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Old 06-14-2015, 08:38 PM   #1
AZHobo OP
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Location: Outskirts of Tucson
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Seattle - Deadhorse - Benson, AZ

First RR here, as you can see I haven't made very many posts before. My lovely wife and I had been thinking about an Alaska ride for several years as the first leg of our Transamerica trip goal. We were finally prodded into action after a friend of ours planned a group ride to Hyder from Kalispell, MT. We decided to leave early, tour Alaska and ride to Deadhorse and then meet the group in Hyder for the return to Kalispell.

We live near Tucson, AZ, but we decided to ship the bike to Seattle to save wear and tear and time in covering that distance from Arizona. Initially, I wanted to ship the bike to Anchorage, but the shipping was more complicated than I wanted to deal with. Besides, there is the Alaskan Highway and the Cassiar. This way we can ride one up and one back.

We wanted to make this trip by ourselves. In the past I have planned group rides (Route 66 from Chicago to Santa Monica and a ride to Copper Canyon in Mexico) - those rides were a blast, but with a group relying on my planning, I was compelled to plan the details of every day. We want to try making a big trip with less planning. Free to make our destination choice on a daily basis. Free to not make a choice and take a day off if we want. Well, this trip is not totally unplanned, but it's close! We ended up inviting my cousin for the ride from Seattle to Anchorage. He has a deadline for his return flight, so we had to plan our first nine days. After that we have 19 days for our tour of Alaska before we meet up with friends in Hyder. My cousin is the best riding buddy you could ask for. He's a damn good rider, always happy and can roll with the punches. He's handy with tools too - which is good because I can barely change oil.

My wife has her own 650GS, but we decided to go two up on this trip for several reasons. Less cost in shipping two bikes, less maintenance issues and she will be free to photograph from the pillion seat. We are riding a 2008 BMW R1200GS Adventure with 42,000 miles on it. We just put a new suspension on it and I can barely touch the ground even when we are fully loaded! It will probably get dropped a few times and my cousin has promised to document every drop. We have a TKC80 on the front and a TKC70 on the rear. We shipped another set to Adventure Cycle Works in Fairbanks for a mid-trip replacement. My cousin will be riding his trusty DRZ 400.

Anyways, our departure is Wednesday, June 17 and I still have to work the next two. Bedtime!

Our GS is already in Washington and ready to go!
IMG_0833 by mattnkaty1, on Flickr
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Old 06-14-2015, 09:14 PM   #2
Animal Instinct
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Great start, AZHobo

Is it hot down there in Tucson?

I'm in and wishing you the best.

Safe travels.
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Old 06-14-2015, 09:24 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Animal Instinct View Post
Is it hot down there in Tucson?

I'm in and wishing you the best.

Safe travels.
Thank you! Yes it is hot, I work outside and today was a tough one. Fortunately, our trip timing will have us missing most of the hot weather and getting back for our favorite season, monsoon!
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Old 06-14-2015, 10:44 PM   #4
going south
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I'm in for the ride.... I'd like to know how the 80 front 70 rear tire setup works where your going...
This'll be good
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Old 06-14-2015, 11:20 PM   #5
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Great way to beat the AZ heat, be sure to explore the side trips off Hwy 37 The Cassiar some of the best lakes and camping along the way north. The Milepost Travel guide has all the info needed and is a must for the trip. There are lots of hot springs along the route, stop for a soak, nothing better after along hard day in the saddle.

We made the mistake of camping in Beaver, it was adjacent to the main road and was awful noisy from the road traffic. There is really good camping when you get off the main roads and head towards the Provincial camp grounds through out BC or wild camping is what all the Canucks suggested. Usually a lake or river and always much more peaceful sleeping. We saw most of the wild life in BC and YT.
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Old 06-15-2015, 07:47 PM   #6
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Questions?

Quote:
Originally Posted by going south View Post
I'm in for the ride.... I'd like to know how the 80 front 70 rear tire setup works where your going...
This'll be good
I'll let you know. I love the 80's but man they burn up quick. I'm hoping the 80/70 combination will give me adequate rough road capabilities while still allowing me to rail it in the twisties.

Quote:
Originally Posted by advmoto66 View Post
Great way to beat the AZ heat, be sure to explore the side trips off Hwy 37 The Cassiar some of the best lakes and camping along the way north. The Milepost Travel guide has all the info needed and is a must for the trip. There are lots of hot springs along the route, stop for a soak, nothing better after along hard day in the saddle.

We made the mistake of camping in Beaver, it was adjacent to the main road and was awful noisy from the road traffic. There is really good camping when you get off the main roads and head towards the Provincial camp grounds through out BC or wild camping is what all the Canucks suggested. Usually a lake or river and always much more peaceful sleeping. We saw most of the wild life in BC and YT.
Thanks for the tips! We'll be riding the Cassiar on our return trip and the Mile Post is loaded on the iPad. We'll bail out at Prince Rupert for a ferry to Vancouver Island.

If anyone reading this is planning or thinking about their own trip and you have questions or want photos of anything in particular, let me know. I've read plenty of these ride reports and it's funny how some of them with the more mundane information are more interesting because you get a better feel for the riding and camping and day to day living on the road. I'm not a total data geek, I plan on tracking fuel economy with the Fuelly app mainly because I always have, but I probably won't religiously track the day to day costs of traveling.

Having stated the above, I don't do anything religiously. I have set a big goal for myself of spending a half hour a day updating my RR. While on the road, I'll be doing that with an iPad when I have wifi or AT&T. If I don't get a signal, I plan to make my daily notes on a word file and upload them when I can.

Still working on trip preparations. Funny how the to-do list keeps growing. Stop the mail, alert the neighbors, Sta-Bil in all the vehicles that don't get to make the trip, it goes on and on. I have trouble prioritizing and being a former trucker (if it don't shine, it ain't mine), I decided that polishing my panniers was a wise expenditure of my time...
IMG_0795_2 by mattnkaty1, on Flickr

Oh well, I will continue to wander about in confusion while my better half methodically works through her list. Only one more work day!!!!
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Old 06-15-2015, 08:35 PM   #7
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I'm in for this one. Good luck and safe travels.
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Old 06-15-2015, 09:11 PM   #8
BillUA
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In, love Alaska RR's! Have a great trip!
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Old 06-15-2015, 10:58 PM   #9
advmoto66
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"Thanks for the tips! We'll be riding the Cassiar on our return trip and the Mile Post is loaded on the iPad. We'll bail out at Prince Rupert for a ferry to Vancouver Island.
"
We did the same route in 2010 heading south after Denali, FYI Vancouver Island is a deer Heaven be very aware. We came upon a rider early in the AM who got an even earlier start, when I saw the deer stuck between his front wheel and the frame of the bike It definitely spooked me.

Pam sprayed on your wheels and bike/engine before hitting the Dalton will help aid in cleaning off the calcium chloride that will diminish your sparkling clean panniers.
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Old 06-16-2015, 02:13 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by going south View Post
I'm in for the ride.... I'd like to know how the 80 front 70 rear tire setup works where your going...
This'll be good
Likewise, thinking about the 70's for the stelvio.

Very envious. Looking forward to the pics.
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Old 06-16-2015, 06:45 PM   #11
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Subscribed...



Bon voyage, and we'll keep the desert hot for you…
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Old 06-16-2015, 07:43 PM   #12
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Subscribed. This will be most helpful as I plan my Alaska trip.
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Old 06-16-2015, 08:49 PM   #13
AZHobo OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by advmoto66 View Post
"Thanks for the tips! We'll be riding the Cassiar on our return trip and the Mile Post is loaded on the iPad. We'll bail out at Prince Rupert for a ferry to Vancouver Island.
"
Pam sprayed on your wheels and bike/engine before hitting the Dalton will help aid in cleaning off the calcium chloride that will diminish your sparkling clean panniers.
Once again, I appreciate the tip. I'll definitely try the Pam. I like my stuff to look good, but I also don't mind the patina-ed evidence of miles traveled.

Quote:
Originally Posted by elfrider View Post
Likewise, thinking about the 70's for the stelvio.
The TCK80's are the gold standard for versatility on an ADV bike. You can take them off road and still get extraordinary lean angles when you hit the twisties. You just can't afford to replace that dang rear tire every 4,000 miles. For strictly on road riding the Anakee III's are my favorite, but they don't have enough lateral bite off road. The TKC 70 looks like a good middle ground tire that can handle a little off road, yet still perform and get decent mileage on road. The mechanic that prepped "Mongo", our 1200 GS, for the trip rides a turbo charged 1150 GS. I watched a video of him on a local track on TKC 70's. He was nearly dragging his panniers. They are welded on, I have no idea why. Anyways, that sold me on their grip and I'm looking forward to trying them.

Wrapped up work today. I have spent the last year and a half on a small, specialized unit. That ended today, I won't go back to that unit when the trip is over and I'm going to miss those guys. It is really rewarding when your co-workers take their profession seriously and are true craftsmen in their field.

Ready to travel tomorrow! Wrapping up things here at the house. A pest spray, water timers for a couple of our newest trees and so on. Did our sign for Watson Lake. A bit of a cheap out, but this is a well known and popular local joint.
IMG_0843 by mattnkaty1, on Flickr

We were able to load the panniers when we shipped the bike, so many items are already in Washington. We shipped another box last week, but we may still have to check a bag. We know how to travel light, but I'm sure we are taking way more than necessary - the same mistake everyone makes. Oh well, we'll trash, donate or ship back any excess as we go along and count it as lessons learned.

This photo was taken on our shakedown run on the AZBDR near Lake Roosevelt in Arizona.
DSC04620 by mattnkaty1, on Flickr

Have a great evening!
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Old 06-17-2015, 01:17 PM   #14
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Bon Voyage!
I hope Katy gets to write a bit for the blog also.

I'm interested in the TKC70's for my Stelvio too.
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Old 06-18-2015, 12:25 AM   #15
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Reunited and it feels so good!

We haven't turned a wheel yet, but the trip has begun! Flew out of Tucson on a non-stop to Seattle today ($300 for both of us). The plane aborted the landing, hit the gas and pulled up hard, giving us a nice 360 degree view on the turn back to the runway. It was sunny and bright, nice to see everything. I grew up in Washington and while it's not my favorite place, it sure does look good in the right weather. Mt. Rainier from the plane:

Untitled by mattnkaty1, on Flickr

My folks still live here, they picked us up and we went to my Aunt's house in Snohomish where we met up with my Cousin Nick and his family and had an awesome dinner. It's been two years since I've been up here - so it was a fun reunion. After dinner, We went over to Nick's place and I had a tearful reunion with Mongo.

Untitled by mattnkaty1, on Flickr

Getting the bikes ready:
Untitled by mattnkaty1, on Flickr
With Nick and family:
Untitled by mattnkaty1, on Flickr
Nick put us up in his travel trailer out back, tomorrow we'll have breakfast with everyone then head out!

Apparently I can't cut and paste photo links from Flickr using an iPad or iPhone. I got these posted on a borrowed computer, I'll have to figure this out somehow...

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