First trip: Mechanical Engineer on a mission, Toronto to Alaska and back!

Discussion in 'Epic Rides' started by Bambooda, May 9, 2013.

  1. Bambooda

    Bambooda Adventurer

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2013
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    Toronto
    So, I just recently graduated from 4 years of Mechanical Engineering at McMaster University and have had a desire to ride across the country on a motorcycle for many years now! Since the job hunt wasn't turning up too much that looked interesting, I decided this was the time for me to implement this dream. So with about a month 'till my approximate date of departure, I hastily bought a bike, began research, my itinerary, and any work to the bike that needed to be done (I know, not one of the most brilliant decisions, but it was necessary). Then...the phone call... one of the companies I had been interested in called me for an interview... long story short, I got the job and they said I could have 2 months before I start working so I could do my trip! SWEET!!!:clap The guys are really awesome and I look forward to working with them!

    Rapidly burning all the money I saved, I purchased the gear it seemed I would need and accessories for the bike.

    After a frantic month of final exams, trip planning, and bike preparation, everything was finally set to go!
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    Having spent no longer than 3 days away from home on a bike I knew it was going to be quite the jump spending 2 months out on the road hoping the bike doesn't shake itself to pieces, or that I get robbed, or eaten by a grizzly bear (as soooo many have warned me about....), oh yeah...and moose... lets not forget about those. Now, at the end of day 3 and in Thunder Bay, I have had a blast so far and can tell there will be TONS more enjoyable things to see and do!!!!

    One of the first friends I made along the way in Blind River was a fellow from France, trying to hitch hike to Vancouver and back in 25 days! If I had room on the bike and an extra helmet, I would have taken him for sure!!!! He was a real nice guy and I hope he makes it there and back safe and sound!
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    I saw him again when I stop in Wawa! Too funny!
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    The days leading up to the trip I was getting extremely nervous and stressed, and sometimes sat there and asked myself "why the heck am I doing this; am I nuts??",
    Oh yeah, that's right...I remember now :D
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    This morning on the way out of Wawa, it was cold...and raining...but that's ok, I have merino wool!!!!
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    Yup! that's ice on my windshield! But it's not actually colder than 0C...So how does this happen??? (And no, I'm not crazy enough to drive in sub-zero weather while it's raining.....yet) Time for your mini-physics lesson for the day: when a gas is rapidly compressed it rises in temperature (like in your engine!), vice-versa, it cools when rapidly expanded. As the air passes the windshield it tries to wrap around the windshield but the corner is too sharp and the air particles separate from the tailing edge of the windshield (kind of like when YOU take a corner too fast and end up in the ditch!:lol3) creating a void and drop in pressure reducing the temp enough to freeze the water....Now you know...

    I will keep everyone as updated as much as time and free wifi will allow!

    P.S. I am interested in partnering up/teaming up with others when I enter B.C./Yukon/Alaska, Please let me know if you are/know of anyone that is going to be around there late May/Early June!
    #1
  2. Alcan Rider

    Alcan Rider Frozen Fossil

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2003
    Oddometer:
    4,028
    Location:
    Just over the rear wheel
    I can hear Willy singing in the background "On the road again, It's so good to be on the road again..."

    You realize that once this trip is over, you'll never be the same, don't you? This is just the beginning. No... the beginning was when you started reading ride reports. Your own report is merely proof that you have succumbed; you are being assimilated.

    Off to a good start. :thumb. And don't be too concerned about doing the Dalton Hwy to Prudhoe Bay solo. Take your time and it's not difficult at all. And as you will see, you won't be alone up there. It is a popular destination for riders from all over the world.

    Stay safe! We want to read a complete RR - out and back. :nod
    #2
  3. willys

    willys Long timer

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2006
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    2,904
    "On the road again..."""....."I'm ...on the road again..""

    Just lov'in it......I'm just upset I have to wait until next year to get to go north again.....augh!!!
    If I could figure out how to get someone else to do all the work I have to do around here and also get my daughter's graduation moved to a more convienient time I would be rushing to go myself!
    Alcan Rider is 100% right.....you will never be the same again! It will be in your blood and sole....it will call you back every year....relentlessly.

    Take your time and enjoy it thoroughly!

    I'll be reading as you go.:deal:clap
    #3
  4. GB

    GB . Administrator

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    Aug 16, 2002
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    Toronto
    Sounds like a great opportunity.. thanks for taking us along and the physics lesson! :thumb

    :lurk
    #4
  5. MrGoldfish

    MrGoldfish Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2011
    Oddometer:
    522
    Location:
    Chandler, AZ
    :lurk
    #5
  6. TheMechanic

    TheMechanic Been here awhile

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    Jul 21, 2011
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    102
    Location:
    Manitoba, Canada
    Hey, let me know when you're in western Manitoba, we could hit some trails or something. You should come up the yellowhead and onward to Saskatoon.
    #6
  7. Lappeman

    Lappeman He's Down Again!

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2010
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    2,491
    Location:
    Lappe, ON Coldest, wettest place...well not quite!
    Good luck on your adventure!!

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    #7
  8. Waterboiler

    Waterboiler Adventurer

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2012
    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    GTA Canada
    Mac mech eng eh? No wonder you mechanical skills are so good. If you were messing in the shops U must have gotten on well with Ron.

    Enjoy your trip - you have earned it - trust me I know.
    #8
  9. BackRoader

    BackRoader Heading There Next

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2007
    Oddometer:
    5,159
    Location:
    Right Smack in the Middle of No Where Canada
    THe weather is improving here .... welcome to the Center of Canada (when you get here) and no, it's not Toronto.... that's more in the Middle East of Ontario :rofl

    I trust Lappeman took good care of you in Thunder Bay!!!! He snores like a banchee:rofl
    #9
  10. PhotoMotoAdv

    PhotoMotoAdv PhotoGuy

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2011
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    Location:
    Weston, FL
    Ben, enjoy the time on the road and godspeed! My own trip starts in a few weeks more and I will be riding many of the roads you're about to see right now. Following you here... :thumb
    #10
  11. DrydenRider

    DrydenRider Sun Seeker

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2009
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    Location:
    Just ahead of a flat line.
    Did Yukon/Alaska last year. You will love it.

    Still zero here in Dryden at 8am. Going to be a cool couple days ahead. If I see you coming through will buy you a coffee. Imagine you will be trying to get further than here today but call if you need tent/bedroll space or anything. 807.220.2404
    #11
  12. Bambooda

    Bambooda Adventurer

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    Apr 7, 2013
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    Toronto
    I guess I was lucky to sleep in the camper then! :D but seriously, Lappeman and his wife were wonderful hosts and I was more than comfortable staying there.

    I can't say thanks enough to all of those that have taken me in and offered me a place to stay, it has made my trip wonderful so far!
    #12
  13. rgiroux

    rgiroux Invisible Man

    Joined:
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    at the risk of my own sanity, subscribed. you're in for a hell of a trip! stay safe!
    #13
  14. DutchVDub

    DutchVDub Long timer

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    Subscribed, good luck man and have fun
    #14
  15. zoki1

    zoki1 Been here awhile

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    Jun 30, 2008
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    TORONTO
    :clap Great !!!keep posting !!!:clap:clap
    #15
  16. Bambooda

    Bambooda Adventurer

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2013
    Oddometer:
    51
    Location:
    Toronto
    It really was silly of me to think that simply because I had left home the bike was going to stay together........
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    Ever since I put handlebar risers on in Sudbury (which BTW was a brilliant idea) the clutch and choke cables have tightened up, and whenever I made a real sharp left turn the bike would choke out and the clutch would pull in, destroying all hope of me going anywhere (NO turning left in parking lots!!! lol). So I tore the bike apart in order to re-route the cables. Because of this and other things I had to do such as set up my tent because it was raining when I had left Wawa the morning before, I decided to stay a day in Thunder Bay. I also needed to find a bolt for my windshield which had rattled out (I anticipate there will be a lot of this along the way).

    While at the terry Fox Monument near the location which he was forced to stop his marathon due to recurring cancer, I met a lovely Swiss couple travelling across the country in their Wicked-Awesome-Crazy-Badass 4x4 RV. They were really interesting and nice people and even offered me some espresso and a Swiss biscuit (which were both delicious).
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    Prior to this trip they had spent 2 years touring South America and even made news in 3 South American newspapers!!! I believe you can read about their adventures somewhere here

    Being on the road now for only 4 days, I am rapidly learning things about what I would do differently next time, things I did right this time, or simply things to consider:
    1) Going with a buddy. I don't have any friends with enough time, money or the passion to want to do this right now, so that was out of the question, but it would be nice to have someone along with me to share the experience with. On the other hand, going alone gives the flexibility to go at your own pace, do the things you want, and tailor the trip the way you want it to be.

    2) Luggage. Next time, I will try to save up some extra money for proper luggage. Not necessarily so that I can bring MORE stuff, because if I had more room I would likely just bring more useless crap, but BETTER luggage. For example: Lockable hard boxes for security (when travelling in sketchier places), or Waterproof soft bag such as wolfman for safety if planning on doing something more off-road oriented.

    3) Gear. This is something I dished out the big bucks for (KLIM traverse) and have not regretted the decision for a moment. Also, high quality base layers (Icebreaker) is a completely suitable substitute for heated clothing. Others may disagree, but I am a warm person and not bothered by the cold too much. (more on this later)

    4) Planning. A month was too short, but I don't think I would want TOO much longer to think about it. One of the best vacations I have been on was the perfect combination of organized things to do, and spare time to do whatever you felt like at the time. I feel a little on the unprepared side this trip, but it some ways it is exciting to have the unknown factor in there, and also makes your trip very flexible.

    5) Buy a center stand. 'nough said.
    #16
  17. Bambooda

    Bambooda Adventurer

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2013
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    Toronto
    Again! It was friggen cold today! Cold?!?! FREEZING!!!
    Here's a picture of me when I got to Dryden
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    Just kidding...That's not me, you can tell because the KLR has a Monoshock...other than that, the same :D

    Thankfully, Dryden Rider was able to come by with a blow torch and unstick me from the bike.

    In the previous post I said I don't mind the cold, yet now I'm complaining...the reason? Toes. I had 4 base layers of Merino on underneath my KLIM on my upper body, and 2 on my legs and I was completely and happily comfortable. But even with 2 pairs of thick socks on I could not for the life of me keep my toes warm. After approximately 60km my toes would be frozen and I would ride about 40km in complete pain until I got to a diner or gas station where I could thaw them out. Put the boots on, repeat. This is the reason I only made it to Dryden today instead of Kenora.
    Here is an actual picture of the weather today. The camera doesn't do a good job of catching the snowflakes, but the OPP officer I was talking to today went as far to call it "white out" conditions... I think he was just being a big baby. I'm pretty sure every vehicle that passed me probably thought "holy crap! was that guy on a motorcycle?!??! he must be nucking futs!!!"
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    It was also windy out today which made driving a bit sketchy, but it kept the snow off the roads which kept them dry; so I wasn't too worried.

    I was driving so fast today I traveled back in time!!!! WWWOOOOAAAAHHHH. NOT....
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    In the end, I enjoyed today. It's days like this that make the reward so much sweeter, and the sunny days so much sunnier. Without being able to experience crap like this, we'd have no idea how beautiful the good times can be.
    #17
  18. GrizzLee

    GrizzLee RubiKon Adventures

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2010
    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    Pacific NorthWest
    Just found this thread....

    Good for you.

    I'm over educated (Under graduate degrees in Mechanical and Aeronautics and my graduate studies are in aircraft structures). Been here in the PacNw for 25 years working as an Engineer ... you made a good choice IMHO :1drinkI've had a lot of fun in my career.

    I have yet to ride my bike up to Alaska. I have been up there many times to hike and trek.... Hoping to do the bike trip with my son soon. He is 17 years old.

    I'm looking forward to reading more about your adventure.
    #18
  19. willys

    willys Long timer

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2006
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    Keep going buddy....you aren't out of Ontario yet! The worst part of the trip for me is trying to get out of our province, it takes forever!
    Did you buy water proof foot booties for your boots? If so wear them to keep the wind out of your boots, it does help bigtime! If not get some plestic bags and wear those taped over your boots when in really cold areas. The rerouting of your cables is a pain but route them under the bars not over and reroute them infront of the stem tighter. I have the 1 1/2" risers and it works well.

    Keep up the great R/R it's great to hear your adventure.....:deal
    #19
  20. NightProwler

    NightProwler Adventurer

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2012
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    Location:
    cincy ohio
    Awesome report so far . I hope the weather gets better for you ! I will be making my trek starting in july and hopefully the snow is gone by -then :D
    #20