Carrying stuff on a motorcycle is always a challenging proposition. How much to bring? What is essential? Where the heck do I put it on the bike?! With the increasing interest in touring both on and off road, there are plenty of smart people out there with ideas to answer some of your packing questions.
Here's one my brother pointed me to: The Peg Packer. This clever idea makes use of the passenger footpeg as a mount point to place additional cargo. It's obviously not for carrying something large, but their example of a one gallon gas can is perfect. Small, out of the way, yet if you're on a long haul with a lot of distance in between gas stations, that extra gas can (or two) would give you great peace of mind. They've come up with a great finished product and from reviews I've read, the quality is excellent. They're also increasing the number of fitments for different bikes.
Now I love tinkering so I wondered how hard would it be to make one. It turns out that yes, I can make one myself, but I don't think I'll do it for anyone else. And mine will not look anywhere near as professional as what the guys at BestRest make. Still, there's a pleasant sense of accomplishment when I build something like this and it works. When I'm done I'll put up some pictures.
Meanwhile, I'll also note here that the temperture today finally rose enough that I could start the bike and let it warm up. About every couple weeks I usually start it up and let it get to operating temperture, but the previous two weeks with the thermometer showing 15°F or lower, the oil was too thick for the bike to do anything other than turn over. It's nice to hear it run even if there's still snow on the ground!