Tuesday, October 13, 2009

A few "small" changes....

After giving this trip much thought, we decided to make it simply a run for fun celebrating our rapid entry into middle age rather than trying to tie in the fund raising part. We are still going to work on the memorial, but will probably try to work it in for the 10th anniversary (June 2011) of Justin's death.

We have also rearranged the route a bit. Our new starting point will be Salt Lake City, UT where Gary has family. The trip back to Alaska will actually start out by heading South... We are going to "swing by" the Grand Canyon (mainly because I have never seen it...) via Zion national park then swing back around East and North through Torrey and Moab, UT.

We will continue on to Yellowstone and Glacier National parks and then up through Banff and Jasper National parks in Canada. Finally we will head back home to Alaska via the Cassiar hwy.

We are still planning on 15-17 days for this adventure and have been doing a lot of preparation regarding gear and the bikes. We had a "fitting" at Gary's house this past Sunday. I rode my bike in and we all had dinner together then spent some time putting different gear on the bike and playing with loading options. Gary is shopping like a mad man since Eric and I already have beemers in our garages.

It is a LOT of fun seeing this project come together!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

.....and then there were two.

As of yesterday, there is another happy new BMW owner in Anchorage! Eric found a good deal on a 2006 GS and picked it up.

Gary is starting to feel left out and we appear to have abandoned the plan of buying bikes outside all together. After discussing the logistics of this trip we believe having the bikes in the garage over the winter to tinker with will save us some time and probably some rather large headaches when we get to Texas. Right now we are pouring over accessory catalogs and motorcycle forums trying to gather what knowledge we can and putting together "wish lists" of trinkets (known as "farkle" in the dual sport bike world...) we would like to see adorn our newest family members.

Work is slow on planning the memorial. Working with the State of AK DOT can be tiresome especially since our project isn't exactly a top of the list item. We will be making a fund raising effort through all of this, but some details need to come together before we put the hand out.

Snow is coming down the mountains rapidly and we have been getting frost in the mornings. Yesterday I braved the weather and rode my bike to Anchorage even though the temp was at 29*. The heated seat and hot grips were a very welcome comfort on the way in. Sunny and 50* in the afternoon made for a beautiful ride home. Maybe we will be able to make a couple short afternoon rides before the snow actually hits us at sea level...

Friday, September 4, 2009

Life just got a bit more interesting (aka complicated...)

So I've had my "trainer" for all of five and a half days now and tomorrow morning I go to pick up my highway bike! After all the preliminary searching I've been doing, I come across a deal I couldn't refuse right here in AK. The bike I will be riding on the trip is a 2008 BMW R1200GS with a load of options!

I ended up with a bike that is 3-4 years newer than what I thought I would get and is nearly ready for the trip already. The complication comes by having to orchestrate shipping it down to Dallas, TX which shouldn't be that difficult but I will have to spend a little $$. Crunching the numbers though, I will still come out ahead in the deal by not having to spend any time prepping a bike in Texas. I should be able to pop open the crate, fuel her up and hit the road! Plus I will be able to put a few miles on it and get to know the bike a bit.

No turning back now!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

The "trainer"....

Well, Sunday I picked up my "training" bike. I found a beautiful 1985 Yamaha Maxim 700 that will be perfect for putting some miles on this fall and next spring.

Thanks to Julie (previous owner), you have maintained this bike immaculately! Julie and Eric are on their own 18 month around the world adventure (check out their blog here ).

Since Sunday afternoon, I have put over 200 miles on and am loving every minute of it! This photo is the group that will be going on our Alcan ride next spring. Left to right - Me, Gary, Eric.

My 2 1/2 year old son is ready to ride! I took him for a short ride around the block and he was giggling out loud before we got off the driveway! I'm not sure how my wife will handle him on a bike though...

Friday, August 28, 2009

We added a third rider to the trip today, Eric P., who is another APD officer. We also have decided to turn this ride into a charity event.

Back in July 2001, APD Officer Justin Wollam was killed by a drunk teen during a pursuit on the Glenn hwy. Initially there was talk of putting up a permanent memorial for Justin and the 3 teens who were also killed at the crash site. There was to be a large boulder with a plaque and a park bench along the bike trail just off the highway. This plan lost momentum when the funding wasn't available. We have decided to make this motorcycle trip a fundraiser/charity event to raise money for the memorial as we were all friends of Justins. I happened to be in the pursuit that somber night and observed the crash.

Our starting point will be Danbury, TX which was Justin's home town. The trip will encompass approximately 5500 miles through the mid-west US on our way back to Alaska. We are hoping to get some local participation from law enforcement agencies as we pass through. It would be pretty amazing to have local PD officers on bikes travel with us for a few miles occasionally.

Putting Justin's name on this ride makes it feel like something we have to do rather than simply want to.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Setting the stage...

So, we (fellow APD officer Gary W. and I) have decided to take a motorcycle trip next May/June (2010) in celebration of our upcoming mid life crisis. The plan is to fly south (AZ, CO, TX, NM....) and buy motorcycles then head back up to Alaska. At this point we are planning on a 14-16 day trip to allow us to see some of the sights and visit family on the way back.

We are still in the infancy of the planning at this point, but we have been able to come up with a bike preference. We will be looking for gently used BMW 1200 GS motorcycles outfitted with paniers. The thought here was looking ahead at some dirt road adventures when we get back to Alaska. Originally I was sold on the Goldwing for all of it's creature comforts, but Gary talked some sense into me and my mind has been changed.

Earlier this summer when the plan was just starting to solidify, Gary and I took a fairly major step and took the MSF ABATE class (motorcycle safety) and got our motorcycle license. I say a "fairly major" step because neither of us have a motorcycle at this point.... I rode for a few years when I was just out of high school but never bothered to get my endorsement. Now, we are both legal! I'm thinking of buying a cheap bike to have up here to get some mileage on both this fall and in the spring before the "trip". Jumping on to a bike and going 4500 miles without some prep time would be a recipe for disaster.

It is going to be a long winter....