Back in my single
days when riding alone, I never had to worry about such
important touring gear.
Additional pair of
jeans, two additional shirts, shorts and socks, add a
coat and chaps with gloves and I was good to go for a
week long trip. Not only was I good to go, I had room to
spare for tools and souvenirs Id pick up along the way.
Carol came along and we decided to get married taking
our honeymoon trip on the bike, I had no clue how
important and difficult packing the essentials for a
trip could be.
Our planned trip was
to leave Denver, heading up through Salt Lake, stopping
to get married in Lake Tahoe, head over to the
California coast, back to Las Vegas, Zion National Park, Arizona for the
north rim of the Grand Canyon, down to Durango and Mesa Verde and then home.
It was a bit over 3000 miles and 17 days.
So I tell Carol, you
get a saddle bag and trunk; give me the clothes you need
to take. Out comes the full length robe, fuzzy slippers,
curling iron, 5 pairs of jeans, 27 shirts, several dozen
unmentionables, 3 pairs of shoes, a coffee pot and a
I set the robe,
slippers, curling iron, 3 pairs of jeans, 21 shirts, 18
unmentionables, coffee pot and two pairs of shoes aside.
I then said again, clothes that you need to take. Oh my,
let the fun begin. Hey, I allowed her to keep the
wedding dress and shoes!
She did convince me
that helmet hair was unacceptable for a bride by saying,
if I wanted her as a companion on our honeymoon she
would bring the hat of her choice. This was not open for
Silly me, to think
she would find a ball cap to her liking. After a long
and arduous search, she presents to me this tall crowned
straw hat with a 4 brim. No worries, with a little
ingenuity I fabricated a bracket to hold the hat in
place while maintaining its fine shape.
exaggerating a little, but you get the point. We learn
by experience what we should pack and its truly amazing
how little a person really needs.
Mac and his discussion about trekking to Alaska and the
Spring Fling just around the corner it seems like a good
time to discuss what essentials you really need to pack.
My list has a set of
core items that I consider essential but it evolves
depending on the length or type of trip. You may have
your own ideas as to what you define as essential for
your core as this list is very subjective.
Starting with the
core items, these are with me at all times no matter
what distance the ride.
Sign reads: Honeymooners
A spare Key for your
bike and bags. You only have to lose your key once to
ruin the entire trip.
Basic tool kit, adding
a decent screw driver (one handle with exchangeable
4 Crescent wrench
Crimping pliers and
Wire ties, roll of
Air pressure gauge, and
a large can of Fix a Flat
Hose clamps, 2 3/8,
2 3/4. Its amazing how many broken brackets you
can repair with a hose clamp and tape.
Scrunchies You know, those
little things that hold your hair back? I hate to get
mats in my hair.
Camera and tripod
Cell phone programmed
with three ICE numbers. ICE is the acronym for In
Case of Emergency. Should the unfortunate happen the
authorities can contact ICE #1 Carol on her cell, #2
Carol at home and #3 my parents.
Extra batteries for
cell, camera and Autocom
Clear glasses for
Lightweight and medium
Advil and Decongestant
First Aid Kit
When the ride is
overnight or several days, in addition to the core items
I pack the following.
Jeans one pair for two
days, packing no more than two
Shirts, underwear 4
clean changes. The 5th day you find the
Flip flops for camping
showers and evening wear
Battery charger for
cell, camera and Autocom
Pin and paper for notes
Volt ohms meter
3 foot of 3/8 siphon
hose you never know when you might need some gas
Bike cleaning supplies
Honda polish and a couple of rags
What type of ride is
it going to be? Are you camping or staying in the hotel,
maybe a combination of both?
If youre camping you
need to add Camping gear.
Tent, stove, cook pot,
sleeping bags, hikers roll up mattress.
I never had room for
a cooler so at the last fuel stop for the day I would
stop and pick up dinner and breakfast supplies. Always
remember, any left over food attracts animals. I put the
left overs in the mess kit and tie it up in a tree
outside of camp.
I would suggest if
you havent ridden your bike loaded down for a while or
especially if you never have, to do a few dry runs. Pack
it up just like you would for your trip and put a few
miles on it. Get accustomed to how it handles, change
your shock settings, make sure youre not overloaded and
that the bike is comfortable for the long trip.
Check your tires for
wear and nails, check oil and lights, making sure to air
your tires to a higher PSI for the added weight and set
your shocks to accommodate a heavier load.
When packing, make
sure to equalize your load between your bags. If you are
running a tail pouch, keep it as light as possible, you
dont want all your heavy weight on the rear. Keep the
weight low and as far forward as possible for better
Pack your bags in
layers for easy access and remember where you packed
everything. Invariably you will need to find something
at the bottom of the bag and you dont want to unpack
everything on the side of the road just to find the sun
Now that youre
packed up and good to go, lock the bike in the garage,
get a good night sleep and the most important aspect of
any ride, be safe. If youre tired, take a break,
stretch and have a snack.
Enjoy the experience,
no matter what you encounter, have fun and make some
Id like to hear your
comments and suggestions. Maybe we can compile
everything into one document and post it for future
Until we ride again,