Pagosa Springs is not all that far from Taos. I'm thinking I need to get on the bike and ride for a while to see how long I can go comfortably before I make plans for a very long ride. I've got the typical aches/pains of a 51 year old thats spent too much time on dirt bikes. How long do you guys usually ride before taking breaks? And whats the cruising distance on a tank of gas?
I was 65 last July when I did my cross-country... with all the normal aches and pains of being a dinosaur. If you click my map link above you'll see each day I had planned and the miles for each day. My longest was 464... and once I got into the mountains that dropped down into much lower miles per day... and miles per hour. I liked to stop and get settled for the night pretty early - with a lot of sunshine left... so most of my days were ended around the 5:00 - 5:30 point of the afternoon... early starts, though - between 7:00 and 8:00 most mornings.
I found that running the tank nearly dry to get the most mileage between stops wasn't what made me feel the most secure (even though I had a spare 1 liter bottle of fuel with me). Because my entire route was back roads and highways, I always stopped at the first station I came to once I hit around the 160 mile mark. Sure, I could have gone another 40 to 50 miles... but on a long, long day... through the middle of nowhere... miles and miles away from an Interstate highway... I found that sweating it, hoping to run across an open gas station, took a lot of fun out of the day. So... 160 miles was where I started seriously looking to fill up again... although, depending on the location - sometimes much earlier than that. Mostly I calculated where I'd be in two or three hours time - and used that to tell me when it was wise to stop and fill up. (Yes... one day I broke my rule because I thought I was getting such good mileage, I pressed on, even though I could have topped up easily in Trinidad, CO and ended up souring two good hours of riding because I was sweating bullets... Thank goodness for DesMoines, NM where I would have been happy to pay $10 a gallon that day.)
A side benefit was that those more frequent stops got me off the bike and walking around for a few minutes... and most stops ended with me telling lies to a local or two about what the heck I was doing with all that junk strapped to my bike... and explaining why I chose those big ugly aluminum boxes for "saddle bags".
I'd estimate most of my riding days were in the 8 to 9 hour range of actual saddle time... I had an Airhawk pad on my stock seat and on top of that, I had an Alaska Leather sheepskin pad. I was pretty darn comfortable behind my stock windscreen at it's stock setting. I didn't hesitate to take a leisurely lunch break... or sometimes even a breakfast break during the day.
It was HOT in July... Especially getting from Florida to the mountains of Colorado. I had a Geigerrig on my back and drank from it regularly (after the first day - when, at the end of the day, setting up camp, I came to the realization that I should have been drinking a lot more that I did, that day.) Once I got into sucking that bladder dry during the day, the better I was overall. If I needed to top it up, I'd do that at a gasoline stop with cold bottled water from the station's convenience store. I also used a FrogToggs Chilly Pad around my neck that I kept wetted with the Geigerrig's ability to squirt its contents, if needed.
Mileage from a tank full? I get around 215 around town before my FUEL indicator starts flashing... and end up filling up around the 225 to 235 mark where it takes 4.5 to 4.6 gallons to fill her to the neck.
On my trip, days where I was doing 40-50 mph through the mountains with no particular reason to travel any faster, I was getting over 60 mpg... but those days where I was tearing it up to get to those slower days, I was getting in the high 40's.