Virginia to Alaska and back on an '86 Yamaha Radian

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

  1. huzar

    huzar Pastor of Muppets

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2009
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    Bellevue, WA
    :lurk
    #21
  2. CaptnSlo

    CaptnSlo Derelicte

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    Jul 16, 2012
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    1,545
    Location:
    VA
    Terrific writing! Looking forward to reading the rest of your adventure. I admire your spirit and wish you the best of luck.
    #22
  3. gnuse

    gnuse Ride to Fly

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2006
    Oddometer:
    278
    Location:
    Dahlonega
    Thanks for sharing. I am guessing that we are being allowed to follow you on the ride of a lifetime. Great picture from Road Atlanta too, that place is very special to me (see my profile).
    #23
  4. conchscooter

    conchscooter Long timer

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2007
    Oddometer:
    2,382
    Location:
    Florida Keys
    I like this. Take what you've got, make it work and head for the horizon. An object lesson in how to go riding. Go riding and don't over think it. Hats off.
    #24
    NorthPole likes this.
  5. SBKBee

    SBKBee BEE/CNU

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2012
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    4
    Location:
    FZ Hotel
    Damn girl, look how clean it is, and such a shiny fender!
    #25
  6. Ginger Beard

    Ginger Beard I have no soul

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2008
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    Location:
    Sunny Northern Cuba (aka: South Florida)
    I can't believe that you found such a nice condition Radian for $1000!! NICE!! :clap


    Nerves are part of the adventure. Embrace that fear. Treat it like a weapon rather than a hindrance. :gun1



    Almost forgot...IN!! :lurk
    #26
  7. ruffntuff

    ruffntuff TUFRDR

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2012
    Oddometer:
    118
    Location:
    Charlottesville, Virginia
    Day Three:
    May 23, 2012
    Oak Grove, MO – Denver, CO: 660mi

    I woke up in Oak Grove to a beautiful morning with pink and orange sky. I was excited to get on the road fast hoping to get to Denver and stay with an old friend I hadn’t seen in 14 years. While I was packing up the bike I saw a tall man just two sites down from me with his gorgeous Rhodesian ridgeback. They came meandering by and I saw him eyeing the bike while I was eyeing his dog. He asked where I was headed and when I told him Alaska he said he wished he was on the same trip. However, he was on his way back home to California in his new Rubicon jeep.

    As it turns out this was the meeting of another Adventure Rider, LongTallSally….again, another providential encounter on this trip. We talked for an hour about good rides and good bikes as well as some of his own adventures. It just so happened I was planning on being in California later in the summer to work at the San Francisco Zoo after riding to Alaska and he lived in the Bay area. So I got thorough advice on sites to see and routes to take while traveling through California, not to mention, a friend to ride with while I was there.

    The time flew by while we chatted so I told him my plans on getting to Denver, anxious it was getting late. It turned out he too was headed there for the night to meet a friend. We exchanged numbers and I got a head start leaving the campground but it was nice to know he’d be right behind me.

    I rode through the entire state of Kansas that day with a wind advisory of 35mph gusts of wind. I had to stay tight on the bike, knees and elbows tucked, leaning forward over the tank and holding my head just above the tachometer. My neck got sore from bracing and I felt the bike leaning left the whole day to compensate. When I got off for gas I felt as if I was unable to stand straight and my spine was permanently kinked to the left.

    At one point I could see a dust storm like a mini tornado spinning across the ground. It was moving towards the road and I anticipated it may cross the same time as myself. Sure enough I watched it get closer to the road as I got closer to it and I braced myself while I rode through it. It felt just like the eye of a storm, remarkably quiet in the middle.

    Kansas may be the worst state I have been through, hence my riding through it as fast as possible. However, I found it interesting seeing the landscape change. The flat plains on the east are yellow with fields of wind turbines. As you head west the plains develop small hills and the land turns greener and scattered with oil rigs. Yup, that’s about it.

    After one of my many stops for gas, LongTallSally eventually passed me on the road. I rode behind him for awhile until I eventually lost him as I needed to stop AGAIN for gas. As I crossed into Colorado I could feel the temperature starting to drop and the sky looked like rain. I spent the last hour riding in one of the heaviest downpours of my trip. I could hardly see through my visor and was having to crack it open to see the lines on the road which then just stung my face with sharp rain. My hands went cold and numb with my gloves soaked through. I knew my next investment in Denver would be proper gloves.

    There weren’t any cars to follow and then suddenly I saw lights behind me and sure enough it was LongTallSally. Knowing my predicament and still 30 miles from Denver he got in front of me and gave me lights to follow into the city. It was rush hour and I was thankful to have him in front keeping an eye on me.

    The rain subsided and LongTallSally pulled off the highway to his destination knowing I was okay while I continued to my friend’s house. Just before getting there I saw the car in front of me go through a flooded section of road. All I saw was the wave of water tower over the driver’s window. I tried not to panic knowing I had no choice but to ride through what looked like a foot of water. I maintained the throttle and told myself not to touch the break and we glided through getting only my feet submerged.

    When I made it to my friends I felt it was a miracle. It may not be the longest day of my trip but certainly the most miles along with the most challenging weather. It is just providential I made it, thanks to LongTallSally.

    [​IMG]

    Plan tomorrow:
    Get some fucking waterproof gloves!

    Quote of the day:
    I stopped at a gas station and a cute hippie chick came up to me and said, “You passed me on the highway back there. I like your bike. I can’t believe you’re a girl!”
    #27
  8. Jack90210

    Jack90210 quia ego nominor leo

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2004
    Oddometer:
    15,635
    Location:
    Charlottesville, VA
    Wow. Long live the UJM. :bow

    For me there is something so very Zen about the monotony of Kansas, even on I-70.

    Safe travels ... and here's to your brother. *clink*
    #28
  9. reticent rooster

    reticent rooster ____________________

    Joined:
    May 4, 2009
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    23
    Location:
    Aberdeen, MS
    +1!
    #29
  10. cleanair

    cleanair Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2010
    Oddometer:
    208
    Location:
    just past resume speed
    Enjoying the RR
    #30
  11. dcompson

    dcompson Adventurer

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2011
    Oddometer:
    20
    Location:
    Hell
    Sounds like your having a great time! I'm jealous.
    #31
  12. SloMo228

    SloMo228 World Class Cheapass

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2012
    Oddometer:
    1,874
    Location:
    SE Michigan
    Subscribed! I'm considering an Alaska trip next year, I'm looking forward to reading about your travels.
    #32
  13. ruffntuff

    ruffntuff TUFRDR

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2012
    Oddometer:
    118
    Location:
    Charlottesville, Virginia
    Day Four:
    May 24, 2012
    Denver, CO – Longmont, CO: 40mi

    After riding 1700 miles in three days it was nice to have a day with a friend to relax and run errands. First thing I did in the morning was search for motorcycle stores and went to Performance Cycle shop where I found Gerbing heated gloves to plug into the bike. The man there assured me they were waterproof but anyone that wears “waterproof” gear long enough knows nothing is really waterproof when fully tested in extreme elements.

    I bought a cheap pair of rubber outer gloves for extra protection since the dish washing gloves I was carrying wouldn’t fit on top of them. That was another tip from an ADV inmate. It’s a great cheap way to waterproof your gloves but finding a pair large enough to fit over your leather ones is the hard part. Not to mention, pulling rubber over slightly damp leather is like trying to put on a wet bathing suit that’s too small. So I made sure the new ones I got were plenty big.

    With a concern of running out of gas as I headed to more remote areas, I got a tip from a friend that an easy way to carry extra fuel is in a steel water canister. So after purchasing my fancy new gloves I rolled over to the gigantic, enormous, famous REI of Denver with three floors! Being the gear junkie that I am it was an adventurer’s paradise. I think I was in there for three hours but managed to only walk out with some smartwool socks and gel padded biker shorts for my bruised sit bones

    After talking with some people there they convinced me putting gasoline in a canister made for water may not be a good idea as the fuel will probably be corrosive to the plastic lid. Last thing I wanted was fuel leaking all over the bike and riding down the highway like a rocket on fire.

    I remembered both TooTallRacing and LongTallSally telling me about RotoPax, an awesome fuel container designed to be packed on a bike. I called LongTallSally knowing he was still in Denver and got him to meet me at the REI to help me go on a RotoPax hunt. We searched around and finally found a little store south of the city which was in the middle of nowhere. I bought a two gallon jug and we headed back to the house to figure out how to pack it on the bike. It fit just perfectly on top of my pack with a couple bungee cords.

    With my errands complete I was anxious to get back on the road and make a few miles. I had a couple old friends to visit in Longmont and headed there for the night after saying my goodbyes in Denver. It was a beautiful day and I got my first sight of the Rockies. There’s something about seeing snow covered mountains peaking into blue sky that always touches my soul. This was not Kansas anymore. I was in high spirits thinking I was going to follow those mountains all the way to Alaska.

    When I met my friends in Longmont we went into Boulder and found a nice pub. I had a juicy steak with some local beer and slept like a rock.

    [​IMG]

    Plan: Follow the mountains to Fort Collins tomorrow to meet my cousin.
    #33
  14. sgio

    sgio Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2011
    Oddometer:
    164
    Location:
    Upstate NY
    I am subscribed to this one. Thanks for taking the time to write up a ride report.:clap:clap:clap
    My first street bike was a Yamaha 1981 XJ650 Maxim. Looking forward to seeing how the Radian does!
    #34
  15. TooTallRacing

    TooTallRacing Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2007
    Oddometer:
    180
    Location:
    Lanesville, IN
    Wow great ride report Anna! You have some writing skills.

    We were glad to have had the opportunity to meet you and help you along the way. I knew shortly after meeting you that you would make it to Alaska. Anyone who can hike the entire Appalachian Trail can surely ride a motorcycle to Alaska.

    So weird meeting LTS, especially in a campground in Missouri. He owns or at least used to own a BMW like mine. I remember reading his post about engine guards, and trips to Death Valley and Cabo. You might have meet the two tallest ADV riders in a single day.

    Thanks for doing the RR, I know it's a lot of work and a PITA but lots of us are enjoying it.

    The Yamaha sure looks good in the pictures heading up to Alaska, how does it look now?
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    #35
  16. limeymike

    limeymike Who Me?

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2008
    Oddometer:
    713
    Location:
    Coventry UK & South Dakota.
    Flatlands out of the way, the good riding starts! :freaky
    #36
  17. ruffntuff

    ruffntuff TUFRDR

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2012
    Oddometer:
    118
    Location:
    Charlottesville, Virginia
    Day 5:
    May 25, 2012
    Longmont &#8211; Fort Collins, CO: 85mi
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    It&#8217;s always nice to know a chef. Ian is an old friend of my brothers and an amazing head chef at a restaurant in Lyons. In the morning I woke up to the smell of smoked bacon, fried eggs and roasted coffee he prepared for his wife Kristen and me. There&#8217;s something about a good hardy breakfast that always hits the spot when traveling, especially since I tend to just eat trail-mix and jerky all day.

    Ian headed off to work while Kristen and I went back into Boulder to the REI to get a few more things. I was going to be heading into the &#8220;unknown&#8221; soon with no planned contacts so I wanted to be sure I had everything I needed. I got a few backpacker meals and extra straps in case something fails and headed back to the house to pack up the bike.

    Since I was only heading to Fort Collins for the night to see my cousins, Kristen and I decided to go for a hike in Roosevelt National Forest with their three dogs. I followed her on the bike to Lyons where we left it at Ian&#8217;s restaurant and drove up into the Rocky Mountains. It was a beautiful twisty road banked with rocky cliffs and evergreen forest. I was actually wishing I was on the bike for this fun road.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    After enjoying some exercise near Button Rock Mountain we headed back to Lyons where we had an early dinner at Ian&#8217;s restaurant. The food was amazing of course.

    With not far to go, I decided to take the road to Estes Park for a more scenic ride to Fort Collins. It was fun to be riding on a windy two lane road since the majority of my ride had been interstate until now. I followed 36 through the Roosevelt National Forest until I summited the edge of the forest overlooking Estes Lake, just at the base of Mt. Olympus. It was one of the most beautiful views I had seen causing me to slow down and take a deep breath.

    As I descended into Estes Park I turned east onto 34 to follow the Big Thompson River through a steep, rocky, narrow canyon back to Fort Collins. I had fun leaning into the curves and feeling the weight of the bike as if it were part of me. It was an exciting technical ride so it took me a bit longer than anticipated. I made it to my cousin&#8217;s house just before dark and was happy to be visiting with family on my adventure.

    [​IMG]

    Plan tomorrow: Get as far as you can into Wyoming.
    #37
  18. ruffntuff

    ruffntuff TUFRDR

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2012
    Oddometer:
    118
    Location:
    Charlottesville, Virginia
    i dont understand why my pictures aren't working... :(
    #38
  19. MizzouRider

    MizzouRider Long timer

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2007
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    1,988
    Location:
    Fly over zone
    The pics would be nice, but your narrative is very good. Thanks for staying with it. Looking forward to the "unknown" ahead. :clap
    #39
  20. ruffntuff

    ruffntuff TUFRDR

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2012
    Oddometer:
    118
    Location:
    Charlottesville, Virginia
    well now they are....damn computers.
    #40