Alaska Adventure - Broken Bones, Kamikaze Rabbits, and the Norman Bates Gas Stop

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Mastery, Jul 9, 2015.

  1. Mastery

    Mastery Mr. Funny Man

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    Three strangers meet on the Internet and without even a single phone call amongst them before departing, the trio decide to embark on a ten thousand mile adventure to Alaska together. Over the course of three weeks, they encounter exploding rabbits, extreme weather, a life-changing motorcycle accident, secret fanatical obsessions, impossible to describe scenery, and unbelievable memories. And the unforgettable characters we met along the journey; each had their own story that easily could be its own book. The three of us agreed from the start that I would write an expose of the trip together, sharing the good, bad, and the unforgettably ugly. I'll praise and slam each of us in this ride report and fully expect them to jump in and correct any exaggerations or beer-induced fogginess that may appear in the upcoming words. Perceptions here are mine alone; I'm sure they each have a much different recollection of events of what will be written.

    There's lots of good information for those planning a ride to Alaska all over the Internet. We also found lots of incorrect or downright wrong information. As this journey gets told, I'll set the record straight on some things that are floating around out there...maybe to the chagrin of those that have never actually done the trip and love repeating something that they read years ago from somebody else who never did the trip. Of course, much of what you may have heard is also true. Bring that extra gas can...sometimes luck won't be on your side.

    The cast of characters include a cheesehead, a Twins-loving Minnesotian (is that a word?), and a Hoosier. In campfire discussions, they find that each is within two years of age of one another; that and the fact that the group all love to ride motorcycles, there is not much else they all have in common. Yet they ride on together, eventually learning about each other's habits and unique abilities and each eventually finds the sarcastic ammunition to use against one another throughout the journey.

    Before we proceed into the actual trip, the trio of amigos should be introduced in chronological order as they came to know one another.

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    First, there's Jeff. That's me above, photo bombing. My ride is a 2007 Vstrom DL650 and I'm the Hoosier. I sent out an invite here on ADV back in October 2014 inviting any others to join me partially or entirely along my trip to Alaska. Over thirty people responded...and in the end, only two people came along. Sure, there will be a few others that get introduced in the ride report to come that were met along the way, but only two others that would put massive miles down in a limited amount of time. Of the group, I led 99% of the ride...and I got to be the asshole that was constantly pushing the group to move on so that we could keep to the overall needed schedule so we could see everything we wanted to in the originally scheduled twenty-four days. The need to push on cost me a lot on this trip as my motorcycle and body will show, but it is ironic that the need to venture farther one fateful day did not come from me. Although I have been riding for decades, I learned some things on this journey that will definitely influence future adventures.

    [​IMG]

    Let's make this ride report difficult from the start. Introducing Jeffrey. Yep, there's two of us that were blessed with the name Jeff at birth. When I refer to Jeffrey, I'm referring to the other guy (unlike one of the episodes of Seinfeld with a guy named Jimmy, I don't refer to myself in the third party). Riding a 2012 Vstrom DL650, he's the cheesehead that ended up in the Minneapolis area to live. Older than the other two riders by just months, Jeffrey was the old man of the group. We started chatting online back in October about the trip. One of the most social guys you will ever meet, he made friends at every single stop...whether for gas, food, outhouse, wherever. What I would classify as a very serious Facebook addict, he would say it was a simple hobby of checking his account every single opportunity he could...numerous times per day...and all night long. Every stop became a search for signal...and Jeffrey used his talents to provide weather and other updates quickly upon request. If you meet Jeffrey, ask him how Erica is doing.

    [​IMG]

    Finishing up the trio is the one guy not riding the best overall bike ever made. The above is Rob, another resident of Minnesota, who is very proud of riding (and seemed to be pushing a lot) a 2012 F800GS. We shared many a barb about the other's choice of ride but in the end I'd ride with the guy even if he was on a Big Wheel. Rob had the biggest deadline of us all to get home; he ended up putting a couple miles down in Alaska then had to turn around and missed the back half of the overall route. Rob joins the story a day later than the initial meeting of Jeff's by finding the group its first campsite on top of an massively ant infested parcel of land ...and makes amends three weeks later over some potato salad.

    Each of us had our own main reasons to do this journey. My own reasoning was a promise to my mom who passed a few years ago, a fight with MS that sidelined my initial trip last year and may make a trip of such magnitude an impossibility in the future, and the fact that it was the only "needed" motorcycle bucket list item I had not completed to date. And...I wanted to see a bear in the wild. And for the last part, I saw many more than one...and sometimes the wildlife got within inches. I may just share some pictures to prove it too.

    Oh, okay...here's a bear picture to get you started.

    [​IMG]

    This would be the famous British Columbia Dandelion-Toothed Black Bear. A ferocious beast, this bear walked right over to the plant and viciously tore the dandelions out, ate them, and continue to disregard me and other people just feet away. First Internet myth dispelled...all bears aren't out to eat you. Every one of the many dozens we saw either fled in fright at the sight of man or machine, or simply ignored us as they walked by us within spitting distance.

    So, if this ride report interests you, follow along. My writing style changes daily; my sarcasm remains constant. With over 3000 photos to chose from to use both here and on my blog, you'll see just some of them in a downgraded 800x600 somewhat low-resolution online image. I'll try to post every few days a new day's worth of photos and descriptions. Not promising anything; the broken ribs I got from the trip dictate how long I can sit and type at this point. I still get a tear in the eye when I go into the garage and look at Faith...my Vstrom, who despite all her damage, still managed to get me back home; with the help of some Gorilla tape, two-part epoxy, and some wire.

    Believe me...the photographs comes nowhere close to the real thing. If you have thought about ever doing this trip, DO IT. Nothing else will compare. NOTHING. The amazement, the joy, the excitement, the pain, the fatigue. This wasn't a trip. It was an adventure. It felt good to get back home...but truth be told, five minutes later, I was ready to jump back on and go do it all over again.

    I kept track of all the financials on this trip and I'll share things as I go along with the report. The exact mileage each day is a little fuzzy though...when a cold beer or a promise of a meal got thrust at me, I forgot to take an odometer reading that evening.

    Oh, I'll do the font a little differently...I find it makes it easier to find the OP's next write-up. And...expect typos. If those bother you, this isn't the ride report for you. Some days it's a wonder I can type at all...so if you start complaining about wrong "grammer" (yes, intentional), I'll ask you to you find another story to read. If you can handle the second-grade writing, I'll treat you to some big words here and there.

    I did just see that there are some forum changes coming this weekend...so I'm going to delay putting up the first day's entry until all of that settles early next week in case there needs to be formatting corrections with the changeover.

    Now, just sit right back and you'll hear a tale...a tale of a fateful trip...
    #1
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  2. Moto-Kafe

    Moto-Kafe Gnarly Entre-manure

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    Great!!!! Been waiting for this RR.........I'm in with both feet. :lol3
    #2
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  3. BeemerBOI

    BeemerBOI Dirt n00b

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    Boise, ID
    Let the entertainment begin !

    :lurk
    #3
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  4. JagLite

    JagLite Long timer

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2010
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    4,780
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    Anchorage Alaska
    I'm in for the ride!

    3,000+ pictures! :eek1

    I thought I took a lot at 530+

    Until I got home and realized how many things I remember but didn't take a picture of. :cry

    :ear
    #4
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  5. Comrade Art

    Comrade Art Working stiff

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    Oregon
    Looking forward to the rest of the story.
    #5
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  6. CavReconSGT

    CavReconSGT Just the right amount of evil.

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    Ditto!

    KR
    #6
  7. WYO George

    WYO George Long timer

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    left of nowhere, WY
    I'm in, sounds like fun!


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    #7
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  8. Mercenary

    Mercenary Mindless Savage

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    Dude! The red font is HORRIBLE. Any way to change it?
    #8
  9. Dan Diego

    Dan Diego Long timer

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    Agreed!

    More RR, less red font!
    #9
  10. hunter306

    hunter306 Original DOT C2 Reflective Decal Guy!

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    In for the ride, good start. :D
    #10
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  11. KSO

    KSO Grab a Handfull

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    Idaho
    Glad to here you made it home. Sorry to here about the ribs and look forward to hearing just what went down for that to happen. It was nice to shoot the shit with you guys at customs while we were waiting for them to open as brief as our visit was. The only thing that happened to me was a burned out low beam bulb and the bird that hit the front right of my bike which scared the shit out of me.

    Kevin
    #11
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  12. Mastery

    Mastery Mr. Funny Man

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    Bunch of babies :D Okay, took out the red, and went with the bold. I hate ride reports where it's hard to find the next update in between all the responses, questions, etc. Hope this is better. Whatcha think now?
    #12
  13. Mastery

    Mastery Mr. Funny Man

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    Ditto, nice to chat with somebody while customs decided to take their time opening the port. And yes, seems like birds (as well as squirrels, ducks, groundhogs, and bears) all were out to make us dodge them at the last second!

    And a picture of your bike is going to make my RR as well. Stay tuned. :wink:
    #13
  14. WYO George

    WYO George Long timer

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    left of nowhere, WY

    Bring back the red! (JK, I don't care either way)


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    #14
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  15. Tewster2

    Tewster2 Long timer

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    Orange seems to be the easist to read per previous rr comments from others.
    #15
  16. MacNoob

    MacNoob piney fresh

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    I'm in
    #16
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  17. PAULIBIKER

    PAULIBIKER Been here awhile

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    ANKENY, IOWA
    I should have been with......when is crap going to stop getting in the way of life?:cry
    #17
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  18. BikerBill

    BikerBill Motorcycle Addict

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    Indiana Jeff,

    I leave tomorrow. Sorry about the ribs and the bike. Both can be fixed. I'm no stranger to broken bones, ribs in particular.

    Did you purchase additional medical insurance? Did you use a SPOT?

    Bill:clap
    #18
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  19. Grinnin

    Grinnin Forever N00b

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    :lurk
    #19
  20. Mastery

    Mastery Mr. Funny Man

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    I used an inReach SE. I bought all the extra insurances...MedEvac, SAR, etc. Didn't use any of them. Had the accident been a shade worse, we would have had to use the SOS on the inReach so I could get flown out; it was very close that I almost couldn't get back on the bike. Had a Catscan yesterday...2 broken ribs, 2 bruised ribs. Which explains why I could barely breathe while riding.

    Glad I had the insurances. Really glad I didn't have to use it.
    #20