Four Corners & a Stinger

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Ikeya-Seki, May 30, 2019.

  1. Ikeya-Seki

    Ikeya-Seki Adventurer Supporter

    Joined:
    May 30, 2017
    Oddometer:
    40
    Location:
    New Hampshire
    T - 10 days and counting.

    In a few short days, I will set out on my '14 GSA 1200 to ride to each of the outer four corners of the United States and then up to Deadhorse, Alaska and back.

    First come the Corners:

    I’ll begin from my home on the seacoast of New Hampshire and travel north to grab a coffee at the first of the four corners in Madawaska, Maine. From there I will ride southward along the Appalachians and still further south until reaching the second corner for a slice of pie in Key West, Florida. After a day trip to the Dry Tortugas, I will follow the southern border westward through several national parks to corner number three at Imperial Beach, California. After a fish taco or two on the pier, I’ll turn inland a bit to ride north along the Sierras before cutting west and up the coastline to the last corner in Blaine, Washington for dinner and a beer. Four corners complete.

    Next comes the Stinger.

    From Blaine I will travel north along the western slopes of the Canadian Rockies into Alaska and up to Deadhorse on Prudhoe Bay for a ceremonial dip in the Arctic Ocean. This tip of the “Stinger” marks the point where I will reverse course and ride southward, this time along the eastern slopes of Canada’s Rockies and aiming toward Idaho where I plan to re-enter the U.S. and meander my way home through the northern states, Great Lakes area, and a dip in to Kentucky before home.

    I expect the entire escapade to take around 75 days and 17-18 thousand miles to complete. Just before I go, I will post a links to my satellite spot tracker and photo account. 4C&S.png
    #1
  2. JoeRocks

    JoeRocks n00b

    Joined:
    May 30, 2019
    Oddometer:
    1
    Location:
    Coronado, CA
    Looking forward to the trip reports!
    #2
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  3. Ikeya-Seki

    Ikeya-Seki Adventurer Supporter

    Joined:
    May 30, 2017
    Oddometer:
    40
    Location:
    New Hampshire
    T - Nine days and counting.

    Pre-ride jitters and loose ends. This is a long ride I have ahead of me and although I've been planning and preparing for over a year, I'm starting to get the pre-ride jitters. My front wheel is still on the way from Woody's and so my bike is still trapped in the basement. My camp kit is still in the staging process and scattered about as I weigh my packing options. I still have a ton of "i's" to dot and "t's" to cross around the house and even though I know they'll still be there wanting for me when I get back, I can't help but want to clear the slate before I go. I'm still working out the calendar, the camping and stops along the way and all the while keeping an eye on the weather - which I can only mind so much.

    Today was busy, one of those days filled with so much to do and so much on my mind that the sun ended up on the horizon before I knew it. I think this is part of it though: the wind up. It is part of the riding experience where we kind of feel an odd compression just before the launch, a feeling not so much of anxiousness but intensity and a brightening of focus. I think it's one of many stages to a long distance ride and kinda like it. I like all the parts of motorcycle riding and I feel the ride is close and I'm getting itchy. Ikeya-Seki out.
    #3
  4. Ikeya-Seki

    Ikeya-Seki Adventurer Supporter

    Joined:
    May 30, 2017
    Oddometer:
    40
    Location:
    New Hampshire
    21762054_131947120779596_5622365797759539218_n.jpg
    Fast Pitch Campsite example.

    T - 7 days and counting.

    Backstory: As I rider, I tend to venture off solo. This next trip will be my 5th long distance trip on this motorcycle. I’ve completed two rides of about 12500 miles a piece and two shorter trips of 2000 and 4700 miles. The summer of 2017 included 6000 miles of off road riding along the Trans America Trial. In all, I have just over 51k miles on my ’14 BMW 1200 GSA including visits to all but five states, four of which I'll check off the list during this ride. Hawaii will have to wait.

    Navigation / Accommodations: Some people like to map out the entire route, book reservations in advance, and formulate an itinerary. I struggle to travel like that. On this trip I have only a single set of reservations to nag at me and that’s only because I’d like to get out to see the Dry Tortugas and as I've learned: my bike don’t float. So I went out bought a ferry ticket and made camping reservations on Dreggers Key, and it’s killing me. When I am out on my bike, I loathe having to be someplace on a schedule. It’s too easy to get off the beaten path, to stumble across a car show, or get waylaid by some homemade pie. My schedule seems always in flux. I can manage to hit a target window on any given day, but start to set that window too far down on the calendar, and I wont be making many promises. Plans change.

    I travel with a general destination in mind and approach it with a fresh set of ideas every day. Typically, I wake up, make coffee, write for a little bit and then begin to clean and pack up. If rain or morning due hasn’t been too heavy, I can wipe gear down and pack up from a full spread in about 30 minutes, another 15-20 if everything is soaked. I can roll in 15 mins if I don’t pitch a tent. Hotel exits are lickety-split.

    To figure out where to go, I like to check Google Earth or a paper map and pick a spot somewhere down the road, someplace I feel I can get to in a day. Then I enter it into a GPS linked to my helmet and off I go. I prefer twisty backroads, avoid cities and highways for the most part and just enjoy cruising along until I have to stop for gas, a piss, or if I spot a roadside farm stand or an inviting turn-out to explore. GPS is my buddy, but I’m always in charge. Then, sometime between 1 and 2 in the afternoon, I’ll stop for lunch at someplace local, never a chain. Often, I like to ask someone on the sidewalk or the gas station where everyone goes to eat. If the coleslaw is homemade, I get that. I’m a fan of soups, am always good for an unsweetened ice tea and something hearty from the menu. While I am eating, I like to consult my maps again and ferret out a campground, a hotel or a suitable spot to spend the night. This is when I will make a phone call to check for space and reserve one. I can manage this kind of 3-4 hour window with ease. Again, I plug in the coordinates and just listen for the turns and ride. I'm not araid of short term commitment.

    It’s not always the case, but I like to arrive before dark so I can set up and settle in a bit. After, almost always I will spin over to the local market and pick up ingredients for dinner. I struggle a little here as a solo rider. Buying portions for a single meal for one person can be tricky. Everything seems packaged for many and with implied storage. I can usually get 2-3 days out of an onion, but almost everything else needs to be consumed immediately or as a leftover breakfast. I don’t store wet provisions.

    When camping I sometimes I build a fire, but more often I don’t. While I enjoy the ambience, I seldom need the heat, don’t typically use it for cooking and as I am tasked as the sole fire minder, I skip it more often than not.

    I don’t drink soda much or at all, I don’t buy milk or juice on the road, but I enjoy a beer or two with my dinner. I could never manage an entire six pack. I have no mind to get blitzed and I don’t much like hauling a full bladder to bed, for obvious reasons. Two are perfect.

    So, that’s kinda it. After a while on the road a routine forms and I follow it. I’ve noticed though, that something will come along and put a kink in things. It can be foul weather, road closures, or just a late start or a lingering lunch that kicks the rhythm out of routine and I find myself staring dusk in the face with no plans for the night. Sometimes I’ll scroll through my options and find an unexpected campsite. Sometimes though I find it’s better to visit a corner pub and chat with the locals for ideas as they can almost always point you in the right direction. Often too, I’ll be offered accommodation. I’ve pitched my tent in backyards, slept on decks, on stages, stayed in guest rooms and from time to time, when the air is right, I've slept atop many a picnic table for the night. Never once have I stayed nowhere.


    My Body: Riding the Trans America Trail solo on a 1200 GSA requires a lot of energy. It beat me up pretty good. While I’d say that about 90 percent of the trail is rather manageable, riding a portly bike the the GSA on dirt & gravel, on root riddled tracks, washouts, through mud and water crossings requires a high level of concentration and finesse. The other 10 percent of the trail is laborious, no other way to put it. For the big bikes, it’s soft sand and slick-ass mud that wear you down - take you down for that matter. I’m a little over six feet and usually weigh around 190 pounds. By the time I got to Port Orford and after more than 40 days on the trail, I weighed a mere 166 lbs. Needless to say, that ride took a lot out of me.

    So, for this trip I made plans to improve my over all fitness and condition. Because of chronic lumbago, swimming is my go to exercise and in preparation for this trip, I set a swimming goal of 500,000 meters of breaststroke. As of this writing, I have fewer than 7000 meters remaining and five days to go. This next ride is no TAT, but it’s long and arduous just the same. I feel up to the task. I also gave myself a buzzcut for cooling comfort.


    My Bike: My bike is essentially good to go. Thanks to a deep Rhode Island pothole, my front rim picked up a skip that could not be trued back and so off it went to Woody’s in Colorado for repair. I am still waiting on that to arrive, but everything else is at the ready. She’s got brand new Micheline Adventure tires, fresh brake pads & fluid flush, a clean K&N air filter, fresh motor oil & filter, cleaned, lubricated & oiled drive shaft and final drive, new spark plugs, new cams & followers (BMW covered this), and a forced induction cleaning. I’ve cleaned, torqued and lubricated everything, installed a laminar lip on the windscreen and attached all my racks and mounts. Just waiting on the wheel to turn.
    #4
  5. black 8

    black 8 coddiwompling motographer

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2016
    Oddometer:
    2,679
    Location:
    33.202738 -117.384040
    I'm in for this RR and will be following along... safe travels...
    #5
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  6. dano619

    dano619 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2011
    Oddometer:
    919
    Location:
    sunny san diego
    :lurk following along!!
    #6
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  7. yobuddy

    yobuddy Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2008
    Oddometer:
    561
    Location:
    Central Cal.
    Looking forward to the tales of your travels. Thanks for sharing and safe travels.
    #7
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  8. Ikeya-Seki

    Ikeya-Seki Adventurer Supporter

    Joined:
    May 30, 2017
    Oddometer:
    40
    Location:
    New Hampshire
    T - 5 days and counting...... maybe 4.

    50% Chance of Rain: 50% chance of rain.png

    Weather is always a factor. I caught this frame above somewhere in New Mexico maybe, but I think it does a decent job of illustrating how on a motorcycle there is often a fine line between fair and foul weather. It sucks to be unprepared, so I try to avoid that.

    It also sucks to leave for a big ride on a crappy day. So, considering the current forecast, I see myself departing this Saturday, four days from now instead of five. My front wheel arrives today from Woody's and installing that should just about do it for the bike. I still have a scatter of things to prepare and I'm spinning plates like a one man circus act, but that's part of fun right? I like the wind up.

    Also, I'm looking forward to meeting some folks along the way and will be reaching out to some in our Advrider community through the tent space thread. I think it's a great way to meet and support riders. I'll be joining in myself when I get back. I'll be sharing my course as it takes shape, but the Google Earth shot at the top of this thread is a decent snapshot of the plan. Looking forward to it all.

    Ikeya-Sekyi out.
    #8
  9. Oznay

    Oznay Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2007
    Oddometer:
    343
    Location:
    Lake of the Woods,N.W Ont,Ca
    I rode the 4 corners tour in'94,was a wet year. I was on the road 26 days,saw rain 23 out of the 26 days,it got tiresome,waking up,hearing the rain beating on the roof of the motel I was in for the night..
    #9
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  10. Amphib

    Amphib A mind is like a parachute....

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2018
    Oddometer:
    1,652
    Location:
    Wnc
    Thank you for sharing your journey with us.
    #10
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  11. rkover1

    rkover1 doc

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2006
    Oddometer:
    353
    Location:
    Kailua-Kona,Hawai'i, USA
    Your travel philosophy sounds a lot like mine. Head out in the morning and see what the day brings.

    I'm planning a 50-state trip next year. Hawai'i first and then the Continental 49. Still deciding on what bike to buy.

    I will be looking forward to reading more about your adventure. Have fun!

    doc
    #11
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  12. scfrank

    scfrank Old farts riding club. Supporter

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2005
    Oddometer:
    24,314
    Location:
    Upstate SC
    You have my respect. Watching.
    #12
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  13. Ikeya-Seki

    Ikeya-Seki Adventurer Supporter

    Joined:
    May 30, 2017
    Oddometer:
    40
    Location:
    New Hampshire
    T - 2 days and counting.

    Sit-Rep: Bike is ready: 2014 BMW R1200GSAW with 51k miles.

    Fresh Michelin 80/20 ADV tires.
    Wheels true & torqued. Front serviced by Woody's for a skip.
    Enamel paint on rear rim to cover exposed aluminum - thanks to a gravel snag in Arkansas.
    Brake fluid flush
    Brake pads front & rear
    Oil & filter change
    K&N air filter cleaned & ready
    Fresh spark plugs
    New cam shafts & followers (on BMW!!)
    Intake cleaning
    Clean & lubricate drive shaft & fresh drive oil
    Crash bars adjusted (big hit in Oklahoma 2017) & all fasteners torqued and tight
    Installed rear SAE port
    Installed Laminar Lip to windscreen - bolt on.
    New Sargent seat - heated.
    Cleaned, saddled & fueled.

    I am running hard bags with Wolfman Rollies and a couple Mosko Moto 1ltrs on top. In the center a Mosko Moto duffel and a pole bag. Up front I have a Mosko Moto tank bag. The load is tight and secure.

    Forecast calls for clear skies and fair temperatures - a good day to start. I'll begin with the New Hampshire cost and then into Maine before stopping in Acadia National Park.

    Ikeya-Seki out.




    IMG_7227.jpg
    #13
  14. Ikeya-Seki

    Ikeya-Seki Adventurer Supporter

    Joined:
    May 30, 2017
    Oddometer:
    40
    Location:
    New Hampshire
    Lift off......

    Ikeya-Seki out.
    #14
  15. black 8

    black 8 coddiwompling motographer

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2016
    Oddometer:
    2,679
    Location:
    33.202738 -117.384040
    safe travels...
    #15
  16. NCJ

    NCJ Long timer

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2007
    Oddometer:
    4,575
    Location:
    Troutman NC
    :lurk
    #16
  17. Ikeya-Seki

    Ikeya-Seki Adventurer Supporter

    Joined:
    May 30, 2017
    Oddometer:
    40
    Location:
    New Hampshire
    Sit-Rep: Day One in the books. After a bit of a late start, I rode about 200 miles in roughly 5 and a half hours of riding. Plenty of backroads and a bit of coastal traffic.

    Clear, sunny skies, mid 70’s and excellent road conditions. Air was cooler at the coast so I cut inland and will continue up trough central Maine to Madawaska.

    Stopped in at a friends in Kingfield. Maine and will ride north along the Carrabassett River and up.

    Expecting good riding weather. Deer and moose country. Eyes open.

    Ikeya-Seki, out.
    #17
  18. Ikeya-Seki

    Ikeya-Seki Adventurer Supporter

    Joined:
    May 30, 2017
    Oddometer:
    40
    Location:
    New Hampshire
    ECEA7791-EA33-4103-AB9D-3EC293D9F19B.png Day 2 in the Books.

    Nuts & Bolts: Started from the middle in Kingfield, rode to the top at Madawaska and ended up seaside at Lamoine State Park just across the harbor from Acadia National Park.

    Total distance: 541 miles. 13:12 hour trip / 9:46 moving. MPG 41.3. Average Speed 43 with a Moving Average of 54.6 . Max Speed (allegedly) 105 possibly during a spirited pass, but it could very well be a GPS glitch.

    The ride was roughly split between 350 miles or so of secondary roads, 50 miles of gravel roads and a little bit of triple track and one Jeep trail to nowhere. I twisted out another 140 of highway miles to make the campground by 9, but most of that was left handed.

    Ride Notes
    : Departed Derek’s just before 8:00 a.m. and headed northeast on Route 16. Had the roadways pretty much to myself all the way north. Michelin Adventure tires performed exceptionally well on pavement, gravel and Jeep tracks. The front did dance a bit in wet, almost muddy conditions, but seemed to find grip on the sidewalls. I did not air down and rode at 43 PSI in the front, which probably made a difference.

    Observations: Ahhh...... Maine, the Pinetree State.....

    The sweet balsam aroma of pine. Salt air, chirping birds, red squirrels, lots and lots of bugs, but most of all pine trees.

    Move inland, away from Maine’s majestic and beautiful coastline and you will discover it’s heartland: farms and timber. But most likely, you wont be riding a highway to find it. Instead, you’ll more likely have to tunnel through a canopy of greenery and along one of Maine’s smaller, more local and native backroads.

    Maine’s backroads twist and turn, rise and fall like a wrinkled old rollercoaster through dense stands of green pine forest and past large open tacks of crops and sweeping hayfields. Pine blossom and the almost powdery, dank smell of pollen waft through the air lingering around every corner settled stilly in the troughs of roadway as if waiting for you to plow through and carry some away. Old barns, century houses and the occasional farm stand or antique shop dot the roadways and mark the miles as you pass trough. You also never know what you’ll find. Yesterday I saw a bearded man standing next to his mailbox and dressed as a skeleton head to toe. I also recall detecting a trace but distinct odor of greenbud amongst the pine.

    Of course, there would be no pine if not for all the sand beneath. And because of this, Maine’s narrow and heavily crowned backroads heave and fall, shift and twist until they lay more often like a crumpled quilt of elephant hide than something resembling a roadway. Long slits, pot holes, warts and blisters appear everywhere and can really test your nerve and demand your focus. Take your eyes off the road and you will pay. Start letting your mind wander back home or off to other things and you will pay. Take a corner too wide, catch a slice of the sandy shoulder and you will pay. Go too fast and you’ll pay. Go too slow and you’ll pay. Fail to acknowledge a logging truck’s inherent right of way.....

    This is not to say the roads here are unridable - just the opposite in fact. To me, this terrain makes for some of the most exciting riding to be had. You must pay attention, you make adjustments, watch your speed and when you get it just right, things can kinda fall into a rhythm almost like skiing. And that’s where I like it - clipping along sweetly in the pocket, pistons firing at the synapse.

    Now, there are certainly times when the sweep of long radius turns over creamy smooth tarmac is just what the doctor ordered. And Maine’s got some of that for you too. Route 11 up to Fort Kent had a few scoops of that the menu yesterday. Some of the roads were so fresh you could still smell the ingredients. Grip was surprisingly todo too. The river views are something to remember as well and worth a stop.

    It should be fair to say that this is mostly the case with secondary and what I call “unpainted” roads, roads with no center lines or side markings. Maine’s highway are usually in pretty decent shape, owing in part to perpetual maintenance. It’s not uncommon in the warmer months to come upon lane closures, road construction or single lane bridge work. There are certainly fine stretches of quality roadway in Maine, many of which a perfect for cars.

    For today, I am going to enjoy this state park for a bit, take one of those slow, windy seaside routes through Acadia National Park before I head back to home base to make a few packing adjustments & tiny bike tweaks.

    Ikeya-Seki, out.

    AB79316E-C668-45CA-9BF3-CB0492BBB11D.jpeg
    #18
  19. Ikeya-Seki

    Ikeya-Seki Adventurer Supporter

    Joined:
    May 30, 2017
    Oddometer:
    40
    Location:
    New Hampshire
    Day 3 in the books.

    Appx 250 miles of all asphalt. Warm temps with a few cooler troughs near the water. Traffic was moderate.

    Screen Shot 2019-06-10 at 10.30.16 PM.png

    Well.... I was going to keep this a secret, but for all the road surface bashing I wrote about yesterday, MAINE HAS SOME INCREDIBLE RIDING ROADS and often with very few cars. (A pickup isn't a car is it?).

    After a leisurely start from Lamonie State Park, I took a little spin to the top of Cadillac Mountain in Acadia National Park, a fair number of tourists did little to spoil the view.
    DSC01072.JPG
    Ikeya-Seki, out.
    #19
  20. Ikeya-Seki

    Ikeya-Seki Adventurer Supporter

    Joined:
    May 30, 2017
    Oddometer:
    40
    Location:
    New Hampshire
    1443FC70-FE94-49C3-900D-C6AB78DE927E.jpeg Sit-Rep:

    Met up with cousin Paul & rode along the Housatonic River.

    Currently:

    ..... scrounging donor parts from a new GS at Max in Connecticut. The plastic retainer clip for the shaft drive boot is bad & the boot keeps popping open. headed next toward Pennsylvania for the night. More details to come.......
    #20