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Looking for some input

My sister (who has a Honda trike 1100cc), my best friend Jan (Harley 1200 Sportster) and I (Kawasaki Vulcan 500) are planning a big trip. We plan on stopping at Mount Rushmore, Bad Lands, Yellowstone, Grand Tetons then home. The trip distance is 3700 miles and would take 60 hours driving time. We are all saving up our vacation to have 3 weeks to do the trip; an average ride of 176 miles a day.
The longest solo trip my sister has taken is about 340 miles round trip. Jan and I have only managed 120 miles so far. My sister has 3 years experience, Jan about 2 and I less then 4 months. I actually have the most hours riding because I really enjoy it and ride every chance I get. One nice advantage of being single with no children. Jan isn't real comfortable with her bike, her ex-boy friend talked her into buying it. I am a kind of concerned this is too much of a trip for my little Vulcan.

We plan on staying in motels, do laundry every 2-3 days, take one nice outfit each, just in case and hope to carry most of the load on the trike. Jan is a cop and has a permit to carry a concealed weapon. So secuity isn't the issue. We are all in our thirties and have good health.

I have been looking at bigger bikes in preparation for the trip, the seat on my Vulcan is terrible and I feel a little cramped at times. I am 5'9", 135 pounds with a 31 1/2" inseam. As yet I haven't found a bigger bike I'm really comfortable with, either they are to heavy, the handlebars are to wide and far forward or I just don't like their looks. Right now I am kind of leaning towards a Honda Shadow Spirit 1100, seats a tad higher than I like yet. Some of the 800cc bikes are Ok but I don't know if they might be on the small side for long trips. My favorite is the Suzuki Maruader 1600cc but if I dropped it I am sure I couldn't get it up myself. I can just barely pickup Jan's sportster by myself. The guys of course say go for it anyway, bigger is always better LOL.

For those of you who have done some serious long distance riding do you think we 3 girls have let our dreams get to grandious? Is there something we are overlooking?

If nothing else having fun dreaming
jo
 

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jo236g said:
Looking for some input

My sister (who has a Honda trike 1100cc), my best friend Jan (Harley 1200 Sportster) and I (Kawasaki Vulcan 500) are planning a big trip. We plan on stopping at Mount Rushmore, Bad Lands, Yellowstone, Grand Tetons then home. The trip distance is 3700 miles and would take 60 hours driving time. We are all saving up our vacation to have 3 weeks to do the trip; an average ride of 176 miles a day.
The longest solo trip my sister has taken is about 340 miles round trip. Jan and I have only managed 120 miles so far. My sister has 3 years experience, Jan about 2 and I less then 4 months. I actually have the most hours riding because I really enjoy it and ride every chance I get. One nice advantage of being single with no children. Jan isn't real comfortable with her bike, her ex-boy friend talked her into buying it. I am a kind of concerned this is too much of a trip for my little Vulcan.

We plan on staying in motels, do laundry every 2-3 days, take one nice outfit each, just in case and hope to carry most of the load on the trike. Jan is a cop and has a permit to carry a concealed weapon. So secuity isn't the issue. We are all in our thirties and have good health.

I have been looking at bigger bikes in preparation for the trip, the seat on my Vulcan is terrible and I feel a little cramped at times. I am 5'9", 135 pounds with a 31 1/2" inseam. As yet I haven't found a bigger bike I'm really comfortable with, either they are to heavy, the handlebars are to wide and far forward or I just don't like their looks. Right now I am kind of leaning towards a Honda Shadow Spirit 1100, seats a tad higher than I like yet. Some of the 800cc bikes are Ok but I don't know if they might be on the small side for long trips. My favorite is the Suzuki Maruader 1600cc but if I dropped it I am sure I couldn't get it up myself. I can just barely pickup Jan's sportster by myself. The guys of course say go for it anyway, bigger is always better LOL.

For those of you who have done some serious long distance riding do you think we 3 girls have let our dreams get to grandious? Is there something we are overlooking?

If nothing else having fun dreaming
jo
WOW!! This sounds awesome, and you all sound experienced riders.
Are you going soon? Going to be pretty cold? I would be really concerned with the weather this time of year. So right now my question is when you are planning on taking this outstanding ride??!!
 

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re

don't stick my nose in here very often :lol: buuuuuuttt

quite a undertaking for a distance ride like that
prepare yourself and your bike carefully - and you need a bigger bike imo
if for no other reason than to be able to carry more gear
having a police officer in the group should take care of any assistance
you may need along the way - i would add to be prepared for mechanical
failures(there's a h/d in the group :wink: )j/k :wink: but failures like flat tires in the middle of nowhere can be a big PIA

careful planning and good gear will make it a trip you will never forget
anyone who has ridden coast to coast will tell you its harder than it looks

good luck and ride safe!!
 

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I had the pleasure of doing just that over the past month, hence the reasone i've only posted once or twice in the past 3 weeks, I rode from denver to san diego in one long stint (that was a long day), then from san diego to saugerties, NY (upstate). It was a long journey, especially on a sport cruiser 1/2 the trip and an actual cruiser the other half (me and my friend switched off)...

Could post more in the future, but until christmas I don't have a single day off between school and work
 

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OK, since the line has been crossed already, I'll offer up some too. Make sure you plot out a good route, make hotel reservations in advance if your going in peak season and make sure someone not on the trip knows your route and check in with them often to update your progress or changes to the plan.
 

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Jo,

I ride a Kawi 750 Spectre.....I weight 118 and am 5'6" tall. I love to go touring.. I ride my 750 everywhere. It is quite comfortable and there is enough power to do well on the highway and biways!!!! The bike is fairly heavy, but I can lift it if necessary and the balance is good.

Bottom line is to try on some different bikes on for size and balance. I got to be able to put both feet flat on the ground to be comfortable with the weight. I have ridden 500CC and smaller on long rides and it just seems like I am always wishing for more power, so that is why I prefer a 750. Riding our 550 on the highway at top end for extended periods of time doesn't feel comfortable to me. 1000cc is too heavy and more power than I need.

That is my 2 cents.
 

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Spend time "trying / driving" different bikes if you can. It'll be like when you try on clothes but a purchase on a bike is obviously more significant.

After reading the first post and the question being asked....Are we over our heads? Not at all.....IMHO.

First of all you have a plan. You also all know how to ride and have enough experience and confidence to go the distance....unless you feel differently. Having a concealed weapon IMHO is a good idea and one I will be including on my next vacation. A friend who is a cop is a good friend to have along. Someone trained to be observant about their surroundings and can act in a heart beat if needed. You are traveling as a "group" small as it may be but still enough of you to watch out for one another.

I hope you all have an enjoyable time on your vacation and when you return you'll post your thoughts about it.

Best Regards
 

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Mack's turn. Heather is smaller than me in weight but two inches taller. I road my kz 550 across country by myself in march 2001. i had no problems except cold and wind. I could have used a little more power in some cases but experance got me out of them. For some reason i could not find high octane gas in the Dakotas. take some octane boost with you . my bike gets its best preformance and mileage on 93 oct.
Travel light. think of what you might need and then take half of it. If your bike has a tool kit fine, if not take a pair of pliers , adjustable wrench, phlips and standerd screwdrivers, and a sparkplug removel tool, must haves, good duck tape and first aid kit.
The only thing that botherd me was my throtle hand going to sleep. I could have used a throtle helper or crouse controll.( I have corected that on my bike with a cheep glamp down from my local bike shop). It is not perfact but it lets me take my hand off the throtle long enough to get the cercluation going.
I think your 500 will do the job.and you are comfortable with it. Unless you are wealthy don't get a biger bike just for the trip. save your money for nice hotel rooms and Hot Tub rooms( great after a 500+ mile day of riding.)

Ok i think i am done. I have done two trips from WA to KY.on motercycles once on 90( myself) once down the cost to san franco and then across 50 to 70 ( Heather and I on her BMW R80) You will enjoy your trip no matter what; becouse everything is an adventure while you are on a bike.............

Mack
 

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P.S. Can you take Heather with you? She is a Certified Firearms Instructer and has over thirty years of riding under her helmet. But most of all she NEEDS a long trip on her bike to get her mind clear :lol:

Mack
 

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Jo,

Your trip sounds exciting. I am envious. I haven't been on a long trip on just a bike since June of 95. Mack and I rode cross country from Seattle, WA to our home in KY. We rode my BMW R80RT full dress with hard bags.

As for what to carry travel as light as possible. I camped, so I carried a down sleeping bag, a two man tent, one burner sterno stove, an army mess kit , cans of food (place directly on stove after removing the labels), a good can opener. Mack always carries a good knife (fixed or locking blade). All this gear was compact so it fit into my bags. Only thing I carried on top was the tent and the sleeping bag. Makes a good back rest :lol:

Clothing to take....think comfortable...and in layers. Long johns, good pair of jeans, warm socks, extra under things, comfortable boots(rubber or non-skid soles), long sleeve shirt, short sleeve shirt, sweater, rain suit, ear plugs (for road noise), leather pants or chaps (I have chaps-easier to come out of), large silk scarf to prevent helmet hair and keep neck warm. Even in the summer it gets cool in the desert at night.

Where are you starting your trip from?

Heather
 

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A couple of points made and worthy of further commenting on are the cruise control and being comfortable....or having / needing a comfortbale seat.

I bought a very simple to use cruise control device for my Vulcan and it works very well. Not sure about this being made for smaller bikes but a phone call could take care of that. It's called Flip-A-Lever.....and you can see it here:
http://www.schneidersinc.com/flip_a_lever.htm

As for a comfortable seat.....If you do not have the $$$ right now....find a bicycle store that sells riding shorts with the padding in the crotch / rear. You'll be amazed at how they can help endure extra miles ridden. I was on a 3000 mile summer vacation this past September and riding on the stock seat had me always trying to find "another position". I stopped in McCall Idaho at a bicycle store there and bought a pair of these shorts and it really helped. Also....if you can afford a back rest....that will also add extra comfort to your riding. Obviously this will work on cruiser type bikes. :)
 

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Don't lose the dream. The ride will be awesome.
Some suggestions that you may or may not have considered.
1. Get a more comfortable bike, preferably shaft drive. The Vulcan 750 is not very heavy & it is shaft drive. You will NOT like the 500 for long distance. It is OK for me cuz I'm just a 5'1" midget! Hubby broke it in for me & he almost ended up broken himself! His knees were almost touching his nose, poor thing! You will risk terminal tailbone-itis on the 500, since you will be bumping up hard against the ridge at the back of the rider seat section.
2. Communications system for all riders.
3. Super nasty chain with nastier padlock. Lock the bikes together for the night. Hubby used to bring his into the motel room!
4. Beware of dehydration. Once you're thirsty, you're actually dehydrated.
5. Windshields on the bikes eliminate your having to munch on strips of tire kicked up by tractor trailer trucks, among other delightful debris & detritis. Also makes the ride much more tolerable.
6. Get a NOAA weather radio. They are very small.
Any ride is an adventure. Just do it, and enjoy it before arthritis sets in!
 

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I just traded up from my Vulcan 800 to a 1500 because I felt like the 800 was underpowered on the highway. Sure, it could go forever at highway speeds, but I kept wanting to shift to a 6th gear, which I didn't have. The suspension was also kind of rough. I love my 1500. It's effortless at high speeds, has great suspension (no more jarring rides), has fuel injection, and is much more comfortable. The handlebars were too far away for me, so I just put on some risers, which solved that problem. The bike is heavy, but I have no problems handling it. It's actually more stable than my 800 was. We're planning to ride from Colorado to Minnesota this summer, and I can't wait. I have the perfect bike for it now. Before our big trip, we'll do as many weekend overnight trips as we can into the Colorado mountains--starting out with destinations a couple of hours away and working up to full-day rides.

Good luck with the ride. It sounds great!
 
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