Fiona

State Parks are in a nationwide arms race to attract the RV crowd. Because of this, they almost all have wifi. If you plan on camping and working from your campsite, that's the way to go.

Do all your scheduled maintenance before you leave. In addition to the shop manual for your bike I'd probably invest in some sort of roadside assistance just in case you run into something you can't fix yourself.

I don't mind working on my own stuff but there have been a few occasions that AAA has saved me a major hassle/cost.

AMA has roadside assistance, too. HD has their own If you're a genuine motor company guy.

Will so much time, I think a list of dealers, a roadside assistance plan, a cellphone, a credit card (and the will to use it), and your camping gear should be all you need if you have experience with these sort of trips.

Fiona

I didn't think that I would ever be saying this, but it looks like I am getting hitched.

It isn't like I didn't have a man in my life, I've actually had a couple. But not one of them could keep up with me. Not on a bike, and not in life. I was a little bit of a quandary to them. I am a professional independent woman who is also strong. And that is a mix that will keep you single for a long time. At least in my case.

My ideal weekend has either consisted of taking the bikes out, or taking them apart.

For my profession, a lot of the guys that "ride" are the type that like to consider themselves experts. Then you start talking about how you just pulled the cylinder on your hobby bike (the one that you bought just to take apart, clean and put back together before you sell it) and their eyes glaze over. They are in over their head and the fact that you are a woman makes it worse. They realize how small their dicks are and you are a whole notch bigger than they are so it is time to hit the road. Figuratively, of course.

I think that I could have gone the rest of my life without getting married. After I hit forty and still didn't have a ring on my finger - at least not a wedding ring - I felt like a) it was too late b) it didn't matter.

And I think that is why our marriage, our wedding, now is so much more realistic. We were both happily single when we were that age. And now that we are both retired and our days in the dating pool are over it just seems right. And I can, for one, say that I am glad that it worked out like this.

Forty years ago when all of my friends were saying their vows I was getting crazy on the dance floor with the hot single guys that showed up to the wedding receptions.

If they were lucky I would take them for a ride and show them what real power between their legs felt like.

My soon to be husband understands that power and I think it turns him on as much as it does me. And that we can understand one another is an even bigger boon. He is retired, and I am going to finish out this year before I join the ranks of retirees here in Florida. But when that day comes we're planning on having a fitting wedding. We're going to do it small, among friends. Something that I watched some many of my long gone friends not do. They chose to have the huge wedding. One that was the size of a small African village or something. One that didn't really focus on the important aspects of a wedding.

I'll be honest with you, the important aspects are just now coming to me. I had known them all along, and I think that is another reason why I have spent the majority of my life single. Not alone, but single.

Me and my guy have talked about it over the course of our long courtship and we agreed on me proposing when the time was right with a simple gold band. Well, when it felt right I popped the question, it was a couple of weeks after he retired he said yes. I sort of expected that part though.

Then we got started.

When we started to look, yes we do it together, I was surprised at how expensive things can be just because they are supposedly for a wedding. So what if the glass also works at the wedding, I am not paying 300% for it just because you printed another word on the box. Sorry, I would rather shell out the money for having Ducati valve adjustments done. Both are money sunk in the sand, but at least the Ducati is a hell of a lot more fun.

I see these girls today, some of them are the daughters of my friends, and they pay a whole hell of a lot for the biggest day in their lives. Then they complain that this isn't right, or they wanted something else, and couldn't get it. Grow up. It is about making the bond for life, not on importing flowers from Hawaii.

For example we realized that even the things that go along with a wedding, bridal showers, receptions, what have you, they are so much more affordable. So we are going to having invitations intended for a wedding shower instead of actual wedding invitations. This should save us a dollar or more per invitation and they look the same, with the same quality. If it saves some for my first love; alright, my second, then we are all for it.

Getting married is a big commitment when you're young. I think the main reason is because you aren't sure what you are doing. And if it really is for you. Once you have a lifetime of commitments behind you the idea of staying committed to a single person is put into a lot more perspective.

And you realize that you don't need $500 bouquets for the bridesmaids (not having any anyways) and you can get married as you come. No need for an expensive designer dress, though I could totally rock one since riding a motorcycle keeps you fit.

For the wedding we're thinking that the ceremony can make the obvious references to the highway and the road of life.

Fiona

In my opinion grinding out day after day on the interstate isn't much fun. The Interstate on a bike is fun for about two hours then it gets really boring.

Grab a map and look for towns etc, you might just be surprised, its one of the parts of N.A I have not been around but parts of Utah are fairly barren as well and I had to go out of my way to make it hard to have enough gas.

The only places\times I'd be worried about (and ever are worried anymore) is in a tourist only area, at night or on a national holiday that lands on a sunday.

I'm not worried and I tour on an R1. If you happen to come near an area where you think you'll be worried going into, such as crossing a barren place in the middle of the night on a sunday national holiday. Stop and buy some 2 liter bottles, empty the water out of them and replace it with gas they sell gas in those bottles in some countries so its going to be fine for the 20-60 minutes it has to sit in your bag for. Otherwise, slow down the odd time to make sure you will have ample gas.

In America the land of plentiful gas and 24 hour stop and go's.

Besides if you do run out it makes for a better story.

The lesson, take your time, don't rush the trip. Two weeks? Cross country? You will not be able to accomplish this trip in your allotted time unless you want to hate life for the entirety of the ride, and don't actually want to experience any of the places you go. That's not even taking into account bike maintenance, weather, days of being hungover and wanting to stay in a place because it's awesome.

Six hundred or more miles a day regardless of weather will be pretty tiring if you plan on stopping to see the sights and relax at night. Doable, just understand its not the same as driving 600 miles in a car.

In '03 I did a long trip on a R6, needless to say tt took me two weeks to get the knots out of my back, the wrist pain to go go away, and the knee stiffness to subside.

Not worth it.

Not in the least.

V-storm 1000

Then I bought a V-Strom for a trip from Florida to Dallas and back and it was actually enjoyable. I'm not some fatass that can't use my legs to mitigate fatigue on a sportbike, it's just the nature of the beast.

I would definitely suggest looking at at least some risers and adjusting the peg height if you want to go with a sportbike.

Fiona

Don't make this expensive mistake. My buddy decided that instead of all this garbage about paying people (I call them mechanics) for a valve adjustment he'd do it himself.

As you know this is an expensive part, the valve adjustments and if you know what you are doing I guess you could save, but DO NOT do it yourself desmodromic valve design systems (ones ducati use) are far more complex than other systems.

desmodromic valve design systems

What you need to do is check at a Ducati service how much they will want for the 25.000km service (valve adjustments) (he was paying $700 before, after he messed it up it was another $1000 for the fix). Ducati stated that these things had to be done around every 3000 miles, so the bike was always going in for something. The older bikes sure are nice but yes, if you ride a lot, it's going in sometimes two or three times a year. That can add up real fast.

For his Ducati it looked like this:

  1. Oil change every 3000
  2. valves every 6000

Newer engines can go 7500 between valve adjustments. No Duc requires valve adjustments every 3000, except maybe the very old bevels.

Parts are still a lot more expensive.

It all boils down to the depth of your wallet. Regular valve service is double what you would pay to service a japanese bike by a dealer.

Fiona

Usually company colors are down to racing team colors. This goes for both cars and motorcycle companies and sometimes is down to the country they used to represent (British racing green for Jaguars and such, white/silver for German teams, blue for French).

For motorcycles it is a bit more complicated as different colorschemes have been associated with brands down to sponsorship. Factory Hondas are known to be red and white, but the repsol (orange) Hondas, lucky strike (white with logo) Yamahas, Chesterfield (black) Aprilias and Rizla (blue) Suzukis are just as iconic.

Branding companies work hard at this. Look at wireless phone companies here in the US, they do the same thing. It is helps to distinguish the brand when you can simplify it to a single color association.

Wait... Jaguars are green? Isn't that bad luck.

The Green Fallacy

You may have heard that it was because green was considered bad luck. Even wikipedia says "green cars were considered unlucky".

Yet I think that is taking it a bit far. Anyone that races, thinks twice about unlucky green.

Gaston Chevrolet, in his green car, crashed killing another racer and himself.

This was the first car race that killed two drivers. Also having a green car, you were flaunting the idea you would have green flag (no accident) through out the race. It just sorts of snowballed from there, of being bad luck. British racing green is accepted, on English cars. Lots of superstitions in racing, they don't have to make sense.

To quote Snopes page on the green fallacy:

The aversion to the pastoral hue is well established in the racing world. There, the sensitivity to the color's presumed darker aspects is so strong that Mario Andretti never signs autographs with green ink, and it is said Joe Weatherly (NASCAR's 1962 and 1963 champion) once removed his socks for a race because rain had changed their color from blue to green.

Fiona

Are you planning a cross/round country trip for this summer? Let's talk about luggage volume and have begun gathering my gear.

Let me ask you this: "How long is a piece of string?"

It really depends on what level of comfort you want when you stop for the night.

People travel with lots of stuff or minimal stuff. You probably need a heck of a lot less than you think.

Are you camping, or staying in motels? No matter what your plans, you'll be much happier taking less than taking too much. An oft repeated but good piece of advice: lay out everything you think you need and leave half of it at home.

I would recommend getting the gear you want and then finding the panniers to store it all.

At a minimum you will want a sleeping bag, hammock tent/bivy bag, a change of clothes, and spares/tools. That should easily fit in 11L panniers. Things like extra clothes, a cooking stove, and a tent big enough to sit up in is really nice to have but you won't die without them.

If I stay at hotels and go to restaurants, I'd need a bit more clothes, but could ditch a lot, so 40l will do. But I pack very light.

I traveled two months around Europe in '97 with only one pannier and a top case. Other than my riding clothes I had one pair of pants and one pair of shorts. One T-shirt and one shirt. I had one extra pair of footware and a few pairs of socks etc. Toiletries and that's about it. Wasn't camping though. Washed my clothes every few days either by hand or in someones machine.