Monday, October 1, 2012

Packing It Up

Our “Pack Up” is usually pretty straight forward. We have the standard items that never leave the Wing, what we consider standard equipment for a long ride: rain gear, extra jackets, cleaning gear, tire gauge, Wing Cover, and small bag of repair items, electrical tape, crazy glue,sun block and small socket set. Plus, depending on the time of year and direction, we may add a couple things like heavier jackets. In doing an extended weather check, the temperatures a forecast to be near perfect, low 70’s during the day and 50’s at night.

I personally would like to leave the heavier jackets at home but Marguerite had balked on that one. Every time I’ve done that especially heading north, it’s been a mistake. She says we should take it all just in case and she will use the plastic “Shrink” down bag we use to reduce the bulk of extra clothing. These things really work pretty good. If we need to re-shrink them during a trip, we borrow the vacuum cleaner from housekeeping at the motel or I’ve had great luck just pressing the air out or sitting on the bag. It’s not quite as efficient but does reduce the bulk. We’ve even used the coin operated vacuum at gas stations to re-shrink the bag. We place that bag under the fitted bag that normally rides on the luggage rack above the rear compartment. It works out just fine.

For our regular small side compartment bags we also have a “standard” wardrobe pack. We always ride in jeans and a long sleeve shirt, recently we’ve gone to the green day glow type, but usually carry a spare riding outfit. Along with that another pair or semi-dressy slacks, a couple extra shirts, long or short sleeve depending on the time of year and direction of travel. One pair of extra semi-dress shoes is somewhat difficult but can be done. Swim trunks and shirt or shorts and shirt.
The swim trunks aren’t always used for swimming. I use them as lounging clothes after the days ride and they can double as pajamas if you’re so inclined. They are also good for that laundry stop. We have on occasion been in some fairly remote areas and been on the road long enough that clean clothing becomes a priority. We look for a Laundromat and when we pull in, we will go to the restroom, change into our swim gear or shorts outfit and wear these until the rest of our clothing has been laundered. You’ll get the occasional funny look from fellow customers but no big deal. Once up in Minnesota we found a strip mall with Laundromat and Pizza place just a few doors apart. It was lunch time so the first thing we did was run down to the Pizza place and order lunch, then we went back to the Laundromat, changed into our swim suits and while Marguerite was loading the washing machines I went back and collected our Pizza. Sitting in a Laundromat, in a very small town in Minnesota, wearing swim trunks and eating a Pizza while our clothing washed and dried we did get some curious stares and even a few comments. One lady who’d seen us pull up on our Goldwing came over and said she thought it was “Clever”.

The large black bag that fits on the luggage rack contains all the standard equipment, rain suits, Wing cover, etc. However, for this trip it also holds the plastic “shrink bag” containing two heavier jackets and two day glow green long sleeve shirts for riding in cooler weather.
The two black lumps that are packed on top of the black bag are Airhawk seat cushions. It might be because we are older or Mr. Honda’s standard seat isn’t what it used to be but we’ve found the Airhawks a “nice to have item”. We usually do the first 100 or so miles without the Airhawk and then as “butt discomfort” sets in, we breakout the Airhawks and finish the day on a cushion of air.
The little black stretchy netting is another “nice to have” item. We acquired that before our Alaska ride and it proved indispensable.

Inside the rear compartment is reserved for my laptop computer, Marguerite’s camera case, shoes, road atlas and even a small GPS these days. I rigged a DC current receptacle in there so we can plug in the GPS if needed.
With the exception of a couple last minute checks, primarily the tires, we are ready to roll. Now all we have to do is make ourselves get a good night’s sleep, which is usually impossible the night before a long ride. The anticipation is just too much.

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