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Old 08-13-2009, 05:03 PM   #406
Bozola
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Abenteuerfahrer
We're currently in Stilwell, KS doin' some R&R at our daughter Gina's home for a day or two before heading to Cincinnati to visit our son Leon, who has just come home from Iraq for a 2 week vacation before heading back...
So you should have just enough time to come back to Walla Walla for the big picnic up on our property in the Blue Mountains this Labor Day. It's not that far out of the way.

;)
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Old 08-15-2009, 08:54 AM   #407
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Closing of Post...

Hi all....

While we basically are still on the road and are currently in Ohio visiting our son who is on furlough and will return to Iraq this Thursday. Our high adventure has ceased and there is nothing more exciting to report. We have been slabbing the Interstates making haste to Ohio and as Charles Kuralt said, " Thanks to the Interstate Highway System, it is now possible to travel across the country from coast to coast without seeing anything.” That's exactly what happened...and for this we thinks it is appropriate that we close this post when we get home to our destination(NC) and summarize what worked, what didn't and some highlights. Until then...

Cheers, Sharon & ELMER
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Old 08-15-2009, 10:45 AM   #408
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Cry Sigh!

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Old 08-15-2009, 11:12 AM   #409
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Ahhhhh...Bummer!!!
What am I going to do now???

Tom
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Old 08-15-2009, 12:19 PM   #410
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We'd be glad to take a DONATION so that we can start another epic trip report for you armchair or adventure wannabees..(just kiddin')

Thinking of doin' the "over the hill gang" TAT...(trans America trail) next summer... on skinny bikes..uh, maybe on

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Old 08-17-2009, 08:15 AM   #411
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Well done

Thoroughly enjoyed this cyberspace sidecar adventure. It has added another dimension to my perception of the worldwide sidecar community. If only we could bottle it, the rest of humanity might just benefit from a dose.

Well done Lady Sharon and Sir Elmer.
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Old 08-18-2009, 09:02 AM   #412
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Elmer & Sharon,

Thank you updating us so frequently. I've been a few long trips & did the same thing. I appreciate the effort it took to do it.

I've enjoyed your pictures & commentary very much. This kind of report is a shining example of what makes ADVrider such a special motorcycling site and the Hack forum one of the best anywhere.

Looking forward to your next adventure.

Roger
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Old 08-18-2009, 09:57 AM   #413
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AceRph
Elmer & Sharon,

Thank you updating us so frequently. I've been a few long trips & did the same thing. I appreciate the effort it took to do it.

I've enjoyed your pictures & commentary very much. This kind of report is a shining example of what makes ADVrider such a special motorcycling site and the Hack forum one of the best anywhere.

Looking forward to your next adventure.

Roger
Absolutely! A great ride report for sure. Thanks to Sir Elmer and Sharon and also to this site ! !
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Old 08-18-2009, 06:59 PM   #414
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We bid you all Adieu....

The road leading HOME...









Good Bye WEST..hello East...we'll miss you...







Home safe....





North by Northwest: What Worked, What Didn't Work



2005 BMW R1200GS.....Before we left we did change the clutch to a Sachs ceramic clutch from Touratech . While doing this clutch-ectomy we also changed every imaginable seal that can be had. I can't say enough good things about this/our motorcycle. We were more worried about bike breakdowns: final drive, seals, clutch, electronics, etc, instead it was the sidecar that gave us problems.

Often dubbed the "Swiss Army Knife of Motorcycles," I think that's selling the bike a bit short. By calling it the perfect do everything motorcycle, you imply that it does everything well like a multi tool you carry so that you don't have to carry a variety of tools that would actually do the job right. However we did carry a multitude of tools for the bike but none were used. Our GS pretty much did everything right. The riding position is extremely comfortable and natural, both when sitting and when standing up. Power of 100 hp and performance is good. It handles well on and off road with the sidecar properly aligned and trued. Easily tops over 100 mph with the sidecar when pushed although the sidecar might “fly” a bit at that speed. The servo integrated brakes are excellent and come in handy when the whole rig crosses 660 kilos; love those ABS; can be shut off when descending a gravel road so as not to brake from the front. Great suspension, thanks to the HyperPro shocks.

Low maintenance ++++++.

Although not so good was the gas mileage with the sidecar and this was expected: gas mileage (25-30 mpg). I honestly can't think of a better motorcycle for traveling long distance with a sidecar attached, especially where road conditions might be less than ideal. I might go so far as to say if I could only have one motorcycle, the GS would be it ... But for most riding situations in addition of the sidecar I can't think of a better, more versatile mount than the R1200GS or any 1100; 1150GS. Also (for whatever this observation's worth, motorcycle with sidecar or not), most of the bikes I saw in the Great White North were BMW GS. GS’es were 5:1 compared to HD’s; Quite a few KLR 650’s; Suzuki 650’s; Yamaha 650’s; Vstroms..quite a few KTM’s. And of course a few sightings of Urals. Honda Gold wings were primarily glued to the asphalt like all HD. Oh sure, there were some stragglers on these bikes that went through extremes but this was rare. Although the 1100-1200 GS are on the heavy side…most riding was of course on the slab, where they provided really luxurious comfort a long distance rider would want after days on end on gravel…this is not so on thumper bikes. Mine now has over 47,000 miles not counting the 1000 mile detour by Ferry. So we basically rode 12,524 miles.

With a good scrubbing, some scheduled maintenance and she'll be ready to go on another adventure come 2010!

Parts replaced on the GS:

Three frontal light bulbs..2 low and 1 high(failure probably from severe rough road conditions)

1 oil change (Mobil1- 15/40 synthetic

1 oil filter
1 air filter


METZLER TOURANCE

What a great tire! Although not the best tire for a Hack, I’ll be changing them to car tires with a VW rim/wheel which is more appropriate for Hacking. The Tourances handled everything admirably. With the sidecar the rear Tourance that got me home had 3585 miles on it and can go another 500 miles. The one I changed in Watson Lake, BC had about 3700 miles. The front can go about 7000 miles. The sidecar Tourance if not changed to the pusher could go about 10,000 miles. Gravel roads and speed on slabs as well as overload seems to kill them early. Of course the motorcycle sidecar motorcycle tire is totally inappropriate for touring. Moto tires are round and the wear is in the middle..while car tires are much more flat giving it much more surface area for better grip and longevity.

1 front tire
2 rear tires

ROK STRAPS

ROK Straps rock! I'd heard good things about these straps, but couldn't see spending nearly $20 a set for them, not when bungee cords are so cheap. Finally decided to try a set and three of ROK straps for this trip, though, initially buying one set to test, and then going back for two more. For the Alaska trip, I used two sets and carried the third as a spare. These straps are great: easy to use, never worked loose, shock-corded at one end for easy adjustment, attach really well to the bike, etc. Love 'em and will not leave home without ‘em.


CAMERAS

We carried two cameras with us, Sharon’s Canon Rebel XSI SLR and a Panasonic Lumix 10x. Most of the wildlife shots, especially those taken at a distance, were taken with Sharon’s Canon. We carried two lenses, an 18-55mm and a 55-200mm, generally using the bigger lens. I cannot say enough good things about the Lumix and that it’s the best camera for shooting as you can see the view instantly using a Helmet compared with the Canon where you have to remove the helmet for shooting through the view finder…

TANKBAG

I love my Wunderlich tank bag. There's one on nearly every motorcycle I own. Fits great, doesn't get in my way, and holds plenty of stuff. Love the flip-over map pocket…My only complaint about Wunderlich is that one must use a rain cover : despite the near constant rains endured on the Alaska trip, the things in my tank bag remained mostly dry. Yeah, there was a bit of dampness, but never enough.



TENT

If I were to do this trip again, I'd leave the camping tent behind. We never camped: too rainy; too cold; tent too low. Remember were deaf…so Bears within..Bison stampede…Caribou migration…we’d never hear them coming. So, we Motel’ed most of the way at great $$$. As for the sleeping bags… used them once in Enumclaw, WA in the RV camper Jay provided us with. Not carrying the bag wouldn't have saved a lot on weight, but it would have freed up a large space on the back of the bike. We could have done without the sneakers we dragged along - so those are a couple other items that would have lightened my load a bit and freed up some space on the bike. We, of course, sent a lot of stuff home when we thought Sharon will fly home due to the sidecar incident and I ride solo home. We shed about 30# of stuff.

GERBINGS ELECTRIC VEST

The best investment ever made bar none! If you keep your core temp up, your heart keeps sending warm blood to your extremities. It's as simple as that. I never travel anywhere where it might drop below 40 degrees without my electric vest. It got used a LOT on this trip, especially Sharon since she mentioned that she gets a lot of windage around her in the sidecar. We utilized a Odyssey PC535 battery for the entire bike as well as a transfer power cable to the Centech fuse panel in the sidecar. Full riding and fog lights…electric vests…ABS..servo brakes…GPS, etc were run from this battery…but always at proper rpm so as to give the 600 watt alternator sufficient output for this draw, however cruising in Town..my vest was turned off and the bikes fog lights were extinguished. Regarding illuminating yourself on isolated roads: there is so much daylight about 18-22 hours of it depending on the month you ride there, there is no need to light yourself up like a Christmas tree….you’ll be seen creating a dust trail…plus our bumble bee colored outfit is pretty conspicuous!

RAIN GEAR

Over the years, I've come to the realization that there is no such thing as wet and cold as long as you have the right gear…. As inmate Mikepa remained me by sayings of a famous Norwegian moto world traveler...."There's no such things as bad weather, just bad weather gear"...How true!

Our rain gear was the BMW heavy duty full suit rain gear which was the ultimate outfit come hell or high water, although cumbersome when trying to fit it on while wearing a full set of riding apparel…it requires some assistance putting it on. We also carried the el-cheapo Wal-Mart light rain gear that suited us just fine for light drenching but the fluttering in the long run wore out its anti-permeability.


BOOTS

Our BMW boots used to keep my feet nice and dry never failed us on this trip. The same goes for the Olympia cold weather riding pants and liner. The BMW summer riding pants are another god send piece of clothing that we cannot live without although pretty worn by now. My well worn BMW Rally Pro II is another godsend piece of gear I will not live without. It’s heavily armored and very well ventilated once you move; fairly water proof as it has lost its water resistant coatings over time: needs to be re-coated! The Rally Pro can be unlayered for hot weather and heavily layered for cold weather. Sharon gave up her hi-visibility Columbia Jacket in Seattle, WA..due being too stiff and was modeled for style not utility which encumbered her ability to sit comfortably in the sidecar. She exchanged it for a Rev’it! #109267 and wore it through thick and thin was happy as a clam! All our apparel gear is armored…we ride ATGAT at all times, fully clothed, no bare skin exposed; even in 110 degrees. Remember when you ride in extreme heat..It is important to retain some body moisture and replenish yourself with an occasional drink of water..Never gulp 500 mls at once, you pee it out in no time, but take it at about 5 minute increments. We had an array of gloves that might make my HD riding friends wince…gloves for every occasion…rains..Cold..Heat…extreme heat…snow…thermal gloves…deerskins, etc. All served their purposes. We rode not in style but function and form; had no body aches nor butt aches or fatigue….easily rode 300-680 miles a day.


NOLAN & HJC HELMET[

I developed something of a love-hate relationship with the Nolan helmet. Helmet fits me fine but since I wear a hearing aid and must wear it due to directional balance and maybe sound directions I had to cut out a large portion of webbing and foam coatings to accommodate my aid. Occasional hearing shrill feedback does occur when the Helmet inner wall gets too close to my aid. The first Nolan had a sun visor externally build which was of little use when opening the front shield for ventilation. So after 2 years I discarded it …again in Seattle, WA. Exchanged it for a Nolan 102 with built in pilot sun visor...much better and now love it. Still no one has ever solved this dilemma--when it pours like hell….heavy rains do penetrate and stream down the face shield inside the helmet. Also the new anti-fog approach of the pin-lock double face shield insert does some good but is not fool proof…Sharon’s HJC seems to suit her fine but lacks some sun vision block…she had this sun blocker but it flew off somewhere on top of the world highway. If found please use it or return..??
We also use modular Helmets so that we can immediately raise it for lip reading and sipping some water or munch some energy bars…at low speeds of course! Ventilation was excellent but helmets aren’t designed to be behind motorcycle windshields…not even the ultimate Helmet will ventilate your head in its capacity if you block the airstream.

IPF OFFROAD LIGHTS

Great lights…lasted the entire trip...plenty of light and conspicuity, but after Dauntless rewired my fender lights the sidecar wiring is not doing the lights justice. We now have some flicker and the Canbus light failure is not on. Got to find what the matter is and we’re home…! The headlight bulbs in the GS went out as well. Three bulbs to be exact...one high and two lows. All these could be found in any automotive store even in Canada..just make sure they’re equivalent in wattage and have socket connections

BEAD POPPER

This funny looking spade like appearance has its wonders. It’s made of plastic and I obtained it from Aerostich for breaking the beak. Wash it several times around where the tire beads to the rim with an ax head or rock. Do it several times again..presto the bead loosens. If you're doing tire changes by hand, you need one of these. It's sure a lot quicker than a lot of insane jumping up and down, running over the tire with a vehicle. Get real 15” tire irons from Pit Posse…! Forget the punny small ones that come in a tire kit…won’t do. Get the 15” or bigger...plenty of room in the sidecar.[


GARMIN ZUMO GPS

What an awesome piece of technology, Yes… Don't leave home without a GPS, Yes. It’s only a backup for the maps remember… had a lick of trouble with mine ... well, ….the membrane became touch sensitive and refused to let us insert way points…quit directing…..went to sleep….lost all data, way points and froze in the cold of rains. So switched to wet maps in the tank bag.. and picked up new maps in every State’s visitor center. The Zumo eventually came back to half-life when entering the warm climes on the Moab. I must admit Garmin’s map sucks…wish you could load a real Rand McNally or MapQuest….

Off to the shop it goes…tomorrow…tomorrow…


FREE WIRELESS INTERNET

More prevalent than you might think, even in the Great White North, but also intermittend. The real problem on a trip like this is finding the time and energy to use it. I also brought along a book to read ... never opened it. Sharon went through 3 books…picked up 2 free books that were available at the ferry terminal.


Ingrid the sidecar..

For some inexplicable reason, the sidecar gave us the most perplexing problem…three swing arms…

One in Seattle, WA after we had to divert from Great Falls, Mt due to lose bearings.

Another swing arm failure in Carmacks, YK, diverted to Whitehorse, YK

Another near disastrous spindle shearing near Klukshu, BC

Since the bearings we’re not field serviceable an entire swing arm had to be sent for ease and speed of installation.

The sidecar and its sub frame and mainframe were great. The seating was comfortable, visibility good…protection also good..but better rain containment would be welcome. Inmates Litewait + Ihop have the right setup for inclement weather. This will be our priority once all is settled. Drainage and ventilation are high on our list. Trunk modification is also underway as well as better windshield design. Since we are contemplating going the car tire way..the fender will be re-modified to suit as well will the rear BMW decorative splash guard. Currently we are running on a temporary set up with spoke wheel until Dauntless is ready to ship the car tires.


And finally about the passenger….my Princess, Lady Sharon....


I am a lucky guy. I'm lucky because I have a wife that doesn't balk when I tell her I would like to make an assault on the great White North and am going to take her with me on a motorcycle/sidecar ride for 10000+ miles just to see what's there. This is in spite of the fact that motorcycles are not always something that agrees with her. I'm lucky because I currently have the financial resources to jump on that motorcycle and my IQ is low enough that I don't always even think twice about doing it. I'm lucky to have made it around Labrador solo last year and back in one piece. I'm lucky to have had no mechanical problems along the way, except the few minor, he,he... sidecar mishaps. Having gone there and back, as some have already done, my feeling is that there is nothing greater than the anticipation of what you will discover. Just the feeling that you will be an adventurer out discovering new things and experiencing what real freedom must be like. I am a lucky guy….Now Alaska… and with her in a motorcycle sidecar next to me telling me to watch the animals and watch speed. The eventful happenings to the sidecar did nothing to her spirit and disappointment. She with full glee enjoyed the roughness of it, come rain, come snow, come mud, come bugs, nothing mattered but the adventure of it and be with me. I am lucky to have her as my sidekick who on occasion when I am down let’s me rest my heavy head on her shoulders for consolation. Nothing is greater when returning home with her to discover that the most beautiful women you've ever known is still there in my(her) sidecar and still appears to accept me regardless of how low my IQ is. Life is good, Ain’t it?


Ces’t la Vie !!





Au Revoir..Auf wiedersehen...Hasta la Vista...Good bye with a Yakima Red to you all we toast...


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Old 08-18-2009, 07:38 PM   #415
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Congratulations. Looks like you had a great trip. Tell me, where did you cross the Mississippi river on your way home. I am guessing you passed somewhere South of the Quad Cities.
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Old 08-18-2009, 10:35 PM   #416
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Abenteuerfahrer
...to you all we toast...

And to you!
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“We are turning into a nation of whimpering slaves to Fear—fear of war, fear of poverty, fear of random terrorism, fear of getting down-sized or fired because of the plunging economy, fear of getting evicted for bad debts or suddenly getting locked up in a military detention camp on vague charges of being a Terrorist sympathizer.” —”Extreme Behavior in Aspen,” February 3, 2003

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Old 08-19-2009, 12:07 AM   #417
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Old 08-19-2009, 09:47 AM   #418
Abenteuerfahrer OP
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Originally Posted by Iowakz
Congratulations. Looks like you had a great trip. Tell me, where did you cross the Mississippi river on your way home. I am guessing you passed somewhere South of the Quad Cities.
Hola IOWAKZ...

We crossed Ole' Miss via I-270 near Dunn, MO. Mighty River.

Cheers, The Royals...
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Old 08-19-2009, 10:48 AM   #419
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Nobel Prize ?

From here in Yorkshire, UK, absolutely fantastic presentation. Awesome photos, and written accounts to match.

As if titles of Sir and Lady were not enough, I reckon a Nobel prize for literature. Brilliant.
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Old 08-19-2009, 11:02 AM   #420
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Finis!

Well guys, it was a great end to a wonderful trip, glad you are both home safe and sound...
I've really enjoyed following your trip, all the delightful posts, food pictures, scenery and most of all the Spirit of two lovely human beings....
Your journey is unforgettable, and will remain for all of us to review and see all those great pictures whenever we get the urge to travel.
I salute you both and thank you so much for sharing your journey with me and everyone everywhere....
Elmer, your tribute to Sharon is heartwarming, your love for each other is obvious and shows in all your posts...you are a lucky man.....and Sharon is lucky to have found you (or vice versa) You guys are the finest example of a truly blessed relationship.
Enough mushy stuff....now, where are you going next?
And.....what's for dinner????
Bill
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