Solo to Alaska on a KLR-650 a Decade Later...

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by black 8, May 6, 2017.

  1. HardWorkingDog

    HardWorkingDog Super Ordinary

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    I was impressed...as a Californian-almost-native I have virtually no experience in those condition, I KNOW I'm not a good snow/ice driver. :beer
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  2. black 8

    black 8 coddiwompling motographer

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    Hotel vs Camping - There are definitely Pros/Cons to this subject and will depend on the individual’s preference and what kind of adventure you want to experience. I chose the latter. I’ve been camping since 1985 and when I retired in 2015 - I kind of missed it and wanted to get back out there again. Truth be told, I could feel every bump, ache, and knot with these bones. But the experience of camping throughout this Alaska adventure was “PRICELESS”. Camping by the water at Clear Lake in eastern Washington and at Homer Spit, AK during the spring is indescribable. You just have to go out there and see for yourself. The other reason I wanted to camp out, it's more cost effective than spending $65.00+ dollars every time I stopped for the night. I think the most I spent on a campsite was $28.00 USD at a KOA in Klamath Falls, OR. The least was $10.00 at Clear Lake, WA and $12.00 at JBER, AK.

    Don’t get me wrong - I loved camping and the experience it brought me but camping adds weight to your load-out like; tent, sleeping bag, sleeping pad, ground mat, hygiene gear, camp ax, camp chair, stove, food, water, and so on…. Luckily I had most of these items already from my previous outings. If I had to do it all over again, I would have wanted to mix it up a bit and stay in a Hotel every couple of nights to get a good nights sleep, laundry, good food instead of Mountain House meals, and catch up on some news on the TV. I missed several currents events while off the grid and I was only able to catch up from phone calls back home....

    When I look back at the whole experience I'm glad I camped out; I saw places I only dreamed about and met various people from all walks of life. Again "PRICELESS" and I'll always have those memories....

    My campsite at Clear Lake in eastern Washington...
    800_3545_00001.jpg
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  3. ShineySideUp

    ShineySideUp Long timer

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    ^^^^ one of the benefits of camping is the view like this. We have to pay big $ for a similar view from a hotel.
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  4. black 8

    black 8 coddiwompling motographer

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    It was good to get off the grid for a while - definitely worth it!
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  5. NEPAChuy

    NEPAChuy Been here awhile

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    Did you get your jacket replaced? My Klim Badlands jacket came with a 5-year guarantee for a free replacement if damaged in a crash. Did yours have the same warranty?



    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
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  6. black 8

    black 8 coddiwompling motographer

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    No I didn't get it replaced. No Damage - just scuffing on the Armacor fabric. That and I bought it preowned from eBay....
  7. Merfman

    Merfman Cape truster... Supporter

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    When I did AK in 2010, at 53YO, I wanted to camp as much as possible but wanted no part of sleeping on the ground due to the aforementioned aches. Much research later, I had: http://www.campingcot.com/ and it was worth every penny. I camped 11/13 days and slept like an overworked hay hauler. I continue to use the cot and it's been 100% trouble free...

    Thanks for the summary black 8, continuing to enjoy your RR, thanks for taking the time!
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  8. black 8

    black 8 coddiwompling motographer

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    Gear Load out - The amount and type of gear you take on your adventure will vary depending on your plan. If you plan to stop at a hotel each evening then its easy peasy; rudimentary tools to support the bike, warming layers, a couple of days change of cloths, camera, hygiene gear, first aid kit, some snacks, and a credit card.

    However, if you plan to live off the grid, it becomes more complicated; tools to support the bike (varies whether tubeless or tubes), associated camping gear, change of cloths, first aid kit, food, water, cooking gear, power recharging capabilities, camera, and so on……

    From my own experience and IMHO, whatever gear you think you need, “cut it some more!” During my prep for Alaska I thought I had cut my load to essential gear only - however, I later discovered that I brought gear that I had not even touched. As an example I thought I would use three sets of longs johns; I only used two. I brought extra camera/GoPro gear that I did not use, extra pants I didn’t need. So be forewarned not to overpack! I recommend going on a shakedown ride for three or four days to evaluate what gear you used/didn’t use then cut them from the gear list. During this trip I learned to go lighter for my next adventure. Laundry can be done every few days and Mountain House meals can be purchased daily from Wally World so no need to overpack - “buy as you expend the item(s)”........ Believe me when I say it’s no fun trying to pick up a fully laden bike when it tips over at the start of the Dalton Highway sign while taking a photo and there is no one there to help you.

    I could have deleted the entire contents of that waterproof bag.....
    800_3483_00001.jpg


    Camera Gear - bring a good camera period! It doesn’t have to be a high end DSLR to capture memories during your trip - it could be a smartphone or point & shoot. Yes I brought along a Nikon D800 but I was already a camera enthusiast and wanted to capture landscapes for my memories. After I got back I purchased a used Sony RX100 Mk3 on eBay; it’s light and compact but yields DSLR quality photos…

    Here's an example of how I plan to minimize gear for my next adventure....
    IMG_0029 (1).jpg

    Well inmates, that about does it for me on this Ride Report. Hope to meet you on some adventure ride in the future.

    Black 8 - out....
  9. Zubb

    Zubb he went that-a-way... Supporter

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    I have a Klim ...... that I bought from Black 8 (thanks brother).
    I have camped and rode with Jason from Klim and specifically asked if the Klim warranty included crash damage. He emphatically replied NO. You crash it, your problem. And that makes perfect sense.
    As for being a second owner jacket, he thought they'd likely repair anything that was obviously a manufacture or materials defect.
  10. NEPAChuy

    NEPAChuy Been here awhile

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    [​IMG]

    This program was new as of late 2016.

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
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  11. Zubb

    Zubb he went that-a-way... Supporter

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    When I started backpacking years ago, my pack weight before food and water was 27lbs. In prep for a 100 miler, I put a box in the basement and after every weekend or 3 day trip I would come home and throw stuff in the box that I didn't touch, or didn't "NEED". It's amazing to see it all in a box at the end of the experiment.
    My pack weight went down to 16 pounds if I recall.
    Obviously, riding is not backpacking. But the cumulative effect of each ounce (yes, ounce) affects the overall trip. If for no other reason, and there are several good reasons...... just having to pack and unpack that junk every day is quite annoying.

    I'm gonna miss your posting to this thread. Hurry up and take another trip for us all would ya?
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  12. Zubb

    Zubb he went that-a-way... Supporter

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    Wow. That's fantastic! My conversation and trip with Jason was in February 2016 to Death Valley.
    Thanks for sharing!
  13. MacNoob

    MacNoob piney fresh

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    Inspiring report. My '08 KLR has been to AK (but not while I've owned it - yet).

    Question - did your insurance cover a new helmet for you?
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  14. black 8

    black 8 coddiwompling motographer

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    Good to know - thanks NEPAChuy....
  15. black 8

    black 8 coddiwompling motographer

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    Yes - GEICO did cover the cost of a new helmet.... I have a new Schuberth E1 Hunter in HiViz yellow aching to to be used.....
  16. ShineySideUp

    ShineySideUp Long timer

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    B8 - great RR.

    Question - how do you, if you do, take pictures while riding? I've tried, carefully, but my gloves are little to bulky for finding the button, fuji coolpix xp90, to take a picture.

    Thanks
  17. black 8

    black 8 coddiwompling motographer

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    Shiney,

    I have never taken a photo while riding on the bike - I always stop on the side of the road to frame the shot I want.

    I have taken photos while driving the Jeep but that is four wheels vs two....

    I do use my GoPro to take videos while riding, then I use GoPro Studio to export a still from the video... hope that helps
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  18. Harti

    Harti Been here awhile

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    Hi folks,

    I take a lot of my pictures while riding on the bike. For good reasons. Some moments occur in no time and before I get ready to take that photo of the grizzly hobbling across the road it might be gone. Of course... safety first. And also important: you can operate a Nikon or a Sony alpha with one hand. On/off switch and release button are on the right side. So on automatic mode you can catch impressions you would otherwise miss. You always have to weigh whether you prefer the composed shot or the quick and irrecoverable one... I guess a good mix brings out the best results.

    Harti, "Take The Wrong Way Home"
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  19. black 8

    black 8 coddiwompling motographer

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    Thanks for the info Harti...
  20. rickj

    rickj Been here awhile Supporter

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    Rudy, thanks for wrapping up your excellent ride report with the Hotel vs. Camping discussion, and your recommendations on gear. Like most I tend to take too much, but I'm determined to get it "just right" for next summer's trip. (We'll see if I can actually live up to it!)

    Yours was a great adventure, and thanks for taking us along.

    Rick
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