What happened was......well at least the way I remember it, while out on one of our usual rides to get some good BBQ my mate Phil (pdavis59 on here) throws out the suggestion that we should ride to <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-comffice:smarttags" /><st1lace w:st="on"><st1:State w:st="on">Alaska</st1:State></st1lace>. An innocent enough suggestion to be sure, had it not been for my general lack of will power in these type of situations - you know the ones that involve deciding to go for it on the spur of the moment without considering the details simply because a damn good bike ride was involved - and besides how hard could it be... <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-comfficeffice" /><o></o> So here we are about to start this adventure after 1.5 years of planning, a new bike each (nothing wrong with that - in my case a "new to me" KTM 950 Adv) and more camping gear, riding gear and accessories than you can shake a stick at. <o></o> The basic plan.... We head out from North Texas "early" on Thursday this week (June 17th) and we slab it for 2 straight days to Montana (Glacier NP) with the bikes loaded in my truck.....and yeah I know some inmates may bitch that we should be riding all the way, but we've both got work and family commits so this has to be done on a schedule and at least this way we get to spend the most amount of time on the bikes "up north" which is the whole point after all. <o></o> So, its a round trip ride from Glacier NP Montana up to as far north as just past the artic circle on the Dalton, then back down to Fairbanks, Denali, Anchorage and Kenai before heading back south again down the Cassier. Looks like about 7K miles total. Among the many highlights is we're on for D2D in <st1lace w:st="on"><st1:City w:st="on">Dawson</st1:City></st1lace> but won't get there until Friday - I blame Phil - he kept moving dates around......did I mention that this is all his fault? <o></o> At this point I suppose I should show some of the build-up and perhaps add a picture or two. <o></o> My trusty new ride the day after I picked it up - basically stock except for FMF exhaust cans and a choice of windshields inc. a Cee Baileys which doesn't work for me <o></o> List of things fixed / added to the bike so far: Carb / cylinder head intake boots replaced - front one was split and bike would stall out without warning - even at 55mph during a lazy downshift - that got my attention when I realized the rear wheel was locked up <o></o> Replaced the clutch pushrod and seal (badly corroded - but it is an "04 after all and the oil jet was blocked - aarrrgggghh) <o></o> Replaced fuel pump (new OEM) New spark plugs - sounds simple unless you own a 950/990 Adv and understand how much of a pain access to the front cylinder is - Look - no tanks, airbox and carbs in the way... <o></o> Removed the emissions "plumbing" shhhh dont tell the eco-mentalists <o></o> New air filter and oiled pre-filter Side stand relocation bracket - thanks PABiker - it works great ! Water pump rebuild new impeller, pump shaft, bearings, seal and housing - I especially enjoyed cooking the engine case to get the bearings out <o></o> Had the suspension re-done (re-valved and new springs) to match my *ahem* size and the fact that the bike would also be loaded with gear on this trip <o></o> Zip Ty foot pegs Zip Ty luggage rack Roxspeed handlebar risers Renazco custom saddle - must have raised the seat height a good 3 inches over stock which is now perfect (for me) and lets not forget its really comfortable unlike the crime against humanity that is a stock KTM saddle <o></o> Calsci windshield (XXL) - I think mine was the first XXL they made as I asked if they could make something taller than the XL and it turned and they could - and more importantly it works for my height Touratech headlight guard Mefo super explorers front and rear - so far so good Heavy duty inner tubes Rotaxpax storage box (tool box) Rotapax 2 gallon fuel tank - just in case Airhawk seat pad Highway pegs (mounted to the crashbars) ......I think that's it - longer list than I thought but then again I have had 18months to tinker with the bike <o></o> So we leave tomorrow early. After that were going to try to keep this report current but it may be a little hit or miss depending on where we are and what were doing, but it will get updated eventually - worse case after we get back if we have to. Weve gone for the minimalist approach with the electronics which makes this a little tricky basically a Blackberry 9700, a microSD in the camera (with a carrier) and a Flickr account. Ive checked it out and although its a little painful it does seem to work and it beats having to carry a lot of extra stuff just to stay on-line. <o></o> More later from the road ..