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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  2. 72 Yamaha RD350

    72 Yamaha RD350 Followed the Wrong God Home Supporter

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    Eighteen months ago, I penned this response to a particular thread. Someone clicked "Like" on it today which caused me to re-read it. Part of it is even more obviously accurate in our post-coved/vaccination era. I think the rest is just as important.

    I had an epiphany on my ride to Alaska. It’s odd how unique circumstances can distill a complex problem into a concise, comprehensive thought.

    There are two America’s now: one that trusts and one that doesn’t. One trusts government and its institutions and charter to improve things for everyone and they trust other people to be kind, honest, hardworking, and helpful. The other doesn’t. You can debate which political party reflects which group but, regardless, America today boils down to those who trust versus those who don’t. It is as polarized as it seems.

    I’m not looking for a political argument or debate - life is too short for that. Take it or leave it for the price you paid.

    Regarding the rest of your agenda: I was not a very good husband the first 25 years of my marriage. I wasn’t a bad husband, but neither was I a good one. From the beginning we were religious/spiritual people of the same faith but our commitment to God grossly outweighed building a relationship with each other. [Replace God in that sentence with whatever you focus on that detracts from building a relationship with your wife.]

    Sixteen years ago I pulled the ripcord and jettisoned God from my life. It shook us both to the core as we were raising our four children. It took us more than a decade to figure out that, as different as we are, we had not been building a happy life together and that if we wanted to be happy with each other then we had to spend time together doing more than having good to great sex.

    Those sad years changed us and made us individuals we’d rather not be. The truth is - I am partly responsible for who she is. A few years ago we faced the Rubicon: We could go our separate ways or we could build the relationship we intended when we married 31 years ago. We face the same question every day now, we’re just further from the precipice we had gotten ourselves into: Do something together or something apart? The answer now is “find something to do together”, no matter what it is.

    It took me years of reading ADVRider and dreaming of RTW riding to realize that I really love sleeping in my own bed, in my own house. I’ve traveled a fair amount in my life. I’ve camped enough to appreciate it and my bed at home. As I’ve gotten older I have adopted the viewpoint that “...everywhere is home to somebody...”. Sure, it’s new and different to me while I’m there, but to the locals it’s just home and they are likely just as bored with theirs as I am with mine.

    In reality there are only a few climate/geography zones on the earth and once you've seen one of each, you've really seen them all. The only thing that makes each different from another are the people, culture, and history. If you aren't much into people, culture, or history there's little point in seeing them all unless you are really into tagging points on a map.

    The other thing I've learned is that, no matter where you are on the earth's surface, your ability to truly enjoy where you are is proportional to your ability to leave and go somewhere else. No one likes to feel trapped.

    When I am contemplating a motorcycle ride, I often consider whether there is anyone for me to meet and spend time with at the end of a segment. It might be a friend or relative, a high school classmate or co-worker from the way back machine, or someone I've met on ADVRider. Solo motorcycle riding provides a healthy dose of alone time, but too much can be isolating and mentally unhealthy unless one really focuses on interacting with strangers along the way. I'm pretty good at the latter but still, given the choice of riding toward someone who anticipates my arrival versus an endless chain of empty hotel rooms (or campsites) - I often choose riding toward someone.

    The benefit of having my wife along for a ride is that it builds our relationship. While I might prefer to ride a GS and go off on really long rides, owning a 900 lbs touring rig that makes her comfortable, stopping every hour for her to go to the bathroom, and limiting days to 300 miles so that she can join me is far more important than anything I'll see or do on my own. The relationship is more important than the ride.

    I hope I've given you some things to think about. Life is difficult and marriage even more so. It is easy to think that we could be happier with someone else or somewhere else. The truth is - we can create happiness with others (some easier than others) no matter where we are. Happiness and contentment in life is largely inside us, our attitudes, our perceptions, and our perspective. It is much easier to be seen after stripping away the ego of our desires, wants, and expectations. [Siddhartha by Herman Hess].

    https://www.amazon.com/Siddhartha-N...ords=siddhartha&qid=1581780106&s=books&sr=1-3
  3. wilfred

    wilfred juvenile delinquent Super Supporter Supporter

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  4. 72 Yamaha RD350

    72 Yamaha RD350 Followed the Wrong God Home Supporter

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  5. 72 Yamaha RD350

    72 Yamaha RD350 Followed the Wrong God Home Supporter

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  6. 72 Yamaha RD350

    72 Yamaha RD350 Followed the Wrong God Home Supporter

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  7. 72 Yamaha RD350

    72 Yamaha RD350 Followed the Wrong God Home Supporter

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    Notice in this video how the forest changes over the 9 minute run time, particularly in the last couple of minutes.

  8. Alcan Rider

    Alcan Rider Frozen Fossil Supporter

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    Okay... I'll admit I have not yet read the RR in its entirety. But I'm already late - very late - for lunch :D thanks to this most enjoyable read. Very well written, with numerous "footnotes" that add to the overall appeal. You've done a great job of it, and the introspection just adds to the travelogue itself. Also enjoyed seeing photos of familiar places along the way, even a few that mirror some of my own.

    Having completed my first trip from the "South 48" to Alaska in January of 1962 (in a nice, warm car, thank goodness!) and more since then than I can recall, it was good to relive many of those miles through the eyes of another "first-timer". As others have suggested already, you need to return to see the places you missed on your first trip. Save the closer sights for when you get too old (or too smart :wink: ) for another Alaska trip.
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  9. 72 Yamaha RD350

    72 Yamaha RD350 Followed the Wrong God Home Supporter

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    Thank you, @Alcan Rider.

    I'm not planning to return to Alaska for a few years yet. Nearly every day I think back on what an epic trip it was, how privileged I was to do it, and what it means to me. I didn't climb Everest or do anything that many here haven't done (some multiple times), but I did something that the average American has never even considered. Many stared in bewilderment that anyone would do it.

    There is a time and a season for everything. I have other riding priorities for the time being. I'm in no hurry to go back. I know that every day that goes by between now and then will make that day I see Kluane Lake again be that much more inspiring. It's very possible I'll cry. Hell, I'm almost in tears just thinking about it.

    I commute to work on Elvis most days, stopping at the gym every morning on the way. While a few at the gym know me by name, others just know me as "the guy who rides the motorcycle". If I hadn't ridden to Alaska, Elvis would be just another motorcycle. But those BC, Yukon, and Alaska decals inside the panniers remind me what a great motorcycle it was and continues to be.
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  10. 72 Yamaha RD350

    72 Yamaha RD350 Followed the Wrong God Home Supporter

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    Today was the day Elvis acquired a King Tour Pak. It’s been on order for a month and arrived this week. I’m fine without additional storage space but Mrs.RD wants the comfort. We’re talking about a big journey this year but we have some schedule constraints to work out.

    The dealer said HD discontinued these. I’m not sure whether they are trying to force people into buying new bikes or if it is a temporary shortage, or if they are changing suppliers. Regardless, the quality was high on everything but the armrest mounting plate (not shown). The threads on two holes were absurdly tight for the hardware provided and one stripped but the dealer is replacing it under warranty.

    I was in no hurry during the installation but one of the former backrest/luggage rack docking points would not release easily causing a significant delay. The passenger grab rails also had to come off for the armrests that will be going on.

    The seat nut also fell out. Fortunately I had seen the trick of using a wire coat hanger to get it back in place. When I had done some maintenance on my John Deere X500 in May there was a snap ring that went missing that I later found. Turns out that snap ring was the exact size needed for the seat nut!

    The mounting bracket didn’t initially fit the best. It took me a minute to realize that the former backrest/rack required additional washers in the docking hardware. I removed those and fit was improved drastically. It wasn’t as snug on the front lugs as I wanted so two wraps of electrical tape on the lugs fixed that.

    The bike got a second coat of wax too.

    Mrs.RD did some test sittings. The Pak is adjusted as far back as possible. We ‘ll try to get out for a test ride tomorrow. I can tell just from sitting on it that there’s new weight up high. All in it is about 20 pounds.

    5B2FF07D-1A7E-4D4D-A5E8-9173BC1D7306.jpeg

    7E4662F8-4158-4D51-A68B-A9B1044706A8.jpeg
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  11. 72 Yamaha RD350

    72 Yamaha RD350 Followed the Wrong God Home Supporter

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  12. jdfog2

    jdfog2 Been here awhile

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    RD350 said:

    "Today was the day Elvis acquired a King Tour Pak. It’s been on order for a month and arrived this week. I’m fine without additional storage space but Mrs.RD wants the comfort. We’re talking about a big journey this year but we have some schedule constraints to work out.

    The bike got a second coat of wax too.

    Mrs.RD did some test sittings. The Pak is adjusted as far back as possible. We ‘ll try to get out for a test ride tomorrow. I can tell just from sitting on it that there’s new weight up high. All in it is about 20 pounds."

    I say:
    Bravo! Bravo! Bellisima! Prima! Superb - I can't say enough about this - I know you've been waiting - and waiting.
    Awesome - and congrats.
    p.s. Looks sharp too ! :)

    JD
  13. 72 Yamaha RD350

    72 Yamaha RD350 Followed the Wrong God Home Supporter

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    Thanks @jdfog2.

    I installed the luggage rack after playing nine holes of golf this morning. It went well, all things considered, and only ended up slightly off center (the luggage rack and my golf game!).

    C456D144-7FBD-4CC7-ACF5-BBF0D3F89DA6.jpeg

    Been looking at maps and considering destinations. We don’t need to make a decision any time soon. Oldest daughter gets married the third week of September and we’re not going anywhere until then. That’s usually getting into cool weather up here, but this heat might hang around for awhile.
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  14. 72 Yamaha RD350

    72 Yamaha RD350 Followed the Wrong God Home Supporter

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  15. jdfog2

    jdfog2 Been here awhile

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    You have a high incidence of wildlife interactions on the roads up there?
    That forest :-)
  16. 72 Yamaha RD350

    72 Yamaha RD350 Followed the Wrong God Home Supporter

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    @jdfog2: Yes, at certain times of the day. Dusk to dawn is no-go regardless of how many lights or lumens you have. This road is actually moose country - not so much deer.

    The forest around Ely is a mix of blowdown, fire scarred, and natural growth. Some of it looks like permafrost forest, but I suspect it is just trees growing on zero top soil into rock.
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  17. 72 Yamaha RD350

    72 Yamaha RD350 Followed the Wrong God Home Supporter

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    This section of MN-1 is filled with long sweepers and elevation changes.

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  18. 72 Yamaha RD350

    72 Yamaha RD350 Followed the Wrong God Home Supporter

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  19. jdfog2

    jdfog2 Been here awhile

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    Throw some "Machts nichts stix" in on the side of the road and I'd feel I was watching you travel in parts of Germany
    Nice ride!
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  20. Motogasoline

    Motogasoline Been here awhile

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    I enjoy reading these Alaska rides, especially when its hor and dry like it has been. I just noticed this is in the day tripping section!