I've never done anymore then a day trip with a pillion or another bike. I like it that way. Don't have to ride down to someone else's bladder and butt tolerances. If ya know what I mean :-)
Some very interesting replies. Some of you are the type of folks I really enjoy talking with out on the road.
With regard to packing, in about 32 of traveling on bikes I take even less today than I ever have. Modern fabrics have made it even easier to pack light and take less. In a few weeks I am riding from my home in eastern Washington to Venice Louisiana and then following the Great River Road north to the headwaters of the Mississippi River at Lake Itasca Minnesota. I will be on the road a few weeks and travel in 22 different states. I will be riding a GS Adv with the aluminum panniers and top box. Even with my rain gear, Gerbings liner, etc., I will use less than 1/3 of my storage capacity. I am going to be using motels this trip, but even when camping two up everything fits inside the boxes unless I take a tent that is too long to fit inside a box and strap it to the top of a box. For me, traveling with less makes the trip even more enjoyable a few different ways.
My wife is only vaguely aware of motorcycles in the driveway.
Salty Fog Rally 2007, 2009, 2011, 2012, AND LOOKING FORWARD TO 2014!
I am lucky that my beautiful wife doesn't grumble about two of my favorite passions, motorcycles and guns.
I see these ads on Craigslist from time to time where a bike is for sale and it says "the wife said it was her or the bike". Some guys have made an unfortunate choice of mates.
There was an ad floating around the web sometime ago that I thought was to the point. After listing the virtues of his almost new motorcycle in a classified ad the seller said. "Must sell. Evidently when my wife says, 'Do whatever the #@&*! you want to,' it doesn't mean what I thought it did."
Tm Pterodactyl MT Outpost
I have friends who have different traveling philosophies than I, so it makes it hard for me to travel with them. For example, I'm not at all interested in the "mileage-hounds", those whose conversation is all about how many miles they can ride in a day. I'll leave that to them. Although I may travel 500-600 miles on a long day, I'm just as likely to choose not to. I like for it to be my own decision.
I like to eat three meals a day and I like to occasionally stop and take photos. Both can slow down some riders or groups.
Other riders often count on sharing a motel room in order to minimize the cost of travel. I have a wife with whom I share at home, but I may not want to do so with friends or casual acquaintances traveling together. I've lived in dormitories, barracks, and on-board construction vessels and simply don't have to do that any more. I figure if I can afford a new BMW GS, I can afford my own room.
I've ridden alone across Europe and Central Asia, to Alaska, and in much of the continental USA. No real problems. The one accident I've had was due to fatigue, at the end of a long day, which had been extended due to circumstances of the other riders in our small group. Of course I was fortunate to have them with me when I went down, but in my head the root cause was related to not being on my own and calling my own shots. I should have stopped earlier and not been pressing on.
I do like to visit with people I meet along the way, other riders, and am not really much of a hermit. I do tend at times to be a loner since I'm OK with making decisions and knowledgeable of the places I travel.
Again, interesting conversation, so thanks for starting the thread.
Extremely interesting reply Mike. You and I share very similar reasons for riding solo and you said it very well.
"Eclectic" seems to be a buzzword. My tastes and desires can probably be more accurately described as "spastic". There are times I don't want to get off the bike and racking up some miles and just enjoying the bike are what makes me smile. There are other days where I may have an idea of a destination for the day in mind. I may get 100 miles down the road and find what I think is a great spot and stop for the day. That doesn't work with companions.
A lot of folks seem to want to say " I've been there and have the T-shirt to prove it". I tend to avoid most big tourist attractions and the crowds. I love back roads and avoid interstates. I have a rule about not eating at a chain place when on the bike. I tend to like things like Yelp to help me find places the locals like.
Like you I enjoy pictures. I recently got a Gopro and put some mounts on the bike and am enjoying playing with it a bit. I used to haul a big pro body DSLR and several lenses and filters but don't so much any more. Pictures from past trips still put a smile on my face.
Every now and then I get a really enthusiastic wave from another rider. Often they're also on a GS. In my mind I always figure they are someone like you that enjoys going it solo on the roads less traveled.
Me too, eclectic. Wife rode when I rode the R50/2 years ago. Then 1st child came, and she stopped.
Every bike I owned since then had a back seat cover, save this one. This one has no back seat, and no rear pegs.
I can add them if I want to, I just don't - why would I!
We travel in much the same way. Like you, when I see another GS-er on the road and wave, I suspect he's similarly motivated.
I also play with a GoPro and photography and like to make a montage now and then to record and be able to share the trip. People have a short attention span, so I boil down video and photos to just a few short minutes.
Here's a short film about my first big solo trip when I was living in Europe. It set the scene for all the travel since: https://vimeo.com/76221629
I enjoy both modes. Yes when alone, I tend to wander more, stop to take more pictures, and maybe a few more roadside naps. But I have a lot of fun riding with some select friends too.
It is a hoot riding with a few equally skilled and like minded riders, charging up and down twisty mountain roads. Eating habits mesh, road preferences mesh, and the comradery is nice at the end of the day. The problem is finding those riders that are compatible.