Murphy’s law says that anything that CAN go wrong. WILL go wrong. And with my luck, things will definitely go wrong! Many can testify to the ordeals that I put myself through. Key phrase: “put myself through”!
I was initially going to leave NYC at 4am Friday (as I’m typing this actually), but I wanted to take an extra day to relax after a grueling finals week. I still had to pack and tie up some loose ends before I felt comfortable leaving for 3 months to spend my summer in Grand Junction Colorado working as an intern for a geotech company.
The initial plan was to throw my bike in the back of a van and drive down there, but things didn’t go my way and I had to ride, which isn’t that big of a deal to me. I’ve ridden to Florida several times and New Orleans once, but this one was a little different because I was going to solo it the whole way. The plan was to stay with two DMF’ers, (The Ducati Monster Forum), one in Columbus Ohio and one in Denver Colorado. In the middle, I’m staying with a couch surfer in St. Louis and perhaps one in Topeka Kansas too.
The original plan was to haul my bike in the back of a van and drive down, but those plans got scrapped. Luckily I already prepped my bike for a long stint away from home. The valves were adjusted to tighter specs, fresh oil purge and all my fluids were changed. Even though I prepared the bike there’s really no such thing as being 100% prepared. Murphy will find a way to screw you over some way or another (like sending hail and tornados at me in my New Orleans trip) The best you can do is minimize how difficult dealing with it will be.
The trip will begin on Saturday 5am, heading to Columbus Ohio. The trip is expected to be take 9 hours and 30 mins, totaling 543 miles. But the rule with motorcycles is add 15 minutes for every hour to account for rest time and gas breaks. Motorcycles travel less distance per a tank because of our small tanks, but hey, at 60mpg on the highway, I’m not really complaining.
I’m always nervous when it comes to going somewhere new. The thought of not knowing anyone in a small town for a city guy like me makes me wonder why I’d even do this. Grand Junction isn’t a big city, but it’s also not the middle of the woods.
Emgo Travel Trunk on the rear, Fieldshier Contour panniers, and a Rapid Transit Big City Tank Bag. On the passenger seat will sit my Kriega R30 pack and on my back will be an REI Pinnacle 35.
Also loaded up is a Nuvi Garmin GPS (circa 2007, archaic I know!) My backup is my Nokia GPS with 3gb of preloaded and updated maps, though I don’t think I’ll need them the trip really is just I-70 straight across America.
And of course some basic tools.
2x Pairs of Work gloves because you never want to stick your grimey hands back into your riding gloves.
1x socket wrench with dual heads. One side has a ¼” and the other is a 3/8”. You could carry an adapter, but that’s another piece to look for when you are on a road side emergency. I carry common sockets for my bike. The most important being the 8mm and the 14mm( for my eccentric hub to adjust my chain).
1x Spark Plug remover I’m not sure what I need it for but I felt like bringing it with me.
1x Allen Key the golden ones are up to 5mm ball end, and the other two are 6 and 8mm. the 6 mm is very common on Ducatis and the 8mm is exclusively for my Rizoma Mirrors. I know I’ll be adjusting them each time I get on the highway so if they get loose from all the moving I can just tighten them back down.
1x flat kit. This includes the reamer, plunger, the gummy sticks and some tire glue. MAKE SURE THE GLUE IS STILL USEABLE!!!! Once you open these little things they pretty much go bad.
1x Bicycle tire pump. Some people carry CO2 cartridges, but holy crap, if you get two flats, you are pretty much SOL up the wazoo. The pump is the same size, requires more work, but is unlimited compressed air.
2x Electrical Tape, in case you need to kidnap someone along the way! Seriously though, this is great for holding something together it fell off or what have you. Always carry two. Duct tape works too.
1x set of fuses. If your bike has modified wiring, This is a MUST. Tail chops, custom HID, horn, anything that has a new set of wires, it can blow.
What’s not shown is chain lube (a MUST MUST MUST!), chain adjuster tool, the later isn’t as important for dual sided swing arms, but is important for single sided swing arms and of course some screw driver bits for use with your adjustable screw driver.
Lastly, my communicator. I have a throat mic but I don't have the connector for my phone :(. However I do have a helmet speaker connected to my phone. Ill be listening to movies I've seen so I know the dialog and can visualize the movie as I ride. Dangerous? Yes. But so is falling asleep on the road. Music puts me to sleep. Listening to movies keeps my mind active. That's the theory at least!