My motorbike adventures, & my Wisconsin to Alaska run (June 2012)

Discussion in 'Epic Rides' started by AJ990R, Jan 30, 2013.

  1. AJ990R

    AJ990R motorcycle guy

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2011
    Oddometer:
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    MKE,WI
    Hello Everyone,
    I thought it was time I take a crack at a Ride Report, and share some pics and my expierences. Since I come here & enjoy everyone else's so much!! I have deep respect for the amount of time many put into their RRs. Although mine is gonna be fairly short & sweet, since being a mechanic, I always have to go back to work sooner or later...
    My bike adventures seemed to evolve over the past couple years to my Alaska run. I like, most all bikes. I think I have a serious passion for motorcycles, grew up with dirtbikes. But became addicted to the speed factor and I do take it to the track.
    Unfortunately, now that I'm looking back, I wish I had bought a higher quality camera on my trips & took more photos, but it is all stored upstairs, great memories. New camera is definitely on my list though!
    INTRO

    My name is AJ

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    Yes, thats an 1198. I've owned a couple of liter/sport bikes, but this one had a soul. Demontech tuned, rode to a 10.2 @ 133mph with the dry clutch. This bike made you feel alive with the sounds & feelings.
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    Barber motorsports park, Birmingham, Alabama with STT. Getting stuffed by Chimichanga here. I got my NESBA "A" group bump with this bike
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    But growing up in the midwest, yet having traveled a fair amount in my short existence. I always wanted to take a road trip out west my whole life, esp on a bike. Track days & CCS racing were killing my bank account(& credit cards!). I now had the freedom & some vacation time to burn. Never having spent anytime on ADV. I quickly put together a rough plan, asked some advice from the one guy I know who has ridden any real distance, borrowed a bike(from my dad 06 DL650), bought some cheap luggage. Over packed. And planned a Iron Butt run.
    The plan, early sept 2011, solo run, ride west and hit-up as many twisty mountain roads as possible, go through yellowstone and don't stop until I hit the Oregon coast. A motorcycle adventure. Try to live off the bike as mush as possible, to save money.
    A nice guy with his son & a van full of MX bikes insisted on taking this photo of me. He (had a BMW bike) knew exactly what the IB run was & cheered me on. Me, @ about 850mi in on the IB run, Box Elder, South Dakota. With wet feet.
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    I rode from Milwaukee, Wi to Sheridan, Wy. Clicked off 1070mi in just over 17hrs. Left MKE @ midnight and was in Sheridan for dinner. never exceeded 75mph. Got a hotel room after that run
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    Camped my first night in Yellowstone. forget the exact elevation, but it was fairly high, it was a cold night
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    Yellowstone was awesome, rode around bison all over in the roads, typical tourist trap draw backs other wise though. 45mph speed limit:deal
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    Yellowstones "grand canyon"
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    three random solo riders
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    Was neat to see a euro plate, he was nice, had lots of time & support for his trip. Was amazed by his bike set-up, followed him on his blog a little. His bike popped the motor when he got into South America, he also crashed in South America but continued on!
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    This hwy was awesome, except for the tar stripes
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    Idaho was awesome
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    Oregon, getting close to the coast. Didn't know there was a desert in the middle of Oregon though!
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    When I finally got to the coast it looked like a storm was brewing, locals said its been foggy for several days now, was damp but not raining.
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    camped on the coast that night, decided to head north up the coast the following day to Washington & Mt Rainier
    (a lot of my Wash. pics were blurry)
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    heading back home on the Colombian river hwy somewhere. Go Wee-Strom!
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    9 days & 5400mi., the bike had only 6200 mi on before I left, now indicating 11600mi! My dad & brother could not believe the mileage. Good thing I put full synthetic oil in it & fresh tires before I left. Loved the trip. Hated my I-pod music by the end. No speeding tickets. Worked that 650 motor hard since I like to ride a faster pace. If you would have told me after that trip that I would be riding to alaska, I would have laughed at you.
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    Since it seems all good things come to an end. The Ducati, was kinda like a hot high maintenance girlfriend, who was just no good for you because all you do is go out & spend money, but you didn't care if you got caught up in the moment. Or a highly addictive drug...exhaust, Nemesis, slipper clutches, tires & more rear tires.
    I was done street riding sportbikes anymore, & no one puts baby in the corner.Never got a single traffic ticket on the Duc. Emma & I saying goodbye to her before trading her in.

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    My rebound, fresh from the dealer. It just made sense, the R model,reduced price, yup throw the Akras on right away! Got the Ktm home early Dec 2011. Within one month of owning this bike and reading a article about D2D and seeing pics....the planning began
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    farkles

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    test trip, 900mi run to Upper Mi. (spring 2012)
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    Ready to Rock
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    #1
  2. one2ride

    one2ride Adventurer

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    Wi
    Keep going I'm in
    #2
  3. Rutabaga

    Rutabaga Been here awhile

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    Southeast Lower Carolina
    Enjoyed that report with my bowl of cereal. Coffee is ready and I'm ready to go to Alaska soon as it shows up. :clap
    #3
  4. GB

    GB . Administrator

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    Great intro :thumb

    :lurk
    #4
  5. Unstable Rider

    Unstable Rider Moto Fotografist

    Joined:
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    Minn.
    Great reading thus far brother, no reason to stop now.

    I enjoyed seeing a smaller CC bike ride report from the Wee, but also like the new KTM too :evil

    I been to the same site in Michigan that you had pictured me thinks, Hancock Mine?
    #5
  6. blacktruck

    blacktruck Been here awhile

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    Middle earth
    I'm in. Looks like it could be one heck of a trip. Nice bike too. I like the panniers on it. Are they KTM boxes?
    Ride safe man.
    #6
  7. GoinPostal

    GoinPostal Been here awhile

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    Sonoma, CA
    Looking forward to the Alaska ride report!
    #7
  8. Klay

    Klay dreaming adventurer

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    right here on my thermarest
    :lurk
    #8
  9. Tgpatrsn

    Tgpatrsn Adventurer

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    SF Bay Area
    +1
    #9
  10. Cannabinoid

    Cannabinoid Banned

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    Confined in the physical world
    this message self-destroyed...
    #10
  11. LumpyOne

    LumpyOne Been here awhile

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    WestSconnie
    In!
    #11
  12. Northstar Beemer

    Northstar Beemer Been here awhile

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    Nice report so far.....:deal
    #12
  13. AJ990R

    AJ990R motorcycle guy

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2011
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    Location:
    MKE,WI
    June 15-16

    Glad some of you enjoyed my short V-strom report. Thought you should have an idea of where I'm coming from if you don't know me. I learned a lot from that trip. Didn't need the spare fuel tank or a fresh set of clothes everyday...but it seemed like a good idea at the time.:D But that trip left me wanting more.
    I should let you know I rode at Deals Gap 3 years earlier, and my friend Jon brought his then new KTM adv (w/street tires) and was running with us sportbikes & keeping up. Didn't know what to think of the big beast then.
    So, talked to my manager at work, I got only 16days to do this, take it or leave it type thing, working for the man...
    The plan, motor up to Dawson city and relax for at least a few days:freaky, so not to get burnt out. Then I can either do Inuvik or Deadhorse, but not both. My only reservations, were to stay in Goldrush campground right in town, within walking distance of everything. I started lurking on here and got a milepost book.
    The KTM adventure R, the biggest thing for me, was proper hardcases. I got these right out of the KTM catalog, from my dealer, then I didn't have to deal with any shipping charges. Thanks to the guys at Southeast Sales in MKE!! I installed a cheap car GPS and booger welded up a custom homemade bracket for a mount, kept ziplock bags in the tankbag incase I encountered rain! I had tons of tools & camping gear etc. Cut a 1/4 in out of the sidestand & welded b/c the bike didn't sit right w/luggage. Lastly but not least, I got a personal XM satelite radio with the optional auto craddle, it can record music as well. You can see the antenna mounted on top of my $15 aux fuel tank. A cheap throttle lock, sheepskin on the terribly uncomfy "R" seat, that most people replace right away on these models. A proper seat, gps unit & mount were really not in my budget. I could go on & on...I planned for 6 months. The bike already had 4300mi on it when leaving, fresh oil in the engine, brand new set of Heidenau tires. I'll fill you in as I go, let's go already
    I'm no photographer(cheap ass camera), and really should have taken more pics

    Day 1-Get Outta Dodge

    I knew the next three days were gonna be some big pushes across the prairelands to get to the good stuff. I departed MKE at midnight, love riding my bike at night on the interstate with little to no cars around, I was rolling! I was looking to click off a 1000mi or at least get into Canada. Was dry all night leaving Sconsin but hit rain in the morning going across Minnesota. Rode across & up into North Dakota, saw some oil pumps going. Pulled over in Minot area to fuel up & layer up. Saw a set-up GS1200 across the street at a little diner, saw the guy walk out, he saw me, he yells out " A D V ". I nod, he flips me the bird.

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    Nice guy from California, he rode over, we chatted a few minutes. He was heading east & taking his time. Told me I wasn't on a trip but a journey. I hit the border at dinner time, wasn't what I expected, was small & was mostly semi trucks, handed my passport over & told them I'd never been in Canada. I was asked why am I wearing a Ducati jacket & riding a KTM bike? Is that your bike? He got the plate #. Was told to park the bike & come inside, I knew they were making sure I'd never got a drunk driving etc. They told me its still cold where I was headed. Rode into Estevan shortly after and found the crappiest/cheap hotel I could find. Walked to a local sports bar for a beer & food, started talking to a oil worker, they started buying shots, they were all oil workers, hung out for a while but I was beat and turned in early as I could.

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    #13
  14. AJ990R

    AJ990R motorcycle guy

    Joined:
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    June 17


    I slept like a rock after my first day and hanging with those oil worker guys. So now it was Sunday morning & time to keep going. Now, I knew this trip was not going to be a lazy vacation from the get go, but was something I really wanted to experience now, not in 25 years when I had more time. I knew I would miss things along the way, but I will be up this way again!
    The start of this trip, the KTM still had that new bike feeling & smell. My satelite radio mount could not handle the v-twin vibrations & broke when removing it after the first day, no big deal, just could not change radio stations on the fly & kept it in the tank bag now, which I figured I would end up doing if in heavy rain. The day started out dry & cool, but it quickly got wet & cold. I was wearing new waterproof overpants(no more yellow rubber pants). Some old comfy Sidi road boots which I bought rain booties for, PITA to put on but worked! I had rain gloves for my gloves(had standard leather Dainese gaunlet gloves). I had a mesh style(Dainese made) sportbike jacket that I always liked for street riding, & had a (yellow) rubber overcoat if I hit rain.
    It was 47F & raining, I was very chilled. Thank God, I brought my heated Gerbing jacket liner & put the heated grips on the bike. Figured I would only need the Gerbing for the Dalton hwy run, which by the way, I figured if I'm going this far, i'm going to Alaska & the Dalton(made reservations for one night at the Fairbanks Dorm rooms). KTM hiding from the rain.
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    I was a layered up monster, but warm now. Saw lots of oil pumps out in farmfields in SK. Needed fuel bad at one point, and found small town gas stations to be closed. At hwy speeds, I was playing with the throttle & thought the clutch was slipping, the big Katoom could spin up the back Heidenau easily in the rain. I pulled into a little rest stop area for a break from the rain,no one was there, tried to tuck into the buildings overhang a bit & my left GOBI side case knocked over the garbage cans. I picked them up, a restaurant across the way had a perfect view. Saw a semi truck stuck at a fuel station due to the dirt parking lot, right off the interstate. Was in Alberta somewhere, stopped for fuel, started going again, smoke began to pour out of the aux power socket! I ripped the cord out as fast as I could. The male & female ends were all melted. The cord was feeding a multi aux power socket assy in the tankbag. The XM radio still had battery power! Funny thing was I actually rode right by the only KTM dealer in Alberta while going through Edmonton, but it was sunday. I wasn't too worried, but it was a rough day. Rain let up through out the day. HUGE open spaces in Canada thus far,now knew why its called the praire lands. I was running 90mph in some open sections while letting some fancy Cadillac be my rabbit. Saw signs for Whitecourt, was approaching dusk, ready to get a hotel room, no cars around, fistfull of throttle, first time laying hard into the loaded bike, backed out of it as I came out of a big valley. Meet the RCMP, @ a ton-up! All I can say is he was very professional & quick, didn't have to pay on the spot, he easily could have caused me some delays for this trip. Complimented him on his hiding spot & got him to smile. But I was done with day 2, got a hotel room next to a sports bar & grill. Needed a beer & a sandwhich. Parking lot was full of oil worker trucks, & one electra glide with Texas plates. 710mi
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    #14
  15. GoinPostal

    GoinPostal Been here awhile

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    enjoy your writing style, quick and to the point.
    #15
  16. AJ990R

    AJ990R motorcycle guy

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2011
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    There technically GOBI boxes, but these were ordered from the Ktm catalog, & came with the insignia on it.
    Radioman runs pretty much the same exact ones on his F800GS!
    #16
  17. AJ990R

    AJ990R motorcycle guy

    Joined:
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    haven't worked this hard on writing anything since high school! :D
    #17
  18. Cannonshot

    Cannonshot Having a Nice Time Super Moderator

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    Looking forward to your report! Keep writing! :D
    #18
  19. AJ990R

    AJ990R motorcycle guy

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    You rock Cannonshot! Thanks for all your time & the incredible tracks! :clap
    see you at CADVR 6!
    AJ
    #19
  20. AJ990R

    AJ990R motorcycle guy

    Joined:
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    June 18 Mon

    I didn't wake up too early, all the work trucks were gone, only my bike & the HD were sitting out there. You can kinda see the electra glide in my photo from the balcony. Since I can't take photos, I promised myself to always take a photo where I stayed at night. My neighbor Marty told me, bring a tarp & wrap it around your tent, a 101 uses he said. I asked about parking my bike under the overhang on the sidewalk somewhere but the hotel clerk said no. Didn't want to just let it sit & get rained on. I kept re-organizing my luggage.
    It was cool out, overcast looking, I could smell rain in the air.
    Enjoyed my free breakfast & thought about my power outlet situation. Luckily the 2011-12 winter Wi season was mild & I rode my bike a lot, & wired a aux power socket & placed it in the "glovebox" because it was better than having a wire loose & running over or under my handlebars to the factory outlet. Could only have one accessory plugged in now, I choose the Gerbing that day. But you had to duct tape the connection or it would loosen after awhile. Also had to duct tape my rain jacket, as it was coming apart at some seams( I had a mini roll of gorilla tape!).
    Meet the HD guy, cool guy, strong Texas accent, was heading to Anchorage for a HD rally. Right off the bat mentions " I do not like having to wear a helmet or traveling with out my pistol":lol3 He got at least a half hour jump on me leaving.
    Rode for a couple hours, light rain on & off, then the landscape began to change dramatically, reminded me of Washington, huge valleys, thick forests, flashing moose warning signs, the interstate was huge & open, lots of RV/campers, light traffic & spread out at that. I remember thinking, getting to the good stuff. Rode through a little city but then the route turned into a two lane hwy. I was wearing a brand new Kali carbon fiber street helmet(light!), was fine the first two days but then it started bothering my eyes from the wind coming through by my chin, making my eyes water bad, figured it would go away...but this went on for hours. Covered the chin area w/duct tape, fixed!
    Rode into Dawson Creek, begining of the AK HWY :clap It began to thunder & lightning in the distance. Fueled up & lubed up the chain(tried to do that at least twice a day), minding my buisness. It was approaching dinner time, some local prick next to me at the pumps says, exact words "whats with you damn americans?...you all have to drive to Alaska?". I looked at him & shrugged my shoulders, said "dunno", that was it. It was Monday, maybe he had a bad day at work. As I looked into the main st in Dawson Creek, there was a steady flow of RV/camper traffic.
    It started to rain hard, jumped a curb w/the Katoom at a storefront that looked closed, to hold up for a while. Talked to a lady for 45mins about everything. She told me, Dawson Creeks population was roughly 10k at that time & is expected to reach 100k in 10 years b/c the pipeline & dam projects in the area. I guess Americans are migrating there for the good jobs. I figured out Canada's economy is booming, everything was expensive up here. She told me where to pick-up some bear spray, I wanted some, it was illegal to sell/buy in Wi.
    Talked to the guy at the sporting goods store for quite sometime as well, he gave me lots of advice, he said I'll be driving through BC's serengeti. I held up in Dawson Creek for like three hours. Meet more nice people than pricks:D The sporting good store was literally just 200ft north of the famous begining of Alaska hwy white rock monument. I skipped that photo, was raining a bit yet.
    #20