Lessons Learned From the Grand Canyon

IMG_2875_1After four days on the road, over 1,100 miles, two days of almost non-stop rain, along with both hot and cold days, I have absolutely nothing to complain about. My motorcycle performed flawlessly, my equipment did exactly what it was designed to do, and we returned safe and sound.

Most of my equipment wasn’t new, but some of it was. I thought I’d share some of what I learned about my new gear on my recent trip to the Grand Canyon, the good and the great—there isn’t any bad.

Like most Harley dealers, Intermountain Harley Davidson offers a rewards program. I’ve pretty much ignored the rewards points until a couple of months ago when I turned them in to get a new jacket. I wasn’t unhappy with my old jacket, but there was nothing reflective on the back—which caused my daughter a little angst (she wants to make sure people see me when I’m on the road at night). I purchased the Competition III jacket (I would have never made the purchase without the rewards points, thanks Intermountain HD.) It has a fairly subtle reflective Harley-Davidson logo on the back across the shoulders. I also noticed that it was described as waterproof.

Screen Shot 2013-05-14 at 4.53.30 PMI didn’t think much of it until I’d spent two days on the bike in the rain last week. I’m not a big fan of raingear generally (sometimes it feels like I’m in a sauna), so when it started to rain I thought I’d see how the jacket would do. It did exactly what it was advertised to do. It kept me warm and dry. Not a leak anywhere. Definitely, two thumbs up.

Screen Shot 2013-05-14 at 4.57.58 PMI’d also recently installed a set of Kurakyn adjustable passenger foot pegs. Although I don’t spend any time on the passenger seat, both my wife and my daughter have commented about how much it adds to their comfort on a long ride (the footpegs were a very generous gift from my brother-in-law Paul). Over the course of the five-day tour, I noticed Amanda had spent some time riding in every position. I love it when things do what they’re supposed to do.

I have a leather Tourpack on the back of my Road King and don’t have the luxury of a rack on top. I noticed while at Zion Harley Davidson, they now have a leather Tourpack with a chrome rack, but I won’t be needing it. Looking for something that would elegantly strap to the top of my pack when traveling two-up, I came across the Raven by T-Bags. It’s not specifically designed for my application, but it met my expectations with ease. (Note: Don’t feel like you need to really clamp down on the straps, the Tourpack is rigid, but it’s not fiberglass. You don’t want to crush the pack.)

Screen Shot 2013-05-14 at 4.54.35 PMFour straps that very simply attached to the rack my Tourpack perches upon held this flexible bag that basically wrapped around the top of the pack. You can see it on my bike in the first image on this post. It never slipped, it stayed put and carried more than enough of my daughters gear for the week. I gave her the option of using the T-Bag or the bag that fits snugly inside my tourpack, and she chose the T-Bag because she felt she could stuff it with any extras we came across on the road. I also purchased the top bag because it was designed to strap down an extra jacket, etc.—which came in very handy as we were shedding layers in Zion National Park.

Although the bag worked well, what really had me jazzed was the included rainfly that stores in its own zippered pocket and slips and expands over the top of the bag. After two days of rain, everything in the T-Bad remained completely dry. Steve’s bag allowed some water in and each night he had to dry some of his unmentionables on the heat register—everything in the T-Bag remained dry as a bone.

Normally after a road trip I make a list of the gear I need to change or where there were problems, but this trip I couldn’t think of a single thing. I feel like this trip put a lot of stuff to the test and I couldn’t be happier with the way everything from my clothing to the bike to the luggage performed.

I can’t think of the last time I came home from any trip able to say that.

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