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2015 FJR1300A
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all,

I am considering a solo road trip from MA to CA (Capistrano Beach, sort of between LA and San Diego) then back to MA. Roughly just over 6k miles round trip. I would be staring Friday June 3, need to be back to MA by Friday June 17. Because of the time constraints I would need to average ~700-800 miles a day each way so all interstate / highway. When in CA I would stay with family for a few days then head back. I do have a few days of a buffer built in but not a lot.

It seems there are basically two routes that Google recommends. The "northern" route goes through Denver, the "southern" goes through Flagstaff and Albuquerque. I was considering taking the southern route out, the northern route back. I did a road trip from MA -> Wyoming, Idaho, Montana and back (~6,400 total) in 13 days last June. That was riding every day though and the max miles per day was ~550. 3 days out west, 3 days back, lots of great roads between.

I'm comfortable with my tool kit, will have new tires, bike is up to date with maintenance etc. I have a Garmin Zumo and will have a cell phone. I do have AAA for whatever that's worth. My FJR is a 2015A with ~20k miles. All factory equipment except RDL seat, RAM clutch reservoir mount (phone), TECHMOUNT stem nut mount (gps), Fobo TPMS w/metal T valve, Garauld highway pegs.

At this point my primary concerns are:
  1. ~700-800 miles per day - that's a LOT of miles per day even considering the trip I took last year. Anyone done similar miles per day for ~4 days? I rode 300 interstate miles yesterday just because, and may do 400-500 Friday just to get a longer ride in.
  2. Rush hour traffic - no idea how to plan around this. This could ruin multiple days end extend required
  3. Any recommendations on lodging? I'm thinking of looking for places around 2PM each day. That way I can ride whatever distance makes sense but I wonder if I'm going to run into vacancy issues.
  4. A bit worried about gas stations especially in the south west / rural areas. Anyone know Rt. 40 through OK, TX, NM, AZ and SoCal or Rt. 70 through KS, CO, UT, NV, CA?
  5. Do I need to be worried about snow on Rt. 70 in Colorado?
  6. Trip last year was with a group. This will be solo so no one to rely on but me. One of the group last year ran out of gas even with one spare gas bottle (~30 oz.). Having others was incredibly useful not only for that but for companionship etc.
  7. The few toll gates I've encountered suck with a motorcycle. It seems no matter where I have my E-ZPass getting the gate to lift is random. I think I'm going to avoid 90 outside of MA. I think that keeps me mostly off toll roads.
  8. Is this just a stupid idea, should I just go by air (in which case I may not go)? I am in my 50s, doubt I'll ever be able to even consider doing something like this again. That's probably a good thing... :)
If you've read this far thanks! Any feedback appreciated. It'll help tip the scales one direction or another. Thanks in advance...
 

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Depends what's more important, the family visit or the ride? If it's the ride I'd add an extra day each way leaving you with only 2 days to visit. You'll enjoy the ride more. If the visit is priority then I'd fly and save the long ride for another day and destination.

One other thing that is just my preference... leave the phone in the jacket pocket. I wouldn't want to be that one-in-a-million guy whose phone jettisons from a mount. Think of having no phone hundreds of miles from home and no way to find the nearest store to buy a new one.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
The SW is June is HOT.
I would be concerned with heat exhaustion
and dehydration more the anything else.
Being from MA, you may not fully
appreciate how serious this can be.
That is a very good point. When I was in Montana last year late June it was during the heat wave. I think the temps were 95+ and low humidity. I think I had mild dehydration on one of those days.
 

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Good points about the heat. Hydration system is a must.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Depends what's more important, the family visit or the ride? If it's the ride I'd add an extra day each way leaving you with only 2 days to visit. You'll enjoy the ride more. If the visit is priority then I'd fly and save the long ride for another day and destination.

One other thing that is just my preference... leave the phone in the jacket pocket. I wouldn't want to be that one-in-a-million guy whose phone jettisons from a mount. Think of having no phone hundreds of miles from home and no way to find the nearest store to buy a new one.
I bought one of the new RAM Quick-Grip mounts because of this. I realize there still is a possibility of the phone falling out but hopefully this lessons that possibility. Note - the Pixel 6 because of the way the camera sticks out of the back isn't an ideal phone for this mount. I'm considering bringing a spare phone. I have the ability to switch phones if needed as long as I have an internet connection. I really like having Waze up and running and being able to charge my phone. The Zumo uses the phone for traffic data too. I guess I'm spoiled but I don't want to run out of battery life.

I'm struggling with the entire prospect. The visit is important, but so is the ride. I wish I could take more time but I can't leave any earlier because of work and I need to be back in MA that Saturday for a memorial service. I am thinking about riding as hard as I can on the way out to allow for a slower ride back. Thanks for the ideas.
 

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I know I'm not an iron butt kind of rider, but TO ME, there are huge parts of that ride that will be boring and uncomfortable as hell. For me, that would be a purely endurance ride. I know I may not be typical, but if I'm going to be sitting on an interstate all day for those kinds of miles, I'd rather have air conditioning, a couple of good books on the sound system and a pretty girl in the other seat.

If it was me, I'd fly out there (like I often do) and avail myself of the many good SoCal bike rental options and spend the days on the spectacular roads out there... rather than wasting days on the mind-numbing stretches.

I do hope to do a good coast-to-coast ride someday, but it will be when I can spend the time to be on good roads and enjoying the unique parts of the country... without a XXX miles per day quota.

Whatever you do, I hope it's a great time for you. I love California, but I'm thankful I don't live there, because I would be extremely poor. :)
 

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I made a fairly inexpensive hydration system from these. I use nylon straps to mount it on the passenger foot peg and secured to the T-Rex saddle bag crash bars...



And a drinking tube with bite valve from Platypus. Had to drill a hole in one of the covers that come with the bottle and install it with a grommet. Works fine.
 

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I was in UT 4 years ago on June 1......... 42C (~107F) in Moab, and a coupla days later 36C in southern UT all the way west across Nevada to Carson City. The heat will dehydrate and tire you out faster than you think..... If you can stay up in elevation, you'll be much cooler.
Me, I wouldn't ride this, just a waste of tires for half of it and you'll be tired. You'll not have time to see anything good or smell flowers.... in this case, airplane.
 
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I know I'm not an iron butt kind of rider, but TO ME, there are huge parts of that ride that will be boring and uncomfortable as hell. For me, that would be a purely endurance ride. I know I may not be typical, but if I'm going to be sitting on an interstate all day for those kinds of miles, I'd rather have air conditioning, a couple of good books on the sound system and a pretty girl in the other seat.

If it was me, I'd fly out there (like I often do) and avail myself of the many good SoCal bike rental options and spend the days on the spectacular roads out there... rather than wasting days on the mind-numbing stretches.

I do hope to do a good coast-to-coast ride someday, but it will be when I can spend the time to be on good roads and enjoying the unique parts of the country... without a XXX miles per day quota.

Whatever you do, I hope it's a great time for you. I love California, but I'm thankful I don't live there, because I would be extremely poor. :)
Those are all good points. My wife is trying to convince me to fly and rent a bike out there. And yeah, I do believe parts will be very boring. I suspect it'll be difficult to stay alert and safe. Scales are tipping to not go or fly.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I made a fairly inexpensive hydration system from these. I use nylon straps to mount it on the passenger foot peg and secured to the T-Rex saddle bag crash bars...



And a drinking tube with bite valve from Platypus. Had to drill a hole in one of the covers that come with the bottle and install it with a grommet. Works fine.
That's an interesting idea and keeps a backpack off of your back...
 

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I have a bladder that I used to put in my tank bag but with so much storage on the FJR I don't use the tank bag anymore.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I was in UT 4 years ago on June 1......... 42C (~107F) in Moab, and a coupla days later 36C in southern UT all the way west across Nevada to Carson City. The heat will dehydrate and tire you out faster than you think..... If you can stay up in elevation, you'll be much cooler.
Me, I wouldn't ride this, just a waste of tires for half of it and you'll be tired. You'll not have time to see anything good or smell flowers.... in this case, airplane.
Thanks Ray...the points you and others have raised so far have convinced me to look at renting a bike and flying to LAX or Santa Ana. Seems like the best of both worlds. Hopefully it won't rain!
 

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In mid March, I was faced with the same dilemma, CT to CA. Slabbing it across the entire US with a deadline at each end made me think I’d be better off not taking the vacation. 😀 LiquidSilver was spot on with my thinking. Of I was retired with time to spare, that’s a different story. I looked at riders-share.com and was going to pull the trigger, but found a great deal on a 2015 in Vegas and spent two weeks in SoCal riding the best roads I’ve ever experienced from morning till night, including a ride from Lake Elsinore to your destination. Cross country certainly has its place, but I’d skip the foreplay and just show up with your riding gear. My .02 cents. Have a blast.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
In mid March, I was faced with the same dilemma, CT to CA. Slabbing it across the entire US with a deadline at each end made me think I’d be better off not taking the vacation. 😀 LiquidSilver was spot on with my thinking. Of I was retired with time to spare, that’s a different story. I looked at riders-share.com and was going to pull the trigger, but found a great deal on a 2015 in Vegas and spent two weeks in SoCal riding the best roads I’ve ever experienced from morning till night, including a ride from Lake Elsinore to your destination. Cross country certainly has its place, but I’d skip the foreplay and just show up with your riding gear. My .02 cents. Have a blast.
Thanks...how did you handle getting your riding gear out to Vegas? Would you put your gear in a suitcase and check luggage?

The Ortega Highway is a fun road that dumps out right about where I need to be. Used to be much more open space there when I was a kid in the 80s, lots of places to dirt bike ride. I'm sure there still is but I lived just south of Irvine then and there were a ton of places to ride.

I checked Eagle Rider and they have an RT, an FJR and a few other models I'd consider. riders-share.com seems more affordable. Appreciate the suggestion.

I really don't want to rent a car but that may end up being the case if I pull the trigger and go.
 

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dude don't do it, 700-800mi/day is a death march, all you will see is freeways, you'll be under constant pressure, you really need about a month to do that trip and have fun
go over to the Adirondacks, poconos and blue ridge mountains and relax and have fun
 

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Thanks Ray...the points you and others have raised so far have convinced me to look at renting a bike and flying to LAX or Santa Ana. Seems like the best of both worlds. Hopefully it won't rain!
If I may add my two cents.... I have ridden multiple IBA rides, ride motorcycles almost daily now and put anywhere between 150-300 a day for work and well over 1K a week when I am not riding for pleasure. I have done 1000 mile days and 1500 mile 36 hr rides. I am no mile eater but I have done my fair share and want to do more.
That being said, from NY to Cali scares me. Like many have mentioned the weather differences and the temperature/elevation changes. 6K in one go is a HUGE deal. If you have done 700 mile days back to back for a week in a row before then it may not be a big deal. If you have experience riding and sitting on the bike for days and days on end it may not be as big a deal. If this is just a cool idea then you would be starting at almost the top of the endurance riders achievements. The only thing to out do that would be vertically across North America or something.

Lets set all that aside and say you are a bad ass and have ridden a ton and want to accomplish a huge feat.

There is still a few things to overcome and deal with that a lot of people don't think about when getting into a ride longer then they have ever done. The mental exhaustion. I am not talking about just being up for 3 days in a row at 4am to beat the traffic, I am talking about the games your brain plays on you when it is subconsciously fed up with staring at the lines of the road and the same dials/LCD for hours/days on end. You have to know how to recognize that it is happening and deal with all of that, hell even practice for it. You also have to account for your diet before and during a trip such as this. Coffee and energy drinks(I love them both) huge no-no, food that will make you shit often or have indigestion days before is a bad omen. Even having cash and time to recognize a day you wake up in a hotel and just flat out have to say "I can't do it today, body's in too much pain".

God forbid anything mechanical happens and you have to get into the old creedo of "Nothing you can't fix on the road with the best tool of all, money."

Am I saying you shouldn't do it or saying you can't? No definitely not. But if any of these things have not been experienced before or thought about WAY ahead of time you may want to set your bar a little lower and practice some "smaller" rides before hand and physically/mentally prepare.

side note: If you were to do a trip like that you should record it under IBA standards. Thats a hell of a ride (again, one I have not got yet) and you can get a few certificates for your garage/office wall, a patch or two and a license plate holder that will get tools like me to try to talk to you all the time about eating bugs and the best place to get pickle-in-a-bag is.
If you don't like that sort of thing that's cool too.

IBA Website
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
dude don't do it, 700-800mi/day is a death march, all you will see is freeways, you'll be under constant pressure, you really need about a month to do that trip and have fun
go over to the Adirondacks, poconos and blue ridge mountains and relax and have fun
Funny, my daughter lives in Nashville. I thought about riding there and then flying to CA for ~4-5 days then back to Nashville to ride home. I have been going back and forth about this for some time. I really want to get some riding in with my time off but have seen my dad and sister once in the past ~ 15 years. I need to see my father soon.

All the feedback is appreciated and has been really helpful.
 

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Funny, my daughter lives in Nashville. I thought about riding there and then flying to CA for ~4-5 days then back to Nashville to ride home. I have been going back and forth about this for some time. I really want to get some riding in with my time off but have seen my dad and sister once in the past ~ 15 years. I need to see my father soon.

All the feedback is appreciated and has been really helpful.
This would be awesome practice! And if you ever want a guide around the Adirondacks, Catskills, or Green Mountains just hit me up. I am right in Albany, NY and recently was in that neck of the woods for an amazing (albeit short) ride.

 
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