoteling it:
http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=776925
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Old 09-20-2012, 07:28 AM   #7
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Plan to abandon the plan

Sounds like you're looking to control a lot of unknown factors, your best bet is to remain flexible on a trip like this, and don't worry too much - overplanning will just give you grey hairs, there's always a hotel/motel within short driving distance if you get tired, and everything you don't bring with you can be picked up on the way.

Relax and let the adventure take you, and try not to overpack ;p
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Old 09-20-2012, 11:28 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fnjeep314 View Post
I am getting out of the Navy after 10 years and I am really having to learn that its not just about getting the job done anymore. I have always been taught to just do it, knock it out, whatever. Having to shift my mental process to looking at whats around me as I go has been a very challenging thing for me. getting off the highway and just taking my time and enjoying every bit of this trip, I think, is going to help me break the militaristic thought process.

Plus on the way home I have to stop in Monterey and I will be traveling down the PCH from Seattle, something that I have always wanted to do!!

I was stationed in Everett on the Abraham Lincoln. Lots of great riding up there. Definitely check out the Hoh rain forest on the Olympic Peninsula if you get a chance. I wouldn't ride I-5 unless you are just in a hurry. Go up the coast. Go ride through the Redwoods. Take your time and ride at your own pace. I hate trying to plan a trip down to each little detail. Get AAA and add on motorcycle coverage. Geico also offers towing for bikes for an extra $10 per policy period. Leavenworth is a neat little Bavarian town in the mountains of Washington near Wenatchee. If you enjoy fish and chips you MUST go to Spuds on Alki Beach. Real good fast food fish and chips is Skippers. Ivars also has good fish and chips. Along with many varieties of chowder.

Rain Forest: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hoh_Rain_Forest http://www.nps.gov/olym/planyourvisi...ng-the-hoh.htm

Leavenworth: http://leavenworth.org/modules/pages/index.php?pageid=1

Pikes Place Market in Seattle: http://www.pikeplacemarket.org/

Spuds: http://www.seattle-tourist.com/spuds-at-alki.html
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Old 09-20-2012, 12:01 PM   #9
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Sounds like a good trip. You should have plenty of time, with about 2 days up, and 4 back along the coast.

I have done all-day rides on a sport bike, and was more exhausted at the end of the day than I would have been in a car. The biggest ache was my thighs (from the edge of the seat), and my hands (from the riding position). It shouldn't be too bad on the Tiger. If you pass a nice looking park or river, walking around while you drink a bottle of water will help get the blood back into your butt cheeks.

I work at a computer quite a bit, and have found changing eye focus helps a lot with fatigue. When you stop for food, it might help to sit down for 30 minutes and read something.

You may also want to pick up some rain gear that packs small such as Frog Togs. I think Cabellas and Bass Pro both have them. That way you can at least get somewhere without getting soaked from a surprise storm.

How about a list of Triumph dealers and phone numbers along your path? The Tiger has a reputation of being reliable, but a piece of paper packs pretty small. If there isn't one for a long stretch, even numbers to other manufacturer dealers would help if you need a tire or something.

Be careful about staring at your GPS while moving. If it were me, I'd keep it in a pocket just for that reason. Not a big fan of mounted electronics, myself.

Well, I think you have just about the ideal bike for such a trip. I'm jealous. Are you going to post pics and a ride report when youget back?
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Old 09-20-2012, 12:24 PM   #10
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Don't over-plan your trip. Your not going anywhere where you cannot buy somethong if you forgot it or discover you need it. Ride only as many miles as you feel like riding each dday. Take breaks for refreshments and to take in the scenery. Slow down and enjoy yourself. You'll find that each person chooses differently in planning what to take on a trip. Wing it. Make it an adventure. Have fun.
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Old 09-20-2012, 06:55 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Stkmkt1 View Post
Don't over-plan your trip. Your not going anywhere where you cannot buy somethong if you forgot it or discover you need it. Ride only as many miles as you feel like riding each dday. Take breaks for refreshments and to take in the scenery. Slow down and enjoy yourself. You'll find that each person chooses differently in planning what to take on a trip. Wing it. Make it an adventure. Have fun.
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Old 09-20-2012, 12:30 PM   #12
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Don't freak! You will have a blast!!!

Take the minimum - you'll need about half as much clothing as you think if you ride in the same clothes day after day. After all, who cares what you smell like when you're riding? Take a toothbrush and toothpaste. Take socks and underwear. Take one extra pair of jeans, or khakis, a couple shirts, and a pair of shoes, for walking around once you've reached your destination. Honestly, you don't need much more. Good riding apparel is a bonus, including liners. If you think you'll hit some really cold temps, take base layer clothing that packs small.

Daily mileage: I am definitely not a long-distance guy. I like to stop, walk around, drink a soda, stretch. My average day is around 350-400 miles and I never feel rushed. I can stop as often as I want. I can take pix and eat a leisurely lunch somewhere and talk to people at gas stations and still make 400 miles a day, no problem. And usually I'm rolling into my destination around 4 p.m. if I get an early start. Enjoy the ride. Stop when you're tired or sore. I know that's pretty useless advice, but it's true nonetheless.

+1 on good rain gear (if your bike jacket/pants aren't waterproof). If you need it, you'll appreciate having good rain gear.

Other than that, you'll know you're limits.

I hope this helps, and I hope you have a great ride!!!
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Old 09-20-2012, 03:13 PM   #13
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Hydrate often. Dehydration opens the door to fatigue, fatigue leads to sub-optimal decisions. Slurping a cup or two of water/sports drink will keep you hydrated far better than slamming down a liter at a time.
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Old 09-20-2012, 03:15 PM   #14
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I wear LD Comfort tights and long sleeve shirt. Then just my riding pants and jacket over that. It wicks moisture really well. When it's hot you can also soak the material and open up your jacket cuffs to cool yourself down. Funny enough, they are based in Washington. You can wash the stuff in the sink of a bathroom and hang them to try. I don't even wear boxers or briefs under them. Less seams to mess with your comfort while riding. Then I usually pack one pair of shorts, one pair of pants, a couple t-shirts, and flip flops. That's it for a multi-week trip. If I run out of clean socks I just throw mine away and buy another pack at a Walmart or other store.

http://ldcomfort.com/index.html
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Old 09-20-2012, 05:17 PM   #15
fnjeep314 OP
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I can not thank you all for the advice that you have given. I really do appreciate it.

To answer some questions, no I dont have heated gear. I can certainly layer though. I dont have rain gear either, but the jacket and pants I do have are waterproof. I just scored some Alpinestars waterproof boots today for 60 bucks!!

For a jacket I have:


These pants:


These hot weather gloves:


These warm weather gloves:


Cold weather gloves:


The boots I usually wear(steel toe):


Just scored these today for $60!! Down from $179!!! Jackpot!!


Other than the hot and warm weather gloves, everything is marked as waterproof. I do know that the jacket and pants are waterproof, I got caught in a storm last winter and was in the rain for an hour and got home totally dry. We will see if it becomes a few hours in the rain. The pants and jacket also have windproof liners that work great!! I will be taking the hot weather and cold weather gloves and all liners just in case. I do have hand guards on the bike and those block a lot of wind, so my hands dont really get all that cold.

I am going to try and see everything that I can in my allotted time frame. I am even thinking about venturing up to Vancouver for the day.

Tonight being the eve of my departure, I am feeling a lot less stressed and much lower anxiety about this trip. I know its not a small trip, but after reading all the advice, I am going to just wing it, sort of. Lets just say I have a loose plan now.

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