Sunday, May 22, 2011

What I've Learned on the Trip

OK, so after all was said and done, I traveled 7329 miles across 18 states and I learned some things along the way. For those of you who are following me from work, I guess this would be my "lessons learned". It's sick, I can't seem get away from work...

Here is a list of what I learned:
1. Semis will try to pass other semis if they are moving 1/2 MPG faster and clog up the road.

2. Bring some lip balm and hand moisturizer along. The cold wind will dry out lips and hands faster than you can blink. This is even through gortex gloves.

3. Get your espresso any opportunity you have. It is tough to find it in Utah, Wyoming, and west Oklahoma. Four shots of espresso at Dunkin' Donuts in NJ was actually 8 shots.

4. Once you get into New Mexico people/ businesses get touchy about using their bathrooms. You have to start asking for keys or buy something before they will let you use it. Also, along those lines, use the bathroom when it is available. You never know when the next one will be coming up.

5. If you are planning to do a ride like this, make sure you have a cruise control mechanism on the bike. A cramp buster is good but not good enough. Over time, the throttle gets really tough to hold on to in order to maintain speed.

6. There is no substitute for good gear. The old saying "you get what you pay for" could not be more true than with motorcycle gear. Whether you are trying to stay warm, dry, cool, or what ever, good gear keeps you comfortable and the ride fun.

7. Using something like Fast Pass or E-ZPass makes the trip much easier. It is tough to fish change out of your pocket while on a bike. Wearing gloves makes this all the more complicated.

8. There is no reason to stay on the bike for extended periods of time... I'm talking longer than an hour and a half at a time. Take your time getting from one place to the next and take frequent breaks. You are not as tired and worn out when you get to the final destination for the day.

9. Listen to your body. I know it's hard to ignore the feeling of having to go to the bathroom but if you are cold and body parts are going numb, stop. If you are thirsty, stop for some hydration. If you are tired, stop and rest. Your body will tell you if you are trying to do too much.

10. In general, most of the people you run into are extremely friendly. They see the CA plate on the bike and start to ask all kinds of questions. A round trip from CA to NY gets a lot of raised eyebrows...even at BMW dealerships.

11. The helmet law is not a federal law. I have seen in several states people riding around with nothing but a pair of shorts, sunglasses, and sandals on. It would suck to be them if they went down. ATGATT!!! Motorcyclist, you know what I mean...

12. Sometimes the sound of a boxer engine is preferred over music while traveling down the interstate.

13. Sometimes visiting with family can be better than anything you can possibly see on the road.

14. Helmet head is completely unavoidable... I don't care what Progressive says!

15. Parents will drive you absolutely bonkers while you are out there, especially if you are by yourself, but it is only because they love you.

16. Three cases on a motorcycle can hold a lot of stuff!! And be sure to keep candy bars out of the left case. (This is the one up against the exhaust.)

17. Have confidence that that you can do anything on the motorcycle but know your limitations. Although this is meant to be challenging, it is also meant to be fun.

18. No mater how challenging you think your trip is, there is always someone doing something more challenging than you.

19. Economy of motion becomes important when driving through congested traffic over long periods of time. Example, the clutch doesn't need to go all the way to the bar with every shift (thanks Reg Pridmore for that one).

20. The air wake of a semi is not a good place to be with all the buffeting unless you are fighting a really hard crosswind. With a cross wind, it actually smoothes it out.

21. Santa Fe was my favorite new place on this trip. I would like to come back there again.

22. Mother nature can be more unpredictable than any w... can be unpredictable.

23. I still don't like Pennsylvania.

24. Chicago, LA, and NY had the worst bumper to bumper traffic...unless you include the never-ending mystery road work in Pennsylvania...then it would actually be them.

25. The roads in NY are so bad, direction wise, that the GPS gets confused.

26. You can never take enough photos.

27. I am apparently a BMW guy. When asked where I was going by the General Manager of Victory BMW, my response was "this way until I get tired. I'll figure something out when it's time." According to him, that is a BMW guy.

28. Bug guts can be really sticky and difficult to remove from your helmet, jacket, and pants. Bird guts can be problematic as well.

29. The people who live and work along the route rely on money from tourists. At times they request donations for taking photos usually the donation applies to purchasing something from their business.

30. After taking a trip like this you don't look at your bike and gear the same way again. It is hard to explain but this bike and gear that has taken you across the country and protected you the entire time. You have been attached to this stuff day in and day out for the last several weeks... Or maybe I'm just loony toons.

It's great to be traveling like this. I had a lot of fun...but as Dorothy said "there's no place like home".


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