a motorcycle journey 2up

Monday, May 31, 2010

Made it to Kansas

Day 1:
Total Miles Today: 524

Not a very interesting day as far as scenery goes. Left the house late.



Stopped and got some fried pies in Oklahoma.



Dropped the bike in the fried pies parking lot.(pic missing) Good times.

Later we met a trucker from Wisconsin who took our picture at a rest stop.



Made it to camp.



Nice site, lake side with free wi-fi. Hard to beat that. Tomorrow we head to Badlands NP in South Dakota.


jordan

Taking off

Heading out. Here is our spot link to track our progress:

Follow us!


Adios



jordan

Saturday, May 29, 2010

The final countdown...

2 days to go! Making the final preparations to the bike, which included an oil change where I accidentally refilled the engine with approx twice as much oil as I should have. I don't really know how that happened. I know full well the oil capacity, but I just sort of zoned out and kept putting oil in it until I was out. I then couldn't figure out why I could not see the oil level in the site glass - turns out All I could see was oil. So after draining a quart at a time (3 times) I got the oil level back to an acceptable level. I am surely a genius!

We are also having a b-day/bon-voyage (in case you don't return) Party today at the house. Not too much else to say until we get going. Planning on posting whenever we can get some wifi.

It's the final countdown!



...ahh the 80's. Besides my birth, I am not too sure what other good came out of that decade.

And a picture for you(I know how much it sucks to read a blog with no pics). This is Nikki cleaning her first low-water crossing:



Monday we ride.

jordan

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Laying it out...

This is pretty much everything we will be carrying with us to Alaska, except for clothes and a bit of food we will carry to attract the bears.




Now on to another topic...

The question has been asked a few times since we announced our trip of "Why Alaska?" For that I don't think either one of us truly has a reply. Is it to see if it is truly possible to view Russia from Alaska? Nah. For me Alaska is not the whole point, nor is it even the goal. I think of it as the point in which we sort of turn around and continue traveling in a different direction. It is really just a 30 some odd day sort of transcontinental, overland route to visit and experience many new areas and terrains.

A bit of post script to this post...

I would like to thank everyone for all of the encouraging sentiments we have received, such as:

1. "You guys won't make the panhandle of Oklahoma."
2. "I don't think you realize how far that is."
3. "You think that motorcycle is gonna make it the whole way? You'll be flying back. Or at least Nikki will. There is no way she will make the whole trip."

You are all hilarious!

Anyways, Like 12 days and counting.

Cheers!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

More Than I Needed to Know!

Jordan and I watched a show last night called Extreme Alaska which featured a segment on bears. Apparently, Alaska is "ground zero" for Grizzly bears, and Alaskan Grizzlies are the "most aggressive" of all Grizzlies.... I really should not be watching this stuff.

16 days and counting!

-Nikki

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Procrastination = New Route!

I may or may not have been putting off the booking of the Ferry for the return leg of our trip, but either way, by the time I went to make the reservation it was booked full. This resulted in the need to pick a different departure port, as well as date, thus resulting in our new route:

The way there:


View Larger Map


The main change: Instead of taking a Ferry out of Whittier, AK (south of Anchorage) we will depart out of Haines, AK. And instead of arriving in Prince Rupert, BC Canada, we will arrive back in the “lower 48’s” in Bellingham, WA.

The way home:


View Larger Map

Overall this adds approx 5 days to our trip and the ability to visit Dawson City, Yukon and take the Top of the World Highway across to Chicken, Ak. Of course, all of this is subject to change.

20 Days til departure.

jordan

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Preparation:

There are certain number of “things” that will be encountered during the trip. Since space and weight are a concern, we will have to leave the kitchen sink at home. Everything else however, we will try to attach to the bike. Not really though. I am actually being a Nazi about the whole packing thing, limiting quantities on clothes and excluding luxurious items such as pillows. However, I feel I may lose a few battles on that front – you try telling your wife that she is only allowed 2 pair of underwear for a month long trip, not gonna happen.

Here is a brief and entertaining break-down of some things/situations we are preparing for.


Things we are potentially prepared for:

1. Bears – Bear mace
2. Weather (cold and rain) – Heated grips, heated liner, many layers, and waterproof gear
3. Camping – Plenty of quality camping gear (tent, sleeping bags, etc.)
4. Mild mechanical Failure – On board tool kit
5. Moderate tire failure – Tire plugs, slime, air compressor

Potential short comings of above mentioned preparations:

1. Never actually used the bear mace. Always stored in an un-easily accessible area.
2. Haven’t really tested the statements made by gear manufactures of “water-proof”.
3. On board tool kit will probably not have what I need to make a repair.


Things we are potentially unprepared for:

1. Bears
2. Cougars
3. Weather (heat, rain, really cold)
4. Catastrophic Mechanical Failure
5. Wheels falling off bike
6. Meth-heads

It may not appear so, but I have actually done a lot of prep for this trip. There are just a lot of bases to cover, and how fun would it be for you all (y’all) reading this if all went smoothly?

Bike Modifications:

I have bought a ton of quality aftermarket modification parts for the bike. To offset the cost of those, I have also fabricated some of the ugliest pieces (although extremely functional) to complete the total Frankenstein-ing of our V-strom. I have made a few labeled picture diagrams to help illustrate my achievements!



A. Happy Trails Aluminum Panniers (side cases)
B. PVC Pipe Storage tube w/ eye catching red pressure valve cap for some sort of plumbing application.
C. Fuel storage containers for bike and cooking stove, also serves as possible pyrotechnics in the event we are rear ended.
D. Attention grabbing, yellow mystery box - securely mounted with old clip-on style snow board boot bracket.



E. Super Furry Butt Pads (all about the comfort, not so much the style).
F. Engine and Body protection for when the bike takes a nap.
G. Homemade hand grip warmers.
Exhibit “A” - If you look closely, you will notice that I was neglecting my Manly duties to mow the lawn. That is Nikki on the mower while I am taking pin-ups of the bike.





H. Homemade radiator guard.
I. Bootleg Highway Pegs.
J. New chain and sprockets.
K. Fender extender made out of plastic paint bucket.

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L. GPS Holder
M. 12v power outlet to recharges necessary items like ipods and camera batteries.
N. Digital Voltmeter - keeps us from drawing too much power on our accessories. Lets me know if the alternator takes a crap.


Intermission....

This is Bowser trying to pass through his new doggy door with a bone that is slightly larger than the opening.
***********************************************************************************

And of course, DIY tire changing. We are starting the trip with new tires. I figured I should know how to do this myself, given the remoteness of some of the areas we will be traveling through and the potential for the earlier mentioned "catastrophic tire failure". The process was a bit like this:
Break the bead:




Spoon off old tire.



Spoon on new tire.



Bam! done. With only minor back-aches and a slightly marred rim or two.



-jordan

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