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Packing advice / EZ pass use?


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I have become accustomed to a using a full size conversion van the past few years due to medical issues, and needing a bed for chronic fatigue etc.


Now that we have decided to venture on a BMW, obviously there is little room to carry much of anything for two people. I have that much stuff just between the two front seats in the van.


What I have is: split my tools and emergency gear into two packs, one in each side bag to keep the weight balanced and low. First aid kit, one Surefire and one headlamp. Water bottles and MSR fuel canisters, rain suits, 1 very small umbrella, half bike cover, walking shoes, which pretty much fills out the rest of the side bags, unless I can figure how to get more stuff in the bags without all of it falling out.


We added a tank bag for more accessibly needed items for the driver; air gage, camera, toll tickets, money, and Magellan GPS and a few other small items.


I ordered a set of small Cortec saddle bags to put on top of the BMW bags, to carry a set of clothes, snacks, toiletries, windbreakers, etc.


While not being very large, these were the best we could do after spending $1800+ on safety gear and an inexpensive GPS, and they allowed zippered access to most everything in the bags. I think the Cortec bags tethered to a couple of Bungie Buddies on the BMW bags, will hold everything in place.


Any other tips on packing, what to take or leave behind?


Going anywhere I wanted with minimal provisions was not an issue at 25.


Now, at 51/60, at least 10 hrs of major surgery for each of us, myself living in a great deal of pain and dealing with chronic fatigue, this is a real challenge.


Staying hydrated, warm and getting off the road when fatigued are my primary goals, other than trying to understand the bike as best I can before we go. Debating on taking the Haynes service manual along. Wondered why it was not printed in paperback.....any other recommended, smaller repair manuals suggested for travel?


Is there an 800 BMW help line in case of technical assistance, or a list of BMW dealers to call, and where do I get that information?


It now comes down to how to pack, where best to put the stuff, and making the best of what we have.


The trunk luggage will hold gloves and other weather option quick change clothing, water, food, fanny packs, helmet lock and that about does it for what is planned so far.


We both have armored mesh pants and jackets with liners, full zip legs, Nolan 102's, and should be set for clothing.


Two weeks until anticipated departure. Any thoughts are appreicated.


Any tips on using a non-mounted EZ pass for tolls, vs just paying cash? Possibly have the passenger carry EZ pass in pocket? Don't have any money left to buy more brackets for the bike this year.



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The EZ pass should work fine in the map compartment of the tank bag, but there are a number of people who have had problems with this and now mount 'em on the bike - windshield and farkle shelf seem the most common locations. The only way I'd even attempt to pull the EZ-PASS out of a pocket while moving on the bike is if the unit was tethered to the jacket as it just seems like it would be too easy to drop the unit, but that's just me!dopeslap.gif


Regarding BMW help, there are GPS POI databases for all sorts of stuff including BMW Motorad dealerships here: GPSPassion.com POI Database


This database includes phone numbers, but you'll need to check if phone numbers load into your Magellan.


When organizing your bags keep the weight as low as possible (ie. heavy stuff goes at the bottom of the saddle bags). Keep stuff you'll frequently need near the opening. Another option is to fill one of the bags with all the stuff you don't expect to use (or hope to never need).


Good luck with your planning and trip!

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EZ question first - you can put the EZPass in the top of your tank bag, velcro side up. Or you can have your passenger hold it up as you go through the booths. Or you can stick it in your front pocket, velcro side facing out. The two important things are (1) get the orientation the same way it would be on a car windshield - back side facing out and up as much as possible, and (2) put your motorcycle license plate on your EZPass account so that if it doesn't read the transponder, they won't charge a penalty. (There are some people who put the plate on the account and never carry the transponder and just get visual-tolls and have no issues).


As far as other stuff - don't carry the service manual unless you're also carrying a stock of spare parts and all the special BMW tools. If you really want to carry a service manual, go to www.bmwmc.net in Internet Explorer and poke around.


For a list of BMW dealers, look here . Don't know how up-to-date it is.


Forget the fuel canisters unless you're carrying a camping stove or planning on riding into the wilderness at night. If you're out of range of a gas station in the US on an RT, it's your own fault.


First aid kit? I've carried one for years and haven't used anything from it. Unless you're an EMT, replace it with 4 maxi-pads, a roll of first aid tape, and a bottle of saline solution, and you can fix the things you probably have the ability to fix, which is bleeding and stuff in your eye.


Basic rule of packing - throw out half your stuff and take twice as much money. Take half as much clothing and use the motel laundry when your stop at night. Don't take stuff like bottles of oil or things you "might" use that you can get at the Wal-Mart in every town in America if you need them.


And I still carry too much crap on the bike.

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Go to REI or a bicycle shop or a runner's store and buy a 42 oz CamelBak (yes, get that brand) bladder only, keep it in the tank bag, pull the hose out for a drink to keep hydrated, works perfect, leaves room for other stuff in the tank bag. Your wife can mount something just like it between the rear of her seat and the topcase, reach around and take a sip, experiment with it.


Go to Target and buy some "smush bags" in the luggage department. Three bags, two sizes, for something like ten bucks. Put all your bulkies like fleece and socks in them, force all the air out, and you'll reduce the volume by exactly forty-leven million percent.


Switch to all-microfiber clothing for shirts, underwear, etc, leave the cotton at home, the micro stuff packs to nothing, and is more comfortable, anyway.


Everyone has their own idea about tools and on-road repairs. I carry a telephone number to my roadside assistance company instead of tools and manuals. Being stranded is no fun, but frankly, the last time I was stranded was with a BMW...a BMW 2002 car, in New Mexico, in 1973. Cell phones make breakdown issues a lot easier...to each his own.


Our typical trip, two up, runs at least a week, usually ten days or so. Suzanne gets the side bags, I get the topcase, we even carry along an old laptop.


Don't worry, be happy. Have fun, report in.

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First, congratulations on getting to the point where you're willing to take this on. It sounds like you've put a lot of thought into it. I think you'll be fine. I'm going to share what I think are some "best practice" solutions to packing, understanding that budget constraints may keep you from going out and buying a bunch of new stuff at this point.


First, your instinct to pack the heavy stuff low is a good one. If there's any money left in the budget, I'd get a set of case liners--it's a lot easier than taking the sidecases off the bike every night, and it's a good way to plan what you're going to take. Just allocate one liner each to you and your wife, and try to use that as the upper limit of what you'll need. As far as clothing is concerned, synthetic fabrics are the best choice. A couple pairs of nylon hiking pants, for instance, will take up a fraction of the space of a pair of jeans and when they need to be washed, you can do so in a sink, then leave them to dry out overnight. Since synthetics tend to dry quickly, they're a good choice for motorcycle travel--dampness takes the fun out of a ride pretty quickly.


Also, try to envision using garments and other items you pack for multiple purposes. For instance, you talk about packing a windbreaker--is that really necessary if you're wearing a riding jacket? Each of those "What the heck, it doesn't take up a lot of space" decisions to throw something in your bags adds up . . . quickly. My feeling is that most folks should be able to get by on a motorcycle trip with two to four days worth of clothing. A small container of Woolite and some warm water in a sink every couple of days will provide you with plenty of clean clothes.


You don't mention a rear topcase. If you don't have one, a well-secured waterproof duffle bag on the rear trunk is a good place to stuff the things you won't need to pull out on a regular basis. Your idea of using small bags on top of your sidecases should work. The one caution I'd raise is that those bags, as well as anything else you strap onto the bike, should be secured with straps and definitely NOT bungie cords. If you're going to use bungies, only use them as a supplement to straps--they can easily come lose or permit loads to shift or fall off. Bungies are not, repeating not, a substitute for straps.


As far as the EZ-Pass, I'd just keep it in the map compartment or have your passenger be in charge of it.


And finally, I think that BMW MOA membership is a worthwhile bit of insurance--if you get cracking, you can get an Anonymous Book, which lists all the BMW dealers (at the time of printing) and has an extensive list of MOA members who are willing to help out in a pinch.


Finally, if you have any questions at all about your ability to complete this trip in light of your health history, you may want to consider medical evacuation coverage from a company like MedJet Assist.


Good luck!

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Here's how I do it. Camping gear, shoes, clothes, towels and jackets for 2 people for 2-4 days. With some more creative packing and another compression sack, I could still add a camping stove and food to be totally self supported for up to about 4-5 days. My wife even had a small make-up kit and her purse on the bike.


Warning, putting a bag on top of the right side case can make it hard for a shorter passenger to mount the bike. My wife is 5'3".


I wish givi made something like a huge 70L case that was wider, but maybe slightly shorter and more square along with a more stable mount. I had to use a tiedown to ensure the case didn't break free.


PM me if you want any more details or have specific questions. Compression sacks, and dry bags are your best friend! And pretty cheap too. I'd recommend using quick release nylon straps instead of bungees when possible They are stronger and much more secure.


Get liners for the cases, you can pack more than you think in them. They are very deep!


With my set-up, it was secure and I was still passing logging trucks at 95mph.


I also have an aftermarket windscreen. HUGE difference, especially for the passenger. No buffeting from the Cal Sci screen I have either. I also ride in the high seat postion even thouhg I'm only 5'11".



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And finally, I think that BMW MOA membership is a worthwhile bit of insurance--if you get cracking, you can get an Anonymous Book, which lists all the BMW dealers (at the time of printing) and has an extensive list of MOA members who are willing to help out in a pinch.



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Very much appreciate all the posts!


Yes, I did consider the case liners. I could not locate any affordable just yet. Work in progress.


Been spending a great deal of time getting right helmets and clothing. Hard to believe all the miles and hours I've driven doing so the past two weeks.


The first Nolan 3/4 helmet was exchanged for a 102 full face. Much better. The First Gear Jacket I just got, had a defect in the armor sleeve in one shoulder, and that was re-ordered this afternoon. There are a few issues with their gear, and the company is working on changing those. I picked up the Mesh HT overpant, which should be great.


All we use are synthetics, hiking gear/clothing, having had a lot of camping and lake kayak experience.


I do have a rear top case. So far, that is my "go to" put as much as will fit in it luggage.


I tried a waterproof roll up duffel on the top case, it was too slippery to keep in place. Returned that today. Just have to do without it.


The Cortec saddle bags were a nice compromise. For $124, enough to carry what is needed, not too big to be in the way, and EZ on/off, plus has rain covers.


I ran into a guy at the dealer that had the EZ pass in his tank bag, and said he had no problem. Will be ordering that this evening.


We bought extra bike insurance, AAA for roadside.

Anything worse happens, I hope it is over quick. Be a blessing to check out, just don't want to take anyone with me.


I have been through more than anyone should have been able to survive. I have a DNR tag, and hope if need be, my directions are followed.


I need to figure out how to post a JPG, if anyone could PM instructions.


Bike is set up quite nicely for only having had two weeks to try and figure all the bike and gear issues.


Finally got over the 3rd gear grinding issue. The bike and I are getting along pretty well now. Somewhere down the road I would like a seat that allows both feet to be flat footed at stops. That would be a big help. If money was not an issue, I would have already ordered a Russell.


Now if the weather just happens to cooperate, this should be a great journey.


Always good to be self sufficient when at all possible.


Believe it or not, we only looked at 3 bikes before we bought this one. Never looked at any BMW prior to this experience, more than surprised we bought it.


This trip would not even be a consideration had it not been for all the great responses on this forum.


Very nice 1200 BTW!


I was trying to consider some type of D/P Com system, but don't see happening this year. We are way over budget on this venture already.


Again, greatly appreciate all the great feedback!

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Yes, I did consider the case liners. I could not locate any affordable just yet. Work in progress.
I found a Nike bag which fits the BMW trunk perfectly and only cost around $30 at a local soccer/sporting good store... Unfortunately I already had the BMW liner when I discovered this bag amongst all the other "stuff" filling our home! dopeslap.gif The bag is several years old so I'm sure the models have changed but with a little luck you may be able to find something similar. I've yet to see a generic inexpensive bag which is a good fit for the saddle bags.
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