Father + Son + Arctic Circle = Bliss Part Deux

Discussion in 'Epic Rides' started by theofam, Jun 25, 2012.

  1. theofam

    theofam Been here awhile

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    Oddometer:
    453
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    Denver
    Is it wrong to yearn for the road, knowing you’ll sorely miss a glance from your wife, the laughter of your son, or a daughter’s smile?

    As packing and planning draw to a close, I ask myself this question. I’ve never been away from my family for the six-week duration DonnyO has planned for us on our trip to . . . . wait for it . . . . the Arctic Circle!

    You might have caught our father-son trip last summer along the Pacific Coast Highway. Whether it was paddle boarding in San Diego, weaving through giant redwoods, or staring in awe at the Grand Tetons, we knew the two-week trip was merely a warm-up for this – a bucket-list ride to Alaska.

    How does a duo prepare for such an adventure? It’s generational. DonnyO consults person-to-person in order to glean valuable experience of adventurers and friends while I resort to the Internet with a heavy dose of advrider! It wasn’t long before DonnyO’s steed featured a Booster Plug and Laminar Lip based on his friend Brian’s recommendations, a horn befitting a tug boat (I nearly shat myself the first time I heard it) based on another’s suggestion, and an AltRider rack system to carry RotoPax water and fuel canisters upon seeking additional advice.

    I, on the other hand, might as well rename myself “what if?” It wasn’t long before an exhaustive list of tools and spare parts was assembled to cover documented advrider parts failures. Add to that some parts for any unlikely mishap that awoke me in a cold sweat at 2am, and I've essentially created the world's first rolling BMW parts department! Consequently, I only have room for a toothbrush and t-shirt in my 120-pound load of trip sundries. Additions to my bike Ronan resulted in a throttle position sensor (TPS) cover from fellow member kildala2000 and a set of Heidenau K60s to match DonnyO’s.

    As for maintenance, DonnyO had BMW of Denver perform a 6,000 mile checkup on his bike to ensure it’s in tip-top condition. I, armed with JVB’s DVD, chose to go it alone and thoroughly enjoyed getting to know Ronan a bit better. By the way, BMW of Denver’s Parts Department - Tally and Chris - have both been extremely helpful in getting us prepared for the trip. Thanks, fellas!

    Upon our return from last year’s trip, we realized we covered too many miles (for us) on a daily basis. We averaged 430+ miles per day and neither of us felt we really were able to soak in enough of the scenery. We don’t anticipate many opportunities to get six-week kitchen passes from our wives (maybe 4-5 more . . . tops), so we want to immerse ourselves in the scenery and not check the box as we motor by with a nod. We’ve ratcheted back to 300 miles per day. This should offer us the ability to (i) stop at more mom-and-pop restaurants in our never-ending quest to find the perfect cinnamon roll (ii) have time at the end of the day to locate a town's coldest beer (iii) learn about the area from the often-passed historical-point-of-interest signs and (iv) locate the best photo ops for friends and family to follow along.

    Packed and ready, DonnyO dropped by late last week during a see-how-she-handles-loaded test ride.

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    He’s ready to go, but we’ll have to wait until his 67th birthday – June 30th – to depart!

    In one of our many discussions over the past several months DonnyO captured my very thoughts by stating, “I don’t know what’s more fun – planning for the trip, or riding it.” I think I know the answer - stay tuned!
    #1
  2. MTKNZ

    MTKNZ Touring Kiwi

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2009
    Oddometer:
    104
    Location:
    Texas right now....
    Can't wait to see and read about it.
    Good luck and Godspeed Gentlemen, have a blast for all of us who would love to be joining you!
    :D:1drink:D:1drink:rofl:rofl
    #2
  3. MTKNZ

    MTKNZ Touring Kiwi

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2009
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    Location:
    Texas right now....
    Oh and Happy Birthday to DonnyO
    #3
  4. BitesTheDust

    BitesTheDust Been here awhile

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    South Delta, BC
    Subscribed!
    #4
  5. scpike

    scpike n00b

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    Jun 26, 2012
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    Bmw?
    #5
  6. lm248

    lm248 Adventurer

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    Mar 15, 2009
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    I'm in:clap:clap:clap
    Les



    :hide I love to plan too
    #6
  7. french horn

    french horn Just Add venture

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2007
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    Location:
    Bundaberg Qld. Australia
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    Now THAT is a loaded bike!! ... can't wait to see the vid of you getting shoe-horned into the saddle while wearing an arctic suite .. :lol3

    Father/Son trip .... fantastic !! fairdinkum mate, I wish you all the best of luck ..... subscribed.
    #7
  8. Larry Heaton

    Larry Heaton Old Guy

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2010
    Oddometer:
    2
    Good luck on your trip North! Myself and 2 friends made the trip last year. I rode a 1200 GSA. I put new tires on it before we departed, but did not take any spare parts. The only problem I had was a burned out head light bulb. I carried a tent, sleeping bag, and air mattress. We moteled thmost of the way. Great ride! I'm 75 years old and was not the oldest rider in our group. We were on the road riding 22 days total.. We spent 3 days visiting friends, and total trip of 25 days.
    #8
  9. Regeaux

    Regeaux Texas

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    Subscribed
    #9
  10. theofam

    theofam Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2009
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    Denver
    Glad to know several of you are subscribed!

    french horn, that's why I took the photo! I was :rofl when I looked over and saw he was on his scoot - must have missed the crane that dropped him onto the bike! Turned out that top bag wasn't supposed to be there. DonnyO had pulled it out of his left pannier when we were comparing goodies we're taking on the trip. He took off, I noticed the bag, gave him my loudest whistle, and he returned for another good laugh!

    Larry Heaton, I think I like your approach more than my rolling parts department! I read a quote recently - "A motorcycle doesn't kill you, it keeps you young." Sounds like yours has done exactly that!
    #10
  11. Britchz

    Britchz n00b

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Old Colorado City, CO
    Looking forward to another great write-up, Cousin!

    Shannon
    #11
  12. Larry Heaton

    Larry Heaton Old Guy

    Joined:
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    It has and much, much more!
    #12
  13. MBackman

    MBackman n00b

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    Jun 27, 2012
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    6
    I am now registered and ready for road reports from you guys!! Have fun, be safe, and beer drinking!! :clap:evil:freaky:thumb:nod:photog:wings
    #13
  14. theofam

    theofam Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2009
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    453
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    Denver
    MBackman, Good to see you here!

    I've Ronan loaded and ready. Took a quick test run for fuel, and he's handling like DonnyO's sitting on back (memories of the Sturgis burnout mishap).

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    Photo compliments of a friggin' nut case otherwise known simply as "Philip."

    Pretty squishy. Nothing a few twists of the preload knob couldn't fix, though!

    Here he stands . . . READY!

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    We're being joined by Philip:

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    Brian:

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    And Frankie V:

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    We depart at 7:00am tomorrow morning - the boys are running us up to Cheyenne for breakfast - thanks fellas!
    #14
  15. vintagespeed

    vintagespeed fNg

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    in and awesome! happy b-day!
    #15
  16. TomDac

    TomDac Been here awhile

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    Hayward, CA
    I'm in. Safe travels.
    #16
  17. swinada

    swinada Adventurer

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2008
    Oddometer:
    74
    Location:
    Sunshine Coast
    Just got back from the Arctic Circle, it was great, and as i see you're on the search for the greatest Cinnamon Roll, a little insider tip.
    Braeburn Lodge about 60 miles North of Whitehorse towards Dawson City prouds themself of having the worlds biggest Cinnamon Rolls. They are huge, go check them out. http://www.karo-ent.com/braeburn
    Safe travels to you.
    #17
  18. fatherof4

    fatherof4 Been here awhile

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    Sunnyside Wa
    I'm in. :lurk
    #18
  19. theofam

    theofam Been here awhile

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    Denver
    Swinada, we'll check out the cinny rolls! Check out the roll we found earlier today (pic below). Fairly massive!

    Happy to see a couple more of you are in for the ride!
    #19
  20. theofam

    theofam Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2009
    Oddometer:
    453
    Location:
    Denver
    Day 1 of 42 was full of mixed feelings. Leaving these three for six weeks had me torn.

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    It wasn’t long and the crew rolled in. Mike, a last-minute add on his 650GS, joined Philip, Frank and Brian to take us to Cheyenne.

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    Pics were taken, hugs and kisses exchanged, an we were officially on our way!

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    One and a half hours later and Philip said, “Well, Colorado wasn’t too bad!”

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    DonnyO guided us to the Luxury Diner in Cheyenne. Holding true to our quest for the perfect cinnamon roll, we figured we’d give theirs a shot. Luckily, we only ordered one, because they’re the size of your head!

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    We should have questioned why they bother with a half order of biscuits and gravy – not to be outdone by the monstrous cinnamon roll, the biscuits and gravy weren’t messing around!

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    Bellies stuffed, we said our goodbyes to the fellas, and we were headed north to Buffalo, Wyoming for the day’s destination. DonnyO and I count ourselves lucky for having good buddies like these to see us on our way. Truth be told, they were paid by the State of Colorado to escort us across the border.

    Unfortunately, like Colorado, Wyoming has been plagued with wildfires of late. The smoke from the Arapaho fire grew intense, having exploded from 8 to 58 square miles in 24 hours. As if to mirror the brown, sun-beaten plains, the sky mimicked its color with an eerie brown blanket.

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    Even an old set of pliers was getting in on the act.

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    In preparation for the trip, DonnyO’s wife Nancygirl chased him around town with trailer in tow as he endeavored to determine the true range of his GS equipped with GSA tank. One afternoon included an 80-mile jaunt around the Denver Metro area without running out of gas! On another outing, he finally sputtered to a stop at mile 501 and refilled with 9.9 gallons.

    With range now understood, we kept chugging today. Heck, we only had 396 miles to travel door to door. Then it happened.

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    368.8 miles, including a 1.5 mile downhill coast, and I was doing this:

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    Oh, well, at least DonnyO will make it.

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    Less than eight miles later, and DonnyO was doing this!

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    I seem to recall atrocious mileage (40+MPG) on last year’s trip, too. Seems to occur when I lead. My 80+MPH approach sucks gas. DonnyO’s 60-65MPH led to record-setting 54+MPH last summer on our trip. So, we can go like crazy and risk walking, or . . . slow and steady wins the race!

    We pulled up to the historic Occidental Hotel est. 1880 in Buffalo, Wyoming, and heard horns-a-honkin’. Having grown up in a small town, DonnyO said, “Someone got married.” Sure enough, this group of crazies pulled up on a flatbed trailer with hay bales for seats!

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    We went in to register for our room. What a cool hotel!

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    There were relics everywhere. I bet a little shaver was excited to get this tricycle one Christmas!

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    DonnyO had reserved us “50-cent sporting girl rooms.” To get there, the cowboys either accessed them from the alley or they came down this stairway after drawing the curtain at the top of the stairs to keep all the higher-end guests from seeing what they were doing.

    Stairwell replete with spur marks on the risers.

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    Gets you to a 50-cent sporting girl room.

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    We figured we’d get a dust cutter at the hotel’s saloon and took them out to a table on the front sidewalk. The wedding party was heading to its next stop, but not before the lovely bride Shanda agreed to take a pic with us!

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    One of the fellas walked out with a cold case of beer from the saloon, the wedding party loaded up, and off they went honking up and down the main strip with passersby waving, whistling and cheering.

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    Shanda, wanted us to let everyone know three of her bridesmaids are pregnant. Shanda, best of luck in your new life with your husband!

    DonnyO and I were off to his birthday dinner. The staff knew we were coming, but we’re not sure if they understood we’re traveling together as father and son. We were seated in what I’d consider the most romantic table at The Virginian restaurant. Hmmmm.

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    Knees touching, I had an excellent dinner of elk tenderloin while DonnyO’s highlight was this tea, as his steak was overcooked (like someone-fell-asleep overcooked).

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    A little blogging in the lobby pictured above while listening to the authentic Tennessee strings band “Too Wet To Plow” resonating from the saloon, and our day is nearly done.

    Excited for Day 2 of 42!
    #20