Last weekend I rode out to Rhode Island on the Ducati to go camping with a few friends. I realize that this was not the most intelligent thing to do for having the bike for less than 2 weeks, but the opportunity was too much to pass. Despite it not being the best of ideas, I definitely learned a lot about the bike and, all in all, am glad that I did it.
In the car, its about a 5 hour ride to the park. Since I didn’t have much experience on the bike, I felt that it would be better to avoid the Interstate for the most part, which put my trip at an estimated 7 hours total. I did start out on the Interstate, but after about 45 minutes I was bored to death and started on my planned secondary road route. Everything was good for the first 150 miles when the position on the motorcycle becomes quite uncomfortable. The total distance is about 450 miles, so I figured that gas stops every 200 miles would be good to stretch my legs, drink some water, etc. I ended up stopping 4 times, as the farther I went, the sooner my ass and knees would start to hurt. What made the ride out rather miserable was the total of 10 hours that it took, primarily because of hitting snarly traffic in New Haven, CT on I-95 and on Rt 1. By the time I finally got there, I was quite tired but glad to be there. The stiffness from being in the same position goes quite quickly and I was able to enjoy the weekend. The way back was much better, taking 7 hours, because I altered my route to avoid the issues on the way out.
The main issue that I felt on the way back, and still feel right now, is tiredness in my right hand. When I first got back, my hand was quite sore, but the fact that I can still feel a little bit of that almost a week later is rather annoying. I think that my hand will get used to this with time, but its something I need to keep in mind at the moment. I also think that a windshield, even a small one, will make the highways much better. I didn’t like the turbulence and a windscreen should reduce that when at speed. A final thing I will change before my next trip is to add some soft saddle bags. I had a friend (who left a day before me) bring most of my stuff for me, so all I had was a small backpack with food, water, and rain gear (it was supposed to rain all weekend but didn’t… just had 95% humidity). Although the bag was rather light, it starts to get heavy after 5 hours.
The best part of the ride was Rt 7 through Connecticut. It was a beautiful area and had a good number of sections that were a blast to ride. If I ever ride that way again, I’m definitely going to take Rt 7 again. Hopefully, by the time I want to do another long trip, I’ll be better prepared and not be so tired when I return.