I ended up doing was to add 1" square tubing under the
seat to raise it up. Even though the bike itself has an adjustable
seat height it wasn't enough. The problem with adding to the
height was that it forced me to sit a couple inches further
back which increases my reach to the handlebars thus putting
more weight on my wrists, though not a serious issue. Raising
the windscreen as far as I could solved one problem but created
another. No longer did I have a stiff neck after a long day
from the wind but now the air turbulence around my helmet made
it almost difficult to hear and is quite annoying after a while.
My solution was to get a fancy pair of noise canceling earphones.
It helped quiet the noise so I didn't have to turn up the sound
far to hear it. Something to listen to is important on long
days because even I get sick of my yammering. My thoughts get
interrupted by my attention to curves and whatnot so what ends
up happening is thought paths get repeated over and over.
Once I solved those problems I had to plan the logistics. Where
was I going to stay? What route would I take? What supplies
did I need to make the trip? Some of these questions never really
resolved themselves until I got started. My plan was to camp
to keep it on the cheap. To help with that I got Don Wright's
Guide to Free Campgrounds. I certainly didn't want to camp with
RVs around and I also didn't want to plan ahead so that I was
forcing myself to stick to a schedule. Which also meant that
I couldn't really plan my route either. I only roughed it out
after my second day. Supplies were easy to figure out because
I knew I needed the ability to travel self-contained since I
didn't have a destination planned so I needed to be prepared.
Most of my information I got from the internet and motorcycle
related catalogs that I've dreamed by for years.
Initially I wasn't sure how far I was going to go, from a physical,
mental and time available standpoint. I vacillated between a
round trip to Glacier and down to Yellowstone and back to a
portion of my dream trip, which would be out to the Pacific
Coast, and back. I knew I wanted to go to Glacier and Yellowstone.
How far I went would change the tone of the trip itself. In
the end I knew that I had to go all the way. Opportunity only
knocks so many times.
Then I also cut my purchase list down to size as well. I figured
people have been doing this for years and all the modern necessities
only meant more to carry. I got a new smaller packable tent,
some straps to get it all to hang on, every map AAA had, comfortable
riding pants, and flashing taillights to increase my visibility.
Of course I had a freelance project pop up that dragged itself
out to a point that I had to take a huge risk in leaving right
at a fairly critical point, more so giving up control and relying
on the vendor's ability. The hardest part was the wavering confidence
my client had in me. But summer was at an end and I couldn't
wait any longer. I already assumed I would hit snow in the higher
elevations and I didn't want to increase that risk any more
than what it already was.
My plan was to take my laptop so I could work on the road if
I needed to, I could also communicate with the sedentary world,
which freed up calling the folks so they could sleep at night,
and the ability to write and create a web diary as I went along.
I debated getting a cell phone for emergencies but in order
to call for help you need to know where you are, which certainly
would be an issue. So that coupled with my general disdain for
them left that idea by the side of the road. My only luxury
that I was carrying was a camp chair so that I could relax easier
after a day hunched over on the bike.
So with no concrete route in mind, no pun intended, I started
Rocinante, I guess. Which was the name John Steinbeck gave to his
combo pick-up truck and camper he used in Travels with Charley, which
he named after Don Quixote's horse.
nature I am a restless person. One of my favorite authors in high
school was John Steinbeck. I think initially it was the romance of
the American character and their relation their environment. Later
I finally read his books/essays on the American peoples, Travels with
Charley, American and Americans, and The Log from the Sea of Cortez.
The combination of adventure and his observation/philosophy of America,
I think, lent itself to my growing restlessness and my interest in
people, why people are like they are. Though I am certain a large
part was just trying to figure out where I fit in really. When I finally
got to On the Road, by Kerouac, my wanderlust was pretty firmly set.
When I graduated from college my intent was to go west to Portland,
Oregon, but I realized I wasn't ready. So when I found myself in Vermont,
a place I never gave much of a thought to, at a very difficult time
in my life it was nearly impossible to accept. I think deep down that
since it was never my intent to stay that I never truly settled in.
I think these feelings of transience fed my constant driving, and
later riding, in the area. Still one of my favorite journeys was from
Burlington, Vermont to Lake Placid, New York. It was maybe 2+ hours
one way but the scenery was an excellent cross section of the area
as a whole. On the weekends within season I was driving an hour each
way to go snowboarding in the Green Mountains of Vermont and watching
the seasons change and the nuances that the change brings was almost
as important as the destination.
One of the reasons I moved back to the Midwest was that I knew I had
this need to see the West before settling down. Well, I hope it does
because moving is a difficult process that I am getting tired of.
So when I got the opportunity to take a trip finally this year I actually
had to decide whether I had the ability to make that dream a reality
or whether it was an obsession that was steeped in romance and outside
of reality, a Walter Mitty sort of thing.
I wrestled with how far, how long, when to go, and whether or not
to take my car. I am pretty taller than the average male, 6'4"
to be exact, with an inseam of 34" so the ergonomics of the bike
created two issues. One, I learned of after a long ride was that the
seat was a pain in the butt. Even though I had a "custom"
seat made for me as well as adding a foot peg lowering kit earlier.
It went a long way but not far enough. I knew that a long day was
difficult and multiple days would be impossible. So that was my first
real task that I needed to resolve to be able to decide whether I
was actually going to be able to take my motorbike. The other uncomfortable
problem was that the windscreen wasn't tall enough for long highway
speed miles. So I had to make a series of adjustments to that as well.