Not much excitement yet - it's packing day. I could probably pack and be ready to roll on a trip like this in about two hours but give me more time and I'll take it. It really doesn't take that long to actually pack, it's the deciding and organizing that is time consuming but I have it down to a pretty good system. I have one standard set of gear for motel only trips and an additional bit of gear when I am camping (which I am not doing on this trip). I do need to plan for a variety of weather ranging from low 90's baking in the sun, escaping across the flat roads of Illinois tomorrow to the possibility of a 50-60 degree day with rain and self induced wind-chill factor, riding the Trans Canada Highway along the northern boarder of Lake Superior's Thunder Bay area next week. As a person who likes to minimize the inherent risks by following the "all the gear, all the time" rule I always ride with motorcycle specific safety gear (no cut-offs, T-shirt, dew rag or flip-flops). The safety gear includes a full face helmet, gloves, riding pants made with anti-abrasion fabric that have knee & hip pads and a jacket of similar material that has elbow and shoulder pads plus a spine protector. This gear comes in two styles, one for cooler weather and one that is vented with mesh panels for summer. No matter how much mesh there is it's still very hot when the temps get towards the upper 80's although the wind helps a lot. Sitting in stop and go traffic is the worst - no breeze plus the added heat of the asphalt and car exhaust. All this gear costs a lot and like health insurance you hope you never get your money's worth out of it. I absolutely hate being too hot or too cold on the bike which means I will double up on riding gear on this trip, some for the extreme heat, some for the cool days. I put up with bringing the extra gear to stay as comfortable as possible. Hey, when it comes down to it, I can suffer on the bike as well as the next person but why would I want to?