2 Texans to Alaska (and back)...

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by jglow, Mar 14, 2011.

  1. jglow

    jglow Two wheeled traveler

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2008
    Oddometer:
    447
    Location:
    Lowry Crossing, TX
    June – July last summer, my wife and I rode 2up on our V-strom 650 from Texas to the Arctic Circle and back home via the West Coast of the U.S. The trip lasted ~34 days. We kept a live blog while doing the trip, but I have decided to post it in a Ride Report now to add a bit more reflection. It is also trip planning time for this upcoming season, so this report may prove somewhat useful for those planning their own Alaskan Jaunt.

    On with the Ramble...

    So why Alaska? No reason really. It wasn’t so much a destination, as it was just a turn-around point on the trip. There were tons of areas of the country that I wanted to see and we were able to fit a lot of that into this trip. I remember reading reports about going to Alaska, and I would think how crazy these people were and how FAR it was. When I look at the map from our spot tracker, I get the same feeling all over again. What were we thinking? That is really far.:norton


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    Preparation and Day 1 to follow...






    jordan
    #1
  2. Gnslngr

    Gnslngr Adventurer

    Joined:
    May 22, 2010
    Oddometer:
    19
    I'm in. Sounds great.
    #2
  3. Christian RA40XT

    Christian RA40XT Don't Panic!

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2011
    Oddometer:
    120
    Location:
    Ruhrpott, Germany
    This could be a good one :evil

    I`m in... :deal
    #3
  4. GB

    GB . Administrator

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2002
    Oddometer:
    61,030
    That is really far :lol2 Looking forward to the details and pics :*sip*
    #4
  5. jglow

    jglow Two wheeled traveler

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2008
    Oddometer:
    447
    Location:
    Lowry Crossing, TX
    As I had mentioned above, the bike we would ride up on was a 2005 V-Strom 650. I had 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!

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    A.[FONT=&quot] 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.[/FONT]

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    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 my wife Nikki on the mower while I am taking pin-ups of the bike.


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    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.

    And a pic of all of our junk we hauled with us.

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    #5
  6. dogmoon

    dogmoon Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2009
    Oddometer:
    317
    Location:
    Franklin County MO
    Cant wait, let see more.:clap
    #6
  7. doublen

    doublen Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2009
    Oddometer:
    260
    Location:
    Idaho
    Subscribed...Alaska trips are always worth it. Have fun and be safe. :clap
    #7
  8. ggoytia

    ggoytia Mobile Fatso

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2009
    Oddometer:
    190
    Location:
    Way Yonder outskirts of Fort Worth, Tx
    This is gonna be good.
    Bring on the pics! :clap
    #8
  9. jglow

    jglow Two wheeled traveler

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2008
    Oddometer:
    447
    Location:
    Lowry Crossing, TX
    Monday, May 31, 2010

    Day 1:
    Total Miles Today: 524


    We got all loaded up and ready to leave.




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    We were not in a terrible hurry today, as it was going to be a long day on the slab - just trying to cross some state lines and get somewhere.



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    Stopped at the Fried Pies shop off of I-35 near Davis, Oklahoma and dropped the bike in the parking lot. I forgot to take a pic, but I would get better about that later on
    :evil.

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    A few more hours and we are into Kansas.


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    (we like to take our pictures in front of state signs
    :dunno)

    By early evening we had made it a good ways through Kansas, and set-up camp at Glenn Elder State Park. I remember that the payment system wasn't very clear. Or at least maybe the spots weren't so clearly marked. Either way, we used the provided pricing table and figured we owed them $9 or $12 or something, so we payed up and went and found a secluded section of the park by the water.


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    End of day 1. Tomorrow we realize that we forgot something very important at home.
    :baldy

    jordan
    #9
  10. Mastercylinder

    Mastercylinder Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2008
    Oddometer:
    113
    Location:
    The Western Frontier,w/of Nevada,but just barely.
    :lurk
    #10
  11. jglow

    jglow Two wheeled traveler

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2008
    Oddometer:
    447
    Location:
    Lowry Crossing, TX
    [FONT=&quot]Kansas to South Dakota [/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]Day 2:
    Total Miles Today: 502
    Trip Total: 1,026

    Got an early start. Made coffee and on the road by 7am. Guess what we found?
    [/FONT]

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    [FONT=&quot]I wouldn't exactly call it a "ball" as the bottom is obviously flat. Its more like a blob. I guess that if it was truly a ball someone would have already rolled it out into oncoming traffic.[/FONT]


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    [FONT=&quot]Just a bit North of here, we cross into Nebraska![/FONT]


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    [FONT=&quot]Well, I guess that statement didn’t really deserve an exclamation point. Kinda flat and boring still…[/FONT]


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    It was right about at this point that we were chasing a skirting a few early morning storms. It was a bit cool out, and we had put our liners back in. As we were hauling down the road I remember thinking, "I am glad Nikki has her heated vest." Hmmm... I didn't remember packing it, but it wasn't for me so maybe I just didn't pay attention to it. Intercom on, "Where did you pack
    your heated vest?" She hadn't and neither did I. Uh oh... It may not sound like a big deal, but Nikki sucks at being cold. If she is cold, she is miserable - and it doesn't take much cold. The next time we stopped for gas, I called my brother and made a plan. He would go to by house at lunch, pickup the vest and ship it ahead to Cody, Wy where we would be in a few more days. UPS don't let me down.

    [FONT=&quot]A quick stop for some gas and snacks.[/FONT]
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    [FONT=&quot]At least now we are getting into some hills.[/FONT]


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    [FONT=&quot]At the border between Nebraska and South Dakota we pull over to take our picture in front of the sign. We look over and see these cowboy's herding these cattle from Nebraska to South Dakota (that fence on the left is the border).
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    [FONT=&quot]We stop and watch like good tourists, but then get nervous and decide to push on after I noticed the amount of bullet holes in the South Dakota sign.[/FONT]


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    We are headed towards Badlands NP in South Dakota. The highway takes a round-about way of getting to it, but the GPS shows a more direct road leading into the south end of the park. We go for it.


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    This is the first gravel we have been on with the bike this loaded (possibly over-loaded) and it handles fairly well. Naturally, I increase the speed. A short while later we hit a very sandy kinda deep section and have a gnarly tank slapper, but the bike stays upright. We are lucky, but I don't learn from my mistakes too well
    :evil. Nikki is not very happy about this, especially considering the fact that we have a ton of gravel (or worse) to deal with when we get to Alaska. I tell her not to worry, "The gravel is different up there.":topes

    At least the weather is cooperating.


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    We junction back with pavement, and we are starting to see some "Badlands"


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    Driving through the park...


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    The plan is to camp in the park, but we have to exit North out of the park to the town of Wall to get some food etc. What is Wall, SD famous for? Ever been down I-90?


    WALL DRUG


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    That's it. Kinda hokey, but we bit. I thought it was a real drug store, and although they probably do sell cough drops and ibuprofen, it is nothing more than a souvenir shop. Kinda like being in the Western theme area of Six Flags.


    Anyhow, we decided to just find a camp park in town, as we were pretty beat.


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    That ended day 2. Tomorrow, I route us back into the Badlands and a really ass-backwards way of getting to Mt. Rushmore then onto Wyoming. If i thought that little bit of sandy gravel was bad today...
    :cry


    jordan
    #11
  12. Vt-Stromer

    Vt-Stromer Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2007
    Oddometer:
    914
    Location:
    Central Vt
    I am really looking forward to this report. You did this all on a stock suspension?:scratch

    <signed>
    2upv-wee-Adv'er
    #12
  13. USAIR

    USAIR picking and riding

    Joined:
    May 4, 2008
    Oddometer:
    1,869
    Location:
    Northern Kentucky
    Ok I'm in....but only because I want to know how you get your wife to cut the grass.

    Fred
    #13
  14. jglow

    jglow Two wheeled traveler

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2008
    Oddometer:
    447
    Location:
    Lowry Crossing, TX
    Yep. I just adjusted the pre-load all the way and held on! Whats better (worse) is that I ran a shinko 705 on the front. The good one, you know the bias ply:rofl.


    jordan
    </signed>
    #14
  15. Mastercylinder

    Mastercylinder Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2008
    Oddometer:
    113
    Location:
    The Western Frontier,w/of Nevada,but just barely.
    Keep it coming!:clap :lurk
    #15
  16. jim_nasium

    jim_nasium Adventurer

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2009
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    20
    Location:
    Utah
    subscribed.......
    #16
  17. Radar Rider

    Radar Rider Been here awhile

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    Feb 9, 2007
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    551
    Location:
    Lone Star State
    what was it?
    #17
  18. jglow

    jglow Two wheeled traveler

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2008
    Oddometer:
    447
    Location:
    Lowry Crossing, TX
    Fixed - Added to 2nd day post.
    #18
  19. cardoctor1

    cardoctor1 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2010
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    604
    Location:
    horsham pa
    thinking of going to the artic circle in 2013 for my 50th .great report so far
    #19
  20. BikerGeek99

    BikerGeek99 Horizon Chaser

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2008
    Oddometer:
    1,373
    Location:
    Marysville, OH
    I'm such a sucker for Alaska ride reports.

    :lurk
    #20