How many miles per day to schedule for a (first) long road trip? - Kawasaki Vulcan 750 Forum : Kawasaki VN750 Forums
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post #1 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-23-2009, 02:39 PM Thread Starter
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How many miles per day to schedule for a (first) long road trip?

The longest trip I've taken on my VN750 has been a four-hour, two-hour ride each way round trip (spending about 2-3 hours at my destination). With Kury grips and a Mustang saddle, and two stops for gas (one before setting out and one after 120 miles of riding), I felt very comfortable doing this, and believe I could plan a multi-day trip based around going about 2-3 hours in the saddle at a stretch with two stopovers (totalling about 6-8 hours of riding per day).

Is that reasonable though? After a long (say, weeklong) road trip, do the miles get harder or easier? Our bikes hit 70 MPH at around 5K instead of 3,500 RPM, which I could foresee getting tiresome even with a throttle lock, and it could be the kind of thing that suddenly becomes a factor rather than works its way in gradually.

Any advice for a newbie tourer?

"Until you have the courage to lose sight of the shore, you will not know the terror of being forever lost at sea." (Despair.com)
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post #2 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-23-2009, 03:12 PM
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personally, I think my longest riding day was 185-190 miles in 45 degree weather that was rainy for the first 75 miles (the drive took 2.75-3.25 hours). I felt as though I could ride for a good 250-300 miles at about 50-60 mph as long as I stopped for gas and stretched every so often and the scenery wasn't too boring and the whether wasn't cold or wet.

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post #3 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-23-2009, 05:04 PM
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I'll offer the following, with the assumption that your bike is already in (at least) relatively good shape mechanically (e.g., driveshaft splines are well lubed, and tires are at least fair, tread-wise) and electrically (i.e., all connections/grounds are clean and tight, and are coated with grease or otherwise insulated as appropriate) and you carry (at least) some basic tools with you to tighten up things, in case they work loose.....

Judging from your list of added accessories (aka, "farkles"), you've made some very wise choices with regard to turning your VN750 into a pretty serious tourer. Before going on a really long trip, I would still add a couple of others:

1) A voltmeter (assuming you don't already have one). If you stator or rectifier tanks on you while on a serious trip, the voltmeter will (usually) give you plenty of advanced warning that things electrically are "going south", and you'll have a good chance to get the bike back to civilization, before you are on foot. Without a voltmeter--who knows???...

2) Seriously consider adding "Ride On" brand tire sealant to your bike's shoes (if you haven't already). The stuff just works. Unless you just really like patching holes in your tire(s) beside the road--when you could (instead) be riding. This is serious peace of mind against the vast majority of flats. Also: with this sealant, your tires will lose air more slowly, even without a puncture.

With all of that said, to answer your question...."it depends".

If you want to really "stop and smell the roses" and soak in the sights along the way, and you are in the Smoky Mountain area for instance, plan on 200 miles per day--max, since the roads in places like that are more challenging and you can't make as much time, anyway.

If you're crossing the mid-west, and there really isn't much to stop and see (like on some parts of what was "Route 66"), plan on 400-500 miles per day, for starters (then work your way up, as your endurance allows). You've wisely invested in a Mustang seat, and really (I think) the factory seat was the main inhibitor for not covering serious miles per day (I could otherwise handle it, but my butt could not).

Also: It might be a good idea to plan (at least some of) your gas stops in advance. Out west, for instance, some gas stations can be more than 200 miles apart. Poor fuel planning out there in some places can not only be inconvenient, but also--dangerous! Good idea in general, but out west, especially: buy gas when you can, not (just) when you need it!

If you have not been educated on it otherwise, read up on smart ways bikers keep from getting dehydrated (e.g., proper clothing/gear). This is a major hazard for bikers--especially in warmer weather. Know the signs of dehydration--and beat it before it beats you!

If you get tired--stop and rest! The scenery and the attractions ahead will still be there, later. Otherwise, you might not be.

The following is an AMA link that has multiple neat touring tips, that I have posted on the forum before:

http://www.amadirectlink.com/roadrid.../33secrets.asp

and the following is a link to a previous thread about a sneaky little problem our bike has (sometimes--especially in warmer weather), and how to (easily) defeat it:

https://www.vn750.com/forum/showthread.php?t=7428


Otherwise, I wish I were going with you. Our bike really is a great machine for touring. Bigger is not always better!

Good friends, good rides, good food, good times--and good photos!

That's what really matters.

Hope some of the above actually helps.....

'05 VN750



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post #4 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-23-2009, 06:54 PM
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The Long Run

I have gone on three 1000+ mile trips. I have ridden over 500 miles in a day twice. I don't recommend this unless your primary goal is to make good time.

If the scenery is beautiful, and/or there are interesting things to see along the way, plan on no more than 200 miles a day. Otherwise, I'd plan on 300-400/day. One way to help you stick to the plan is to map out your trip and make your motel reservations in advance. This also prevents the problem of hunting for an available room at the end of the day when you're tired and ready to stop.

Wear ear plugs. It protects your ears from high speed wind/engine noise. It also helps lessen overall fatigue over the long haul. I like ETY-Plugs. http://www.etymotic.com/ephp/er20.aspx

I have a nice Corbin seat. But on long rides I add an Airhawk seat cushion. It really helps! http://www.therohostore.com/Departme...-Cushions.aspx If you hunt around online, you can sometimes find them on sale.

EZC

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post #5 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-23-2009, 09:07 PM Thread Starter
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Good advice, guys, thanks. I had in mind riding about 300 miles a day, 400 tops, with two long stopovers to do/see something (anything) and at least one shorter one to get gas (probably two), hit the head and drink some water/eat some food.

My sort-of-planned trip (really a fantasy at this point, but one I intend on fulfilling this year or the next) is to set out from my home in NYC and visit 14 States, plus DC and 2 Canadian provinces before getting back in around 7-10 days.

NY - Boston, MA (passing thru New Haven & Providence)
Boston - Portland, ME - Concord, NH - ?, VT
VT - Montreal, PQ (see the city, have some poutine)
Montreal - Toronto, with 2 stopovers (Kingston, +??)
Toronto - Cleveland, passing thru Detroit and Toledo
Cleveland - DC, via Wheeling, WV and Cumberland, MD
DC - NYC, via Baltimore, Wilmington and Philadelphia
(Stopover to compare Pat's vs. Geno's Steaks!)

I've been to Boston, DC, Baltimore and Philly lots of times, even Montreal but not so recently, so I'd like to actually spend time there. Especially to visit the restaurant Au Pied de Cochon. I visited a restaurant of the same name in Paris on my honeymoon 10 years ago and loved it. While this place in Montreal is not affiliated (I don't think) they do have an haute cuisine twist to Quebec's best low-brow foods: poutine made with foie gras, and something called Duck In A Can. It's not too much of an exaggeration to say I mentally planned a road trip around hitting this restaurant, and then thought, "Hmm, how many states could I tick off my list en route to there and back?"

Everywhere else I'm happy just to pass through, sleep over, take a few pics, etc., for the 7 day version. If I can pad out my vacation/trip time (and clear it with my family) to 10 days I could spend more time in some of the other places... Though honestly I'm not sure what I'd be stopping over to see. Toronto I could spend a day in, but what about Portland, ME (LL Bean?!); Concord, NH; Detroit, Cleveland (MLB stadiums?), Wheeling, WV or Cumberland, MD (???).

Oh, if it makes a difference, this would be riding solo, unless someone took it in their head to come with me for some reason. I do have an old friend who's a motorcyclist but he's already done the tour of a lifetime, soon after he turned 30 and figured he should do it now or maybe miss his window in life: he set out from NYC, crossed the country and then rode down the West Coast... The WEST COAST of the (North, Central and South) Americas, that is. Starting from Alaska. Down to Argentina. On a BMW GS650 Dakar.

Hadn't thought about the voltmeter. I do have some emergency tire plugging/repairing gear (a Stop and Go Tubeless Tire Plug Gun Kit) that I've never had to use, dunno what would happen if that got called into play, guess I'd pull out the little instruction booklet and start sweating

BTW, I'm an AMA member and they now recently added free Roadside Assistance coverage for auto-renewing members, which I am (now)... But while it sounded great from the webpage description, I couldn't find anything detailing how one is supposed to actually call the assistance into play if needed, such as the actual number for the "toll-free number" they mention. I guess I'll have to call 1-800-AMA-JOIN to find that out?!

"Until you have the courage to lose sight of the shore, you will not know the terror of being forever lost at sea." (Despair.com)
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post #6 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-24-2009, 03:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robardin View Post
The longest trip I've taken on my VN750 has been a four-hour, two-hour ride each way round trip (spending about 2-3 hours at my destination). With Kury grips and a Mustang saddle, and two stops for gas (one before setting out and one after 120 miles of riding), I felt very comfortable doing this, and believe I could plan a multi-day trip based around going about 2-3 hours in the saddle at a stretch with two stopovers (totalling about 6-8 hours of riding per day).

Is that reasonable though? After a long (say, weeklong) road trip, do the miles get harder or easier? Our bikes hit 70 MPH at around 5K instead of 3,500 RPM, which I could foresee getting tiresome even with a throttle lock, and it could be the kind of thing that suddenly becomes a factor rather than works its way in gradually.

Any advice for a newbie tourer?
The longest treck i took in a day was about 900 miles in 24 hrs ass hurt and slept the next day away i dont recomend this but a 200-600 taking you time isnt horrible lots of breaks and lots of sight seeing just enjoy the ride and if u need to stop stop otherwise just keep ridin



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post #7 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-24-2009, 08:44 AM
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DC - NYC, via Baltimore, Wilmington and Philadelphia
(Stopover to compare Pat's vs. Geno's Steaks!)

I've been to Boston, DC, Baltimore and Philly lots of times, even Montreal but not so recently, so I'd like to actually spend time there.
If you're stopping by Philly again let me know. If you want to and can make the time, I can show you some stuff that's off the map but really fun. I gotta say that one thing I would've made you do is get a Pat's and a Geno's steak. Congrats on already doing that, you're halfway to being an honorary Philadelphian! Which did you prefer by the way? I'm a Pat's guy myself, wizz with.

You should take time to check out The Veterans Memorial, The Liberty Bell, and South Street. They're all pretty close to each other and can be knocked out in about 3 hours, 4 if you stay to have dinner on South Street, which I highly recommend. The Dark Horse is something to see and a great place to get a great meal...
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post #8 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-24-2009, 08:46 AM
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If you're riding at highway speeds, you'll stop for gas at least three times a day! It's always a good idea to get off the bike and walk around. I like to do stretches, the same ones I do after running. And yes, keep hydrated.

Re: your proposed itinerary, Cleveland has a great baseball park, but the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame is a must-see.

Here's what my bike look liked when it was loaded for a trip to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan last summer...



This year I'm riding South ~ to the Bonnaroo rock festival in Tennessee! Bruce Springsteen, Phish, Lucinda Williams, etc. etc. Woohoo!

EZC

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post #9 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-24-2009, 09:00 AM Thread Starter
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If you're stopping by Philly again let me know. ... I gotta say that one thing I would've made you do is get a Pat's and a Geno's steak. Congrats on already doing that, you're halfway to being an honorary Philadelphian! Which did you prefer by the way? I'm a Pat's guy myself, wizz with.
Heh. I've been to Philly 2 or 3 times in the past 5-6 years, have seen most of the tourist things (Liberty Bell, Vet Memorial) and even took the Ducks tour with my kids. I haven't done the Pat's/Geno's throwdown thing yet, though; the only Philly Cheesesteaks I've had in Philly itself so far has been from a stall in the Reading Terminal Market near the convention center, which I don't think is affiliated with either Pat's or Geno's (though they did have some kind of flyer giving some kind of linear descent from one of them). The Ducks tour did go by Pat's and Geno's but alas, we couldn't get off to order.

I have to say that I'm not crazy about the idea of Cheez Wiz. I'd rather have mushrooms and onions, provolone and hot sauce. But I suppose that'd be the equivalent of asking for a chili dog at Nathan's in Coney Island. When in Philly, do as the Phanatic would do, eh? (I hope my Mets-decaled bike won't get tipped over! )

ETA: I looked the place up, it is (or was) Rick's Steaks in Reading Market, which a news article turned up via Google says closed last October .

"Until you have the courage to lose sight of the shore, you will not know the terror of being forever lost at sea." (Despair.com)

Last edited by robardin; 03-24-2009 at 09:04 AM.
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post #10 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-24-2009, 09:25 AM Thread Starter
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Re: your proposed itinerary, Cleveland has a great baseball park, but the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame is a must-see.
Of course!

BTW that tail bag is exactly the size I was looking for: a soft bag that would fit on the passenger seat without jamming into my back, and also be top-loading and weatherproof. Tour Master TB-17 here I come!

"Until you have the courage to lose sight of the shore, you will not know the terror of being forever lost at sea." (Despair.com)
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