The ride up was a very useful exercise. I learned a lot about the bike, the GPS unit, satellite tracker, my clothing and, most importantly, myself. The cruise control might have cost a lot, but it is invaluable for reducing fatigue on long stretches. It also delivers a steady speed within the limit, avoiding fines. I figure it is well along the way to paying for itself.
Having a thermometer on the bike was very useful, as I could monitor how I felt as the temperature moved. From that I now understand what I need to wear to keep comfortable - and safe. It rained for some 300 kms and I am confident that my gear is waterproof; and I am delighted with the ventilation and visibility of my new Schuberth C3 helmet. Pinlock visors are really indispensible in cold, wet weather. The resculpting of my saddle together with the sheepskin cover meant my posterior travelled very comfortably.
The ride itself was uneventful, except discovering in the first few hours that I had underestimated the warmth of my gear. When travelling at 110kmh, 6 degrees C is cold! I made an extra stop to eat and drink; and put on another layer. Turning the handlegrip heaters on high helped, but the flip side of that was the realisation that the gloves are not quite adequate at those temperatures.
The bikes were loaded without incident and I flew home. It was strange and frustrating not having a bike at home and for two days I was relegated to using public transport for my daily commute to work. At this juncture I must record my gratitude to my friend and colleague, David P, who has so generously loaned me his BMW 1150GS while my bike is away.
To my chagrin, I learned that before the ship headed across the Pacific, it called in.......at Melbourne!! I believe there is no need for me to elaborate on that.
Today is Saturday June 29 and, according to my information, the bikes reached Portland yesterday. A friend from my youth, Louise L, lives in Portand; and will very kindly be checking on the welfare of the bike when it clears Customs sometime next week.
We have been steadily attending to the outstanding matters. Travel insurance (CGU) was rather costly, but who is going to visit the USA under-insured? Not us! The satellite weather, traffic and radio subscription has been acquired, but I cannot activate it until we arrive in PDX. I hope it is quick and simple. That is something I will have to learn how to use while on the road. An unforseen expense was getting another camera. I concluded the big DSLR was too big, and we decided upon a smaller Sony NEX 6. Final items are bike insurance/roadside assist, a cover for the bike and some odds and sods.
We have decided that we will not make accommodation reservations, except where we consider availability might be an issue. eg Yellowstone. That has been booked, and just as well. The park itself was already full and we have to stay outside. One night in New York on the same basis. Oh yes, also the ferry across Lake Michigan. Leaving as much open as possible gives us flexibility to vary our route a bit and move as the spirit takes us.
In closing this post, I yesterday had lunch with my friend John B. John and I attended the same school, and some twenty years and a continent away, we renewed acquaintance accidentally at Lake Mountain, a snow resort a couple of hours outside Melbourne. We have remained friends and as it happens, he is also a biker. He told me that he and his wife are renting a bike in LAX . We have made arrangement to meet them in Colorado and then ride together to at least South Dakota, perhaps even all the way to Wisconsin! How great is that??
I will probably post once more just before we fly out.
Twenty seven sleeps to go!