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I have been riding motorcycles since 2000 and doing long road trip for a slightly shorter period, but it has taken me until now to finally ride cross country. By contrast, An has been riding since September and has already accomplished the feat, an observation that An likes to make somewhat often. While Google Maps has the driving distance between New York and San Jose as 2,940 miles with a driving time of 41 hours, we managed it in 31 days and just under 6,000 miles. Our route may not have been the most direct, truth be told Google’s suggested route consisted all of three directions — find I-80 West, stay on I-80 for 2,935 miles, take 280 North for 1.4 miles. We never did manage to find I-80.
So with my morning coffee in hand and in a pair of clean underwear, it seems like a good time to look back upon the first leg of our trip. The trip cross country had a bit of a dual role. Besides enjoying the northern part of the U.S., we also used this leg as a way to test out our bikes and gear for the longer trip ahead. For the most part the the bikes held up very well. We did find that An’s bike burns a little bit of oil, especially at higher speeds. I guess that is not completely unexpected given it is an air-cooled bike and it is something we can easily deal with. The main adjustment we decided to make was with regards to our luggage. Our initial setup was a result of the desire to put as little weight on An’s bike as possible and the hope to make do with the Wolfman Expedition panniers I already had. I have had the Expedition bags for a few years, they were with me for my trip up to Labrador, and besides any sentimental value they might have, we were also motivated by the fact that new bags are pricey and we are unemployed.
Our frugality and sentimentality resulted in too little storage capacity and much of the weight high up on the bike in the form of duffles strapped down to the rear rack. Besides the fact that having so much weight high up is not ideal for bike stability, the smaller luggage capacity has required certain unfortunate sacrifices. Much like the once celebrated and now defunct political theory of Starve The Beast, I initially felt that the smaller luggage capacity would force us to make tough choices on what we brought, taking only the essentials and leaving behind the often taken unnecessary items. Unlike the politicians (party name excluded to protect the not-so-innocent and keep this blog non-political) still pedaling this theory, I will freely admit I was wrong. In particular, having had to limit myself to just four sets of shirts and boxers has proven to be a cut too deep (for everyone involved). For all those reasons we decided to swap out our luggage while in the Bay Area. An’s bike is getting a set of the Wolfman Endure panniers and I am swapping the Expedition saddle bags for the Wolfman Rocky Mountain bags and the tank panniers for a set of large Wolfman Rolie bags. Check back soon to see our new Wolfman tattoos, we are pushing hard for a sweet sponsorship deal.
All that said, An still is not getting the baby wipes she insists we should bring.
Now that all online orders have been placed and bike maintenance underway, there is nothing more for us to do but enjoy the next two weeks of luxurious living. I might take a second shower this morning, the coffee is coming with me.