Alaska on a KLR

Discussion in 'Epic Rides' started by rider307g, Oct 9, 2012.

  1. rider307g

    rider307g wanna be

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2008
    Oddometer:
    38
    Location:
    Sunny Southern California
    I suppose I am like some of you guys on the forum, I invision myself as a world traveler on a bike. I have riden dirt bikes and street bikes for a number of years and finally 4 years ago purchased a 1200 GS with big dreams. Luckily the bike did go off road a few times but the biggest adventure was rolling down the highway commuting to work. Foolishly I sold the bike for many reasons but none of them were the right ones. Fast forward to a few weeks ago I received an opportunity to ride Alaska on a KLR650 with Motoquest. Great opportunity but having little kids at home was going to make this a challenge, luckily I chose to go. Long story short I rode for 7 days through Alaska with a group and had a complete blast. Things I learned, take your time and enjoy every minute. All roads lead to Rome, don't sweat it, you will eventually get somewhere. Stock Suspension stinks, I rode a stock rental and I rode one outfitted with Progressive shocks in the rear and a cartridge kit in front, what a difference. Sleep in a tent, if you stay in a hotel you will miss half of the fun and beauty.Seriously, I will add to this post later with more detail, I am at work right now, but the ride was a life changer. Getting back on the bike as my permanent transportation. (Unfortunately the GS is gone so I have to ride my CX500 cafe bike for a bit until I figure out what bike I want and can afford.) And to make sure Progressive offers suspension for my next ride.Here are a few pics.
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    Somewhere near Anchorage just after lunch. This is as dry as I would be for the next 4 hours. I have to hand it to the Fly gear I got. It was not expensive and it did a great job of keeping me dry. I did end up wet after 2 1/2 hours of rain at 80 mph but it could have nbeen worse.
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    The old KLR, soon to be my best friend. Honestly, on the way home I was seriously considering one of these bikes. It did fantastic. Trails to highway and twisties, tons of fun and the ride was great. I rode one up no bags, two up no bags and two up with bags and with an easy adjustment it was set. Ultra cool.
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    Camping at a place called Gracious House with the Motoquest group. The place is on the Denali Hwy at mile marker 88 I think. Great food and a fun place to be. I gained 8 pounds on this trip.
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    I will have to remember the type of tent this was. I am 6'4" and this tent fit me and my gear. It was tight but it packed small and kept me dry with no rain fly. And, it did rain alot.
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    Watercrossings were a blast. Note, turn off the ABS if your bike is equipped. As we were watching our fellow riders cross a larger stream we were surprised at the expression on one guys face as he came flying into the group of bikes and rearended my KLR and 2 other bikes. When we picked him up he said he forgot to turn off the abs. No one was hurt except the fairing on his bike.
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    My future retirement home. Seriously, why would you sleep in a hotel room? I dont even own a tent, but this was heaven. In the town of Copper Center.
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    I was trying to be Ansel Adams, but the shot was on the way to Valdez. Just left Worthington Glacier. The view was epic.
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    My parting shot, also near Valdez.
    I plan to add to this post, but if nothing else you have to go on a ride like this. Stop saying someday and just do it. If you are nervous about going it on your own, try Motoquest, they made it really easy and were a top notch group. As the sticker says in my goofy artsy picture, ride more, I am going to.
    #1
  2. huguesfrederic

    huguesfrederic HF

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2011
    Oddometer:
    129
    Location:
    Ottawa, Gatineau
    What was the model?
    #2
  3. mrprez

    mrprez KJ4WMZ

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    It looks like a Nemo Morpho. Did it have conventional tent poles?
    #3
  4. donutrider

    donutrider Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2011
    Oddometer:
    113
    Location:
    The heat sink...Central Oklahoma
    I'm looking forward to more stories and pics.. I want to make the ride up there from Oklahoma but I also want the comfort of a guided tour once I get there.. Sounds like you found the answer..
    #4
  5. Jack90210

    Jack90210 mindful

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2004
    Oddometer:
    15,392
    Location:
    Charlottesville, VA
    :clap

    Someday.

    FWIW, I have an R12RT, an R11GS, a Honda Hawk and a KLR. I am putting more miles on the KLR than on anything else. :thumb
    #5
  6. Parcero

    Parcero Mundial

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2008
    Oddometer:
    544
    Location:
    Chicago physically, Colombia en mi mente.
    Amen on tent sleeping. I have gotten some of my greatest nights of sleep in tents in the mountains in the western US. In the morning, the sunrise and crisp fresh air are exhilarating.

    During my current trip, which I am riding in stages, I have been staying in motels and hostels and friends houses, This has been great but on the next stage I am bringing my bag and tent, or maybe just my bivy sack. Might not use them every night, but the nights I do will be great.

    Thanks for posting, and reminding us of this simple pleasure.
    #6
  7. rider307g

    rider307g wanna be

    Joined:
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    Sunny Southern California
    The tent was a nemo with no poles. The tent was held up by two inner tubes of some sort. The tent came with a small pump to inflate it. I was really surprised at how much I liked the tent. This is coming from a guy with a motorhome. Fabulous trip and am signed up for a RawHyde event in November. 4 days here locally to improve my riding skills. One of the funnest things is bike choice. KLR, GS, Tiger, Tenere, VStrom, MotoGuzzi. The list goes on. Gonna sell an old Triumph to get some money freed up. More pivcs tonight I promise.
    #7
  8. roberts

    roberts GS'er

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2002
    Oddometer:
    448
    Location:
    Texas
    :clap Thanks for the report! I have looked at the MotoQuest website several times because one of their tours will be the best deal for me due to time and money, so I am really looking forward to your report.
    #8
  9. mrprez

    mrprez KJ4WMZ

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    I thought it looked like a Nemo. No poles per se, just what they call air beams that you pump up like you described. Kinda of pricey but takes up little space and isn't too heavy.
    #9
  10. red clay

    red clay Adventurer

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2012
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    12
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    chattoogaland
    You are a rare breed to ride alaska on a small bike. In 2007, I spent 5 weeks in alaska on an 87 xr600r. An absolute blast. For those who don't know. The roads in alaska have three offerings: wide open paved with potholes and dips that will toss a bike around, wide open washboard dirt, and (the best) four wheeler trails that go into the wilderness for miles and miles. The end of the trail is usually water that was uncrossable. Fabulous scenery in all directions and camping anywhere you like is about as good as it gets. Off into the woods for a little ways, take off the red riding coat, cover the bike with a cammoflage poncho, and dissapear into the scenery. Out of the woods, onto the highway for 80 miles to the next gas station. In other words, what is the biggest tank offered for your bike? The four wheeler trails are tough because you have to ride in a rut. Scape off your knuckles on the right hand or the left hand, your choice! The bushes are tough as nails. Answer? Knobby tires and Kevlar padded gloves. Bears? Camp cleanliness is important but in general the bears are scared by machines. It is the moose one must be wary of and respect ! Carry good raingear and shift into alaska time: sleep when you are tired, even in the middle of the day, ride during the 2 hour sunset followed be the 2 hour sunrise! I can't relay the beauty of alaska in words. If you like/love wilderness, go at whatever cost. I guess what brought this ramble on was the 650 part of this post. I saw and met all these guys "cruising" on 1200 cc bikes. That is not the only way to ride alaska. Small bikes are a wonderful mode of travel. " If only I could float this bike across that river " Nice to share this experience with people with like interest. We should do what we can to help someone with their "dream ride". Cheers to all
    #10
  11. rider307g

    rider307g wanna be

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    Red Clay, I can't agree with you more. I loved my 1200 but the 650 did make travel on some of the trails much easier. My biggest point to anyone out there is just do it. It will change you as a person. I just saw a review on a book that Motoquest did about Alaska and it makes it easy and is a great read. Don't hesitate, I did and was beside myself leaving my kids but in the end I was much better after the ride and my kids enjoyed hearing about it. As a birthday present for my kids, when they each turn 14 I will be giving them a trip to wherever they want to go on a tour and we will sleep in a tent the entire time. Life is short, enjoy. Progressive Suspension knows it, they say "Ride More." Here are a few more shots, now go do it. :)
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    Alaska oil line. I saw it in pictures and in movies, but it pails in comparison to seeing it live.
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    The smile is still on my face. When were you this happy? Go on an adventure. Take the risk, it will be worth it. Sorry to rant, I am just passionate about it.
    #11
  12. rider307g

    rider307g wanna be

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2008
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    Location:
    Sunny Southern California
    As far as rain gear goes, get waterproof gear and then add a rain cover or rain suit to it.
    #12
  13. Ruan

    Ruan Adventurer to be

    Joined:
    May 1, 2012
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    81
    Location:
    Portugal
    subscrived. Congrats :lurk
    #13