After 10 days of intense working, chopping, grinding, soldering, drilling, bashing, scraping and knuckle bashing Chiwi and Hobbit are finally ready to race. (we are STILL married)
We learnt a lot about the bikes, everything we had prepared fitted like glove and we established that if we couldn't fix it with a big hammer it was an electrical problem.
We were going to take both bikes to Amy's - an ADV (adventure rider ) who rides Suzuki DR650 invited us a few other guys for a salmon feed on Saturday night (12th May), Andi took them both out on the drive way and got them started. Some how Chiwi took herself out off the stand and fell over, on the way down Chiwi blatantly attacked Hobbit and knocked Hobbit off his*perch*as well. Ellen rushed over turned both of them off. well, Andi's crash board on the side panniers took the hit and the left rear case took a beating where Chiwi bit him. Anyway, Chiwi seemed not liking the fall and wouldn't start when we picked her up!!. With the time pressure, we had to both jump on Hobbit and went to Amys.
The dinner party (our first official engagement) was wonderful, we meet some local ADVs as well. Amy cooked up a storm for us, Jack, Paul, Rodger and Katey all gave us some good advice on riding. It was the second time people asked us if we have heated vest, they said we would need them going up to the North. We think we will try what we have now - which is three layers of Icebreaker, see how it goes.
Sunday 13th May, we left Anchorage to Homer, which is 210 miles west of Anchorage. Andi gave Chiwi a blow job (per Amy) to get it started (remember it wouldn't start after falling over the night before, must have been an air lock in the fuel tube and stopped the fuel get into the carb).
We knew it would be cold, so two layers of Icebreaker long Johns and three layers for the upper body. Only just out of city on the highway a bitterly cold wind hit us, then came down with rain. With heated grips on full, our hands still cold.
We stopped at a service station, wanted some hot food to warm us up. The hot soup was nothing like the one we imagined, clear water with a few slice of noodles and chicken strips served with crackers! Not stopping here again.
After the luke warm clear water soup, we hit the road again. It's getting colder and colder, the rain turned to snow! We had to keep wiping our visor to be able to see through it. Ellen was thinking:"what the hell is it? Is not the same as what Amy said the night before." She couldn't see through her visor, and kind of lost the sense of balance. She was almost in tears, *just as well Andi found a bypass and we can pull over.
Fortunately, the snow turned to rain again after we came down a bit. The road was getting drier and the Sun almost came out. "It was lucky, " Ellen thought. However, she spoke too soon. The road turned wet again and this time, came down with hale! Ellen visor was fogged up inside, so she could not see through again. She tried to pull the visor up, then the hale hit her face like cutting knives. So she shut the visor, can't see the road. It was getting really dangerous now. She slowed down, kept the bike up straight, until finally passed the hale zone. "That was a ride in hell, I wasn't prepare for that."she thought.
After about 3 hour riding through wind, rain, snow and hale, it was still 95 miles away from Homer. The sky came to clear, the road was dry and it getting warmer. We were on boarder of thinking heated vest might be on the shopping list for next ride, but also understand we only need them here in Alaska, then carry them around the rest of the trip. Maybe we try 4 layers of Icebreaker on the way back.
There was no drama for the last leg of our trip, we started to see muse on the side of the road. GPS took us to Charlie's - another ADV rider. Homer welcomed us with sun shine and beautiful snow mountain and a Moose grazing in front of Charlie's front yard. The four seasons ( cold, very cold, very very cold and freezing ) we had gone through to get here - it worth it.