I learned how to pack a tent, sleeping bag, thermarest, pillow, blanket, tea kettle, mug, tiedown straps, tire repair kit, ipod, ipod speakers, first aid kit, flip flops, hiking shoes, flashlights, firestarters, books, magazines, puzzles, dream catcher, towels, baby wipes, two weeks worth of clothes, a bottle of belgian beer, two cuban cigars, cell phone, GPS, hats, heated jacket and gloves, rain gloves, rain gear, tool kit, bungie net, maps, passport, and all kinds of souviniers for the family.... all onto a K1200R sport! Oh what fun it is to ride...
I also learned how to bungie 18 pieces of firewood onto the back seat of that sucker and ride into camp like santa clause!
I learned that it was time for a new job.
Definitely echo the OP's sentiment about the kind and warm gestures I found from many people along the way. Solo riding is the ultimate adventure.
Warmest Christmas wishes to you all!!