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Opposites Attract! ...From South Louisiana to Arctic Alaska

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by slartidbartfast, May 15, 2018.

  1. slartidbartfast

    slartidbartfast Life is for good friends and great adventures Supporter

    Joined:
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    I am not especially heavy-handed. Got great fuel consumption compared to many/most 1290 riders to prove it. I do prefer to make "assertive" passes but as most of this trip has been on roads where such is not required very often, I don't suppose that accounts for much tire wear. Perhaps I should have made more use of 4th gear and less use of 6th?
    bobw and rubline like this.
  2. slartidbartfast

    slartidbartfast Life is for good friends and great adventures Supporter

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    After the previous day on the Interstate, I took all back roads. Had to fuel up in a small town with some unusual sights. Decisions, decisions...
    2018_06_22 09_59_06_P1080052.jpg
    Well, I never...
    2018_06_22 10_04_56_P1080053.jpg

    Just getting into the Northern Ozarks. Found some great little roller-coaster roads with lots of tight corners in this part of Southern Missouri. Fun!
    2018_06_22 12_27_48_P1080056.jpg
  3. slartidbartfast

    slartidbartfast Life is for good friends and great adventures Supporter

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    In Arkansas, I eventually found myself on part of the TAT I rode two years ago - the back road to Oark.
    2018_06_22 14_07_19_P1080063.jpg

    I was looking for the Catalpa Cafe but it was closed. Was about to leave, disappointed, when the proprietor opened the door and welcomed me in.
    2018_06_22 15_45_14_P1080066.jpg

    BBQ Brisket sandwich just melted in my mouth. Best I've ever had. Nom, nom, nom!
    2018_06_22 14_52_07_P1080065.jpg
  4. slartidbartfast

    slartidbartfast Life is for good friends and great adventures Supporter

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    Camped on Mount Magazine - First time I've got in after several attempts - The camp site is always full. A couple of friends from home headed up to meet me but were delayed by needing a rear tyre so didn't make it far enough.
    2018_06_22 18_34_15_P1080073.jpg

    Missed the best of the sunset but the cliffs are still quite impressive. ...not Alaskan grandeur, perhaps, but still great views from the highest point in Arkansas.
    2018_06_22 19_51_47_P1180697.jpg
  5. slartidbartfast

    slartidbartfast Life is for good friends and great adventures Supporter

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    It stormed hard during the night, so for the first time on the entire trip I had to pack away a damp, muddy tent. However, it brightened up very quickly - then got hot - Ugh! After four weeks of riding in cool to cold temperatures it was a bit of a shock to the system.

    On some familiar and favourite roads today but I took no other photos at all - somehow it just didn't occur to me. Rode down Highway 7 (always fun) and caught up with my friends a little North of Hot Springs. We enjoyed some great riding and made our way South to eat at a favorite restaurant and stop over-night in Monroe, Louisiana.
    2018_06_23 09_23_23_P1080076.jpg
  6. slartidbartfast

    slartidbartfast Life is for good friends and great adventures Supporter

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    On the final day of the trip I took ZERO photos while riding. Once again, it just didn't occur to me.

    We dropped in to say "Hi!" to the instructors teaching a M/C class in W. Monroe; Followed a nice new route winding back toward Natchez; then home on familiar back roads. It was hot and sticky all the way.

    This was in the garage just after getting home. Odometer said 9056 miles when I left. That's the best part of 12,400 miles altogether.
    2018_06_24 12_35_41_P1080078.jpg
  7. slartidbartfast

    slartidbartfast Life is for good friends and great adventures Supporter

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    Plot of my track logs for the entire trip. [Link to interactive version here.] Have to think hard to remember some of the days already.

    What do I do now? Back to work, I suppose. Already plotting the next trip ...and the one after that, etc.
    Track Log - Alaska Trip 2018.JPG
  8. worncog

    worncog YBNormal Supporter

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    My answer was short, mostly because I was back to work and trying to catch up. I think highway speeds, combined with the abrasive roads up north contribute greatly to tire wear. I have not used the K60's so I can't comment on wear and do not mean to imply the Mitas is anyway a better tire, but my riding buddy and I did get fairly good wear out of the last set. We did keep speeds low, especially compared to my normal cruising pace which is normally at least 10%+ over the posted limit. Had tire pressure fairly high at 36/40, and combined with an extra effort to be smooth helped considerably with low tire life. We discussed this ahead of time, as we were concerned with making it the whole route without a scheduled tire change. Sorry to be long winded, but I did not want you to think I was being anything other than conversational in my comments. And a big thanks for the stream of pics and updates. You looked like you thoroughly enjoyed your journey. Our trip was much shorter than we would have liked and actually fit in the middle of yours. Longer is better as far as northern trips are concerned. Cheers :)
  9. BMgreenmt

    BMgreenmt Long timer

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    Great report and pics, thanks for taking the time to share. I can’t get enough Alaska stuff! I WILL get there!
    worncog, fastpast and rubline like this.
  10. slartidbartfast

    slartidbartfast Life is for good friends and great adventures Supporter

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    No offence taken (or meant as far as I could tell.)

    I'd say almost half of the people I encountered on the trip were using Heidenau K-60's. They seem to have a great reputation for combining durability, grip on unpaved surfaces and road manners for adventure touring. I probably would have installed another one in Anchorage but they told me they aren't able to get them easily there (seems odd to me but that's what they said.) The Mitas was my other top choice but Heidenau gave me a set of tyres, which made the decision rather easy. Under the circumstances, while I was disappointed in the mileage I got from the rear, I was not surprised and blame the bike, roads and my riding style rather than the tyres. In terms of functionality, they did exactly what I wanted them to do and I felt quite confident riding the big KTM on all the roads we encountered. The rough washboard sections (hundreds of miles) on the Dalton, especially, I felt like I had pretty good control while "floating over the top" at 70mph (and occasionally more.) I dropped the pressures to something like 28F/30R for the Dalton but ran about 4-5psi higher than that everywhere else. On the return legs, once I got to 100% good highway, I put the front up to 38psi. Despite things I heard about wet grip, I felt completely confident on the highway and during some pretty aggressive corner-carving on the Glenn Hwy, in Southern BC, over Beartooth Pass and in the Ozarks (that was all with a Shinko 705 on the rear but the well worn and cupped K-60 on the front). The front K-60 still has plenty of tread left after 10,000 miles.

    I would strongly consider going with another set of K-60's for the same sort of trip. If I did it again, I would install the front tire in Calgary but would save the rear until Fairbanks. Had I done that, it probably would have lasted until I got back to the lower 48 on the way home.
    smilin jack, Oldschoolrocker and bobw like this.
  11. Motor7

    Motor7 Long timer

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    Great ride report. No fiddle effing around and lots of riding.....ca c'est bon!
  12. HPPants

    HPPants Been here awhile

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    Very well done!!! I enjoyed the entire story. I believe you met a friend of mine (and a fellow Louisianan) in southern Alaska. I didn't realize that until I saw his picture in your report. If so, he fell on the Dempster Highway (sp?) and was air lifted to a hospital for surgery on his back. He's home now and will make a full (albeit lengthy) recovery. He's already shopping replacement bikes - a good sign indeed.

    My own British Columbian adventure was cut almost as soon as it started. Been fighting back spasms from a nagging torn muscle for weeks. I got to the Kansas border on day two and decided I just wasn't having fun. So I turned back south and went home. Hung my lip for a few days over my butt hurt, but I'm done sucking my thumb now. Canada (and Alaska) are not going anywhere. I'll get there soon enough.

    In the meantime, thanks for sharing your ride. Those views are absolutely stunning.
    IdahoRenegade, wannabehippy and bobw like this.
  13. Tsotsie

    Tsotsie Semi-reformed Tsotsi Supporter

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    Enjoyed your report. Thank you
  14. slartidbartfast

    slartidbartfast Life is for good friends and great adventures Supporter

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    It turns out wannbehippie lives only a few miles from me and his neighbor is a good friend and fellow rider. He and I tried to meet and discuss plans beforehand but never managed it. We stopped for a handshake and quick chat, a few miles South of Coldfoot as I was heading South and he was heading North on the Dalton Hwy. I then ran into him again a week later at the camp site in Tok. He was heading for Dawson and the Dempster and I was heading for the Cassiar, starting my trip homeward. I saw a photo of his wrecked bike and contacted one of the guys we had both ridden with who filled me in on the crash, the hospitalization and who was helping take care of the bike.
  15. Redfish Hunter

    Redfish Hunter Long timer Supporter

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    That rider from "your home town" is a friend of mine. He crashed on the Dempster not long after this pic was taken. He totaled that GS. He broke 3 vertabrae, a rib and ruptured his spleen. They airlifted him and he ended up in Edmonton AB. He is home now and doing well. It will be a year before he can get back on a motorcycle.

    But he is already shopping for another bike.

    Edit: I overlooked that another of my Riding Friends had already posted this information.

    I did ride my FJR over to visit our mutual friend Sunday afternoon. He is walking around (slowly) and looks fine. He is doing very well all things considered.
  16. Gil Favor

    Gil Favor Been here awhile

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    Great RR and photos!! Glad you returned safe.
  17. wannabehippy

    wannabehippy I'll risk it!

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    Nice to have met you Phillip! I enjoyed reading your report. Your return route was about the same as what I was looking to do until fate got in the way. Oh well. I'm doing well have to stay off bikes for a year but I'll manage. I'll spend the next year healing up buying a new bike and farkling it to my liking!

    Glad you had a safe return and man what an amazing ride it was!
  18. slartidbartfast

    slartidbartfast Life is for good friends and great adventures Supporter

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    Pleased you are back home and doing ok. Assuming you can still drink beer, maybe we should meet up for a cold one when I’m back in town again.
  19. wannabehippy

    wannabehippy I'll risk it!

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    Sounds good to me! Judging by our last attempts at trying to meet up who knows where we might end up next!:jack
    Redfish Hunter likes this.
  20. Redfish Hunter

    Redfish Hunter Long timer Supporter

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    I know it's rude to crash someone else's party but I will buy the beer if y'all will let me listen to the conversation. I will even stay fairly quiet...for a few minutes anyway.
    wannabehippy likes this.