So around November of last year I decided (thanks to a little push from a friend) to go ahead and make the trip to Alaska this coming summer. I've been thinking about doing this trip (Key West, Florida to Prudhoe Bay, Alaska) for atleast 5 or 6 years, and now that's it's gonna happen, I'm prepping full-time and anxiously awaitting early June! First thing I did was to find a new bike for the trip. Earlier last year I had bought a used Ninja 650r and was planning on modifying it for a trip like this. However, due to a lack of shop space and access to tools due to my current living situation, I decided that if I could sell the Ninja, I'd be better off going with something like a Versys (practically the same thing as the Ninja) or if I could find one for a good price, maybe a GS. I really wasn't interested in a KLR (I've owned one before, good bike but not what I'm looking for right now) or the Vee-strom (rode one, but it just didn't do anything for me); I need to have something that made me feel alive when I rode it. After all, there's a lot of miles between Key West and Prudhoe Bay, and only a relatively small portion is non-paved. So to make a long story short, I was able to sell my Ninja in December, and within 2 weeks I had found a replacement in the form of a 2009 Kawasaki Versys (with only 1400 miles)! You can read my fly-n-ride pick up report HERE. Alright, so now I got the bike, time to get it outfitted and prep my gear. I've got a lot on things on my to-do list for this bike, but here's what I've done so far: Mud Flap to protect the inards. Before: And after: Thanks to whomever put a broken dock cart by the trash cans! I also put on a new set of mirrors on the bike. The stock ones vibrate so bad you just can't see anything. So I picked up a pair of really cheap mirrors on Amazon.com upon hearing that others had used them with good success. After all, at less than $10 a piece, how could I loose! Turns out, they work great! Here's a LINK if you're interested; sorry, no close up picks, but you can see them in the pics that will follow. Next on the list, I picked up a new tent, a Kelty Gunnison 2.1, and a new camera, the Canon T1i. With these few new items (as well as an itch to get off the island for the weekend, I live in Key West), I decided to go for a little shakedown campout in the Everglades this past weekend. This would give me a chance to try out the new tent and the new camera. I had also been wanting to ride Loop road (off of Hwy 41) for quite a while now. While I don't have any protection on the bike yet (skid plate, engine guards, barkbusters, etc...) I figured I'd be ok if I just took it easy. So here is my little rr from this past weekend's excursion.