Advice for a noob going coast to coast and back?

Junkie

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1. I live in a city with a population of 400,000 and can't count on 4G cellular service at home. Usually 2 bars but sometimes 2G or none. When crossing the entire US, there's a lot of empty areas which have poor coverage (I see this when traveling back home to see family).

2. A few years ago I was part of a forum where a rider went missing on a trip. Had lunch with a friend one day but didn't arrive at the hotel that night (or something like that). They eventually found his body 30 feet or so down a hill but it took nearly two weeks. Not sure if a SPOT would have made a difference but it would have saved suffering time for his family. He was a seasoned distance rider so they assume he tried to avoid a deer or something and lost control.

Other thoughts I haven't seen mentioned...
I'd take and extra pair of boots. If you get caught in a rainstorm, you don't want to be stuck riding in wet boots (mine seem to get wet even with rain gear). Or riding in damp, sweaty boots day after day. Extra gloves in case they get wet in unexpected rain.

As far as preparing, that's not too difficult since you've decided to mostly use hotels and you're retired. Ride 300-350 miles. Come home and sleep in your own bed. Repeat for a week. While doing this, use mostly what you'll take with you to get an idea of what you need (make note of what you don't need). Adjust your trip time accordingly.

In 11 days, weather could be bad enough to delay you. Plan to arrive at least 2 days prior to spending time with your son. If you're delayed a day, you'll still have a day to rest up before time with your son.

I didn't seen any USB ports mentioned. If you're using your phone for GPS and directions, it probably won't last 300 miles on battery alone. Get bluetooth in your helmet so you can hear the directions. Might need a different windshield so you can hear it better. Maybe a phone mount if you want to see the maps but waterproof mounts can make the phone hotter than usual.
I agree the phone won't last that long on battery alone. I have a charger in my frunk and keep my phone there. Reception is great for both of my Senas.

In motels it won't be a problem, but if camping I'd say to make sure to carry a battery pack so you can recharge the Sena every night - I don't have to worry about my phone, but the Sena isn't plugged in and I've had it go dead on long days.
 

BrianK

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I agree the phone won't last that long on battery alone. I have a charger in my frunk and keep my phone there. Reception is great for both of my Senas.

In motels it won't be a problem, but if camping I'd say to make sure to carry a battery pack so you can recharge the Sena every night - I don't have to worry about my phone, but the Sena isn't plugged in and I've had it go dead on long days.
Fortunately the prior owner had already installed a marine grade 12v outlet on the dash, and he installed pigtails for heated gear and trickle charger too. I have a solar powered back up cell phone battery too, so I think charging issues won't be a problem.

I do need to pick up some kind of bluetooth device so I can hear my GPS and cell phone. I plan on simply placing my car Garmin GPS in the Givi trunk bag clear window on top, but I do have one ram mount available on the handlebars and can add another if needed.
 

BrianK

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I am in the same boat as 670cc. I changed my front sprocket the first time around 35,000 miles. I honestly thought I had probably pushed it too far until I compared the new with the old and I didn't see much difference. I feel it could have easily stay on longer so in my opinion you have a long time before you need to worry about that. I use the same chain as 670cc and my chains last about 14K. Plus, I am lazy about chain maintenance. I lube mine about every 800ish miles. Changing a chain is easy if you have done it a few times and you have a center stand. Didn't pay attention if you have that setup. Not sure I'd want my first chain swap to be conducted while I'm out on a trip across the country.

If I were in your situation I would change the chain prior to the trip which gives you some practice and gives you a little experience just in case you have a problem while out on the road. I was out on a gravel trail once and my chain was probably a tad loose. A rock flung up from the rear tire and got caught between the chain and sprocket which derailed the chain. This was prior to my first chain swap and I had no tools not to mention I was out in the middle of nowhere. Crap happens so better to have some limited knowledge/experience working on the chain. A chain alignment tool is cheap and I highly recommend using one over the tick marks on the swing arm.
I do have a center stand. I think I'll just put a VX2 chain on it before I leave.

I'll have the Pilot Road 5s put on right before I leave too. Previous owner had already bought them new but hadn't done a tire swap yet from OEM, so he threw them in with the bike purchase. Original Battlewings still have decent tread, so I should be able to use them for most of my my shake down rides till I leave.

I've read good reports about mileage expectations for the Road 5s (as well as excellent reports about their overall and wet weather handling on paved roads) so I shouldn't have to worry about replacing tires on this trip.
 
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670cc

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Many areas without cell coverage..Heck I live about 4 miles from I-65 and have 0 cell coverage from any courier...Traveling south on I-65 from Cave City to Tennessee, I have no cell coverage (Total Wireless)... Many areas out west has no cell coverage, I think it is a good idea; plus, add a rider on insurance just in case, god forbid, an accident occurs and you have to be flown by helicopter---most insurances dont cover this...
I agree with David, and I’ll repeat my earlier suggestion. Get a backup communication device such as InReach or Spot, especially since you’re traveling alone. Cell coverage simply cannot be depended upon. My mobile phones barely work at my house on two different carriers and I’m only a mile from an interstate highway. So many beautiful riding areas I’ve been to have no coverage, and at times I had two phones in my pocket that used two different cell service carriers - still no service.

I’m not one to buy frivolous insurance coverages. I believe insurance should be purchased for catastrophic losses, not inconveniences. However, InReach, and possibly SPOT, offers search and rescue reimbursement plans for $17.95 per year. I’m no expert on the subject, but my wild, uneducated guess is that a crash that involves a helicopter ride and a long ER visit could easily run you $50,000. I wouldn’t buy it for my normal riding routines, but for a long cross country adventure it might be worth a look.

Ditto on making sure you have a way to charge or power electronic devices.
 
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ld_rider

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I’m no expert on the subject, but my wild, uneducated guess is that a crash that involves a helicopter ride and a long ER visit could easily run you $50,000.
Not that wild of a guess at all....

My 90 air mile helicopter ride to a trauma center in Flagstaff, AZ ran $32,000 when I crashed in the middle of nowhere on I-40. A week after the accident an air ambulance (Lear Jet) flew me and a small medical support staff from the trauma center in Arizona to a hospital in Portland, Maine. That was another $30k+ or so..

The helicopter ride was covered under my employer's insurance and the air ambulance (and transport of the bike from AZ to Maine) were handled by Medjet. I think the coverage for the transport from AZ to Maine cost me about $225 for the year. Premier Air Medical Transport and Travel Protection | Medjet
 
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melensdad

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Three years ago I couldn't walk at all. Now I'm able to walk 1 1/2 to 2 miles per day, with no real training for the last year. I'm hoping to increase my daily endurance over the next year and a half so I can complete the minimal requirements of the "official" Camino pilgrimage. If my training goes better than I anticipate, I may try for a longer route. Right now, walking on perfectly flat trails is about the best I can do. Big hills or mountains are out of the question. But after a year and a half of conditioning, hopefully that will improve. I'd love to make the additions you advised here, thanks!
Ah, other circumstances. Then yes, walk the walk you plan. And walk it at your pace. Most of the guide books suggest 13 miles per day as their planned average. My daughter had back surgery and walked about 5-6 miles a day. She did the same 100km route you are thinking, Sarria to Santiago. She hopes to return to do a longer trek but based on her example I'd encourage you not to be 'pushed' by others and just do it at your own pace.
 

StratTuner

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it's not especially difficult to wire a (fused) line from the battery to a "car power" outlet on the handlebars. I put a usb adapter in that, and the gps and cell phone charge while i'm riding.
 

BrianK

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Due to the strokes, I have difficulty getting up off the ground without something substantial to hold onto. And I’m a side sleeper and get bursitis in my shoulders without some form of decent cushioning. So I already ordered a Teton Camp Cot, a Teton self inflating camp pad, and a Kamp-Rite® IPS (Insect Protection System) cot tent.

Even if I don’t take them this fall, I’ll use them in the staging trips up here in the northeast I’m planning over the next several months.

No, it certainly isn’t minimalist or ultralight, but my ability to get a good nights sleep is paramount.
 

Junkie

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Fortunately the prior owner had already installed a marine grade 12v outlet on the dash, and he installed pigtails for heated gear and trickle charger too. I have a solar powered back up cell phone battery too, so I think charging issues won't be a problem.

I do need to pick up some kind of bluetooth device so I can hear my GPS and cell phone. I plan on simply placing my car Garmin GPS in the Givi trunk bag clear window on top, but I do have one ram mount available on the handlebars and can add another if needed.
I'm not sure if any of the headsets can simultaneously pair with 2 devices.

Is there a reason for using the GPS rather than your phone for nav?
 

Afan

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... a Teton self inflating camp pad..
I have self-inflating pad. It's really nice to drop it on the ground, open the valve and come back couple minutes later to close the valve (eventually blow couple blows of air). And it's (kinda) better solution comparing to classic air-mattress in case of the puncture. But, what I didn't like is packing in the morning. For me (55 years and 250 lbs) it's really hard to roll it on the ground to remove the air and pack it the size it supposed t be. If there is a bench/table it's much easier, but still... One eguy fro st-owners.com showed me the trick: you roll it first time without struggling and when reach the end lock the valve. Stretch the pad again and start the rolling process again, and when close to the end open the valve, release the air and close again. To it couple times. Much easier.
But, I switched to "classic" air mattress (Coleman, about $10 in Walmart) because it's thicker, more comfy, easy to fill up with air and in the morning using the same pump "reverse" the process to taking the air out. Really effortless. In case of the puncture (witch is hard to happen because I use it only inside my tent) I have couple patches to hold until morning. Tomorrow just buy new one ;)
 

BrianK

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I'm not sure if any of the headsets can simultaneously pair with 2 devices.

Is there a reason for using the GPS rather than your phone for nav?
As others have noted, there are too many areas with no cell signal to rely solely on a cell phone for navigation. That said, apparently some if the InReach or Spot devices do feature navigation too, so maybe I can eliminate the GPS.
 

Junkie

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As others have noted, there are too many areas with no cell signal to rely solely on a cell phone for navigation. That said, apparently some if the InReach or Spot devices do feature navigation too, so maybe I can eliminate the GPS.
google maps lets you load things ahead of time so that it'll still work if you don't have cell coverage. I do it all the time. Download areas and navigate offline - Android - Google Maps Help has some basics although I think it might be old directions. What I do is tap the 3 horizontal lines to the left of "search here", go to "offline maps" (near the bottom of the screen), "select your own map", and download.

Having a real GPS for backup isn't a bad idea but I don't expect to use it (and I think my Garmin is too old for bluetooth)
 

BrianK

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Regarding my planned motorcycle trip, a friend said to me,

“I'm glad, Brian, that things are looking up for you. You deserve some light relief, and it's great to have something to look forward to although I'm not a fan of motor bikes. Wouldn't you be safer on the train?”

I replied:

“I doubt it. I’ve been riding motorcycles since I was about ten years old. I’ve never driven a train ;-) “
 

Afan

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Regarding my planned motorcycle trip, a friend said to me,

“I'm glad, Brian, that things are looking up for you. You deserve some light relief, and it's great to have something to look forward to although I'm not a fan of motor bikes. Wouldn't you be safer on the train?”

I replied:

“I doubt it. I’ve been riding motorcycles since I was about ten years old. I’ve never driven a train ;-) “
:D Good one!
 

drdubb

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I can use both my GPS and iPhone at the same time through my bluetooth headset/mic.
I also use iPhone and GPS through blue tooth headset. I used to do my music through the GPS, but the phone is easier to deal with.
 

dduelin

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Without using an automatic oiler, I've been getting about 17,000 miles from aftermarket VX2 chains and at least twice that many miles from a front sprocket. In fact my front sprocket wasn’t worn at 35,000 miles but I changed it for the heck of it. The original chain is not a good as replacements, but I’d still expect 12-14,000 miles if well maintained. Your mileage may vary.
I think chain wear is highly variable. A lot of your riding is under 50 mph isn't it? I just got home from weekend trip of 1100 miles and much of it was 65 to 75 mph, 110 miles at 85 mph. I can't get 15,000 miles out of a DID VX2 and I still think that is pretty good from a 520.
 

670cc

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I think chain wear is highly variable. A lot of your riding is under 50 mph isn't it? I just got home from weekend trip of 1100 miles and much of it was 65 to 75 mph, 110 miles at 85 mph. I can't get 15,000 miles out of a DID VX2 and I still think that is pretty good from a 520.
I agree, chain wear is highly variable. One big variable might be when would one consider the chain to be worn out. Some might consider a chain done when it gets one tight link. Others may consider 10 tight links to be just fine, or might wait until the wear indicator is reached. Variations in the definition of a worn chain could account for several thousand miles difference between one person and another.

The CRF250L also uses a 520 chain. The chain seems to be wearing very slowly, but it is a 25 horsepower bike. It will be interesting to see how long it’s chain lasts vs the NC700X’s.

It’s reasonable to expect shorter motorcycle component life the more aggressively the machine is ridden.
 
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melensdad

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I also use iPhone and GPS through blue tooth headset. I used to do my music through the GPS, but the phone is easier to deal with.
I just bought a pair Cardo Packtalk Slim headsets; one for me, one for my wife. Have not tried them yet. They use Bluetooth and MESH technology. MESH to talk to each other. Bluetooth to connect with devices. Supposed to connect up to at least 2 devices. I only need it to connect up to my iPhone for navigation.

I have been using SCENIC with offline maps for navigation on my iPhone. It is NOT a free app. You have to buy credits and then you can download maps for specific areas of the world. Supposed to work very well without a signal but I've not tried that yet. There are plenty of areas around me that have dead signals spots but usually only for very short distances so its possible to drive through them and not even realize it.

I do like that I can use SCENIC to choose routes. I can set it to pick routes that avoid interstates, tollways, and even to choose to find curvy roads. Of course it can also pick fast/efficient routes too.

Supposedly you can map out routes on FURKOT and import them into SCENIC too. No clue how to do that. Going to have to figure that out!
 
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