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Discussion in 'The Perfect Line and Other Riding Myths' started by jgrooms, Jan 9, 2013.
I don't see a tow rope as a good idea. You slow or stop and the sled doesn't???
"Today the adventure from the northernmost point of continental USA to the southernmost point started at Point Barrow. To get there I had to adapt the bike and the sledge to the climate and ice conditions. This was only possible thanks to my new friends who live here and who know this environment. Clifford, Nelson, Michael, Jacob, Charles and others, thank you guys! (picture by Michael Donovan)"
We are backing up a bit with videos, as Sjaak reports he will depart today. As you saw in the last post, Sjaak has worked out the sled attachment. Here is assembly of the sled detail.
We have a lot of video to post this week of his testing and retesting progress prior to taking off. A project like this obviously presented some unforeseen issues.As always, Sjaak keeps pushing through. Of course he's received a warm welcome and incredible assistance from the residents of Barrow. Sjaak thanks you all!!!
We'll do our best to keep you posted on his progress on the ice. But we are really looking forward to when he hits land in Canada and can send the video out.
-40 F in Barrow! The crankcase blow by directed into the airbox was freezing up the carbs!. So that's been vented 'elsewhere'. But the engine is running too lean. They've found some jets from a Yamaha snowmobile application.
And yes he is going to pull the sled with a rope. 100 ft of rope.
Day after tomorrow is planned departure if the air/fuel ratio is resolved.
The view from the SledCam.
So this is a silly question, but technically, how does the "Entering Canada from the USA" thing work, doing this?
I mean going into Alaska and coming back into Canada at Hyder, they get extremely persnickety about the border crossing stop. Same with going to Pt. Roberts.
Is there a Port Customs shack in Tuk?
That would be...interesting.
"Hi I'm Sjaak coming from Barrow! I would like to enter Canada, please."
Customs: "Denied Entry."
Sjaak: :huh "But...but..."
From Sjaak: "Dear Polar Ice Ride Adventure followers. A few days ago I succeeded in reaching Point Barrow, the northernmost point of continental USA. After having done a few more preparations I will leave Barrow tomorrow 21 February 2013 and head in the direction of Canada. Tests showed that the sledge and what I carry inside is far too heavy. But I have good hope we make it. I just start and see how it goes. Its good to know that if it really doesnt work I can always get off the ice near Deadhorse, still about 500 km ice riding from here. From there roads lead down to Key West in Florida, the southernmost point of continental USA where my journey will end.
Until I get off the ice you wont [hear from me]. But the plan is to give daily updates via satellite phone..."
After following the videos of the bike build and all of the required work/planning for this adventure, it's awesome to see his excitement at this point. The engine starts at -30 degrees Celsius. Go Sjaak!!!
I don't think that I have ever seen any motorcyclist so happy at 30 below zero!
Sjaak is an interesting guy.
zet 'm op sjaak
Toine (uit Venlo)
The sled is too heavy and the drag (fuel consumption) was greater than expected. Bike is working perfect, but fuel consumption is 4 x expected.
So Sjaak is shortening the route and heading to Pruhdoe Bay tomorrow (hopefully).
This video from a few days back is of more 'field' modifications.
The sledge actually has great directional control - so long as the direction you want to go is straight ahead.
The natives who live up there, and have accumulated a bit of experience in pulling sledges across the ice and tundra, will put a long - maybe 20' to 30' long - rope between their snowmachine and the sledge. They don't make sharp turns, but those are rarely needed if the rider is watching ahead. The rope's length allows the sledge to slide to a stop a safe distance behind the machine, and also has the added benefit of giving the sledge a sharp tug to get it moving after it has been sitting for a few minutes. Even in sub-zero temperatures the sledge's runners gain a bit of heat. Not enough to melt the ice, but when you add the pressure the sledge's weight puts on the ice, it will melt (try the string over the ice cube trick some time) and then refreeze, sometimes making it difficult to get the sledge moving again. With a long rope coiled behind the snowmachine, as soon as it becomes taut, the sledge comes loose. Of course, this also gives the rider a jolt, but they soon become accustomed to it, and are prepared for that. As long as Sjaak is moving in a straight line away from the sledge, the jerk would not tip his bike sideways, but might cause him to slide up onto the tank a bit :eek1 briefly.
Rough start. Hopefully tomorrow.
"Unfortunately I had to give up on the first attempt. The sledge, fuel and all the luggage was far too heavy to pull. To get less weight I have send 80kg/200lb by air to Nuiqsut, the first town where I can get off the ice and can go on the road system. Plan was to have a fresh start today. A severe weather alert caused another delay. Hopefully tomorrow afternoon I can go on my way."
I almost hate to suggest this at this point because I realize it would take away somewhat from the spirit of this ride, but could Sjaak not put the wheels back on the sledge and try to carve a path through the bush over to Deadhorse via land?
I realize it would be rough going - perhaps the newly made friends in Barrow could go ahead of him in snow machines making a rough trail for Sjaak to follow - or perhaps a crude snow machine trail exists already this time of year from Barrow to Deadhorse? I'm sure the locals could answer this.
*IF* such a thing is even possible it would still serve the purpose of riding Barrow to Key West.
You should be able to use the wheels from Nuiqsut to Prudhoe. I guess they still have a winter road there. (I built one from PB to Nuiqsut years ago.) Also maybe an ice road out to Flaxman island, leaving from East POint.
"Every day there is something new thats withholding me from leaving Barrow and getting on the polar ice. After bad weather before, it is was a coolant leak yesterday and today the generator which is necessary to preheat the bike failed due to dirt in the fuel system."
Anyone who's traveled in remote regions, with limited parts, less than ideal condition, etc, will appreciate the need for the unorthodox 'fix' as shown in this video.
Finally some video of the first tests...
Uh oh. We've been having unseasonably warm temps all the way up to Barrow.
"Dear Polar Ice Ride Adventure followers. Finally the moment of leaving the Top of the World is in sight. The wind which blows the snow over the ice will soon go down. This same wind brought movement in the ice on the west coast of Barrow and what was a thick ice layer of ice before, turned over night into open water. But I go to the east, together with Lioyd, a guide/escort which I hired with his snow machine. Apart from bringing safety he could also tow my sled if necessary. This way I can spare my motorcycle which can barely pull the heavy load. As soon as Lioyd gives the okay we leave from the Top of the World. Will it happen this time?
Until … Sjaak"
What was ice and snow in the distance is now open ocean. :eek1