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jglow 03-14-2011 05:03 AM

2 Texans to Alaska (and back)...
June – July last summer, my wife and I rode 2up on our V-strom 650 from Texas to the Arctic Circle and back home via the West Coast of the U.S. The trip lasted ~34 days. We kept a live blog while doing the trip, but I have decided to post it in a Ride Report now to add a bit more reflection. It is also trip planning time for this upcoming season, so this report may prove somewhat useful for those planning their own Alaskan Jaunt.

On with the Ramble...

So why Alaska? No reason really. It wasn’t so much a destination, as it was just a turn-around point on the trip. There were tons of areas of the country that I wanted to see and we were able to fit a lot of that into this trip. I remember reading reports about going to Alaska, and I would think how crazy these people were and how FAR it was. When I look at the map from our spot tracker, I get the same feeling all over again. What were we thinking? That is really far.:norton

Preparation and Day 1 to follow...


Gnslngr 03-14-2011 05:05 AM

I'm in. Sounds great.

Christian RA40XT 03-14-2011 05:05 AM

This could be a good one :evil

I`m in... :deal

GB 03-14-2011 05:29 AM

That is really far :lol2 Looking forward to the details and pics :*sip*

jglow 03-14-2011 01:09 PM

As I had mentioned above, the bike we would ride up on was a 2005 V-Strom 650. I had bought a ton of quality aftermarket modification parts for the bike. To offset the cost of those, I have also fabricated some of the ugliest pieces (although extremely functional) to complete the total Frankenstein-ing of our V-strom. I have made a few labeled picture diagrams to help illustrate my achievements!

A. A. Happy Trails Aluminum Panniers (side cases)
B. PVC Pipe Storage tube w/ eye catching red pressure valve cap for some sort of plumbing application.
C. Fuel storage containers for bike and cooking stove, also serves as possible pyrotechnics in the event we are rear ended.
D. Attention grabbing, yellow mystery box - securely mounted with old clip-on style snow board boot bracket.

E. Super Furry Butt Pads (all about the comfort, not so much the style).
F. Engine and Body protection for when the bike takes a nap.
G. Homemade hand grip warmers.
Exhibit “A” - If you look closely, you will notice that I was neglecting my Manly duties to mow the lawn. That is my wife Nikki on the mower while I am taking pin-ups of the bike.

H. Homemade radiator guard.
I. Bootleg Highway Pegs.
J. New chain and sprockets.
K. Fender extender made out of plastic paint bucket.

L. GPS Holder
M. 12v power outlet to recharges necessary items like ipods and camera batteries.
N. Digital Voltmeter - keeps us from drawing too much power on our accessories. Lets me know if the alternator takes a crap.

And a pic of all of our junk we hauled with us.

dogmoon 03-14-2011 01:25 PM

Alaska & Back
Cant wait, let see more.:clap

doublen 03-14-2011 01:46 PM

Subscribed...Alaska trips are always worth it. Have fun and be safe. :clap

ggoytia 03-14-2011 02:45 PM

This is gonna be good.
Bring on the pics! :clap

jglow 03-14-2011 02:51 PM

Day 1
Monday, May 31, 2010

Day 1:
Total Miles Today: 524

We got all loaded up and ready to leave.

We were not in a terrible hurry today, as it was going to be a long day on the slab - just trying to cross some state lines and get somewhere.

Stopped at the Fried Pies shop off of I-35 near Davis, Oklahoma and dropped the bike in the parking lot. I forgot to take a pic, but I would get better about that later on

A few more hours and we are into Kansas.

(we like to take our pictures in front of state signs

By early evening we had made it a good ways through Kansas, and set-up camp at Glenn Elder State Park. I remember that the payment system wasn't very clear. Or at least maybe the spots weren't so clearly marked. Either way, we used the provided pricing table and figured we owed them $9 or $12 or something, so we payed up and went and found a secluded section of the park by the water.

End of day 1. Tomorrow we realize that we forgot something very important at home.


Mastercylinder 03-14-2011 03:37 PM


jglow 03-14-2011 04:01 PM

Kansas to South Dakota
Kansas to South Dakota
Day 2:
Total Miles Today: 502
Trip Total: 1,026

Got an early start. Made coffee and on the road by 7am. Guess what we found?

I wouldn't exactly call it a "ball" as the bottom is obviously flat. Its more like a blob. I guess that if it was truly a ball someone would have already rolled it out into oncoming traffic.

Just a bit North of here, we cross into Nebraska!

Well, I guess that statement didn’t really deserve an exclamation point. Kinda flat and boring still…

It was right about at this point that we were chasing a skirting a few early morning storms. It was a bit cool out, and we had put our liners back in. As we were hauling down the road I remember thinking, "I am glad Nikki has her heated vest." Hmmm... I didn't remember packing it, but it wasn't for me so maybe I just didn't pay attention to it. Intercom on, "Where did you pack
your heated vest?" She hadn't and neither did I. Uh oh... It may not sound like a big deal, but Nikki sucks at being cold. If she is cold, she is miserable - and it doesn't take much cold. The next time we stopped for gas, I called my brother and made a plan. He would go to by house at lunch, pickup the vest and ship it ahead to Cody, Wy where we would be in a few more days. UPS don't let me down.

A quick stop for some gas and snacks.

At least now we are getting into some hills.

At the border between Nebraska and South Dakota we pull over to take our picture in front of the sign. We look over and see these cowboy's herding these cattle from Nebraska to South Dakota (that fence on the left is the border).

We stop and watch like good tourists, but then get nervous and decide to push on after I noticed the amount of bullet holes in the South Dakota sign.

We are headed towards Badlands NP in South Dakota. The highway takes a round-about way of getting to it, but the GPS shows a more direct road leading into the south end of the park. We go for it.

This is the first gravel we have been on with the bike this loaded (possibly over-loaded) and it handles fairly well. Naturally, I increase the speed. A short while later we hit a very sandy kinda deep section and have a gnarly tank slapper, but the bike stays upright. We are lucky, but I don't learn from my mistakes too well
:evil. Nikki is not very happy about this, especially considering the fact that we have a ton of gravel (or worse) to deal with when we get to Alaska. I tell her not to worry, "The gravel is different up there.":topes

At least the weather is cooperating.

We junction back with pavement, and we are starting to see some "Badlands"

Driving through the park...

The plan is to camp in the park, but we have to exit North out of the park to the town of Wall to get some food etc. What is Wall, SD famous for? Ever been down I-90?


That's it. Kinda hokey, but we bit. I thought it was a real drug store, and although they probably do sell cough drops and ibuprofen, it is nothing more than a souvenir shop. Kinda like being in the Western theme area of Six Flags.

Anyhow, we decided to just find a camp park in town, as we were pretty beat.

That ended day 2. Tomorrow, I route us back into the Badlands and a really ass-backwards way of getting to Mt. Rushmore then onto Wyoming. If i thought that little bit of sandy gravel was bad today...


Vt-Stromer 03-14-2011 04:21 PM

I am really looking forward to this report. You did this all on a stock suspension?:scratch


USAIR 03-14-2011 04:38 PM

Ok I'm in....but only because I want to know how you get your wife to cut the grass.


jglow 03-14-2011 04:44 PM


Originally Posted by Vt-Stromer (Post 15417644)
I am really looking forward to this report. You did this all on a stock suspension?:scratch


Yep. I just adjusted the pre-load all the way and held on! Whats better (worse) is that I ran a shinko 705 on the front. The good one, you know the bias ply:rofl.


Mastercylinder 03-14-2011 09:57 PM

Keep it coming!:clap :lurk

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