3,700 miles across the US on my 2014 Daytona 675R
I noticed there arenít any recent posts on this part of the forum, but I thought it would be worthwhile to put in some thoughts from the cross-country trip I did on my 2014 Daytona 675R a couple months ago. Iíll give some take-aways in the beginning and a very short summary, and put the story below, so you donít have to go through the whole thing if you donít want to haha.
Most useful items
This is not an extensive list by far, but these items were some of the most useful ones to have on my trip.
Throttle lock - This thing is a life-saver! Well, wrist-saver. Seriously, I would not consider doing such a long trip without some type of throttle lock. I didnít have it for the first part of my trip and I really wish I did.
Ear plugs - You may not wear them for short rides, but 10 hours of wind noise will be brutal on your hearing, and your mind. I had a pair that didnít seal properly for the first part of my trip, and the wind noise was driving me crazy by the end of Day 1. Cheapest investment, and worth far more than its weight in gold.
Tank bag - Having items you might need close at hand, like sunscreen, a battery charger, spare ear plugs, a microfiber cloth, your wallet, etc. is so useful. More importantly on a supersport, it doubles as a pillow! I spent the majority of my freeway miles draped over the thing.
Tail bag - Save your back and sanity and get a tail bag for a long trip like this. A backpack is fine in the city or on a short trip, but youíll be tired enough without having more weight on your back. The Kriega I got is also waterproof, which came in handy and was well worth it.
Comm system - I honestly probably couldnít have done this trip without my Cardo. Being able to listen to music for the entire day and hear GPS directions was a great QoL investment.
Summary: I decided to do this trip because Iíve been working from home since early March, and without the need to be in the office all I needed was my work laptop and WiFi to ďwork from homeĒ. Iíve wanted to do this trip for years, so being able to do it without having to worry about a timeframe was too perfect of an opportunity to pass up.
The days were long, both in miles and hours on the road, but surprisingly I wasnít as sore as Iíd expected! I think the key to that was stopping every 60 miles or every hour, whichever I felt was best at the time. Iíd use that short break to stretch, drink water, use the bathroom, and top off my tank if needed. Otherwise, while riding I always had the throttle lock on once I got up to speed and by basically laying on top of my tank bag I shifted my weight from my core/lower back to the bike itself. My legs became sore the fastest, since on the Daytona theyíre pretty scrunched up under you, and you can only contort your body in so many ways on a supersport to try to get a stretch in.
Typically for each day, Iíd book an Airbnb at my planned destination 1 night beforehand, leave around 9am, and get to my destination between 3 and 6pm. Airbnbís were cheaper each night than hotels wouldíve been, and I tried to make sure I found places that had both decent parking and a description of what extra measures they were taking to sanitize the place. I still use a disc lock each night for some more peace of mind though :)
I guess those are the main points from the trip, so for more details on the ride read on!
In terms of trip planning, there wasnít much trip planning. My plans were to leave NYC at the end of April when the weather was hopefully a bit warmer, and make my first stop at my sisterís college apartment in Ohio. I looked over potential cross country routes, but at this point I was only really planning on going to Ohio for a few weeks before heading back to the city. My company had just started working from home due to Covid-19 in early March, so I figured it would be nice to get away from the craziness of the city and hang out with some family, especially since colleges at this point had mostly fully transitioned to being fully remote, with video conference lectures and classes.
Prior to leaving I ordered a Kriega US-30 tail bag, since I knew there was no way Iíd want to be wearing a backpack for more than an hour or two. The straps were easy to attach to the subframe under the pillion seat, and the bag itself is great! I was able to pack a road tool kit, 4 days of clothes, my work and personal laptops, a liter-sized water bottle, and some casual shoes for hanging out off the bike. I also got some earplugs to keep from tiring out faster.
Day 1 - NYC to Columbus, OH - 600 miles
On the day I set out from NYC I left at 8am. It was chilly but not terribly so, which I was glad for. After having lived on the California coast up until last year, I have yet to fully acclimate to East Coast weather, so even the 55 degree weather got me shivering on the ride. I was able to get out of the city quickly without too much traffic, and once on the westbound I-80 traffic thinned out considerably. As I was approaching the first stop I was going to make for gas, I noticed my left boot felt unusually warm, and looking down I saw it was-shiny? The entire front of my boot was slick with oil. When I pulled over to get gas I saw that the footpeg was also covered, and the swingarm was splattered. It was not what I would call a confidence-inspiring start to what was to be a very long day of riding. Feeling a bit panicky I spent some time looking up anything related to oil leaks to try to figure out the issue, and decided it was most likely the alternator cover gasket that might be the issue. I had just installed engine case covers the previous week, so perhaps when dealing with the bolts the gasket became unaligned. I checked the oil level, which was fine, so I figured it was a small leak, and the constant wind just spread it out? Regardless, the bike was still working properly and I had a lot of miles left to go, so off I went. For most of my time going through Pennsylvania semi trucks were the only other vehicles on the road, so I was able to keep up a uhh...respectable speed.
As I got into Ohio, I was starting to really hate the road. A full day of interstate riding will do that to you! Originally I had thought I could make it all the way to Oxford, but as I got to Columbus it was clear it was not to be. As the sun dropped, shadows stretched into twilight, and my tinted visor turned from friend to foe as it became harder to see the road. I pulled over for the night and found a hotel room in a mostly empty hotel, with a parking spot directly in front of my window so I could easily check on my bike.
Day 2 - Columbus, OH to Oxford, OH - 120 miles
The second day was much more relaxing! I got off the I-70 close to Dayton and took smaller roads down to Oxford, which is in the Southwestern part of Ohio. For the most part, the ride took me through tons of barren fields that in harvest season are filled with corn. But it was a chill ride, and I saw many more motorcyclists, almost all of whom were on big cruisers and sporting SNELL/ECE rated bandanas.
After the previous exhausting day of riding, I was pretty happy to get to my sister's place and hang out with her for the rest of the day, especially since I hadnít seen her in almost half a year. Plus she gave me a small tour of the campus and college town which was fun to see!
Interlude - 3 weeks chilling in Ohio
So I actually spent quite a lot of time here! My sisters roommates had all gone home since classes were all remote, so I had my own room to stay in while I was there. For work I just need my laptop and WiFi, which made staying there for 3 weeks a non-issue. I also spent a lot of time riding around the area. Pretty decent roads with long, sweeping curves and little traffic made for some fun rides. This was also my first time in the midwest so the novelty of riding through farmland instead of densely populated cities never quite wore off! There were a couple thunderstorms and the crash of thunder accompanied by lightning that turned the night to day was absolutely awesome.
Towards the end of the few weeks my company sent word that weíd be working remote probably until the end of the year, so I made up my mind on travel plans. Why go back to the city when I can ďwork from homeĒ from wherever? With family to stay with in LA, this was the perfect opportunity to make the trip! I mean hell, I was already a fifth of the way across the country, I pretty much had to do the remaining portion, right?
So having decided on that, I ordered some more gear for the trip: a Cortech Super 2.0 12L magnetic tank bag, a Go Cruise throttle lock, a pack of Honeywell foam earplugs, a Rukka outlast shirt, and an Alpinestars tech neck warmer. The silicone earplugs I had just would not seal well, no matter how hard I tried. The first time I tried riding with the foam plugs was truly eye opening in how quiet and comfortable it could be. Plus I could actually hear my Cardo system better since the sound wasn't overridden by wind noise.
After waiting a week, and having a million chrome tabs open with weather forecasts for multiple cities along the way to California, I found a week with minimal rain, planned a few days of PTO, and was ready to go!
(Also sorry if the pictures come in way too big I'm not sure how to fix that)
Day 1 - Oxford, OH to St. Louis, MO - 350 miles
The quicker route takes you through Indianapolis, but I had an old friend I hadnít seen in close to 5 years in Bloomington, IN so I took a bit of a detour through there instead. The start of the day through Eastern Indiana was a lot of empty fields, but with the morning fog it was kind of nice, in a quiet, eerie sort of way. Whipping down foggy farmland roads, with the muted rumble of the exhaust and some quiet 80s music playing in my helmet felt like a scene out of a movie. The neck warmer kept the chill air out, and the base layer kept me surprisingly warm, so both purchases were already paying off. The rest of the ride through Indiana and Missouri were actually quite uneventful. The weather was great, the traffic was sparse, and the miles flew by pretty fast.
Day 2 - St. Louis, MO to Salina, KS - 430 miles
Cold. Wet. Those two words summed up the first few hours on the road. It was sprinkling as I left St. Louis, and while my jacketís thermal liner and my base layer kept my torso warm, the perforated leather gloves didnít do as much as Iíd want for my hands in the mid-40s. Getting on the I-70 and up to the speed limit turned the small taps of rain on my helmet into a steady drum, and as my gear got wetter so did the weather. Sprinkling turned into pouring rain. Passing semi trucks was like riding through a waterfall, and being anywhere close to other cars was like being doused with a hose from all the water kicked up by their wheels. Wet leather gloves combined with wind chill in the low 30s left my hands feeling numb and clumsy, an awful feeling when operating the clutch and throttle.
After 30 minutes I pulled into a gas station to figure out a better plan. I seriously considered finding a cheap hotel off the interstate and just continuing the following day once the rain had passed, but I had already booked an Airbnb in Salina the previous night and didnít want to miss it. Plus, it looked like Iíd have sun and clear skies once I got to Columbia, MO, so I bought a $1 pair of flannel glove liners, put some nitrile gloves over those, and put my wet motorcycle gloves over that. It was a bit bulky, but no worse than my heated gloves sitting back home in NYC, and helped my hands retain some warmth so I gave it a go.
Continuing on, the glove liners did help...until they too got soaking wet. I made 4 stops before I got to Columbia, and at each one I threw out the soaked liners and replaced them with a new, dry, dollar pair. Twice I also changed my socks since my feet were freezing sitting in the puddles of water in my boots. If thereís a silver lining itís that the Road 5ís on my Daytona performed flawlessly in the rain, and the Kriega bag kept my clothes and electronics bone dry.
But I made it to clearer skies! For the rest of the ride the sun and wind helped to air dry my gear. Not entirely, but dry enough to be more comfortable. Kansas itself was pretty barren, though riding over rolling hills of grain closer to sunset was beautiful in its own way, and I eventually made it to my Airbnb, a couple hours late and tired as hell.
Day 3 - Salina, KS to Denver, CO - 450 miles
This ride was much better! Clear skies for the entire day, and the weather warmed considerably as I approached Denver. Passing from Kansas into Colorado the route continued to be pretty barren-a common theme when riding along the interstates in the Midwest, it seems. But approaching Denver I was greeted with some stunning views of the Rocky Mountains. I can absolutely see why people love living here, which so much to do and explore right there in your backyard.
Day 4 - Denver, CO to Salt Lake City, UT - 530 miles
So I heavily debated between two possible routes that would take me to Salt Lake City. The first route would take me through the mountains and provide some stunning views, but got pretty cold at higher elevation and still had snow banks lining the road for portions of the ride. The second route would take me north along the I-80 through the lower part of Wyoming, where Iíd avoid the cold and snow but have to potentially deal with strong winds and comparatively dull scenery for hours.
After much consideration, I went with the northern route, since after already dealing with rain and cold, I wasnít feeling snow and cold. And it went pretty decently! Riding up out of Colorado provided some amazing mountain views, and Wyoming wasnít too bad. The wind wasnít terrible, but it was certainly not fun. Signs along the interstate warned of wind gusts up to 40mph, and I felt like I was maintaining a strong lean just to keep a straight course for most of the ride. Passing semi-trucks with the crosswind was probably the sketchiest part, but I got used to it after the first few. I stopped a lot on my way to Utah for water and stretch breaks, as the constant wind really seemed to wear me out faster than usual.
When I did finally get out of Wyoming though, I was welcomed with some seriously stunning mountain views, and the ride down into Salt Lake City was great fun, with the winding roads snaking their way down through the mountains.
The Airbnb I stayed at there was also the best one Iíve ever been in. Plus the guy there used to have a zx6r, so he was the only one along the way who really sympathized with the long hours spent on a supersport.
Day 5 - Salt Lake City, UT to Reno, NV - 530 miles
Another exceedingly long day of riding! By this point I definitely kind of found my groove, and the miles seemed to blur together and drop off quickly. Leaving Salt Lake City took me past some really cool salt lakes, and eventually through what I had most looked forward to for this day, the Bonneville Salt Flats!
Salt! For miles! Everywhere! It seriously felt like I was on another planet. The I-80 was the only non-white strip of land around, and it was not uncommon to see tire tracks leaving the road for a quick foray onto the salt before coming back (and bringing a couple tire strips worth of salt with them). Of course, I had to pull over at a couple rest stops to take some pictures and take it all in.
Unfortunately, that was where the interesting sights ended for the remainder of the day. The rest of the ride through Nevada was filled with desert, cacti, and sand. Course, rough, and gets everywhere indeed. The desert does have its charm but I think Iím more of a mountains and forests kind of guy. Reno was pretty nice though, and another nice Airbnb helped me get over the exhaustion from this final very long day of riding.
Day 6 - Reno, NV to Berkeley, CA - 260 miles
My shortest day mileage-wise in a while, and one of the most scenic by far. Leaving Reno immediately took me into the forested slopes of the Sierra Nevadas, and hearing the ĎWelcome to Californiaí from Google Maps immediately made me feel like I was home. Riding through the mountains in California is truly an experience on two wheels. The winding roads, spectacular views, and forest-scented air is an intoxicating combination. And from the significant increase in motorcycles I saw, Iím not alone in thinking that.
Almost as soon as I got into California I dropped off the I-80 and down to Lake Tahoe, where I rode down the Western half of the lake. The water was beautifully reflective, and seemed to come right up to the edge of the road. I stopped almost every 10 minutes, for once not to just stretch out my legs.
I took the more scenic route along the 50 before meeting back up with the I-80 around Sacramento and took that for the rest of the way to Berkeley. I went to college here so it was great to be back in the area, and I spent 4 days there just catching up with friends and riding some of the routes I used to take back when I had my Ninja 250.
Last Day - Berkeley, CA to Los Angeles, CA - 430 miles
After spending some time in Berkeley, it was time to finish off my trip and head down to LA. Iíve been on the I-5 multiple times in a car and had absolutely zero desire to do it on a motorcycle, so I took the 101 most of the way down before breaking off to the 1 in Santa Barbara and riding along the coast for the rest of the way.
Once in LA I stayed for a few weeks with family and did some riding around the SoCal area, and tried to hit some of the more notable roads, like Mulholland and the Angeles Crest Highway. And just some riding around Santa Monica and LA itself. There was less traffic than normal, but it's still LA traffic so I got to do a whole lot of lane splitting. I made a point to try to find some cool places for photos to since the Daytona is stunning and I love trying to get some cool photos of it haha.
Unfortunately, all too soon it was time to head back to New York City. I thought about doing another ride across, but honestly at the time I was somewhat done with multi-hundred mile days so I decided to just ship the bike back. I booked a time with Federal Motorcycle Transport and a few days later the Daytona was packed into the back of a semi-truck and on it's way back across the US.
Arriving back in New York and thinking back over the entire ride it was super satisfying knowing Iíd just completed a trip Iíd been hoping to do one day since I was a kid. Maybe Iíll even do it again some day, but if I do I think Iíll take it much slower. Those back-to-back 500+ mile days were pretty killer, and quite mentally exhausting. But I donít regret any parts of the trip, it was all an adventure and one Iíll think about for years!
What a ride - I can't even imagine doing 500+ miles on a sport bike!
This is pure gold. Can't wait to finish the read when I have some time. Thanks for the update!!!
First off, great writing. Do you write for a living?
Glad to see you chose the perfect tire for the trip. Do you think a taller screen, Heli-bars, gel seat etc would've made it more comfortable? Or would it not have mattered considering the massive distances covered?
I noticed somewhere in California you got around to cleaning the bike. What's it like cleaning 3700 miles of road grime & bugs? Did you ever diagnose the oil leak? It never got worse, I'm assuming?
You're right, you'll probably never get a chance to do this again and you'll be glad you did. Even smarter that you took excellent pictures of the whole thing. I did a full day of highway on my old 675 14 years ago and I still remember it well. That was enough of an adventure for me; 7 days straight just blows my mind a little.
Absolutely, those tires were awesome, and there wasn't much noticeable wear even after all those miles! Perhaps a taller screen would've helped reduce some wind fatigue, but I think since I was basically laying on my tank bag for the majority of the trip it wouldn't have been night and day. Likewise for the heli-bars. I've heard gel seats can be awesome, but for me the stock seat ended up being fine, so I can't say whether it would've made a huge difference.
And yep, I cleaned the bike once I got to Berkeley since I had some time to relax for a few days. Cleaning all those bug guts and road grime off was honestly almost cathartic. It was great to get everything clean and shiny again. Part of that cleaning included removing the engine case covers on the alternator side, to get all of that leaked oil cleaned off, and after reinstalling them the leaking seemed to have stopped. My guess is one of the bolts was pinching the gasket and pulling it out of place or something. Still not entirely sure, but seeing as it's stopped I'm not too hung up on it.
Nice, that's great! Long days spent on the bike are always more memorable. I can't wait to do another road trip, although it'll probably be quite a bit shorter!
Cool trip, the Daytona is a wonderful bike but I don't think I could make the mileage. Oh to be young again.
Quick question -- so you put in earplugs and were able to listen to music. How did that work? I find that I need earplugs but haven't found a way to get music/etc working.
thanks and congrats on an awesome trip.
That was a great write up of an amazing trip. It's almost sad that you didn't get the ride back, but I can not say that I blame you. Your story reminds me of when I tried to make it from Sturgis to Tacoma in two days. (That was about 1485 on an 06 Daytona...) Unlike yourself i didn't plan it at all, and after one day of high country highway miles, I couldn't take it and had to find something with some turns in there. If you make it back out to Colorado there's many roads that you missed taking the 80 over to SLC that you would love to ride on now that the weather has melted 'most' of the snow and we're still locked down. :bowdown:
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