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Old 05-31-2011, 04:31 PM   #1
lookaught OP
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Location: Lander, Wyoming
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Wink Solo Ride – Pennsylvania to Anchorage, Alaska and back – 2011


“the beatings will continue until morale improves”


Hello adv! This is my first RR , so I’m going to do my best to make this interesting. Just before I set off my brother mentioned the quote above and I think it sums up the trip to Anchorage in one awesome phrase. So read on, and I hope it provides some procrastination material to get you all through the long workdays until you write your own RR. I think a great motto to live by is: “don’t let it not happen.” It’s easy to push back, or plan, or procrastinate, or to listen to other people telling you not to go because it's dumb and dangerous... and soon enough you’re old and the trip has never happened. So get up, get out, and get going!

Overview: This ride is solo from Pittsburgh, PA to Anchorage, AK. The ride up began on May 18, 2011 and ended two weeks later on May 31. I covered 4,598 miles in 9 days of actual riding (average 511miles/day), plus a few days off for rest and ferry schedule. This is my first long trip (the longest before being about 100 miles haha), and it was jam packed with highs, lows, lots and lots of rain, some spectacular sights, and a lot of saddle time. My butt made it through fine, but my knees and ears are going to need a little R&R to get back to normal!

I expect it’ll take about a week to write up the report for the trip up. I’m in Anchorage until mid August for work, and then I head back east. I plan to go to D2D and also run to Deadhorse, and will add these later on.

The Route. Roughly planned and made up some along the way:




The Bike. I didn’t name her yet, but will soon now that I’ve had some seat time with her:

Fully Loaded on Day 1:



2010 BMW F800GS 30th Anniversary
-BMW engine guard
-Micatech panniers
-SW Motech crash bars
-SW Motech center stand
-Rivco Highway Pegs
-MotoOverland top plate
-Rotopax 1gallon
-40L vinyl dry bag
-12 pack cooler
-lots of Rok Straps
-and my own custom made stainless steel kickstand footpad

I brought a few clothes, a shit ton of tools and only ever needed the torx that was in the under-seat kit (ironic, but better to be overprepared than under right?), tie downs, windex, my computer, iphone, car GPS with a generic waterproof holder, tent, other various camping accessories. Decided to skip the stove because I stayed with friends and made some new ones along the way.
And a couple of highlight pictures of what is to come:



























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Old 05-31-2011, 04:37 PM   #2
soph9
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great pictures...we are heading up that way June 29th....
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Old 05-31-2011, 04:50 PM   #3
chelo5sur
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Nice pics .... thanks
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Old 05-31-2011, 05:00 PM   #4
WNCSte
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I'm a sucker for an Alaska RR.

Thanks for the pics.
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Old 05-31-2011, 06:02 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WNCSte View Post
I'm a sucker for an Alaska RR.

Thanks for the pics.

Ditto!

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Old 05-31-2011, 10:24 PM   #6
lookaught OP
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The Bike:

My friend Dan stopped over and shot some really high quality photos of the bike the day before Ieft. These alone have pretty much convinced me to buy an SLR for the rest of my time in AK because the point and shoot I borrowed from my dad is just not cutting it for distance shots.










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Old 05-31-2011, 10:33 PM   #7
lookaught OP
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Day 0 - the prequel

A little background on me and the trip. I'm 28 and going into my third year of law school in Vermont. The genesis of this trip was declaring that "If I get a summer internship in Alaska, I'm riding a motorcycle there!" Well sure enough, I got the internship, and while it cost a lot more money, I stuck with the plan and rode to AK. In April I picked up the bike from fellow inmate LostViking in Albany, and was pot committed.

The prequel timeline:

Finished finals May 11, drove to PA with the bike in tow and the dog in the car, the dog is living with my parents (thanks mom and dad!) for the next three months.

The dog, a lab-pit mix named Layla:


Ok so once in Pittsburgh it was time to get the bike sorted and packed. Unfortunately, for a procrastinator that didn't go smoothly. I did fab and tig weld on this stainless steel kickstand footprint:

Pretty sweet right? And it won't rust so I didn't paint it, stainless is awesome.

And at 2am, with a planned 9am departure the bike looks like so:

Damn, too much labatt and one custom reflective sticker is all that was accomplished. The rest waited until the morning. On a side note, the "AK 2011" seemed a bit complicated for many people. I thought it'd be kind of clear. Whatever...

boo ya, reflective!


The rider, my name is Jon.

The photo is from the top of Seneca in WV last year during a climbing trip.

And the plan:
Day 1 - Chicago and staying with friend Steph
Day 2 - St. Paul and staying with friend Jerry
Day 3 - Makoshika State Park in Glendive, MT, camping
Day 4 - Lolo hot springs, Missoula, MT, camping... if you can call sitting in a hot springs camping
Day 5 - Yakima, WA and staying with old friend Shayne and Leslie
Day 6 - Rest Day in Yakima enjoying the sunny weather!
Day 7 - Birch Bay, WA just south of the Canadian border and camping
Day 8 - Prince George, BC and staying with extremely gracious inmate GISdood and his wife
Day 9 - Prince Rupert, BC at the Pioneer Hostel. Highly recommended!
Day 10 - sitting around Prince Rupert, waiting for the ferry. Kinda boring but the hostel had free interwebz and I made use of it.
Day 11 - on the ferry to Juneau and Haines. The solarium ROCKS
Day 12 - still on the ferry, getting into Haines at 9pm and camping on the "beach"
Day 13 - the plan was to get to Tok, but I ended up driving all the way from Haines to Anchorage. It was a 770 miles loong haul.

June 23-24 - D2D
Deadhorse... July 4th maybe? Depends on weather
August 12-? - the ride back to Pittsburgh to my family and Layla (the dog).

Stay tuned!

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Old 06-01-2011, 03:32 AM   #8
Carson_Mike
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Laugh I'm in

Great start to a great adventure I hope. I will be making this trip soon.
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Old 06-01-2011, 03:43 AM   #9
ddavidv
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Hmmm, let's see...
Very sexy motorcycle, check.
Alaska trip, check.
PA resident, check.
Dog content, check.
Steelers fan, check.

Yeah, I'm in for this one.
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Old 06-04-2011, 01:09 PM   #10
lookaught OP
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Day 1 - Pittsburgh, PA to Chicago, IL
498 miles - 10 hours

Day 1 was Wednesday, May 18. The plan was to leave on Monday, but through a combination of me not being ready and rain all day Monday and Tuesday, it was pushed back. Leaving on Wednesday was really pushing it to make the THursday ferry the following week, so it was D-Day.

I wake up, look out the window, and it's pretty much a hurricane.
Have a look at the map, see that bright orange line I-76? Yes, the one heading northwest exactly under the red rain blob. Wonderful.


I wait around until noon, hoping it will clear up a little, and it does! Sunshine and blue skies, low 70s and humid. Nice riding weather. I ditch the rain liners and am ready to roll:

All packed and ready to roll:


20 minutes out, I hit marble sized hail.
That set the stage for the rest of the ride to AK really. Rain, rain, and more rain. Pulled over, donned the rain liners, and hit the road. Not many more pictures on the way to Steph's because it was off and on rain for the whole drive until I got just outside Chicago.

But here are a few:
Yep, this is Ohio

Looking better:



WHen I arrived it was dark. I passed what I think was the Butterfinger factory because it smelled like butterfingers for about 2-3 miles along I-294. The drive was pretty boring, but I was excited being the first day on the road. I did not wear earplugs and my ears were ringing like HELL when I arrived. Having never ridden for that long before, it was unexpected and primarily the fault of the damn windscreen pulling air into my chin.

Tomorrow must be better!
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Old 06-05-2011, 08:36 PM   #11
Jettn Jim
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Dannngit maan I just found your RR and the pic from Lewiston, Ive been hanging out here off and on for a couple months...we'll havta do beers the next time aaaand I'm riding outta Pa too
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Old 06-05-2011, 08:38 PM   #12
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Hello and welcome to Alaska, aka The Last Frontier, aka The Greatland.

Glad to hear you're planning on joining me and a couple hundred other riders from around the world for the Dust2Dawson gathering.

Looks like you had a nice trip up. Hope all continues going well during your stay.

Thank you for sharing. Have fun, Mark H.

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Old 06-05-2011, 08:45 PM   #13
kfsinc
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IN! See you in Dawson!
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Old 06-06-2011, 03:39 AM   #14
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Jon,

Really glad to see the bike ran well for you. I thought your Brother was going with you?

You guys still headed to TDF?
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Old 06-06-2011, 10:44 AM   #15
lookaught OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jettn Jim View Post
Dannngit maan I just found your RR and the pic from Lewiston, Ive been hanging out here off and on for a couple months...we'll havta do beers the next time aaaand I'm riding outta Pa too
I very well may pass through in late August just to rip that road a few times. It's amazing!

Quote:
Originally Posted by AKDuc View Post
Hello and welcome to Alaska, aka The Last Frontier, aka The Greatland.

Glad to hear you're planning on joining me and a couple hundred other riders from around the world for the Dust2Dawson gathering.

Looks like you had a nice trip up. Hope all continues going well during your stay.

Thank you for sharing. Have fun, Mark H.
Looking forward to D2D, the sunlight hours here are just incredible! My body just will not turn off at night

Quote:
Originally Posted by kfsinc View Post
IN! See you in Dawson!
See ya there!

Quote:
Originally Posted by LostViking View Post
Jon,

Really glad to see the bike ran well for you. I thought your Brother was going with you?

You guys still headed to TDF?
Nope this trip was always planned solo. My brother and I are planning a possible trip to Costa Rica in December and then TDF is on the agenda for 2012 or 2013... depending on time off and finances and if he buys a bike capable (hint hint Chris). Who knows...

Bike ran great! The only issue is the rear tire is almost shot at 6k miles. Too much throttle I suppose I'm thinking about getting a set of TKC80s to run around here in AK and then putting the street tires back on for the ride home. I don't know if the rear will handle another 5k miles though.... damn expensive tires! *fist shake!*

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