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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    @Motogasoline: I had the mods move this to the Day Tripping section after I finished the Alaska RR. Nothing I do warrants the word “epic” attached but I do recommend people who love to ride make their way up the AlCan on two wheels. It’s a worthwhile ride.
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  2. Motogasoline

    Motogasoline Been here awhile

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    It's a long trip. Seems epic to me. I dont think epic and dangerous necessarily need to go together if you catch my drift.
    The last harley I owned was a 2011 RK Classic. After watching your helmet cam I am reminded how smooth and comfortable those bikes are!
  3. 72 Yamaha RD350

    72 Yamaha RD350 Followed the Wrong God Home Supporter

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    It was an epic trip of sorts - mostly mileage. The 1,400 miles of the AlCan is an adventure but the 1,564 miles to Dawson Creek is fairly ho-hum to snooze-ville unless you go through Jasper-Banff which we didn’t do.

    I record video using a chesty mount. The combination of the suspension, Hammock seat, and body mount helps minimize the movement. I have a GoPro Hero7 Black and do not do stabilization in post-production. What you see is what I see.

    There is a sharp frost heave toward the end of the last posted video that rattled me, the camera, and the bike pretty good. I asked my buddy if he took that hit hard and he said it wasn’t the only one. I’m sure he’s running a stock suspension so maybe the difference between pre-M8 and mine is he felt more frost heaves than I did. (There were probably a dozen frost heaves on the AlCan that were that hard or worse.)

    I like my M8 Road King. All bikes are a compromise but its compromises fit my nature.
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  4. 72 Yamaha RD350

    72 Yamaha RD350 Followed the Wrong God Home Supporter

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    I had an appointment with my doctor six weeks ago for a regular checkup. I was due for vaccinations for measles, whooping cough, rubella, and chicken pox. That stuff I got as a kid wears off over time. It was only after I received the second dose of chicken pox or “shingles” vaccine on Friday morning that I realized I had a minor case of it a year ago. By late Friday afternoon I was feeling terrible. I went to bed at 8pm with the chills and feeling seriously unwell. The fever continued all day yesterday but I managed to get the armrests mounted on Elvis and our comms re-sorted. (We had gone out for a ride last Sunday and not gotten our comms to connect.). I’m feeling a bit better today but not quite 100%.

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  5. 72 Yamaha RD350

    72 Yamaha RD350 Followed the Wrong God Home Supporter

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    With the comfort package in place, Mrs. RD and I headed out this morning to New Ulm to see Hermann the German. Here's the story if you aren't familiar. If you hadn’t guessed - he’s the fellow at the top of the monument.

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    My patriarchal ancestry is German; the first fellow came to the USA in 1720 through the port of Philadelphia. He brought his wife and children over in 1730(-ish) and settled in North Carolina. My father's side of the family still exhibits the quiet stoicism of its German heritage but otherwise it's long forgotten history. I don't recall offhand if it was the second or third generation who left North Carolina to settle in the western territory of Indiana in 1830 but there is no evidence in the records that they valued their German roots or carried that identity with them. That's what makes this monument interesting to me: at the time it was dedicated, no doubt with great fanfare, my ancestral family had already consigned their German heritage to the dustbin of the past. Ironically, that's a very small element of why I converted to Mormonism: I adopted a sub-culture and a history to fill-in the gaps in my own.

    This monument was not originally designed to support visitors on top of the cupola - the hatch being barely wide enough for my small frame. I assume the planners' lack of foresight in creating a trust fund to provide for maintenance forced the issue. Regardless, it's worth the $3 entry fee if you can handle a hundred or so steps... some of them very steep. The base of the memorial is in relatively poor condition due to the harsh climate. At some point in the past a thin coat of stucco was placed over the original rock and mortar. Even the stucco has weathered poorly. Fortunately, the statue of Hermann itself is in good condition after having been renovated many times over the previous century and a quarter. I know nothing about sculpture and was mesmerized by the detail... like, how does an artist know how much detail to include when the closest anyone will get is a hundred or so feet away.

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    In the modern era most Americans do not have much knowledge of the prevalence of fraternal organizations in the 19th century, such as the Sons of Hermann which counted 90,000 members in thirty states by 1900. [The Freemasons are another fraternal order from that era. It has an interesting history - one that deserves more than 48 minutes on The History Channel.]. Such is the impact of television (the great time suck) and what I call "heritage dilution". Without strong cultural messages or rules to encourage marrying within our group, most of us are essentially mongrels at this point with a little bit of this and a little bit of that scattered throughout our DNA. Speaking on behalf of myself, my genetic makeup comes from many small groups and not a lot from any single group. But neither heritage dilution nor television killed the Sons of Hermann. Kaiser Wilhelm is most responsible. By starting World War I he created an anti-German sentiment in the United States. The New Ulm chapter of the Sons of Hermann disbanded and donated the monument to the city. Whatever attachment German descendants in America had to their heritage after WW1 was thoroughly squashed during the second World War. I still recall Mel Jordan (remember him from much earlier in this thread) telling me the story of going to the movie theatre every week as a kid and handing over a nickel to the fellow in the booth who happened to be a German immigrant ... until one day at the start of the war the German fellow in the booth wasn't there anymore.

    Unfortunately, lunch at a local restaurant was forgettable and we rode home the same route via the same route we had arrived. Aside from lunch, not everything had gone as planned. On the way down we had pulled into a gas station for a short break and as I approached the pumps I was mentally multitasking coming to a stop and planning our departure. There was a fuel delivery truck and hose in our exit path. If you've ever hit a golf ball you know that you must keep your eye on the ball continuously throughout your backswing and your foreswing. Failure to do so has disastrous results. Such is the same with bringing an eight hundred and fifty pound touring bike with a full grown adult pillion to a stop: F-O-C-U-S. Your eyes need the constant feedback to enable a smooth stop. And a smooth stop is not what we had. By taking my focus off the stop and onto the fuel truck and hose I broke the feedback loop and my right hand employed enough front brake to cause fork dive which both brought the bike to a complete stop but also destabilized it and dumped us over. Mrs.RD tumbled off the back in a slow motion Humpty-Dumpty moment. Unlike Humpty-Dumpty, however, Mrs.RD was completely unharmed and less fazed than me.

    We've probably racked up 1,000 or so miles riding together in the last two years and it had to happen at some point, but the irony was that every stop today prior to this one had been perfect or nearly so. While riding to and from work this season I've been focusing on making every curve, every stop, and every slow speed maneuver as smooth as possible. We had even been perfectly balanced at one light change at a complete stop. (Mrs.RD knows her role in this gig.) Our prior rides this season have been flawless.

    The fuel truck driver immediately ran over and the female store attendant ran out to check on Mrs.RD. While the fuel truck driver helped me right Elvis the female store attendant told us that she had dumped her bike as a rider by forgetting to put her kickstand down. The padding in Mrs.RD's riding jacket kept her elbow from impacting the concrete directly. Her gloves kept her hands from sliding on the concrete. Her helmet never touched the ground. The crash bars stopped the bike from going over very far.

    Mrs.RD can be a bit of a Princess about things (as in, "Princess and the Pea" - we had discussed it just a few minutes before the stop) but she got right back on when it was time. I was angry at myself for making such a fundamental error but was totally focused for every stop afterwards. We arrived home six hours and 156 miles after our departure. The temperature was 66F when we departed and 76F when we returned. Our matching Olympia jackets were at the end of their comfort zones but I haven't found a quality mesh jacket for Mrs.RD yet. We did endure moderate crosswinds all day long which didn't affect the bike but were mildly annoying to both of us.
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  6. Samspade

    Samspade Been here awhile

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    I dumped our Road King with the wife on board last October. It was at an off-camber stop with a sharp left turn and I grabbed the front brake without paying attention. No harm, but a seriously unhappy wife for the next several miles. And my takeaway was the same as yours--PAY ATTENTION!
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  7. Jeathrow Bowdean

    Jeathrow Bowdean Long timer

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    Thanks for sharing 72 Yamaha,,, I haven't read the whole thread yet but its definitely and eye opener from your hart felt perspective...

    You seem like the type of person with true hart spark and a wellness too share thing's openly...

    I'll take my time too back read in the days too come...

    From Don in Western Canada,,, the land of Big Sky County Alberta
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  8. 72 Yamaha RD350

    72 Yamaha RD350 Followed the Wrong God Home Supporter

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    @Jeathrow Bowdean: Much like Popeye, I am who I am. Not a genius, neither an idiot. Strong enough to occasionally shed a tear. Healthy yet only one beat of the heart away from death. American society is sold on hyperbolic portrayals of perfection and tragic flaws, but the truth is that 98% of us are somewhere far away in the middle. Wherever it is that I am on that spectrum - I'm comfortable with who I am.

    My Alaska ride took me into Big Sky Country Alberta... the land where you can watch your dog run away for three days. I was impressed by its supreme flatness. I hope you live close enough to easily ride into the non-Flatlands of Alberta. Even where I live there are far too many straight and flat roads. I can't imagine what it must be like in eastern Alberta.
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  9. Jeathrow Bowdean

    Jeathrow Bowdean Long timer

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    Yes, Albeta definitely has its flat areas.
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    Ruffly 80% Flat, Im lucky since we live on the edges of the Eastern Slopes
    45 minutes into the foot hills
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    A short 400 mile section N too S,,, another 30 minutes put us into the hart of the Rocky of Range
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    No where near the spectacular views of Utah or Colorado.

    We're simple folks too, the majority of us are that is, I enjoy all of the America's, Alaska too Newfoundland, the Territories, USA and Mexico.

    Was planning on South America, Australia, and both New Zealand's.

    Anyways, thanks for sharing your adventures, its great that you can get out there and take things in.

    I've started planning another Newfoundland run,,, a bit of distance across Canada via the Northern USA corridor then hang out touring around the Island.

    Thanks again for sharing, lots of lakes, rocks, and trees on your adventures...

    Jt
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  10. 72 Yamaha RD350

    72 Yamaha RD350 Followed the Wrong God Home Supporter

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    Let us return to the previous storyline.

    Owen and I departed Ely on Sunday morning. I had chosen the route there and he chose the route home. He wanted to continue west on MN-1 to Tower, Virginia, and Hibbing. That was fine with me. There were very few cars on the road and the scenery continued unabated for more than an hour.













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  11. 72 Yamaha RD350

    72 Yamaha RD350 Followed the Wrong God Home Supporter

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    The great thing about riding and getting out to see America is you never know what you might find. This is a bit different.

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  12. 72 Yamaha RD350

    72 Yamaha RD350 Followed the Wrong God Home Supporter

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    I was listening to the Motorcycles & Misfits podcast the day before Owen and I were to leave on our ride to Ely. Miss Emma stated that all Greyhound busses were manufactured either in HIbbing MN or Roswell NM. I thought that odd and filed it away as a curiosity in the folds of my brain, no doubt to be soon forgotten. If you watch video #43, you'll notice that Owen was leading when I signaled a right turn and he allowed me to pass him. I had seen a sign, "Mine Overlook" and that sounded too good to pass up. Low and behold, the road to the mine had an illustrious occupant. On the way back from the overlook we stopped to take pictures, but did not have time to visit.

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    The original company that became the Greyhound bus company was founded in Hibbing. I am ashamed to doubt anything Miss Emma says, but I was unable to confirm that buses were made in Hibbing. They were made in Roswell at one point in time. As a nod to its historic past, every Greyhound bus today has a private WiFi network for the driver (not for passenger use) named "Hibbing".

    I regret not having the time to visit the museum but our day was running short. We were three hours from home, it was getting uncomfortably warm, and we were going to run into weekend "cabin traffic" once we got to Mille Laks. Between the traffic, the heat, and no dining rooms open for eating inside - it wasn't a particularly fun ride home. Owen and I split our separate ways at the appropriate time. The odometer on Elvis recorded slightly more than 600 miles for the trip when I pulled in the driveway.
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  13. LeMaitre

    LeMaitre Been here awhile Supporter

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    My 1974 GM coach has Pontiac, MI as place of manufacture.

    [​IMG]

    Two major manufactures for older Grey Hound coaches, GM and MCI.

    -Mark

    PS. My coach was never owned by Grey Hound was purchased originally by a charter company in WI.
  14. 72 Yamaha RD350

    72 Yamaha RD350 Followed the Wrong God Home Supporter

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    Many coach builders went bankrupt during the Great Depression. Those that didn't consolidated into one company and GM effectively purchased that company by paying off its combined debt of one million dollars. Of course, that assured demand for GM diesel engines and transmissions. In the Allison museum I visited as a kid, there was a cutaway of a diesel engine for a bus and a bus transmission.
  15. 72 Yamaha RD350

    72 Yamaha RD350 Followed the Wrong God Home Supporter

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    Every year I try to take one ride down to Lanesboro MN. MN16 is one of the curviest roads in the state as it winds its way along the Root River. This year's ride was on the 20th anniversary of 9/11. It's two and a half hours to Lanesboro, half of which is interstate through Minneapolis. I'm relaxed on the bike and comfortable riding the interstate through the city, but I don't enjoy it. My preference is rural scenes. ("We got rural scenes and magazines and truckers on CB" as Tom Petty sings.) Cities are a necessary evil and it is necessary for me to traverse 45 miles across Minneapolis to get to US52. I didn't help that I delayed leaving until 1 pm after hitting the gym in the morning, doing my weekly laundry, and taking Mrs.RD out for lunch. A four hundred mile day didn't sound fun to her and, besides, she had a dress to tailor for my daughter's wedding this week. The temperature in Minneapolis was comfortable in the mid-70's but southern Minnesota was heating up into the 80s. I needed a short break by the time I got to Fountain - just a few miles from Preston and the turnoff to MN16.

    In past years I have turned off MN16 at Rushford. This year my plan was to stay on MN16 all the way to Houston and Little Crescent. I was tempted to cross the river over to La Crosse and head up to Granddad Bluff but my late start prevented that. As it was I wouldn't get home until 9 pm and flirted with deer at dusk.

    MN16 was everything riding across Minneapolis wasn't. I happened upon a tractor pull tractor while filling up in Rushford and an M3A3 Recon Tank at the city park in Houston.


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    My choices upon leaving Houston were to continue on MN16 to US61 - The Great River Road, or to reverse course and ride MN16 westward into the early evening sun. I hate riding into the sun. North it would be. Once headed north I became bored with US61 and elected to ride west on MN60 at Wabasha climbing the bluff. MN60 rivals MN1 for curves and elevation. This was nowhere to be riding at dusk. Just as the thought entered that I should be on alert for deer, I looked to my right to see a dozen deer in a cornfield watching me ride by. I wish I had that picture.

    I stopped in Zumbrota to text my wife that I would be an hour later than planned. She acknowledged my text and I was back on the road in full darkness. As I've said before, I like riding at night - I just can't do it safely here in the Northland. The occasional carcass on the shoulder dispels the lie I tell myself that it is safe riding at night on the interstate.

    I recorded a bit of US52 and all of MN16. If you've never been along this stretch of the Bluff Country Scenic Byway, this series of videos will take you there.



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  16. 72 Yamaha RD350

    72 Yamaha RD350 Followed the Wrong God Home Supporter

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  17. bjor1978

    bjor1978 Adventurer

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    Thanks for sharing. When I got towards the end of the Alaska trip section, I was perplexed as to what might fill up the rest of the 27 (and counting) pages. Glad I did.

    Appreciate your insights into life and growth, may indulge in some religious questioning if the thoughts can coagulate into something coherent.
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  18. 72 Yamaha RD350

    72 Yamaha RD350 Followed the Wrong God Home Supporter

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    Thank you.

    Life goes on long after the big adventure ride is over. I don’t want every day to contain the excitement of my ride to Alaska, but I find that life is more enjoyable if I can see something on the horizon that promises uncertainty.

    That’s probably why I like playing golf - I never know what the scorecard is going to show. Randomness. Uncertainty. Hitting the perfect shot only to have it bounce the wrong direction. Hitting a terrible shot only to watch in amazement as it cozies up to the hole.

    In the motorcycle realm the current uncertainty is learning to ride distance with Mrs.RD aboard. We all gloss over how much easier riding is when we go solo. Two-up touring is more difficult which, I think, is why you see so few couples (relatively speaking) doing it. Safety issues aside - if it was easy, everybody would be doing it.

    I have realized the dichotomy that when I ride solo, I often wish Mrs.RD was with me. Yet when Mrs.RD is with me, I realize how much easier it would be riding alone. Compromise is a difficult mistress (…which is why we see it so rarely in politics these days).

    I’m sitting in front of a fire in a cabin on the shore of Lake Superior today. The lake is calm this morning after a tumultuous storm last night. Former Soldier Daughter is getting married to the love of her life at 4pm.

    Not everything in life is about riding. I’m nearly sixty and I’ve only begun to appreciate seasons. When I started playing golf ten years ago I thought how difficult the seasons would make it to build and maintain skill. Oddly enough, it’s not infrequent that my best round of the season is my very first round. Now I almost look forward to putting Elvis away for the winter in a few weeks because I know how excited I will be to ride the first time next Spring.

    There may be one more “big” ride on Elvis this season. Or maybe not. Uncertainty. I’m comfortable with it.
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  19. 72 Yamaha RD350

    72 Yamaha RD350 Followed the Wrong God Home Supporter

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    Uncertainty is untethered risk. Tie yourself firmly to that risk and you’ve moved out of the realm of uncertainty and into gambling. That’s just what Former Soldier Daughter did more than a year ago by picking 9/17/21 on the north shore of Lake Superior as her wedding date. Of course, she’s betting on the guy too but he’s far less fickle than the big lake in Fall. Amazingly, the bet paid off.

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    Perhaps spurred by her moxy, her mother and I returned from the wedding to leave the next day on Elvis for a six day ride. It’s Mrs.RD’s first multi-day touring ride. We’re limiting it to four segments of an hour each per day with a stop every hour. It’s not about making miles - it’s about being together.

    I left the GoPro at home. That’s just one too many things with Mrs.RD aboard. And I’m not taking many pictures. I’m letting Mrs.RD do that and just watching her experience the ride.

    This two-up gig isn’t easy at this age but we’ve got to do it before the clock runs out. I’ll write about the ride after we get home, but Mrs.RD has learned something about herself already. You may recall that Mrs.RD was born and raised in Utah. That means her Mormon ancestors crossed the Plains on foot, horseback, and riding covered wagons. [I don’t know about you but, personally, I’d choose walking.] No doubt - not every woman on that journey was happy about it. From her experience crossing the Great Plains on a motorcycle, Mrs.RD has determined that she is descended from those women who bitched and whined the entire way. Details later.

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  20. jdfog2

    jdfog2 Been here awhile

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    :raabia
    Not about making miles... wonderful !
    Love this.
    J