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Old 12-05-2014, 05:29 AM   #1
Crusty OP
Cranky old fart
Joined: Jul 2005
Location: Central Massachusetts
Oddometer: 299

I am officially retired. I'll be getting my first Social Security check on the 24th of this month, and I'm tired of where I'm living.

Iím seriously considering hitting the road for a while when the weather gets warmer. Itís been decades since I lived as a true Tramp and since Iím not nearly as young and flexible as I used to be, I have to think things out a bit first.

I have a good tent, and it should be adequate for at least this summer. Iíll probably want to get a better sleeping bag; and I think I should get an air mattress. Iíve been using a couple of Thermarest pads, but I think one air mattress would be a better idea than two pads on top of each other. Also, I think I should get a Jet Boil. Iíve really become addicted to my morning coffee.

Another thing IĎm pondering is what bike should I ride. I thought about getting a cheap used Guzzi. (a Tonti five speed in some flavor), but finding shops is kinda tough sometimes, and I still havenít gotten over the time my 850 T ate itís u-joint in Minneapolis in 1979. There was only one dealership in the state, and they didnít have one. I had to leave my bike there for a month, then fly back and pick it up. Then I had to redo the job out in the parking lot, as the kid who worked on the bike didnít know much about Guzzis and didnít do the job right.

My Norge has lost its sparkle for me. Itís got less than 65,000 miles, and it just doesnít quite give me the feeling that it would be trouble free enough. Mechanically, it's as dependable as an anvil; I just don't trust the electrics/electronics. Add to that the scarcity of Guzzi dealers, and using it looks even less attractive. I donít know if Iíll sell it or store it.

Iíve thought seriously about getting an old Buell S3-T, but theyíre getting pretty scarce, and they arenít quite as cheap as they were a few years ago. The problems that plagued my old í98 have been addressed, and the bike could be pretty reliable. If I could find one cheap enough, it would be a serious contender.

Iím thinking about getting a used Sportster; preferably one from between í91 and í03. The Sportster has an incredibly stout engine. It should be good for close to 100,000 miles without serious maintenance. If I get a 5 speed, itíll have belt drive, which is low maintenance, and should it become necessary, easy to replace. Oil changes are a snap as is primary chain adjustment. And if something does go wrong that I canít fix on the side of the road, there are Harley dealers everywhere. And there are even more decent Independent repair shops. Yeah, Sportsters vibrate; but I used to drill rock for a living and the vibes are nothing compared to what a Jackleg drill produces. I can handle the vibrations.

Iíve owned a few Sportsters over the years, and Iíve put tens of thousands of miles on them. Right now, thereís a glut of used Sportsters on the market, and the prices are really affordable. Iíve found three this week alone on Craigslist for well under 3 grand (two are $2500 and the prettiest one is at two grand). One thing I have to consider is how much it will cost me to set up the bike. I donít like forward controls or ape hangers. If Iím going to be riding this bike for days at a time, I want it to be comfortable. Mid controls and Highway pegs work for me, and I know what bars would be right, as well (they came stock on a í79 FXEF, along with many other models). Plus, I want waterproof hard bags. That could be a bit tough to find, but I know theyíre out there. Keeping in mind that I'm going to be living on a shoestring, and I'll be starting out flat broke; what saddlebags do you recommend? I'm thinking of going really cheap; like maybe getting some ammo cans from the Army Navy Surplus store and jury rigging the mounts; but I tend to be suspicious of doing that.

So far, it all looks pretty much doable. Thereís only one small problem, and thatís medical. I have to take a blood thinner every day, and the level of it in my blood is critical. Too much, and I could bleed to death; too little and Iím likely to have a stroke. Iíve been getting my blood drawn every week or two to measure the levels and that involves going to the hospital and having them stick me with a needle. I know that thereís a device that measures the levels that works in a similar manner to what diabetics do to measure their sugar. I prick my finger and place a drop of blood on a little piece of film, then insert it into this device that reads the level of Warfarin in my blood. For some stupid reason, the insurance company wonít pay for this device even though it would save them thousands in short order. They will pay for the supplies for it, though. I guess Iíll just have to pony up the cash and buy the tester on my own (Any time you think dealing with a government bureaucracy is bad; just try dealing with an Insurance Company bureaucracy. They make the Feds look streamlined).

Back when I was a Tramp, one of my travelling companions was David Kaelin. He never paid rent anywhere. He had a job working on a Tow Boat pushing barges on the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers, and he worked one month on, one month off. When he was at work, he lived on the boat. When he was off the boat, he would get on his bike and travel. I learned a lot from him about how to live on the road. I think it can be done for a reasonable price.

I have many friends and Family that I havenít seen for a long time. Iíd really enjoy travelling around, maybe catching a few Flat Track races, and visiting my two brothers and sister and their families, and seeing my friends across the country. I also want to see a few things that I just never got around to; like Monument Valley or Las Vegas or the North side of Lake Superior; or maybe even Alaska. I still have the itch to ride up to the Arctic Circle.

After doing this for the summer, I could jump on a plane and fly to Brisbane and spend some time with Ron and Melia and let the winter here pass by. For once, I could do North in the summer and South in the winter. For years, I would go to a warm climate in the summer, and then come back to New England for the winter months. I didnít even have the sense that God gave a duck!

Oh; one other thing Iíd have to get is a laptop computer so I could keep in touch with everybody and post on my favorite forums. I also have to learn how to take pictures with my cell phone, but that will be easy enough, or maybe just get an inexpensive Point and Shoot camera. Does anyone have recommendations for either a cheap laptop or point&shoot?
Any and all advice is welcome; and I'm positive I'll be able to work out a routine once I start travelling. What would you advise?

In any event, things are looking pretty interesting for the coming year!
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Old 12-05-2014, 07:19 AM   #2
Gnarly Adventurer
Joined: Jul 2014
Oddometer: 190
move'n on

sucks to be you.....lucky bastage!!! Good times ahead fo sho!!
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Old 12-05-2014, 07:30 AM   #3
Studly Adventurer
Joined: Jan 2012
Location: Central fly-over land.
Oddometer: 687
There are many other (most?) blood thinners that are easier to live with than Warfarin. You might want to visit with your doctor about this. Keep in mind some of them are not reversible in the ER if you generate a bleed, and if living on a motorcycle that might be something to consider.

The single air mattress, if it leaks, provides you very little padding. If one of your two Thermalrests leaks, you still have the other. The cots that pack up small look very interesting, and if I still tent camped much, would likely be on my motorcycle, along with a camp chair of some type. Older bodies like these things.

Sounds like a wonderful way to kick off your retirement, and I wish you the best of luck and good times.
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Old 12-05-2014, 02:02 PM   #4
Crusty OP
Cranky old fart
Joined: Jul 2005
Location: Central Massachusetts
Oddometer: 299
Unfortunately, I can't take the new test-free blood thinners. I have a mechanical (stainless steel & carbon) aortic valve, and all the new thinners state to not take them if you have an artificial valve. I'll be talking with my cardiologist long before I head out, and I'll heed his advice.
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Old 12-06-2014, 12:51 AM   #5
Mark Manley
On my way
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Joined: Apr 2010
Location: Back home in the UK
Oddometer: 790
It sounds like you have a good start to your retirement planned and I wish you luck. I agree that the Sportster is a good choice and there are so many second hand parts out there I am sure you will get it set up to your liking for quite a reasonable cost.
Something else to consider if you have the money for the flight is to spend the winters abroad somewhere like Southeast Asia, India or Central America where living is very cheap, you won't need to camp as hotels can be had for a few dollars a night and small motorcycles can be rented for a similar price, if language is a problem you can get by quite happily with English in Asia.
For some inspiration and perhaps a few ideas check out Simon Gandolfi who is in his 80's and still lives on the road with a motorcycle.
If it's in the Touratech catalogue then you don't need it

"You've got to think for yourselves! You're all individuals!"-Brian of Nazareth
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Old 01-10-2015, 05:52 AM   #6
alberta bob
Gnarly Adventurer
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Joined: Jan 2008
Oddometer: 233
why do you not look at small dual sports, klr and the like . seems like they would give you more option to go more places than a sportster.
1990 gs100
2007 s4rs

"The point is, you can survive. I did, and I'm no superhero. I'm just a man, full of faults and poison and sadness and hatred, full of joy and fears and pain and happiness, full of love for my fellow man and my kids and unfortunately not enough for myself, but I'm learning."
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Old 01-11-2015, 08:33 AM   #7
Joined: Sep 2009
Location: central massachusetts
Oddometer: 46
central mass


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