A few weeks ago at the meeting of our motorcycle club, I met a friend and former work colleague I hadn't seen since I retired 7 years ago. We talked about this trip, and it turned out he has an R1150RT, and kindly offered to swap bikes for the day and let me take it for a ride. He rode Wanda's Suzuki 750 Intruder, and we headed out to the Moon Rock Cafe at NASA's Tidbinbilla Deep Space Tracking Station. Our ride took us across the Urriara Loop and out the Cotter Road, some of the best motorcycling rodes near Canberra. I came back convinced an R1150RT is the bike to have for long distance touring. It was comfortable, quick, nimble, and seemed reassuringly viceless.
When I last contacted the motorcycle dealer in LA, the sales lady had a 2004 R1150RT available, which seems just what we want, except we would need to pay extra to swap out its city panniers for full size ones. But then she tempted us with the prospect of a 2010 R1200RT ex-demonstrator, with just 2500 miles on the clock. It's twice the price, but hell, we only live once - and if we don't travel first class, our kids will. I had begun to worry that we might not be able to get the bike we wanted from this dealer, but now it looks we have a choice. By the way, if you are wondering why we are so intent on buying from this dealer, it is because they alone have offered to let us use their business address for the purposes of registration and insurance.
Arrangements are very near complete for our departure. Our house-sitters moved in last night. We leave for Sydney tomorrow morning and fly out the following day after overnighting with friends there. We're still not packed, though. We planned to take only one suitcase with us - after all, we will be very limited in what we can take on the bike. However, when we started packing in earnest it quickly became obvious we would need a second. Our riding gear (especially the helmets and boots) is really bulky, so we had a last minute rush to buy another one. Fortunately, we will be wearing most of the stuff when we are travelling, and don't have to carry it on the bike. A friend in LA has offered to mind the suitcases for us until we get back there in November, which is so helpful. We had visions of throwing them away when we got there and then buying more to come home. Also, if we do find we have more stuff with us than we can take, at least we can leave some in storage.