A BAG FULL OF CLOTHES AND NOTHING TO WEAR!!!!!
Unlike the overly vain ruler that a starring role in Hans Christian Anderson’s Emperor’s New Clothes or the infamous Lady Godiva I, myself, do not really relish the thought of riding around with no clothes. Not that I am all that modest or righteous but the DAMAGE I would happen to the retinas of all those poor souls that would happen to catch a glimpse of me in that state of attire…..oh the poor people!!! We just can’t let that happen soooooo………
Although packing for a motorcycle trip requires more than just clothing let’s face it….clothes are still an important concern. With that in mind I do make covering my body a major foundation of my packing…..as well as protecting the aforementioned visual sanity of the viewing public. Before I begin let me preface by saying that my method of packing does not suit everyone. It works for me. The other thing is that there is a point where the trip might be too long for this method. In fact, this trip of nearly 3 full weeks comes awfully close to being too lengthy for my packing method. I do not promote myself as being the originator of how I elect to pack my clothes because I could swear that a LONG time ago I read in one of the cycle magazines about someone using this method. I thought to myself “wow, that seems like a pretty neat idea!” (or did I say “groovy”…) and I have been using this method ever since. The funny thing is that I don’t think that I have EVER met anyone else who does it this way. Maybe someday I’ll see the error of my ways and try to be sensible……NAH!!
The first thing I do is make a list. You have to know this about me…..I am a Man of Lists!!! I take much verbal and mental abuse about my use of LISTS by my spouse, offspring, siblings, friends, workplace comrades, acquaintances, and complete strangers. Nevertheless I don’t stop….I NEED lists and schedules. My first step is that I make a list of everything that I think that I need (want) to take with me that cannot already be found attached to the motorcycle. To be truthful the list was made several years ago. I update it
here and there and I keep it on the extremely safe hard drive of my often hacked computer with the “aaaaaa” password making sure that those pesky Russian hackers don’t get their hands on it. If I am hacked by the Russians, Chinese, or the Democratic National Committee maybe they will sell the packing list to one of those Nigerian scammers and share the MILLIONS with me.
Before I print the list out I add in the days/dates that make up the trip including where I will be spending the night. I add in a column at the end for a comment if there is something special that I know is happening that day. Then there is a column for clothing including the number of each item I need. I include whether it is “throw away” or if it is a “keeper” (I do have a couple “keeper” shirts with me). I keep a bathing suit, shoes & boots, and shorts on the list. Lastly is something to sleep in. I know some of you sleep commando and I am sure that is wonderful for you BUT I have these visions that there will be an emergency evacuation of the hotel and there I am running out into the parking lot with nothing on but my sheepish grin……………AND believe me…NOBODY wants me out in that parking lot in that condition. So I wear SOMETHING to bed and if the management gets bored in the middle of the night and decides to have a “FIRE DRILL” at 2:00 AM I will at least be semi presentable. Generally it is just a pair of raggedy sweatpants because I leave my Flintstone PJs at home.
After clothing is the toiletry list. It has EVERYTHING that I might need. There are the obvious things like deodorant, toothpaste, toothbrush, razor, etc. but my bag also includes things like ear plugs because as nice as these hotels are you never know when the Harvey Smith bachelor party will all be staying on my same floor. I also have band aids and Neosporn because……well, because I am me and the me that I know frequently is in NEED of band aids and Neosporn. One nice thing about Choice Hotels is that they ALWAYS have shampoo, conditioner, and lotion in the room so I don’t have to pack any of those items.
Lastly are all the “extra” things. This part of the list will include camera, flash, computer, phone, and all the cords and chargers that go with them. I also take a multi plug and an extension cord because not all hotel rooms are laid out quite right for me. Some of these things may seem funny to put on the list but it INSURES that I check them off and have them…..such as glasses, spare glasses, sunglasses, riding sunglasses, batteries, a roll of paper towels, ink pens, journal/expense/gas log, watch, tripod (I have a small travel type of tripod), selfie stick, gas treatment, rain gear, micro cloths, bungee cords, all my reservation printouts, and a note pad. There are other little personal things on my list but the main thing is that EVERYTHING that I want and/or need on a trip I have on the list. Then as I pack I KNOW that I have everything. Of course, I don’t know about you but even after all of that preparation and double checking I’ll STILL be without something!!! Thankfully there is almost ALWAYS a Walgreens or the Dreaded Walmart virtually everywhere I go and I can usually get whatever I need to make it through the day.
When I am ready to start packing I will print out the list. I read through it and determine if there is anything on the list that I don’t need on that particular trip and can scratch off. Since this trip is 19 or 20 days almost everything on the list is important. Still I go through it and I do delete a thing or two. I also adjust any of the quantities of the clothing to match the number of days I’ll be traveling.
So here is my method….I call it the “Landfill Method”. Like most other guys I have piles of t-shirts, loads of socks, and an adequate (“adequate” according to me…not my wife) quantity of underwear. UNLIKE most guys I do not wear them until they are hardly being held together by a few remaining threads. Nope…when there is SOME wear showing I put them in my “motorcycle trip box”. The exception would be the t-shirts. There are always free t-shirts at various events that I would NEVER wear but I always will grab a free one (or three if no one is looking). Sometimes during a Daytona Bike Week or Biketoberfest there will be a t-shirt vendor selling off t-shirts at 6 for $20. I can also go to the Goodwill store and get t-shirts for less than $2. So it is not hard to keep up a stash of “unwearable” t-shirts.
I then lay out the number of shirts, socks, and underwear that I have determined that I’ll need for the trip. The tricky part is with the shirts. Some days I am just riding and other days I am meeting people and maybe going out with them. So I get the “bad” throw away shirts for the “just Don” days and “good” throw away shirts for going out days. At the end of each day I throw that day’s t-shirt, socks, and underwear into the bin for a trip to the “Landfill”. Obviously when I start out my bag is FULL and, in the case of a 19 day trip, it is busting at the seams. However, as the time marches on the bag gets lighter.
As I previously mentioned I load up my computer, camera, all the chargers, an extension cord, multi plug, and extra batteries. I have a list of the toiletries that I use and I make sure that I have each item on the list in the toiletry bag. You don’t want to face a day of riding in 85 to 90 degree sunshine and not have your deodorant. If you take any prescriptions or supplements make sure they are on your list and that you have a way to pack them.
The interesting part (I may be flattering myself in saying that ANY of this could be the “interesting part”) is how I manage the packing. I also wear a backpack. When I leave on my first day I have the camera and computer in the backpack. Why? Glad you asked. Anytime I stop, get off, and leave the bike I always have my camera and computer with me. Not that they are all that much safer on the back of an OLD biker whose only goal at the time is a restroom, a Coke, and a package of Twinkies but at least I feel that they are safer. For this trip I will also have in that backpack 3 t-shirts, 3 pair of sox, and 3 sets of underwear. In my saddlebag I will have my toiletry bag and the utility bag that has my chargers and cords. With this set up when I get to my destination hotel all I have to do is grab the two little bags out of the saddlebags, my helmet, and wear my backpack. I have everything I need for the night. Most of the hotels let me park either right outside the lobby door or very, very close so I just leave my big bag on the bike. I don’t have to remove it or carry it for each overnight stop.
That will work for the first three nights. Everything should go according to plan and I should make it all the way to Waterford, MI without having to take the big bag off the bike. Since I will be in Waterford for 7 days I’ll take the bag off the bike and the first thing I’ll do is take out what I will need for those 7 days and put it all in drawers. The bag and the remainder of the contents will be shoved into the closet and hardly looked at again for a week……except to get those things that I didn’t think that I would need and then suddenly need right away.
When heading home I’ll do basically the same process (with a lot less stuff…………maybe a couple extra Hooters shirts) and I won’t take my big pack off again until I reach home.
I usually line both the big travel bag and my backpack with a garbage bag to help prevent too much moisture from getting in. With a trip like this it isn’t a case of IF there will be riding in the rain but WHEN. I then pack up the big bag. On this trip due to the fact that it is nearly three weeks long the big bag will be REALLY stuffed. I will close it all up (usually by sitting on it while I zip) and it will be ready to go. My toiletry bag will be complete because I pack it full with new containers of consumable items and I have a spare travel items such as a brush, toothbrush, razor, etc….so I am confident that it is ready to go. The cords & charger bag also has everything because I have an extra of everything. The backpack will be done a few days ahead of time with the exception of the camera and computer.
The night before my departure I will double check the list to HELP insure that I have absolutely everything (although history has proven that all the checking and double checking rarely guarantees anything) and I will load the bike. When I go to bed that night the bike will be in the garage completely ready to go. All I have to do in the morning is go out, throw on my backpack, start ‘er up, and I am off.
If all goes well and according to the plans you have already read (I assume you have read) then the next chapter will cover Day Number 1 better known as August 15, 2016. I hope that you enjoy my trip as you read along with my traveling. Don’t forget that anytime you might feel it appropriate you may “Like” or “Share” this or any of the posts on social media which would, of course, give me a warm and fuzzy feeling inside. You can also drop me a line or leave me a comment. You can write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org using “Your Blog” as the subject line. You can check me out on Facebook by going to www.facebook.com/don.bova also because I will generally have more pictures and comments over there. Also you can read the blog about my 2015 road trip from Florida to Michigan at www.donbovaroadtrips.wordpress.com. Lastly, you can look at pictures of my past yearly road trips to Michigan dating back to 2009 at www.gotyourpic.com/Vacation.