Departure is in T-19 days. 19 days. 19. 19.
Substantive planning has taken a bit of a back seat over the past few weeks, as there's lots of legwork (and paper work) to finish up finalizing my enrollment. Byzantine student loans rules, master promissory notes, finding a place to live (done!), mentally preparing myself to go back to school...it'll be nice to be able to think about motorcycling again!
I have done plenty of long riding days recently,
While going up to New Hampshire was a good endurance test, I didn't need to bring anything with me other than my usual tool kit and some water. The next step was to do some serious over-nighting. Luckily, my friend Eileen from school was getting married out in Western Mass, and all of my college friends were staying 3 nights afterwards at a cabin nearby. The trip was 5 nights total, I needed to pack for both a formal wedding and camping, the first leg was 110 miles, and it was forecast to thunderstorm. PERFECT. (ED: Mark's idea of perfect is fairly abnormal)
I had also bought saddlebags. While I'd love to fit up my bike in full Kriega gear, I just don't have the dough, so I bought a set of very cheap "Motocentric" sport bags.
Zipped out and expanded, they held a 3-piece suit, dress shoes, my Docs, rainsuit, bike cover, water bottle, tool kit, military jacket, and a few other bits. Not bad. They also came with some elastic rain-proof covers. Not the most confidence inspiring things, but they stayed on through a driving rain storms @ 75 mph, so hopefully they'll last the trip out. Here's the bike all loaded up; I just bungied my tent and duffle back to the top (all my clothes were wrapped in a garbage back for cheap rainproofing).
Speaking of my tent, its a cheap 1-person bivvy from Eureka. Take about 5 minutes to put up, the fly is attached, and it was plenty warm the 3 nights I used it (too warm in the morning, actually). Here it is in the middle of being attacked by my friends.
So, other than those two trips what have I done? Well, it is now The Crunch, so I finalized my plans. Its the same route as before, just starting a day earlier on the 30th, so I get an extra day to hike around Bryce Canyon. Already made reservations at the Annie Oakley Motel in Oakley, KS (whooo...), as well as the Wacker Hotel in Chicago. But now it really is THE CRUNCH.
Up next; detailed plans, the joys of gearing changes, and why you should wear flowers in your hair...