New to me SV650 - from Iowa to NC

So, the decision being made to buy the SV650 from the guy in Iowa, the bike was basically 1000+ miles away, in Iowa of all places.

Initially, I thought about shipping it, as work's been busy, and it was a fair ways away. has been pretty good in the past, so I put a request for quote up there. It seems they have an auto-quote thing going on, where you automatically get some stupidly insane high quote when you hit submit, in this case,for $1200. Yeah, good luck on that one. :-/ A day later, someone came in with a quote of $400, which I thought all in all was quite good, in an enclosed trailer...but, as it turns out, the guy was already en route, so had a 2 day window to pick the bike up, and the seller wouldn't be available. Around that point, I'd already quoted a one way plane ticket out there, but it was 'quite expensive.' Crap.

Apparently, it was also to the wrong airport. Once I found that out and got the RIGHT airport, I found a one way ticket for $130, and figured it was time for an adventure. It wasn't the best time to be taking off from work, but then again, it never seems to be, and I knew I could use the break. My manager approved a few days off, and trip planning started. Trip planning can be fun, or really stressful. I think for me, it's usually a combination of both.

I'd planned a few motorcycle trips before, including several to the mountains, plus a ride trip outside the US, and like a Boy Scout, I like 'to be prepared.' I had a tail bag I rode with on my BMW on trips that had a mostly well thought out collection of gear in it - leatherman in a pocket on my CamelBak, with rain gear and a bladder inside, plus a set of emergency tools in the tailbag - flashlight, fuses, safety wire, tire repair kit, First Aid kit, small air pump, spare spark plugs, a roll of electrical and duct tape, a pair of tire irons and tubes, a thermal fleece, small mirror, spare lighters, etc. My collection had served me fairly well over time - while I'd 'fail' the 'light motorcycle touring' guide that Aerostitch sells, I felt it was a pretty good compromise on being prepared versus being 'lightest weigh possible.' Of course..I also have Powerlet outlets on my bikes...great stuff - charge your cell, run an electric vest, radar detector, whatever. My CyclePump compressor will run direct from battery, but maybe it was finally time to give in, and pick up the GPS I've wanted for a while now. Uh oh..down this path lays bike mods, before I've even gotten the new bike!

And I also realize, while I did several bike trips using a Cabellas waterproof roll top backpack, I had no clue if that would actually fit on the relatively narrow tail of the SV, nor is the SV set up to take my Givi E21 side cases yet. Damnit, now I need to deal with luggage. My Marsee tank bag is also set up for straps versus magnetic, and I had no idea on how it would fit the bike. Again, argh. Stuff I sort of need, but didn't want to get NOW...but without it, it would suck to get there and find out the backpack was too wide or sat on the exhaust. I also knew, like with the other bikes, an aftermarket seat was a requirement. I'm a decently sized guy at 6' and 200#, but apparently I just don't have the amount of fat on my ass 'required' to make most seats comfortable for extended riding. Corbin has come to my rescue on both of the current bikes, but after looking for reviews, it seems the Sargent was the way to go. I'd prefer to just do my own at this point, but it's tough to do that when a bike's 1000 miles away.

So, the credit card shock is ignored for a bit: 

Gear selection and quick trip planning

Of course, the local shops have....squat, when it comes to non leather saddlebags. Yay, way to go, guys. You keep reminding me how much easier and cheaper it is to buy online versus supporting you. :-/ And of course, 'Powerlet, what's that?' Ok, then...after being unable to find any decent luggage locally, I wound up having to overnight the Tail Bag, which was painful, but it did show in time.

The next week or so is spent in trying to plan a trip decently as time allows, while having multiple projects going on at work. I'd debated about riding through the TN/NC mountains and Deals Gap on the way back, then found out there's the annual SV Rally at Deals Gap the same weekend that I'd be passing through. Ok, there are days that it seems life just laughs at you, and others that yield unexpected surprises, and this was the latter. An email later, and I'm leaving a day earlier, so I can make the Rally for Saturday.

I've been to DG meets with my cars, and run through it with the bikes as well..Rallies tend to be - sorry, no rooms available, moreso considering you're pretty limited to Fontana Village, Tapoco Lodge, or I think it's a Red Roof Inn or similar in Robbinsville. A couple of posts on SVRider yield me a room for Saturday night, though - gotta love it. I donated to SVrider the next day.

I still have no idea really where I'm going, or how I'm getting there, other than roughly - "I should head East and see a bit of Chicago, then uhh..go south." While I can't *stand* the idea of trips with every minute of the day planned, I was hoping for a BIT more than that, like "If you could only do or see ONE thing in these places, what would it be?" type of things.

Also, crap - I grew up in NY and am no strangers to cities, but..where is safe to overnight with the bike? Having had a bike stolen, I don't want to go through that one again, let alone mid-trip. Eventually, I sort it out, my rough 'sort of plan, for when I get there, subject to change' if I see something shiny along the way, or if the weather gods decide to throw a fit along the way. I'll ride most of the way to Chicago Wed night, see the Sky Tour Thursday, take picture of Soldier's Field, and then ride along the water, because I've simply always been drawn to water, and miss not being near it in NC. Then, 'go south, young man' and..kinda wing it a bit. I would have loved to visit Cincinnati, as it seems there are some cool areas to explore there, but..gotta make DG by Saturday, so sadly, not this time.

Indy..hrm. Well, unlike NASCAR, Indy drivers are pretty skilled, and they drive on tracks much like my beloved VIR..there's an Indy museum in Indy, so tag it as a 'maybe, and let's hope it's not flooded with rednecks thinking their Mustang is a sports car' (Mustangs are OK in a straight line, but a sports car they are most certainly NOT). Once I threw Cincinatti out of the trip, Louisville seemed the next likely place to pass through, and KY actually has some cool stuff to see - Old Louisville for architecture, an underwater lake at Bowling Green or further west, the Jim Bean factory, distillery tours, lots of 'slightly off the beaten path' sorts of stuff. I note a few of them on the GPS, and figure I'll figure it out as I go.

Motorcyle GPS

Note - this trip is from 2008 or so.  2021 update: I still prefer to not mount my phone on the bike bars, as I want it on me in the event of an incident.  The Garmin software has improved since then, but I remain ‘on the fence’ somewhat as to the software in most ’specialty’ GPSes.  I have an expensive Garmin GPS in my boat, which is still over-priced for what you get, but it’s a toss-up.  For bike riding, it’s nice to have your phone literally on you in the event of ‘bad news’ happening, so a Garmin still makes some sense.

The GPS. Heh. I work in software for a living, among other things, and I've got to say - Garmin, hire someone to make your software not SUCK. Please. It's nice that they have Mac versions in Beta, but it's not quite useful enough to use, so I run the Windows software inside a VM. It's well, pretty terrible. How about: - I want to do one route, but split up into best guess on days, and where to stop each night. Nope, sorry. I'm a map, with a bad interface, only. I want to check where something is. Ok, sure, but I'll change the zoom level bigtime so you now have to figure out where the heck you are every time you use Find to look up anything. Yay, how..nice. The Zumo hardware is pretty cool. With good software, it could be great. I'll save the 'other many ways the GPS software sucks' for another time, though.

Anyways, I finish my trip packout list  of course realizing I can't FIND half the little crap that used to just sit on the back of the Beemer until I was a dumb ass and took the pack off.

The Zumo has a 'special screwdriver' for a security screw on the mounting bracket, meant to go on a keyring. Ok, a keyring I don't yet have, so I promptly lose the damned thing, and am looking for it at 2am the night before I fly out to Iowa. I'm not religious, but after finding that thing after two hours of looking, I'll admit I said a nice, 'Thank you!' and made it to bed.

Packing was fun. I was going to wear my jacket, but people might look at me a bit odd wearing my armored Kevlar pants (MotoPort, good stuff!) on the plane. I have a stiff Scorpion helmet case, which is pretty useful. I decided, 'If the airlines screws up and loses my stuff, what do I absolutely need to still go on?' and then packed most of it inside my helmet case. It wouldn't be convenient if they did by any means, but I'd have my helmet, gloves, bike plate and registration, and the GPS + GPS mount..the rest I could do without if I had to, and buy underwear etc. on the way.

Sadly, there was no way in Hell I'd be able to carry on my tankbag - the airlines tend to freak out if you show up with a folding knife/leatherman and tire iron(spoons) to carry on board. So, most of it goes into my waterproof backpack, and into the tail bag, which I'd also have to check because if also had some emergency tools in it.

Next time, I should make sure I don't have anything 'possibly an issue' in the tail bag, to only check the single bag, as of course the airlines continue to get greedier and now charge you $25 for any bags checked over one. Ouch, but..ok. I don't normally check anything for trips, but with the helmet case being a carry-on, I didn't have much choice this time. 

All ready to go - I hope!