Alaska 2018 - I only celebrate my birthday every 60 years

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Ozarks Rider, Jun 26, 2018.

  1. Ozarks Rider

    Ozarks Rider I'd never join club that would have me as a member Supporter

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2015
    Oddometer:
    96
    Location:
    NW Arkansas
    A few years ago Alaska made it to my radar as a destination so I decided to use my 60th birthday year to head up north. Riding for over 40 years on pavement, adventure bikes are a relatively recent arrival for me which I think is satisfying a latent desire from my childhood to ride dirt bikes and never followed through on it. I'm leaving NW Arkansas on June 29th on a 2015 BMW R1200 GSA and have a few weeks to zig-zag up through the lower 48 and then through BC and Yukon to arrive in Anchorage on about July 14th. Camping every night except the first one-rain or shine. My good friend Dan will fly up and rent a bike for a week, then my wife will fly up and the three of us will do some touring in a car together, Dan heads home first and then my wife will leave on August 2. At that point I am bound for Deadhorse and weather permitting, I will try to make a run at Tuk before I turn south. All in all I figure to be gone a couple of months. My wife has been incredibly supportive and understanding-especially because she knows she won't have to deal with me being gone again like this for another 60 years.
    #1
    FJ Fun, MizzouRider, RandyG and 2 others like this.
  2. Ozarks Rider

    Ozarks Rider I'd never join club that would have me as a member Supporter

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2015
    Oddometer:
    96
    Location:
    NW Arkansas
  3. Too Tall

    Too Tall Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2005
    Oddometer:
    265
    Location:
    Black Hills, SD
    In! Love these AK ride reports.

    Ride safe!
    #3
    jlambo, Gham and Ozarks Rider like this.
  4. Ozarks Rider

    Ozarks Rider I'd never join club that would have me as a member Supporter

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2015
    Oddometer:
    96
    Location:
    NW Arkansas
    If driving a truck for 15 years taught me anything, it was to try to spend as little time as possible sitting on the side of the road with a wrench in my hand. Nothing sounds more lonely than traffic passing you at 70mph in the dead of winter along the New York thruway when you're fuel lines are frozen or some other mechanical issue. Invested in a Woody's Wheel for the front, new battery even though I don't have any present problems with my three and half year old battery, practiced changing a tire, etc. Strong believer in preparedness and helping anyone I can as I make my way. Although I have done some off-road training with some very reputable organizations, I have come to the conclusion that my two favorite portions of training are "It's time for lunch" and "We're done for the day". This is absolutely no reflection on the trainers, it's just that historically I have been trained to do very little and virtually everything I know is from rolling up my sleeves and just doing it. Not an impressive pedigree I grant you, but 'E' for effort anyway.
    #4
    shuswap1, max384, FJ Fun and 2 others like this.
  5. Fire44

    Fire44 Old, Slow and Tired

    Joined:
    May 25, 2010
    Oddometer:
    877
    Location:
    Middle of Delaware (aka Nowhere)
    It sounds like a great adventure! Have fun, be safe and post a lot of pictures of your travels.


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
    #5
    Gham and Ozarks Rider like this.
  6. Ozarks Rider

    Ozarks Rider I'd never join club that would have me as a member Supporter

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2015
    Oddometer:
    96
    Location:
    NW Arkansas
    Of course being a less than stellar student results in learning everything the hard way. I survived a ride through Copper Canyon in Mexico and learned A LOT in a short period of time. Managed to bounce off of a tree in Idaho last year and learned a whole new respect for the durability of my bike in the process. And had one of the worst days on sand in my life during a DART training session in Oklahoma. I had nightmares of the invasion of Normandy for two days after this. I absolutely sucked! IMG_2432.JPG IMG_2431.JPG
    Photo credit Susan Dragoo
    #6
    gadgettr1, shuswap1, max384 and 7 others like this.
  7. Ozarks Rider

    Ozarks Rider I'd never join club that would have me as a member Supporter

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2015
    Oddometer:
    96
    Location:
    NW Arkansas
    I have read just about every RR of anyone going to Alaska as well as anything I could find on You Tube. So I send my thanks for the valuable information and entertainment of all those who have contributed their experiences and motivation. Hopefully my efforts will help some others as well, and serve as an example that you are probably not the worst rider out there now that we have met!
    #7
    FJ Fun likes this.
  8. Gham

    Gham What's for lunch? Supporter

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2005
    Oddometer:
    2,485
    Location:
    Auburn Hills,MI.
    I agree ^^^^^^ take a ton of pics
    #8
    Ozarks Rider likes this.
  9. Ozarks Rider

    Ozarks Rider I'd never join club that would have me as a member Supporter

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2015
    Oddometer:
    96
    Location:
    NW Arkansas
    A couple of days before blast-off and I am still trying to finish up meetings and other obligations around the house. Looks to be dry Friday and I will be taking off in a crisp 95 degree heat. A lot of people are complaining about the heat and we're supposedly in a drought, but this is summer in the southern mid-west and someone always thinks we're in a drought. It's hotter than the devil which is precisely why I am not camping in Nebraska my first day and why I might be rethinking the logic behind trying to camp in the Badlands of South Dakota the following day. We shall see.
    #9
    bobw likes this.
  10. Ozarks Rider

    Ozarks Rider I'd never join club that would have me as a member Supporter

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2015
    Oddometer:
    96
    Location:
    NW Arkansas
    My wife and I got on the subject of why I take these trips after I made a comment that when I see ads or commercials about the freedom and liberation of riding a bike seems overblown in its context. "So why do you go?" she asks. I didn't have an immediate answer. I don't see how it's liberating unless you just had an ankle bracket removed or you have been on house arrest. I don't do it because I have anything to prove to myself or anyone else-far from it. And riding a bike is quite honestly a lot of work. How to pack, what to-and not to pack, hot and cold weather extremes, being exposed to other traffic, rain. I mean, in some ways it makes little sense rather than taking a climate controlled vehicle that offers more protection in virtually every sense of the word. But I don't think I would be as likely to go in a car, as strange as that sounds with the preceding comments. I simply don't have a compelling reason to go, yet it feels great to come back with the experiences whatever they might be, which I suppose is my incentive to go again. I have some idea as to what to expect based on my research of Alaska, but who honestly knows until you get there?
    #10
    dogon2whls, bobw and black 8 like this.
  11. Ozarks Rider

    Ozarks Rider I'd never join club that would have me as a member Supporter

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2015
    Oddometer:
    96
    Location:
    NW Arkansas
    Two books well worth reading before going to Alaska. Michener has written some incredible novels and he covers Alaska going back tens of thousands of years and based on documented evidence and artistic license, he paints an amazing picture of how Alaska came into being after being purchased from the Russians in 1867 and then much later becoming the 49th state in 1959. Thanks to my brother Bill for recommending it. Milepost is the ultimate reference for virtually everything Alaska as well as Yukon, British Columbia, Alberta, and the NW Territories. Really not practical to take on a bike but an excellent reference for planning purposes.


    IMG_2327.JPG IMG_2329.JPG
    #11
    bobw likes this.
  12. Ozarks Rider

    Ozarks Rider I'd never join club that would have me as a member Supporter

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2015
    Oddometer:
    96
    Location:
    NW Arkansas
    Testing my new cot. I generally find that if it is good enough for the dog then it's probably too good for me
    IMG_2502.JPG
    #12
  13. Ozarks Rider

    Ozarks Rider I'd never join club that would have me as a member Supporter

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2015
    Oddometer:
    96
    Location:
    NW Arkansas
    Less than 24 hours to lift-off. Experienced my first night of RBS (Restless Brain Syndrome) trying to close up business and domestic responsibilities. In the past week I have had plenty of "Are you getting excited to go?", "Do you realize how far it is to get there?", "Isn't it too hot to ride a motorcycle right now"?, and "What, are you some sort of idiot"? Actually the last one doesn't have anything to do with this trip, it's just a timeless observation people seem to have about me.
    #13
    TheNorthernMonkey, black 8 and bobw like this.
  14. teamkabob

    teamkabob Adventurer

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2016
    Oddometer:
    38
    Get after it, looks like your preparation in done and you are ready! I’m in for the ride.

    Have your wife and you been to Alaska?


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    #14
    OzarksRider01 likes this.
  15. teamkabob

    teamkabob Adventurer

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2016
    Oddometer:
    38
    Also happy birthday Adventure!


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    #15
    OzarksRider01 likes this.
  16. ADVtortoise

    ADVtortoise Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2011
    Oddometer:
    139
    Location:
    Michigan
    I rode up to Alaska last summer at the age of 62. There are two types of people. Those who think it is great that I made a trip like this, and those that ask why I would make a trip like this. I have given up on even trying to explain to those that ask why.

    Have a great trip, you will have a blast (but stay flexible on camping vs a hotel, it can get pretty cold and rainy).
    #16
    OzarksRider01, bobw and teamkabob like this.
  17. Ozarks Rider

    Ozarks Rider I'd never join club that would have me as a member Supporter

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2015
    Oddometer:
    96
    Location:
    NW Arkansas

    Thanks! Neither of us have been before. Actually for me it's the last frontier for states to visit.
    #17
    bobw likes this.
  18. Ozarks Rider

    Ozarks Rider I'd never join club that would have me as a member Supporter

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2015
    Oddometer:
    96
    Location:
    NW Arkansas
    I agree. I have lined up most of the accommodations for the trip and for when our friend and my wife are there. After that, nothing on the books and we will just see what the weather and time hold. I would prefer to travel that way but when there are others involved and the window up there is so small, I didn't want to take chances on missing out.
    #18
  19. Mande92

    Mande92 Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2017
    Oddometer:
    72
    Location:
    Salmon Arm, BC
    Sounds like a great trip! I bet it will be nice to have a break in the middle as well.
    #19
    OzarksRider01 likes this.
  20. OzarksRider01

    OzarksRider01 Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2017
    Oddometer:
    10
    Yeah it will be more of the tourist portion and actually slow down a bit to see things well off the highway. Also a chance to get off the bike for a few days and maybe even get a break from the weather if it has been stormy.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    #20
    bobw likes this.