Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: Newbury Park, CA
I'll throw in a few ideas.
1) Probably not a good idea to block the license plate or lights. I use the trailer hitch platform but keep it below the plate and between the lights.
2) If you're not going to buy the liners, keep your bags soft, small and loosely packed. It's a lot easier to squeeze a small bag in a saddle bag (or the corner of the saddle bag) than a big one that's fully packed.
3) If the motel doesn't have a laundry, there's a Laundromat close by. Advantage - MANY machines so you can do multiple loads at the same time. a) put laundry in washer, b) go to dinner, c) move laundry from washer to dryer, d) go to desert/coffee, e) collect you laundry, f) rest up for tomorrow's adventure.
4) Definitely keep the trunk for items you'll need all day, during the ride. Lighter gloves, extra drink, rain gear (if you think it might be needed). Once the saddle bags are stuffed full, you'll want to keep them closed until you stop for the night.
5) I will pack a lot of light stuff on the luggage rack. Pile it high, bungee it down more than it needs. Yes, it adds some top-heaviness. We're already 2 up, and neither of us is a lightweight, so the difference is not that significant. It's better to keep the trunk as empty as possible and have it available for any jackets, liners, etc., you remove during the day.
6) Keep an eye out for crushable, squeezable, and breakable, etc. I know many times I've had to apply some pressure to the saddlebags to get them closed. Don't want the toothpaste opening up and ending all over everything, or that vase you bought as a souvenir ending up in pieces.