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Touring Advice: Tools, Packing and Roads


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I'm planning a 2 week trip starting from Alberta, Canada and then down to Chihuahua, Mexico and back, and I'm looking for a little advice from more experienced tourers.  I've been slowly setting the FJ (and myself) up for the trip, but I thought I would see if anyone has any suggestions or recommendations on things to take with, routes, stops, etc, that I may have missed.
 
 
The route I'm planning will be a big loop heading south through Idaho, Utah and Arizona and then back north through New Mexico, Colorado and Wyoming.  I've been using the Motorcycleroads.com page to select "target" roads, which include Lolo Pass in Idaho, The Bryce to Bluff ride across southern Utah, Devil's Highway in Arizona (hopefully both ways), the Durango/Telluride Loop in Colorado and then Beartooth Pass and Going to the Sun on the final push home.  I'm assuming I'll be running in temperatures ranging from near freezing to fry an egg on the tank.
 
Here is the basic setup:
 
13266944_1613742042276593_321861529_n.jpg
 
The bike has been slowly accessorized over the last 14 months to include FJR side bags, Givi 47L topbox, SW Motec Tank Bag, SW Motec dry bag, OEM heated grips, extra accessory outlet, Ermax screen, Puig deflector, R&G sliders, EvoTech Radiator guard, Higdonion crash cage & skid plate (for monster speed bumps in Mexico), 2.5" mirror extenders, Kaoko throttle lock, Kryptonite disk lock, and an oversized kick stand plate. My navigation is an old Garmin 60 CSx that I've updated to the most recent maps.  I'm waiting for PR4s to arrive this week and replace the stockers for the trip, as well as the rubber foot pegs and some adjustable highway pegs for the front bar of the crash cage.  To get ready for all the twisties, I added the R&G tank grips and took a Total Control course a couple of weeks ago.     
 
My main questions are probably these ones:
 
What do you normally throw in your tool kit for such a long trip?  I have a Stop & Go tire repair kit and mini-pump, but I'm planning to supplement the stock Yamaha toolkit from my own stash of tools rather than go with something ready made like Cruztools.  Are there any essentials you'd recommend I have along?  So far, I've only found a couple of discussions about touring tool kits in my searches (Post).
 
Any advice on how to pack the FJ with this set-up?  On my weekend trips, I load the side bags with my tools and random heavy stuff (shoes, toiletry bag, etc.) and use the dry bag for cloths and light stuff that goes into the room.  I usually keep the top box as free as possible so I can put on and take off riding gear as the weather changes (water proof & mesh gloves, liners for my Olympia set, a rain suit) and pick up food or beer for the room along the way.
 
Does anyone have a good solution for hydration?  It hasn't been much of a concern for me this far north, but Arizona and Chihuahua on the bike will be a different story.  I'm going to be wearing a cooling vest by the time I hit Arizona, so I'd like to avoid strapping on a camelbak.  Has anyone found a good insulated bottle and hose setup that and can sit either mounted to the bars or in a tank bag?
 
Finally, any recommended connecting roads or stops?  I do this drive more or less every year with a truck and usually stick to the interstates (with a quick cut across through Moab).  This is the first time I've had the opportunity to do it on a bike, so I'm looking to find as many fun roads and good overnight stops as possible.  Usually, I aim for stops near a good brew pub...preferable with cask (real) ale.
 
Thanks in advance! 
 
Windy
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Guest bruinfj09guy
Bike looks great! I love the carbon fiber pattern on the cases!
 
Never done the trip, but it sounds like a great time. Please hook us up with a ride report on your return. :D
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I've ridden in some very hot places, southern France or Croatia being the hottest. Stop every 90 minutes or so. It's not only hydration you need but a rest. I tend to take on half a litre (pint) of water or some other beverage and an ice cream. Wear a wicking layer and pour water down your trouser legs. The evaporation of the water will cool you as you ride.
 
Drink too much and you will need to stop often for a pee which will leach out electrolytes.
 
In extreme heat I try to reduce the length of riding time in a day or start much earlier. Sensible people take a long break in the middle of the day as the extreme heat will sap your energy and affect concentration.
 
Beer in the evening is the main rehydration fluid. Morning coffee & orange juice ensure proper hydration before starting a ride.
 
 
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My philosophy is to ride for 3-4 days and then take a full day off from riding and do something mobile to loosen up the body (hiking being my preferred thing). I also go as light as possible without leaving anything important behind. I will do laundry while traveling in the motel room instead of bringing lots of socks and undies.
Definitely stay hydrated when it is hot. I'm like Wessie - I like to leave early and take a long mid day break at lunch time.
Keep your rain gear handy.
 
As far as tools go...be realistic about what you can actually repair on the side of the road or in a motel parking lot. Not much! I do check for loose bolts every other day or so. For instance the three bolts that hold the R&G fender in place seem to refuse to stay tight. So now I check them all the time. I take Allen wrenches, zip ties, duct tape, JB Weld, Loctite, a few spare fasteners (lost a fender bolt and a quarter turn fairing fastener on my last trip) and some mechanics wire. I also carry the tools needed to adjust the suspension, extra bungies and webbing in case my luggage fails me or I tip over and need to strap broken things shut. When I toured on bikes with single sided swing arms I also brought the rear axle nut in case I needed to get a fresh rear along the way.
 
Good luck, have fun and ride safe!
 
Consider leaving with less clothes if you are like me and buy souvenir t-shirts along the way.
 
Route thoughts: The million dollar highway is sometimes closed for road repairs. When I went over it last September it was open for 1 hour a day at one spot. Check before you arrive to find out if there are any hassles like that. Durango is a nice place to spend the night. Excellent beer and food at Steamworks.
Hwy 12 between Bryce and Grover has amazing scenery and so does hwy 24 from Grover to Hanksville and hwy 95 between Hanskville and Blanding.
2015 FJ-09
2006 Triumph Daytona 675
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No road advice, although I agree with all the ones you've listed for Arizona and Colorado. I tend to ride either real early in the morning or later at night during the summer to avoid the Arizona heat.
 
I'm not sure that either of the Yamaha electrical outlets are sufficient to power an air pump. i added a direct-to-the-battery 12v socket when I first got the bike, and only use it when the bike's running, thus bypassing the stock fusing.
 
Good luck!
Don't follow. Don't lead. Don't join.
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Zip ties and duct tape are always handy. Aerostich sells mini rolls of duct tape that don't take up so much space. I even carry them in my bicycle toolkit.
 
Bring a pair of compact needle-nose vice grips. Besides gripping stuff, they can be used as an emergency gearshift or brake lever in an emergency.
 
In hot weather wear a cotton t-shirt under your jacket. Dump water down your front and back, open the vents on your jacket, and ride away. The evaporating water feels just like air conditioning. Ahhhh.
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No road advice, although I agree with all the ones you've listed for Arizona and Colorado. I tend to ride either real early in the morning or later at night during the summer to avoid the Arizona heat. 
I'm not sure that either of the Yamaha electrical outlets are sufficient to power an air pump. i added a direct-to-the-battery 12v socket when I first got the bike, and only use it when the bike's running, thus bypassing the stock fusing.
 
Good luck!
12V socket is fused at 2A - not enough for a tyre compressor. My Stop n Go mini compressor came with a lead that has croc clips. As the battery is very accessible under the seat I will uses the croc clips if needed. 
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Other than what has already been suggested (tool wise), I always have a first aid kit packed (you never know when you may need it for yourself or someone else). Panadol or your chosen headache tablet.
 
I am unable to carry a hydration pack on my person anymore so strap it on the tailpack on the pillion seat with a longer tube. A retractable keyring thing pulls the tube back to the pack and a D-clip guides the tube and holds it from flapping down the side of the bike. Worked a treat recently.
 
Happy travels and hope you do a ride report when you get back.
 

Kimmie......the lady who likes to take little detours :)

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With my patch kit I carry a CO2 inflator and a compact bicycle pump as backup. Obviously I'll be pumping a long time to inflate a motorcycle tire, but it's just for emergencies, right? It's a lot smaller, lighter, and ultimately more reliable than an electric pump.
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Sounds like an amazing trip!  I am stoked on your behalf, and it sounds like you've got some great ideas.  I've only been on two long bike trips thus far (3000 miles in 2 weeks last year, 2300 in 10 days last month), but here's what I'd say.
 
Roads - Consider buying Butler motorcycle maps.  I find them to be more explicit and comprehensive than motorcycleroads.com, plus they're made of resilient, waterproof plastic so they're handy to bring with you.  Lolo Pass in Idaho is INCREDIBLE. My only regret from riding that is that it went by too fast, so take a few breaks and really savor that stretch. Also, since you may be going through Wyoming, ride Beartooth Scenic Byway NE of Yellowstone... the prettiest mountain pass I've ever ridden, and from what I've heard it's among the best in the US. Be weary of Yellowstone though... very pretty to ride through but super packed with tourist traffic.
 
Tools - You've got the tire patch kit covered.  I have a Kriega tool roll and I like to carry:
Nylon gloves
Paper funnels
Tire pressure gauge
Telescoping magnet-tip pen thingy (in case you drop something in a hard to reach place)
Tons of quality zip ties
Quality Electrical tape
A few feet of duct tape wrapped up tight
Knife
Small USB-rechargeable LED flashlight
Small 3/8" wrench
1/4" T-Handle
1/4" -> 3/8" & 3/8" -> 1/4" socket adapters and U-joints
Japanese Industrial Standard (JIS) screwdriver with #1/2/3 crosshead and flathead bits
Needle nose pliers
Small wire cutters
Small Vise Grips
Crescent Wrench
10 and 12mm combination wrenches
Full set of metric hex keys
Various metric sockets
 
As for comfort/cooling/hydration...
For cold weather, a good balaclava can't be beat.  Also, I find that the factory hand guards for the FJ are not adequate for me on long rides at temps below 50, even with the OEM grip heaters on full blast.  Might just be my poor hand circulation, but I'd look into some bar muffs or something if you're at all concerned about it.
For warm weather, I recommend a neck buff or silk scarf soaked in cold water.  It's amazing how much difference evaporative cooling on your neck can make.
For hydration, I actually like wearing a small camelbak, but since you're looking to avoid that, I'd say get one of the insulated camelbak water bottles and stick it in your tank bag, with a hose over the mouthpiece running out.
 
Lastly, I find that wearing long compression socks for long days in the saddle significantly reduces the fatigue I feel in my lower body.
 
My $0.02 anyway.  Happy trails :)
 
 
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Yes, I tested this out last week - the compressor turns on just fine in the accessory outlet, but the moment that it encounters back pressure (like my thumb over the nozzle), it blows the fuse.  So, I'll leave the accessory plug at home and take the battery clips!
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motopump + dynaplugs. Cant go wrong 
http://motopumps.com/#works
 
also, tho I think this is a ripoff of the original motopump:
 
http://www.aerostich.com/tools/tire-repair/pumps-air-compressors/aerostich-mini-compressor.html
This is what I use:  http://www.pashnitmoto.com/cycle-pump-p/cp-combo.htm Had a flat on the Dalton Dirtway (Highway) and this kit had me back in the saddle in about 8 minutes-in a thunderstorm.
Pricey, but worth every penny!
 
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