Details on my bike for this trip.......

Motorcycle Make: Yamaha
Model: Roadliner (Cruiser class)
Year: 2006
Fuel Efficiency: Approx 40 MPG on this trip.
Engine: 1854 cc; air cooled; V-Twin; EFI.
Fuel Tank Capacity: 4.375 gallons.

Engine Modifications:
- Cobra Exhaust with a Power Commander digital Fuel Processor

Travel Modifications:
- Mustang driver seat with detachable backrest
- Yamaha leather saddlebags
- Yamaha sissy bar for strap on luggage
- Strap-on duffle bag
- Risers (2.5 inches up; 3 inches back)
- Yamaha detachable windshield

Trip Preparation ......

I am 58 years old and weigh in at 275 pounds (6'3" tall). I have had three major spinal surgeries and I love long distance riding so I had to find a way to be comfortable in the saddle.

The two most significant enhancements to this motorcycle as far as touring comfort is concerned, were the seat with backrest, and the 2.5" risers. I had riden a 2700 mile trip through the Blue Ridge Mountains with the stock seat and had to stop due to discomfort about every 60 minutes of road time. My back, shoulders, and clavicles were beyond sore, and the "seat-butt" was debilitating. The Mustang seat with backrest allows twice as much saddle time for me, reduces the frequency of stops, and eliminates the extreme pain in the butt and back. With the 2.5" risers, the discomfort in my shoulders and clavicles has disappeared.

Being 16 days on the road on two wheels required judicious and efficient packing and planning for just about any eventuality. Two things I had to account for were an oil and transfer case change at 3000 miles, and at least one laundry. A quick check of the internet informed me that there was a Yamaha dealer in Sturgis, SD so the obligatory 3000 mile fluid change was a piece of cake. Also, almost all of the hotels/motels have laundry fascilities. My buddy Dave drives a Harley, and of course, there was a Harley dealer in every major city so when his rear tire needed changing, Rapid City, SD. provided for the execution of this chore. It is a rather large dealership. It took about 2 hours to get the job done. It took me about three hours for the fluid change. I was also sure to get a tire repair kit before I left home. I figured I wouldn't need it as both of my tires were new. However, I picked up an S-ring in my rear tire in Pennsylvania on the first day and I can't tell you how thankful I was to have purchased the kit (approx $30.00 at local Victory dealer). I plugged the tire, which then got me to a Yamaha dealer in Montoursville, PA. The cost of a new rear tire and mounting was.......... $328.08. Don't leave home without a tire repair kit! If you have wire spokes, you probably have a tube in your tire and the kit won't work. They only work on tubeless tires. So, .... I don't know what you would do except carry a tube and tire changing tools with you. Good luck!!

So for my 16 days on the road, I packed: a mag-light, 8 days worth of clothes, rain gear, a hoodie, various and sundry tools, a tire repair kit, an extra pair of sunglasses, (I sat on my sunglasses so this came in handy) an iPod docking station with speakers, iPod, extra footwear, (sneakers) sunscreen, tire pressure gauge, a AAA road atlas, my cell phone with charger, a first aid kit, extra bungy cords, a towel to wipe off the bike, a corkscrew, a knife, a memo pad and several pencils, and $500.00 cash. I managed to exhaust my supply of cash and had to withdraw another $500.00 dollars. All my motel charges, gasoline, some meals, and a few other expenses were put on my credit card.

I haven't gotten all my bills yet, but it looks as though this trip will come in at around $2400.00 Not bad really. Those of you who have gone long distance on two wheels will recognize my packing items. For those of you who are new to long distance motorcycling, I hope this has been helpful. One final note..... if you don't have a windshield, you may do well to consider that a Cat-1 hurricane packs winds of 72 MPH. When you are doing a lot of highway miles without a windshield, you will be battling hurricane force winds with no protection. This will cause fatigue after a very short while. I strongly recommend an investment in a detachable windshield. It makes a huge difference!!