Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Riding up the Al-Can (A Motorcycle Trek to Alaska) Chapter 8

Great News - And the adventure can begin!
Despite the various issues, the bike is due into Kent, WA Friday morning! Although that means I'll miss most of any Independence Day celebrations I had hoped to make here in Alaska, I think the trade off is more than worth it. I'm sure my friends and brothers understand.
Thanks to Marv's input, my path of travel is also decided. I'm going to take the western route BC-97 to Dawson City and jump on the Alaska Highway Headed North to Alaska. Mileage wise, that totals over 2500 miles from the warehouse to my garage!Even if I can maintain roughly an 800 miles a day pace, I'll be about 4 days overall for the trip. My boss had graciously given me some flexibility here and I'm still okay if I'm not back at work next week. (My customer said she was fine if I was out for the week, but I had to be in the office next Tuesday, July13th.)
It looks like I'm about as prepared as I can be for the trip. Looking at The Milepost, I'm back at an average of 60 mile intervals for the gas stations, so that's probably a good thing.
So, I will probably make a post as I wait to board the flight Friday morning which I just booked. I'll land in Seattle right at 6:00 and then cab it over to the warehouse 15 minutes away or so and pick-up the bike.
Once me and this baby are together, the fun can begin... Here are some more pics: 2005 Boss Hoss BHC-3

Riding up the Al-Can (A Motorcycle Trek to Alaska) Chapter 7

Isn't Something Missing
I had hoped to be blogging daily, but I was disappointed and not so surprised, to see things are not going quite as planned. It appears my cargo got "bumped" from the truck in Illinois and was not loaded Monday as scheduled.

In fact, the shipment still has not left Illinois as of this posting at 3:00 AM Central Time! It's hard to be patient when things aren't done as promised. I could rant for some time on the broken commitments and changing terms of the shipping company. I could go on on the travesty that was the actual bike pickup that was finally successful 48 hours late. Or dwell on their lack of communication as to what and why the tracker sits for two days behind schedule without an update... This would all be too easy to go on about.
None of it does me any good and I certainly have no desire to do anything at this point that might "cause" further delay. Apparently, they now expect it to arrive there Friday, which pretty much blows my entire 4th of July plans out of the water. No reason they should care, they have my money, for now anyway... The good news is I have a contact at the destination warehouse that feels my pain and is making every effort to help out.

Other good news is that a brother of mine that now lives in the area wants to meet me when I get the bike and see me off. He also gave some good advice about which route I should take and has me convinced to stick to the Alaska Highway route to the east. Although it kills me that I am not gonna be back home for Independence Day, I think the trade off is worth it. The other side is less time off work if I still use the 3 day weekend, though I have plenty of time off I could afford to take.

That about does it for now Grizzly-nauts. I will post again tomorrow if I have any additional news or info, good or bad.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Riding up the Al-Can (A Motorcycle Trek to Alaska) Chapter 6

Decisions, Decisions - Still no idea which way, and George is not helping!

An early Wednesday morning departure (2:30 AM flight) is still looking very likely. I ran around today getting things ready for the trip and doing the usual weekend chores like laundry, cleaning, etc. (Actually making good use of the constant rain for the last 2 days outside.)
One of biggest challenges has been picking a specific route. I've been fairly thorough with my research and it actually looks like there are plenty of gas stations along either route with when stretch of the western route (Cassiar Highway) having ONE stretch spanning 140 miles between gas stations and another 98 to the next gas stop.
The biggest advantage to choosing between the two routes is, I'll have 450 miles to travel until I make that final decision. That should be more than enough time to determine the average gas mileage (MPG) for the bike. If I carry a 3 gallon can with me, that should extend my range another 45 to 60 miles depending on the MPGs I get even if it is worse than I think it is.
Believe it or not, for or the traveling I do for work, I typically pack at the last minute. This is not one of those times. I've got to put all of this into to one or two bags for the flight, then repack for the trip North. Anything I cannot carry on the bike, must be mailed home.
1. Chaps, Vest, Gloves
2. Extra Glasses
3. Helmet (and possibly a spare)
4. Rain Gear (pants and top)
5. Tool Bag (That's another 20 pounds of stuff)
6. Sleeping Bag
7. Tent
8. Clothes for 3 or 4 days
9. Straps for securing everything to the bike
These items, and possibly more, must be packed into two bags at 50 pounds each or less. One of the bags is s Sea Bag from the military and will stuff into the other when empty. I plan to put all the items that I will wear or can be mounted on the bike in that one.
An advantage to this plan (me not committing myself on anything solid) is I have some flexibility in Washington State. Also, since I have not gotten a solid confirmation of the bike's arrival date yet, all this may not happen until later in the week.
Have I ever mentioned how much I LOVE waiting? NOT!

Until next post my anonymous Grizzly-nauts!!!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Riding up the Al-Can (A Motorcycle's Trek to Alaska) Chapter 5

Decisions, Decisions
Which way did he go George? Which way did he go?
As the departure date approaches (I possibly fly out of Anchorage as early as 2:30 AM Wednesday morning), I've started spending more time making the final decision on the route. In short, I have two to choose from.
The eastern Alaska Highway (aka AlCan) in the picture is a lighter shade than the western Dease Lake Hwy/Stewart-Cassiar Hwy route. The western route is about 200 miles shorter, but seriously, when your talking about over 2400 miles what's another 200? (About 3 hours or so and two ranks of gas.) The biggest reason for my dilemma is there is much more information on the eastern route and likely more gas stations. It is the more traveled better known route, but also likely to be the busiest.
A very popular resource that keeps surfacing is The Milepost so I may have to get a copy of that to help make the decision. (The cats need food and it's raining, so I'll be out in the truck this afternoon anyway wrapping up preparations.)
I've grabbed an iPhone App for locating WiFi hotspots along the way, so we'll see how good a job I do posting trip updates. If anything, updating every few gas stops st a minimum should be reasonable.
I'll probably post again tomorrow as everyday, more stuff affecting the trip happens, even if it's just me making decisions...

Friday, June 25, 2010

Riding up the Al-Can (A Motorcycle's Trek to Alaska) Chapter 4

Great News!
The Boss Hoss has finally made it's way from Sterling, VA and is now motoring via carrier to the next stop, Bloomingdale, IL. It is due in there before loading on the next truck which is scheduled to depart Monday, June 28.
Believe it or not, anyone who knows can imagine how much like a little kid I am right this moment. I called and talked to the receiving warehouse and that particular truck is normally due in Wednesday morning at 5:30 AM! She said me arriving anytime after 6:00 AM to receive the bike was not a problem. If all goes well and nothing happens between now and then, I should be on the road by late morning Wednesday June 30, 2010 headed "North to Alaska".
(I swear I am like a little kid at Christmas! It is sad really, so sad...) ;)

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Riding up the Al-Can (A Motorcycle's Trek to Alaska) Chapter 3

The shipping has confirmed that the bike made it to their warehouse in Sterling, VA and is waiting to be loaded on the "BIG" truck for the trip to Seattle, WA via Chicago, IL. July 1 is looking more likely as a departure date from Seattle for the ride north! Wooooooooot!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Riding up the Al-Can (A Motorcycle's Trek to Alaska) Chapter 2

Well the bike has begun it's own part of the great trek and is finally on the truck and making it's way to the shipping terminal. (Over 48 hours after the original pickup was scheduled!)
One can only hope this is not a sign of things to come... Looks like July 1 is mist likely when I will get to Seattle and we depart for Alaska.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Monday, June 21, 2010

Riding up the Al-Can (A Motorcycle's Trek to Alaska) Chapter 1

Well good thing today is a great day as there is already trouble in Shipper City.

The seller called from the East Coast with a Good News/Bad News line.
Good news: The bike was ready and the shipping company had arrived to pick it up.
Bad news: Despite giving detailed information on the location as well as size and weight of the bike, they showed up with a lift gate that was too small and a ramp too short and too narrow!
They even suggested he Evel Knevil the back up the ramp into the back of the truck?!?! Looks like all is delayed yet another day...

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Location:Business Park Blvd,Anchorage,United States

Riding up the Al-Can (A Motorcycle's Trek to Alaska)

I've just purchased a 2005 Boss Hoss motorcycle from a man in Maryland. The shipper's are due to pick it up tomorrow or Tuesday and start the bike's journey to Alaska via Seattle, WA. They say 6 to 7 days for it to arrive in Seattle, so we'll see.
I'll call the warehouse as it gets close to determine the soonest I can pick up the bike there to start the journey North. I'll have to grab a one-way ticket to get down there with little notice, so that may drive the price up...
I'll try and post regular updates so everyone can track the bike's travels, as well as my own for this adventure...
Hopefully, if all goes as planned, I'll be back in Alaska and riding into Seward for the Fourth of July, but I do realize that may be some hardcore wishful thinking!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Sunday, June 20, 2010

How to provide great customer service (NOT!!!)

Here is an oldy, but it's still a goody...

Actual dialog of a former WordPerfect Customer Support employee:

"WordPerfect Customer Support; may I help you?"

"Yes, well, I'm having trouble with WordPerfect."

"What sort of trouble?"

"Well, I was just typing along, and all of a sudden the words went away."

"Went away?"

"They disappeared."

"Hmm. So what does your screen look like now?"



"It's blank; it won't accept anything when I type."

"Are you still in WordPerfect, or did you get out?"

"How do I tell?"

"Can you see the C: prompt on the screen?"

"What's a sea-prompt?"

"Never mind. Can you move the cursor around on the screen?"

"There isn't any cursor: I told you, it won't accept anything I type."

"Does your monitor have a power indicator?"

"What's a monitor?"

"It's the thing with the screen on it that looks like a TV.

"Does it have a little light that tells you when it's on?"

"I don't know."

"Well, then look on the back of the monitor and find where the power cord goes into it. Can you see that?"

"Yes, I think so."

"Great! Follow the cord to the plug, and tell me if it's plugged into the wall."

"Yes, it is."

"When you were behind the monitor, did you notice that there were two cables plugged into the back of it, not just one?"


"Well, there are. I need you to look back there again and find the other cable."

"Okay, here it is."

"Follow it for me, and tell me if it's plugged securely into the back of your computer."

"I can't reach."

"Uh huh. Well, can you see if it is?"


"Even if you maybe put your knee on something and lean way over?"

"Oh, it's not because I don't have the right angle-it's because it's dark."


"Yes-the office light is off, and the only light I have is coming in from the window."

"Well, turn on the office light then."

"I can't."

"No? Why not?"

"Because there's a power outage."

"A power... A power outage? Aha! Okay, we've got it licked now. Do you still have the boxes and manuals and packing stuff your computer came in?"

"Well, yes, I keep them in the closet."

"Good! Go get them, and unplug your system and pack it up just like it was when you got it. Then take it back to the store you bought it from."

"Really? Is it that bad?"

"Yes, I'm afraid it is."

"Well, all right then, I suppose. What do I tell them?"

"Tell them you're too stupid to own a computer."

Now despite many claims and a lot of gullibility since this surfaced almost 20 years ago, (Yeah, it's really that old!) this never actually happened, but for any of you providing phone based tech support on a regular basis, you understand...

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Sometimes the Dragon Wins...

I found a different version of this on a coworkers office wall. I searched using Google, and found several others. Most had no credits as to their source, and I imagine most of these were more inspired by one of these others than anything. I found it very interesting that most versions of the dragon picture contain much of the same elements despite each individual artist using their own style in their depiction of the scene. The combination of these two was by far my favorite.

I guess what I get out of this is, despite all of our efforts, sometimes things don't go as planned. It's life, but you should keep trying and never lose hope. I think it's just another way of saying, "Shit Happens", and it's a pretty cool way of saying just that.

Pictures Courtesy of: The Great Red Dragon (Warning: A Political Site)