The Longish Way Down. Three guys to Myrtle Beach, SC

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Day Trippin'' started by AdventureTrail, Sep 7, 2021.

  1. AdventureTrail

    AdventureTrail Alex

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2019
    Oddometer:
    760
    Location:
    Virginia
    This is a multi-part ride report for our upcoming trip to Myrtle Beach, SC. We are leaving at the end of September, so the posts until then will be about planning, bike prep, and any challenges/fun along the way. Enjoy!
    -Alex


    It was one of those things that started as idle conversation in a cigar lounge. We had just ridden our bikes to Staunton, VA to enjoy lunch and cigars at Beverly Cigar Store. It was a perfect day for riding, and this had become a favorite route of ours. We smoked and talked about bikes, trips, “dream” destinations, and future rides. The topic of planning a trip came up, and I threw out the idea of taking another trip to Myrtle Beach, SC by the end of the year. Originally, I had planned to go solo, or two up with my wife. The other Alex ( @Alex11B both of us are named Alex, so hereafter, I’ll just use his last name, Davis.) chimed in and mentioned that he’d love to do a similar trip.

    “So why don’t we?”

    And so it began. We started looking at hotel rates, dates, places to stay and things to do down in Myrtle. My job is pretty flexible with leave time, so it was really up to his schedule. Eventually, we tentatively selected September 25th-28th. We decided that we wanted to take the long way, avoiding the interstate whenever possible. Looking at the route, we decided to stay at my place the night before, as it was right off Rt.15 which is the road we will be on for the majority of the trip. The plan was to stage and gas the bikes the night before, and leave early in the morning. The route we selected has us riding for about 7.5 hours/350 Miles (one way).We figured that we plan to leave around 7am. We would ride until around noon or so, and stop for lunch wherever we were. From there, it would be about another 3.5 hours or so to Myrtle Beach, putting us at the hotel by 3:30pm ish. It was a rough plan, and some details would be ironed out, but it was all coming together.

    A couple days later, Davis confirmed that he could get the time off of work. I put my request in as well, and it was approved the same day. We now had the dates and the time off from work, but the trip was still several weeks away, and there was a mounting pile of logistics to consider. We would need to find a hotel, my bike needed work and new tires, we would have to pick a route, and finalize plans. While it was hardly Long Way Round, we still wanted to have fun, and a proper adventure.

    Davis and I decided to invite a couple other guys to come along. We sent invites to three guys, Matt, Corey, and Ron. All were good guys, mutual friends, and riders. Ron and Corey couldn’t make it, but Matt was in. He put in for the time off, and then we were a party of three. I was initially concerned about the logistics and costs of adding more people, but everyone was flexible about sleeping arrangements, splitting a room, and paying. It was all good.

    The trip had officially exited the concept stage, and was full speed ahead into the planning phase. As it turns out, a month is not that long, and the trip is fast approaching.
    #1
    Logan W and Callisto224 like this.
  2. AdventureTrail

    AdventureTrail Alex

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2019
    Oddometer:
    760
    Location:
    Virginia
    Part 2: The Bikes

    So as I mentioned earlier, my 2014 Vstrom 1000 needed work. In no particular order, I was looking at tires, valve check/adjustment, air filter, oil change, chain service, spark plugs, etc. The bike had apx 20k miles on it. After doing a lot of number crunching and shopping for quotes, my wife and I decided to.......get a new bike. I started shopping, test riding, and evaluating all of the various options and settled on a new 2020 Vstrom 1050XT in yellow! (The yellow ones are the fastest!)

    So I made the 150 mile ride to Roanoke on my 2014, and rode back on my new bike. Very happy with the new 1050, excellent motorcycle. Here's a pic of the new bike with the old Vstrom in the background at the dealership:
    IMG-7719.jpg

    I started making a list of upgrades for the new bike and started ordering parts. Some of the stuff has already arrived, and some will hopefully arrive before we depart.

    List of parts for the new 1050xt:
    -Barkbusters (yellow plastics, of course)
    -Skid plate SW Motech
    -Lower crash bars SW Motech
    -Sidestand pad (SW Motech)
    -Rugged powered mount for my Garmin Montana 700i
    -Hessler Ralleye team rear luggage plate
    -Bumot Panniers, Racks, and toolbox (black)
    -New tool roll

    I'm sure there's more that I'm forgetting. Obviously all of this wasn't needed for the trip, but I ride a lot and commute often. My wife told me "You're going to do this once, so order whatever you need to make it perfect." She may come to regret those words.

    A few days later, Davis texted me and told me he too was going to look at a new bike. He has been lusting after ADV bikes for some time now, and went to Moto Richmond to test ride a couple Triumph Tigers. Later that day I got a picture of a new Tiger 850.

    We went for a ride that weekend:
    IMG-7741.jpg

    Here's Matt's bike, an MT-10. The only non-adv bike of our group.
    Matt bike.jpg



    So there we go. Two brand new bikes, loads of parts and gear being ordered and still planning the trip. Davis has racks and panniers coming in soon as well.
    #2
    Callisto224 likes this.
  3. AdventureTrail

    AdventureTrail Alex

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2019
    Oddometer:
    760
    Location:
    Virginia
    Part 3: Logistics, Equipment, Planning.

    Since the events in the first two posts, there have a been a couple developments. I'll be breaking them down into sections.

    Hotel:
    We finally booked and paid for the hotel. This was a big one, and I think it really made the trip feel more "real" since we had actually paid and were past the point of no return. We managed to find a nice oceanfront hotel, and split 3 ways, the rate wasn't too bad. We had looked at what felt like a dozen hotels, and even though we ended up going with the more expensive option, I think we made the right choice. We all agreed that we wanted to do something oceanfront, relatively close to the cool things that we wanted to visit, and with secure/secluded parking for the bikes. When we called and talked to the front desk, they assured us that they would make accommodations to our satisfaction regarding securing the bikes, even if we wanted to park them in front of the entrance where they could be monitored 24/7 by the desk staff. Talk about the celebrity treatment! Matt and I sent our part to Davis, and the room was booked!

    Comms:
    Matt and Davis both use Cardo Packtalk Bold headsets, and finally talked me into buying one, since it would make it much easier to communicate while on the road. (Not that hand signals aren't fun) I ended up ordering a pair of them, since my wife and I ride together often. They arrived this week, and I began the process of fitting them to our helmets and learning about the features. (pairing to the phones, GPS, etc.) It was pretty straightforward once you get the hang of it. I had resisted getting something like this for a long time, because I prefer to be unreachable when I am riding. With that said, it is really nice to have music, and when my wife and I test rode the Cardos for the first time, we were sold. It was so nice to be able to talk to each other in real time, and listen to music while riding. It took me a couple rides to tweak the volume settings to where I wanted them to be, but I think they are good to go now. And to Davis's point, I can always just leave it turned off if I want the privacy. These are definitely going to be great to have on the trip.
    IMG-7906.jpg


    Parts:
    The first of the parts for the new bike have arrived! The Garmin Montana Rugged mount for the Montana 700i is mounted on the nav bar (not pictured, but it's now wired to the battery and much cleaner, this was just to get an idea of where I wanted it) I also purchased and mounted a GoPro mount for my Hero 5 Black. The mount swivels, so it can shoot through the wind screen, or reversed to show me! The pannier racks and tool box arrived from ADV Motorrad (the US distributor for Bumot) and I installed them. The panniers themselves should arrive mid September according to Jason (who is awesome to work with btw) which should be just in time for the trip. My new tool roll arrived as well, so I transferred the tools over. Much better organized and fits perfectly in the new toolbox.

    Bumot Racks and panniers installed:
    IMG-7803.jpg

    GPS and GoPro setup: (Ignore the wires, they're connected and managed now, this was a staging photo)
    IMG-7811.jpg


    My old tool roll:
    IMG-7851.jpg

    and the new tool roll (MUCH better)
    IMG-7854.jpg
    #3
  4. Callisto224

    Callisto224 Long timer Supporter

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2010
    Oddometer:
    8,079
    Location:
    Smyrna, GA
    Wow, nice bright yellow bike!

    Good luck on your trip!
    #4
    AdventureTrail likes this.
  5. AdventureTrail

    AdventureTrail Alex

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2019
    Oddometer:
    760
    Location:
    Virginia
    Thank you! I'm a sucker for the retro Dakar styling. It does seem to turn some heads when I'm out and about, which I suppose means they see me!
    #5
    Callisto224 likes this.
  6. AdventureTrail

    AdventureTrail Alex

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2019
    Oddometer:
    760
    Location:
    Virginia
    Came home to boxes! Side stand foot from SW Motech, and the frames for my Barkbusters! About an hour later, everything was installed and good to go. Big improvement over the stock “handguards”. I got the VPS plastics shipping notification today, so they should be here soon.

    AA602E9A-1A5A-41BC-AE85-B138E13FF488.jpeg B5C1FCAD-EAEA-49DF-AEB0-D9D214AC9169.jpeg 7ECB6F8B-0D09-41F1-861A-867A485BDBC6.jpeg
    #6
  7. AdventureTrail

    AdventureTrail Alex

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2019
    Oddometer:
    760
    Location:
    Virginia
    Davis got his side boxes and racks installed today. He sent us a pic before quickly hopping on to try to beat the rain home.
    A9DF92A7-28FE-4259-A947-4821EB8ECC96.jpeg
    #7
  8. AdventureTrail

    AdventureTrail Alex

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2019
    Oddometer:
    760
    Location:
    Virginia
    UPDATE:

    We are two weeks out from the trip. Logistics seem to be coming along nicely, and parts continue to come in for the Vstrom and the Tiger. Davis and I went for a ride yesterday evening and met up with a couple inmates from the Charlottesville ADV thread. Great group of guys, cold beer, and wings! We got in trouble for attempting to move two tables together (but then it was ok for some reason? :imaposer). Good time was had by all, and it will be nice to have some local folks to ride with. After, Davis and I rode to the house for cigars. We paired our Cardos in the parking lot, and this was the first time we had ridden together with comms. It was definitely a game-changer. Being able to talk/chat and get feedback in real time (Davis needed to get gas) was awesome, and it will be a HUGE help on the trip.

    We talked last night about logistics some more. Matt's bike has a much smaller tank, and therefore range. He also has no windscreen, which might be a challenge over the course of a long day. We went over the route and started to look at how many stops we would need to make for gas. Matt said he will probably want to stop at 100 miles or so, just to be on the safe side. Its not really a problem, but I suggested that we should try to make the most of the stops so we don't end up having to make more. (i.e, everyone fuels when we stop for Matt's gas, everyone takes a piss, stretches, etc.) That way we are gtg for a while in between and someone doesn't have to take a piss an hour down the road. Davis and I get about 225-250 miles per tank, so we will basically stay topped off.

    I'm putting together the rest of my tool kit, knocking out my 600 mile break in service, and stocking a medical kit for the trip. Hopefully not needed, but always good to have.

    My Barkbuster plastics and his full handguards are set to arrive tomorrow. More pics once installed.
    #8
  9. AdventureTrail

    AdventureTrail Alex

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2019
    Oddometer:
    760
    Location:
    Virginia
    Update:

    Lots of happenings in the last few days. Davis and I both got our Barkbusters kits in, and got them installed. The yellow looks awesome and is a perfect match.

    BB pic 1.png BB pic 2.png
    #9
    TownPump and Alex11B like this.
  10. AdventureTrail

    AdventureTrail Alex

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2019
    Oddometer:
    760
    Location:
    Virginia
    Got the email update for the panniers from ADV Motorrad. Huge shout-out to Jason (@rotaryracer ) for going above and beyond answering my many questions and phone calls and working to accommodate the timeline for this trip. I'm very excited to get the panniers in this week. Ordered the Bumot Defender Evo Panniers in the 31/35L sizes. A couple points on why I went with the smallest size of the panniers:
    -I commute on the bike daily, so It's nice to have the space to store things securely (change of clothes, etc.) but I don't need a ton of space.
    -I'm a super light packer on trips, so the extra space becomes wasted and/or filled with useless stuff.
    -I really like to keep the overall size and weight of the bike minimal for everyday use. I'm not a fan of large overloaded bikes.

    I'll make sure to post pics when they come in, which should be this week.
    #10
    rotaryracer and Alex11B like this.
  11. fastring

    fastring Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2012
    Oddometer:
    761
    Location:
    Monroe, GA
    From what I've read, I'd be prepared for lots of fuel stops for the MT10 buddy. Maybe if he rides it fast enough ahead, it could be a wash...
    #11
    AdventureTrail likes this.
  12. AdventureTrail

    AdventureTrail Alex

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2019
    Oddometer:
    760
    Location:
    Virginia
    Yeah, looking at the specs and his personal experience with the bike, it’s looking like between 3-4 stops on the way down, and about the same on the way back, assuming he starts with a full tank. Since the other two guys are new to “long distance” riding, I think the extra stops might actually be welcome. I made the same trip about two years ago, down one day, back the next morning. I don’t mind the stops necessarily, as long as we make the most of them.
    #12
  13. AdventureTrail

    AdventureTrail Alex

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2019
    Oddometer:
    760
    Location:
    Virginia
    Ordered the new crash bars from SW-Motech this morning. There’s a 50/50 chance that they arrive before we leave. I’ve decided to go with the lower bars and skid from them, rather than the factory bars and Hepco & Becker skid that I originally had in mind (was backordered anyway)

    Davis had asked the group if anyone had a padlock that we could use with a braided steel cable to provide some extra bike security, and the garage provides:
    97D7DC02-9363-4F66-B983-D642993090F6.jpeg
    #13
  14. CJSRider

    CJSRider Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2020
    Oddometer:
    215
    Location:
    Glen Allen Va
    That a big padlock. How do you like the new bike?
    #14
    AdventureTrail likes this.
  15. AdventureTrail

    AdventureTrail Alex

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2019
    Oddometer:
    760
    Location:
    Virginia
    It is indeed! I have it for locking up my mtb, and it does a good job there as well.

    I really like the new bike a lot. It's basically just a much improved version of my previous Gen 2 Vstrom. I commute most days, so it's nice to have proper cruise control, better display, nav bar for GPS, etc. I looked at TONS of bikes before deciding to get another Vstrom, but I'm really happy with it. I have a couple more parts coming in that should finish outfitting it to my liking.
    #15
  16. Storz

    Storz Adventurer

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2011
    Oddometer:
    69
    Location:
    Boone, NC
    That new 1050 is really cool!
    #16
    AdventureTrail likes this.
  17. AdventureTrail

    AdventureTrail Alex

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2019
    Oddometer:
    760
    Location:
    Virginia
    Thanks! The retro-Dakar design and yellow have really grown on me a lot over the last couple weeks.
    #17
    Storz likes this.
  18. AdventureTrail

    AdventureTrail Alex

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2019
    Oddometer:
    760
    Location:
    Virginia
    UPDATE:

    We leave in 9 days, which is insane considering that it seemed like not that long ago we were just talking about it. Davis came by the house to pick up his hat that he left the last time he was over. While he was there, we had a beer and talked logistics. We went over the plan and made a list of things we still needed to do/buy before leaving. I still have several parts coming in, but it is looking like everything should make it with plenty of time to spare. The new crash bars are a maybe, largely depending on how quickly SW Motech gets them shipped out. They're also coming from Oregon to VA, which will take a couple days. It will be tight. The panniers, although delayed by FedEx, should arrive tomorrow. The last part is the luggage plate from Hessler Rallye Team in Germany, which cleared customs a couple days ago in NY, and should be here in a couple days.

    We talked about back-up plans and "worst case" scenarios. The biggest worry for me is torrential rain. Nothing will take the wind out of the sails like waking up to a wall of water, and 7.5 hours to go. None of us own proper rain gear, and while my jacket is "water proof" my pants, shoes, socks, and gloves aren't. Now I don't mind riding in the rain for a bit, but setting off for a full day of riding in the rain would suck. A lot. The other consideration is how heavy rain would affect the timeline. It's really easy to lose a lot of time being slowed down by poor visibility, traffic, fog, etc. Not to mention just having to ride slower overall. The last consideration is Matt, whose bike doesn't have a windscreen. Any suffering that Davis and I would have in the rain would be even worse for him.

    The consensus was that we will keep an eye on the weather, and if it's raining when we get up, we will gauge how much and how far-reaching the rain is, then make the call. Ultimately, I'm down for whatever. We also decided that the absolutely last case scenario fallback was to just toss our stuff in the truck and go anyway.

    I've also been working out my packing list of things to bring. I'm a pretty light packer overall, and I don't bring a lot of superfluous items. I am also planning to restock and resupply my motorcycle med kit, which hasn't been refreshed in a bit.

    Lots to do, but it's exciting.
    #18