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. bobsled

    bobsled Adventurer

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    Absolutely!!!
  2. wanderer351

    wanderer351 Been here awhile

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    Ive spent the last 4 days pecking thru this report...

    absolutely AMAZING AND INSPIRING!!!!

    Your writing style deffinitly gives a great feel for who you are and the cliff-hangers kept me devouring the pages!!!

    While im not too interested in the arctic circle I have had a desire to get to baniff after seeing an amazing picture of aqua-marine glacial lake....I will be planning a trip via the truck camper with my rx-3 on a rack on the back to basecamp and ride the area..(only way the wife will go because of a spinal injury from an unruly patient in the psych ward)...


    have you looked at a ride to Garden of the Gods Illinois??
    Mastery likes this.
  3. relichunter

    relichunter Precariot

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    This is one of the first ride reports I read on this website. I started reading it before I purchased my latest motorcycle that I hope will take me on adventures like this. Thank you for taking the time to write this fantastic ride report.
    Bent Spoke, BikerBill and Mastery like this.
  4. Mastery

    Mastery Mr. Funny Man

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    Glad you enjoyed it, ORsurf! Hoping to get to Oregon this summer, so there would be another epic ride report coming for you to read next winter! (route planning here: http://advrider.com/index.php?threa...acific-ocean-idaho-oregon-california.1091076/)

    MrBob: Sorry, no idea. Don't know if they got married, got together, gave up on their relationship, or what happened.
  5. Mastery

    Mastery Mr. Funny Man

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    It's on the bucket list now, Hector. Much appreciated. Try to figure out how to hit that curve ball and get up there. No other ride compares.
  6. Mastery

    Mastery Mr. Funny Man

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    Thanks for the kind words. I really enjoyed sitting down and writing this report from the notes I had (advertising here: easy way to do it for others at http://www.journeylogbook.com)

    I plan to keep writing as the epic journeys happen.

    Garden of the Gods hasn't been on the radar as I've been going out further to knock out bucket list items. However, I'll put it down for a possible weekend ride. If you have any tips on campgrounds or unique places to eat, please send me a PM with the info. Thanks!
  7. Mastery

    Mastery Mr. Funny Man

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    Seven months after the ride and I'm still being reminded by several of you that I owe a gear review list as I had promised to do several times in the past. Life gets in the way but today I actually have some time to blow where I can type all of this in. I'm not typing paragraphs about each item but I'll give some quick notes on the gear that went with me. If you have specific questions, feel free to let me know and I will answer. Not listing everything I took...just the things I mostly used.


    Going to be long...go get a cup of coffee. Let's start.

    TENT: MSR Hubba Hubba NX. 2 person, fit easily inside my pannier which is awesome. Great tent, easy to set up and take down. I brought much of my gear into the tent and while a great tent, decided to move up to a Marmot Limelight 3P tent when I got back home for extra width inside. The MSR worked very well though . Highly recommended.

    TENT FOOTPRINT: MSR Hubba Hubba NX. Yes, I could have used a generic tarp, but got good deal on this so bought it. No issues at all, simply rolled it with tent in the morning. Highly recommended.

    TENT STAKES: MSR Groundhog. Very strong stakes, great ratings, and extremely light. Easy to put in ground and take out. Highly recommended.

    SLEEPING BAG: Nemo Nocturne 15. Down bag, compresses small. Comfortable and very warm. Did a fine job at 28 degrees. Compressed down in Sea to Summit 13L eVac bag. Highly recommended.

    SLEEPING PAD: Nemo Cosmo 25L Insulated. Did a great job, didn't feel ground through it. Took a few days to get used to the pump inflate method, got it down to about 90 seconds. Took the longest to stow in the morning of course. Recommended.

    PILLOW: Full-sized generic from Wally World. Kept compressed in Sea to Summit 13L eVac bag. Hell with the little dinky camping pillows, I need full-sized. Slept like a baby on a regular pillow. Highly recommended.

    CHAIR: Helinox Chair one. Compact and comfortable, I put rubber cane tips on foot ends for more support. Used it quite a bit, really like it. Highly recommended.

    COOKSET: Stanley Adventure Camp cookset. Worked great, easy to use, and great for internal stacking of items (didn't use the included cup, I had a stackable folding handle cup on the outside). Highly recommended.

    STOVE: Primus Classic. Worked great, uses ISO canisters. Highly recommended.

    WATER CARRIER: MSR Dromedary 4L. Worked great, easy to move around. Clipped it to bag on back seat, no problems even in accident. Highly recommended.

    WATER HOSE: MSR hydration kit. Worked great when I wanted to run hose up to my helmet to drink while riding. Highly recommended.

    FLASK: Stanley Adventure, 8 ounces. Held Jack Daniels Fire. Compact, never leaked even in bad accident. Highly recommended.

    FAN: O2 Cool folding fan. Yes, a small portable fan for background noise and breeze on humid evenings. Helps you sleep. D-batteries lasted the four nights I need it.Highly recommended.

    LANTERN: Coleman Micropacker compact lantern. Hung from inside top of tent. Worked great, easy to use, long battery life. Highly recommended.

    HELMET: Shark Evoline 3 ST modular helmet with Sena SMH10. Saved my life in accident. Comfortable, and loved the full-to-3/4 feature to prevent need to take off at gas stops. Bought a new one in the first hour I got back home. Highly recommended.

    HEATED JACKET LINER: FirstGear (Warm-N-Safe). LOVE THIS. Used it nearly daily. This did its job under my Klim Latitude jacket. Never got cold, never needed it turned to max even in 28 degree mornings! Highly recommended.

    HEATED GLOVES: First Gear (Warn-N-Safe). I have old man hands; they get very cold, very easily. Highly recommended.

    FirstGear (Warm-N-Safe) wireless dual controller. Worked great, just make sure to put in fresh battery before leaving.

    Rite in the Rain All-Weather Journal waterproof paper. Worked fine.

    CABLE LOCK: Master Lock Python. To secure helmet, jacket, etc to bike when not near bike. Worked fine.

    Leatherman Wingman multi-tool and nylon case. Use all the time. Highly recommended.

    Givi XS308 tank bag. Simply awesome, worked great. Held up to rain and kept things dry (did put cover on twice for frog-soaking rain). Highly recommended.

    inReach SE satellite tracker. Worked great, although at times only pinged me every 20 or 30 minutes even in wide open spaces instead of the 10 minutes it was supposed to. Easy to 2-way text with wife back home. Highly recommended.

    Amazon Basics Universal travel cases for electronics. Simply awesome carrying cases. Highly recommended.

    Amazon Basics hard carrying cases . Does great job of protecting hard drives, cameras, etc. 2 of these fit in the Amazon Universal case. Highly recommended.

    LAPTOP: Apple Macbook Air. Worked well, survived without damage even with all the bad quality roads. Not sure a cheap laptop would have made it just as well. Highly recommended.

    TABLET: iPad 2. Yes, took this too. Used it rarely. Survived trip fine, but two months later after return it had intermittent power-off issues. Don't know if trip shortened life.

    RavPower FileHub wireless SD card reader. How I move files from iPad to hard drive without having a computer. Worked great. Highly recommended.

    Buffalo Ministation 1TB hard drive. Main storage drive for backups. Highly recommended.

    Drift Innovation Ghost-S action cameras. Good quality video, but would lose sync with wireless remote controller if you didn't do a video segment within an hour. I hard-wired for non-stop power but could not get past the remote issue since it may have been three hours between times I wanted to record (had it set to auto-loop so I could hit a button and catch the last 30 seconds too). Drove me nuts. If never knowing when you want to record something, try something else. Recommended if using immediately or soon after activating; not recommended for all day riding and hoping to record whenever you want using the wireless remote (which I strapped to handlebars)

    Nikon AW120 waterproof/shockproof camera with CaseLogic DCB-302 carrying case. Camera worked great, cheap carry case got really frazzled. Recommended.

    Vivitar lens case, used for storage of extra 64GB SD cards for cameras. Can never have enough SD cards.

    Traveler’s Guide to Alaskan Camping. I cheated...I scanned this and have it on the iPad I took. Good resource, but never used it on the entire trip.

    The Milepost 2014. Same as above, have a PDF and didn't want to bring this humongous resource in paper form. I didn't access it once though the entire trip.

    Klim Latitude Misano jacket/pants. Waterproof. Comfortable. Protected me in accident except for ribs, which doesn't have protection in the jacket. After 50 MPH get-off, it's scuffed up...and still waterproof. I'll keep wearing it. Highly recommended.

    Sidi Canyon Boots: Waterproof, comfortable, protective. Could easily wear off bike for short hikes or in stores walking around. Highly recommended.

    Gorilla Tape: Kept pieces of my windshield together after the accident...for 5200 miles all the way home. I'm a believer. Highly recommended.

    Quick Steel: Kept pieces of my windshield together under the Gorilla tape after the accident...for 5200 miles all the way home. I'm a believer. Highly recommended.

    Rotopax 1L fuel can: Worked great. When bike flipped, it landed/skidded on the strapped in fuel can. Lots of scuffing but no puncture or leakage. Highly recommended.

    Rok Straps: Worked very well. Highly recommended.

    POWER TO TANK BAG: Powerlet luggage Electrix connector. Worked fine to provide power for iPhone and camera batteries.

    BAGS: FirstGear Torrent 70L and 40L bags. Awesome, survived accident and were totally waterproof even in frog choking rain. I kept all "inside tent stuff" in one bag and just threw in assembled tent before opening it up; other held stuff I didn't mind if it got wet. Highly recommended.

    Sawyer Permethrin clothing repellant. Also sprayed on camping gear. Not a single mosquito or insect bite! Highly recommended.

    Also used miscellaneous motorcycle tools and first aid kit components.

    I'm sure there's a lot more, but that's what I got for you. Hope some of this helps!
  8. NightOwlMohawk

    NightOwlMohawk Adventurer

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    O
  9. NightOwlMohawk

    NightOwlMohawk Adventurer

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    It was early June 2014 and I'd just been discharged from the hospital where a routine stint replacement in my left kidney had not gone quite right. What was suppose to be day surgery ended up being three nights in the hospital. Discharged I came home, spent the day, relaxing and recovering. Then in the late afternoon started loading the bike for my trip to Alaska and the Yukon. My extended family was already in Whitehorse. Only my son and I where at home. By 9 PM the bike was loaded and I headed up stairs for a good nights sleep. Didn't make the top of the stairs. I collapsed with the worse pain I'd ever experienced. It made my cancer ordeal feel like a slap from a little girl. My son called the ambulance and I spent the next week back in the hospital with a kidney and bladder infection. My trip north was off. But thanks to your great report I feel like I've already made the trip. Either I go this year or next. I like the idea of riding into Tuk, the most northern community in the NWT accessible by road in 2017. Thanks for keeping the inspiration fires burning.
    i4bikes and Newstrom48 like this.
  10. Newstrom48

    Newstrom48 Adventurer

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    I thought the road was to be completed winter of 2017/18. Planned for my 70th birthday to make TUK in 2018.
  11. NightOwlMohawk

    NightOwlMohawk Adventurer

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    You may be right, I assumed 2017 meant the summer.


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
  12. Mastery

    Mastery Mr. Funny Man

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    That would be a great ride, up to Tuk. Put a date on the calendar and make it work. It's worth it. Still think about my Alaska ride every day. Thanks for the kind words and make sure you do a ride report for your trip for the rest of us!
  13. dirtdoug

    dirtdoug Adventurer

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    As everyone has already stated, I to loved your RR, I spent much of the last 4 days reading it and occasionally reading it out loud to my wife and 19year old daughter. They seemed to enjoy it as well. Thanks for taking the time to share your adventure with all of us and safe travel to you on your next one.
    Mastery likes this.
  14. marbee40

    marbee40 Some Fear is Good

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    "I didn't realize how being so fatigued would cause me to miss out on the extra milliseconds of response time needed for the mind to evaluate a new set of circumstances, come up with the proper answer how to deal with it, and send the signals to the right body parts to make it happen correctly"

    Thank you for the TIME you put into sharing this RR for others (and yourself!). I'm glad you're home safe with the memories to last a lifetime. The above quote just drilled into my brain, yet again, the need to be aware of fatigue. No, that's not the only thing I pulled from 23 pages of reading....just something that stuck with me.

    Jim
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  15. mikejohn

    mikejohn Long timer

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    What the best time to go to avoid becoming a feast for Skeeters ?
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  16. just jeff

    just jeff Long timer

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    December!
    JJ
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  17. Mastery

    Mastery Mr. Funny Man

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    Jim: thanks for the kind words. The need to put down so many miles and hours when on a short schedule exponentially increases risks. I had budgeted at least 3 days in Fairbanks, but since I was able to get to the Circle so quickly, we figured we'd just keep going on the overall route down to the southern part of the state and find a place down there to take a day off. Sure enough, that afternoon I wiped out. Not taking those 2 days off for off the bike rest got me. Make sure to take a day here and there just to rejuvenate!

    Anytime. Spray your riding gear and clothing with Sawyer Permethrin before you leave home. And grab a bottle of Sawyer spray with Picaridin just in case. Didn't really need the Picaridin but applied it on the Dalton just because of volume of the skeeters buzzing us. We didn't get one bite the entire time...good stuff!
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  18. BikerBill

    BikerBill Motorcycle Addict

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    I bought a headnet for the skeeters, but I only used it once, in Michigan. I was in Alaska for about a week at the end of July 2015 and the skeeters just weren't that bad for me. If I hadn't bought the headnet I probably would have been eaten alive. There was one time we were waiting for a pilot car on the Dalton Highway just south of Atigun Pass I did leave my helmet on to keep skeeters off me.
    Mastery likes this.
  19. BikerBill

    BikerBill Motorcycle Addict

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    Jeff, How you doing? All healed by now I hope. Got plans for this summer? After Alaska the only thing I want to do is go back to Alaska! But not this summer. I've kicked around going to Nova Scotia, or Colorado this summer. Colorado may be my big adventure this year.

    I read about how fatigue contributed to the accident you had. Things can go sideways really fast on bad roads when you're fatigued. I had two days off the bike in Fairbanks before heading to Dead Horse and that really made a difference. I'd had so many long days prior to Fairbanks. I'd reach my planned stopping point and because of extended daylight I'd ride on for another 200-300 miles. 600 mile days were not unusual. I hit the bed in UAF and was out for hours without waking. I took two days to ride the Dalton Highway each direction and that helped too.

    I had a total of 35 days available but only used 26. Big mistake on my part. When I return to Alaska I will have six weeks and use every minute of it to explore more of Alaska and Yukon.

    After I returned from Alaska I was not motivated to do anything. I was listless, or bored all the time. I finally washed and serviced the GS. I ordered new tires and got those mounted but never really felt like riding. The places I'd found exciting to ride before Alaska were no longer attractive. It's not that the roads aren't challenging to this rider of average skills. Some of these roads are tougher than any part of the Dalton, but the road is only six miles long and it's less than 20 miles from my driveway. I finally realized it was the remoteness of Alaska that I missed. It's all on a grand scale I just don't see down here.
    billiards101, Mastery and smilin jack like this.
  20. Mastery

    Mastery Mr. Funny Man

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    Bill: Yep, going to try to do another epic trip (just down here in the lower 48): http://advrider.com/index.php?threa...acific-ocean-idaho-oregon-california.1091076/ Nothing is going to compare to the Alaska trip, so I'm just creating rides that doesn't try to equal it but produces something unique in its own right. This trip will knock out over a dozen "bucket list" roads and places to stop and explore for me. Just have to find ways to create something different than the normal. Being from Indiana, any ride that has a curve or a hill to it makes me happy since I don't have much of that around here.

    I definitely understand your thoughts on the AK post-trip blues though. It's the only ride in which I think about it every damn day, usually as I crawl out of bed. I never understood the "allure" of the great frontier from others before...but now I do. I hate the cold. I hate the snow. But after seeing what I saw, and meeting the people I met, I now understand the attraction to dropping everything and moving up there. It's very tempting.

    I think the only thing that has a chance to eclipse an Alaska or Banff trip is a ride to/through the Andes or Alps. For giggles, I've started planning a ride to Ushuaia but I don't have anywhere close to the money to do it. Maybe one day; I'd love to do a straight through ride like many others here have done.

    I did Colorado in 2014 on the Vstrom. It was a great trip through CO/UT for me and I didn't get to near enough places to be satisfied. Drop me a note and I can send you that GPX track (99% asphalt though). Would love to go back there as well...maybe 2017 for me since the Pacific NW is my planned big trip this year.