Friday, May 22, 2015

Memorial Day Road Trip Pt. 1

Fully loaded with the exception of the monkey. The front brake pads arrived in today's mail so I spent ten minutes changing them out. The old pads were pretty worn compared to the new and braking feels a little softer but that's probably because the pads aren't broken in. I just need to take it easy on them for the first hundred miles or so.

 The replacement gas cap was also waiting for me and also just in time. The rubber "O" ring on the old Saab cap was starting to fall apart. I drilled a hole in the cap and added a tether to prevent the cap getting left behind. You may notice that I'm using the tail bag instead of the tank bag. I just have the tent sitting on top of the rear fender so there was room on the seat for the bag. The tank bag just didn't fit as well on the Ural as it did on the Beemer. JedR is meeting us at Bridget's school at 3:00pm and we are taking off from there.

Here we are in Nenana, about 50 miles into the trip. We stopped just for a cup of coffee. 

We stopped at a Subway in "glitter gulch" aka the touristy area north of the Denali park entrance. The mud is from road construction. 

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Getting Ready

I arrived back in Fairbanks this afternoon and after a few quick errands, I started to get the rig ready for the Memorial Day road trip. Bridget and I are riding down to Talkeetna for the annual Alaska Sidecar camp out. We are leaving around 3 pm with Jed and his shiny Ural. Last September, I had picked up this 60mm ammo can at the Palmer fair with the intention of mounting it under the back of the sidecar. Procrastinator that I am, I finally installed it. I used 4 3/8" bolts with fender washers inside the sidecar and inside the ammo can and 1/4" thick rubber washers between the box and the bottom of the sidecar. It opens towards the bike and there is plenty of room to completely open the door. Later, I'll put on a small padlock to keep honest people honest. For now, I have the scissors jack, the spare tube, a quart of oil, funnel, and a small rachet set in there. There's room for more but that's probably enough weight.

I had mentioned that the one thing I miss on the Ural is a clock. This afternoon, Jed stopped by and dropped off a motorcycle clock that he had lying around. It's just what I was looking for.

So now the rig has quite a load with two camp chairs, a three person tent, two sleeping bags, two thermorest pads, stove (actually 2 stoves), cooking stuff, two breakfasts, one dinner and some snacks. Plus the normal camping gear, insect repellant and a couple of changes of clothes.

I checked the sidecar alignment since one of the lower clamp bolts was loose but it is still right at ¼" toe in and 1° lean out. The new gas cap came in and it is now tethered to the bike. I still haven't decided whether to put the duffle on the rear of the bike or on the rack.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Spring in Barrow

I'm back in Barrow again but this time to get the new IT tech set up for the summer field season. He is a university student from Anchorage and is anxiously looking forward to this new experience. After dinner today, we walked a short way out to the coast on a boardwalk and there was a great view of the ice covered sea. It is about 8:30pm and the sun is still high in the sky. The haze in the distance is where there is probably open water.

I am trying out a new iPhone camera app called Hydra. The picture above was in HDR mode and instead of just taking two or three photos, it took nine. I think it did a great job. The second photo was a test of the high resolution zoom feature. The iPhone sensor is 8 megapixels and this image is a 2x zoom with 8 megapixel resolution. It did this magic by taking advantage of the fact that hand holding isn't perfect and took 42 pictures. It then combined them together in software resulting in an 8 megapixel photo of just the center of the frame. Magic...

This is the short boardwalk out to the edge of the cliff looking back towards town. The restaurant we went to is the grey building on the right. Arctic Pizza. In many areas the snow has melted leaving a lot of swamps and mud. Boardwalks are nice to have.

The last image is a iPhone pano using the built in camera software and moving the phone from left to right. It was a beautiful evening. Almost painfully bright. The sun won't set again until August 1st.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Tombstone's Travels

Ken, the author of Tombstone's Travels, stopped by with his new V-Strom. He has recovered from his accident on the Dalton Hwy after riding up to Prudhoe. I was hoping for an opportunity to visit before he headed out of town and since I am heading out of town tomorrow, today seemed good. I had also invited BruceW, Whojigger on SovietSteeds, who was up from Ketchikan over for dinner. We had a wonderful time talking, hearing about his adventures and accident on the Dalton. He and another friend from Utah are planning to be back on the road again within the next couple of days.

Here is the mandatory group shot as they were getting ready to head out. That is Bruce on his blue/white Ural Patrol. You might notice the green leaves but what you don't see is the 80°F temperatures that we have been dealing with. Pretty grim weather.

It was great to finally meet up with Ken as I thought I was going to miss him by a couple of days. He had arrived in Fairbanks when I was last up in Barrow and was originally planning to pass through Fairbanks while I was in Anchorage last week.