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Old 07-18-2011, 12:03 PM   #1
Swissican OP
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Cool2 Southern California to Deadhorse, AK on a VN900?! No problem...

Sooooo...this is my first RR, ever! Please be kind to me.

First off I'll satisfy your need for some nice pictures...then you'll be addicted to this thread, allowing me to write more useless stuff without losing your interest

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North of Redding, CA
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Old 07-18-2011, 12:04 PM   #2
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On the Stewart-Cassiar Highway in BC...
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Old 07-18-2011, 12:05 PM   #3
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Self explanatory...
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Old 07-18-2011, 12:07 PM   #4
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On the James W Dalton Highway south of Coldfoot...
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Swissican screwed with this post 07-18-2011 at 12:15 PM Reason: geographically challenged...
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Old 07-18-2011, 02:03 PM   #5
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Laugh Signs of gratitude

Before I get into the, hopefully, good stuff of my RR I would, first off, like to thank the following inmates:

Rudi G, who meticulously answered my seemingly endless list of questions. In addition, thanks to his...uhmmm...lack of hair, I brought an item along that made most nights a bit more pleasant... (if you'd like to know what it was I guess you'll just have to continue reading)

Hanzo, for his pep-talks which helped me get into gear. In addition to thank, I also thank him for posting a certain picture that made me bring a vital piece of "equipment" along... (if you'd like to know what it was I guess you'll just have to continue reading)

ddennis669 and Alcan Rider, both for posting on my thread and encouraging me to do this trip. Since I wasn't going to use the "recommended" vehicle for this trip I found their posts very encouraging...

So a big Thank You to all of you for making my trip worth while!!!

Well, I guess it's time to actually start this RR...but for now, here's a picture to keep you going (and interested)...

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Old 07-18-2011, 02:07 PM   #6
mtbspeedfreak
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Cool! Where in SoCal are you at? I'm over in the IE.
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Old 07-18-2011, 02:21 PM   #7
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I started out in Oceanside (just south of Camp Pendleton)...
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Old 07-18-2011, 08:30 PM   #8
judgebill
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You've got my interest

I'm very interested in your comments. My dream is to make the same trip next year. I'm from LA but now live in Uruguay. Hope to get to Los Angeles and ride with one or two friends to Anchorage next May/June. I'm particularly interested in whether you use (or change to) knobby tires or keep regular street tires on your bike. I will be riding a Honda Gold Wing when I do the trip. I'd do it by myself but I'm 75 and would prefer to have someone along who can help me lift a fallen bike. Other than that I figure I can handle everything else. So write on, entertain all of us who are interested and please post as many traveling details as you can. And congratulations on just doing it.
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Old 07-18-2011, 10:19 PM   #9
Hanzo
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Hey Swissi!!!, Excellent start on this report. Keep on truckin'.

This is me in Eastern Baha, North of San Felipe.

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Old 07-19-2011, 08:34 AM   #10
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Nice pictures already!
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Old 07-19-2011, 06:17 PM   #11
Swissican OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by judgebill View Post
I'm very interested in your comments. My dream is to make the same trip next year. I'm from LA but now live in Uruguay. Hope to get to Los Angeles and ride with one or two friends to Anchorage next May/June. I'm particularly interested in whether you use (or change to) knobby tires or keep regular street tires on your bike. I will be riding a Honda Gold Wing when I do the trip. I'd do it by myself but I'm 75 and would prefer to have someone along who can help me lift a fallen bike. Other than that I figure I can handle everything else. So write on, entertain all of us who are interested and please post as many traveling details as you can. And congratulations on just doing it.
I decided to reply directly to your quote since I didn't want to forget to mention something about my tires...
For the entire trip I was running front and rear Metzler Marathon tires. My front tire has over 24k miles on it and it's still good. I "only" got about 17k out of my rear tire. So regarding street tires I can highly recommend the Metzler's . I didn't think knobby tires would be worth the money and effort since I would have to go to a mechanic and have them swap out the tires, plus, I only would have needed the knobby tires for the Top Of The World Highway and the James W Dalton Highway.
Empty my bike weighs in at 600lbs so with full fluid levels, gear and myself I think it would weigh about 900lbs. I only mention this because when I was heading from Deadhorse back to Fairbanks the Dalton was muddy (similar condition as on my way north) and on the Roller-coaster or some other steep climb, I heard/felt my rear tire lose traction and spin out a few times.
Now, I've never had a different bike and I've also never been on any other type of bike so I couldn't tell you how much better my bike would have handled had I had those knobby tires (do they even make them in that size?!). IMO I don't think a different set of tires would have made too much of a difference since the shocks and angle of the shocks are still the same...but that's my n00b opinion...

Where exactly are you planning on riding to? If you stay on the Alcan or other "nice" roads I don't foresee to many problems. However, if you're planning on taking the Dalton than I would just caution you to take it "very slow". Now, in certain situation you're probably better off going faster (more momentum, less chances of getting dragged into a direction you don't want to go ) but my concern is, since your Gold Wing has hardly any ground clearance, that you might hit one of those insanely deep potholes and bottom-out.
But be advised, all paved roads in Canada and Alaska have potholes the size of small cars that will swallow you and your bike.

Anywho, you're trip sounds like fun. Keep me updated on your plans/trip and let me know if you have any other questions.

By the way, I hope I wasn't preaching to the choir here...
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Old 07-19-2011, 06:20 PM   #12
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Hey Swissi!!!, Excellent start on this report. Keep on truckin'.
Hanzo
Thanks for the compliment and the picture. It looks pretty desolate out there...almost like Deadhorse...well, minus the cold weather and the snow

Ride On...
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Old 07-19-2011, 06:22 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by ddennis669 View Post
Nice pictures already!
Thank you. More to come later this week. It takes some time to go through 13k pictures ...
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Old 07-19-2011, 08:17 PM   #14
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nice shots...waiting for more
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Old 07-20-2011, 11:14 AM   #15
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Day one-ish

Where to begin?!?! Well, I guess the beginning is always a good place to start.

Anywho...If you haven't already noticed, I'm new to Adventure Riding, hell, I'm even new to motorcycle riding . I've only had my license for 4 years during which I've done some fair amount of riding. Once I went on a 8200 mile (13k km) trip through the US but for the most part I stayed on interstates. In addition, I've done some shorter trips, between 1000 - 2000 miles, but nothing really major, like where I'd be in the middle of nowhere.

Sidenote...I feel like I'm writing an essay for one of my college courses

So yea, prior to this trip I had about 27k miles (43k km) under my belt but all of it on primary and secondary roads. This was relevant because, for the most part, I always had cell phone reception where I could call AAA and have them pick me up. But on my trip to Deadhorse, I would be alone...well...I'm sure the bears would keep me company
In addition to not really having any experience on unpaved roads (although I did have experience riding in any type of weather imaginable, except hail, which I was able to check off of my list on my trip to Deadhorse), I also didn't know much about how to repair my bike. Now, I could do the very very very basic stuff but since my bike is so heavy and I have tubed tires I can't easily replace my rear tire, or the front, for all that I care. So this trip to the isolated Deadhorse, AK would definitely be a challenge for me...

Enough of my babbling, let's get started!!!

I have a '07 Kawasaki Vulcan 900 Classic LT an her name is Calypso (Nymph in Greek mythology) and she weighs about 600 lbs (270 kg) empty. She is a mighty fine motorcycle and I do take care of her (see image below).

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But for some odd reason I felt like it would be a fun trip to take her from Southern California to Alaska and from there on to Florida and then back home.
I'm a pre-med student and the fall semester doesn't start until the end of August so I had plenty of time to go and do whatever I wanted to do. As I started researching the trip I found out that I didn't have the "ideal" bike to go up to Deadhorse with. But thanks to this forum, especially Rudi G, Hanzo, ddennis669, and Alcan Rider, I was able to find answers to most of my questions so I started feeling pretty good about this trip. I really didn't plan much of anything. I stopped by AAA and picked up maps for Canada and the States in the US that I would be riding through, took a highlighter and simply marked the roads that would eventually lead me to my destinations
I stopped by REI, picked up a tent, bear spray, and a bear box; took my bike to my mechanic to have a general check-up, had the oil changed and Calypso and I were ready to go.

By the way, did I mention that I was doing this alone?!?!

Anywho, since I started this trip at the beginning of June north of San Diego, CA, I would somehow have to navigate my way up North past Redding, CA without literally melting due to the heat. I was wearing my Tourmaster Centurion one-piece suit (see picture above) , which is absolutely marvelous, and yes, it has a ton of vents but vents don't really do you any good if you have a windshield that prevents wind from entering those vents .
So, my glorious plan was to leave San Diego at about 23:00, take the I-5 all the way north to the Canadian boarder. Well, I was planning on spending the weekend with a friend near Seattle, WA. I didn't want to take the Pacific Coast Highway up north since I've taken that road a few times before. So my day of departure arrives and I'm ready to go...
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