How I Managed My Business While Riding 5,000 Miles Across America, Working From Roam

I was sitting 75 miles away from anything approximating civilization at 2:00 on a Thursday. There were no passing cars or airplanes in the sky. Tens of thousands of acres of sagebrush on either side of the decommissioned transcontinental railroad bed, where my dust-covered adventure motorcycle was parked, were all that could be seen.

I held my breath while keeping my eyes closed and listening, but all I could hear was the thudding beat of my own heart. I once more opened my eyes, feeling like Matt Damon in The Martian, and stared out my visor onto the desolate Utah desert. I was about 3,500 miles into my 30-day, 5,000-mile trek across America on the Trans America Trail at this point.

Although I wasn’t nearly an astronaut, I was outfitted with enough technology to appear like one and enable someone like me to do a trip like this. Here are the steps I took and the lessons I discovered.

A SMOKEY, TURNING ROUTE Sam Correro, an adventure biker, began compiling GPS records for the Trans America Trail in 1984. These tracks include coordinates, altitude, distance, and time estimations. The route, which begins in Tellico Plains, Tennessee, and travels west through Mississippi, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Kansas, New Mexico, Colorado, Nevada, Utah, Idaho, and Oregon, is almost entirely made up of rural dirt and gravel roads.

Travelers arrive in the little coastal hamlet of Port Orford, Oregon, on the Pacific Ocean’s shoreline to complete their voyage. Riders can access the sandy beach and the chilly sea next to the jutting rocks by traveling down a short gravel track.

The trail avoids all but the smallest towns for fuel and food supplies, taking three to four weeks to complete. Few Americans will ever see the scenery it passes through, which are so otherworldly that words fail its travelers to adequately describe them.

I never would have learned about Sam or this trail twenty years ago. But thanks to Google, roughly five years ago, the algorithms in my YouTube stream recommended Sam’s video to me. When I clicked, the video thumbnail of him in all his magnificence with thousands of views appeared. I immediately found a lot more videos like this one, all made by people who had already completed the challenge and hiked the trail before me.

Overall, the videos cut the amount of time it would take me to learn how to prepare and what to bring down from years to just a few months. Even the comments left on the videos served as a wealth of advice, furthering my understanding.

Increasing navigation by two The most crucial factor, outside the vehicle you select (my Kawasaki KLR650 (Opens in a new window) ), is what you should do for navigation. The majority of the path skirts the edges of 4G and 5G, with many stretches being completely devoid of any observable phone signal.

After several hours of investigation, I found that the majority of off-roaders used the Apple and Android versions of the Gaia GPS (Opens in a new window) app. Users of Gaia can download a ton of data, including individual GPS tracks for a journey, huge their smartphones or tablets. Additional information includes limits of national forests for camping, private property lines against public lands, and gas stations and motels. I could also download and overlay places with cell phone service and thorough topographic maps as a premium subscription subscriber.

Although I wasn’t nearly an astronaut, I was outfitted with enough technology to appear like one and enable someone like me to do a trip like this. I downloaded Sam’s route onto my Google Pixel 4 XL and bought an weatherproof wireless charger from RAM (Opens in a new window) to mount the phone safely and charge it while I was riding my Kawasaki.

Commenters suggested the Garmin Zumo XT (Opens in a new window) GPS unit for redundancy. Despite the fact that my Pixel 4 XL was water resistant, the Zumo was designed to withstand the intense vibrations I would encounter on the tour. Its large touch screen was easy to use with motorcycle gloves and filled with all the roads, hotels, and gas stations I would require.

Gaia was practical but cold. The Zumo was unique in that it would “check in” with me throughout lengthy stretches and inform me of the whereabouts of the nearest towns or gas stations should I require a break.

SELECTING THE RIGHT EQUIPMENT AND ARMOR One of the comments on one of my YouTube videos was about controlling the heat. He pleaded with readers to wear an evaporative heat vest while biking because the United States was experiencing record heat measurements. The cooling vest functions similarly to the cooling devices astronauts use while on spacewalks, holding up to eight pounds of water in quilted pockets made of synthetic beads and fibers.

The water evaporates as you ride and the air blows over you, cooling your skin below by as much as 25 degrees. Even though it was frequently over 105 degrees in Oklahoma during the day, I could ride for three to four hours without needing to recharge the vest and would instead use church water faucets, gas station restrooms, or even tiny streams to soak it again when necessary.

I had selected high-performance Under Armour Heat Gear (Opens in a new window) below the vest and my pants. They used titanium dioxide-treated nylon fibers in their materials, which drew heat away from my skin and let sweat pass through the vest and into the outside air.

I decided to utilize an carbon fiber helmet from KLIM (Opens in a new window) to further control the heat. Koroyd welded tubes (Opens in a new window) , whose open cells resemble hexagonal honeycombs and allow air to pass across my entire head, had been integrated in a novel way by the company’s engineering team. Koroyd’s thin-walled tubes are 95% air, providing even more opportunity to control the heat I experienced on the trip. Traditional helmets use thick layers of Styrofoam with small integrated holes that enable some air to pass over a rider’s head.

During each day’s trip, I carried an Bluetooth Govee Hygrometer and Thermometer (Opens in a new window) in my back pack to record the temperature and humidity. I was aware of when to pack additional water for reloading my cooling vest in case of an emergency as I went west and the humidity started to drop.

Prior to each day’s ride, my Weather Radar Pro (Opens in a new window) app provided me with information on the temperature, wind direction, and speed, which helped me further determine how long I could stay outside without risking dehydration.

VERY ROUGH DEFINITION OF REMOTE WORK How I would run my business while I was away was one of my main worries before the trip. When I was working from home, my web business operated fairly nicely. But how could I continue to communicate and provide the necessary information while traveling across the nation’s deserts, mountains, and vast plains?

A laptop couldn’t be used because everything I needed to bring with me needed to be charged straight from the USB system I built in my backseat backpack. Additionally, they were too big to transport and were vulnerable to the shocks and hits I would probably experience while riding normally as well as the occasional accident and fall (of which there were several).

A laptop couldn’t be used because everything I needed to bring with me needed to be charged straight from the USB system I built in my backseat backpack. I made the decision to carry a Samsung Galaxy Tab 7 tablet with the Kawasaki KLR650 (Opens in a new window) 0 app pre-installed, which allowed me to connect instantly to my home computer from wherever in the world. Any mouse movements I made after logging in on the tablet were replicated on my PC at home, which was thousands of miles distant. The Galaxy Tab 7 swiftly ran the software and didn’t need the powerful processors I could use at home to run the demanding programs I needed for my business.

Using covers and tempered glass screen protectors, I was able to better protect the tablet. I then linked it straight to my small folding Kawasaki KLR650 (Opens in a new window) 1 and Kawasaki KLR650 (Opens in a new window) 2, which fit nicely within my Kawasaki KLR650 (Opens in a new window) 3 like small electronic Tetris bricks.

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In order to increase safety and redundancy, I also installed a second copy of Gaia GPS on the tablet and downloaded every offline Google Map for the whole length of the path from Tennessee to Oregon. This made guaranteed I would never get lost and that I could rapidly change my course if a trail was blocked, which is typical on the West Coast where forest fires are frequently fought. (The Trans America Trail is 4,253 miles long; avoiding risky parts like this and taking a few side trips helped me cross the 5,000-mile mark.)

CHARGING AND PACKAGING TECHNIQUES Another significant issue was charging. I have to incorporate redundancies into my power generation and storage because my business and ability to survive depend on technology. Using a concept from another YouTuber, I constructed my power supply and connected a 12-volt connector from the motorcycle to an Kawasaki KLR650 (Opens in a new window) 4 with four 3.0 Quick Charge connectors. My Insta 360 One RS Twin batteries, GoPro batteries, specialized DJI iPhone, and DJI Mavic Mini drone could all be powered from there.

Three batteries for the Mini were housed in a single multi-unit charger that also served as a battery bank for USB charging. This external bank made sure I always had power in an emergency and allowed me to charge my phone, tablet, helmet communication device, and emergency SOS device while I slept. I 3D-printed a protective case for the Mavic Mini using web files that I had acquired; it folded improbably small and fit neatly into my power bag puzzle.

I chose to use an earlier DJI drone because of its smaller controller and unusual external battery-bank capability in order to maximize space in the suitcase. When you travel by motorbike, you quickly realize that every square inch counts and that everything you bring should ideally serve two objectives.

BEING SAFE AND SECURE Being wounded, lost, or worse was a major worry. I was a soft-bellied man, over 50, and I knew things may go wrong. Yes, I could take safety measures to make sure they didn’t, including riding below my ability level and avoiding regions with too high of cliffs or too slippery of mud. I did, however, buy an Kawasaki KLR650 (Opens in a new window) 5 and its intermediate subscription package. This highly praised and dependable device is a part of the 66-satellite low-Earth orbit (LEO) Iridium network, which offers worldwide service from pole to pole, including seas and airspace.

My plan included active tracking, which I could disable, downgrade, or upgrade whenever I wanted. My wife and friends could follow the URL each day, which updated my whereabouts every ten minutes. I could send an infinite number of pre-written messages, like “I’m here, safe, and am,” or “Have reached my target for the day, and am OK.”

I could use the device or an app on my phone to send up to 40 brief (160-character) text messages using a UI that resembled an SMS texting user experience. In the event of a GEOS emergency, my subscription also gave me access to insurance choices. I chose one of these plans and an additional “air evacuation” coverage with an adventure insurance provider because of concern about a $35,000 or higher price should I need an airlift from a remote place.

I was able to keep in touch with my family, be secure, and conduct my business every morning and evening even though I traveled more than 5,000 miles on some of the country’s most isolated highways. In the event that I was knocked off my bike or fell off it and was unable to walk or crawl back to it, I made the decision to attach the Garmin to my hydration bag. I was relieved I never needed to use its SOS button, which would have triggered a 24/7 response and allowed emergency personnel to ask me about my whereabouts.

The joys of traveling I don’t believe I could have completed what I did without the technology I brought with me, in the end. I was able to keep in touch with my family, be secure, and conduct my business every morning and evening even though I traveled more than 5,000 miles on some of the country’s most isolated highways. I was well aware of my location, where I was heading, and how to get elsewhere if something unforeseen happened.

In addition, I had access to tens of thousands of video blogs from travelers who had been there before me. These videos gave me many tips on how to be ready and what to expect once I arrived—in a way that the microfiche-filled libraries of my youth could never have done.

I could link to the outside world anytime I needed to, but I could also make the wired equipment invisible by packing it away or making it vanish when I turned my head. Then, in quiet, I could take in the Mississippi cornfields and the enormous Colorado Rockies, feeling as little, remote, and disconnected as I wanted to, with nothing to hear but the sound of my breath in the air and the thumping of my heart in my chest. A more exhilarating time to be alive has never existed. With this amazing technology, I can’t wait to get back outside and have more motorcycle-astronaut adventures.

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