Friday, June 24, 2011

Trip to Anchorage

The top of Denali is mostly hidden in the clouds in the center of this picture. You can make out the north peak but the south peak is completely obscured by the clouds. This is taken from the turnout just south of Denali State Park. When it is out, this is about the best view of the mountain from the Parks Highway. We were on our way back from Anchorage after my son's visit to an oral surgeon (he was not happy). It was overcast on the trip south so the clear skies were definitely appreciated. This is an iPhone snapshot taken with the ProHDR app and I must admit that I like the way the sky looks when using this camera app. It takes two photos one overexposed and one under exposed and merges them together somehow.

It seems that tourism in Alaska may be down significantly. I only passed a handful of RVs on this trip. Most of the smaller class C motor homes were local (probably rentals) and most of the out of state ones were huge diesel pushers or busses. Many campgrounds seemed empty and a lot of the smaller lodging options had vacancy signs. Unfortunately, a lot of tourists were on the mega tours where you are herded like cattle from one corporate venue (businesses owned by the tour company) to another. On the plus side, there were a lot of bikes both motorized and human powered on the highway. Most were BMW GS models, Harleys and Goldwings. Very little of anything else.

While in Anchorage, we stopped at Alaska Leather to look at helmets and textile riding pants. They actually had a pretty decent selection for what looked like a pretty small building. Supposedly, they are the largest motorcycle accessory shop in Alaska and I've heard wonderful things about their customer service. Staffing was a bit slim since most of the shop had left for D2D (Dust to Dawson) the motorcycle non-rally in Dawson City, Yukon Territory, the previous day.

I also picked up an Odyssey PC925L battery at Battery Specialist of Alaska as the old battery seemed like it was getting to end of life. My airhead only has a 280 watt charging system so it takes a while to fully recharge the battery and the old one seemed like it only had enough oomph to start the bike once maybe twice. The local price for the battery was actually less than the online price not even counting whatever shipping would be for a 25 lb battery. Since the Odyssey is a sealed battery, it can sit on it's side and this is the largest one that will fit in the stock battery tray. I may have to pick up an adjustable voltage regulator as Odyssey suggests a higher charge voltage than is for a lead-acid wet battery. I think that this is true for any AGM battery but it's difficult to separate fact from myth on the Internet. According to their website, my Battery Tenders cannot be used on their batteries in spite of the fact that Deltran states it to be useable on AGM batteries. They want you to purchase theirs...


  1. I thought AGM batteries took any chage rate like a wet battery. gel cells are delicate, that was the rule when I was traveling by sailboat.

  2. Conchscooter:
    Yes, you are correct that gel cells are much more delicate and don't tolerate overcharging at all but will recover easily from a deep discharge. I was told that AGM cells also don't tolerate either sustained overcharging or a deep discharge well and to maximize their life, they need be charged to 100% either using an external charger or by adjusting the voltage regulator on the bike to around 14.6 volts. The benefit of AGM seems to be higher capacity and current for their size.

  3. Hope your son did survive the oral procedure relatively unscathed.
    The iphone snapshot is marvelous, very nice.