Thursday, July 15, 2010

My Own Personal Zen

My Boss Hoss Has a New Working Starter

Many of you following my blog are aware of the premature end to my trek to Anchorage, AK from Seattle, WA when the Starter failed on my Boss Hoss after going over the 100 miles of very bad road on this side of Haines Junction, YT. The bike did very well and held up long enough to return me to the US and Alaska, but she would run no farther.
That is, she would run no farther until today. A new starter arrived and seems to fit very well. She is a little noisy but I think some shims may resolve that. I'll run my MP Racing this weekend and have him take a listen and see what he says.

Well, I wanted to share the goods news, but it is time to change clothes and get out and do some riding! Pardon me while I indulge myself. See you Grizzly-nauts again real soon!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Riding up the Al-Can (A Motorcycle Trek to Alaska) Chapter 23

The Bike and I Arrive Home Last Night
As I posted, although the starter turned over and the Bendix seem to engage, it would not lock into the flywheel and turn the engine. I could see this through the inspection port, but was unable to see why. I even used a screwdriver to roll the engine an 1/8th of a turn or so to make sure there was not and issue with a broken tooth on the flywheel. When the bike would not start, I had called Paul and he was able to get George to come get me and the bike using Wayne's truck and trailer. (I think that was RC's trailer, but I'm not sure.) George arrived at Border City Lodge (about 4 miles this side of the US Customs station on the US side) at about 4:00 AM. We grabbed my stuff (we thought) and headed up to the Customs Station to get the bike where it overnighted. Wayne had sent a spare starter from his Boss Hoss along with George, but we thought it more prudent to load the bike on the trailer and use gas in one vehicle instead of both. (I did not know the exact cause of the problem anyway, so the time to replace the starter was a gamble I decided not to take. That would prove a good decision after I got home.)

The trailer has a full width gate and the parking lot had a nice downhill slope, so loading the bike was very easy for George and I. We got it strapped in and left for Border City to double check the straps and how it was riding. All looked good and we headed for Tok, AK, about 90 miles away.
At Tok we refueled and then I discovered I did not have my iPhone. We called the lodge and they confirmed they had it, but could not mail it as they have no mail service because they are too remote. George laughed, handed me the keys, and we started back to Border City. The first trip to Tok went very fast as we were earlier than the construction crews in the construction areas as well as ahead of the RV traffic. Not so much for this round trip to get the iPhone...
We lost about 4 hours making the trip, but when we returned to Tok and refueled again, we started South. George had driven all night to get to me, so I drove us home. For the most part, I concentrated on driving so he could nap. (He had ridden his bike to Anchorage from Seward to pick up the truck and was planning to ride back to Seward that night when we got back into town.) Once we were to Tok, we made pretty good time and maintained a steady pace.

The next refuel point was at Glennallen, AK. We finally had decent cell phone service, so we checked in with Wayne and Paul to let them know our status and ETA. I also called Nick, who I bought the bike from and he was very apologetic about the break down, I told him it was fine and the bike had been running great otherwise. Nick told me he had never ridden that far in a single trip and he was jealous. (He even posted a comment here saying he wanted the bike back. Sorry Nick, I am hooked!)

From Glennallen, the road was pretty smooth and once again we were on a good, steady pace. We passed several very cool views which I had seen a lot as the bike run to Eureka Lodge at Mile 128 on the Glenn Highway is a popular one and a lot of fun. Then we passed the Matanuska Glacier on our way to Chickaloon, AK and King Mountain Lodge, another popular bike destination.

We started looking for a car wash with spray wand to rinse off the bike from it's AlCan dust, mud, bugs, etc. Knowing I was going to need to pull the starter when we got home, the thought was it'd be easier if the bike was clean. We stopped in to the one on the North end of Eagle River and the bike got a much needed bath.
We pulled into Anchorage a little after 5:00 PM and I refueled the truck and we dropped the bike in my garage. George and I were meeting the guys for burgers after 6:00 PM so I had to work fast to get the bike fixed.

After pulling the seat and side cover off, I disconnected the battery and the wiring from the starter. I pulled the back bolt off and the starter fell free! As you can see here, the mounting block for the starter broke. Turns out one of those unexpected pot holes did more damage than I could have imagined.

For now, I'm unable to get a good grip on the bolt to get it out, so that's the next step toward getting the starter replaced and the bike running. There are a few other things to do as well, but all in all, the bike held up very well for such a long and rough trip. At least it didn't leave me stranded somewhere completely on my own and I was able to get the help I needed.
That'll close this chapter and serious of blogs Grizzly-nauts. I hope you enjoyed this adventure as much as I did. I'll post a blog when the bike is up and running, and am sure to blog about other things as well. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Riding up the Al-Can (A Motorcycle Trek to Alaska) Chapter 22

Day 4 - A Finish of Sorts
Today did not exactly end when, where, or how I planned or even hoped for. More on that later.
I woke up this AM in Whitehorse excited to see the forecast as well as see how close I was to Tok. I thought I'd make dinner there at the latest and start for Anchorage...
As I raced for Haines Junction, I was disappointed to find the roads difficult to make good time on between the pot holes and frost heaves. I did stop along the way and take pictures.

Apparently, I am an excellent bug killer!

It may be hard to see here, but the road was so full of pot holes and frost heaves it was hard to drive at all, much less drive fast!

Finally, I was back in the USA!

The bike has been running great so far!

5 minutes after this shot, as I pulled into US Customs for intake, I shut off the bike as usual.
I finished quickly and went to start the bike to an awful grinding sound! It was as if the starter turned but did not engage the flywheel! A few hours later, with no success getting it running, I called some friends for help and they're bringing a trailer.
For now, I'm holed up at the Border City Lodge for the night and we'll get the bike when they arrive in the AM... Good night Grizzly-nauts!
Here's more evidence of my bug killing prowess!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Location:Alcan Border,United States

Riding up the Al-Can (A Motorcycle Trek to Alaska) Chapter 21

Day 4-Welcone to the Yukon Territory
Or "Oh hai! This mornin' mah bike wuz clean. Sorry U mis'd it!"

I got up early, but had to wait to wash the bike. I figured the engine would run cooler with less mud, oil, and road salt all over it. Besides, the paint job likely appreciated the attention anyway! After the locals got me lost trying to get me to NAPA, I gave up, refueled, and got on the road headed toward Watson Lake, YT. I figured worse case, I could stop there, but thought Teslin, YT would be the most likely last stop for the day.

As I wound my way up the road toward Summit Lake, BC, I was nothing short of inspired.

One unfortunate observation was that only 25% of the small shops, gas stations, or lodges along the way were actually open and not boarded up and barricaded! It sure made planning fuel stops interesting and adventuresome!

As I was winding through the hills at a decent rate with a few other vehicles, the car in front suddenly slowed down and stopped. As I was stopping behind them, a black bear popped into view and approached the vehicle with me right behind them. I'm thinking photo op as he did not appear aggressive. As I reached for my iPhone, they sped off leaving me alone with the bear! He looked at me, decided to check me out, and approached me. I lost thought of the iPhone and popped into gear speeding away! I passed within a few feet if him on the way by and feel lucky he didn't choose to reach for me! All that and NO PHOTO!
I did get to chill with some caribou and saw stone sheep as well, but had no chance for sheep photo due to traffic.

As I approached Muncho Lake (The most expensive place on entire trip for food or gas!) there were signs warning to "Watch for Buffalo!" posted frequently! It was a gorgeous stretch of road!

I rode for an easy 15 miles or more and nothing. Not one Buffalo! I had all but decided this was some tourist joke everyone is in on that has ever driven the AlCan when this guy appeared!

I'm thinking, "Wow! This is one special Buffalo to get all this signage!". 5 miles later, I rode up on these guys...

So I guess there really are several Buffalo along here!
As I pulled into Watson Lake, I saw this Grizzly and figured he was far enough away and too interested in something there to be concerned with me.

In Watson Lake, YT seeing the sign forest is a must! Afterwards, food for me, fuel and oil for the bike, and then on to Teslin, YT!

I cannot emphasize enough how gorgeous the weather and view were all day long today. I've taken many more pics than are posted here and I'll dump them all into Flickr after I get home! I was not even 10 minutes out of Watson Lake when I saw this!

Gas became an issue as businesses were closing along the route for the night. The bike continues to be somewhat if an attraction which got me gas after they were closed at one stop for sure. Luckily, it was the last stop I needed to make it into Teslin.
As I approached Teslin, I saw one of those Scenic View camera signs at a Rest Stop overlooking Teslin. Thinking I was done for the day, I decided I had time for what looked to be a gorgeous shot. I'll let you decide for yourself.

Change in plans
I had intended to stop for the night in Teslin. Low and behold, but who should I run into but "Witness the End" on their return to Alaska from their tour!

Between them and a couple on a Harley all insisting how close Whitehorse was, the bright sun, and constant reminders of how short a trip it would be for me on my bike... Whitehorse bound I was!
The guys left 20 to 30 minutes ahead of me and I caught them just outside Whitehorse. I had to stop for fuel again as the distance was about 10 miles further than I could make it. They passed me as I was finishing and I caught them again. We went to MickeyD's after to eat and visit. I got a hotel and they jumped back on the road. (I'm old and need my sleep!) To be fair to the guys, the van had some issues and they were "Baby-ing" it home. It is always so cool to run into friends from home unexpectedly!
Well, the total for the day was over 615 miles! Longest day yet for mileage! That's more than enough for now Grizzly-nauts! Shut-eye time to prep for what may be a long day again tomorrow!
Posted Tuesday morning from Whitehorse in the Yukon Territory.
- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Location:Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, Canada

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Riding up the Al-Can (A Motorcycle Trek to Alaska) Chapter 20

Day 3 (A Good Day)
The end of Day 3 finds me snug in a room at Fort Nelson, BC. I pulled in here a bit after 9:00 PM. What a great ride once the rain finally cleared!
Several sections of road would turn, then run straight with rolling hills for 3 to 5 miles until the next turn. I hope you can imagine the fun I had with this beast of a machine through those sections!
We shouldn't dwell on my departure time from Dawson Creek, though it was not as long ago as it probably should be.
I did see a Grizzly gnawing on a moose caracas several miles back being annoyed by a tourist. Since he already was on edge, I thought it prudent to move on quickly as I did not have the caged protection of a car as did the tourist.
I totaled over 530 miles today. Not a bad day at all.
Well Grizzly-nauts, time for some shut eye. Tomorrow I head for Watson Lake and, if possible, on to Whitehorse.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Location:Fort Nelson, Canada

Riding up the Al-Can (A Motorcycle Trek to Alaska) Chapter 19

Day 3-Making My Way to the Real Alaska Highway!
In my hurry to leave Prince George, BC this morning, it never occurred to me I'd see the last of Internet connectivity for 250 miles... Despite the forecast and black clouds, other than a few sprinkles, the rain held off until I was leaving Chetwyn, BC. man did it dump and I was rather pleased with my rain gear, helmet and windshield. The drops were big enough I felt them through the gear.
The ride was fairly uneventful with most of the road in great shape and reminiscent of a run from Anchorage to Seward. Due to the rain or lack of a pull put, the few places worth pictures weren't really feasible. I'm sitting in Dawson Creek now getting ready to start North on the true AlCan. (OK, John P, there's the qualifier!) Here are some shots from there.

I ran into several others making the trip South from Alaska. All said the same, "Rain, Rain, Rain, Rain". Did I tell you they said it was raining? A few said they had SNOW in Whitehorse 2 days ago. This is gonna get interesting. The bike is running great and all seems well do far.
As usual Grizzly-nauts, I have no idea how far I'll get or when I'll stop riding. Hope to have Internet again so I can post another update. See ya'!
Oh! Happy Independence Day )Fourth of July) to you all!
- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Location:Alaska Ave,Dawson Creek,Canada

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Riding up the Al-Can (A Motorcycle Trek to Alaska) Chapter 18

Day 2 (Day's end)
Today was a long day for sure!
As I pulled into Prince George , it started raining. I'll ride in the rain as much as the next guy, but on my own on a new bike, on a road I don't know, with unknowns ahead like lodging and gas... I got a room for the night. Had my second issue with the bike today and lost 2 hours at Cache Creek, BC dealing with it. Met several very nice people and finally determined my starter issue was temperature related. The battery and alternator read fine, so they aren't the issue.
Once I was back on the road, lost another hour or more locating a locksmith to make a copy of my bike key. Neglected to do that in Seattle. (Oops!)
As I go over my math and remove the delays, I guess riding over 350 miles in 7 hours time isn't a bad pace after all.
I'm gonna crash now and sleep. Gonna try an earlier start tomorrow. The weather looks to be wet all day, so much rather attack that in the daylight after a good night's rest.
Sleep well Grizzly-nauts. I'll post in the AM to let you know when I am on the road!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Riding up the Al-Can (A Motorcycle Trek to Alaska) Chapter 17

Day 2 (cont)
Sittin' at Mickey D's in Quesnel, BC (pronounced Qwenell). Williams Lake, BC was beautiful, but the small mountain town had no obvious place for Internet connectivity so I jumped back on the bike and kept going.

I made excellent time between there and Quesnel and most of it was downhill. I had not realized how high up I had traveled since Abbotsford. I managed to hook up with a white sports car and a black pickup who were both also into making good time and I was finally able to open her up abut and see what she could do. We maintained a blistering pace most of the way and the bike came through with winning colors! Despite the truck tire on the rear, it handled well in both the straightaways as well as the curves. (Don't tell anyone, but I was easily running 20 to 30 kph over posted for those curves.) And let me tell you about passing! Never, ever, NEVER, have I EVER ridden anything that gets up to speed so fast on the ground!!!

Quesnel is a small place with a lot to choose from.

Amazingly enough, the weather is holding and I'm only about 75 miles from Prince George, my next stop. I'll decide then if I am done for the night or still ready to start the next leg.
Well Grizzly-nauts, I am having a lot if fun and truly enjoying this adventure. Catch you all on the next entry...
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Riding up the Al-Can (A Motorcycle Trek to Alaska) Chapter 16

I've arrived at 100 Mile House, BC. It's a town, not a lodge as I'd expected. The roads have remained open, fast, and construction free and Mother Nature is cooperating beyond any expectations.

I'll be getting back on the road soon enough. Williams Lake next.

Until the next stop Grizzly-nauts...
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Location:Birch Ave S,One Hundred Mile House,Canada

Riding up the Al-Can (A Motorcycle Trek to Alaska) Chapter 15

Landed in Cache Creek, BC after a beautiful, warm, and sunny ride through Frazer Canyon.

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Location:Cache Creek,Canada

Riding up the Al-Can (A Motorcycle Trek to Alaska) Chapter 14

Day 2
After my unexpected hotel stay at Charles Hotel in Boston Bar, BC, I awoke to this view.

It's a sight to see! I ate some breakfast and made ready to get on the road and continue the journey.

Showing my AK Soul as I have most of the trip!

Until my next stop up the road Grizzly-nauts, take care!

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Location:Willow Ln,Fraser Valley A,Canada