A buddy of mine was getting married on Orcas Island. First thing I said when he said he was getting married- COOL! I'll RIDE MY MOTORCYCLE! edit: as I was putting this ride report together, yesterday, Chuck called! Out of the blue like if he was sick with ESP or something. And just now I remembered the fire on Orcas and the beer and good conversation. When I pulled up at Chuck's botherer-in-law-to-be's house, just before dark, Chuck goes, "Is that Max? Max!" and he was already almost toasted. Which was good because it was a bachelor party. He introduced me to his extended list of friends- all of them totaly capable of being lunatics. One olympic swimmer. Several triathletes. All of them with master's degrees or PhDs or JDs or something I can't pronounce. I was their novelty, the guy who only had a bachelor's. They argued like old friends drinking beer- things like "He'll never make it to Alaska." "I bet he will." "He'll never even make it to Canada." "Of course he will. He made it here, didn't he?" "Yeah, but he totally wimped out in Mexico. He only made it a thousand miles in Mexico." "I'll bet you $100 he makes it to Alaska." "I'll bet you $100 he doesn't even make it to Canada." "Who's a witness?" Chuck goes "I heard it." So Dave and Todd made a bet. I sat there laughing. "I'm going to Alaska," I said. Some of them believed me. Some didn't. Well, Todd and Dave- here's your proof. Pay up! :end of edit. I planned on taking my brand-new-to-me '96 R1100GS. But before I left I wanted to add a few things. So I took the bike apart and then I couldn't get it back together again. All I wanted to add was an aeroflow windshield, piaa driving lights, and an auxiliary power supply for the GPS. I did something to the gas tank/fuel line/something and could NOT get it started again. I changed the plugs. I drained the battery down to nothing. I put in a new battery. I drained it down to nothing. I found the short and charged the battery and drained it down to nothing. I tried jumping it with my truck and almost blew everything up. Eventually I had it towed to the BMW dealer so that I could pay them $500 when I got back from Alaska. I'm too shy to say what I'd actually done that took them a week to diagnose. In the end I took my '96 R1100RS. When I left I felt like a combination posseur/loser. It was about 4 PM when I finally left, and I was running late by a day and a half. I had to get to Orcas Island by 6 on Thursday because Chuck was having a bachelor party. The first night I made it from Madison to the border of Minnesota and South Dakota. I didn't ride anything special- just I90. But I ran into thunderstorms in Minnesotta and had to ride through them because out on the prairie there's no shelter. No overpasses. No exits with convenience stores. There was nothing to do but ride. The best part was when it started to hail. Eventually I made it to Wall Drug, Wyoming, and Custer's Last Stand. There were homicidal mule deer and elk on the road. I didn't get no photos of them but they were there. Just inside Washington State coming up over a hill pulling away from everybody going about 90... "Where are you headed in such a hurry? Do you know how fast you were going?" "I'm going to a bachelor party on Orcas Island and I need to make the ferry." So he said to hurry up and take a picture and make sure to stay in the commuter lanes. He even put his hand on his gun, gunslinger-style. I told him to smile for all the inmates on ADVrider. Then I put my pretty black bike on the ferry.