Longish rides... anything you'd like to share?

Discussion in 'Ride Reports & Photos' started by Bob, Jul 2, 2019.

  1. Bob

    Bob Active Member

    Just back from a 10,070 km ride on my 2012 R1200GS Rallye SE (Lollipop) and thought I'd do a debrief for posterity. I know there are lots of Inmates here who have travelled extensively so I was hoping some might want to share some of the things they've learned on the road.
  2. Bob

    Bob Active Member

    This was the route:
    Alaska June 12-30th 2019:

    Day1 Vernon to Prince George

    Day2 Prince George to Dawson Creek

    Day3 Dawson Creek to Fort Nelson

    Day4 Fort Nelson to Watson Lake (Fort Liard River)

    Day5 Watson Lake to Whitehorse

    Day6 Whitehorse to Dawson

    Day7 Dawson to Inuvik

    Day8 Inuvik to Tuk to Inuvik

    Day9 Inuvik to Dawson

    Day10 Dawson City to Tok

    Day11 Tok to Valdez

    Day12 Valdez to Haines Junction

    Day13 Haines Junction to Watson Lake

    Day14 Watson Lake Telegraph Creek back to Dease Lake

    Day15 Dease Lake to Prince George

    Day16 Prince George to Vernon

    Tok Thompson’s Eagle’s Claw Motorcycle Park campground (907)940-5558) and 27th annual Dust2Dawson

    Start kms 38929, End kms 48098
    TonisToo likes this.
  3. Bob

    Bob Active Member

    Ride solo or with one or more other riders?
    This was my third longish ride with my buddy Wayne. He's one of my wife's favourite relatives so has her stamp of approval. He's a great guy to go on a multi week ride with. Good riding, mechanical and interpersonal skills.
    He's ridden most of Canada, the USA with his wife before she passed away four years ago. Rode Baja last Spring and is currently looking at some riding options in South America.
    Will be taking his second bike (1150RT) to NL in a week or so and leaving it there to ride when he visits. Wayne really liked the Thompson's Eagle Claw Motorcycle campground and thinks something like that in combination with something like The Bunkhouse in Dawson City would work well in Nova Scotia.
    Don't get me wrong, riding solo can be great too, it's just that we really enjoyed our 2016 ride to Alaska and were looking forward to going back. We also paired up with other riders we met along the way to ride some legs of our route and that worked out really well too.
    TonisToo likes this.
  4. TonisToo

    TonisToo Active Member

    June 15-June 29, 2019

    Day 1 North Woods Wisconsin to Grantsburg, WI

    Day 2 Grantsburg to Medora, North Dakota, Theodore Roosevelt National Park South Unit

    Day 3 Theodore Roosevelt National Park North and South Unit

    Day 4 Medora to Helena, Montana

    Day 5 Helena to Baker City, Oregon via Idaho and Hell’s Canyon (best riding day of my life)

    Day 6 Baker City to Oakridge, Oregon

    Day 7 Oakridge to The Dalles, Oregon via Crater Lake National Park

    Day 8 The Dalles to Mount Rainier National Park, Washington via Mount St Helens and Mount Hood (second best riding day of my life)

    Day 9 Mount Rainier to Olympic National Park, Washington via Cape Flattery

    Day 10 Olympic National Park and Port Angeles, Washington

    Day 11 Olympic National Park to Colville, Washington via North Cascades National Park and ferry

    Day 12 Colville to Glacier National Park, Montana via Idaho and Going to the Sun Highway Logan Pass

    Day 13 Glacier National Park to Williston, North Dakota

    Day 14 Williston to Fargo, North Dakota

    Day 15 Fargo to North Woods, Wisconsin

    Start kms: 52,502

    End kms: 61,055

    spotwall pacific north west-.jpg
    Bob likes this.
  5. Bob

    Bob Active Member

    Apart from boots/jacket/pants/helmets we tried to take cheap or duplicate stuff we could live without if we lost it.
    We took camping (light backing) gear and a tarp in case we got stuck but only spent three nights in off the grid accommodations and zero nights in tent.
    I wanted to try the tool tubes and dry bags thinking a lighter setup would be easier off road and easier on the rear tire. It worked fine but leaves you vulnerable to chance vandalism if you're away from the bike much, which we weren't.
    My tire compressor blew up between Inuvik and Tuk (picked up a nail so kept loosing about a psi per km) but Wayne had a spare. Other folks stopped, including the RCMP, to see if we needed help but we were fine.
    Got it plugged in Tuk and plugged it again once off Hwy 37.
    We had all the right sized tools for minor mechanical repairs as usual. We had the usual plugs, tire boots, a spare tube each, a 16" tire lever, 12" pipe extension for the tire irons and a 'bead buddy'. I'm still looking for a good bead breaker if anyone got any suggestions. I've changed lots of tires so I'm really glad I didn't have to tackle that rear K60 Heidenau on the shoulder in the rain. Peter640 had the same tool tube setup as me plus a really neat locking system for it. I'll be copying that plus a few more mods. Ideally I'd like to cut the tool weight by about 30% but I'm not there yet. ice I didn't know would work or not.
    I had my I-Phone which was ok to post a few pics from and stay in touch with family. I also had an old Hero GoPro which I decided not to turn on until we were on the way back from Tuk. I had it hard wired so battery power wasn't an issue. I took over 300 short (less than 30 sec) clips and a quick look tells me about 10% are keepers. It was hard to hear the on/off beep tones at times, so sometimes it was on when I thought it was off and vice versa. I wouldn't take anything better up there for those conditions tho. I'll be interested to see if it survived the dust after I clean it up and try it again.
    I had a ram mount for the I-Phone but found that too rough and kept the phone in my pocket.
    The Garmin Montana worked well this trip. I thought for sure the Dempster would shake the daylights out of it but zero issues. I've used it hiking in the dark and during bad weather which is where it really shines.
    Had to put my tank bag in the top box to get comfy on the pegs riding the Dempster. Left it on the tank for TOW Hwy and Telegraph Creek as I used less body language on those.
  6. Bob

    Bob Active Member

    Riding gear?
    Arai XD4 helmet. Noisy as hell but a buff or balaclava helps. Same BMW Tourshell suit and liner as last time, not using it enough to wear it out... New Sidi Adventure Gore Tex boots, great on the pegs but not a comfy walking boot. Mercers Marine rubber gloves for the frog chokers plus two well worn pairs of leather gloves. Heated Gerbings jacket. Marino wool and fleece under layers. The Gerbings is great to keep you warm in the cold fronts and help dry you out after the rain stops.
    Wayne had Forma boots which he said lacked a good sole for the pegs. He's also been to an Aerostich outlet and thinks that may replace his Klim gear next as it's lighter and can be custom fit.
  7. TonisToo

    TonisToo Active Member

    Things I’ve learned for longish rides in my short riding career to date:

    If you are riding with a partner, Bluetooth headsets can be invaluable

    Choose your riding partner carefully but don’t be afraid to go solo. You’re never really solo on a long ride.

    Know how and be prepared to fix a tire puncture by yourself.

    It can be surprisingly difficult to keep in touch with home (or check weather) using wifi hotspots if you are travelling in the US and avoiding roaming on your home cellular network. An option may be to purchase a sim card with prepaid minutes if riding out of your home country.

    A SPOT tracker is a good means of keeping your family in touch with progress and providing some peace of mind but there are limitations.

    Keeping various electronic gear changed can be a pain in the ass.

    If you pull over on a US interstate attempting to take a photo of you crossing the 100th meridian, a police officer will appear behind you out of nowhere. Tell them you had a problem with your mirrors and you’re ready to go.

    Vapour recovery gasoline pumps are a pain in the ass to use to fill a motorcycle tank.

    Use the three digits of your postal code and add two zeros at the end when prompted by a US gas pump for your postal code using a credit card to pay (already mentioned elsewhere).

    Fear the deer.

    Don’t over plan your trip but do include a plan for tire wear and the bike manufacturer’s recommended maintenance schedule. Incorporate into the trip as required (ship tires ahead? Bring along an oil filter?)

    Stay hydrated.

    Check weather forecasts often. Heed weather warnings.
    Trash and Bob like this.
  8. Bob

    Bob Active Member

    The roads?

    Hwy97 North from Dawson Creek had a fair bit of dust or mud spray depending on if it was raining or dry. Lot of oil industry work in the area. And Buffalo.

    Lots of construction between Watson Lake and Whitehorse so loose gravel, traffic and dust at highway speeds.
    Whitehorse to Dawson City is a nice paved road, beautiful scenery but a bit shy on gas but top up at every chance and you'll be fine.

    Dawson to Tuk... the condition of this road depends on the weather, grading and construction so it can change hourly. We heard that six bikes went down and a pickup truck flipped the day after we got back fro Tuk. One rider flown to Calgary and two taken off by ambulance. We had zero issues and didn't hear or see any issues from the 13 or so bikes that were on the road ahead of us that day. We'd keep meeting them at ferrys, Arctic Circle, Eagle Plains, hotels etc. so sort of a rolling update was being shared. Most riders stayed at The Bunkhouse in Dawson City waiting for a good weather window. Good spot and you can leave excess gear there as well, borrow a gas can if you need it, and pressure wash your bike after you come off the dirt.

    Top of The World Hwy from Dawson City to Tok Alaska. Dirt road with some pavement around the border crossing at Poker Creek. Conditions can vary, we were riding into a major weather system which we hit before the border but visibility was pretty good before that. It cleared up around Tok and we'd blown dry before we stayed at Thompson's Eagle Claw campground that nite.

    Tok to Valdez was a scenic ride with lots of frost heaves but traffic was light and the weather was good. The scenery around Thompson Pass was worth stopping for.

    Valdez to Haines Junction and Haines Junction to Dease Lake are long and scenic rides as well.

    Dease Lake to Telegraph Creek was very scenic with switchbacks and unguarded drops. We agreed that if you could take the traffic, guard rail/stone barriers and pavement off the Going To The Sun Road you'd have a similar ride. I turned off the ESA/ABS and put the GS in Soft Enduro mode just to see the difference... mostly in downhill braking (20% grades in places but the ABS worked fine when I used it). The K60s are so shot it didn't matter much but kind of nice to at least control the skid a bit. No way I'll be breaking the rear free on any of those Telegraph Creek corners in this lifetime tho.

    Hwy37 from Dease Lake down to the Hwy16 junction is a beautiful ride. It's narrow and twisty, the trees grow pretty close to the road, there are no shoulders but the scenery is great, there wasn't much traffic when we rode it and there's lots of wildlife.

    From the end of Hwy37 to home is a two day grind.

    I think we managed about 20% dirt road in 10,000 kms. The Alaskans (about 90% of the folks at D2D) advised us not to bother the Dalton to Prudhoe Bay due to all the long haul truck traffic. One local who's ridden it a lot says he doesn't leave Fairbanks until after supper when the water trucks, camper vans and truckers are all done for the day. He said you'll see most wildlife at "night" too even tho it doesn't get dark.
  9. Bob

    Bob Active Member

    Where to next time?
    Might be nice to reverse a bit of that route to include a ride out to Hyder at the beginning of Hwy 97, ride out to Telegraph Creek again, pick up the South Canol Rd. at Johnson's Crossing then come out the Campbell Hwy to Watson Lake. From there you could go up the Liard Hwy at Fort Nelson and on to Yellowknife or the Fort Smith area. We'll see.
    Also, Wayne started looking at smaller bikes on Kijiji before the trip was over. We debated the pros and cons of downsizing, especially given all the slabbing between the dirt roads. So far we've spent about five weeks riding up North and feel like we've hardly scratched the surface.
    TonisToo likes this.
  10. TonisToo

    TonisToo Active Member

    Yes, and then there's just south of you to explore when you're done with the north...
  11. Bob

    Bob Active Member

    Other stuff?
    We noticed a LOT MORE places have the Motorcycle Friendly sign out front. This means different things in different places to just ask if you need details.
    Although you can camp or stay in cabins 'off grid' be sure to check with the host to see if you need to book on line in advance of showing up. Some places are pre booked and some places you just set up and the owner will show up for the fee before bedtime or in the morning. You can't always tell which owners take on line bookings and most of these places don't have cell service or wifi so you need to know about booking/paying before you pick a place for the night.
    We heard at D2D that Charlie and Ewan will be doing a Long Way Up from SA to Alaska in 2020? Also met a couple of women only riding group leaders from Motoquest, so I wouldn't be surprised if a women only theme developed there for all or part of the ride as well.
    I've got a lot of GoPro and I-Phone stuff to go thru. I've got three random clips posted on smug mug (personally I hate that name 'smug mug', but whatever...).
    I may add one or two more per route after I go through them.
  12. Bob

    Bob Active Member

    I know. Should have started riding about 100 years ago. I have every GPS track of every ride out here since 2013. One day I'll figure out how to import them here and try to fill in the blanks LOL
  13. Bob

    Bob Active Member

    Totally agree although some partners like headsets, others don't. I'm ok either way. The hydration was an issue up north on the warm days for sure. The GPS has it's own power cradle and the cell and go pro I kept charged off a double usb plugged into a cigarette lighter. My Vernon postal code wouldn't work as my credit card company has me living in NL. Ten four on Fear The Deer, and bigger ungulates as you get farther north. I'm right on the money for my oil, filters and tranny/FD changes plus the rear K60 is only good as a spare now. Some riders donate used tires at Thompson's campground in Tok and other's pick them up there if they're having trouble and can find one that fits. Paying it forward...

    My air/oil cooled GS used 800ml in 10K TonisToo. I'm fine with that but wondering if your liquid cooled bikes used any?
    TonisToo likes this.
  14. TonisToo

    TonisToo Active Member

    Yes, your postal code must match what your credit card company has on file.

    My bike's air/oil cooled also and used hardly any oil on this trip despite the interstate speeds. Maybe it's "broke in" now. Fuel on the other hand... holy moley. I don't remember what Trash's 2016 liquid cooled used in terms of oil if any.
  15. Bob

    Bob Active Member

    Thanks TonisToo. I've given up on trying to upload my Garmin tracks from Basecamp. They'll show up on the map but won't save. I've done it before but I'll have to look at some tutorials and brush up on that LOL
  16. skibum69

    skibum69 Well-Known Member

    My credit cards never worked even with that postal code trick so I had to prepay every fillup. No big deal. I think my little RR has most details I'd put here.
  17. Bob

    Bob Active Member

    True skibum, I tried to skimp on the details so's not to bore anyone. The postal code trick worked for me when I needed it. The card locks usually worked for one of us which was great as they're open 24hrs. Unfortunately it was hard to get food or drink after hours in the rural areas so a little pre planning was needed.;)
    Following your RR closely as I always wanted to visit that area.
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2019
  18. skibum69

    skibum69 Well-Known Member

    The roads down there are a whole lot of fun to ride. Was just watching a little video about tractor trailers winding up on the Dragon, pretty ugly scene there.
  19. Wayne

    Wayne Well-Known Member

    Maybe a separate category for epic ride reports/off the Rock ride reports. Not much Rock in Ride the Rock anymore.
  20. Bob

    Bob Active Member

    I know. I've done lots of multi week rides but this is the first time I tried any kind of report... I just figured who cares? Now I know. LOL

Share This Page