I'm almost ready, both mentally and physically, for the "BIG" trip. I'm nervous and excited all rolled into one. I've got a few last minute things to buy and do (including changing out my fluids and replacing some leaking clutch parts that *should* be here by Tuesday) before I can finally say I'm packed and ready to go.
Taking advice from others that have gone before me, I liked this short list that Flyred on ADVrider.com posted after a 6000 mile trip:
1) Travel light. Use the weight loss section in the trip planning section then take more out of your bag. I mailed home 23lbs of crap that I hadn't used in the first week, and I could have sent a few more lbs later.
You dont need cook pots and a camp stove, and a liter of spare fuel. An Esbit cooker, fuel tabs and a Ti coffee cup will do everything needed and take a 10th the space. Eat jerky, dried fruit and nuts, a can of tuna, then in a few days, stop at a good diner and enjoy a good meal.
Jetboil. Check.2) Use the Tent Space list to get a warm floor to sleep on once in a while. Your back will thank you.
List reviewed and computer coming with me in case I don't end up sleeping where I think I'll be any particular night.3) If you own a 990 ADV get the TourTech big kickstand foot. I wish they made one for the centerstand.
Check. I made a kickstand plate and it lives in my tank bag.
4) Go it alone. I wasn't sure about it when I left home, but the longer I was out, the more I liked it. Go where you want, when you want, stop when ever to take a pic or investigate a dirt road that beckons. There is never a discussion about someone not wanting to do that.
Sleeping alone, in the middle of a desert under a star filled sky on a ground sheet and your sleeping bag is amazing. And waking up at dawn and watching the morning light creep up the walls of a canyon while you heat water for a cup of coffee is a religious experience.
I'm going as solo as could be.
5) See #1. You dont need anywhere near as much stuff as you think.
Hmm. I'll rethink the wardrobe selection...
6) It will frequently not be "fun" but it is always an adventure. You will be sore from long days in the saddle, from sleeping on the hard ground. You will be cold, wet, hot, thirsty, tired of the desert winds that blow your stuff all over the camp if not carefull. But after a while, you will gain experience and become an old hand with it all. It is a steep learning curve and using ADVrider.com as a resource is a huge help.
6) Now go out there and have an adventure