Thursday, 15 December 2016

Daydreaming: Winter Road Trip to New Orleans & Key West

It's an 11 hour drive down to Knoxville, Tennessee from here.  If I took the bike that far south in a van to dodge the snowline, I could then do this!

With two weeks off over Christmas it'd break down like this:

Dec 24th: (van) Elora to Knoxville in the van 1147kms
Dec 25th: Knoxville to Talledega 271 miles the interesting way
Dec 26th: Talledega to New Orleans 420 miles
Dec 27th: New Orleans!
Dec 28th: New Orleans!
Dec 29th: New Orleans to Panama City 304 miles
Dec 30th: Panama City to Tampa  339 miles
Dec 31st: Tampa to Miami   252 miles
Jan 1st:   Miami!
Jan 2nd:  Miami to Key West to Miami   155 miles there and back
Jan 3rd:   Miami to Jacksonville via Daytona Beach 346 miles
Jan 5th:   Jacksonville to Greenville 388 miles
Jan 6th:  Greenville to Knoxville 212 miles via Deals Gap
Jan 6th:  (van) Knoxville to Dayton 304 miles 1/2 day
Jan 7th:  (van) Dayton to Elora 410 miles home mid-afternoon
Jan 8th:   chill out day before going back to work

Van mileage:  2300kms / 1440 miles
Bile mileage: 4500kms / 2812 miles

I could probably arrange with our Knoxville hotel to park the van somewhere safe and then head south on two wheels.  The Tiger could totally handle the job one or two up, but there would be more specialized tools I'd select if given a choice from the new 2017 bikes:

One Up 2017 Minimalist Bike Choice

Kawasaki's new Z900 looks like a lovely, light weight device to explore some corners with.  It's an upright bike that would be easy to sit on for long periods of time.  It's a minimal machine but that would be ideal for riding into the sub tropical climates down there.

It's a brand new machine but the Z650 it shares parts with already has some luggage bits that might work.  Keeping with the minimalist vibe, I'd try and do the whole 3000 mile / two week odyssey using only those two expandable panniers.  If I have to expand half way through I could always throw a tie down duffel bag on the back seat.

One Up 2017 not-remotely minimalist Bike Choice

The opposite of the tiny, lithe, naked Z900 is the absurd, over the top and abundantly present Moto Guzzi MGX-21 Flying Fortress.  It comes with its own panniers so that's not a worry.  It's also the kind of bike that would swallow many high mileage days in a row without batting an eyelash.  And it's so pretty.

Two Up Touring Preference

A large, comfortable bike that Max and I could ride the southern triangle on would be the goal here.  My default is always a Kawasaki Concours 14.  We rented a last gen model last year in Arizona and it was a rocket ship that was also big and comfortable for both of us.  The fact that it comes in candy imperial blue this year only encourages me to put it back at the top of the list again.

A more touring focused choice would be the Goldwing F6B which is a more stripped down version of the full on bells and whistles Goldwing.  It's a big, comfortable bike that is surprisingly nimble for what it is and comes with built in panniers.  It'd cover the miles with ease while keeping us both in excellent shape for when we arrived at each stop.