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Old 10-25-2007, 10:26 AM   #31
bananaman OP
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OASIS Worthy

This is why I think this ride should be OASIS worthy. I actually carried a suit with me on the bike, got to Orcas Island, found an iron, and made it presentable enough that I was easily the best-dressed man at Chuck's wedding. Come on- I carried a black 3-button tailored suit, a nice white shirt, a tie, black socks, and allen-edmund wing-tips! (Sorry I forgot to add them to the gear-list before.)



After the wedding on my way through Anacortes,I bought a box and mailed the suit home. 3rd class. My suit and stuff arrived in Madison on Monday after I got home- perfect timing.

So- come on. I mean really. I carried a suit with me on the bike for more than 2000 miles. According to OASIS laws, doing something silly like that automatically grants the idiot more than a few extra points. Drinking wine mid-way? Even more points.
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Old 10-25-2007, 10:57 AM   #32
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I am a total noob and reports like this really get the "I want to do that" attitude going. This was a great read. Thanks you for sharing, I frankly don't know if I can do the solo thing.
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Old 10-25-2007, 12:41 PM   #33
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Great report. I enjoyed reading about your adventures.
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Old 10-25-2007, 02:05 PM   #34
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Solo vs Not-solo

When I was almost home- when I was getting a new tire in SK- I paused for a few minutes in a real, old-fashioned, biker's shop. Snowball ran the place, or his white beard ran the place. His wife came in to check on him, and I said to her, Ma'am, there's no way he rates a wife like you. Snowball laughed mainly because he knew I was right. They've been married a kazillion years, so he must have done something right.

Back in the shop half of the harley's I looked at had chains. Real chains, old-fashioned wise, that men had ridden all over the west, all over Canada, back in the days before adventure riding existed, when all riding was adventure.

So, one of the customers, a regular who'd bought one of those harleys brand-new in about 1955- he goes to me, "You ride alone? You got no friends to go with you?" and I didn't have an answer for him. Here was a guy who was making $200k a year working the oil fields part-time. He and his friends had lived the life of a roughneck. They'd work, make a pile of money, and leave- with no destination in particular. How could I explain that my friends lived all over the country in jobs they call "careers" that support the lifestyle that's killing them. Mortgages, kids, wives, ladders-to-climb. None of them could swing a leg over and ride for three weeks. Maybe they could squeeze a ride into a busy Saturday afternoon, but they'd have to justify it economically or spiritually to somebody. Not many understand that the ride is about the ride.

It's not that hard to ride alone.
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Old 10-25-2007, 06:03 PM   #35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bananaman
Not many understand that the ride is about the ride.

It's not that hard to ride alone.
Speechless. Beautiful.
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Old 10-25-2007, 06:56 PM   #36
SRA
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It is easy to ride alone. It is not so easy to find friends to ride on an epic journey. Sometimes the friends are met, alone, on the road.

Oh ya. Great thread! Thanks for bringing us along!

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Old 10-25-2007, 08:31 PM   #37
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Great post and pics. Congrats.
However I must say my 2 cents worth about something. I think you were absolute "nuts" for riding at night time, especially in Montana. It just isn`t worth it man! Your very lucky you didn`t hit a deer. Alot of motorcyclist die or end up maimed for life every year because of the deer, just in Montana alone.
My best friend just died on me last August when we were on vacation in Montana. He fell asleep and smacked into a semi trailer at 85 mph. I cannot overstress that safety should always come first while on a bike, Iron Butt or not. I`ve done 1,000 miles in 24 hours without riding at night.
Sorry about my lecture, I had to say this. I hope this helps someone?
I can`t manage to write up my trip report, horrible ending. Cheers. Kyle
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Old 10-26-2007, 06:26 AM   #38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stranded in Iowa
Great post and pics. Congrats.
However I must say my 2 cents worth about something. I think you were absolute "nuts" for riding at night time, especially in Montana. It just isn`t worth it man! Your very lucky you didn`t hit a deer. Alot of motorcyclist die or end up maimed for life every year because of the deer, just in Montana alone.
We all measure risk our own way.

I actually saw more deer and antelope during the day time than I did at night. I have a truly excellant lighting system and I never outrun my lights. Night in Montana was clear and bright. Night in Montana was 55mph. Night in Montana meant a lot less semi traffic. Since I get to choose my risks, in Montana I chose night/no semis/no old people/just a few drunks.

edit: The homicidal deer in Montana- I actually saw them during the day time. At night there were a few grazing on the side of the road, and I slowed to about 30 for each of them. But seriously- the velvet buck, and the panicked doe- those were day-time deer. Regarding a 1000 mile day- I wasn't trying to do an ironbutt. I didn't bother to get signatures or notaries or witnesses before I left in the morning, so the 1000 mi total didn't matter. I like to make motivational entries in my log when I can. That's all. :end edit

The only close-calls I had were with old people. I had an old guy merge right into my lane- he squeezed me almost onto the shoulder but the shoulder wasn't there. I twisted the throttle and shot ahead, turned, and gave him a nice salute. I slowed and rode next to him for a moment and guess what- I think he was BLIND. I have never seen such thick glasses on anybody. He never, ever saw me. This was somewhere in South Dakota in the middle of the day. At least the deer I saw saw me.

I had zero trouble with truckers on the Haul Road. I talked to a few in the truck stop north of Fairbanks, and I chatted with a few more of them at Yukon River, Coldfoot, and even right on the road. I had heard that they can be total jerks- but every one that I met was totally cool. The first moving truck I encountered on the gravel- I slowed, he slowed. I pulled over and stopped. He slowed and stopped and asked if I was OK. I told him I just didn't want to damage his windshield with any stones picked up by my massive rear wheel. He laughed and said he was really grateful because- and he didn't really give me a because because it was too early in the morning and he'd just driven from Prudhoe Bay which is really far even in a big rig.

Discalimer to everyone else: I don't think you should try to do anything I did, but if you do, then you better be completely confident in your ability, have life insurance, have emergency evacuation insurance, and have disability insurance, and have a living will.

Kyle- I totally understand your loss. I'm sending you a PM.
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Old 10-26-2007, 06:57 AM   #39
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The ALCAN- Whitehorse to Tok

I think the ALCAN was made for bikes.

The frost heaves in some places were huge waves with ripples. Cars, RVs, trucks pulling trailers- they had to slow to 20, sometimes 10, and they were still bottoming out. Bike could go 80, easy.

I can't actually remember all the details of where the road was curvy or straight or rutted or under construction, but I do remember a straight stretch that went on and on and on. We went 100. Dave was in front and all of a sudden a mounty came by- going the other way- also going at least 100. He wagged his finger at us but he was laughing. I think Dave actually accelerated.

At some point we picked up a nice couple in a small Lexus SUV. They were the only ones who kept up with us. Their wheel base was just short enough that they could fly through the frost heaves.

The trick to the frost heaves was to get low on the crest, then push the bike down into the trough- basically we'd stand while the bike floated down. Then the bike would come back up and hopefully not too hard and we'd absorb the roll with our legs. This is common on dirt bikes, and it's the same as skiing moguls, but keep in mind that we were on sport bikes! It was very, very fun.

Passing long lines or RVs- the hardest part was maintaining a safe speed as we passed them because otherwise we wanted to go 80, but the differential (bikes going 80, RVs going 20) wouldn't have been safe. You can never, ever trust the RVs. I swear they'd imagine a bump or a hole and suddenly swerve into our lane. I might have pissed off a few of them (for interupting their video-game-playing-while-driving) with my constant horn-beeping.
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Old 10-26-2007, 02:17 PM   #40
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Alaska changes you

Riding easy maybe 90 miles today I kept thinking about Alaska. Long rides like that- day after day after day- the bike starts to turn into an animal. I mean a person. I mean somehow I anthropormorphized the bike. I'm on a different bike now but it's still a partner, not a machine.

Riding today suddenly hitting freeway traffic automatically I went to the far-left lane and stayed totally totally defensive. I made eye contact with every single driver. I saluted one particularly stupid moron. And I wondered if they had any idea what I've ridden through. Of course they don't know. But Alaska changed me. I think we should all go to Alaska. It makes us better in ways we can't even imagine.

Like this: if I say Alaska is BIG, the only way to grasp the absolute enormity of the place is to go there and see it. Because it dwarfs everything. And it changes you when you see it.

That's it for my pontificating for today. I'm not done with the ride report though.
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Old 10-26-2007, 09:56 PM   #41
peteE
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Great report B-man.
After spending thousands of miles crosscountry on a bike I get a bizzare feeling that I am flying. That i have become part of the machine ...just motoring along without having to think about the controls.
Watching the road and the sky,grinning.
You stated that feeling very well.
Thanks for Sharing your trip!
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Old 10-27-2007, 11:41 AM   #42
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What happened to my pants

I don't know if any of you noticed the duct tape on my pants. These pants only cost about five or six hundred dollars, plus about three cents worth of 3M Duct Tape.

My first morning of riding- somewhere in South Dakota. I think it was my first fillup.

"9:20 Am Kimball S.d. 4.3 gal @ $12.63 melted my pants on the muffler STUPID."

It was an absolutely beautiful day. I had the sun at my back and I was riding West on a perfect highway in a state where they don't stop people for speeding. There were gas stations every 20 miles so I didn't have to worry a bit about fuel. I could ride close to 200 miles and at 90 that meant going far fast.

I wasn't feeling quite like a noob or a posseur. I was fantasizing about what it would feel like to be a real rider. It could only have been better if I'd been wearing full leathers in cool racing colors and if my bike didn't have side cases or a top case or a big red duffle strapped to the back seat. Or it could only have been better if instead of the duffle I had a girl, in matching leathers, holding on tight with her face close to my ear... (in fantasies you don't have to worry about helmets when it comes to girls pressing their faces to your ear, and stuff like that).

So I stopped for gas and maybe a cup of coffee. And going the other way- heading East- a girl who would have looked great in matching leathers on the back of my bike. And lucky me, she started talking to me. I have no idea what she said or might have asked. I tried to answer but mainly I'm sure I was unintelligible. Like an idiot. And I kept filling the tank with gas. I got to the filler neck and didn't want to stop so I carefully- carefully- tried to squeeze the last gallon in. This girl was asking me about my bike and I tried to explain how tight the top of the gas tank is, how you have to get the nozzle in just right, how the tiny vent only lets you get a few tablespoons of gas through and how it takes a bit of finesse and experience. And she goes, "I think your leg is burning," just as I felt it. I had wanted to say something smart, like "that's not my leg," but I had been leaning on the muffler. I'd broken the biggest BMW rule- NEVER FILL UP FROM THE LEFT SIDE. I'd melted my pants- outer layer, protection layer, and almost the goretex layer. Right above the boot-top. My inability to speak became critical. I carefully pulled the nozzle out of the tank. I carefully- while the girl was watching me- wrapped duct tape around my leg. The tape wouldn't stick. I added tape, and went around and around and around.



About 10,000 miles later, and at least once through the wash- the duct tape is holding up but I think it might need another layer. I was thinking about patching it, or having someone patch it, but the duct-tape works.

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Old 10-28-2007, 06:27 PM   #43
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Full Disclosure

I was a little drunk and now that I'm sober I'd rather keep some thinks closed.
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Old 10-28-2007, 07:44 PM   #44
Watercat
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Nice ride!

Good for you!

Really cool trip and report!
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Old 10-30-2007, 07:17 AM   #45
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The Hardest Part

There were a few hard moments- falling asleep going 10 mph before Yukon River, but not wanting to stop because of a narcolepeptic fear of bears, and the time Dave, Scott, and I almost went too wide on the Casier. But the hardest part was from Fairbanks back to Whitehorse.

I had gotten a hotel in Fairbanks. It was like a treat, a reward for making it back to civilisation (Alaska-style). Getting back on the bike after a night of faux-luxury was hard. I rode a little, and stopped for some photos. (Bad photos I ended up deleting when my card got full and I wanted more bad photos.) I rode a little more and found the beginning of the Al Can. I rode a little more and got to Tok. And I realized that I was covering ground at 1/3 the rate, 1/3 the speed, as we had on the way in. I jumped on the bike, jumped on the throttle, and finally got to the Alaska/Canada border.

Getting back into Canada was easy. They asked if I had any weapons and I showed them my bear spray. No, WEAPONS, they said. None, I said. Off you go, ride safe, they said. So I rode and rode and rode and it started to get kind of dark. And I started to get tired- the bad kind of tired that you're not supposed to get when you're riding a motorcycle. I wasn't too worried about gas but the first two stations I came to were closed. Around 7 or 8 I found a place to camp. I asked about bears and they said they'd had a few grazing along the runway but the helicopters lately had scared them away. Geologists were flying back and forth with a huge magnet trying to find minerals. I pitched my tent, bummed a beer, and tried to sleep. A few hours later I was still staring at the roof of my tent and it was still only kind-of-dark. So I packed up and rode. I thought I'd ride a hundred miles in a little over an hour, then make another camp.

But the next 100 miles took three hours. It was cold, windy, and even though it was twighlightish, I didn't like it. I can't remember where I set up camp again, but I was a bandit- I never did pay. Sorry.

When I started again, it was even colder. Windier. That's where I picked up the Harley and the guy who said, "It's cold, buddy." I had breakfast- two eggs, bacon, toast, coffee, yum.

On the way through the first time, when I paid for gas and bought a few bumper stickers, the kid who sold them to me said something to his mom- in English- and I thought she replied in a First Nation language. There were First Nation people everywhere so I thought they were First Nation, too. I had said to the kid something like, Don't talk English just for me- it's fine with me if you speak your own language with your mother. But the kid had looked kind of embarrased. Then, during breakfast, I realized they were actually Chineese. The mom was talking to me, asking me about the ride, the weather, and finishing every sentence with an "Ay" just like all the other Canadians, only her Ay was with a strong Chineese accent. So imagine a very nice Chineese woman (who you used to think was First Nation) saying, "Nice eggs, ay? You want butter and jelly with your toast, ay?" I could have stayed there for a really long time. I think that the photo I took there- I think it's the best.



After breakfast I kept riding and riding and riding and finally got to Whitehorse, and that was the hardest part. It wasn't hard because of the roads- although the construction was even more brutal and the gravel was even softer than the first time. It was hard because I was alone. It wasn't hard because of the cold- I love that kind of challenge. It was hard because I had to deal with it alone. And then it got harder and harder in a perpetual cycle. I'd ride and check my time and realize I was going slower and slower. I'd wonder about the people who used to actually walk these distances, or go in the dark of winter on sleds behind dogs with nothing but fish and meat to eat. I'd wonder and I'd ride and I'd realize I still hadn't gotten anywhere. I had to stop to nap, and that was even harder because the rest area had a sign talking about a fire ages and ages ago and the forest still hadn't recovered. Then I rode and rode and rode... and it took forever to get to Whitehorse.
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