Here you go Ogre... I'm trying to find the time to complete my trip report but sometimes, that's a chore. I'm headed out Monday for 10 days - so I doubt if I'll finish this Member Ride report before the end of August - but here's my equipment report anyway:
Here is my take on my gear and equipment that accompanied me on my 5600 mile adventure from Panama City, FL to Billings, MT and back in July.
Stock Saddle, Stock Windscreen in the stock position, Stock horn (how did I ever survive?), Stock lighting, Stock mirrors, Stock everything that came with it except the tires... Michelin PR3. All my farkles are additions, not replacements.
The five items below I would rate is MUST HAVE items.
1. Go Cruise™ Throttle Control
- Of all my farkles, this $20 item gave me the most versatility by me being able to release my right hand from the throttle whenever I wanted to - for whatever reason. It made my ride much more enjoyable. It did tend to "slip" after a few days... but cleaning the area of the trottle that it grips cleared that up. While it was slipping, before I had a chance to clean things up - I'd just move it over to the right half and inch or so and it gripped just fine.
2. Foam Ear Plugs
- All I can say is "If you haven't tried them, you don't know what you're missing." They remove 90% of the noise that can pile on top of you over a ride to create stress and just all around uncomfortable feelings... while still allowing you to hear traffic noises that help you negotiate your journey.
3. Geigerrig Rig 500
was a valuable asset on my beginning and ending days. My thermometer was showing 110+ in Mississippi in the middle of Day 1 and I used my Geigerrig to drink from and to wet down my Chilly Pad/T-Shirt to ease the discomfort of the HOT temparatures. Once I got up into the Rockies, it wasn't so bad... but going through Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Kansas - and returning through New Mexico, Texas Oklahoma, Arkansas, Mississippi, and Alabama - this item was a life saver!
4. FroggTogg Chilly Pad
- Used in conjunction with my Gigerrig - this thing really helped keep my heat related comfort under control. I'd stop for fuel and buy a cold 16 or 20oz cold water and lay the pad on the ground and throughly wet it... Once wet, I'd fold it in half lengthwize and drape it around the back of my neck and tuck it inside my suit in the front. Note: When the Chilly Pad dries out, it gets stiff. No big deal... but if you purchase one - don't toss out its plastic container that it came in. Use the plastic container to repack your redampened pad into - waiting for its next use.
- Invaluable for parking your bike on dirt, sand, uneven surfaces - or even perfectly good surfaces. Very glad I had it.
The following items I took with me but none of them are what I'd consider MANDATORY items like those above. They are listed in no particular order.
AirHawk Seat Pad
- don't leave home without it. On top of my AirHawk I had a sheepskin buttpad. What can I say... I did 5600+ mile and I'm not complaining about my ass.
Zumo 660 GPS
- It worked well and took me exactly where I told it to take me - once I had all its settings where they needed to be in order to follow the GPS file I'd uploaded to it. It took me a day or two to really understand what was happening... but as soon as I turned the "recalculate" off and a few other settings I played with - she worked just fine.
Spot GPS Messenger
- Gave the wife and Facebook friends something to look at each night when I'd send the "I'm OK" message. The wife seemed to like knowing she could check my progress whenever she wanted to and confirm I was progressing.
- Picked up a cheap "backpacking" hammock from Walmart and set it up with a fly sheet - as an alternative to using the tent, should the situation present itself. It did. I used the Hammock 5 nights, the Tent 4 nights, the Motel 4 nights and Friends places 5 nights. I modified the basic hammock attachment, added longer ropes, picked up some tree straps, did this, did that, until I had a setup that I thought would work. As I have no trees in my yard and nowhere to actually set the hammock up to see if I knew what I was doing... I figured I'd learn no the road... which I did. It isn't rocket science... The hammock performed well and was a welcome alternative to sleeping in the tent, on the ground. I used the hammock at site where I had good trees to attach to. If it expected rain, I'd opt for the tent... but I never had to make that decision. Two nights it rained - but I had no trees available so both were tent nights anyway. One night in the Grand Tetons I used the hammock but the temp dropped considerably and round about 2:00 in the morning I had to rummage through the bear box for my sleeping bag to make it warmer in the uninsulated hammock.
- I picked up a Nemo Morpho 1P tent off of Amazon when apparently there was a computer glitch at both Amazon and REI (who apparently supplied Amazon). I had the Morpho 1P on my "wants" list but at $389 it was just out of range... then one day, for some reason, I hit my Amazon bookmark for the Morpho 1P and it was listed for $179. I made an immediate purchase... and at the same time, the Morpho 1P Footprint was listed at REI for $14.00 (normally $49.00). I ordered one of those too. A few days later, both arrived and when I checked Amazon a week later - the Morpho 1P was listed as "unavailable" due to some sort of consumer complaint. WIN! Later on - it was back available at Amazon for $389. The Morpho 1P worked well. East to erect with the air filled beams (no tent poles) and once up, it stayed up and had enough room for my fat ass along with most all of my gear - Boots, Suit, Tank Bag, etc. It rained (not hard) two nights and I was snug and dry inside the tent.
Small Coleman Whisk Broom and dustpan
- In the camping aisle. Glad I had it. Each morning when I'd pack up the tent - it was free of crap on the floor - thanks to this beauty. Cheap and worth the expense.
Cheap Walmart Tarp
- someting like $2.69 or thereabouts. Took it along because "ya just never know". It packed small and I used it whenever I had the tent up - as like a patio... to keep as much dirt, dust and crap from being tracked into the tent. Cheap insurance... worth the price and space in the pannier.
- Big Agnes Encampment that I picked up for $97 by just biding my time and searching. It retails around $160. I didn't realize that it has no insulation or padding on the bottom side. It has a "sleeve" on the bottom for a pad. I picked up a Big Agnes insulated inflatable pad, installed it into the sleeve and just kept it there - rolled up, uninflated, in the sleeping bag's sleeve. The bag worked well... kept me warm when I needed it. There were a couple of nights in the Rockies when I was sure it had dropped to the 40's. I also picked up a camp-tek inflator - http://www.camp-tek.com/
which worked as advertised. It inflated my pad each time I used the sleeping bag in the tent. I'd just get everything set up in the tent, attach the inflator to the pad and let her run for 15 to 20 minutes. Worked like a charm and never had to change out the AAA batteries.
Cocoon CoolMax Travelsheet
- Like a very light weight sleeping bag. Used it in the hammock. It gave me enough warmth but not too warm. Some nights I hammocked I doubt if it got our of the 80's... Stuffs very small.