March 3, 2014
Here it is a little over three months before the trip and about the only thing I’m still struggling with is how to report the ride. ADV Rider would make the most sense with it’s huge viewing numbers but this forum seems to be where I’ve made the most heartfelt connections so here it shall go. Not saying it won’t get cut/pasted and cross posted with other forums like DRRiders but here is where real time updates will go. If you can’t wait for the pictures to make it here with the accompanying thoughts them you can always just go to http://www.eblinkphoto.com/MotorcyclesAndOtherSports/The-Alaska-Solo-Slo-Mo-Photo
to get the raw footage. A select few phone and quality photos will be posted during the trip since only my Nexus 7 tablet is coming along for photo transfer. The little tablet positively sucks at transferring a quantity of photos from the camera to the Smugmug online photo storage but it can be done. What the tablet does excel at is providing a tough little internet connection for updates and communications with the folks back home without the bulk of a laptop. Tracking via the Spot messenger 3 can be found here.
As some of you know I’m not much for wordy ride reports and tend to let the pictures speak for themselves. This report will not be an exception other than this introduction and maybe some follow up commentary after the ride. My photographic weapon of choice for this trip is a Panasonic G5 micro four thirds camera with 14-140 zoom lens, Mefoto compact tripod and Lumix LX5 point and shoot camera.
Getting ready for this long ride has been a fun exercise in micro planning and macro spending. I now have as much in the 2002 Suzuki DR 650 and gear for the ride as I spent on the bike itself. At the inception of this ride it was just going to be me, solo all the way and damn the torpedos. More of an affirmation of independence than actually wanting to be alone. Practically speaking, so few candidates would normally be able to get that much time off according to my schedule I never even asked. If I did ask it was the usual “like to but can’t” I had become used to until I came to Don Wilke my auto mechanic friend. Leaning over a fender pestering him about something or other I mentioned this ride and in a moment of weakness threw out the offer to come along. I write weakness only because Don and I hadn’t really known each other that well or even ridden together much. I knew him by reputation and one FODS trip to Death Valley. I knew he was a real deal motorcyclist with more miles and years that I but most importantly a light hearted happy-go-lucky attitude towards traveling. Riding for ridings sake and not wanting to influence the course of the ride as much as be sucked up in wake of the DR and have a great time exploring. So the I became a we, the solo journey became a duo and after a few more talks, trips and strategy meetings (beers) the team was set.
Mar 11, 2014
Took a little day ride with Don and some other guys to the snow line last weekend. The thought for that day, don’t break anything important. The thought for today, get oil change parts together to ship to Rick in Alaska. Rick and Karen are Yamaha FJR 1300 riding buddies who moved up to Alaska a few years back and now live in Anchorage. We plan to shack up at their house one night mid-trip and knock out an oil change.
Mar 12, 2014
Don bought an Original Bug Shirt for the mosquitoes on this trip and I only have a head net? Will I live to regret not getting one? These are the little things that occupy your thoughts when you have all the big stuff taken care of.
Mar 26, 2014
Now that I’m in double digits the time is flying by. Feels like when you just crest over the first large drop on a rollercoaster and the speed comes at you in an unexpected rush.
Mar 27, 2014
How can this be? Eighty-something days to go and I’m obsessing about what pocket knife I’ll need to take with! Does a normal person sweat shit like this? Yeah, I’ll admit it, I’ve been on kind of a knife kick lately but this is getting ridiculous! I have my new and never used EAK Nordic W11 fixed blade that I bought for Elk hunting in Colorado a few years back as my primary knife. That was easy but only after deciding the CRKT Hissatsu folder I purchased for this trip and used on the Crater Lake test run was just a little too hard to keep clean for food prep and steak knife action. So the fixed blade will fill that role perfectly but leaves the carry knife position wide open. The Hissatsu is a fantastic heavy aggressive folding knife, too much for the slot. A Case 110 RogDeb gave me for my 50th (thanks again guys) is a little large and heavy as well. The few other knives I own all suffer from the Goldilocks syndrome, a little too big, too little, too hard or too soft. I think have it narrowed down to the Spyderco Delica 4 in orange . Light, great slicer, cheap, good color to find on the ground and great compact size. Yeah, that’s the ticket …just right. Nothing at all like the old orange Spyderco Rescue fully serrated I tote in my pack regularly right? So now you see how this goes.