Plan your trip with at least one other rider, especially if you are relatively new to long-distance riding. Chose an experienced rider, one you feel would be a compatible partner. Don't travel more than 350 miles a day. Plan your trip so you can make frequent stops to eat, stretch and sightsee. I recommend no more than 300 miles a day. I did 425 miles one day and it was very demanding the last 2 hours.
Ride during daylight hours. Avoid riding at dusk if possible. If you have to ride at night try to stay away from highways where there are animals. I had deer whistles on my bike which gave me a feeling of false security. Either they don't work or I hit a deaf deer. Slow down if you have to drive in areas that are known to have animals (forest preserves, state parks, etc.) Better to get there late. Wear a helmet at night. Take the precaution, it's worth it. Me, personally I wear a helmet all of the time.
Set-up your route and lodging. Don't stay in major cities. You'll be pulling in during the evening rush hour and leaving in the morning during rush hour. Try and arrange lodging 20 miles past the cities not before. If you belong to a motor club there are hotels which will give you discounts (usually you can get by with $60.00 to $70.00 per night.) I liked Super 8.
Here’s the information you should have with you:
* Emergency numbers to contact in case of injury. Have I.C.E. (In Case of Emergency) information on your bike or cell phone.
* Insurance phone numbers
* Contact information for motorcycle dealers. If you don't belong to a motor club (i.e. AAA) or motorcycle group...join one. They can help you out with directions or phone numbers and locations of dealers along the route. Make sure you have their phone numbers. Try to get dealer locations about 200 miles apart, so the farthest you can be is 100 miles from an authorized dealer.
What to Bring:
*Riding gear - Rain Gear, helmet with detachable face shield, leathers or textile protective riding gear (jacket, riding pants or chaps, gloves-2 pair), riding boots. I suggest Sidi since they have boots that can protect your leg up to your calf. I credit these boots from preventing further injury to my ankle – a broken ankle vs. a compound fracture.
Clothing - Several changes of underwear, shoes or sandals, whatever you prefer, shirts and pants for varied temperatures. Long sleeve light colored clothing for desert travel and extremely hot weather; pants need to be loose fitting and durable. Jeans are preferred but khakis are nice for desert travel. (We hit three days with 115 degree averages.)
Bathroom kit for soap, toothpaste, toothbrush, etc.
Don't pack to the maximum. Leave room for dirty clothes and souvenirs. Bring along some plastic garbage bags (recommend about 4).
A portable compressor - I used a Slime which came in handy when I had a flat. It took 7 minutes to put 40 pounds in my rear tire. They're not too expensive and you can get them on Amazon. I had a slice in the tire but I was able to make it to a dealer for a new tire.
A definite must is a cooler or insulated container for water. We were drinking 24 bottles a day on our trip through Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Nevada and Arizona. Get Ice in the morning and have some thermos bottles to keep the water you’re drinking cold. Invest in some kind of thermos carrier for your bike.
A small camera is nice. Forget about binoculars, they're too bulky. (Editor’s note: we have a small pair that does fit in our tank bag)
Suggestion from editor: You may also want to take a lightweight fabric or string backpack. It takes up no space and may be used to carry your tank bag, boots or anything else you can’t lock in or to your bike when you want to walk around or hike during a stop.
Make a check list, you're bound to forget something but hopefully you can buy it in your travels. Revise your checklist if necessary after each trip.
This is a list I made and helped. It obviously will not cover all your needs but hope it helps.
Ride Safe and "Keep It Upright Mates”.
Senior Ride Captain
American Veterans Motorcycle Riders Association