Detroit, MI to Galveston, TX Trip - Kawasaki Versys Forum
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post #1 of 37 (permalink) Old 02-08-2012, 08:35 AM Thread Starter
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Detroit, MI to Galveston, TX Trip

Good Morning Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am planning a solo trip from Detroit to Galveston, Texas this coming spring.
1400 miles (one-way) of fun! and adventure!!!!
and...I thought I'd buy "bear on a bicycle" a beer when I get to 'the end of the road'!!!!

Departure date will be dependent on The show schedule at The Detroit Opera House. May 21st looks good in regards to that.

I have done a fair amount of traveling across this great land of ours over the last 30 years.
However it was always work related. Fly in...shoot a film project, and then back on the plane. Never any time to play tourist So you miss lot.

So to all of you out there that may be "along the way", If you have any thoughts on roads, sites, etc worthy of becoming part of my route, I'd sure appreciate a note as I am planning my path now and would hate to miss out on localized roads etc that would make the ride all the more memorable.
To all of you 'world travelers' out there....any thoughts on basic gear mods to make the trip ..'happier'...would also be welcome as this will be my first cross country trip EVER! on two wheels...My longest ride to date has been about 300 miles.
(I'm traveling light. over-night stops will be "the first cheap and clean motel on the right"..LOL).

I'm putting aside two weeks for the trip; with a different route for the return trip.
The bikes ready as I had the dealer do a "full Monty" on the bike last fall.
(and the rubber is fresh and new too).
After two full seasons and 17,000 miles of local riding I think I'm ready too.

Time to fall off the face of the Earth....

So, if you have any thoughts just post them here and I'll start plugging in your ideas and see where it takes me.

Thanks in advance

Be well.
Ride safe. Peace.
Carl ( stagehand38)
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Last edited by stagehand38; 02-08-2012 at 08:50 AM.
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post #2 of 37 (permalink) Old 02-08-2012, 11:58 AM
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Wow, where to begin...

I took my Versys on a 4000 mile trip from SLC to Seattle back down to DFW, TX. Some stuff I learned:

- Pilot Road 3s are the best tires you can have for riding in the rain.
- Make sure you have good gear. I rode in an Olympia Phantom hi-viz suit and it did a fantastic job in all weather.
- Be aware that Texas will be hot. Seriously.
- You'll have a way happier trip if you stick to the mountains. Drop down to Tennessee and ride the Dragon, don't do something silly like ride down across Nebraska, Kansas, and Oklahoma.

As for bike mods, I have a full set of Givi luggage (V35s and an E52) plus I added a Bags Connection tank bag. It worked out really well for me and I had room to spare. I ran with a stock shield, but you should know by now what you want. If you haven't got one already, seriously consider a new seat. I bought a Baldwin that got delivered right before the trip and I loooooved it. Also consider heated grips and hand guards if you don't have them.

Keep your daily mileage below the max you can do. You'll be happier on a long trip like this if you don't wear yourself out on any given day. I was happy to ride 9 days of 400 miles each. It wasn't until the 10th day that I didn't quite feel like riding anymore, but had to get home. Trust me, nothing sucks worse than having to ride when you don't want to.

When you get to Texas, hit the hill country on your way down. The most famous roads there are the Three Sisters, but there is plenty of other good riding to be had. It will be a little out of your way, but worth it IMO.

http://www.motorcycleroads.com/75/55...5-336337a.html

Edit: Oh yeah, as for what to pack, that's up to you. I packed two long-sleeve compression shirts, two pairs of compression pants (wicking tights, basically), six pairs of socks (two wool liners, two medium weight wool, two heavy weight wool), some hiking pants I bought at REI, a couple wicking t-shirts, a thermal pull-over, and a golf polo. The compression stuff got worn every day along with the hiking pants, and I'd just layer on whatever I needed for the weather. I found little individual-use packets of Tide liquid detergent that are designed for use in sinks, so I'd just wash clothes in the hotel room at night. It was mostly just the compression stuff and the sock liners that really got dirty, so everything was easily dry by morning (really it was dry in a couple hours). My clothes, toiletries, and miscellaneous stuff went in a duffel bag that went into my top case, so I could pull it out at stops easily and have everything I needed. One side case carried my motorcycle "stuff" (tools, tire repair kit, air pump, spare gloves, spare face shield, etc), the other carried my summer gear for when I got to TX (jeans and a mesh jacket) since I was riding in the summer and knew it would be in the upper 90s when I got home. The Olympia suit fit back in that same side case when I swapped out for that last day of riding. The tank bag carried my phone, camera, face shied cleaner, etc., basically the stuff I wanted to access immediately.

One last tip, invest in a Spot. At $250-ish for the device and yearly subscription it's not cheap, but it's great insurance if anything happens to you on a solo trip. Plus folks back home can track your progress.

I'd rather be riding.
2005 Triumph Speed Triple | 2009 Blue Versys
1997 Suzuki DR350SE (sold) | 2004 Triumph Speed Four (sold) | 2008 ZX6R (sold) | 2008 Concours 14 (sold) | 2007 Suzuki M50 (sold) | 2006 Ninja 500 (sold)


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Last edited by Jehos; 02-08-2012 at 12:05 PM.
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post #3 of 37 (permalink) Old 02-08-2012, 12:07 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks 'Jehos',
Screen-wise...I have a "V-Stream" shield I've been running for over a year now and love it. ( I posted an older pic...pre-'V-Stream'....and as for the stock saddle; I'm one of the few that actually love it...go figure ).
Thank for the tip on riding suit and "THE DRAGON"...can't miss that!)


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post #4 of 37 (permalink) Old 02-08-2012, 12:42 PM
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Bike mods I have made for long trip comfort:
Larger wind screen.
Seat modification (re-shaped it myself until I was comfortable).
Hand guards.
Throttle lock.
Electric connector for heated jacket and gloves.
Lowered pegs.
Highway pegs (from Dallasdon - might be a good stop as you go through Texas).
The bars are pulled back about an inch and a half by some pivoting handlebar risers.
I have the lowering link installed.
The grips have this cushy covering - grip puppies or something like that.


It's more fun if you stay on the smaller roads but it will take more time. 300-400 miles a day is a good distance.

"Veni, Vidi, Velcro"-- I came, I saw, I stuck around.

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post #5 of 37 (permalink) Old 02-08-2012, 03:12 PM Thread Starter
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..Throttle-Lock!!!!
Great idea that had slipped my mind!!!!

300 to 400miles a day is certainly doable based on my passed 'long' rides...though I might just try to pull 400+ on day one..just to get outta town and away from the familiar.
I'm tentatively thinking a long run to Lexington, KY then relax, chill, and really enjoy the road.
Thanks "pmdean650"


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post #6 of 37 (permalink) Old 02-08-2012, 04:09 PM
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Looking forward to it Carl!!!



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post #7 of 37 (permalink) Old 02-08-2012, 05:05 PM Thread Starter
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Indeed Bear...Indeed.
Jehos suggested investing in a riding onesy.
The Olympia products look real good. I'm thinking their Stealth or Transition one piece might be the ticket.
I have the Kriega R15 backpack and may pickup their US-10 drypack...for a little more carrying capacity.


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post #8 of 37 (permalink) Old 02-08-2012, 06:25 PM
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Definitely have to ride the Sisters in the hill country outside of Leakey, TX. Three ranch roads, RR 335, 336 and 337...some of the finest riding in all of the state IMHO, and definitely the best in the hill country. Don't go too fast though, many of the turns are on cliffs!
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post #9 of 37 (permalink) Old 02-08-2012, 06:29 PM Thread Starter
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Definitely have to ride the Sisters in the hill country outside of Leakey, TX. Three ranch roads, RR 335, 336 and 337...some of the finest riding in all of the state IMHO, and definitely the best in the hill country. Don't go too fast though, many of the turns are on cliffs!
YIKES!!!!!! sounds like fun though!


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post #10 of 37 (permalink) Old 02-08-2012, 06:50 PM
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It's a LONG way from Galveston though.



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post #11 of 37 (permalink) Old 02-08-2012, 08:05 PM
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Hey. I live right next to galveston!
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post #12 of 37 (permalink) Old 02-09-2012, 07:18 AM Thread Starter
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It's a LONG way from Galveston though.
Holy smokes!!!!......364 miles away to be exact!!!!!
Hmmmmm...TEXAS is so BIG that..well, it looks sooo close on the map!
Me thinks I might have to just cross that bridge when I come to it.
(But then again.......to ride so far and be so relatively close...Hmmmmm)


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post #13 of 37 (permalink) Old 02-09-2012, 08:30 AM
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May I suggest a nice "detour" through the Ozarks National Forrest in Arkansas? I'd recommend this, at minimum.

The three sisters are probably the most technical roads in all of Texas (at least that I know) and would be worth it if you can find the time. Not many interesting roads around Galveston, unfortunately. You can find some some nice roads coming down through Tyler, TX.

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post #14 of 37 (permalink) Old 02-09-2012, 08:38 AM Thread Starter
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HEY acinonyx,
That looks like it could easily be plugged into my route to Galveston.
Thanks so much.


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post #15 of 37 (permalink) Old 02-09-2012, 08:38 AM
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Baby powder and baby wipes!!! First aid stuff such as spray triple antibiotic in case of unintended road rash. Ear plugs, sunglasses, spare eyeglasses (if needed) and I'm sure I don't have to tell you about Gaffer's tape. Did I mention baby powder and baby wipes? Chain lube. Tire repair and pump.
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post #16 of 37 (permalink) Old 02-09-2012, 08:45 AM
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Just looked at a map. If you're anywher near Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, allow the better part of a day to tour their amazing motorcycle museum. It seems every bike made from 1900 to present!!!
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post #17 of 37 (permalink) Old 02-09-2012, 10:40 AM Thread Starter
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This is great folks.
I'm taking notes...this is fantastic!


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post #18 of 37 (permalink) Old 02-09-2012, 05:06 PM
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HEY acinonyx,
That looks like it could easily be plugged into my route to Galveston.
Thanks so much.
You're welcome. Oh, almost forgot -- last time I was out in the Ozarks, gas was a bit scarce. The few gas stations that exist are old school pumps that don't take credit cards (pay inside only) and the stations close early (6pm or so). I suggest bringing some cash and consider carrying some extra fuel.


Quote:
Originally Posted by blipco View Post
Just looked at a map. If you're anywher near Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, allow the better part of a day to tour their amazing motorcycle museum. It seems every bike made from 1900 to present!!!
That's a good two states over (three if you consider how long it takes to get out of Texas ), but it is worth checking out -- no doubt!

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post #19 of 37 (permalink) Old 02-09-2012, 09:29 PM
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The dragon is a great ride and a must do. If you can route it while you're there, I would also suggest the Cherohala Skyway - It is my favorite ride down there. Period.

Not sure if it fits you route, but the Blue Ridge Parkway beats any interstate.
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post #20 of 37 (permalink) Old 02-09-2012, 09:30 PM
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Forgot to add,enjoy the heck out of the trip. It is a vast difference than airport hopping.

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