24 Hour Practice Trip
I wanted to share some thoughts on my first trip on my 900 with the actual planning and ride itself. As a background note, I moved up from the 500 to the 900 a couple months ago. I have never really camped in the past, nor gone on a bike trip of over 150 miles. My goal with getting the Vulcan 900 was to be able to do some traveling on the bike, and I would like to go out West this summer, possibly to Yellowstone (I am in Illinois).
As a starting point I felt it would be good to go on an overnight trip in the area to see how I liked it, to learn about planning a trip and to learn what changes I need in supplies or planning. I kept waiting the past couple weeks for decent weather for a Thursday-Friday trip, and last Thursday it was raining in the morning in the north suburbs of Chicago, but by afternoon it appeared I could go. My travel route was to go out to Galena, IL (about 160 miles away) on Thursday, camp out, then do some roads in that area Friday (that I found on motorcycleroads.com). I then would proceed to Savanna, IL, along the Mississippi River, and continue down to Dixon, IL (Ronald Reagan's boyhood hometown). From there, travel up to Rockford via Rt 2, which goes along the Rock River, and then back home. Only travel on the slab would be about 20 minutes. (On a side note, the night before I did the gas gauge fix with a 270 ohm resistor, and it worked like a charm! At half a tank I was at 110 miles, it was consistent up and down the gauge, and even though it does not change the fuel light, it appeared to work better as I have had it on before around 130-140 miles, and I was at about 165 miles and still not on. Really a good mod for me...thanks!).
I packed up the bike which went well, with rain gear in one saddlebag, tools and such in the other saddlebag, a saddleman's seat bag and then my sleeping bag/mat on the luggage rack. I barely had any clothes but already felt like there was a lot....wonder how it will be for a 10 day trip! I was about ready to leave when I realized I didn't do a pre-ride check, especially tires. Luckily, I found that I needed 10 lbs of air in both tires.
There was a rain threat, with it being cloudy and cool (mid 50's), so I wasn't thrilled with that, but the trip to Galena went really well. I made decent time but since I started out later in the day (after 3) I did no side trips. It took about 3 1/2 hours and got to the camp site and set up the tent by 7:30. I rode back into downtown Galena, found a sports bar, plopped down and ate dinner while watching the first period of the Hawks game. I didn't stay for the rest due to wanting to get back to the camp before it was too dark.
Overnight camping was fine....even in low 50's I was comfortable in the tent, which was a concern. Packed up the next morning and was out by 8 am. Checked out US Grant Park in Galena, then went out along Old Stagecoach Rd. A nice ride with some hills and sweeping twisties (especially for Illinois), where I ended up nailing my first wildlife with my bike. A dove flew up and smacked into my windshield. I could only imagine if I didn't have the shield it would have smacked me in the chest or helmet. It was a good experience to hit that and not be rattled and keep total control of the bike. I then proceeded down Scales Mound Rd (another route from the web) and that was enjoyable too. They said you would see deer, and that I did. I continued down to Savanna, IL which goes along the Mississippi River, so there were some bluffs and enjoyable scenery. Grabbed gas...proceeded to Dixon, IL which was more of a open farmland ride.
The day on Friday was beautiful...sunny and low 70's. In Dixon, I checked out Reagan's boyhood home which I actually enjoyed...a good couple side stories about Reagan were told. Ate a late lunch, and then to Rt 2 which goes alongside the Rock River for about 40 miles. This was a great scenic ride. Rode through Castle State Park with some twisties and tree covered rodes. There is a statue of Chief Blackhawk overlooking the river on the opposite bluffs. Would not mind riding that route again. From Rockford I then traveled back rodes to home, and 25 hours and 400 miles after setting out, I was back home.
Overall thoughts.....first, really enjoyed the challenge of getting away. I had no problem riding by myself and having fun. Second, need to get bike ready with more time....not a good idea to rush to get out of town. Third, mustang seat was a great purchase! I had no problem riding multiple hours. Towards the end my shoulder/upper back was getting a little sore (doesn't help I have rotator cuff issues), but I have phatrisers at home that I need to install so that might help. Things I forgot includ a towel for a shower, the ipass for the short time on the slab, kleenex and tp (just in case). Rain gear and my own coat take up extra room...want to get the Joe Rocket alter ego coat that covers a range of weather. I also took two helmets on this trip...a full and a half helmet. I wanted to experience both but for a longer trip I don't think space wise that would be convenient.
Hope you don't mind that this was long....I wanted to share. Any thoughts about traveling on longer trips or tips I would certainly appreciate. I am definitely convinced that I want to go on longer trips. I will post a few pictures too.
2008 Vulcan 900 Classic Lt
Cobra Engine Guard
Mustang Touring Seat with backrest
EKLIPES EK1-110 Chrome USB Charging System
K & N Air Filter
Cobra Chrome Radiator Cover
Cobra Chrome Regulator Cover
Cobra Luggage Rack
Kuryakyn ISO Dually Highway Pegs
Kuryakyn ISO Grips
Chuckster's Light Bar
Rivco LED Turn Signal Mirrors
Metzeler ME880 WW 130/90, 170/80 tires