Another Rookie Went to Alaska

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Day Trippin'' started by 72 Yamaha RD350, Jan 3, 2020.

  1. 72 Yamaha RD350

    72 Yamaha RD350 Followed the Wrong God Home Supporter

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    @Valk rider: You, sir, are a hero! A co-worker was telling me this morning that his parents traveled the AlCan in the 1970's and I told him that it is a much different experience today than what they enjoyed. And you did it with drum brakes! A tip of my hat to you!

    What is the electronics hanging over your instrument panel?

    Feel free to share more of your AlCan experience or provide a link to your Ride Report.
  2. Valk rider

    Valk rider Been here awhile

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    Well, more young and naive than a hero. The electronics is a 2 meter FM Amateur Radio rig. Useless on the AlCan but no here else to put it. Maybe someday I’ll write a report about it on a new thread. I do have stories. Mostly of being cold/miserable and suicidal Rabbits. Not much of a writer unlike 72 Yamaha RD350 who I apologise to for posting on his thread.

    Attached Files:

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  3. McRuss

    McRuss Been here awhile

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    I lived in Chandler, been there at Ray and Dobson. Ray road was known as 'Death Ray Road' due to the number of fatalities!
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  4. 72 Yamaha RD350

    72 Yamaha RD350 Followed the Wrong God Home Supporter

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    Absolutely no need to apologize. You have no idea how much I enjoyed your pictures and what you’ve said about your trip.

    I grew up in the 1970’s. I remember what things were like back then with no cell phones, no GPS, no microwave ovens, no 24 hour news cycle or 200 channels of entertainment. The world was a lot smaller place back then. Riding the AlCan back then was a far bigger adventure than what I experienced in 2019. Technology has advanced so far yet we’ve given up so much. Frankly, I’m not certain it’s worth it.

    I don’t mind if anyone posts their AlCan pictures from that lost era. It helps put my trip into its proper perspective.
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  5. 72 Yamaha RD350

    72 Yamaha RD350 Followed the Wrong God Home Supporter

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    I was in the garage one day early last week when Elvis said to me: "Hey, Bear has something he wants to say to you."

    Me: "So why doesn't he say it himself?"

    Elvis: "Well you were pissy about that rally thing and he's a sensitive Bear."

    Me: "Okay. I'll apologize and see what he wants."

    Me: "Hey Bear, Team Strange finally posted the results of the MN1000 rally and we did pretty good."

    Bear: "How good?"

    Me: "Fifth among Rookies and we would have been fourth if I hadn't been penalized 100 points for losing the flash drive. And 18th out of 35 overall."

    Bear: "Does that mean you're not mad at me?"

    Me: "Of course not. We had a good ride even if it was a bit monotonous. And it turns out we stumbled across hallow ground."

    Elvis: "What's that?"

    Me: "It means a holy place."

    Bear: "I don't remember a holy place during the rally."

    Me: "That's because we were too focused on scoring bonus points and not paying attention to what was around us. It turns out Jerry Reed is in the Walk of Fame at The Wood Chipper site."

    Elvis: "You mean Jerry Reed the phenomenal guitar player?"

    Bear: "The Snowman?!!!"

    Me: "Yep. And Chet Atkins too."

    Elvis: "Fargo has both Jerry Reed and Chet Atkins in their Walk of Fame?"

    Me: "Yep."

    Elvis: "Two great guitar players!"

    Bear: "The Snowman was my favorite character in Smokey and the Bandit!"

    Elvis: "Mine too except when he ran over all those motorcycles!"

    Me: "Mine too after Sally Field."

    Bear: (eye roll)

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    Me: "Bear, Elvis tells me you have something you want to talk about?"

    Bear: "I want to go see the Grand Canyon of Minnesota!"

    Me: "There's a Grand Canyon of Minnesota?"

    Elvis: "There sure is!"

    Me: "Ok. How far is it?"

    Bear: "Three hundred miles!"

    Me: "Round trip?"

    Elvis: "One Way!"

    Me: "So six hundred miles to go see our local hole in the ground?"

    Elvis: "You Betcha!"

    Me: "So you've gone Native?"

    Bear: "He's just pulling your leg."

    Me: "What else do we get to see besides a giant hole in the ground?"

    Bear: "A really big lake, a couple of steam locomotives, Finland, a motorbike almost as old as you, a V16 quad turbocharged diesel engine, and the oldest dog whoever lived."

    Me: "Really? All that? Let me call RGU and see if he's interested in going."
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  6. 72 Yamaha RD350

    72 Yamaha RD350 Followed the Wrong God Home Supporter

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    RGU answered my call Tuesday night in the affirmative. Mrs.RD nodded her head in approval. The prime objective was riding MN-1 from Silver Bay to Ely. Everything else was gravy. What wasn't gravy was finding a hotel room in Ely. This is the prime tourist season for the BWCA and every single room... except one was booked for Saturday night. It costs $160 with tax but I booked it and let RGU know all systems were "Go". There were a handful of forest fires burning in the region but none of them sounded dangerous. The weather forecast was completely devoid of rain but the high temperatures were slated for near 90F which is sauna weather with all the surface water in the region.

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  7. 72 Yamaha RD350

    72 Yamaha RD350 Followed the Wrong God Home Supporter

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    RGU and I met at the HD dealer on the north end of town at 9am. I have a King Tour Pak on order for Mrs.RD and wanted to check on its status. I would have preferred earlier but the dealership didn't open until 9am and I have an early morning gym routine going that I wanted to keep on track. The good news was that all the pieces of the order have been received at the dealership except the KTP itself and the keyed lockset. The KTP is a vendor direct ship item and could be 3-4 weeks out.

    An HD demo ride was also in progress at the dealership and the new Pan American was the star of the show. We didn't have the time and I'm not interested in a "real" ADV bike so we hit the road at 9:30am and didn't stop until topped off our tanks in Duluth 140 miles later. I was glad to be in Duluth where the lake effect would make temperatures comfortable all the way to our turn-off onto MN-1.

    Our first planned stop was Two Harbors for lunch and a photo op but first was our meditation:

    The legend lives on from the Chippewa on down
    Of the big lake they call Gitche Gumee

    I'm not certain what it is about Lake Superior that captivates people but Mrs.RD grew up in Utah and Arizona knowing almost nothing about it and yet - it's her happy place and where she would rather be than anywhere else.

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    McQuay's grilled an acceptable hamburger and I quizzed RGU about his two years as a long haul truck driver during a temporary break from his normal career as an Integrated Circuit Designer. (We worked together in the early 2000's.) I dreamed of being a long haul owner-operator truck driver as a teenager before I decided to get an engineering degree.

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    After lunch we stopped at the harbor to get a picture of Elvis for a dear friend in Phoenix who is a train buff going through chemotherapy for prostate cancer. Fortunately, this was only the first train theme photo of the trip. This is a 2-8-8-4 steam locomotive that lived its working life hauling iron ore from the inland mines to the harbor.

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  8. jdfog2

    jdfog2 Been here awhile

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    RD - you said: " I'm not certain what it is about Lake Superior that captivates people but Mrs.RD grew up in Utah and Arizona knowing almost nothing about it and yet - it's her happy place and where she would rather be than anywhere else. "

    My hick from the sticks (but not from French Lick) answer is... "they don't call Lake Superior "Superior" for no reason bub! :)
    Seriously - I haven't seen it in person - but it's a big Bucket List item and I am trying to figure out a way to see it this year that doesn't have me riding over the Big Bridge or through / near Chicago (I don't want to take the car - or that fixed up F-150) :)

    This is a great thread buddy!
    JD
  9. Bruincounselor

    Bruincounselor North Plains Drifter Supporter

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    Take the Badger and ride up to the U.P. It's epic and avoids the city or big bridge.
    Ssbadger.com
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  10. 72 Yamaha RD350

    72 Yamaha RD350 Followed the Wrong God Home Supporter

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    If you have the time, I recommend taking the Badger ferry across to Manitowoc. It’s not expensive and it gets you off the bike.

    If time is a constraint then head west on I-74 until it ends and then turn due north. Terre Haute is ten hours from Minneapolis. Lake Superior is three hours further north.

    For those of my generation I think it is all about the song. If the Fitz hadn’t gone down in 1975 and if Lightfoot hadn’t written a song about, I doubt the lake would be as pervasive in our culture as it is.

    I might have said this already: My first visit to Lake Superior was in 1978 (IIRC). We were in Duluth about the middle of July. It was noon. The temperature was 44F. It can be ass biting cold up there in the middle of summer. Heaven forbid you’re there on a day with the wind out of the east.

    It’s pretty - I’ll grant you that… but so is Lake Michigan.
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  11. jdfog2

    jdfog2 Been here awhile

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    Sounds to me like a great rally experience!
  12. jdfog2

    jdfog2 Been here awhile

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    I was stationed with the Air Support Ops Center, HQ US Army V Corps Frankurt from 88-92.

    Before widespread cell phone availability (we weren't allowed to have them while conducting air ops anyway) I was participating in a field training exercise (FTX) in Germany that included Aviation elements from Mainz Finthen

    My Unit Commander and First Sgt came to our maneuver area and informed me that my wife had called and wanted them to let me know "we" were pregnant with our first child after a few years of trying and a few false alarms.

    I still have some spent shell casings from that day someplace and remember it very well.

    What a neat photo and plaque ! (To me anyway)
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  13. jdfog2

    jdfog2 Been here awhile

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    "Spent shell casings" - romantic in a way that only old war horses may understand
  14. Samspade

    Samspade Been here awhile

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    My only visit to Superior was a couple of years ago. I've spent a fair amount of time around Lake Michigan and been to all the other lakes more than once. IMO Superior is wilder, more foreboding maybe. The weather seems more unpredictable and the shoreline more sparsely populated. It's like standing on the beach in Maine. You know that water is cold and deep and it's a long way across. I wouldn't hesitate to go out for a 2-3 day sail on the other lakes. I'd have to think about it with Superior.
  15. 72 Yamaha RD350

    72 Yamaha RD350 Followed the Wrong God Home Supporter

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    I suspect you are correct - it is probably the most dangerous of the Great Lakes.
  16. 72 Yamaha RD350

    72 Yamaha RD350 Followed the Wrong God Home Supporter

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    A pause in the story. We had to put our beloved Orson down last night. He was diagnosed with cancer on July 2nd and his suffering became too much for us to bear. He was as good a dog as any dog gets. RIP Orson.

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  17. jdfog2

    jdfog2 Been here awhile

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  18. Samspade

    Samspade Been here awhile

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    Tough days. Sorry for your loss.
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  19. Bruincounselor

    Bruincounselor North Plains Drifter Supporter

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    Gut punch. So sorry.
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  20. wobbly one

    wobbly one Been here awhile

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    Sorry RD. One of life's tougher chapters. Doesn't get much better than a Bernese. My son lost his a year ago and we are now on the lookout for another. RIP Orson.
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