Three old guys to Alaska - goldwings and a 300 versys

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Fuzzy74, Jun 4, 2019.

  1. Fuzzy74

    Fuzzy74 Been here awhile

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    3 recently retired (and thus with time available) old guys decided to check one off the bucket list while we still can. 670CC (from Illinois), Nuke 65 (from Georgia) on Goldwings and me (from Tennessee) on a Versys 300X.

    2 years ago at an MC gathering I shared plans to ride to Alaska as soon as I retired, Nuke65 was there and immediately asked if I wanted company. He retired in the fall and me the first of this year and we started making plans. 670 got wind of our plans and asked if we wanted company. I had ridden and camped with both multiple times and that provided comfort we would not be unequally yoked which is critical in a long trip like this. We have compatible attitudes on riding speeds, length of day and where to stop. Most of the trip will be camping.

    Plans are not written in stone with a couple exceptions. 1. I am getting new tires in Kalispell Montana next Tuesday. 2. We will be in Dawson City for Dust to Dawson on June 20-21. 3. Be home by end of July. (earlier for 670)

    Our route is to get quickly across the plains (mostly done) and spend a couple nights to ride around Black Hills. Weather permitting (doesn't look good now) ride Chief Joseph and Bear Tooth highways on way up. Route through eastern British Columbia to Lake Louise then up the Ice Fields Parkway, on to Grande Prairie, Alberta then Dawson Creek to Alaskan Highway. Turn off highway to get to Dawson City for D2D. After D2D over the Top of World Highway into Alaska. 670 has to get home sooner so will likely head south from here Plans are still being formed on where to go in Alaska. Probably up to Fairbanks, down to Valdez, then back to Tuk and then Cassier highway down west side of British Columbia.

    Day 1
    Sunday I met up with Nuke just west of Nashville. We headed northwest on some great roads through Land Between the Lakes into Kentucky. We headed west then turned north across the Ohio River into Illinois near Cairo. This is where we started seeing the effects of recent heavy rains. At places the road was only a foot above water level and many side roads closed. A few houses and businesses had water inside.

    We turned west to cross Mississippi at Cape Girardeau and stopped for the night. We had been blessed with great roads, good weather and no traffic. I road 324 miles and Nuke another 100.

    Me leaving home.
    Start.jpg

    Nuke's and my bikes at north end of Land Between the Lakes. (We had just begun to move north.)
    Land Between Lakes.jpg

    Some flooding on Illinois side of Mississippi.
    Illinois Flooding.jpg
    #1
  2. black 8

    black 8 coddiwompling motographer

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    I'm in.. :lurk
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  3. Fuzzy74

    Fuzzy74 Been here awhile

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    Day 2.
    For planning route I used motorcycleroads.com. I have had good success using their maps to find good rides from point a to point b. I got a U.S. map and drew a straight line from home to Custer, SD and started looking for good roads close to that line based on maps from the site,. So far this trip the results have been awesome.

    Nuke and I headed northwest from Cape Girardeau. Roads were empty, well paved and great rides. At Jefferson City, MO we deviated from the website roads and took US-50 towards Kansas City. We made good time with far less trucks than the parallel I-70. Nothing special but a good run. Jefferson City was the one place we saw impacts from recent weather. Multiple buildings had roof damage from last week's tornados. Along the river saw some houses with water at window level Passing a municipal building in town there was a nick lake in front. Then realized we were seeing the top of parking meters sticking out of the water. We stopped at another hotel at Blue Springs, MO for the night. 670 met us there. We had ridden 324 miles and 670 about 400 from home. We were again blessed with good weather. Temps below average for this time of year which is good for gear that allows for colder weather up north.

    We chose to stay in hotels the first 3 nights getting across the plains. Allows for more riding with less time setting up and taking down tents.

    Sorry no pics.
    #3
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  4. 9Realms

    9Realms Drawn in by the complex plot

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    I'm in. Anxious to hear how the wee Versys delivers.
    I have full confidence!
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  5. ShineySideUp

    ShineySideUp Long timer

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  6. Fuzzy74

    Fuzzy74 Been here awhile

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    I’ll just say it wasn’t the Versys wanting to keep speed under 70 on freeway. :-)

    It will be the better bike in Alaska. With extra weight and wind resistance plus riding into west wind I occasionally needed 5th gear to hold 70 on hills In 5th I could easily get over 80 on same hills.
    #6
  7. Ranger Jim

    Ranger Jim Adventurer Supporter

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    For your return trip, I recommend US 60 from Springfield, MO to Paducah, KY.
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  8. rideforzen

    rideforzen Long timer

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    Your living the dream Fuzzy. Be safe and enjoy the epic ride.
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  9. outdoorsman

    outdoorsman Lets Ride! Supporter

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    Safe travels and see you in Dawson City!
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  10. wingtraveler

    wingtraveler asphalt to dirt

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    watching this thread ,very interested on this trip with the wing since i'm heading that way next year with my wing and towing a roll a home camper!
    #10
  11. Fuzzy74

    Fuzzy74 Been here awhile

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    Day 3:
    About the miles across the prairies. Rode 400 miles on I-70 from Blue Springs, MO to Colby, KS. Left hotel at 6:15 to beat traffic through Kansas City and downtown was not bad. Would have taken at least another half hour to get through Atlanta at that time. Next section of I-70 was toll. $3.50 for two axels whether a motorcycle or dump truck. Always fun holding up traffic digging out ticket and cash.

    The ride through Kansas was very pleasant for an interstate. Straight as an arrow but rolling hills with nice scenery. Least traffic on an interstate I have seen in many years. We cruised at 70, 5 mph below speed limit. Made a stop every 100 miles to stretch and long stop for good lunch. Still got to Hotel at 3:00 with early start.

    Spent 20 minutes passing through huge windmill farm.

    Bikes settled in for night.
    hotel colby.jpg

    A number of construction workers at hotel building another windmill farm across freeway.
    wind farm colby.jpg

    Other side of hotel could see that farmers fields still drying out from all the recent rain.
    wind farm colby.jpg
    #11
  12. Michhub

    Michhub Major Medical

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    :lurk
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  13. Murph1

    Murph1 Adventurer

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    Great to see an Alaskan RR on the Versys 300X it's a bike I'm interested in, how is the seat or did you swap it out for an aftermarket? I sat on one at the dealership and that was the most uncomfortable seat I have ever sat on but I love the bike. Myself and a buddy rode to Alaska last year at this time on Goldwings and there were differently times a lighter bike would have been nice but many more times when the protection and comfort of the Wing was appreciated. It was a ride of a life time for us as I know it will be for you, enjoy the trip and know many of us will be traveling along.
    #13
  14. Ken in Regina

    Ken in Regina Long timer Supporter

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    If you look at the first post in this thread, the bottom picture shows his seat. It's not stock but I don't recall what he said it was.

    Some find the stock seat pretty awful so you're in good company. There are a zillion and one solutions that have been written about in the original Versys-X 300 thread.

    As far as protection, I discovered - again - today that the stock windshield could definitely be improved on. I've been riding behind a California Scientific (medium height) for two years and it's great. Between the bodywork on the bike and that windshield, I've got as much protection as I need. Not quite what you probably get on your 'Wing, but still great for long rides.

    ...ken...
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  15. Fuzzy74

    Fuzzy74 Been here awhile

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    I have a Corbin sear I am very happy with. A lot of folks get the Sear Concepts. I also have a Madstadd wind screen.
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  16. Rapturee2

    Rapturee2 Una Stamus/Thin Blue Line Supporter

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    subscribed...so far so good. I will be headed up there 2020 on my Honda NC700x! :{)
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  17. Fuzzy74

    Fuzzy74 Been here awhile

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    Day 4
    Red sky in morning sailor take warning.
    sunrise colby.jpg
    Fortunately warning was for locals. We soon left the clouds behind as we headed north. More roads straight as an arrow but a mix of flat farm land and interesting country side. Speed limits of 65 on two lanes and again almost no traffic so we made good time.

    We did make one stop to see what Nebraska is famous for other than crops. Carhenge:
    carhenge.jpg
    Some people just have too much time on their hands and don't know how to put it too good use. :hmmmmm

    Overall it was another day to get the flat, straight stuff behind us and get to the good stuff. Arrived at a campground just west of Keystone, South Dakota in the black hills. 3 tents on one spot ok. The tourist train did not run after dark. Didn't rain until we were in bed.
    tents black hills.jpg
    #17
  18. Fuzzy74

    Fuzzy74 Been here awhile

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    Day 5
    I had bought a new point and shoot Fuji camera for the trip. I had a lanyard around my neck and can work it with my left hand to get some action shots. Had some great pics and video from today but hit a wrong button on a menu and erased them all so not too many pics today . :muuttNuke will get some good ones posted from our rides.

    Today was destination riding. We were on some roads that rival the best we have seen. Needles was getting new chip seal which slowed us down on some and we were among the last vehicles thru before they shut it down for the next section. We did the wild life loop and saw lots of buffalo. I got the first one with my I-phone:


    Buffalo.jpg
    We road around the wild life loop then down to Wind Cave and stopped for a tour. With senior park pass only $6.00. Guide gave a great tour 200' down.
    wind cave.jpg

    After lunch road Iron Mountain highway (16A). Perhaps the best we rode. Laid out so three one lane tunnels frame Mount Rushmore when riding through the tunnels.
    Rushmore.jpg

    Final stop was Crazy Horse Mountain. It is a must see if in area. Man who started the sculpture worked alone climbed 700 stair steps every day to get to the top where he started carving. The project was taken over by his children and now grand children. One stated they hoped their children would be able to see a nearly complete sculpture. It is much more than a sculpture as there is also a museum college open and growing as part of the vision for the site.

    Today's ride
    Screenshot (15).png

    Total Trip To date ~ 1700 miles.
    Screenshot (16).png Tomorrow, swing through Sturgis so we can say we've been when asked, Devils Tower and stop near Sheridan, WY.

    Attached Files:

    #18
  19. Rapturee2

    Rapturee2 Una Stamus/Thin Blue Line Supporter

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    Super Cool, thanks for sharing that with us!! :{)
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  20. TNRyder

    TNRyder Adventurer

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