Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Dry goods

I sure miss the waterproof Givi bags that I had purchased for my previous bike, the Honda VFR. They were designed to custom match that bike when it was last re-designed for the 2002 model year. The leather bags on the VTX are no comparison. A light rain, a mist, an exhalation and everything inside is now wet.

Of course, these bags were never meant to hold off a deluge. Conventional wisdom is that, when it rains, bikers duck for cover. Usually under a convenient overpass where they can have a smoke and meet new friends. I guess that's old school because I've only had to do that one time in my life. The occasion was my first bike trip to Nova Scotia and we got caught somewhere south of Portland, ME, with nary a bridge in sight. By the time we found one, my brakes were so wet, they failed, causing me to use my feet as outriggers to keep my Ninja upright. Yikes! Scared the crap outta me but earned me points with the "hardcores" for not dropping it.

With a two week trip on the near horizon, I needed a better solution to keep my tightie whities dry. No, not Monkey Butt powder, even though I will bring that along. I'm talking about dry bags. Good old compression sack-type dry bags like one uses when kayaking. I sauntered, strolled, stepped (I did NOT sashay) over to EMS today to see what they offered. It's very convenient having their store adjacent to my office building, which makes them a "preferred" vendor. They had four different types/brands to offer and I almost settled on the wide-top ones that looked like a perfect fit for my side bags. Problem is, they just didn't look waterproof enough.

If you have 100 miles to go before bed and it's raining like a mother, guess what? So, I bought the very heavy-duty vinyl coated bags and will wrestle them in and out, as needed. I haven't decided what's going where yet but, my tour pack (thanks to Klimas' Almost New store) has a good cover and I presume my bed-roll and most of my clothes will be stored there. No idea how much I'll be able to fit on my bike until we do a dry-run.

I may have to utilize the "Jerry" method. This involves packing all of your crappiest, rattiest old underwear and T's and tossing them out along the way, once they begin to stink. You therby arrive home bearing a lighter load than with which you departed, with the exception of the DSB. We're shooting for a camping trip soon so this will give me a chance to load and unload my bike a few times as I try to cram all this junk into the limited space I have available. I know I've said this before but, I'm afraid all this stuff I'm buying for this trip is going to sit it out on the floor of the garage! I don't want to look like this guy:

Anyhow, I'll report back on my predicament once we get a date set for our first camping trip. I'm going to try to bring it all (with the exception of two weeks worth of clothing).

For the faint of heart, I hope you didn't get too offended (or aroused) by that mannikin above (yes, look closer).

Also, I will report back on the "MUST HAVE" list soon. I had some good feedback so far but can always use more. Please click on the comment link at the end of this post and send me a comment or your suggestions for the thing or things you don't ride without. My favorite, so far, was from Pinkie, who recommended bringing your own TP along on a long ride. Or, barring that, I suppose I can always "borrow" a old shirt from Jerry...Peace out everyone and

A low, slow wave,

Joe Rocket