What was the problem with the soft bags?
Wasn't the problem with the chain just bad timing? You got caught out of town with a chain that was giving out? In other words, if you were to do it again, the new chain would hold up just fine, right?
Anyways, congrats on the ride, look forward to the pics.
Overall, how was it? I know it can be a balance between relaxing and getting somewhere.
Yeah just a lesson learned really. The chain was mechanically fine, it was just too loose and couldn't be adjusted any tighter without removing a link. That's on me; failed to notice the maxed-out adjusters before I left. If I could do it again, I'd have just put my 17T front sprocket back on there which would remove chain slack and reduce vibes at cruising speed (and fixes the speedo).
The bags were OK for $99 from Cycle Gear. They're just really small, not waterproof, and deform pretty significantly after many hours of windblast. Much better than nothing though.
Overall - if you are like me and prioritize the riding over the stops, over the meals, over the comraderie... then a trip like this is great. I covered a ton of ground, rode through a bunch of very different environments and saw all kinds of cool sights. It was a really taxing schedule though. I was totally beat every day getting off the bike, and there was no downtime or relaxing built in at any point. I'd be much less aggressive in the scheduling if I did it again. Failed to account for mechnical and rain delays, too. Live & learn.
One weird thing that did happen - the aches and pains worried me a lot after the initial 675 miles of superslab on Day 1. That first night, I almost bailed and went back because I was hurting all over: butt, elbows, wrists, back. Day 2 was less painful though, and by Day 4 I had fully adjusted and figured out the stopping/stretching/Advil/changing-positions regimen. Days 4 through 12 were almost painless. I guess the body just adjusts, I dunno; very unexpected to actually feel better as the trip wore on.
The last few days though presented a problem I could not work around though: ear pain from the foam earplugs. As comfy as they normally are, 10 hours a day got to be unbearable by the end and I finally just rode without them (and thus, without music from the Sena helmet speakers). Not sure what to do about that.
One other random note: if you are fairly short in stature like me (5'7" 30" inseam), the frame sliders make excellent forward footrests. Almost turns the niner into a cruiser.
I'll put some pics on here shortly.