The Ulysses Odyssey to Homer.

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Meriwether, Mar 16, 2018.

  1. Meriwether

    Meriwether Following big footprints.

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    Hi, my name is Mark, I'm a 65 year old Australian and I'm on a motorbike trip across North America from Louisiana to Alaska. I arrived in the USA on March 1st, a little over 2 weeks ago and I thought it prudent to at least walk part of the walk before talking too much of the talk.
    After my USA trip last year, I think I must have been on a bit of a high, I loved that trip, I had bought a 2nd hand Guzzi V7 in Colarado and rode it up to Homer Alaska where I have a very good friend. I left the bike with him for the winter, at the time little did I know that I'd be repeating it this year with another bike.
    I don't exactly know where the idea come, who does?, but I thought a Grand Banks style fishing dory would be fun to go fishing on Kachemak Bay. I think I can blame a friend on the Isle Of Man, I go to the TT every year while I still can, and he gives me books to read, one particular book stuck in my mind, the story about Howard Blackburn, a Gloucester fisherman. So when I returned home I started looking for a dory for sale on the West Coast around Seattle, and found one on the East Coast at Lancaster Pa, so I bought it, purely on trust, sight unseen, I'm a trusting guy. This is the current setup, I have moved the wheels about a bit.
    IMG_20180315_002117.jpg

    The question then arose, how do I get it up to Alaska? Tow it of course. I'm a 'can do' sort of person, or at least I think I am, and quite often I'm wrong. I'm a biker so I'll tow it with a motorbike. The Guzzi was up in Alaska, so it wasn't long before I had bought another bike, here on the flea market from inmate 'test_rider', again purely on trust, sight unseen, a Buell Ulysses.
    IMG_20180308_010105.jpg
    I have a very understanding wife, extremely understanding, she understands my logic.
    Regards,
    Mark
    #1
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  2. sjc56

    sjc56 Long timer

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    Sounds like a great idea! Keep us posted!
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  3. Throttlemeister

    Throttlemeister Long timer Super Supporter

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    Holy Hell this could be very interesting. Good luck with the endeavor!
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  4. haystack

    haystack Just ride

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    Count me in:lurk


    [​IMG]
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  5. yamalama

    yamalama wet coaster

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    too late to reconsider dragging that thing up north? jeez that's a long way.
    rent a boat - with a guide, in Alaska. maybe?
    #5
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  6. jules083

    jules083 Long timer Supporter

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    :lurk
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  7. refokus

    refokus Hmmmmmm

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    Well, this sounds like it could be very interesting. Keep the RR going so we can follow your adventure. :thumb
    #7
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  8. joe1265

    joe1265 n00b

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    there's a reason we're called "inmates" :)

    Gotta see how this turns out.
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  9. Meriwether

    Meriwether Following big footprints.

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    What? Have someone hold my hand, like a bloody tourist? Never.
    Actually, my friend in Alaska used to be a fishing guide, when we first met he took me out fishing out in Cook Inlet and I caught my first halibut. It was that big it broke the camera when I tried to take a photo, no shit.
    #9
  10. Meriwether

    Meriwether Following big footprints.

    Joined:
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    Hi, thanks for all the encouragement, it's good for the soul to have a bit of support. The last few months have not been easy, I've been waking up in the wee hours in a cold sweat, thinking WTF have I done.
    I've been flat out like a lizard drinking these past few months. The woodshed is full, that was done early, the porch at the back door was the main concern, it needed replacing and we couldn't agree on the design. My wife said if I don't build it she will pay someone to do it, she knows which buttons to push. I finished it the day before leaving, I packed a few things in the afternoon and it was off to the airport the next morning, half arsed but that's the way I like it.
    IMG_20180210_144807.jpg
    Sorry about the picture quality, the lens still had a plastic film over it.
    Anyway I arrived in LA on March 1st, earlier than I left Melbourne thanks to the International Date Line, ready for adventure. Soon after buying the boat I bought an around the world ticket for AU$1560, cheap as chips. My thinking was to buy a ticket from LA to wherever I bought the bike, I didn't get around to this until a few days before leaving and was shocked to find out it was going to cost AU$700, I'm so frugal it's almost a mental disease. Another option was to go to Lake Charles on the train, I liked that idea but there was a 2 day wait in LA, so I booked a Greyhound ticket. That was an education, a couple of passengers were comedians in training, a rich experience indeed. One poor lady had a medical problem, chest pains, so there we were parked on the side of the road for an hour in the middle of the night while we waited for an ambulance. When it arrived the pains had subsided, the medicos gave her a portable ECG test, everything looked fine, she stayed on the bus, and on we continued.
    When I arrived at Lake Charles I didn't have the balls to walk back over the bridge in the dark to Sulphur, it was only a narrow footpath, so I rang Walter, aka test_rider, and he came and got me. We went to Walmart and bought a new battery and then to his shed and fired up the Ulysses, what a beast, but it wasn't firing on the front cylinder. An hour later after needlessly removing the air filter, we found the front spark plug after removing the air inlet, that was ok but still a valuable learning experience. So Walter sprayed in some aerostart and after a few pops and crackles she fired up.
    I thanked Walter for the bike and went around to Walmart, bought a tent and mattress and spent the night in the Walmart Motel, ie. the car park. I was absolutely knackered after 3 days travelling and little sleep.
    DSC_0004.JPG

    The tent is a little too well ventillated at the moment, no doubt that will change as the seasons progress. Do you like my top box? My wife's suitecase, it holds the tent, mattress and sleeping bag.
    DSC_0006.JPG
    Cheers,
    Mark
    #10
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  11. Throttlemeister

    Throttlemeister Long timer Super Supporter

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    Greyhound across the half the country and tent camping at Walmart , you are a committed soul. This should be epic!
    #11
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  12. Rhode trip

    Rhode trip guided by voices Supporter

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  13. Meriwether

    Meriwether Following big footprints.

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    Hi, I had put a call out for help on the Florida regional forum to help build a tow hitch. Leon, aka mriderleon, generously put his hand up. It turned out that Leon was going to be in Manassas Va between March 1st and 11th, and he had all the resources at hand, so I high tailed it up there as quick as possible. I had initially intended to go via Key West for a look, but the hitch was top priority, so I contented myself by going over the Pontchartrain Bridge coming out of New Orleans. I had arranged to stay with Jeff, aka Jeff d, at Baton Rouge, after 4 days without a hot shower and a thick mattress to sleep on, fair dinkum, it was like staying at the Hilton, not that I've ever stayed there, so thanks very much Jeff. What a great resource the Tent Space is, this is the first time I've used it, previously people have just heard I was passing nearby and issued an invitation. I'll add a photo or two when I find the camera cable, it's most probably still at home on the coffee table... I found the cable, it was in the camera bag, see I am a logical thinker, I just got to remember that so I can find things. So here are a couple of photos, note that thick mattress in the garage, I wish it would fit on the bike.
    DSC_0007.JPG
    Note the 2x4 under the suitecase, that was to form a buggy with the wheels off my golf buggy to put under the dory for short distance maneuvering, but I've since used it elsewhere, needlessly.
    DSC_0009.JPG
    Now that is a long bridge, it stretches clear over the horizon.
    I headed north on an interstate, that night I slept in a rest area, I thought it was a clear night so I didn't worry about the tent fly. You guessed it, I was just snuggling down to sleep and bingo, it starts to rain. Oh, well, when you're camping, don't complain about the weather.
    DSC_0011.JPG
    I asked at the rest area centre if they had any old wet weather gear they would like to donate to a good cause, but sadly, no. I thought I was in for a wet day, but the rain had stopped while I was in the centre so I headed north, feeling lucky.
    The next night, another rest area, I had pitched my tent on a grassy spot besides all the trucks, and a light show appeared just after midnight, I thought it was lightning without thunder, and then I heard a voice 'This is the police, come out and show yourself young man, and make sure you're decent.'
    He was kicking me out, apparently bikers don't need rest. I appealled to his humanity, 'Crikey, stone the crows and starve the lizards, give me a break mate.' But he wasn't having it, perhaps he didn't understand my lingo, so I packed up and hit the road in the middle of the night. Before leaving I went inside the rest area centre to check out the guy who had called the cops, no confrontation or anything, just to see what sort of guy would put the cops onto me. He was in his twenties, old enough to know better, but I guess he was just following procedure, no room for initiative.
    DSC_0012.JPG
    The plan was to buy some wet weather gear at Walmart, but they don't sell it, so there I was, stopping at every McDonald's to thaw out and have a coffee. Perhaps the cop had done me a favour as bad weather was chasing me up the road. It finally caught up to me but luckily shelter was always nearby, when I finally arrived at Leon's shop I was dry, but chilled to the bone and completely knackered. And Leon jumped straight into the task of building the hitch, he's a doer, I'm a thinker, he had the rails bent before I thought about getting off my arse and giving him a hand. Thanks to his friend Kevin and staff at Artisan Autobody the hitch was 90% built that night and finished and fitted the next morning. 'Can do' people, I love 'em. I will forever be in their debt and eternally grateful.
    Regards,
    Mark.
    #13
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  14. djroszina

    djroszina Long timer Supporter

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    A word of caution, just because you can pull it, doesn't mean you can stop it. What is the weight of that boat and trailer?
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  15. hvilla

    hvilla Been here awhile

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    Thanks for taking us along!!:lurk
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  16. Meriwether

    Meriwether Following big footprints.

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    Hi and wise words there. All up the weight is 418lbs, I think that is reasonable, people have towed more.
    Yesterday I was in my favourite restaurant and the young lady serving me, I betcha she weighed more.
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  17. djroszina

    djroszina Long timer Supporter

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    Yes, but the dynamics of weight on the back of the bike vs weight pushing on the back of a bike is very different. The force behind you must be perfectly linear. If you are turning or the force becomes non linear ( off to one side or the other) that momentum will push the back of the bike sideways. This can happen whether stopping or even just slowing. The term for this is jackknife. Also with the weight being supported predominantly by the trailer wheels the extra friction and traction that your 400 lb waitress will not be there planting your rear tire. I could go on but, trust me, this endeavor of yours could result in a deadly situation without warning. Plus that Ulysses is a higher CG light weight bike. I wouldn’t attempt on a relatively massive Indian Roadmaster let alone a lighter weight bike.
    #17
  18. Meriwether

    Meriwether Following big footprints.

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    I appreciate your concern, I've had the same thoughts.
    Sure, the Ulysses is not the ideal bike. I've done the research, see the thread 'Towing a Trailer', I've received all sorts of advice from experienced towers, I've done the proof of concept testing, I've done the prototype testing, I've towed it across Pennsylvania on different roads, I've been passed by large trucks while I was doing 60mph during snow showers on an interstate, it's as stable as a rock so far. Sure, you don't ride it as if it wasn't there, I'm all care and attention. If I come to grief hopefully it wont be because of something I've done. There are no guarantees in life, but so far, so good. Over the past few months I've had my doubts, if I still had them I would ditch the whole plan.
    Regards,
    Mark.
    #18
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  19. djroszina

    djroszina Long timer Supporter

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    I guess the proof is in the pudding. If you have road tested this setup sufficiently without mishap, then you know first hand the feasability. I wish safe travels for you.
    #19
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  20. Meriwether

    Meriwether Following big footprints.

    Joined:
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    Thanks, I will be careful.
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