LA or Bust - 2009 Trip - Statistics

        Total Trip

Total Days 21
Days on the Road 16
Total Miles 6777
Miles/Day 424
Low Mileage Day 251
High Mileage Day 572

        Gas and Mileage

Total Gas Stops 37
Total Gallons 177
Total Gas Cost $459.69
Average Miles/Gallon 38.4
Average Cost/Gallon $2.60
Low Cost/Gallon $2.349 - Gainesville, TX
High Cost/Gallon $2.959 - Ellensburg, WA


Total States Visited 20
Total National Parks Visited 2
Lowest Temperature 44.9°
Highest Temperature 109.5°
Lowest Elevation -8'
Highest Elevation 11336'
Days with Rain 4
Nights in Motels 14
Average Cost/Night $72.05
Low Cost Night $60.01
High Cost Night $95.17
Wireless Connections 12
Wired Connections 2
Telephone Connections 0

        Web Statistics

As I have mentioned before, statistics can be misleading.  There are so many things you can measure and so many ways to measure them.  I have used some of the built-in statistics from my host company in the past so I'll show the same ones now for the sake of comparison.  These next two charts show the past year stats for the entire site:
usage summary
monthly summary

Comparing this data with August of 2007 - the last full month for the last trip that we actually did statistics shows quite a bit of growth.  In that month we averaged 73 visits per day and 2291 visits for the month compared to 155 and 4497 for the current month.

Here are the daily statistics for the current month:
daily statistics

While this is interesting, I want to know more like how many visits or page views for specific pages.  To get that information I have started using Google Analytics which provides way more information than I could ever use.  So here's the visits and page views for just the LA or Bust web pages for the past month:
LA analytics

You can see that, for the month, we had 557 page views and, of those, we had 354 unique page views.  I was interested to see  how that compares to the rest of the site so I did a report for the same period but for the entire site:
gardnerswebsite analytics 1
gardnerswebsite analytics 2
As you can see only 2 of the LA or Bust pages even made it into the top ten.  The above chart only includes the top 25 of 73 different pages viewed and the site had almost 1000 unique views for the month.  I thought that was pretty cool.  Okay enough statistics.

   Final Thoughts and Plans

Well another trip is in the books and it's time to look back and put together a few final thoughts about how everything went, what we did right and what we did wrong.  This was our second longest trip both in terms mileage and days away from home.  We also averaged the highest number of miles per day of any trip.  That was not necessarily a good thing.  Doing almost 550 miles per day for 4 days in a row was definitely too much and we won't do that again.  Even in the first half of the trip we still had several high mileage day - at least for us.  I think part of the problem was that we set out with a goal of getting to Louisiana and then New Orleans.  Being goal oriented, once we had the goal that was what we needed to achieve.  I think we do better and see more when we really don't have a specific goal and just wander around and pick our route and destination in the evening for the next day.

We worried a little about weather since it was late in the year and it was also hurricane season in the south.  In fact, New Orleans had just experienced the 4th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina shortly before we arrived.  As it was, we had several days with occasional rain on the way to New Orleans, a few hours of rain between New Orleans and Cleveland, and a few miserable hours of cold rain going across Nebraska.  We actually had clear, sunny weather coming back into Seattle which is not always the case.  We did plug in our vests a few times the last 4 days but did not have to use them extensively.

The Goldwing was great.  We had the problem with finding a crack in the rear tire and having to replace it but I had planned on replacing that tire during the trip anyway since it was beginning to show some wear.  I had planned on doing it either in Cleveland or Chicago where I thought it would be more convenient.  In the end, there was a dealer less than a quarter of a mile from where we were when we found that crack so it ended up being very convenient.  Then there was the problem with the bad gas.  While it was aggravating and caused some concern, it had nothing to do with the bike.  The only real failure we had was the reserve light that indicates that you are down to the last gallon in the tank failed near the end of the trip.  Actually the light works so it is probably a sensor problem.  I have not had a chance to check it out yet but I'm sure it will be easy to fix.  It didn't cause any problems because the gauge itself worked correctly and, after this many miles, I can tell from the gauge when we have to stop for gas.

We had two other sort of equipment failures.  The Roady2 XM radio began cutting out on one channel about half way through the trip.  It was irritating but I found that if I applied a little pressure to the audio out plug, it cured the problem.  I attached a rubber band to the radio and the problem was fixed.  When we got home I disassembled the radio, resoldered the audio out connector, and it works great now.  The other problem was a broken clamp that clamps the headset wiring connector to my helmet.  I tried to obtain a replacement while on the trip but was unsuccessful.  This time some black electrical tape came to the rescue.  I definitely felt like McGyver on this trip.  When we got home, I was able to order the replacement part and all is good now.

I had two problems with the GPS and logging stuff.  The first was definitely operator error - I simply forgot to plug the logger in before we left one morning so didn't get a file for that day.  The second problem occurred the day we had the bad gas.  I had a lot of problems with the bike caused by the gas including severe current drain and, probably, power glitches.  Somewhere during all those problems, the SD card got corrupted and I lost the file for that day as well.  Fortunately I was able to use SportTracks to recreate a track log for that day and it ended up working out okay.  During the next few days, I hope to modify the firmware in the logger to handle both of these problems for the next trip.

In the end, it was a very good trip.  No baseball bats under the bed or nights without hot water like some of our previous trrips.  No fleabag motels without internet connections - although not all motel connections are created equal.  We had a few where we had very good connections but lousy speed.  This was probably due to bandwidth issues from the motels ISP.  Some probably only have a DSL connection that is shared with everyone trying to use it.  I may look into a 3G card for the next trip.

We are already talking about the next trip.  Two of the options we are discussing is spending time in the desert southwest where there are still several national parks we haven't visited.  We now have our $10 lifetime access card and intend to make full use of it.  The other option is to finish the TransCanada highway.  We did the section fromVancouver to Sault St. Marie two years ago and hope to finish the rest of it some day.  We'll just have to see what happens.  Until next year...