On May 8 I leave for Moab, taking a somewhat less-than-direct route in order to collect some National Park stamps along the way. I know, I know....I thought I would stop this foolishness after finishing my third NPT, but damn this IBA activity is addictive!! Plus, on this trip, I'll have opportunity to visit some national parks I've not been to.
So, the bike has been freshly serviced at the BMW dealer's and I have recently-new tires in place (2400 miles on them, from the Cape Fear trip). I washed about 10 lb of bugs off of her, as well. I was quite pleased with the new topcase I acquired just before the Cape Fear trip. It's not as large as the Givi I have on the FZ6, but is big enough to carry a couple of lightweight but bulky items (running shoes and bike cover) that have been my nemesis on previous long trips. I was using a tail bag on previous trips but hate having that bulk sitting right behind me on the pillion seat. It made it hard to swing my leg over to mount and dismount and I never felt I could pack anything valuable in it since it could easily be pilfered.
I've been tinkering with the routes for a couple of weeks now. I'm reasonably comfortable with the routes I have planned, which include national parks, AMA Grand Tour bonus locations, and gas stops (very important, considering the secondary roads I'll be on once I get into NM). My first day on the road will be mostly spent getting as far down the road as I can...so I'll be stopping in Amarillo for the night. The next day will see me off the interstates for good, once I get past Tucumcari. I plan to head north through Santa Fe, visiting some national parks along the way toward Farmington NM for my second night on the road. This should get me into Moab around noontime on Sunday.
I've also routed three one-day trips out of Moab, one to Colorado National Monument, one to collect Canyonlands and Arches national park stamps, and a third that will do a big loop south, getting Natural Bridges and passing through Glen Canyon NRA along the way.
After Moab my plan is to ride south to Tucson and participate in the MTF regional SS1000 event being sponsored there. I've looked at the in-state SS1000 route (for IBA members only) and plan to do this route. I've prepared and uploaded the route between Moab and Tucson into my GPS. This route will go south on 191 through UT and into AZ to I-40, picking up Canyon de Chelly and Petrified Forest/Painted Desert along the way. I visited Petrified Forest two years ago on my way to a get-together in Williams AZ. I really enjoyed riding through the park and look forward to doing so again, exiting out the southwest side and heading up to Holbrook for gas and then to continue my trek toward Tucson going down 77. I'll stop for the night in Globe AZ then pick up a couple more NP stamps before arriving in Tucson Friday afternoon.
So....I have now uploaded all of these routes in my Garmin Zumo 550 and have checked them for any wayward detours against the S&T routes.
What else is there to do? Check the weather along the route! I really hate packing for trips like this where the weather will be so variable. According to the long-range forecasts, some mornings are going to be in the high 40's, but some afternoons could be as hot as 100 degrees. I'd love to wear my mesh riding gear, but these may not cut it on the cold days, even with a liner. And I really want to put the Gerbing jacket liner away and not even look at it until next fall, I'm so tired of wearing it and being so bundled up! Well, I'm just going to keep my eye on the forecasts and make packing decisions closer to departure.
Is it Friday, yet??