Across America By Motorcycle

2022: Preparations Begin in Earnest

Newsletter No. 20

August 7, 2022

With planned departure just over a month away, I have been busy planning, organizing, and testing. Willie and Glen came by on Friday and we spent a few hours going over the equipment and procedures.

Can You Hear Me? We had a chance to pair up my Sena intercom and camera equipment with Glen’s newer Sena, plus a hand-held Sena that Willie can use in the truck so we can communicate with each other riding down the road. I wish I had all of this in 2019 because it will allow real-time communication to make everything much easier.

How Will We Get There? In my last newsletter, I forgot to provide any specific information about to the planned departure dates, times, etc. Since then, I have updated the 2022 Route page on the web site so that it now has links to Google Maps of the entire route as well as estimated times for passing through key stops at many locations across the country. When we did this in 2019 with the same kind of Google Maps, Willie had a heck of a time trying to keep the truck and trailer on the road with the blue line because it never spoke up and said “Turn Right!” Today I finished separate Google Directions links that Willie can use to start at the beginning of the day and it will follow along and literally tell him when to turn. This will, of course, be backed up with printed maps and directions to account for when something will go wrong. Now that I have these Google Directions links done, I am going to transfer them (sounds easy, right?) to my Garmin Montana 700i mounted on my handlebars. The Montana 700i will be set up to broadcast my actual position at least every 15 minutes so you will be able to see where I am just by visiting a page on the web site.

The Trailer: I have spent some time adding features to the inside of the trailer to account for lessons learned in 2019. While we still plan to service the bike while it’s parked on the trailer ramp, my organization is aimed at being able to do more inside the trailer in the event of bad weather. In 2019 we had an “EZ Up” shade cover we’d set up over the ramp for shade and light rain, but even putting that up and down was an extra chore. Besides, I always dreaded the idea a good breeze might turn the EZ Up into a kite and send it across the road. I like entertainment just as much as the next guy, but I don’t want that kind of stuff happening in my own camp!

Test Rides: I know the bike is running fine, but we’ve got some test rides planned over the next few weeks. The first shakedown mission is in two days, on Tuesday. We won’t be riding far… a 13-mile “lap” around my area… mostly right turns and no traffic signals! We’ll probably do a few laps, but the main purpose right now is to iron out any kinks on logistics, communications, and servicing. I am also in the midst of a major wiring update on the bike. When finished, it will have better brake lights and turn signals, as well as onboard support for GoPro and other gizmos.

Those of you who ride a lot may wonder “why so much planning and not as much doing?” My answer is that many long distance rides are group events where someone else does all the route planning, hotel reservations, etc. Except for the support I will get from Willie, Glen, and Lloyd, I am basically the Executive Producer of this show. I have no staff, so if something needs to be planned, it’s on me. The other reason I am working hard on the plans is that I found myself unprepared more than I care to admit in 2019 and I want to eliminate as many logistical problems as possible in advance so I can focus on enjoying the ride, looking around, and looking west as I contemplate just how much more challenging it was for C.K. Shepherd to undertake this ride all on his own.

Best Wishes,