Long-ish trip on big-ish bikes

It’s early November December 2017 and we are in the planning stages of a bigger motorbike trip, longer than anything we’ve done to date, so this should be interesting.

The farthest destination ahead of us (so far, anyway) is Ocean Springs Mississippi, Gulf Coast U.S. We’ll be travelling from Victoria, B.C. Canada. Why there, and why now, you ask? Lars’ daughter Marie, lives there. The timing seems right for many reasons, my kids are on their own; our work situations allow us the time off. The timing seems right and we’re up for it.

Up until now, we’ve done a few multi-day trips, two-plus weeks, once in 2016, then again in August, on our 250 cc bikes. I think I prefer the smaller bike touring, dirt roads, secondary highways, camping, and all that kind of thing.

But, this is a lot of kms, ten thousand of them, give or take. That is a very long way, and realistically, one or both of us might go a little loopy riding that distance on single cylinder bikes. Not that it can’t be done, of course, but we have about two months and there are some spots where we’ll want to stop and enjoy the scenery, as it were.

This trip will be mostly secondary highways on highway friendlier bikes: Lars’ 2016 Kawasaki Versus 650; my 2013 Honda NC700sa.

Something in the universe also has some funky mojo going on. Look at the plates:

our bikes our plates

Lars got his bike in September of 2016; I got mine a year later in September 2017. You can’t plan this kind of thing. I’ve seen people pointing at our plates… What are the chances?

Things we’re working on now:

Route planning – we’re going to leave early-mid March, so we need to travel on the coast south, and then head across the Cascades/mtn ranges and inland. We want to be in Mississippi for up to two weeks, and leave before it gets too uncomfortably hot and humid – e.g. early to mid May. We find the Butler Maps to be an excellent resource. This is the most recent route, out and back, 6,000kms each way.

Do you have any must sees along the way? We’re considering: Moab and southern Utah, West Texas Hill Country, Death Valley… Leave us a comment with any ideas!

Other prep includes: oil changes, coolant, tires, some ergonomic changes for “Pearl” my NC700. We installed 2″ Rox Risers, as the reach was a bit much for me. The bars are angled back now, and it seems much better. We installed AAC plugs for the heated jacket, charging gadgets, and a centre stand for easier maintenance. Taller windscreen, and an AirHawk saddle. We’re riding when the weather cooperates, to test out all of these tweaks before we really get long hours in the saddle.

The biggest addition we have purchased are hi-vis-hi-impact airbag vests. Hit-Air. Why Hit-air? We looked at the Helite vests, and according to a friend who tried one, she found it stiff, restrictive, and longer in the body.  She is taller than I, so that wouldn’t work for me at all. The Hit-Air vest I have is a medium, and it seems to fit well. Hopefully, it’s just insurance that goes unused.

Edit: I’m writing this in June, 2018. We’re home after this motorcycle adventure. There are a few blog posts on this site, as well as the “final” summary.

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