National Parks - 2010 Trip - Statistics

        Total Trip

Total Days 16
Days on the Road 16
Total Miles 4980
Miles/Day 311
Low Mileage Day 120
High Mileage Day 510

        Gas and Mileage

Total Gas Stops 37
Total Gallons 125.3
Total Gas Cost $369.11
Average Miles/Gallon 39.7
Average Cost/Gallon $2.946
Low Cost/Gallon $2.709 - Burlington, CO
High Cost/Gallon $3.249 - Baker, NV


Total States Visited 10
Total National Parks Visited 11
Lowest Temperature 47.3°
Highest Temperature 105.4°
Lowest Elevation 4'
Highest Elevation 10,873'
Days with Rain 2
Nights in Motels 15
Average Cost/Night $77.06
Low Cost Night $50.16
High Cost Night $107.80
Wireless Connections 15
Wired Connections 0
Telephone Connections 0

        Web Statistics

As I have often mentioned, 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 the September data with September of 2009 - the last full month for last years trip shows modest growth.  In that month we averaged 155 visits per day and 4497 visits for the month compared to 176 and 5281 for the current month.

Here are the daily statistics for September, 2010:

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 been using Google Analytics which provides way more information than I could ever use.  So here's the visits and page views for just the National Parks 2010 web pages for September:

NP2010 analytics

You can see that, for the month, we had 274 page views and, of those, we had 191 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

As you can see only 1 of the National Parks 2010 pages even made it into the top ten.  The above chart only includes the top 25 of 77 different pages viewed and the site had 1460 page views and 1028 unique views for the month.  I thought that was pretty cool.  Okay enough statistics.

Final Thoughts and Plans

This is our sixth year in a row of taking an extended motorcycle trip and documenting it on the web although one year we had to cut the trip short due to illness.

Overall the trip and the weather were great.  We had rain on two days and had to wear our vests a few times but only plugged them in once.  The cold, rainy weather, as expected, was in Montana and North Dakota.  Once we started to head south, the weather improved dramatically.

The Goldwing as usual was great.  We did replace the front tire in St. George, Utah but that was no big deal.  I thought the tire looked great before we left and thought it would easily last the rest of the trip.  As it was, the tread depth still looked good but the tire started to cup and scallop and it just seemed wise to replace it when we did.  The tire actually had 20,000 miles on it so I can't complain about the mileage at all.  Besides that, if we hadn't stopped to replace the tire, I never would have gotten the chance to meet and talk with Rich Schlachter, the former motorcycle road race champion.

On the last trip we had trouble with the Roady2 XM Radio.  It began cutting out on one of the channels and was very annoying.  When we got home, I disassembled and re-soldered the audio connector and everything worked great.  Unfortunately, about half way through this trip, the same problem resurfaced.  While thinking about how to fix it, I remembered that the Roady2 has a built-in FM transmitter than can be set to different channels and wirelessly transmit the audio to my FM radio.  In fact, that's how I use it in my truck when it's not on the motorcycle.  I switched to the FM transmit mode and it worked fine.  In the past I always used a wired FM modulator since it supposedly produced better sound quality but, at 70 miles an hour and with all of the other noise present, this seems to be a moot point.  We'll stick with the transmitter for future trips.

One thing we need to do before the next trip is replace our intercom cables.  They are at least 15 years old and have been repaired numerous times.  They definitely don't owe us anything.

On our last trip I had two problems with the GPS and logging stuff.  I made several programming changes that I thought would solve these.  The first was to close the file on the SD card after every write.  This was to reduce the possibility of a file being corrupted.  I don't know if this solved the problem but we didn't have any corrupted files.  In order to make this a little easier on the card and the firmware, I changed the frequency of writes to the card from every 4 seconds to every 10 seconds.  This still gave us over 2,000 data points on an average day.  This is more than adequate to get a valid representation of the track we took each day.  For the second problem, I added an alarm character to the screen if I forgot to plug in the logger before we headed out each day.  This apparently was not sufficient since I started out 2 different days without plugging in the card.  This forces me to re-create the points which isn't hard but still unnecessary.  I think for next year I'll actually have a separate alarm screen that will be hard to ignore - we'll see.

In the end, it was an excellent trip.  The $10 National Parks pass is very cool.  The only surprise was at Wind Cave NP.  The attraction there is a tour of the cave and, with the pass, the fee is only half but it only applies to one fee so, while I got in for half price, Linda had to pay full price.  Still the fee was only $9.00 so it was more than acceptable.  We had no motels without wireless Internet connections for the first time - 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.  If we got in relatively early in the evening, we generally had good bandwidth but, as the evening progressed, the connection would rapidly deteriorate and sometimes we would even lose the connection altogether.  Some probably even only have a DSL connection that is shared with everyone trying to use it.  I said the last time I would think about getting a 3G card for this trip and I actually got one several months ago for a trip to Chicago, unfortunately we didn't have Virgin Mobile coverage many of the places we stayed.

We have already started talking about the next trip.  We still have 4 National Parks that are sort of in the west that we have not seen.  They are Big Bend NP, Guadalupe Mountains NP, Carlsbad Caverns NP, and finally Saguaro NP.  Visiting those 4 would probably make for a nice trip, unfortunately they would probably be pretty hot in September.  Linda is suggesting loading the Goldwing onto our trailer and driving down there in February or March when the weather will be pretty nice.  Another possibility would be riding some of the famous byways in the US - like The Beartooth Highway.  Then we still have the other half of the Transanada Highway to finish.  We'll just have to see what happens.  Until next year...