Friday, May 27, 2011


Please don't pay any attention to the dates at the beginning of the posts of this blog.  I wanted it to be readable from the beginning of the trip to the end.  not backwards like most blogs.  so I changed the dates so it would post like I wanted.
The trip started on June 24 and ended July 27.  33 days, 12,717 miles

Well we are officially 19 days from the ride of a lifetime!  There is a lot that I have accomplished in my packing, but a lot more I have still to do!  My dirt tires (TKC80's) came in along with a front tire (Tourance)  I received most of the necessities I will need for the trip and pretty much just have the side cases to make for the bike.  I have the standard plastic BMW side cases that came with the bike, but they are way too small so I got a 4x10 sheet of aluminum and will make some side cases (panniers) to mount on the side frames that I just finished welding up.  After that I will just need to finish up some insurance information and be on my way.  
I will post a map of the route we are planning to take.  My buddy from high school Keith is joining up with me in Coeur d'Alene ID  where we will start heading North!
I hope you all will travel along with us from your computers as we try to portray through pictures and video what the top of the world is like!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Building the side cases

Yesterday and today I spent making my aluminum panniers. I almost got done today but time turned against me and I am forced to finish tomorrow. I am pretty happy with them and they seem big enough to carry all my stuff.
There is still a lot to do like
valve adjusting, throttle sync, brake fluid flush, among others but it looks like things are finally looking in my favor.
Here are some pics

.080 aluminum

All cut and bent

All rivited together

Now to finish up the lids and make a mounting system to my frames

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

More Preperation.....

Today I finished the mounting system on my Panniers.  I used 4 hockey pucks some bolts and wing nuts to connect them to the frames.  Now I will powder coat them and they will be done!  I also put on a new front tire as the old Tourance had over 15,000 miles on it!  There is still a ton of stuff to do like fixing the broken fence in the background that the wind storm knocked over.... Thats low on the priority list though...

 To break the bead extend your side stand and use the weight of the bike to push the bead down.  First make sure you secure your center stand with a strap so it won't fold!
 Tire Iron from Harbor Freight.  Cut it in 2 pieces.  works great.  I carry them on the bike all the time.

 To seat the bead, one trick is to ratchet a strap on the center of the tire to hold it down...

 cases.  all it needs is powder coating
 The back plastic case is an old Dewalt Drill case I will use for my laptop.  I have put silicon around the  lip to make sure it is waterproof before I start cutting the plastic molding inside.  If it works I will lay some high density foam for protection.

I used Hockey Pucks to mount my cases.  A wing nut is on the other side.  To remove the cases, just loosen the wing nut and push out the metal tab from the pucks, rotate away from the frame and pull case out.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Our Route

Here is our route.  Starting from Charlotte to Spokane to meet up with Keith.  Head up North on the Cassier Highway.  continue on the western side up through the Denali Highway and up the Dalton (Ice Road Truckers)  the return route will be to hit the Dempster Highway and down the Top of the World Highway and the Alaska Highway.  This is all subject to change depending on road reports, advice from other riders and natives to Alaska....and of course the "Hind End"

Monday, May 23, 2011


Keith and I went to High School together.   At our 20 year reunion last October I asked him if he was up for an adventure?  He immediately got a look in his eye and I knew I had sold him on the trip!
I am meeting Keith near Spokane and we will head up together.

Keith and I will BOTH be posting on this blog and it will be your job to distinguish who is writing.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

10 more days.....

Yesterday  I spent finishing up my boxes.  I bought a powder coater and decided to try that as opposed to painting.  We'll see how that holds up on the dirt roads????  It turned out pretty nice.
Today I  did the valve adjustment which BMW recommends every 6,000 miles.  It actually runs a bit smoother!  I still need a Throttle Body Sync before I leave.  I want to do all I can to save gas.  Its pretty expensive up there.
Today I also made some holders for my camp fuel that I will rivet to the back of the left case.

Keith asked me if I knew what the regulations were for carrying fire arms into Canada.  I had read many different contradicting stories, so I called both the US and Canada.  Here is what I was told.
Canada:  "The barrel has to be 18.5 inches or longer, have a trigger lock, and a lockable case.  You need to fill out form CAFC909 (which can be googled and downloaded) and send them in or bring them with you when you cross the boarder."
United States:  "You need to register the gun with Customs BEFORE you leave the Country"  Not just register the gun, but it also has to be registered with Customs.  Keith already has taken care of that and we will have a shot gun and bear mace...which will probably be the first line of defense with bears since its more readily available then the gun....

I will be gone for work for the next 5 days which will put the packing on hold for now.  When I get back I will have a few days to finish up the packing list and head on out.

Right now the major things I need to do are the Throttle Body adjustment, brake fluid flush, oil change,  and pick up a couple more things from the store.

 I tried to find lockable latches but was unable to find anything I liked.  So I will have to listen to the rattle of a padlock...

Saturday, May 21, 2011

3 Days 8 Hours....

As I am wrapping up my final "to do" lists, There is always one more thing that has to be added.  The big things are done so far.  I got my aux tank powder coated and mounted (4 gallons), the side cases are done, the bike has had most of the maintenance done except an oil change, which will happen tomorrow.  Sunday I ran over a nail on my new rear tire.  I don't want to start an 11,000 mile trip with a patched tire, so I will mount another new tire tomorrow and use this one when I get back.

Tonight I will start putting my list together in one place and figure out how to pack it all in.

This is what it looks like around here with flat tires, and seat adjustments.  It all somehow comes back together quite easily though.

I got my throttle body's synced this evening, heading to BMW tomorrow to get some oil and a spare filter for the trip.  I plan on taking 4 quarts with me (somewhere) and change out the oil after the dirt roads.  I don't know how much oil is up there, but its not cheap down here!  Maybe I can tap into the oil line I will be riding next to???

 My aux tank holds 4 gallons and locks into place where the rear seat fits.

 Today I had to modify my seat a little.  I kept sliding forward, so I added a small foam piece to flatten it out.  it worked great on my ride into work...

My REI home for the next month.  2 man, extra long tent.

As the time approaches I still cant believe that its really happening!  I want to thank my great wife for all the help she has given me throughout my 2 year planning process.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Almost there

One day away and I'm just about ready! I got my fuel tank plumbed into my main tank by installing a couple AN fittings to the access panel of my main tank, and one to the bottom of the aux tank. It was a one shot step...if it didn't work, then I would have a hole in my tank. It worked! The transfer is very slow, but I believe it's because the shut off valve I used is very small, and won't let the volume of gas thorough. I will try another kind of valve tomorrow and see if it works. If the aux tank was higher, gravity would aid a little better also.

If you look at the picture above, you will see a white round piece to the right of center. Above that piece is a smaller white dot. That is the hole I drilled in the access panel for the Bulkhead fitting. Below you will see the fitting attached. Both sides have not leaked for the past few hours....good!

It looks messy when the fuel tank is off, but didn't take long to put back together.

My new tire came in today and I will amount that tomorrow and finish up a couple of last minute items, then start packing up. There is a big pile of "stuff" that is supposed to go, we'll see what actually makes it.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Thursday, May 19, 2011

One the road!

I left an hour ago and things are going well. It took a while to pack this morning but I finally was on the road around 2. I will fill in more details when I find a place to camp tonight

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Journey Begins

As may countdown clock on my website reached the final seconds, I was still fast asleep recovering from two days in the sim for may biannual airplane recurrency. I arrived home just before midnight and decided that 6am was not gonna happen. Instead I got a good nights rest and finished up a few last minute adjustments and started packing. It's amazing thinking that just two years ago I started planning for this trip, put the count down clock on the website and had a hard time imagining that it would ever reach zero. Now I would leave for 33 days and head up into the great unknown.

At 2:00 I was finally all packed and ready to hits the road. I said a
Hard good bye to my supportive family, and gingerly twisted the throttle toward asheville. The bike was very heavy, and thoughts started running through my mind of things that could break, fall off or fail from all the weight. But as I got a few miles under me, I became increasingly more comfortable with the way it handled. I knew that with my late start I would only get a few hundred miles today, and decided that at 7:00 I would stop and set up camp.
Rolling down the road with a bike topped off with bags an extra fuel tank and 2 tires really turns some heads. I already got a very nice email from a passer by that saw my website on my side cases. Emails like that really keep me inspired! Thanks Joyce!

I met a couple really nice guys at the gas station. One of them was an adventure rider also. It is always fun swapping stories and talking "bikes". Unfortunately gas stops take a lot of time for that reason, But it's all part Of the journey.

Fine dinning with 2 boxes of ramen!

I found a campsite right off the highway on the other side of Knoxville and as I type this I hear the rush of trucks and cars flying by, hurrying to get somewhere. The hustle and bustle of everyday life is everywhere and i wonder how many people even know what peace is really like? I cant wait until I leave all these noises behind and am able to gaze up at the majestic mountains as I ride to the "end of the road".

Yes I am sad to leave the family behind, my awesome wife who is very supportive and understanding never hesitated to encourage me to plan this trip. I thank you Maria for all the love you showed me through all my countless hours of research and ride reports that I stayed up into the night reading. Maybe you wanted me to do this to just be done with it already!

Night has finally arrived. Although the traffic continues to rush by, i can still hear the peaceful sounds of nature all around me are. Its time to get a good nights sleep and be ready for what the day will bring tomorrow.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Monday, May 16, 2011

Charlotte to the Arctic

809 miles today, and I made it to st Joseph MO. It rained on and off all morning

But then it ended as fast as it came

Pretty countryside leaving Knoxville, and then it flattened out to the typical flat as far as you can see fields.

Finally with the rain behind me, I sat back and listened to some Christian music on my iPhone. As I tooled along I got normal "what the heck" looks from passing cars, along with waves and thumbs up. It seems like the kids are more interested than the adults....I guess that's why I like it!

Soon I came up on St Louis and traffic started picking up. I turned off the music so I could concentrate..they were having some airshow near the arches and a Harrier was showing off some cool air work. Unfortunately I could only give it a couple second looks and I continued on through

I crossed the Ohio River and the Missouri River twice. It was pretty windy in the middle and I was pushed from side to side of my lane, while buffeting along.

The time went fairly quickly. I stopped a few times for gas and a quick bite to eat then hurried back on the highway trying to get here before dark.

I found that there are 27 different positions I can sit on a motorcycle. If you rotate between all of them, it really doesn't matter, your butt still hurts.
I did use my highway pegs as leg rests which worked well.

I arrived to a very nice secluded campground, and set up camp. Another biker came and chatted while I made dinner.....yep ramen again!
Tomorrow I will have granola, as I already picked up a bottle of milk.

Tomorrow I will head to the Badlands. The flooding up here is still bad and the interstates are closed in sections, so I will go cross country on back roads to bypass it all. It will take a little longer, but it will be a nice break from all the fast moving traffic.

Tomorrow should bring a change in scenery as I head farther west. Talk to you then!