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...