I did a lot of route planning (timing, traffic, border crossing and safety concerns, sunrise/sunset times, etc.). Frankly, it was overkill, but I don’t like surprises.
Iron Butt Association wisdom says not to install last minute items, but I got lucky and worked through the problems.
Two weeks before the ride, I had a Bill Mayer seat fitted. It is definitely better than stock, but not as comfy as I had hoped. Perhaps a refit would help.
Four days before the ride, I replaced the Pilot Road 2 tires with Avon Storms. The PR2s had nearly 10,000 miles, but there was plenty of tread still left. They looked as if they would have lasted for the B2B ride, but I didn’t want to take chances, so I replaced them. After getting advice from friends, I took the wheels off myself. I busted the 3/8 inch drive side of the axle remover tool. I searched everywhere for a replacement, including a couple of auto parts stores and Harbor Freight tools and even asked to borrow one from the tire change shop, but none of them had what I needed. Finally I went to the motorcycle dealer, which was a good thing. They sold me a tool and reminded me about the pinch bolt, which had been hidden by the Pit Bull stand - - Doh!
I got the tires changed at a local shop that specializes in motorcycle tire changing. I had called ahead to make sure that they could handle the extra large hub on my K1200GT rear wheel. When I got the wheels back, they told me to take the rear wheel to a nearby auto tire place to balance the rear wheel. The specialty shop didn’t have the large cone to balance the rear wheel - - Doh! I took it to the auto tire place, which charged me $10 for the balance. Next time I will buy some Marc Parnes balancers and do it myself.
The Garmin Zumo 660 mount proved problematic. It arrived only a few days before the ride. Using their software to plot various waypoints and routes, that’s when I found out that “North America” does not include Mexico. I quickly ordered a Garmin SD/MicroSD card with the Mexico maps, which arrived just in time.
I had a choice of three different GPS mounts: The Z-Technik mirror hole mount, the Z-Technik mount that attaches to the base of KGT handlebars, and the black plastic BMW mount that also goes on the base of the handlebars. Unfortunately, the Zumo 660 mount is new and different, with a bulge on the bottom of the mount where the wiring goes in.
Z-Technik mirror hole mount: Rejected because it won’t work with the Wunderlich horn guard, and I didn’t want to mount the Zumo on the right.
BMW mount: Rejected because I would have had to redrill the holes to bypass the Zumo bulge, or shim it. I didn’t like the low placement, either.
Z-Technik KGT handlebar mount: Good, because the extra plate holes were “good enough” to fit the Zumo 660, and it offered flexible positioning in a good place. The only drawback is that the mount limits access to the motorcycle ignition key. I figured that I would get used to it in time.
I went to install the mount, and discovered that the provided screws are the wrong length if you have bar backs installed. Doh!
I called friends at the local “good ol’ boys” plumbing shop to ask for advice, and they recommended Hillco Fasteners (http://www.hillcofasteners.com/)
. They have every kind of bolt, nut, screw you could ever want. I got there just before closing and bought the bolts that fit.
I got the Zumo installed and tested the night before I left. There was no way to enter routes that crossed the US/Mexican border, but the border checkpoints were points-of-interest, so I used them to create separate US/Canada and inside-Mexico routes.
On the Mexican side, I created an Otay Mesa to Pemex route and a San Ysidro to McDonalds route. The Otay Mesa crossing looked very easy, but it was about 8 miles inland from the main San Ysidro border crossing.