6 Days Out, Detailed Planning, and Test Packing

Today marks exactly six days until we leave on the trip that will take us across the US and moe back to California riding solo and that means there is no time to lose and I’ve got to get every detail finalized that lends itself to the process.

The rest we leave to destiny.

I’m writing this post from my home base in San Jose where I have just returned after a one-week retreat. It was good quality down time and now I’m ready both to work and to jump into this trip with my son.

Detailed Planning

Up until today, the planning I’ve carried out with my son, Benjamin, about this cross-country ride has been theoretical. It’s not like it’s been pie-in-the-sky planning, but there is only so much you can do in advance to plan a trip like this. Here’s how I planned this journey thus far.

Routes: We’ve looked at routes -we currently have four options, all based on weather patterns that will kick in after day two’s layover in Flagstaff, AZ. The weather across the US is horrendous at present and each day’s weather-related risk factors will ultimately determine out route.

If you buy it, you won’t need it: It’s the reality of every motorcyclist who ever ventured across the country on two wheels. Yesterday I ensured that we’ll not experience flat tires or pictures by purchasing a portable time inflater and a flat-patch kit. Today I’ll get some rain-proof boot covers to accompany my water-resistant gloves and rain suite so as to guarantee dry weather throughout the trip. 🙂

Communications: I purchased two very inexpensive helmet communication systems so we can chat back and forth and listen to iPhone music at will via Bluetooth. They only have a half-mile range (They were less than $100 each) so the quality could be spotty. But as long as they hold up for a week or two, I’m OK with the less than stellar brand name.

Food: When I venture out on the bike, I usually eat light. I focus on high-protein vegetarian meals and some fruit or cereal bars at breaks. It’s important to keep hydrated as well and I have a reusable water bottle for each of us. Ben’s RT has a glove box that will keep his out of the sun, but I might need to pick up a singled handlebar-clamped bottle holder for mine – the bottle is a double-walled aluminum type that should stay cold in the sun. The first day will end with triple-digit temperatures, so hydration is a constant need.

Test Packing – The Right Way

While flying back from my week away on Saturday, I turned my attention to planning the items I’d be taking and what I could fit. Previously I’d made the mistake of listing out what I wanted to take and them working like crazy to fit it all into the various bags.

That’s a mistake.

It occurred to me that the best way to pack was to list what I’d fit in each bag (since I don’t have full-on panniers) instead. So here’s my list for the 1150GS:

BMW Top Box:

  • clothing (zip bag w/ clear top)
  • Macbook & charger
  • toiletries
  • cameras, chargers, selfie sticks

BMW City Bag (small)

  • oil (2 quarts)
  • air pump and patch kit
  • zip ties, velcro, extra pair of shoes

BMW City Bag (large)

  • tool kit
  • flashlight
  • headlamp
  • first-aid kit
  • snacks, coffee

Wolfman bag (large, waterproof)

  • torque wrench
  • sleeping pad
  • two-man tent
  • hatchet

Sea-To-Summit bag (waterproof)

  • Sleeping bag

Tank Bag (Manta style, low-profile)

  • phone
  • camera (an older phone)
  • earbuds
  • chapstick
  • sunscreen
  • map


  • all protective gear
  • utility tool (on belt)
  • helmet cam remote

Today I’ll test this organization out and see where it lands. Comments welcome on stuff I might have overlooked or any tips you might have.

We’re on this journey together! Cheers!


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