Sunday, May 29, 2016

On the Way Home

On Sunday morning, we headed back to Fairbanks from Talkeetna. This was a rest stop roughly an hour north of Talkeetna Junction. The mountain in the background is Denali. Below is a digital zoom taken from the same location. There were a lot of bikes on the road heading to the Alaska Veterans Memorial. Most of them were riding up from Anchorage so once we passed the turnoff, the number of bikes dropped significantly.
We did pass the aftermath of a motorcycle accident. I won't speculate on what happened but it looked pretty bad. The ambient temperature was around 70°F for most of the day. No liner needed! By the time we arrived in Fairbanks, it had cooled down to the mid-60s. We had a nice  a tailwind on the ride south but that turned into a headwind for the return trip. This is reflected in my gas mileage with an all time high of 36 mpg on the leg from Cantwell to Talkeetna Junction. On the trip back, my mileage dropped by about 4 mpg.
This picture was taken from the Parks Highway Monument just outside of Fairbanks. I wanted to check the head temperature at the top of a long uphill grade using my IR thermometer and compare it with the CHT. The temperature compensated temperature was about 425°F on the CHT and the IR thermometer indicated ~365°F. This matches my previous checks where I noted that the CHT is about 60°F high.

The owners manual states that the normal operating range of the engine is between 356°F and 428°F. The highest CHT temperature I've seen since the engine rebuild has been 475°F which would be about 415°F. Right before the engine failed, it had risen to over 525°F on a long grade. 

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Talkeetna USCA Campout - Part 2

Another clear day from the campground. This is the Susitna River and one of the jet boat tours that run up and down the river. It was about 82°F this afternoon and is finally starting to cool down. 77°F at 9:30pm. Lots of people in town for the free concerts, softball tournament and other activities. 

On Saturday morning, several got out their stoves to make coffee including an old Primus and a newer Jetboil. Both worked well. I didn't bother getting out either of my MSR stoves until this evening when I made dinner. 

There was a pretty good turnout with four Urals, a couple of BMW GS/DMC rigs and a Yamaha Venture. Non-sidecar equipped bikes were two Yamaha Super Tenere and a BMW F650GS. The BMW was an older one that had the single cylinder Rotax engine and the rider was Justin from the new Ural dealer in Anchorage. In the picture is Doug with his riding partner Echo with the doggles. This is Echo's first camping trip in the Ural. 

Friday, May 27, 2016

Talkeetna USCA Campout

Today we rode 275 miles from Fairbanks to Talkeetna. It started out overcast and around 46°F. Once we past Cantwell, the clouds were gone and the temperature climbed up to 75°F. No heated gear needed. In fact the liners were shed, gloves switched out and zippers opened up. This is the view from the South McKinley (now known as Denali) viewpoint. Nice cloudless view of the mountain.  

We got to Talkeetna around 5:30pm or so and went to the city campground on the far side of town next to the Susitna River. We had dinner at the Denali Brewing Company. Delicious food and a nice porter. And even though the town is packed, it wasn't that long of a wait for a table.  

This is just one of the many artsy gift shops that are typical of this town. BTW, this year there is tons of LTE signal on both AT&T and Verizon. GCI only had edge so that was a fail.

Artsy moose. There are about four sidecars, Bridget's Prius, one tent trailer and one solo bike here. Three people from Fairbanks, three people from Anchorage, and two from Wasilla. Not a bad turnout.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

4th Annual Alaska USCA "Rally"

Not really a "rally" in the traditional sense. No one makes money, no organized events, no vendors, no admission. The initial mailing list came from the United Side Car Association and this will be the fourth time we are meeting at the city campground in Talkeetna, AK.

Talkeetna is a very touristy town that is some ways seems to be a leftover from the 60's. Lots of arts and craft shops, tie dye items, and over priced dust catchers catering to the tourists shuttled here from the cruise ships by bus and train. The Alaska contact for the USCA is an avid soft ball player and there is a large tournament here with games being played well into the night under the light of the midnight sun.

We are headed down on Friday morning sometime. Bridget was originally going to ride in the sidecar but she needs to bring her two dogs along. So they will be driving down instead. First road trip for the dogs. JedR will be riding down with me on his 2015 Patrol as he did last year except this time it's well broken in. Last year, it was brand new and on it's first road trip.

I've been using my homemade air box ever since I came back from my trip last summer. So I think that it has proven itself and I have the carburetor jets dialed in pretty well. This will be the first real trip with the plastic fence post air cleaner housing. AKA Leftka-3, named after the SovietSteeds individual who came up with the design.

Probably no posts during the weekend as last year there was very poor AT&T signal and no Verizon at all. I will be taking down a GCI phone this time. Maybe it'll actually work...