On a hope and a prayer to "The Great Land"

Discussion in 'Epic Rides' started by straightenarrow, Jun 27, 2013.

  1. straightenarrow

    straightenarrow Been here awhile

    Joined:
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    Stealing the motto of an adventure 3 friends and I took to Nashville on a few hours planning to Nashville from Wisconsin... derived from a repairman in nowhere Indiana welding my exhaust that just broke apart... describing the 1995 Geo Tracker I saved from a salvage yard that we severely overloaded, sporting 4 bald tires and questionable maintenance, undercoated with oil spewed from various gaskets. He said we were, "On a hope and a prayer." I couldn't disagree, I actually got a laugh out of the fact I convinced 3 grown men into driving 30 hours in 3 days in that rig. Truth is I actually feel most comfortable living in that fashion.

    I used to live in Alaska doing aerial survey and commercial fishing for Salmon. It was some of the best work a guy could ever live to do. The scenery, weather, smells, and people I miss dearly from "up north". For some reason I feel I relate and identify with most everyone there. That being said I've been long to return after a few year hiatus. Not only that I've never explored the Northwest contiguous states. My plan is to venture from Wisconsin direct to the West coast and head straight north as far as I can go before I need to get back for work. I've convinced my boss man to let me off for 3 weeks, I took an 8 week break from Grad school, and anything else can wait.

    To prepare I've essentially done nothing besides bike maintenance to my 2008 KLR650. I had all intentions of preparing over the past few weeks, but school and fun gets in the way every time. The past few weeks I put new tires (shinko 705's), tubes, brake pads, bearings, heated grips, seat pad, cheapo footpegs, oil change, chain, sprockets, etc etc. I took this KLR650 to Key West last fall so it's set up well from that trip. I've got a friends gopro ready, a new samsung nx1100 camera, and a cheapo gps for navigation plus the "Bible" Milepost book.

    I am leaving in 24 hours.... I need to pack tonight. On the way to work this morning I was late because my 1986 4Runner decided to take a nap so it's still sitting there on the side of the road.

    Another guy said he wanted to comes a few days ago, we'll see tonight if he is still ready to go for 3 weeks on a motorcycle never doing it before.

    24 hours before freedom, on a hope and a prayer, I feel like I've never been more ready :)

    <a href="http://photobucket.com/" target="_blank"><img src="http://i1354.photobucket.com/albums/q682/straightenarrow/WISCO2KEYWEST/228350_zps65fcb53f.jpg" border="0" alt=" photo 228350_zps65fcb53f.jpg"/></a>


    updates to follow!
    #1
  2. straightenarrow

    straightenarrow Been here awhile

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    No idea how this happened, and it happened at the worst time ever. My truck died in the morning and now the bike too! And I was planning on leaving in 12 hours.. So here's the short story...

    Trying to out run a storm all of a sudden a got a weird feeling. No skidding, but I pulled in the clutch and coasted to the side of the road. I look up at the lightning and then down. Oil spewed everywhere. Look underneath and the damn oil plug was missing. Now I've changed oil a million times, could I have not torqued it the right spec? Is there a washer that could've fallen off? Who knows.. and it doesn't really matter anymore.

    It was really a blessing that it happened as it did because my father was less than an hour away with a trailer and had the next day off. My father came with the trailer and we loaded it up. This morning I went to the auto parts store and got a plug. Filled it back with oil and touched the starter. It seems to run fine. But I'm not really a mechanic? I again drained the oil and checked the filter. Definitely metal shavings hanging around it. Here is a photo.

    <img src="http://i1354.photobucket.com/albums/q682/straightenarrow/WEST2013/20130628_080728_zpse9e05b69.jpg" border="0" alt=" photo 20130628_080728_zpse9e05b69.jpg"/>

    I am really bummed because I looked forward greatly to this trip but I can't be mad as shit happens and I can reschedule because my work is good about that! After I realized I didn't really trust the motor to take me to Alaska, I fixed my truck after a couple hours of dinking with the electrical... and here I am at work debating my next move!

    Will keep you posted, and it turns out Dan, the random guy that want's to go to Alaska on a motorcycle with me was planning on still going after not hearing from him the last few weeks... He's a teacher and says hes still in if/when I leave in a couple weeks!

    To be continued!
    #2
  3. straightenarrow

    straightenarrow Been here awhile

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    Long ass story...short

    Truck broke down morning before departure...
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    Head home, retrieve truck with friend, pack up for trip, head out on the cycle for one last check ride, outrunning this gnarly storm 24 hours before I plan to leave.
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    Oil plug gives out somewhere along the line ... how the oil slick on the rear tire didn't result in a 80mph skid is beyond me, my father came with a trailer a couple hours away and helped me out. I still have no vehicle so I find out the electrical issue and fix the truck. Now it's hauling time to a buddy's to tear apart and reassess my future. All this while negotiating with the boss man about delayed vacation trip start.
    <a href="http://photobucket.com/" target="_blank"><img src="http://i1354.photobucket.com/albums/q682/straightenarrow/WEST2013/PicsPlay_1372699223989_zps2e725df0.jpg" border="0" alt=" photo PicsPlay_1372699223989_zps2e725df0.jpg"/></a>

    Tear into the bike a bit, but I am no mechanic so with the help of many here I check things out
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    At this point I get a notification that craigslist has a klr 45 miles away, same year as my current one. To salvage my well placed vacation time and trip I strongly consider the option of buying a "new" bike... and here it is from fellow inmate scrappydoo!
    <a href="http://photobucket.com/" target="_blank"><img src="http://i1354.photobucket.com/albums/q682/straightenarrow/WEST2013/PicsPlay_1372543311720_zps1317a3ef.jpg" border="0" alt=" photo PicsPlay_1372543311720_zps1317a3ef.jpg"/></a>

    Spend the next 5 hours transferring wheels, brakes, chain, sprockets, tank bag, windscreen, seat, pelican case, cup holder, etc etc..

    One last ride to make sure everything is setup correctly... 200 miles between the lakes of Eastern Wisconsin with a pair of KLR's my brother and friend own.
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    Load it up on the trailer, 30 miles in the brake caliper locks up on the truck on the way home Sunday night and smokes like crazy. Magically the WD40 I sprayed on the hot rotor didn't ignite and freed the rotor. I drove 90 miles without touching the brakes all the way home. The trailer lights also went out and the cops never bothered me luckily.
    <a href="http://photobucket.com/" target="_blank"><img src="http://i1354.photobucket.com/albums/q682/straightenarrow/WEST2013/PicsPlay_1372698501367_zps240df75b.jpg" border="0" alt=" photo PicsPlay_1372698501367_zps240df75b.jpg"/></a>

    I've had more headaches I care to have at one time. I negotiated a Tuesday launch with work. Can't wait to get out, they hope I come back! Tonight is load up time! Oooooffffteee what a couple days!
    #3
  4. Bullspit

    Bullspit Adventurer

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    Splitting Lanes Between MI and CA
    Wow! I hope your trip goes well. I think you used up your hope and now you are left with just prayer!
    #4
  5. Oldone

    Oldone One day at a time!

    Joined:
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    MN. (summers) AZ. (winters)
    #5
  6. straightenarrow

    straightenarrow Been here awhile

    Joined:
    May 25, 2012
    Oddometer:
    116
    Location:
    Central Wisco
    Central Wisconsin - Negative One

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    Runs like a top and rides like a dream!

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    All this fits into the side cases, am I missing anything?



    One more sleep :)



    IMHO via Swype autocorrect
    #6
  7. straightenarrow

    straightenarrow Been here awhile

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    Central Wisconsin - Day One

    It is ten minutes before departure. Dan just got pulled over on his way down to meet me. What a beautiful day! Headed to a friends house in Marshall Minne. About 6.5 hours away. Slabbing it hard. It won't hit me until I am on the road for a couple hours that I am gone. Can't wait. Hoping to check in every once and awhile. Everyone have a great 4th of July!

    Any suggestions along our path of places to visit would be greatly appreciated! Good firework displays near Yellowstone?

    Off into the setting sun :rofl:rofl

    Enjoy!
    #7
  8. straightenarrow

    straightenarrow Been here awhile

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    Killing bugs across the prairie midsection of this United states!

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    Visiting Luke in Marshall

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    Keep on!


    IMHO via Swype autocorrect
    #8
  9. straightenarrow

    straightenarrow Been here awhile

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    Across SD to the Badlands to Black Hills

    Shortly after this picture in the badlands the long klr650 kickstand made it go to sleep
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    <img src="http://i1354.photobucket.com/albums/q682/straightenarrow/WEST2013/PicsPlay_1374425292217_zps80c2c127.jpg" border="0" alt=" photo PicsPlay_1374425292217_zps80c2c127.jpg"/>

    The only cloud all day just out of rapid city
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    And happy fourth of July everyone

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    Onward towards Yellowstone and the tetons... currently enjoy a great breakfast in downtown Newcastle, wy... where's the beer though :)





    IMHO via Swype autocorrect
    #9
  10. straightenarrow

    straightenarrow Been here awhile

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    Black Hills to almost Tetons

    Working off advice from a lady that drove 2 wheels to Alaska a few times we took highway 16 across Wyoming. It's a great drive.

    Sun Tanning down highway 16 Wyoming
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    Dropping down Wind River canyon
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    Rain in the desert with the Tetons in the distance
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    The rain subsided and with a Kessler in hand are treated to a little firework action in Dubois, wy
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    Making the turn NW today we are thinking!

    IMHO via Swype autocorrect
    #10
  11. straightenarrow

    straightenarrow Been here awhile

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    A couple more photos...

    Black Hills camp
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    Black Hills
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    Great breakfast and recon in Newcastle wy
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    IMHO via Swype autocorrect
    #11
  12. straightenarrow

    straightenarrow Been here awhile

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    Turning NW we did...

    I'll update this when I get home better but wow! Go north if you ever get the chance! I used to fly through AK and Yukon and commercial fished AK but on a bike it is a totally different deal...unexplainable!

    Dang this is unbelievable!! Makes you wanna scream! I catch myself singing loudly under my helmet at 75 mph chewing oil with this klr650. That's how I know it's crazy beautiful. You guys don't read much and there haven't been any headaches really to detail so here are some photos.

    Equal trade-off, road time for Dan, off road for me :)
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    Just south of salmon Idaho
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    Glacier National
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    The border at chief mountain highway!
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    Standard bear running away ak ride report photo :)
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    Beautiful flowers in sw Alberta
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    Standard tourist area photo op, lake louise
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    Tell me there isn't something guiding this whole show above?
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    Between Banff and Jasper is my favorite ride ever! By far! Amazing!
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    In Jasper, getting a shower and contacting relatives.. onward tomorrow towards Prince George!

    IMHO via Swype autocorrect
    #12
  13. straightenarrow

    straightenarrow Been here awhile

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  14. ckjj888

    ckjj888 Been here awhile

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    Beautiful!~~~
    #14
  15. straightenarrow

    straightenarrow Been here awhile

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    How it got any better than Jasper to Banff is beyond me but it does! Damn this country is beautiful!

    A couple latent shots first..

    Icefields parkway
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    Camp just north of glacier in Alberta
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    Falls at our campground, we bs'd with the conservation officers and they gave us some tips on how to avoid the Calgary flooded out roads. It was a bummer that we missed out on some great roads near there. WE did get a taste of the Calgary stampede though.
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    Glacier National
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    I didn't mention this earlier but my brand new nx1100 camera exploded in glacier park after I tried hanging the tripod to a tree... a leather man, black tape and patience somehow kept this lens working until this point, although you can see a spot or two.. where can a guy pick up a lens up here?

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    In Prince George I taught Sam a new song to peddle to the drive thru customers at Tim Horton's
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    We camped at lake tyhee and I randomly ran into a fella I used to work with in anchorage on his way back from Portland on a bike, crazy small world!

    So close you can taste it! Alaska!
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    ALASKA baby! We made it!

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    The trip to the end of the road is well worth it :)
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    No words...
    <img src="http://i1354.photobucket.com/albums/q682/straightenarrow/WEST2013/PicsPlay_1373424948694_zps7c3aa718.jpg" border="0" alt=" photo PicsPlay_1373424948694_zps7c3aa718.jpg"/>



    IMHO via Swype autocorrect
    #15
  16. straightenarrow

    straightenarrow Been here awhile

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    Lunch in a cloud, above a glacier, with hummingbirds dancing through the sky.. was truly amazing!

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    700 miles of road in the rain yesterday along the Cassiar to Whitehorse was actually pretty fun!

    Finally got to put up a sign in the forest in my second trip to Watson lake :) all roads lead to Chilton, Wisconsin! My uncle

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    The Shinko 705 lasted for only about 5k but I was lucky to find a kenda761 in Whitehorse just now. Plan ahead, these roads eat tires fyi!

    Headed north in the pouring ass rain starting now!

    IMHO via Swype autocorrect
    #16
  17. straightenarrow

    straightenarrow Been here awhile

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    Whitehorse to Dawson city the rain cleared after a few hours. We were told the Dempster was washed out when we came through so we unfortunately had to bypass it. We are running out of time before our first real "have to be somewhere date" anyhow. Having to make the ferry in Haines by Saturday is the most planning we've done. Along the way we keep running into some awesome people on cycles doing similar trips. Good people.

    Dawson City Yukon crossing midnight sun
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    Great food here... and a big puddle of blood in the parking lot behind it. A man fought a bear to the death last night. The bear lost. No shit. Crazy story I'm sure these folks may tell again :)

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    Top of the world!
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    Just on the Canadian side of the Alcan you'll see lots of this!
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    Didn't get a good sign shot on the way in, so here's one leaving
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    Travels thus far
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    Best place to gas up, free internet, free tent, eat, drink, shower, and do laundry is Talbot arm everything station in destruction bay off the alcan just south if burwash... awesome services!

    We are just leaving there for the ferry in Haines to Prince Rupert... hoping to meet a friend in Juneau on the night layover!


    IMHO via Swype autocorrect
    #17
  18. straightenarrow

    straightenarrow Been here awhile

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    Headed down to Haines
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    Great ride down to Haines
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    Accidentally got this eagle mid dive in Haines
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    Blue!
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    Ran into inmate nomadgal, I think, with parts for her klr, not enough time to talk but she was very nice :)
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    Love the boats!
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    Boarding for Juneau
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    Beautiful ride aboard the ferry!
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    Camping under the glacier in Juneau
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    Here we are in Juneau eating a salmon omelette, yum
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    More boat riding this afternoon..in the meantime I'll check out this area!

    IMHO via Swype autocorrect
    #18
  19. straightenarrow

    straightenarrow Been here awhile

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
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    Location:
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    The chum's are in!
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    Got to get a personal tour with a friend that does fisheries..I haven't seen him in over 5 years

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    Some float planes in action above the fireweed
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    Back on the ferry to Prince Rupert
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    This ferry could well be the highlight of my trip! Beautiful country, whales, salmon, seals, fishing boats, harbours, and most of all people! I met the neatest fellas ever from Missouri! I plan to go see them but it'll be hard as the only way I can communicate is by letter. This picture was against the rules so hope he doesn't get mad if he ever sees it! They dont do pictures, even for ids or passports, nor do they do instruments. I taught him"old McDonald"
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    They taught me a bunch of jokes, jigsaw puzzles, sudoku, frisbee, how to catch salmon, and most of all his to enjoy the little things. I can't say enough about my new friends!

    These guys, Amish, got a ride all the way to Prudhoe bay water in a van from Missouri!

    Whales, humpback
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    Tonight we made it to Prince George. I finally swapped my junk shinko 705 back to a kenda761 with the help of a French speaking Quebec farmer on a GS at our campground. This guy is great and always smiling and laughing. We are looking to eat breakfast together sui he can tell us about his trip up the Dempster and flat tire!

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    Headed toward Vancouver/Seattle area following breakfast. Anyone have ideas on a bike shop to replace a vstar rear on short notice down there?

    All the best Ryan

    IMHO via Swype autocorrect
    #19
  20. straightenarrow

    straightenarrow Been here awhile

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
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    Location:
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    The camera took another major fall near whistler, bc on a rocky mountain cliff road. It took over an hour to find all the pieces in the jungle like dusty forest. Saved the sd card, found the battery, the body seemed ok just dented, and the lens is now toast.

    Got to Seattle and visited friends and family, loved that, hate the city lifestyle though. Just not my gig for more than twelve hours.

    Today we took the ferry across Puget sound, saw cape flattery, and headed south almost to Astoria. Lots of big timber down the coast here..dang

    Time has started to run out and heavy slabbing is imminent to get back to wisco for work :( ahhhh joy

    Seattle ferry is cheap
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    Seattle coffee shop coffee is only slightly better than your hometown dive
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    IMHO via Swype autocorrect
    #20