Joined: Apr 2012
Location: the Arabian Peninsula
Life in the average day living on a motorcycle diet
Life in an average day on the road on a motorcycle………………………
First off, there is no average day. I wake up each morning and every day is different and sometimes not predictable. I do have sort of a macro-plan but everything is flexible. If I find out about something along the way, I stop and take the time to enjoy my new found discovery.
Yesterday morning for example, I spent the night at a compound which in itself was not typical. At the end of the day around dusk, I am looking for somewhere to pitch my tent and sleep. I try to find somewhere away from the RV’ers and somewhere with a pretty view. Or somewhere interesting like the abandoned house I found in Washington. But I choose the campground because I needed a hot shower. I was feeling pretty ripe and sticky. My hair gets greasy and itches if I go more than 2 or 3 days without washing it.
So yesterday morning I woke up and go through my morning ritual of packing everything up. Because I am traveling on a motorcycle, everything has to be packed just right otherwise it wouldn’t fit. I have my bike organized like this:
1) All of my camping gear goes all the way in the back in the yellow dry sack. In there, I have a 0 degree down sleeping bag, a 45 degree down sleeping bag, a silk sheet (for warm weather – which I have not used yet but it takes up very little room), a blow up pillow, my 2 man tent, a gore-tex bivy sack, mosquito net, and a small and large dry sack. It is surprising how much fits in that yellow dry sack, but it has to go it just the right way.
2) The metal box on the tail section contains my clothes (all wrapped in plastic bags to suck the air out and make things more compact and easier to handle), my computer, my computer related stuff (memory storage, power pack, CD reader, etc) and my bank. In my bank is where I keep the majority of my cash, my spare keys, ATM card, license and passport. I carry the minimum amount of cash on me because I am concerned that if I get robbed or misplace my “daily wallet”, I will still have what I need to keep going.
3) My waterproof backpack sits on top of my rear box and yellow dry sack. In there, I have my hiking boots, food, water, and things like sunblock, etc. I have this ready to grab and go if I want to do a hike or something.
4) Right side metal box contains my tools, stove, cooking pot, warm and cold weather riding gloves, water proof jacket and pants (street clothes), sandles, toiletries, and my thermal liner that zips in to my Rev’it jacket and pants riding suit. Oh, and of course my folding wine glass.
5) Left side metal box has my rain suit, my zip in gore-tex liner for my Rev’it jacket and pants riding suit, an electric vest (so nice when it is really cold out), maps, small thermal cooler (for beer), my ipod player, AA batteries and charger, computer wires and various connectors, more food, first aid kit, water filter, and a long sleeve shirt and mosquito camp that I can quacking put on at the end of the day at my camp.
6) In my tank bag, I have everything I need to get to quickly such as my phone, camera, knife, some tools, pens, flashlight, wine opener, etc.
Once I get everything packed up (which usually takes about 45 minutes (30 minutes if the mosquito are really annoying), I set my GPS and hit the road. Yesterday I headed toward Whitehorse in the Yukon. I stopped at a Yamaha Dealer along the way to have that front tire that I was lugging around for the past 3 weeks. I took the wheel off my bike myself and let them mount and balance the tire. It was done in 15 minutes and when they told me that I owe $62, I thought they were kidding. Then I thought, it’s Canadian dollars (which is almost exactly the same as US now. Well, I found out the hard way that everything is expensive in the Yukon. There billing rate is $124 an hour. And since their season is so short, I guess they feel the need to gouge tourist passing through to make up for the 8 months of winter. Then I went to get some fast food in town. What would have cost $5 back at home cost over $10. Everything in Canada is more expensive.
I stopped and talked to a guy traveling on a KLR650 riding from Australia to Alaska for about half an hour. He told me that he had never ridden a motorbike before he bought that one and he had no real issues traveling the 25,000 miles from the tip of South America to the top of Alaska. He had some great stories and advice to share as I am planning the same trip, just in the opposite direction. From what I hear, the people that are actually traveling have had positive experiences, especially in places that most people fear to go. And the people that don’t travel are spreading the myths and putting fear in to adventure travel.
My next destination after Whitehorse was Takhini Hot Springs. People that know me know I love hot springs. Even though it was out of my way, I couldn’t resist stopping to take a dip. Like most things in life, I had to dip in to my wallet and pay for the pleasure to soak in the hot water. But I stayed for 2 hours and enjoyed my soak. Plus I think the 3 weeks of road grime finally came off.
My destination that evening was Skagway Alaska. Looking at the clouds ahead, I chose to put on my rain suit and I am glad I did. That is decision that will make or break the rest of the day. Anyone that has ever put on a one piece rainsuit knows it is not easy to do quickly. But once it is on, I know I am going to stay completely dry no matter how much rain falls. And heading in to Skagway, the rain came down in buckets at times. Plus it got cold…….down to 44 degrees at the top of the pass. Just a few degrees colder and I would be dealing with snow. It was just a reminder that winter is coming and I am racing the changing seasons.
Since I have never been to Skagway, and since I never know where I am going to be each day, I didn’t have a place to sleep. And since it was raining, I wanted to find somewhere with a roof over my head. As luck would have it, Skagway has one hostel and it is a really nice one. I paid my $27 for a warm bed and went to the market, bought a steak, potatoes, mushrooms, squash to cook up,some beer and a 2005 Kiona Reserve Cabernet. I figured I would go big since I made it to Alaska. It has been a while since I stayed in a hostel and I forget how much fun they can be. Everyone is traveling from somewhere else and everyone has a story to tell. And as an added bonus, no one snored last night.
That leads me to now……..what to do? I want to catch a ferry to Haines later today. I think I am going to find a hike to go on or do something to kill some time.
There are times I question myself……..what in the hell am I doing??? It was be easier to just be at home. I wouldn’t have to deal with the mosquitos, all the packing and unpacking, the rain, the cold, etc etc. But I love waking up each day and not knowing what is in store for me. I know I am going to be traveling somewhere I have never been to before and making new discoveries along the way. I love looking at my map and wondering what it is like there and then going there to find out. And it is the adventure in it all that keeps me going. I really miss my GF and I know she really misses me. But this is something that has been calling to me for a long time and all my stars have allined to make this trip possible for me.
Ok, got to sign off now…………………adventure awaits!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!