The Banks Tour Return - North To Alaska

Discussion in 'Epic Rides' started by Solarmoose, Apr 23, 2012.

  1. Solarmoose

    Solarmoose electric

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2009
    Oddometer:
    749
    Location:
    Fairbanks
    This journey started 7 months ago. The first part was recorded in a
    separate thread, The Banks Tour - Fair to Outer. We had a great time
    traveling across the US from our home in Fairbanks and then stored the bikes
    in Woodinville Wa to fly home in November.
    Tomorrow morning (Tuesday) we fly back and get the bikes out of storage,
    hook up the batteries, and do some repairs on Cee's Moto Guzzi Norge.
    [​IMG]

    I had installed an aftermarket electronic cruise control on the Norge
    and it started acting up as the trip progressed. Over the winter I've
    been in contact with the manufacturer and they have a plan of attack
    for the repair. They've been great to work with and I expect we'll knock
    this problem down quick. Then its new tires at both ends for both bikes.

    This trip will take us down through southern Idaho after leaving Washington,
    and then to Bozeman MT to witness our son and his wife graduate from MSU!
    We'll spend some time in Montana touring and visiting before going east to
    South Dakota to see Mt Rushmore and Crazyhorse Memorial. Next down
    to Denver to see another son and family, wander a bit around Colorado
    before starting a wander north to Alaska.
    So stay tuned and I hope you enjoy our continuing story as much as we enjoy sharing it.

    Wheels down, lets ride!
    #1
  2. RokLobster

    RokLobster Far from sanity

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2011
    Oddometer:
    86
    Location:
    New Harbor, ME
    :clap:clap:clap

    Been looking forward to your trip home. Stay safe!
    #2
  3. Nanuq

    Nanuq Aventurer by Trade

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2007
    Oddometer:
    1,102
    Location:
    Point Hope, Sitka & Biorka Island- all in Alaska
    Good luck and enjoy! :D
    #3
  4. Solarmoose

    Solarmoose electric

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2009
    Oddometer:
    749
    Location:
    Fairbanks
    It was a pleasant flight from Fairbanks to Seatac and brother Ralph picked
    us up and took us to the storage facility to get our bikes. We felt almost
    giddy with excitement, like we were going to meet a dear old friend as we
    were walking to the room where our bikes were stored, what would we find?
    Would they be as we left them?

    Is this the One?
    [​IMG]

    This is the One!
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    After fiddling with the door latch for several minutes trying to get it open
    we finally get inside and find:
    [​IMG]

    Just as we left them last November! Yay!
    [​IMG]

    So its time to hook up the batteries and see if they'll start, Yes they both
    start right up and ready to go. But first we have to put some air into Cee's
    back tire before we can roll them to the elevator to take them outside.
    [​IMG]

    Soon both bikes are outside and we suit up for the short ride to Ralph's
    house. Wow. That felt really good to be back in the saddle.
    [​IMG]

    I wondered how I'd feel getting back on the bike but in the first few
    minutes we both are right at home and ready to blast around the corners!!!

    and I did.
    [​IMG]

    Tomorrow we start work on repairing Cee's cruise control.

    I'm ready, I mean really ready to ride again! "Me too," says Cee!
    #4
  5. gremor

    gremor RS'er

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2004
    Oddometer:
    968
    Location:
    NE Ohio
    I'm in early on this one.




    :clap
    #5
  6. Solarmoose

    Solarmoose electric

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2009
    Oddometer:
    749
    Location:
    Fairbanks
    Repair Day

    Today we're riding up to Marysville to see a tech who supports MC Cruise
    electronic cruise controls and hope we can nail this problem to the ground!
    The Moto Guzzi Norge does not come with an OEM cruise but Cee made
    that a mandatory item when she was looking for a new bike last year.
    MCCruise sells a specific kit for the Norge which I installed last year. It
    worked well for the first week but became intermittent to full-on fail as
    the eight week ride progressed. We tried a few things that helped but did
    not resolve. So this spring I contacted Tony and Frank, who are MCCruise,
    and they directed me to Mark Reis of MR Communications in Marysville
    who is an authorized install and repair station.

    We arrived at 10 and Cee began removing the side panels.
    [​IMG]

    Mark made a repair to the vacuum system and started going through the test sequence
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Testing complete I take the Guzzi out to I5 for a test run. All systems are go!
    Cee is pretty happy that the cruise control is working again.

    Now I must confess that this problem was self-inflicted. I made a deviation
    from the very detailed install directions regarding the hook-up of the vacuum
    feed to the cruise actuator by using an available vacuum port on a T fitting
    on a throttle-body balancing line instead of using a dedicated vacuum port
    from the right-hand throttle body. This resulted in poor to low vacuum
    pressure available for the actuator and further caused excess fuel wetting
    of the vacuum check valve and solenoids which contributed to loss of
    vacuum. This came to light after Tony called me several weeks back,
    they are in Australia, and we discussed the symptoms. I made note of the
    install change I had made and he felt that could easily explain the
    symptoms we were seeing as they had seen this before.

    So fix was easy, I feel like a dope for causing the problem but Tony and
    Frank of McCruise were extremely helpful in resolving this and even sent
    a complement of parts to Mark to cover any eventuality. They build an
    excellent and well thought-out product and if you're in the market for a
    bike specific electronic cruise control they are the best!

    I'll also say Mark Reis is a very competent technician and is a recommend
    if you need motorcycle electrical work in the Seattle area. He knows his stuff!

    Hopefully this will be the last issue with this.
    Tomorrow we get new tires shod.
    #6
  7. Solarmoose

    Solarmoose electric

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2009
    Oddometer:
    749
    Location:
    Fairbanks
    Hey Rok, hope you've had success getting on the road too. Its good to hear
    from you again. We've been patiently (not) waiting for the past six months
    for this to come and to finish what we began. But we're not in any hurry to
    point the front tire north so I'm looking at places I've never been before.
    Its too easy to pick familiar roads. Glad you're along. SM


    Hey Nanuq, have read some of your stuff too and enjoyed it. Thanks for
    the comments.
    SM
    #7
  8. RokLobster

    RokLobster Far from sanity

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2011
    Oddometer:
    86
    Location:
    New Harbor, ME
    Hey Solarmoose -

    We are on the road and have been able to get out every month for a few days of riding for the past year - a record for us in the Northeast.

    I hope you find some new and exciting, twisty roads to explore and I can't wait to read about them!

    Rok
    #8
  9. Solarmoose

    Solarmoose electric

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2009
    Oddometer:
    749
    Location:
    Fairbanks
    Tired

    We wake up to a rainy but pretty morning.
    [​IMG]

    Its a work-on-bikes day so we don't care. First we take the wheels off the bikes:
    [​IMG]

    And take them to Seattle Cycle Center to have new tires mounted and balanced
    [​IMG]

    It takes about an hour or so and all four are ready to go
    [​IMG]

    Back to Ralph's garage and put them back on
    [​IMG]

    Now bikes are ready to go. We'll be here visiting family till next Monday and then start our
    eastward trek. But in the meantime we'll scuff the new tires in on the local twisties. :evil

    SM
    #9
  10. Solarmoose

    Solarmoose electric

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2009
    Oddometer:
    749
    Location:
    Fairbanks
    Monday Launch

    We've spent the last couple days visiting family here and now the time has come to get on the road.

    [​IMG]

    Hope we don't need chains, but its cooling down and raining
    [​IMG]

    We stop for a break after going through Snoqualmie Pass, it was raining
    and temps in the high 30's. The cameras didn't come out during that.
    [​IMG]

    Fortunately the rain stopped after the pass and it warmed up to the high 40's
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    We get wet again
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    Today we're going to see some Alaskan friends who are fixing up a place
    in Idaho, its a nice road down to their place
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Hey Nathan, the gates locked
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    So we hang out for a few minutes and enjoy the sunshine.
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    [​IMG]

    Our bikes get bunked into the shop and we work on Cee's center stand.
    It had broken in half today and had parts hanging down that we tie-wrapped
    up to continue. So we removed the broken part. We'll call ahead and
    order up some parts.
    Cee could hear something making noise so I rode beside her to see what
    was wrong. Not serious since we caught it before it could cause real trouble.
    [​IMG]

    They have a beautiful place
    [​IMG]

    A good first day back on the bikes. Wet and cold but the gear works and
    we stayed warm.
    [​IMG]
    #10
  11. Solarmoose

    Solarmoose electric

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2009
    Oddometer:
    749
    Location:
    Fairbanks
    Tuesday - Ride South

    We wake up to cold temps and threatening clouds, we wait for it to warm a
    bit and then pack up. Its sleeting as we ride away. Was great to see the Powell brothers
    Bill and Nathan. My brothers and I get together with these guys to ride sleds
    in Alaskan mountains, and sometimes faraway places. Good friends.
    [​IMG]

    Not long into the morning and a warning light comes on my bike's dash.
    The brakes work ok so I'll hook up the code reader later and see what is
    causing this. The pad-wear light comes on in the afternoon, that indicates
    the brake pads are worn. I know they're ok and this is more likely a
    failure in the delicate wire that runs to the brake caliper.
    [​IMG]

    Cee waits while I check out the warning light
    [​IMG]

    We ride through beautiful countryside
    [​IMG]

    Snow isn't far above us and is beside the road in several places.
    [​IMG]

    I stop to take some pictures of the Payette river
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    [​IMG]

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    Today we stop in Boise for the evening
    [​IMG]

    Tomorrow (Wednesday) we'll ride to Craters of the Moon

    Where's my rocket pack?
    #11
  12. kitesurfer

    kitesurfer Long timer

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2009
    Oddometer:
    1,692
    Location:
    north florida
    I enjoyed your last trip and RR. i'm watching this one too. ride safe!
    #12
  13. beamertwin

    beamertwin Paul

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2005
    Oddometer:
    1,072
    Location:
    the end of the rainbow
    Gald you are out enjoying what brings a smile to your face (and keeps your helmets on).
    Have fun and be safe!
    Look forward to following along.
    Paul
    #13
  14. Solarmoose

    Solarmoose electric

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2009
    Oddometer:
    749
    Location:
    Fairbanks
    Hi kitesurfer,
    Glad you enjoyed that RR, we'll try to make this one as interesting too.
    #14
  15. Solarmoose

    Solarmoose electric

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2009
    Oddometer:
    749
    Location:
    Fairbanks
    Paul,
    It was great to meet you last winter. Hope your travels to the woods were fun.

    oh, and Helmets are what keeps my head warm!
    David
    #15
  16. Solarmoose

    Solarmoose electric

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2009
    Oddometer:
    749
    Location:
    Fairbanks
    Day 9 05022012 - of the moon
    Wednesday

    We start this day in bright sunshine in Boise. I hook up my new GS-911 code
    reader to the GT and clear the pad worn-out light since the pads are ok but
    cannot clear the Brake Failure error, that indicates it cannot communicate
    with the ABS front wheel sensor. Its what I figured since that wire probably
    got damaged during the last tire change. Its not a "show-stopper" as it means
    I don't have ABS on the front brake, but then I've ridden for 40 years w/o
    ABS. I'll deal with it when we get to Denver or maybe at home. I'm glad I
    got the code reader.

    First break stop to add back a layer, wasn't as warm as it looked.
    [​IMG]

    We get off I84 and start up US26 to go to Craters of the Moon park.
    [​IMG]

    Climbing up and cooling down. Altitude goes up, temps go down and down.
    [​IMG]

    We stop at nice rest area for lunch. Idaho has great rest areas.
    [​IMG]

    Next stop is
    [​IMG]

    This is a cool place
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    the rock surfaces and light did weird things to my camera's light meter giving it a somewhat surreal look.
    [​IMG]

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    the lava cooled into strange shapes
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    [​IMG]

    we never took off our "moon suites" or helmets when stopped, the wind
    was blowing hard and it was cold. The people in cars did not get out for long.

    Where's my Lunar Rover? I thought I left it parked around here somewhere.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    We stop by the Visitor Center to see the displays and read the history.
    When Cee tries to start her bike the ignition key will not turn. I get out
    her spare key I keep on my bike, (she keeps my spare on hers) and it
    won't turn either. Is this going to require a tow truck back to Boise?
    I try giving it a lot more pressure and hope I don't break the key. These
    keys are a pretty thick so hopefully not. Finally it turns and I work it
    back and forth several times. Seems ok now. I had another bike do
    this and the answer was to spray light lubricant into the keyhole and
    work out the dirt that was making it stick. That ignition lock had a
    weep-hole in the bottom. We'll pick up some spray lube tonight and
    work on it later. Its working now.

    On to Idaho Falls where we are now.
    [​IMG]

    Mileage stats. Easy day.
    [​IMG]

    Today, Thursday, we ride to Bozeman MT. Weather reports are not
    good, lots of snow warnings in the passes and there are high passes no
    matter which route we take. Cee spent a lot of time looking at the three possible
    choices and we decide on one. North on US 20 to SR-87 to US 287 to
    SR-84/US 191 into Bozeman. Only 200 miles so we'll start late and hope
    for the best. We're both very familiar with snow, obviously, but it doesn't
    mix with two-wheeled street bikes very well.
    #16
  17. AK Bob

    AK Bob AKAM

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2010
    Oddometer:
    230
    Location:
    Fairbanks, AK
    You both have official passes to miss BT.

    Stay safe, Ken is at 5 days after his get off and slide, and is felling better.

    Bob Da C
    Your Alaska Airmarshal
    #17
  18. Solarmoose

    Solarmoose electric

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2009
    Oddometer:
    749
    Location:
    Fairbanks
    Thank you kind sir,
    Cee says we shall drink a beer in your honor next Monday and will report back on our success.
    We really do dislike missing the monthly BT. (thats Barley Therapy to the uninitiated readers)
    Glad to hear Ken is better. Give our regards to all.
    #18
  19. Solarmoose

    Solarmoose electric

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2009
    Oddometer:
    749
    Location:
    Fairbanks
    Day10 05032012 - Weather or not

    The day has a great start as its mostly sunny In Idaho Falls and in the 60's
    when we leave to ride up US 20.
    [​IMG]

    Not far north, as we get into the hills, the sun disappears behind the clouds
    [​IMG]

    That must have been a lot of work to build
    [​IMG]

    Stopping for a cofffee break just over the pass we marvel at the nice
    temperatures we have seen today. It never got below 49F in the pass at 6800'
    [​IMG]

    Some history on the Madison valley we are traversing through
    [​IMG]

    We see heavy rain/snow clouds to our left and right but never over us!
    Cee picked the right route for today's trek.
    [​IMG]

    having fun
    [​IMG]

    yep, warmer than the forecasts said
    [​IMG]

    We arrive in Bozeman and meet up with the kids for dinner. It was a very nice ride today.
    [​IMG]

    Highway 84 into Bozeman was a lot of fun, some great twisties and a few
    long sections that the GT decided to take advantage of... :wink:
    [​IMG]
    #19
  20. eujane

    eujane n00b

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2011
    Oddometer:
    4
    Forgot to click on your link! :clap Glad to find you again and follow your travels! Say HI to the family! How exciting for Marc to move back to Alaska!

    Keep Safe! Love,
    Jane & Gene
    #20