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Old 06-12-2010, 10:57 PM   #1
cowboy7900 OP
Joined: Oct 2009
Location: Milwaukee
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Question First long trip

Well I'll be doing my first long trip this September. I'll be going to Utah from the Milwaukee area. My route will go through MN, SD, MT, WY, finally into UT. About 1,800 mi. I'll be staying with a friend in Utah for a few days then returning home through CO, NE, IA and into Wisconsin about 1,400 mi. My question is, how many miles should I expect to do in a day? I will be avoiding the slab as much as possible. The trip will be made on an '09 KLR. So far the most miles I've done in a day has been 400, but that was with a partner and I think I can do more solo. I was thinking about going for my Iron Butt 1000 but I'm not sure I want to push it. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. This is my first solo long ride and I'm looking forward to it.
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Old 06-13-2010, 05:25 AM   #2
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Sounds like a great trip. Lots to see where you are going. Take your time, do a IB some other time when you don't want to experiance everything.

IB's make it go by real fast.
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Old 06-13-2010, 05:42 AM   #3
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400 miles at an average of 50 mph would add up to eight hours in the saddle. A lot of how far you can go in a day does depend on your butt. And the weather, and possible breakdowns or other delays.

You didn't say how many days total you have set aside, but 1,800 miles out divided by 400 miles per day would be 4-1/2 days to get there. Your mileage back would call for 3-1/2 days. Your time window might dictate a higher average of miles per day. Just food for thought.

A key to making distance is to get set up so you relax as much as possible while riding. Earplugs, proper gear, stay hydrated, find the "sweet spot" in the engine that maximizes fuel economy and minimizes vibration.

It's summer time, so a hot weather minded approach can get you some more miles. Basically, it's and old farmers approach to work adapted to riding. Get up early and ride. Take a mid-day break and nap and rest during the hot afternoon, make another leg between say -- 4 PM and dark.

Enjoy the trip! Be sure and take a few pics and then come back and share them in trip reports.


PS: I notice your initial post was also your first post. Welcome to the asylum!
'00 BMW R1100RT, Gone away: 5 previous BMW's, 3 Honda's, 2 Suzuki's
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Old 06-13-2010, 06:31 AM   #4
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When I'm on a trip I usually like to ride from just before sun-up to sundown (unless I've got people to visit or hikes or something to do along the way). Depending on how much I stop for pictures, traffic and road speeds this usually works out to be 600-1000 miles a day. On a KLR I'd plan for the shorter end of that range as it'll be more fun at lower speeds. So if it were me I'd probably budget for 600-800/day.

1000 miles in a day really isn't hard, but I wouldn't do it just so you can get some silly sticker off the internet. : I've done many 1k+ mile days but have never, and probably never will send in recipts and that crap for a little gold star or whatever the iba gives out.
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Old 06-13-2010, 06:52 AM   #5
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just do it man, the only thing you are doing wrong is thinking you are doing something wrong!
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Old 06-13-2010, 07:33 AM   #6
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Thanks everyone for the great posts. I have two weeks to do the trip. I guess I'll just have to do it and see how far I get each day as I want to take lots of pictures, and I may feel like taking a detour if I see something interesting. (I guess that rules out the IB) I'm not sure if I should go through Yellostone or not. I've never seen it but I may save it for another trip. I cant wait.

Thanks, Brett
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Old 06-13-2010, 08:14 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by cowboy7900
I'm not sure if I should go through Yellostone or not. I've never seen it but I may save it for another trip. I cant wait.
Assuming your destination is southern UT, Yellowstone would be anticlimatic unless you're getting off the bike for a day or two to hike in the park.
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Old 06-13-2010, 09:42 AM   #8
John Joel Glanton
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There's already been some good advice posted thus far. I have done a lot of long-distance riding and made a lot of mistakes along the way. My own experiences have taught me many "rules of thumb" that I go by now:
  • Don't overpack clothing, personal accessories, shoes, boots, etc. It's a common mistake and they usually just get in the way and take up valuable space.
  • Take the tools you need to fix the bike and get it back on the road but not to do a complete overhaul. A lot of riders try to take 20 pounds of tools!
  • Make yourself a good flat-repair kit and really know how to use it. Practice at least one tire/tube change on each tire before you go. Changing a tire/tube on the trip should not be the first time a guy does this. Also, take one spare tube for each tire.
  • Take a spare brake/clutch lever, lots of long zip ties, and a roll of duct tape.
  • Get a hydration pack and top it off every time you stop for gas. Drink water all day long even if you're not thirsty.
  • Eat several small snacks and small meals along the way instead of one huge lunch in the middle of the day. If you do this, you'll be more alert. Eating a large lunch just before you do another 200 miles is a recipe for mental sluggishness, sleepiness, and fatigue.
  • Take two small ratchet tie-downs because they can be used for a lot different things if you need to repair or extract your bike from a mess.
  • Make a "monkey butt" kit out of diaper rash cream, a small container of baby powder, and maybe some anti-bacterial ointment. Don't go crazy with applying that stuff but keep yourself ultra clean and use that kit along the way. It will pay off big by the 3rd or 4th day on the road.
  • Consider wearing some cycling shorts or shorts made by LD Comfort
  • Use earplugs! Consider using some high-quality earbuds that double as earplugs. I prefer the Etymotic ER6i and an iPod for those long stretches of highway.
  • Do an internet search for bike shops that are along your route. Make a master list of these shops and take it with you. If you break down and have to get professional help, you will already know who to call and where they are.
  • Do the long days and big mileage in the first 48 hrs. Slow down and take your time for the rest of the trip because if you try to push hard after those first 2 days, you'll get too fatigued, you'll miss the sights, and you won't enjoy it as much.
  • Don't think in miles. Instead, think in hours and specific destinations.
  • When you stop to rest or refuel, don't just stand or amble around. Get that blood moving in your legs and butt muscles! It may sound stupid but doing some air squats, lunges, and stretches will keep your lower body in good shape for hundreds of additional miles that simply standing or walking will not give you. I do these as well as some pushups and arm "windmilling" to stay limber. You can move your bike to the side or behind a gas station and do your exercises there. Again, I know it sounds stupid but if you do a solid 2 minutes of these movements before you get back on the bike for another 1.5 to 2 hours, you will truly feel better at the end of a long day.
  • Be sure to stop along the way at points of interest or at any place that looks even remotely cool.
This is probably a lot more information than you were wanting. These are the things that have proven to work for me. YMMV. I hope you have a great time and a safe ride.
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John Joel Glanton screwed with this post 06-13-2010 at 09:51 AM
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Old 06-14-2010, 09:44 AM   #9
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Thanks everyone. John that was a great post that was exactly what I was looking for. I just got the go-ahead from my boss today so I'm excited. The date to leave will be September 4th. Thanks again for tharing the experiance. Brett
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Old 06-14-2010, 11:05 AM   #10
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Everyone has to start somewhere/sometime. It is just a lot of one day rides stacked together.

On my longest trip, I did a week loop. Came back home and repacked, then took off, again. A few weeks later I sent another package home. I still had too much stuff and travel with less these days.

I had a few destinations/schedule to keep, but when that was finished the traveling became more enjoyable.

I had a mind change 4-5 weeks into the trip. About the time you start running out of toothpaste, etc. The bike became home and all schedules fell to the side.

I never did post a report. Hmmm Is an old ride report OK?
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Old 06-19-2010, 05:58 PM   #11
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What are your plans for riding utah? Do they include MOAB?
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Old 06-20-2010, 07:01 AM   #12
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My plans are to visit my buddy who is staying in Vernal, which is in the north east corner of the state. I plan on fly fishing mostly and some riding, but he doesn't have a bike and I'm not sure where to ride. My buddy may be taking a job in Arizona before my trip. If he does I will be visiting him there, but I would take the same route, which would take me through southern Utah.
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Old 06-20-2010, 08:56 AM   #13
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How fast are you going when you reach 1000 miles a day?

I usually cruise 80-90km/h, I can't see 1000 miles happening
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