Alaska: 30 years in the making.

Discussion in 'Epic Rides' started by superdutyGS, Feb 15, 2012.

  1. superdutyGS

    superdutyGS lone rider

    Joined:
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    I am attempting here to write my first ride report. I love reading them, and am always grateful for the riders who so generously give of their time to type a ride report. Since I was in high School I dreamed of riding a motorcycle to Alaska. I have spent countless hours reading ride reports on this site, and that information made my trip infinitely more possible by answering questions that I did not even have the knowledge to ask.
    Where do I begin?
    Well at the beginning seems reasonable. I graduated high school in 1980. At that time, my uncle, Elmer Hatfield was a baptist missionary serving natives in the village of Kotzebue Alaska. He was from my mom's side of the family one of 13 kids. He was a truly remarkable guy. He had been wounded in Normandy, D-day and was given little chance to live. He used to tell me when I was little, that as he was being treated by the medics he prayed that he would be spared. he would tell me" I promised God if I lived I would serve him every day the rest of my life" So as a missionary in Alaska, he felt he was honoring his half of the bargain. He offered to fly me up there for the summer as a graduation gift. I declined because I was playing of a traveling baseball team preparing to play at a small college. I always regretted that choice and wanted more than anything to someday ride to Alaska. In 2006 I bought a BMW r1100 GS from a gentleman named Larry Wiss in the Kansas City area. It had been built to go to Alaska, with no regard for expense. Garage kept and immaculate with only 29K miles. Ohlins, Piaas, jesse bags, travelcade saddle. Bike looked brand new. In 2007 the company I work for made a lot of changes and even more in 08. I couldn't get away, so I sold the bike to a young man in Arkansas at Christmas of 2008, and kind of put Alaska on the back burner.
    I regretted selling the GS immediately. I stayed in contact with the owner via email, and to make a long story short he wasn't riding the bike at all. Was taller than he wanted. So a year later, I bought her back with only 800 miles more on her. I still was having a difficult time taking of 3-4 weeks from my office. I own a small insurance agency in Missouri and can take whatever vacation I want. But being gone that long was nearly impossible due to so many changes.
    Then something profound made me decide to take the trip regardless of work issues. A friend of mine, Greg Gordley of Hannibal was killed on Novemeber 11th of 2009 in a auto accident. Greg had a great job, and always wanted to do the Grand Slam of turkey hunting. He put it off because he didn't want to be away from work that long. I thought, nothing guarentees us another day. So I decided to start making my schedule for Alaska in July 2011. My wife was agreeable that I should chase this dream, but very concerned for my safety travelling this journey alone. A friend of mine that is retired and had ridden to California with me last year expressed interest in going. Wayne persuaded his wife that it was a safe trip and was able to get on board with the trip, much to the relief of my wife. So here is a picture of the bike being prepped.......I mean we have to put in lots of pictures right. May take me a week or two to get the whole ride report posted. I will add what I can as time permits. The trip was 7/14 to 8/4 total, and we ended up getting back a little early for reasons I will add later. JR
    #1
  2. superdutyGS

    superdutyGS lone rider

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    not sure how to add pics, not the same as in flea market. Will figure it out as there are so many good ones as this progresses.
    #2
  3. Moto-Kafe

    Moto-Kafe Gnarly Entre-manure

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2010
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    Location:
    Heart of Dixie........Alabamie
    Looking forward to your experiences...........and pics. Try using photobucket, shutterfly, or one of those other image hosting sites.......?? In the meantime, let us know what gear you used, camping or motel, route planning, etc........just to keep us happy!!!! :lol3
    #3
  4. NorthernStar

    NorthernStar Work in Progress

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2006
    Oddometer:
    248
    Location:
    Fairbanks AK but Warming up in Washington
    Might be a hijack but :D

    JR, Hope to see you up here sometime with your new ride - subscribed and will be waiting for the rest of the story!!

    Mark, the book finally arrived yesterday and enjoying it already :clap- I think it came via dog sled though

    Thanks again to the both of you,
    Frank
    #4
  5. Migolito

    Migolito Adventurer

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    That sir is one helluva beginning to a story. Keep it going.

    M
    #5
  6. superdutyGS

    superdutyGS lone rider

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    HEY FRANK!! great to hear from you. Still wondering if I should have bought your adventure so I coul have had more time in Alaska with a fly/ride. Thanks for the comments Mark. I still am trying to figure out how to add Pictures as it is not offering me a "browse" link to add like I have before. I will get some help from my tech buddy Wayne though and get it going!! I have so me great pics too add.
    #6
  7. NorthernStar

    NorthernStar Work in Progress

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2006
    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    Fairbanks AK but Warming up in Washington
    The GS ADV is still in warm storage if you ever decide to :evil We are at least a couple of months away from being able to ride outside since there is too much of that white stuff still on the ground.

    Now that you mentioned it the old way of posting pics did change???? It will take me at least a couple of years to relearn this again :eek1
    #7
  8. ipaqpoweruser

    ipaqpoweruser Enjoy the Ride

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2005
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    Minnesota
    Here we go. Another great adventure in the Alaska wilderness. Can't wait to here your story and see your pictures. Some day I will do the same.

    JL
    #8
  9. superdutyGS

    superdutyGS lone rider

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    Well, let me back up a little. As I started my route planning by reading the many great RR on this site I bought a Milepost. i know some readers love it, others not so much. I am from the first group. I don't how you could make the trip without a milepost. Everything from route planning suggestions, maps and detailed ads for lodging at your fingertips. I took mine with me and used it nearly every day. The milepost is the bible for this kind of trip. As I talked about the trip to my closest riding friends I got a couple great surprises. My regular riding friend Scott had already told me he would like to go as far as glacier park and just maybe a little farther. Another friend named Jerry that the rest of us go to church with asked if he go to the Canada border with us before turning back. This was the best surprise of the trip planning. Jerry had recently bought a Gold Wing trike. Jerry is in his mid 50s and had not owned a bike since his teeage years with a little dirt bike. He is a wonderful person, and would be a great addition on the trip. He had never been out of state on his bike so this would be a great adventure for the 4 of us. Wayne and Scott and I had ridden to the California coast a year before and included my close friend Mike Crager. Mike used my GS and I rode my Harley. Mike would not be able to go to Alaska but there was some riding history with us 3 and we all really get along great and enjoy one anothers riding styles and company. Jerry would fit in great no doubts about it. I can't begin to calculate the hours I spent reading milepost and getting my route planned. I decided we would go through Nebraska and into South Dakota visiting Mt. Rushmore and the Crazy horse memorials. Scott and i did this about 4 years ago, but it wasn't out of the way really and Jerry and Wayne wanted to see it. We agreed to leave July 14th meeting at our church for a prayer for safe travel at 5:30 am and then on the road by 6am. A group of about 6 more of our friends from church showed up to send us on our way. our first day we would travel 745 miles to Alliance Ne just a little south of Mt Rushmore SD. Temperatures were surprisingly mild and we had no issues at all. The highlight of the day was the last 40 miles. We had been driving into a bank of BLACK clouds and they finally opened up and just poured on us. Winds were changing constantly from every direction and it was just awesome. We had put our rain suits on thankfully and what a storm it was. We pulled into the hotel parking lot just as it quit and these TWO rainbows popped up. Now remember Jerry? he had never left the state on his bike yet. He asks....."is this how you normally initiate the new guy?" I said," yep....but tomorrow we are going to try and make some real miles!!!" He just laughed at me and we all got checked in and found a neat Mexican restaurant next to the hotel for dinner. We had a nice quiet night of rest and planned a 6am departure for South Dakota. I have the rainbow picture which I will add in here as soon as I finure out how to load pictures. We all know pictures make the report don't we. Next addition......will be Day two.
    I
    #9
  10. superdutyGS

    superdutyGS lone rider

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  11. superdutyGS

    superdutyGS lone rider

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    Okay, I now how to spell ARCTIC...but the lady who did this for me the day before I left forgot the first C. I wasn't going to be ungrateful!!![​IMG]
    #11
  12. superdutyGS

    superdutyGS lone rider

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    tires going on[​IMG]
    #12
  13. superdutyGS

    superdutyGS lone rider

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    here they are.....in Alliance
    [​IMG]
    #13
  14. Gale B.T.

    Gale B.T. Long timer

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    #14
  15. dogmoon

    dogmoon Been here awhile

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    Franklin County MO
    #15
  16. MizzouRider

    MizzouRider Long timer

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    I've spent so many nights up in NE Missouri, you've got to consider me a neighbor. Ha! Seriously, I have a good friend in the insurance business that grew up in Edina, MO. I'm a quail/turkey hunter and have hunted all around that part of Missouri for the last 20+ years. Too many evenings in the Blue Room to mention either.

    I'm also about a year and a half away from my Alaska trip. So far there's three of us planning on going up.
    Still in very early planning stages. In fact, I still haven't decided if I need to ship my bike home, so I can stay up there longer, or try and do the whole trip, up and back, in 17 days.. Decisions, decisions..
    Needless to say, I'm in on this one. Looking forward to learning all about how you prepped everything, and how you decided to go where, when, etc.. Camping, hotels, how far per day. So far so good, When I went to Idaho a few years ago I wanted to do 1,500 in 36 hrs, so I spent the first night in Lusk, WY and then went through the Big Horns, and over Beartooth Pass on day two..
    Keep it coming!! Thanks for taking the time to write it up. :clap

    Jeff
    #16
  17. whatsgnu

    whatsgnu Scheissekopf

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    Great start on the report. Sounds like you've got some good travel buddies. I agree that the Milepost is very helpful. I used mine in '79 when my uncle invited me to Alaska ( Uncle Sam that is ). Used a cage for that trip but want to do it on a bike one of these years !
    #17
  18. TurkeyChicken

    TurkeyChicken Been here awhile

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    Albuquerque, NM
    Sweet. It's always fun to read a nice Alaska ride report
    #18
  19. motorider482

    motorider482 Adventurer

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    Phoenix, AZ
    Great story!
    #19
  20. superdutyGS

    superdutyGS lone rider

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    Aug 17, 2007
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    I appreciate the kind remarks. I had to work hard to talk myself into doing a ride report. There are so many really GOOD ones on here I thought I may be only mudding the water with my attempt. hey Wildwood, I have seen you on here a time or two. Edina is close to my birth place and I have a really good friend that is the American Family agent there now. Had a cold one once or twice in the Blue room myself. I will try not to be too long winded on this one. You know us insurance peddlers can run on and on though. Will try to interject the planning and packing process as well for those going to make a similar trip.
    #20