Still Wandering in Indiana

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Day Trippin'' started by radianrider, Jul 30, 2017.

  1. 72 Yamaha RD350

    72 Yamaha RD350 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2017
    Oddometer:
    400
    Spent the day at Denali on an 8 hour bus tour of the Tundra Wilderness. I know, sounds, ummm, long. There's actually a 12 hour bus tour. They stop every 90 minutes for a bathroom break so it isn't quite as bad as it sounds. [We hooked up with the Twin Cities Victory Riders on the way across Canada and they were riding 150 miles between stops - at least the bus seat was more comfortable.] It's pricey - $160 but includes a snack box and all the bottled water you can drink. And it covers your park entry fee.

    Denali is operated differently than all the other national parks... and I can understand why it has to be. It's a single lane dirt road on a mountainside. Pavement would not hold up to the weather so it would be constantly under construction. It just wouldn't work for large volumes of people to be driving their cars as there are only a few pull-outs along each 15 mile segment. So the NP contracts with ARAMARK to run tour buses with either educated naturalists drivers narrating the scenery or non-narrating shuttle buses for $46. We opted for the narrated and for us it was worth it. We saw porcupine, a cow moose, red foxes, caribou, dahl sheep, a grizzly sow with her cub, and two male grizzlies.

    Since Joel wants to have a photo competition I will be curious to see what Hoosier fauna he puts up against this.

    IMG_0238.jpg IMG_0239.jpg
    B10Dave likes this.
  2. 72 Yamaha RD350

    72 Yamaha RD350 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2017
    Oddometer:
    400
    Real short mileage day today - about 100 from Cantwell to Trapper Creek to stay the night. I couldn't find a suitable room two nights in a row in Anchorage so I booked a "suite" at Trapper Creek Inn. We rode down to Talkeetna first and had lunch with desert and walked through a couple shops. Talkeetna is a little touristy town. The tv show Northern Exposure back in the 90's was based on Talkeetna but filmed in Washington. We loved that show so stopping was more nostalgia than anything else - even though it wasn't ever shown on the show. The town was packed so finding parking was difficult. While executing a U-turn on an un-paved slightly muddy road the front tire washed out and down Elvis went. Surprisingly, I grabbed the saddlebag crash bar and the handlebar, put my butt against the seat and pushed. Elvis came up quickly and easily just like the YouTube videos show. No damage. Mud on the crashbar and packed on the bottom side of the floorboard.

    I'm forcing myself to enjoy the relaxed pace of these soft days in the saddle. The big days will be coming. So far it looks like if we hold to the schedule that the weather is going to be good on the way back. Famous last words.

    We did spend about an hour sitting in construction zones today. After we had made it to Talkeetna there was a nasty accident in one of the construction zones. Two cars, two pick-ups. One of the pick-ups was towing a long travel trailer. The pickup was deep in the opposite ditch and the travel trailer was sort of hovering in the air at a steep angle. They certainly had a bad day. It cost us a half hour delay getting to the inn but I'll take that over their day.

    I received some sad news this morning before I left. One of the reasons for coming on this trip now is that I've had a few classmates pass away each of the past couple of years. We graduated from Avon high school in 1983 so we are solidly in our mid-50's. One of my classmates is in ICU and it doesn't look like he's going to make it. We had breakfast in 2014 or 2015 on one of my trips back to Indiana. He said something real prophetic I've always remembered: "I'm a dinosaur. I know I'm a dinosaur." He was a conservative in the world of Obama with an avowed liberal daughter. Regardless of race, politics, or religion - we all eventually become a dinosaur. The world eventually passes us all by.

    I used the occasion to speak by phone with my sixth grade crush who's keeping up on his condition. (They went to Prom together.) She and I played golf last summer on one of my visits. I'm 3,000 plus miles away and I still care about a few people who mattered in Avon in 1979. Crazy.

    I haven't mentioned that I am using this trip to conduct a dietary experiment: Hi, my name is Mike and I am a Coke addict. I haven't had a Coca-Cola, Pepsi, or any soft drink in 8 days now. Only water and natural fruit juices. I'd like to lose 5-6 lbs and we'll see if this alone is enough to do it. I assert that Coke is my only vice but my wife could probably make a list. On the long days, it helps staying away from caffeine because caffeine acts as a diuretic. But I do go through a wave of tiredness in the middle of the day that is more pronounced than when I have a Coke with my lunch.

    Joel saw the short video I posted on FB today. I was surprised there was coverage. It takes real photographic skill to do any sort of justice to this landscape. It's hard to bring that skill level on a motorcycle ride.

    Only one other picture today. I'm not a fan of bumper stickers but inside the saddle bag is my style. There'll be a sh!tload of them in there before I'm done with this trip.

    IMG_0280.jpg
  3. 72 Yamaha RD350

    72 Yamaha RD350 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2017
    Oddometer:
    400
    AAE42E21-89D5-4EAE-8A6F-CE83E3EB615B.jpeg 32BF5CE8-6AB0-46CF-AA0A-F4B4AFBCA71F.jpeg Today was Museum day. My buddy on this trip is 60 years old and hasn’t had a real vacation since he was a kid.

    My current philosophy is that vacation styles are like politics and religion - people inherit it from their parents. Chances are, whatever your parents did for vacations is what you tend to do. Or you totally reject what your parents’ did and figure out your own.

    My co-worker on this trip rejected his parents’ vacation style, but having never been married, didn’t ever figure out something for himself. So he’s happy enough to tag along wherever I go and I’m dragging his a$$ to almost every museum in Alaska because National Parks and museums (including arboretums or as he calls them - “plant museums”) is what I tend to do on vacations... and a little bit of golf if it fits in.

    So today we hit the Alaska Transportation Museum because we needed time out of the saddle after 120 miles. There’s 30 pictures loaded on my FB account and that doesn’t scratch the surface. I think we were there for 90 minutes.

    We next went to the Anchorage Museum - a combined natural history and art museum. I think we were there for 2.5 hours.

    Then we stopped at Alaska Leather - a popular moto shop and then Anchorage Harley for poker chips.

    Tomorrow we start heading east.

    Attached Files:

  4. 72 Yamaha RD350

    72 Yamaha RD350 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2017
    Oddometer:
    400
    We’ve been staying at eclectic places. Tonight is the Sockeye Inn - a Euro style hotel with community bathrooms (very nice I might add).

    I met a 50 year old American guy in the laundry room back to visit his mother. He has a green card in China and has been living and working there for twenty years.

    I also met a 22 year college senior Metallurgical Engineer from northern Louisiana doing an internship at a lead and zinc mine in Kotzebue. Go ahead. Google it. Take a deep breath afterwards.

    Adventure comes in different packages. Riding 7,000 miles to Alaska is nothing in my book compared to adopting a second culture/language or living/working in Kotzebue. Those are real adventures. We’re just posers pretending to be on a grand adventure.
  5. 72 Yamaha RD350

    72 Yamaha RD350 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2017
    Oddometer:
    400
    If you can swing getting to Anchorage, rent a motorcycle for a day from MotoGeo (they are located in the Anchorage Harley dealer parking lot and have BMWs, Stroms, Harley’s, Triumphs) and ride the Glenn Highway from Anchorage to Glennallen, turn around, and do it again. You can do out and back comfortably in 5-6 hours with plenty of photo stops. It’s the best part of Alaska I’ve seen. Mountains and curves. Mountains and curves.


    40AFF02E-ECA3-4DA7-B530-47F2CB2B3320.jpeg
    B10Dave likes this.
  6. jdfog2

    jdfog2 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2012
    Oddometer:
    291
    Location:
    West Central Indiana
    Great reports RD ! Keep it smooth and easy on the way back.
  7. jdfog2

    jdfog2 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2012
    Oddometer:
    291
    Location:
    West Central Indiana
  8. 72 Yamaha RD350

    72 Yamaha RD350 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2017
    Oddometer:
    400
    I will never complain about slow internet again. Northwestern Canada is brutally slow everywhere.

    Updates are on my FB feed. At Watson Lake. Great riding today. Riding through the Canadian Rockies tomorrow to Fort Nelson. Then it is a long slog across the prairie to get home.

    Did manage nearly 50mpg on the RK today.
    jdfog2 likes this.
  9. 72 Yamaha RD350

    72 Yamaha RD350 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2017
    Oddometer:
    400
    Out of the mountains and onto the prairie for the long slog home. We are far enough south now the sun might actually go all the way down tonight.

    Three days of about 450 miles each day. Patience, Grasshopper, you no get anywhere fast up here.
    jdfog2 likes this.
  10. jdfog2

    jdfog2 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2012
    Oddometer:
    291
    Location:
    West Central Indiana
    Safe travels Grasshopper !
  11. radianrider

    radianrider Adventurer wanna'be

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2006
    Oddometer:
    1,036
    Location:
    Avon, IN If we never go, we will never know
  12. radianrider

    radianrider Adventurer wanna'be

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2006
    Oddometer:
    1,036
    Location:
    Avon, IN If we never go, we will never know
    Mike,

    Some impressive stuff you've been posting.

    I'll see if I can scare up turkey or something to compete with the bears. LOL

    So far I've missed the best riding of the summer. Decided to save some money and pull some overgrown shrubs and screwed my back up again.

    Ice and ibuprofen are poor substitutes for time in the saddle.

    Ride safe.
    jdfog2 likes this.
  13. 72 Yamaha RD350

    72 Yamaha RD350 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2017
    Oddometer:
    400
    Minot ND is the goad for tomorrow. Just short of 600 miles. And then it is a 499 mile day to get home on Wednesday.
  14. 72 Yamaha RD350

    72 Yamaha RD350 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2017
    Oddometer:
    400
    I have seen that Indiana has gotten non-stop rain.

    The best way to pull an overgrown shrub is with a logging chain and a tractor (or a pickup truck for the suburbanites). One of my buddies pulled his shrubs a few years ago and offered me his chains for free since he didn't foresee any future use for them. I typically decline accepting things because my shed is already full but I accepted the chains and they have come in handy on multiple occasions.

    Take care of that back.

    While we are on the subject of manual labor, let me share with you "Mike's Rules for Living Over Forty":
    a) Never wear a watch. You'll get there when you get there.
    b) Never use a shovel... unless it is to kill a snake. (Rent a machine for all your digging chores.)
    c) Never run... not even when being chased by a bear. Just stay one step in front of your buddy.

    Of everything I've seen on this trip, I'd say I was awed the most by Muncho Lake in British Columbia and the pre-Depression car collection at the Fountainhead museum in Fairbanks. I'll check out air fares next summer for flying my wife and I into Whitehorse and spending some days at Dawson City. I sort of regret not going to Dawson City but it's tough to plan a trip of this length. We watched the 17 minute film promoting the virtues of Whitehorse and, can you believe, they never once mentioned winter?!
    jdfog2 likes this.
  15. jdfog2

    jdfog2 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2012
    Oddometer:
    291
    Location:
    West Central Indiana

    My response to Mike's Rule b)

    Last Summer I rented one of those front end loader/backhoe things (Based on a Kubota Tractor but customized by some company that makes them purpose built just for digging as opposed to being a muliti-purpose tractor. They are most rented out but places that rent such tools I think.
    Has a lot of extra bodywork - not orange, the loader and the backhoe aren't Kubota, controls are different, seat turns around, etc.

    Anyway, I rented it to save my back as I figured my basement sometimes got a bit damp due to 35 year old french drains that probably were no longer any good.

    First thing - I go to jump off the trailer after unhooking chains, slip right before jumping, one leg slides down a ramp and inside of it (those angle iron ramps with the large voids in them) Hits the ground VERY hard jarring my hip and I cannot stop my forward progress so visions of a leg broken inside a ramp start to enter my brain. But no - instead the back of my arm between where the triceps attaches and the elbow is (not very meaty there) slams into one of the tines on the backhoe - Immediately stopping my progress.

    I carried around a numb arm for several days and had a big bulb of a fluid sack just below my triceps for 3 or 4 months.
    But I didn't hurt my back digging :)

    Thanks
    Jay
  16. 72 Yamaha RD350

    72 Yamaha RD350 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2017
    Oddometer:
    400
    Ouch! That hurts just reading it.

    My least favorite tool is a chain saw. Loud. Heavy. Vibrates worse than my RD350. And dangerous to life and limb. I'll use a hand saw even if it takes me 5-10 times longer than a chain saw.

    But I am now the age that when my slightly younger neighbor sees me doing something remotely dangerous, he says "...Let me do that for you...". And who am I to turn down such a generous offer of assistance. He rides a 2017 Street Glide so he can't be half bad. ;) So I just have to time my least favorite jobs for when he's at home. =)
  17. radianrider

    radianrider Adventurer wanna'be

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2006
    Oddometer:
    1,036
    Location:
    Avon, IN If we never go, we will never know
    So I can hurt myself with or without power tools. And I need Mike's neighbor to relocate.

    All good life lessons.

    Hoping I can be in the saddle again early next week, but this wait is getting tough.

    Back (no pun intended) to the chiropractor today.
    JB2 likes this.
  18. 72 Yamaha RD350

    72 Yamaha RD350 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2017
    Oddometer:
    400
    So the good thing about riding to Alaska, besides the obvious, is that after putting down multiple 500 mile days in a row - a 200 mile local ride before lunch is just a warm-up.

    I can see how the IBA guys get a warped sense of time and space after knocking out multiple thousand mile days.

    But I don’t think your Chiropractor will be prescribing a 500 mile day on the Scrambler for your back.

    One thing I learned on this trip is how nice Harley touring riders are. I met them everywhere. And a lot of people driving RVs up to Alaska left their Harley at home and were envious. The King was a great bike for this trip.
  19. radianrider

    radianrider Adventurer wanna'be

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2006
    Oddometer:
    1,036
    Location:
    Avon, IN If we never go, we will never know
    Tool for the job!

    I wouldn't be afraid to try it, but I'd likely regret it.

    At this point I just want to ride anywhere--but the back is still not cooperating.

    Glad you got home safely.
    jdfog2 likes this.
  20. jdfog2

    jdfog2 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2012
    Oddometer:
    291
    Location:
    West Central Indiana
    FYI

    I just added a small amount of content to my old thread - very small amount. But I am trying :)
    Gotta go back soon and do a wider loop of the Southern Indiana area - awesome roads today!
    Plus, I gotta check out some things I didn't stop and check out - like the "Jug Rock"