|Packing light for solo trip to Mexico with the BMW.|
Right now I'm in the middle of preparing for our trip to B.C., and I am comparing it in my mind to some previous trips I have prepared for. One example is a trip I made solo with the BMW K1100LT. A few years ago I went to Mexico with the BMW, and I didn't do the same type of preparation. For the Mexico trip, it was going to be my first time in a country where I didn't understand the language, so I bought some Spanish language tapes and played them beside my bed while I slept. When I woke up I still couldn't speak Spanish. So then I tried various other ways to learn to speak Spanish, none of which worked. I finally decided to only learn the words I absolutely needed, (i.e about six words) and use sign language for the rest.
When I prepared the BMW for the Mexico trip, it was in quite good shape already and only needed a new rear tire, which I got in early January. Then I simply waited, watching the weather on TV every day until I saw a break where it was not too cold, and I could get a good two day run to Kentucky. That didn't happen until nearly the end of February. As soon as the weather looked good, I quickly put my bags and overnight stuff in the lockable saddlebags, strapped my camping equipment to the back seat, put on my cold weather riding gear and hit the road. My plan was simply to take the freeways all the way to California, then cross at Mexicali. I didn't bother looking up any stops along the way, because I was on my own, and my only interest was getting across the USA without ending up in a hospital without medical insurance.
When planning a solo trip, you are free to make your plans without conflicting with somebody else's plans. On this trip, because I'm going with Mary Ann, part of my preparation is to find things to do along the way. It takes a lot of research to plan stops and activities for six weeks on the road. Before I went to Mexico, it took me three minutes to write down the Interstate route numbers from Detroit to Calexico, California. But Mary Ann is adamant that she will not just zip from one side of the continent to the other in four days without seeing anything. So that's why I find myself Googling restaurants in Kamsack, Saskatchewan, instead of just stopping at a convenient MacDonald's on the Trans Canada highway. By the way, if you're ever in Kamsack, check out the Woodlander Inn, on Corner of Third Ave. and Railway St. And in these days of the Internet, be aware that there is a youtube video that includes a tour through the toilets serving the beverage room. Please watch at least the first minute of the youtube video, (It's the second link) after seeing it, you'll swear you have actually been to Kamsack.
On this trip, I need to carry more camping equipment - mainly another mattress and sleeping bag. So I went out to find a comfortable sleeping bag and mattress that also packed into the smallest possible size, thinking that this would save some bulk even if it cost more money. I already own lots of bulky camping stuff, but I don't have enough space to carry the big stuff on the bike. However, Mary Ann got the idea that to keep our down filled sleeping bags clean, we should bring along inner bags made of sewed-up old sheets to line them. It appears the inner sheet is actually bigger, when packed up, than the down sleeping bag that I spent all that money on. So one step forward and two steps back. Anyway, we finally came to a compromise that does not involve an inner liner made of a bedsheet.
Because we are going in the summer, I'm not too concerned about cold weather. No electric vests needed. But I instinctively feel that we will be more exposed to rain. I always get rained on when I travel with other people. (OK almost always) Why is that? Because I'm not free to change my plans without notice. Because I have to coordinate with someone else when to go, where to go, and what route to follow. When I'm on my own, I can drive miles out of my way to avoid a rain system. On my own, I often end up in desert areas. I love deserts when riding a motorcycle. That's because I also love staying dry. Anyway, with a six week trip, and two people riding together, and one preset destination in BC, we have to be ready for rain.
Picture: Only had two bags bungied on, tent and one sleeping bag/mattress. And never camped once on the whole trip.