It’s damn close to zero hour, where I hit the road for crazy adventure. Crazy solo alone by myself adventure! Nine days of introspection and blacktop. What could possibly go wrong?
Let’s talk about packing for a long motorcycle trip. I don’t know what’s right, but I do know how I roll. Six years of owning the Spyder and riding all around this mediocre country I call home has taught me a few things about motorcycle camping. I know how to pack that Can-Am for the end times. The one thing I haven’t figured out is how to bring my cat Burn along with me. I’d post a picture of my stupid cat but iCloud is screwing me over on this iPad right now and I can’t access my cloud photos. Go Apple! Seriously, why do they keep breaking everything? What purpose does it serve? Google, Apple, and Microsoft can all go jump in a bucket and yell fish!!!!
Sorry, bit of a tirade there. Back to the matter at hand. Packing shit up. Let’s start with food.
Along with my traditional boil in the bag Indian food and basmati rice, I’ve added ramen noodles, instant miso soup, and some rep pepper tomato soup. Easy stuff that requires only a butane stove, a pot, and water. Living large, here. In the past I’ve settled for instant coffee and an energy bar for breakfast, but this time I’m giving cereal and oatmeal a chance. “What about milk?” you may ask, well I’ve recently discovered the joy of almond milk. Individual serving cartons that require no refrigeration. It’s genius! For on the go snacks I’ve got those gel packs of super foods. More like yogurt packs, than gel, but you get the point. That’s olive oil, not urine, in the plastic bottle. It’s for the rice.
Moving onto the camp kitchen. What do we have here? Compact butane stove, backpacking cooking set, an extra plate, a decent mug, and a neat little frying pan. Wooden spoon is always good to have, as well as a small kitchen knife. For utensils, do yourself a favor and buy full-sized utensils. The ones I have here are made out of plastic but they are full-size. Don’t get any of these bullshit fold up backpacking utensils. They are garbage. Next, it’s all about coffee. A little baggie of coffee mate, not cocaine. Some Starbucks via instant coffee. And some sugar packets. Cannot stress enough how important it is to have coffee and a campsite. Moving on over to the bar section, we have bottle opener, cork screw, wine aerator, and new for this trip, vacuum sealed cork and pump! It’s always good to have a spare later on hand. In the hygiene section, we have a bunch of different handiwipes, wash cloth, TP, organic dish soap, and some laundry detergent. All of this fits nicely in one 25 liter stuff sack with room to spare.
The digital age is upon us, and no matter how much we say we want to disconnect and tune out, it’s fucking ridiculous and will never happen. So to keep your iPads charged and Go Pros shooting, we need power. We also need light for when we miscalculate distances and road times and pull into that KOA at 11:30 and need to set up a tent in pitch dark.
I prefer hands free head lamps with super godlike LED brightness. For general campsite illumination I use a little LED lantern. Keep AA and AAA batteries on hand and a couple of Mophie Juice Packs for all your power needs. Not pictured here is the cigarette lighter USB power adapter I have in the trunk of the Spyder to keep those hungry Mophies in check. Various Micro and Mini USB cables, lightning cables, and the ubiquitous iPhone power brick. Also included in my electronics goody bag are extra headphone, a multitool, and a pocket knife. The Go Pro will spend most of its time mounted onto my helmet. I bought a couple extra rechargeable batteries for it as well.
How else to bore the intrepid reader? How about clothes? How much should I bring? Enough to get by. Because I’m kinda lazy and hate doing laundry on the road, I bring a little extra. 2 pairs of pants, 2 pair of shorts, 4 shirts, 4 pair of underwear, 4 pairs of socks. In a pinch you can get away with one set of riding clothes and one set of on-the-town clothes. I always bring a few extra socks and underwear just to feel a little fresher on the longer parts of the ride. All this gets crammed into one compression sack. It’s also wise to bring a towel for the occasional KOA campsite or truck stop shower. Lower right is a warm hoodie. It always gets cold on these trips. Always. Although the photo shows two pair of shoes, I’m only bringing the boots. The extra sneakers take up too much damn room.
Tarp, two man tent, folding backpacker chair, super light mummy sleeping bag, and new this time around, an inflatable mattress. Mummy bags are super claustrophobic so I bring a small blanket and a pillow and sleep on top of the bag. None of this will give the illusion of staying at the Ritz Carlton, but it’s better than sleeping on rocks. The vinyl hammer is much more useful than you’d expect.
So, there you have it. My Epic Ride camping kit.
And seriously, don’t forget to bring a first aid kid, bug repellent, and some sunscreen. A trip can seem like an eternity with 2nd degree sunburns and West Nile virus (see Epic Ride 2: The Quickening). Time for sleep.