Tuesday, June 8, 2010

5,400 miles and we survived!!

What an AMAZING trip!! Where do I start??

May 21st...

Eric and I had to work, Gary and Singh were already on their bikes in the SLC area waiting to meet up with us on the 22nd. After a painfully long day at work, Mandy drove me in to the airport where I met up with Eric for our flight. Hugs and kisses and we will see you in 16 days!

The flight was uneventful and we arrived in SLC around 0930 on the 22nd. No luggage to collect so we walked out and found Jamie waiting for us. Jamie works for BMW Motorcycles of Utah and arranged the storage of our bikes at her shop. I told her what time we were getting in to SLC and she offered to pick us up on the way to work! Funny thing is that she used to live in Wasilla herself. It is a small world for sure!

A short drive to the shop in Sandy, UT and Jamie got us settled with our bikes still in the crates and even brought us fresh coffee! The other shop guys were constantly offering to help and lending a hand as we were unpacking the bikes. Customer service was great!

Gary and Singh arrived while we were working on the bikes, it was good to see them and brought a sense of reality to the trip. After a short time with the bikes, Eric and I had them back together and ready to get new tires. We wheeled them around to the shop and turned them over to the mechanics. In no time they were brought back out sporting brand new Tourance tires. We tinkered with gear for a while, ate some food, watched the stunt rider Chris "Teach" McNeill and eventually worked up the nerve to head out!

We finally got out of the parking lot and managed to lose Singh within the first 1/4 mile! Eric, Gary and I headed directly to the gas station and Singh thought we hit the interstate... After leaving messages on his cell, he called us back and we headed out to meet him at Spanish Fork Rd. The trip was officially underway!

We caught up with Singh at the exit for Spanish Fork and promptly lost him again when he missed a light and we pulled off to double check our route against the map. We saw him drive by, but weren't able to catch him for about 15 miles past our turn! We HAD to get his intercom system up and running! The rest of us could talk to each other but he hadn't figured out the wiring on his bike yet. Finally we tracked him down and stuck him in the middle of the group. Our first photos were of a wind farm near Spanish Fork.

More to come as we put the pictures together!!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Leaving on a jet plane!

This is the last night at home for the next 17 days! We have been planning this trip for nearly a year and now we are less than 24 hours from catching the plane to SLC. I'm sure the trip will be over before we know it but planning it has been a load of fun as well.

Our bikes arrived in SLC this week with no issues and are waiting patiently for us to free them from their tie downs! Singh picked up his bike and has spent the last few days touring from Coeur D'Alene heading to SLC.

After some detailed route planning, it looks like our total mileage should be somewhere around 5,300 miles which will average about 330 miles a day. We plan on taking a little more time in southern Utah so the last few days through Canada might be rather long.

Eric and I will be finishing up a few last minute details tomorrow then catching the plane around 10pm. An all night, red eye flight and we will be at the dealership around 10am Saturday. We will unpack the bikes, get new tires installed then hit the road. Our goal is to get a decent amount of miles on Saturday afternoon before we make our first camp.

Eric has his SPOT beacon set up so it can be tracked online. You can follow our every move at this link - HouseofBeaver

Now, if I can make myself sleep! Excitement is taking over!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

5 days to liftoff!

Well, Gary is currently in SLC getting to know his new bike -

Singh leaves for Coeur D'Alene tonight around 0100 to pick up his bike and will meet us in SLC on the 22nd. Eric and I are (not so) patiently waiting for our flight this coming Friday. I have a feeling this is going to be a LONG week at work...

We have had a few "meetings" pouring over the maps trying to get a better idea of how many miles to do per day, where we need to be by when, and so on, but then we finally say phooey on it and are going to play it by ear. We do have a pretty detailed route mapped out though. I imagine we will do the major planning around the camp fire each night. I just don't want to have to do any 600 mile days to catch up...

More to come!...

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Getting close....

Well, Eric and I crated and shipped our bikes off last Monday. If they made the Tuesday sailing, they should reach Tacoma today (Saturday). They will then be trucked to Salt Lake City and be waiting for us to arrive on the 22nd!

We were able to pack the majority of our gear with the bikes in order to limit what we have to carry with us on the flight. Hopefully everything will survive the trip!

We now have three video cameras going and Eric has a SPOT locator which will track our positions and will post our tracks on an internet map for everyone to check on. I'll be sure to post the link when we get the system working properly.

Gary leaves next Friday (14th) for SLC, Singh leaves for Idaho on the 17th and will meet us in SLC after picking up his bike, and Eric and I leave the evening of the 21st to arrive in SLC on the morning of May 22nd.

The BMW dealership in Sandy, UT (BMW Motorcycles of Utah) has been great to work with! They are accepting our bikes from the shipper and storing them for us then will be putting on new tires right before we leave.

It is all coming together and I'm sure will come and go so fast we won't know what happened. Hopefully we will have a lot of video and photos to document the trip.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Crunch time!

Down to T-minus seven days till Eric and my bikes get shipped off for the trip! Seems like not too long ago we had PLENTY of time to get things in order. Now I am starting to feel a bit unprepared...

My bike has taken over the garage along with a table holding most of the gear I am taking and the BMW crate is tucked against the wall waiting for the big day. The plan is next Monday (May 3rd) I will ride the bike in to Anchorage and Mandy will drive the truck in with my crate. We are going to swing by Eric's house and grab him and his crate then head to American Fast Freight where we will package up the bikes in their parking lot. Then the wait begins..... I will have almost three weeks without the bike before we fly out. Hopefully I won't talk myself in to bringing a bunch more stuff that what goes with the bike!

May 21st, Eric and I will fly directly to SLC, UT and arrive around 0930 on Saturday the 22nd. We found another BMW shop in South SLC that has been GREAT to work with! One of their employees even offered to pick us up at the airport on her way to work! We will uncrate the bikes and the shop will put new rubber on both of them before we leave. They are having a Grand Opening celebration there that weekend so there will be stunt riders, BMW reps on site and food from what I hear! Not to mention four blokes from Alaska gearing up for their 5000+ mile trip back home. I'm betting we will get quite a few comments/looks during the celebration with all the Alaska plates! :)

Gary will already be in Utah visiting his family and picking up his bike (and figuring out how to ride it....) about one week before Eric and I arrive. Singh ended up buying a sweet 2004 BMW 1150GS which he will be picking up in Coeur D'Alene, ID about 3 days before we come down. Hopefully he will have a safe trip.

Now....off for some more gear prep!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Snow is melting!

Things are coming together nicely. Plane tickets are purchased, crates for the bikes are secured, I have acquired more motorcycle oriented gear than I have EVER thought I would (just ask my wife...). The bike now has handlebar mounts for my GPS and digital video camera and the tank bag is wired to keep things charged up on the road.

Our fourth rider, Singh, has purchased a beauty 2004 1150GS which he will be picking up a few days early near Coeur d' Alene, ID and meeting up with us in SLC, UT on May 22nd. Gary has a nice 2005 1200GS sitting at the BMW shop in SLC waiting for him. He also will be going down a few days early (mainly just to figure out how to ride the thing!) to get organized and pick up the bike. Hopefully all will go well with the new ride, the pictures look great!

Eric and I are waiting on boots to arrive at AK leather. Other than boots and a few odds and ends I think we have gear taken care of.

Tires are still a concern... We are trying to figure out if we should pay Alaska prices and get them done here or wait till we are in SLC or somewhere along the way to get a better price. The issue in waiting would be having to schedule the change somewhere along the trip or do it right when we get to SLC. This decision will have to have some more debate.

I managed a quick couple of rides over Valentines day due to the unseasonably warm weather. It was nice to get back on the bike and put a few miles on. A day or two later we had a fresh foot of snow on the ground and my bike has been tucked in the garage ever since.

A week or two ago, Eric and Gary came to my house and we did the 12000 mile service on my bike. It was fun to get into it and see what all was involved. We got a good idea of what tools to bring on the trip and feel pretty good about digging into the bike if something was to act up on the trip. Hopefully there won't be any gremlins!

This last week the weather has been fabulous! Above freezing during the day and only down into the 20's at night. I've been chomping to get out and go for an evening jaunt, but a nasty cold has kept me grounded for a few weeks. I finally went to the doc and got a z-pac which cleared things up nicely. I may get a ride in this week after all!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

......and then there were four!

Well, we have added another rider to the pack. He will be the odd man out though since he will be riding a Kawasaki KLR650....I guess we will wait for him on occasion :).

On another note, Gary just finalized the purchase of his bike which happens to be in SLC already! He bought a yellow 2005 BMW 1200GS and it is waiting patiently for us already at our starting point. He is quite nervous about flying down and jumping on the bike for a 5000+ mile trip without "getting to know" the bike. I say he has 5000+ miles to "get to know it"!

My father in law is probably going to be driving out of AK this spring and has agreed to trailer the other three bikes to SLC for us! That will save a LOT of money, this trip is looking better all the time. We have secured a 16' enclosed trailer for the trip from another friend which my father in law will simply drop at Gary's family's place in Utah then will pick it up on his return trip to AK after a few weeks of vacationing in the lower 48.

We are getting anxious to get more detail about our route and have met some folks who have done many trips around the area. They have agreed to sit down with us and pour over maps and show us "must do" roads.

I can't wait for the trip to get here but also I know once it begins, it be over before we know it.... I guess we could start planning the next trip while we are on this one. :)