Its my turn to contribute to this forum which has been great source of information.
Start with planning, I’m going solo, so when it comes to adventure riding I keep planning to minimum. I like to go day by day and make my route as I go along. I wanted to reach the Arctic Ocean, enjoy the journey, scenery and the freedom on two wheels. Three weeks is all I have got from work and home.
I reserved the following:
1. Hotel in Deadhorse
2. Arctic ocean shuttle
3. Tires and oil change in Fairbanks at Adventure Cycles
4. Shipping the bike from Seattle back to NH
5. Flight back from Seattle to NH
The rest is optional.
In terms of safety, I have a SPOT messenger, a satellite phone and Medjet insurance in case of emergency and air evacuation is required. Start with packing, I tried to pack light. Easy say than done. It is important to have good gear that last and sustain few trips. I bought heated jacket and gloves four days before the departure date. I checked the weather in Prudhoe Bay, AK and it was snowing the last week of May. I'll not be able to ride long hours at sub 30F. I ordered the equipment from Ravzilla. I got the jacket but it was too short on the arms. I have two days left... I called Ravzilla and they shipped me another jacket right away.... Great service, can't say enough about them. The jacket/glove were a necessity after the Atigan pass.
Max BMW in NH has been servicing the bike since I bought it back in 2007. Outstanding service. I told Joe the service manager to check the bike for my 10k trip. Joe called and mention the rear bearing need to be replaced...better now than later. Thanks Joe. The bike went through the trip and except two front light bulbs it was flawless. Preparation pics
Friday 5/31 – Left home in NH and start riding west, I had few calls at work to finish my assignments and it was really hot day. I stayd at a campsite in upstate NY near Buffalo, I was tired. Few fellows in the campground invited me to their site for fire at night but I was too tired and wanted to be up early up to catch up on some miles. My intention was to be in AB Canada in three days riding from NH. I set up my tent, which took me longer than I thought. My secret for good night sleeping in the tent is the LUXURY LITE COT.... this is one if my best investment for outdoor equipment. After 15 hours on a saddle I sleep in comfort.
Saturday - 6/1 – I woke up early at 6:00. The fellows were up walking their dogs and come to say goodbye. Great people, super nice. I passed NY, PA, OH. I made few stops. On one of the stops, another rider fully loaded just stopped beside me. Sean from Long Island, NY. Sean is a retired detective and he headed to GNP, MT. We started chatting and we decided to tag along and ride together for the day. Sean left Long Island today and wanted to complete the Ironbutt 1000 miles required for the day. We rode pretty fast past IN, IL (avoiding Chicago) and Wisconsin. We rode through few thunderstorms some were heavy.
Sean wanted to complete his 1000 miles and I called the night. We separated our ways and wishes best to each other. It was late at night; I try to avoid riding at night for several obvious reasons. In addition my front light bulb indication light come on the dashboard. Meaning no headlight only high beam. I had one spare with me and decided to do it in the AM. I found motel 8 near by, and as I parked the bike I started to chat with a fellow who unload his truck. We start exchanging some information and he recommended to ride through rt 14 north. Nice twisty road through the farmland. The hay is growing and I would love riding in this part of the country. I love the information from the locals, its accurate and reliable. As I parked the bike and discovered that my new Ceebaileys wind wings broke. I installed them just before the trip and after day 2 they broke. I wasn't happy but there is nothing like JB weld and duct tape....I fixed the wings that night so the glue will dry overnight, and also replaced the bulb. Few days later I call CeeBaileys and they sent me new set of wind wings at no charge. Great service!
Sunday. 6/2 - In the morning I loaded the bike and met the fellow from last night. I told him I'm going through rt 14 as he recommended. He was happy.
The road was really nice and twisty going through farmland America. It was beautiful scenery, twisty road, crossing some small towns, super nice. Back on the highway toward MN, it was cold morning. I stopped in a rest area and prepared a good coffee I had carried with me. A lady come with her dog and wondered if I rode from NH, we were chatting for 30 min or so and share some family stories, she was really nice and inspired. I continue toward ND and the wind picked up, it was very windy. I couldn't believe how many dead deer were on the side road, really scary. I stopped at Fargo and had a good steak for dinner. It was already late and I decided to continue for another 100 miles or so, it started to get dark and I've seen many deer crossing the road. I stopped in a rest area to put my heated jacket and a truck driver come up to me and told me that the road is not good for night riding, too many deer. I thanked him and continued to the next town Valley City and called the night.
Monday 6/3 - This has been one of the longest day in miles, probably around 1030. Riding in ND was amazing, long stretches, windy, green fields, immense. At some sections the wind really strong, it was hard, the bike has tall windshield, which doesn't help. I rode through small towns, hard working farmers, cultivating the land, impressive. I crossed the border into Canada, declared my bear spray, headed to Saskatchewan Canada. I made it to Alberta and passed Calgary at night toward Red Deer. Total miles for the day, 1030. Long day.
Tuesday 6/4. – It was a slow day to Jasper, AB, the view is spectacular, this is a great change from the highways I was riding in the last three days. I started to enjoy my time, the scenery, plenty of wildlife. I sew black bears, brown bear or Grizzly, elks, deer and goats. Jasper is a beautiful small town, cafes, bakeries, food and outdoor stores are in the center of town. I arrived at 6pm to the visitor center and asked about the operation hours at the hot springs in the area. The agent said that the Miette hot spring is about 40KM away, which is about 25 miles. They close at 10PM so I have time for a deep. Back on the bike, going up hill the last 11 miles. As I'm going through one of the hairpin I see on the slope maybe about 10 feet from the road a black bear sow and a cub. I stopped; didn’t want to scare them. I honk but they couldn't care less. I decided to move on slowly, no time to stop for picture. I went to the hot springs. It was great, relaxing, hot, quite, life at its best. After two hours of relaxation and cleanser I decided its time to look for a place to sleep. I stopped at one of the campground. It was empty, I settled in one of the site. Later the ranger come to collect the fees and told me that there are four bears seen in the camp. He asked me to be caution. I wasn't sure if it is smart to be isolated in the campground, however, I decided to follow the basic rules. No food or toiletries in the tent. All stored in a bear canister I brought with me. I put the container about 100 yards away and went to sleep. I was very tired and exhausted. In the morning I was up at 7am ready to go in no time. I discovered this about 6 feet from my tent.