Thursday, June 28, 2012

Milepost©, iPad Edition

No more playing around with the bike as I am now in Barrow for a short visit, or at least short compared to my last visit.

Since I had decided to just use my iPad on my upcoming road trip, I noticed that the publishers of the Milepost© had an app which promised a richer experience than simply a PDF version of the printed book. The app was a free download but the content was $19.99 through an in-app purchase. I went ahead and sprung for the digital content in spite of several comments at the Apple app store mentioning problems getting the content installed. We usually only get a new copy every couple of trips but our most recent copy was forgotten in a restaurant somewhere. I downloaded the purchased content at home and it took several attempts since it is fairly large download. When it finally completed, the app started up just fine and seemed to be fairly well done with the ability to add notes and make your own bookmarks. But when I tried to restart the app later, I would just get the little spinning wheel and nothing else. Apparently, the only solution is delete the app with its content and try again. I repeated this four times with exacty the same results. Very frustrating. By now I had discovered that if I used the university wi-fi, it only took five minutes to re-download the digital content. For the fifth time, I had a new strategy. Install the app, download the content, shutdown the iPad, restart. This seemed to resolve the problem though I can't explain why. It was just a hunch. I've been looking through the maps and descriptions every evening through several restarts just to make sure it continues to work. As a backup, I downloaded the 2010 PDF version into iBooks. I had never given an app a poor review within the Apple app store but I made an exception for the Milepost© app. Too bad there wasn't a zero star rating. If it proves to be reliable, I'll go back and revise my comment and rating. When it works, it works great. The dead tree version is way too heavy to haul around as it is almost 800 pages of ads with content interspersed. But it's still kind of nice to know what's coming up over the horizon.

I finally got around to trying out the camera connection kit for the iPad (I got it two years ago with the original iPad) and it works alright. It's the small, white adapter with the SD card in it. When you plug it into the 30 pin dock port, the Photo app starts and you can choose which photos you want to import. The pictures on the card are untouched. The iPad doesn't know how to handle the RAW files so it uses the embedded JPEG image that is used for the LCD display on the back of the camera. There was some weird green tinting on sharp edges so I turned on RAW+JPEG on the camera. Less than optimal since it tends to slow things down when shooting.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Only One More Week!

I remember when I was little, my younger sister and I would re-arrange all of the gift boxes around the Christmas tree just about everyday during the month of December.

That's one problem with getting all this stuff together in a pile next to the bike is that you are tempted to go out and shuffle things around. Which is exactly what I did last night. Nothing major but removed some stuff, added a few things and moved some stuff around between the cases. The second set of riding gear seems to be taking up a lot of space and I keep trying to convince myself that I don't really need two sets of gear. My Firstgear Kilimanjaro jacket is what I use regularly unless the temperature is well into the 80s (°F), above that there just isn't enough ventilation. Looking at the weather report, it will be on the cooler/wetter side well into British Columbia.

Most of the stuff in the left case will be used when setting up camp and if it gets put away wet, no problem. The purple bags hold my Kelty two man tent, the black is the half cover for the bike , the red is the camp chair and the silver is the MSR fuel bottle. I am still considering installing a bicycle water bottle cage on the front of one of my side cases to carry the fuel bottle. I've never had a problem with it leaking but there's always a first time. The half cover for the bike is more for my sanity than anything real. Last month when I was staying at a hotel in Anchorage, I was always concerned about someone messing with the bike. Many times when I glanced out the window, there was someone standing around the bike, usually older, arms folded, probably harmless, looking at the bike. The camping chair may seem superfluous to some but I'm getting to old to still be comfortable sitting on the ground. Though my small closed cell foam sitting pad that I used to use when hiking or climbing is lining the bottom of the top box to be used if I need to work on the bike.

This is the contents of the top box. More stuff ended here than I planned and it is mostly stuff that could get wet. The total weight of the contents is right around 10 lbs. Not too heavy but kind of bulky. I can see why others really like a top box because it is way too convenient to put things into. My rain gear, heated liner and first aid kit is here since I may want access to them during the day. The thermos is in here not for convenience but for temperature. I have some medication that I need to keep between 40°F and 77°F. That is a really challenge on any kind of road trip but much more challenging on a bike.

The dry bag will be what gets thrown into the tent at a campsite as it has my sleeping pad and sleeping bag. The small red bag is a waterproof liner for my riding pants and may get left behind now that I have a new, still untested, one piece rain suit. The fleece jacket is the liner that originally came with my riding jacket and it is still one of my favorite light jackets. Chris from suggested using the Gerbing liner as a light jacket but it just doesn't feel as nice as the fleece. Since there is room in the dry bag, I added it to the list.

I added a very small Fluke VOM (volt-ohm meter) to the list as it is only a few ounces and it is very difficult to troubleshoot anything electrical without one. I also color coded the check list. Green for camping, blue for bike/riding and brown for what I would take on any trip. I must be bored....

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Solstice Festival

This evening, we went to the Midnight Sun Festival in town. They block off a six block area in downtown Fairbanks and have a bunch of food vendors and three stages for area music performances in the street. I was impressed with the appearance of the sky more than anything else. This is a park right downtown next to the river with a lot of vendor tents including a number of politicians. The food was predictable and the streets were crowded. We stayed to listen to Cold Steel perform as my wife is a member of the steel drum band.

I'm not positive with the meaning of the sign "Looking for Love again" but it is on a building that has been slated for demolition for years. Numerous developers have tried a variety of businesses there without success. I think the latest and strangest proposal is a multi-level green house. A weird use for an old apartment building. I think that I was attracted more to the color of the light than anything going on. These are both iPhone pictures.

My only moto-activity for the weekend was cutting down and grinding smooth the u-bolts that I used to mount the top case to the rear rack and picking up the last couple of items on my list. My son and his wife gave me a pair of rain overgloves from Aerostitch for fathers day. Very much appreciated as I didn't really want to bring my thick & heavy gloves in case of extended rain due to their bulk. I also decided to not bring the small bottle of brake fluid as there are no leaks. This has resulted in some shuffling of the contents of all the cases and the front glove boxes. I picked up an iPad waterproof case and a small dry bag for my camera, the DSLR with only the 50mm f1.8 lens.

Friday, June 22, 2012

I Think I'm Ready to Go

In an earlier post, I had mentioned that I ran my spare clutch cable right next to the existing cable and there was a bit of confusion. This picture may help show what I meant. The two cables are zip tied together and there is a tiny dab of grease to keep water from entering the cable housing. I also put a dab of grease on the barrel which attaches the cable to the lever. If it isn't greased, the clutch cable could bind and eventually fray. But it looks to be in very good condition and I don't expect any problems from it.

The next thing on my non-existent list was to recheck the valve adjustment again as it sounded like one valve was a bit loose. One exhaust valve was about 0.003" loose but the rest were about a thousandth too tight so I ended up adjusted them all slightly.

I tried to find a place to mount the new "Sceaming Banshee" horn but it's pretty tight under the fairing. I'll mess with it this winter. What is unique about this air horn is the electronic module that allows you to retain your stock set up. Short button presses will use the stock horn but hold the button down and the 139db Stebel Nautilus kicks in after a ¼ or ½ sec. Not that it'll do much good based on other research.

I think that I've run out of things to check on the bike before taking off and the only item on my list that I don't have is a first aid kit. I added a couple things since posting such as the clutch cable, spare fuel line, and a half bike cover. The cover is just something to make me feel more at ease if I want to leave my bike somewhere say in a restaurant or hotel parking lot. I've also been rearranging stuff such as not putting a potentially wet tent with my sleeping bag. Next Wednesday, I need to go back to Barrow for several days but still planning on taking off July 3rd. Only 10 more days!

A Bit More Maintenance

I have been riding around with just about all of my gear with the exception of the dry bag. The bike handles a bit differently but you only notice the additional weight at really low speeds. Yesterday afternoon while riding through town, I noticed that my turn signals were intermittently working and the stock voltmeter was bouncing around. The fuse for the turn signal also provides power to the brake lights, horn and the stock voltmeter. The fuse must have been jealous of the attention paid to the other one in the headlight shell earlier in the week. Yesterday evening, I pulled apart the headlight again and cleaned off the years of corrosion from the other fuse. Everything is now working again. 

Yesterday was the longest day of the year and I was really tempted to go out riding as sunset was at 12:55AM (sunrise at 2:50AM). This isn't when it got dark but when the sun actually dropped below the northern horizon. Most of the local events celebrating the midnight sun are this weekend.

This evening, I pulled both wheels off of the bike to check out the wheel bearings, final drive spline lube and brakes. Not that I suspected anything wrong but just to check. The splines connecting the rear wheel to the final drive need periodic lubrication with a high moly grease. All of it looked and felt great. Plenty of brake pad material and I also greased the clutch cable at its weakest point, where it connects to the lever. The spare clutch cable was threaded through and tied into place so it would be trivial to switch if needed. This weekend I'll do a bit more maintenance such as recheck valve clearances as I hear a noisy valve at low speeds. Last winter, I contributed to a Kickstarter project for a motorcycle horn called the "Screaming Banshee" and that is still sitting waiting to be installed. It may be useful before venturing outside.

After seeing George Ferreira's countdown timer, I added it to the blog. In case you can't tell, I'm anxious to get on the road. Still have one more trip north next week but I think I'm just about ready to go. I picked up the Milepost app for the iPad so I guess that's what I'll bring as far as technology. I have been posting lately using the Blogsy app without any issues.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Almost Done Packing

I think that I'm pretty close to getting all my stuff together for the trip. Only a couple more things to pick up such as some food and maybe a couple of stuff sacks to keep things more organized. For those that carry laptops or tablets, what do you use to ensure that they stay dry?

To follow up from my prior posts regarding the top box, I decided to use it as I found some nice sturdy u-bolts to attach it securely to the rack and feel confident that it'll survive the trip without damaging the bike or add any unnecessary risk. It has really been convenient having it on the bike and in the last couple days of riding, I haven't been able to feel any difference with the top box installed.

I really need to spend more time in the morning checking out the bike before riding. Over the weekend, I noticed that my flashing brake lights, that I installed last year inside of my turn signals, weren't working. The electronic module gets it's power from the tail light and that's when I noticed that my tail light wasn't working. The fuse for the tail light and the "eyebrow" light above the headlight is inside the headlight shell. The fuse wasn't burned out and the process of checking the fuse must have cleaned the fuse contacts. It now works fine. The fuses aren't the modern blade type or even the cylindrical glass fuses but "bullet" or "torpedo" fuses which are little more than a ceramic rod with a calibrated wire draped from end to end. The contacts between the ends of the fuse and the socket are far from air tight.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Ride to Work Day

I was reminded that today is 21st International Ride to Work Day. I didn't notice too many additional bikes on the road today on my way in but I did take the scenic route this morning.

There were only seven bikes in the motorcycle parking area next to my building.

Yesterday evening, there was a "meeting" of the local Airhead chapter at the local micro-brewery and about a dozen riders from Anchorage stopped by to visit. They just finished riding the Denali Highway and getting ready to head to Dawson City, Yukon Territory, for the annual Dust2Dawson non-rally. I was originally thinking of going but with my long trip coming up in only two weeks, I figure I'll wait until next year.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Top Box or Not?

This evening, I pulled out the top box that came with my bike to get the spare tubes that were stored there. I thought about trying the box on the bike just to see how it fits. I think that it is an old Luftmeister aftermarket fiberglass box and it fits on a Reynolds backrest that replaces the stock rack. I'm not real comfortable with the hardware used to attach the top box to the rack but that's pretty easy to change. I understand that it's weight carrying capacity is pretty modest due to its position relative to the rear wheel. But it may solve my problem of needing to carry two sets of riding gear which, as you know, is bulky but not very heavy. Geoff James had posted a couple weeks ago about the potential hazards of top boxes. I also have a medium sized dry bag that fits on the rear seat so I may not even need it. I'll take it for a test ride tomorrow to see if it affects the handling..So what do you think?

A couple of days ago I mentioned that I was going to replace the front master cylinder. Last year, it was leaking at the beginning of the riding season so I ordered a replacement. Instead of simply waiting for the new part to arrive, I repaired the old one and after reassembly, it didn't leak much. I used it for the rest of the riding season. Since the new part has been sitting on my desk for the last year I figured that I may as well install it. It took all of five minutes to replace it and another five minutes to bleed the front brakes. Now I wonder why I didn't install it sooner.

RE: Challenge: Your Ride

Martha at LivingAmongTourists posted a challenge to show your commute. This is sort of part of my commute. Like some others, the most direct route is only about 5 miles with two signal lights. I rarely take the most direct route. This is a road on the south side of campus which is heading west. This lead to, among other roads, Sheep Creek Road which heads out to the Goldstream Valley. This is my most common route home. EverydayRiding captured part of that ride on his GoPro a little over a month ago, so I'll just submit that as part of my commute. Is this cheating?

Thursday, June 14, 2012

LED Voltmeter

Last summer after installing an Odyssey battery and an adjustable voltage regulator, I discovered how far off the stock voltmeter really is. Charlie6 in his blog Redleg's Rides, mentioned the installation of a water-resistant digital voltmeter. I liked the look of the panel mount and picked up one of the Datel meters last winter. Like many things, it has been sitting around for a while while I thought about where to mount it. There just weren't very many convenient locations. This location is less than optimal since the backside is potentially exposed to moisture from the front vent. Since I have never used these vents and the front opening has some factory provided covers, it probably will work fine. The hardest part was getting the Dremel in there to cut the opening and my youngest son took care of that task. He has a lot more experience cutting things with a Dremel tool than I. The meter is wired directly into the battery on the same circuit as the GPS and is currently "always on". I ordered a waterproof marine switch from Amazon just to turn off power to the meter. The meter only draws 13ma so it would only be an issue if the bike is being left for weeks without being started and not on the trickle charger. The switch will be eventually installed below and to the right next to the glove compartment opening. The glove boxes are no longer waterproof so I'm not too concerned about any water leaking in through the switch opening. One of these years, I'm planning on installing a fuse panel to eliminate all of the wires tied directly to the battery. Getting the Gerbing liner is the impetus for actually installing the voltmeter due to the anemic 280 watt charging system on my bike. The 77 watt (max) draw is pretty significant.
The plan for today and this weekend is to finish collecting all of my stuff for the trip and see if it will easily fit in the available space. Also on today's agenda is replacing the front master cylinder. It isn't leaking anymore but who know when it may feel like starting again. I have the replacement part sitting here so I may as well install it. BTW, I took the week off since I lost Memorial Day weekend as  well as the following weekend working in Barrow.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

MSR Stoves

Prompted by Bobskoot's post on his stove purchase, I thought that it would be useful to compare the two models I have. Let's see what thirty years of experience gets up.

The first one is the G/K model that I purchased in the late 1970's to replace a Primus white gas model that I used for years hiking in the mountains around Southern California. The Primus didn't have a pump and relied on heat from your hands warming up the fuel tank to generate pressure. Once it was primed and started, the heat from the flame would keep the tank pressurized. One of the problems is if the tank overheated, you would get a blowtorch from the pressure relief valve when it decided to vent. The MSR G/K had a pump, it came with two jets one for diesel/kerosene and the other for gasoline. Since I was starting to winter camp and looking forward to bicycle camping trips, this seemed to be the stove to get. I used it on many trips including winter climbing trips, bicycle camping trips and many car camping trips since. The built in spark ignition is very convenient as you don't even need to carry matches and being able to buy fuel at any filling station you come across was very convenient. Back in the early 80's on a bicycle trip to Cabo San Lucas, I filled it up at a gas station where fuel was 6¢ per gallon. The pump didn't even register a penny, I wasn't charged anything. This stove had the reputation of burning very hot and was pretty loud. It worked very well and came with this aluminum heat shield which is sturdier than it looks. On some backpacking trips, I would bring a steel wok and the heat shield was a perfect base for it and the stove was hotter than any home gas range I've ever used. The rigid pipe does make it a bit more difficult to pack and if you used diesel, there was a fair amount of soot. My carrying bag for the stove is pretty filthy inside.

MSR Whisperlite International
The new stove is an MSR Whisperlite International that I picked up at REI on sale last December and is also multi-fuel meaning it'll run on just about anything that burns. It also came with a collection of jets for the different fuel options. It routes the fuel tube through the flame just as the older G/K version to vaporize the liquid fuel. More specifically, fuels like kerosene or diesel. The white gas version doesn't have or need the fuel line running through the flame. I am planning on using my old fuel bottle and was pleasantly surprised to see that the new stove works with my old pump which seems to fit better on the old fuel bottle anyway. Since the new pump is very light, and essentially packs inside the stove, I will probably bring it along as a spare. You would normally leave the pump attached to the bottle all the time as there is no reason to remove it. The newer version seems to have an extra fitting and an extra jet to burn bottled gas (isobutane I think) in addition to liquid fuels. This adds even more flexibility to an already good design. The one thing that I think I'll miss is the built in flint ignition. It packs small enough to fit inside of the non-stick pots that I have.

Airhead Fuel Lines
As you can see, the fuel lines on my bike are readily accessible and I can easily disconnect one to refil the MSR fuel bottle. No tools required, no fuel pump, just open the valve. The other side of the bike has the same fuel line layout. To me, that is the real attraction of the liquid fueled stoves. I do have a 1liter Sigg fuel bottle and if I can find a convenient way to carry it outside of my hard bags, I may use that one instead as I can probably get almost ten miles on that if I had to. The only reason I picked up a new stove was that replacement parts were getting hard to come by.

I'm starting to pull all of my gear together for the trip to see what I don't really need as I still think the list looked too long. With a compression stuff sack, one pannier will easily hold my sleeping bag, tent (without poles), ground cloth, small camping chair and rainsuit with still about 1/3 to 1/2 of the volume still available so I think that I'm in pretty good shape.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Alaska Primer

For those who are thinking of riding to Alaska, there is an excellent post on called "Alaska Primer" by Alcan Rider in the Alaska Regional section of the forum. It is entertaining, somewhat comical but does have the normal feel to it. Here is just a sample of the full post.

ALASKA PRIMER (for ADV types headed this way)

BEARS: Contrary to what you may have gleaned from various ride reports, no, there is not a bear behind every tree. We have a number of trees almost equal to the national debt, but many of those are too small for even one of our runty squirrels to hide behind, let alone a huge, ferocious grizzly. Count yourself lucky if you get to see a bruin in the wild - only a small percentage of visitors do.

BIKES: So you've been wanting to ride to Alaska for at least ten years, but you tell us the reason you haven't is that you still can't afford that awesome GS sitting on the BMW dealer's floor that you drool over every time you stop by there. To that, I say BS (in capitals, you'll notice). The reason you still spend your vacation time south of the border is because you're a wimp! You want a bike that will make the trip for you, instead of you having to learn to ride it yourself. Quit making excuses. Go out and find yourself a used bike in the $2000 - $3000 range, one that has a good reputation for reliability, that will haul you and about half the gear you think you will need for the trip (because what you think you'll need is twice what you really need), that will carry sufficient fuel in its tank for at least 150 miles, and that fits you. Spend a few hundred to ~$1000 on suspension upgrades (our roads are hard on overloaded bikes), work on the bike yourself so you know it intimately, then get some experience with it on gravel roads. Spend a little more on a good camera and a spare battery, then get your butt on the road.

And much more. For the full post and the equally entertaining comments, please visit the forums and read the full post. It's worth the trouble....

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Packing List - Summer Trip 2012

Now that I posted a schedule, I thought that I should start on a packing list. The origin of this list is from Stacy at in a post that she did back in 2009. I also have started out with a bunch of gear from my backpacking days where weight and size is very important. The standard BMW touring cases are 33 liters each so I should have plenty of space. I also have removable liners for them. To put across the seat, I have a H2W large dry bag. For my daily commute, I use a Rapid Transit Recon 19 magnetic tank bag and I plan on bringing that for everything I want to keep close at hand. My bike also has two "glove boxes" built into the fairing which would allow me to keep things like oil and brake fluid separate from everything else.

Considering that Stacy manages to fit most of this in two 20 liter soft bags and a dry bag, I should be in pretty good shape. The trick is to stay under the 18 lb load capacity of the plastic luggage. Also since they have been known to separate themselves from your bike while underway, I have a set of sturdy straps to fasten them to the rack and not rely on the flimsy latches to hold them on and keep the lid closed. this does make them more difficult to get into while on the road so I will attempt to only carry things like camping gear, tools, clothes and food in the hard bags. Anything I may want to get to during the day such as rain gear, camera, snacks, etc. will be either in the tank bag or the dry bag. One challenge will be some medication that must be kept cool (40°F - 78°F) but I think I have a solution to that one. A thermos.
So where would you carry a wet tent or wet rain gear? In a mesh bag? Or do you pack it up wet and hope the next campground is a bit drier?

Camping Gear
  • Tent
  • Thermarest pad w/ patch kit
  • Small closed cell pad
  • Sleeping bag
  • Ground cloth/tarp
  • Camp chair
  • Flashlight or headlamp w/extra batteries
  • Small skein of parachute cord or lightweight poly rope
  • Stove - MSR WhisperLite International, multi-fuel
  • MSR ½l Fuel bottle
  • Pot(s) nominally non-stick
  • Silverware - plastic spoon, fork
  • Folding knife
  • Cutting surface
  • Cup - double wall Ti
  • Plastic bowl
  • Water bottle(s)
  • Dish cleaning stuff (biodegradable dish soap, small scrubber)
  • Can opener - P-38
  • Matches in a waterproof container
  • Hydration bladder for the tank bag
Motorcycle Gear
  • Air compressor
  • Spare tubes
  • Tire patch kit
  • Tools
  • Tire pressure gauge
  • 1 qt Oil 15W40
  • Zip ties
  • Brake fluid - DOT 4
  • Funnel for oil
  • Insurance cards including Canadian
  • Registration
  • Rain gear
  • Extra visors - tinted, clear w/cleaning kit
  • Cold weather gloves
  • Warm weather gloves
  • Mesh gear
  • Heated liner
  • Fleece jacket
  • temperature controller
  • Spare fuses
  • Spare headlight bulb
  • Spare taillight bulb
  • Spare set of spark plugs
  • Oil Filter
  • Spare keys
  • Leatherman Crunch
  • Earplugs and spare
  • Rescue tape
  • Shorts
  • Long pants
  • Shirts/socks/underwear
  • Sewing kit
  • Running shoes
  • Hat
  • Shampoo/soap
  • Toothbrush/toothpaste
  • Comb
  • Towel
  • Laptop/iPad
  • Chargers
  • Travel Outlet Strip
  • Headphones
  • Phone
  • Portable GPS (more reliable speedometer) w/extra AA batteries
  • SD cards
  • SD card reader
  • Camera
  • Passport
  • Drivers license
  • Credit cards (with a great hotel points program)
  • SPOT
  • AMA Roadside assistance card
  • BMWMOA Anonymous book & Airhead Directory
  • First aid kit
  • Insect repellant
  • Zip-Lok bags (gallon & quart)
  • First aid kit
  • Prescription medication
  • OTC medication (Ibuprofen, Tylenol)
  • BG meter
  • Extra glasses
  • Sunscreen
  • Snack bars
  • OS juice mix
  • G2 mix
  • Oatmeal
  • Salt/pepper
  • Peanut butter
  • Small bottle of cooking oil
  • Hard candy
  • Raisins or other dried fruit
  • "Emergency food"
So please let me know what I'm missing or what I shouldn't bother taking. It looks like a huge list...
(Updates from the comments are in Blue. Thank you!)

For some reason this post sort of vanished. I'll blame it on BlogPress on the iPhone. Very lame app...

Monday, June 4, 2012

Summer Trip - 2012

Earlier this week, I was asked when I was planning on leaving Fairbanks on my road trip. I had a general idea of my route but have never committed it to paper so while sitting in my office in Barrow, it seemed like an opportune time. Please excuse the mess but I just had to switch offices last week.

For those wondering about the lack of dark, I took this photo at 1 in the morning last night looking out over the Arctic Ocean. As you can see, there is some melting near the shore. And the sun was just about as high above the horizon as it was at noon. In case you are wondering what I was doing wandering around at 1 in the morning, it just seemed like a normal thing to do since I had just finished dinner after working until 10pm.

Anyway, back to the task at hand. I have made up a rough schedule for my road trip this summer though I haven't finalized many of the details. The plan is to leave Fairbanks, AK, on July 3rd and arrive in Santa Cruz, CA, on July 14th. Then leave Santa Cruz on the 18th and arrive in Baker City, OR, on the 20th for the IMBC 2012. I'm still not sure of who will actually be there besides Troubadour, Trobairitz and Bobskoot. I wasn't originally planning to take the Cassiar Highway but based on Chris of Everyday Riding's report, I added it to my route on my way down. The daily mileage is generally around 300+ miles. This seems like a fairly modest goal. In other road trips through Canada over the years, I usually averaged closer to 600 miles per day but this is my first extended motorcycle trip. If it turns out that I can easily cover more miles per day, I will and build up a buffer for some additional rest days.

View Larger Map

The route allows me to avoid Seattle and Portland and I don't really hit the Interstate until Medford, OR on the way down. On the way back, the route leaves the Interstate in Sacramento. The only overlapping part of the trip is from Watson Lake, BC, and Fairbanks, AK. There is an alternate route between Watson Lake and Tok that I drove a couple of years ago but I don't care to ride the same route. Way too much dust, gravel and mud. In case you are interested, from Watson Lake head north on the Campbell Highway, then north on the Klondike Highway through Dawson City the the Top of the World Highway into Alaska and down to Tok. It is almost all dirt and mud (not nice smooth gravel).

According to Google Maps, this trip will be 6,587 miles. I plan to camp most of the way through Canada but have found it much more difficult in the lower 48 states. I was originally planning on mailing down my mesh gear and dropping off my camping gear in Oregon but the IMBC 2012 meeting in eastern Oregon makes that impractical. So I guess I carry two sets of riding gear and my camping gear for the whole trip.

Rough Schedule:
  • July 3, 2012 - Fairbanks, AK (A,X) to Beaver Creek, YT (B) - 312 miles
  • July 4, 2012 - Beaver Creek, YT (B) to Whitehorse, YT (C) - 277 miles
  • July 5, 2012 - Whitehorse, YT (C) to Dease Lake, BC (D) - 372 miles
  • July 6, 2012 - Dease Lake, YT (D) to Kitwanga BC (E) - 301 miles
  • July 7, 2012 - Kitwanga, BC (E) to Prince George, BC (F) - 302 miles
  • July 8, 2012 - Prince George, BC (F) to Kamloops, BC (G) - 327 miles
  • July 9, 2012 - Kamloops, BC (G) to Wenatchee, WA (H) - 321 miles
  • July 10, 2012 - Wenatchee, WA (H) to Bend, OR (I) - 324 miles
  • July 11, 2012 - Bend, OR (I) to Medford, OR (J) - 210 miles
  • July 12, 2012 - Rest
  • July 13, 2012 - Medford, OR (J) to Stockton, CA (K) - 355 miles
  • July 14, 2012 - Stockton, CA (K) to Santa Cruz, CA (L) - 107 miles
  • July 15, 2012 - Family Reunion
  • July 16, 2012 - Family Reunion
  • July 17, 2012 - Family Reunion
  • July 18, 2012 - Santa Cruz, CA (L) to Susanville, CA (M) - 336 miles
  • July 19, 2012 - Susanville, CA (M) to Burns, OR (N) - 296 miles
  • July 20, 2012 - Burns, OR (N) to Baker City, OR (O) - 150 miles
  • July 21, 2012 - IMBC 2012, Baker City, OR (O) to Joseph, OR (P) - 114 miles
  • July 22, 2012 - IMBC 2012
  • July 23, 2012 - Joseph, OR (P) to Creston, BC (Q) - 320 miles
  • July 24, 2012 - Creston, BC (Q) to Jasper, AB (R) - 379 miles
  • July 25, 2012 - Jasper, AB (R) to Dawson Creek, BC (S) - 324 miles
  • July 26, 2012 - Dawson Creek, BC (S) to Fort Nelson, BC (T) - 282 miles
  • July 27, 2012 - Fort Nelson, BC (T) to Watson Lake, BC (U) - 319 miles
  • July 28, 2012 - Watson Lake, BC (U) to Haines Junction, YT (V) - 367 miles
  • July 29, 2012 - Haines Junction, YT (V) to Tok, AK (W) - 290 miles
  • July 30, 2012 - Tok, AK (W) to Fairbanks, AK (A,X) - 200 miles
Only a month to get ready!

Monday Afternoon - Just modified the route to include the Icefield Parkway through Banff. And it knocked off 200 miles!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Midnight Saturday Walk

This evening, I was invited to go for a walk by a group called the 4F's, which stands for Food, Family, Fun, Fitness but no one was quite sure of the order of the words. This was their first Midnight Saturday walk of the season and it started from the Will Rogers - Wiley Post monument in town near the airport. Our small group headed out towards the satellite farm west of the airport. Four others showed up including one passenger in a stroller.

The Will Rogers - Wiley Post monument in town memorializes the 1935 plane crash of these two well known individuals. The actual crash site is about 13 miles west of town and there are two more monuments at the site. This one near the airport is more accessible to tourists.

There is also one of the mileposts that seem to be so popular in Alaska indicating direction and distance to various locations. If you look closely, you can see that even though this is the most northerly point in the U.S., we are still 1,311 miles from the north pole.

By midnight, the fog was rolling in and it was just barely above freezing but once we got going, it didn't feel that cold. We turned around just short of the satellite farm after only 1.6 miles since there was a 15 mph wind, visibility was diminishing, and there was some concern about not being able to see any polar bears with the low visibility.

On the way back into town, someone commented on the stupidity of putting up a barb wire topped chain link fence that just ended next to the road. This high security fence around the airport is supposed to keep people and animals off of the airport runway and ramp but it looks like it's more for show than function. The end of the runway is just on the other side of the pond.

This walk was a nice diversion especially after working for the last 13 days straight. I feel like I've been working non stop and look forward to taking some time off when I get back to town. I did take the SPOT with me to play with the tracking feature again. I had purchased it for trips but it may be just as useful when out walking in remote areas. Thank you 4F's for the invitation.

In case you are looking for adventure and a bit of exercise, they are having their first marathon (as well as a 5K and ½ marathon) up here on July 20, 2012. Check it out at