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Old 12-15-2007, 04:44 PM   #1
Frostbit OP
Is it cold in here?
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Joined: Dec 2007
Location: Eagle River, Alaska
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Laugh nOOb does AZ to AK

Ok… this is turning into a long winter so I’m done lurking…..

Quick riding background, I’ve had bikes since I was twelve up though my mid twenties then I became “a responsible individual”. All of the sudden 25 years went by and one day a friend asked if I was interested in helping him blow the dust off a couple of 1989 TransAlps that haven’t been out for a while. A few hundred miles later the infection became terminal.

In the course of the past summer I purchased three BMW 650gses and have ridden a dozen different bikes. At the moment I’m down to two bikes (that’s a long story) and I have money down on a BMW 800gs. Oh Jesus wept, sorry, I’m getting way out of sequence.

So, there I was innocently visiting with a friend (different one), listening to his story about riding down to Panama and how he had to leave the 1100 gs back in Arizona. I could feel the tears welling up inside of me. He said that he really wished that the bike was here in Alaska and then an overwhelming sense of civic duty and selflessness swept over me. I jump to my feet with my hand raise to the heavens and exclaimed….Oh, Oh,…pick me, pick me, I’ll ride it up here for you. The clouds parted a pile of maps appeared.

Out of love and concern for my well being, my wife offered to learn to ride so that we could turn this into a serious three week adventure. We quickly signed up for the first available MSF riders’ course along with my brother and nephew (infections can spread very fast). The course turned out to be well worth the price of admission.

The plans were starting to jell and I needed to find a road worthy bike in Arizona for my wife to ride. Through the miracle of Craigslist it turned out to be effortless. I found a flawless 03 bmw 650 gs within 30 miles of where the 1100 gs was stored.

With that step covered the next step was to get my wife some riding experience on a similar bike. You guessed it...that requires a purchase a bmw 650 gs locally. In another stroke of good fortune and the magic of Craigslist, there was a 2001 for sale not 3 miles from home.

With the snow just about melted off most of the streets, we only had a couple of weeks for her to rack up a few miles. Her riding skills were very good right from the get go but the wind buffeting freaked her out. So it took the full two weeks to convince her that going over 50mph was a good thing. Now it’s mid May and we're off to Arizona………
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Old 12-15-2007, 05:41 PM   #2
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let's see your trip to AK

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Old 12-15-2007, 05:52 PM   #3
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Old 12-15-2007, 06:01 PM   #4
On the Road Less Taken...
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My husband and I did a similar ride in 2006, he bought a BMW 1200GS and I got a 650 GS. We flew to Seattle to pick up the bikes and rode back up to Anchorage. ride report here
We should get together and compare notes!
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Old 12-15-2007, 11:09 PM   #5
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Location: Eagle River, Alaska
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Phoenix in May wasn’t nearly as hot & miserable as I was expecting. We spent three days with a childhood friend and his family while we set the bikes up for the trip.

Picking up the bike for ML (my wife) was a real mind bender. I’ve been accused of being neat & tidy….but holy buckets, the man castle that the bike was parked in had the appearance of an operating room. There wasn’t a drop of oil or a speck of dust anywhere to be found in the garage or on the bike. I promised to let the previous owner know how the trip but after what happened two days later, I just didn’t have the heart to call him…but that’s later in the story.

So bright & early we made our way out of Phoenix in heavy traffic and over to Apache Junction for the first rest stop. The stretch from Apache to Globe was spectacular, a winding gravel road in a colorful canyon, all to good to be true.

It tickled me spitless to see the boat & boat trailer parts scattered on the sides of the road from people dragging their play toys up to Apache Lake. ML was getting a long steady dose of riding on loose gravel and becoming quite comfortable with it.

We were traveling with very vague plans so whenever we spotted an interesting looking road heading in a northerly direction, that’s the way we’d go. It was getting dark by the time we rolled into Show Low and it looked like as good of a place as any to end a perfect first day on the road.

OK here we go… 7:30 am on a beautiful Sunday morning we’re loaded and ready to go. ML rolls her bike back and starts to head out. I’m fiddling with the choke to smooth out the 1100 and I hear a thud and the rpm’s max out. I crank my head around and see…………….

Frostbit screwed with this post 12-16-2007 at 08:24 PM
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Old 12-15-2007, 11:22 PM   #6
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hey, I'm sitting at home on a Saturday night waiting to hear what happened!! C'mon!!
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Old 12-15-2007, 11:43 PM   #7
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not continued

Sorry...too many martinis tonight. Got to get to bed
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Old 12-16-2007, 10:12 AM   #8
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OK continued

Well, what I saw was a motorcycle doing an admirable impression of a salmon bursting out of the water trying to reach the sun. Completely vertical with the front wheel slapping left then right. As if trying to clear a hurdle, the rear end swings to the right and catches up with the elevation of the front. Then, like a fish, it slams down solidly on the left side. The pavement wasn’t as forgiving as water tends to be so the bike skidded for a fair distance leaving a wake of plastic, glass and clothes.

By the time I was able to view all this ML was laying motionless draped over the curb. My brain started bombarding me all kinds of command decisions and luckily one won out, don’t make this worst, don’t make this worst. So I “calmly” put down the side stand, turned off the bike, took off my helmet, and “calmly” got off the bike….Jesus that step seemed to take for ever. By the time I was running in ML’s direction she was already standing in the middle of the garage sale of items strung across the parking lot. She was surprisingly calm, much more so than I was. Everything appeared to be functioning properly on her and all the contact points left distinct traces on her riding gear. A scuff mark on her helmet, abrasions on the shoulder pad and elbow pad of her jacket, and the carbon fiber knuckles of the left glove looked like she jammed them into a belt sander.

After walking around surveying the damage for a moment ML’s toe started hurting so she went back to the room to regroup and put ice on her toe. Mean while I start gathering up the parts and pieces while wrestling with the flood of conflicting emotions. Is this trip done??? Is ML all right??? Will ML get back on the bike??? Do we have to put her on a plane and I’ll finish this trip myself??? What the hell am I going to do with pile of debris??? How can somebody create this big of a mess and not even get out of first gear???

Sorry...I didn't have the presence of mind to take any pictures at that moment or the rest of that day.

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Old 12-16-2007, 10:54 AM   #9
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Hope she is allright.
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Old 12-16-2007, 01:22 PM   #10
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Omg -

Did she do the rest of the trip? Did she ever go over 50MPH?

Sounds like a heck of a gal!!

(So far)
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Old 12-16-2007, 01:45 PM   #11
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Old 12-16-2007, 02:53 PM   #12
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Go or No Go

I gathered up an arm load of clothes off the parking lot and took them into ML. She seemed to be doing ok. The ice was doing its job on her swollen toe. So I went back out and started working on the bike. It was one of those deals were you needed to disassemble half the bike before you could see if it was possible to make it road worthy again. It turned out to have survived the aerial maneuver quite well. Turn signals torn off, mirror mangled, broken fender, and the bulk of the impact was inflicted on the side luggage case which now was a case, a lid, and 45 randomly shaped pieces.

Two hours, ¾ of a roll of duct tape, and one bungee chord later, the bike was ready for the road. Now the big question…was ML ready????

I figured that ML had plenty of time to run all the options through her mind and it was time to see if she was interested in continuing down the road. As it turned out she had thought that the bike was toast and that it was a forgone conclusion that she would be flying back home. When I told her that the motorcycle was ready to go she said well hell…lets get out of here. That was music to my ears but I thought that we should talk through what had led up to the launch in first place. The long of the short of it is that as she was turning around from the parking spot, she looked over at the curb and she though…my, that’s an exceptionally tall curb, sure would hate to hit that. ML has a clear understanding of what target fixation is through many years of mountain biking and skiing. Once we were able to identify the action that brought this mess we were back on the bikes and heading out for a second try.

Ok, I feel like the people that bother to read this are getting gipped since there hasn't been any here's ML trying out the speakers in her new helmet....

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Old 12-16-2007, 06:14 PM   #13
Frostbit OP
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As I followed ML out onto the road I was thinking that it’s about a 99% certainty that I was far more shaken over the whole event than she was. I figured that was probably a good thing. So we motored north out of Show Low sticking to the scenic secondary roads and keeping a close eye on ML’s bike for wobbles and whatnot.

The scenery varied dramatically on the way to Farmington NM. One interesting surprise was that for about a 40 mile stretch we had big side winds gusting around 35 knots. The wind didn’t seem to bother her a bit, remember the wind buffeting freaking her out earlier, go figure.

Our first stop in Farmington was a visit and dinner with some friends. It was great fun but pretty late in the day so we took off to ML’s sister’s for the night. There was a proper garage with proper tools so I was able to tidy up some of the parking lot repairs. I was able to reduce the ductape factor by 50% or so. We also located a BMW mechanic in Durango Co that helped us out a great deal and charged very little. Thanks Harry!

After two day of visiting friends and family around Farmington and Durango we were off to Silverton with great weather overhead. It couldn’t have been better conditions all the way to Ridgeway then spotty thunder storms showed up all the way to Gunnison. Even with the rain, the views were spectacular and it’s a great area for riding , not to be missed.

Through the course of this day I had noticed that ML’s pace had picked up quite a bit and her cornering technique was flawless. Maybe we do learn from mistakes………..

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Old 12-16-2007, 06:36 PM   #14
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My wife and I are planning something kinda like that... though we have to go 2-up to get there since she doesn't have enough vacation time. Ohio -> Anchorage (where she flies home) -> Ohio. We're going next July or so. Can't wait!

We got her a 650 too... she's liking it. Though she calls it "tippy." (I've since lowered it )

Sounds great though!
George - NG8B - Random brain farts at my blog
'07 R1200GS Adv - RIP in Labrador
'09 R1200GS Adv
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Old 12-16-2007, 08:40 PM   #15
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Hi Vec

Every mile of your trip will be time well spent. I have a 650 Dakar stored in Toledo Oh. waiting for me to take it on a loop through Labrador - Newfoundland - Nova Scotia and back to Toledo for storage until the next idea stikes.

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