Virginia to Alaska and back on an '86 Yamaha Radian

Discussion in 'Epic Rides' started by ruffntuff, Oct 2, 2012.

  1. motolab

    motolab Long timer

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    For all of you budding Radian enthusiasts, here's a link to the primordial Radian locus: http://autos.groups.yahoo.com/group/radian/. Most any imaginable Radian technical issue has been covered there ad nauseam, and unlike the ADVRider search function, this one actually produces relevant results. And here's a site with pics, magazine articles, etc. dedicated to the Radian: http://www.badrad600.com.

    Regards,

    Derek
  2. reepicheep

    reepicheep Been here awhile

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    Very enjoyable report! Derek pointed all us Radian lurkers to this thread, I'm sure I'm not the only one really enjoying following it.

    I'm on the bike after the bike after the bike after the Radian (and that doesn't count the dirt bikes), but being my first "real" bike, the Radian still has a special place. Crappy brakes, jello frame, fussy petcock, flake side stand, slippy clutch, and random suspension springing included.

    It actually isn't a bad choice for this trip. Low seat height, air cooled simplicity, well proven and simple powerplant de-tuned from it's racing roots. Adventure riding bikes are over rated for adventure riding (and I say that as someone who owns one). The Radian can't possibly do this ride, it doesn't even have a beak! You can have an adventure without a beak! :rofl

    Thanks for sharing your adventure!
  3. Macdogg

    Macdogg Adventurer

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    Wow, just when I think I can't be more amazed, you go and throw the WOW factor down. Something to be said and enjoyed about a solo ride from VA to AK and back. Congrats and keep the posts coming.
  4. Stan Dalone

    Stan Dalone Gotta get me somma dat

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    Wo says ya cant get thair from hair?
    :raabia :raabia

    Wow, excellent adventure, excellent writing.
    It official YOU ROCK

    Has anyone proposed yet? :lol3
  5. turbogringo

    turbogringo n00b

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    Anna. Hal here. This is really terrific! Fantastic writing and photos.

    As someone who knows and has ridden with Anna, she is the real deal, one hell of a rider and a genuinely awesome person. I remember seeing her Radian when she and Bee 1st picked it up. It's a great bike! But it's the rider, not the bike and that's why she was able to do this trip.

    Your brother would definitely be proud.
  6. LXDDLE

    LXDDLE ROBBXR

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    Anna,

    Just finished reading your great story. A friend of a friend suggested it today in an email. This experience is a gift and it will shape you for the rest of your life. Fantastic!
  7. arwenalaska

    arwenalaska swimmin' the lacunae

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  8. Sic Semper Tyrannis

    Sic Semper Tyrannis Plays with Banjos, Boats and Bikes...

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    Finished reading through all this and I have to say that is an awesome adventure.

    I live here in Virginia and I thought I might take a little trek this summer. Now you have me thinking much grander, probably still not Alaska, but maybe the rockies.

    Can't wait to hear of your next adventure!!!
  9. AntonLargiader

    AntonLargiader Long timer

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    Great story. The 'confident' part really rang true with me; that one word best sums up how I felt after a similar trip about ten years ago. A couple of weeks/months of total mobile self-sufficiency does wonders.

    It was neat to see Bee right there on the first page. What a great guy; I can totally see him giving you that encouragement.

    I probably never met Dan but some friends knew him well. I can't speak with authority here but I do think I understand your loss and also his presence with you on your trip. I hope you finished your trip with the reconnection you were looking for.

    My wife and I were married at White Hall, probably while he was helping there. We still have some of those bottles.
  10. ruffntuff

    ruffntuff TUFRDR

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    Wow, small world. As you probably know Dan was also married at White Hall just a year before he was killed. He also worked at Sugarleaf Vineyards and I will recommend if you like wine to buy some. It is disappearing fast and in my opinion the best of Virginia if not the east coast. Thanks for your post.
  11. gueroaero

    gueroaero Adventurer

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    Thank you for bringing us along on the adventure. I work full time and do school full time, so I don't have the ability to leave anywhere yet. I do ride everywhere I go and you are reminding me that, when there is some time off, I should go for it, pick a destination and ride. I get about 230 miles to the tank, so fuel logistics should be a bit better though ;)

    I can't wait for more :D
  12. CloneBoy

    CloneBoy Future Adventurer

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    Just found this RR, excellent write up and I cant wait to see the rest of it!

    Thanks Anna keep it coming!
  13. ruffntuff

    ruffntuff TUFRDR

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    Day 19:
    June 8, 2012
    Anchorage, AK – Denali National Park, AK: 224 miles

    Gary made another fantastic breakfast. Sourdough pancakes and spicy sausage with Birch syrup and homemade blueberry and currant jam. It was an epic delicious feast.

    I took my time packing up. I didn’t really want to leave. But I knew if I was going to see everything I wanted to with the little time I had, I needed to head to Denali.

    I wanted to camp in the park but the same problem struck me as before. I didn’t want to leave my bike with all my gear on it sitting in a parking lot while I was off in the wilderness.

    Not only was I worried of a person ripping off my gear, but also the bears. I had heard the bears around Denali were notorious for breaking into cars. I can only imagine the damage one would do to my little Radian.

    When I was at the motorcycle campground in Tok, I had noticed a poster on the door of the privy while concentrating on my morning post-coffee business. It was a list of all the hostels in Alaska. Haines and Denali both had one.

    I wrote down the contact information in my journal and called the Denali Mountain Morning Hostel from Gary and Deb’s. Thankfully they were not booked, so I went ahead and made a reservation for the night.

    It was only going to be a little over 200 miles to get there. I decided to spend a little more time visiting with Gary and Deb and take my time leaving Anchorage.

    We drove over to the BMW dealership just to look at all the pretty bikes. I was talking about how much I wanted a G650GS or F650GS for this trip but couldn’t afford one or even find a used one in my area. I hadn’t even sat on either of them, but from what everyone told me (other than Bee) it was the bike I should of ridden to Alaska on.

    They had a G650 in stock but not the F650. I sat on it and loved it of course. It felt perfect in every way for the trip I was doing; upright positioning, light bike, good suspension with high clearance, large gas tank, dual sport tires and practically designed for carrying luggage efficiently.

    I compared it to the Radian. Yes, it was a vintage cruiser style street bike not meant for this adventure. The peanut tank only got me 80 miles at a time. The side cases got pinched in the shocks on bumpy roads that were developing holes I was beginning to duct tape on a daily basis. My backpack strapped on top made it difficult to access the side cases and open the tail case. This just made me pack differently and I got used to it. My tires weren’t made for unpaved roads but they did just fine when I slowed down.

    Regardless of the lesser perks and luxuries the Radian had, I still loved it more. I loved it for its individuality, for its fortitude, and its constancy on indefinite terrain. All the imperative things necessary for such a trip existed despite what it was made for almost thirty years ago. And, I got it for $1000.

    We went back home and Deb decided to ride with me part of the way to Denali. She got ready while I finished packing the bike I said goodbye to Gary. He gave me some leftover sourdough pancakes rolled with peanut butter inside for a tasty snack later. I was going to miss his cooking.

    Deb and I left Anchorage on the Parks Highway. I felt I was missing a lot of Anchorage by leaving too soon. I wanted to see more. I just didn’t have enough time. I really would love to move there someday to have the opportunity to explore more.

    We rode as far as Wasilla where Deb decided to head back. We refueled and shared some coffee before saying goodbye. It was very sad leaving. I felt a lonesomeness come over me as I headed towards Denali alone on the road again.

    The rest of the ride it rained and the mountains were socked in. It only took me a few hours for me to get to the hostel but it was long enough for me to be depressed, sick of the rain and wanting to just rest somewhere warm and dry again. I just wanted to see blue sky and mountains for once in Alaska.

    The hostel was cute and quaint with friendly people that cheered me up some. I stayed in a little bunkhouse next to a river with soothing sounds to sleep next to. There was a beautiful wooden cook cabin where I made dinner and could use the internet from my Droid. The shower house had warm water and there was a free shuttle to Denali National Park I could take the next morning.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    There was a bar across the street that I went to with a few people from the hostel. It was a small pizza joint playing live bluegrass music. I suddenly felt I was back in Virginia near the Appalachians that echoed with old time folk and banjo that I missed so much.

    I walked back to the hostel around 1:00am under the midnight sun. I still couldn’t get used to the evening light in Alaska. I slept feeling less lonesome and looking forward to Denali tomorrow. Pray for sunshine. Please let the sun shine.
  14. astroguy

    astroguy Adventurer

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    I love your report. I've done some solo bike trips and I can really vouche for the soul searching, healing, and strengthening that I get from them.
    Your trip is beautiful in it's origins and reasons then throw in the fact that it's done on a simple inexpensive old bike with a make do approach.....plus this bike story includes many wonderful strangers that take you in and show you what humankind is sometimes capable of !
    Inspiring and gets to my heart....thanks Ruff 'N Tuff, you've got me planning another trip this spring.
    Dave from Canada
  15. Merlin III

    Merlin III Mean SOB

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    Very nice Anna.
  16. cpres

    cpres Been here awhile

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    Looking to the next update, love the ride what you own and do it on budget aspect. Someday I hope to venture that far north.

    Sent from my DROID RAZR using Tapatalk 2
  17. tvbh40a

    tvbh40a PSUViking

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  18. MizzouRider

    MizzouRider Long timer

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    Thanks again for another great installment. :clap
    I still think its just incredibly cool that you made this trip on your own.
    What burns inside you to do it? I didn't even dream about adventures like this until I was much much older.
    Was this a trip your brother was going to take? Just really neat you did it.
    I'll go back to page one.. Maybe the answers are already there.
    (They were.. My old brain just doesn't keep all the info straight.) been with you from your first post.
  19. elite1

    elite1 Been here awhile

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    Two Radians for sale on Craigslist near me. Both under $1500. Think I might pick one up and see if I can make it to Tierra Del Fuego.....:1drink
  20. Merlin III

    Merlin III Mean SOB

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    "providential"

    Where did you get that word? I haven't seen it or used it since Junior High School and that was a very long time ago. :1drink

    I appreciate the honestly of your RR. Pain, suffering from the elements, insecurity, and periods of loneliness are integral parts of any solo MC trip as well as the panaceas of talking to anyone you meet who will listen to you, accepting kindness from strangers, hot springs, and brew pubs. :freaky :clap