KTM 1190

Alaska Ride – May 29th – Day #4

We’ve been gone for four days now, and still have not seen a bear or a moose, but I think we’ve run out of bear and moose jokes.

We knew that today would be a bit shorter ride (~200 mi), so we slept in till 6:45a. It rained a little overnight, but wasn’t terrible (much warmer than the previous night). We had leftover firewood from last night, so breakfast was eaten in front of a nice cozy fire.

The bike struggled a bit starting this morning. I’ve read several reports of cold weather starting issues. I really hope it doesn’t get worse…although I did bring along some motorcycle jumper cables just in case. I may stop by one of the KTM dealers up here and see if there is an easy solution.

The ride was started a bit better today, and started to improve once we got to the town of Houston. We stopped for lunch at Subway again, and used their free WiFi. Out front was a statue of a guy riding a bull. Turns out one of the locals is a champion bull rider (1999, 2000, 2004).

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Across the street is a giant fly rod. Not sure why it is here – I took the picture without getting off my bike.

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Once you head east from Houston, the views improve with more mountains and snow. We passed through the fairly large town of Smithers. Just on the other side was a rest area with cool mountain and glacier views.DSC02975

At Moricetown, there was a really cool river gorge with a wooden bridge going over it…One of our (irrational?) fears is riding over wooden bridges when they are wet. Fortunately, today was a dry day, so we took the small detour to go over the bridge and take pictures of the gorge.

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We ended the day at Seeley Lake Provincial park. The campground is very nice, but it is right next to the highway. Hopefully there won’t be too much traffic tonight. Instead of a picture of our campsite, here is a picture of Seeley Lake itself.

Seeley Lake

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Alaska Ride – May 28th – Day #3

It was cold last night! I didn’t have my sleeping bag zipped up all the way and I woke up shivering. I put on my “pillow” (also known as my down jacket), to help warm up and then it was back to sleep. Woke up around 5a shivering again! I was out of gear to put on. I suffered for a bit and then got out of bed. The temperature on my bike read 34F when I checked.

I gave myself a sponge bath with baby wipes since there were no showers at the campground. (BTW baby wipes are awesome to have along on a trip like this). My plan for clothes was to try to go three days before rotating to the next set…I changed my mind two days is plenty. I’m glad I brought three sets of clothes.

We decided to go for a shorter ride today – only 260ish miles. This allowed us to stop more, and get into camp a bit earlier and relax. We had our first official safety break today. Our plan is to take a “safety break” at any point that either of us feels tired. My dad made the first call today so we pulled over at a rest area so he could relax and make some coffee. Didn’t actually take a nap, but did hang out for about an hour.

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The KTM attracts attention whenever we stop. Last night, the campground host lady thought the orange crash bars were the coolest thing ever! Today we stopped to look at the GPS for distance to fuel, and a random guy came up to me and started chatting about it – apparently his buddy has one on order. Everyone thinks the Husky is a Honda since my dad has all the logos covered up.

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The ride today was pretty ho-hum. The weather was mostly nice, with a couple of short showers. The scenery was trees and the roads were pretty straight. We stopped in Prince George for lunch (and WiFi to upload yesterday’s post). There is a Walmart in town…went in to grab some hats to help keep warm while sleeping. In fact, here is my dad modeling our awesome purchase.

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We are staying at Beaumont Provincial park tonight. As we pulled in, there was thunder in the distance. We rushed to get our tarps set up so we would have someplace to hang out while the shower passed. But, the rain never came.

The ground cloth for my tent was pretty wet and dirty from last night, so I rigged up a clothesline underneath the tarp. Once it dried, I used my tent broom to sweep off the dirt. Worked out pretty well!

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There are a few mosquitoes here. Nothing like we expect to see when we get further north. I’m wearing a ExOfficio BugsAway pants, shirt, and jacket. I treated my socks with Permethrin myself. I’m writing this right before I go to bed, and I haven’t had any bug bites at all!

Alaska Ride – May 26th – Day #1

We are on the road! We started the day out with a barbeque at my house so some of our friends and family could check out the bikes and the route we plan on taking. It was lots of fun talking about the bikes and equipment we are bringing. We had a big map printed from Garmin Basecamp up on a wall, so people could see our route.

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Of course leaving was far from uneventful. First off, our headsets were not connecting. With the pressure of everyone waiting for us to leave, we gave up and used a cell phone connection to talk. I also tried riding off without one of my cameras (one of the guests was taking pictures as I was getting on the bike).  My Dad forgot to turn on his InReach, so we pulled over about 5 miles after leaving  so he could get it set up.

The ride was short (about 85 miles) and uneventful. We cruised up Highway 9 to miss the holiday traffic. Once we were north of Everett, we cut over to I5 and then Chuckanut drive. We are staying at Larrabee State Park tonight. There are showers in the forecast tonight, so we set up our tarps (ok, we are just geeks and wanted to play with our tarps). Tomorrow we are up early and heading into Canada.

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The bikes are pretty heavy when trying to muscle them around parking, but once you are moving on the road, the go without any problems.

I verified that the Spotwalla and Delorme tracking sites are working, so follow along!

Alaska – The Motorcycle

Ok, I’m riding my motorcycle to Alaska…I need to show it off a bit before I go! My previous bike was a Kawasaki KLR 650. It was a fine bike that would take me anywhere, but it was a bit lacking when riding on the highway. This trip is going to be a ton of highway miles, so I used it as an excuse to upgrade.

I was about to go down and write a check to buy a new BMW F800 GS Adventure, but just to be thorough, I went for a test ride on a KTM 1190 Adventure. As soon as I was done, I left a deposit for the “R” version. (this was in November). 2014 is the first year that these bikes are being imported to the US, so supply was (and still is) low, and demand was high. When the first round of bikes came through, I didn’t make the cut. However, one of my buddies found a new KTM dealer that had a bike that hadn’t been claimed! After a quick phone call, it was mine.

One thing about the “R” – it is tall. In fact, I am barely tall enough to ride it, and I’ve already dropped it a couple of times due to it’s “tallness”. I contemplated having custom springs put in which would lower the bike by 1 1/4” (and cost ~$1k). As I’ve ridden the bike more, I’ve become used to the height, so I’m going to Alaska with the stock springs.

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This is how the bike will look while I’m on the trip…Almost (there will be two small gas cans mounted on the top case). Some of the farkles:

  • Touratech Zega Pro top box
  • Touratech Zega Pro 2 side panniers – these just arrived last week, almost didn’t make it for the trip!
  • Touratech Skid Plate.
  • Touratech Upper Crashbar.
  • Ortlieb Dry Bag

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From the front:

  • Puig Touring Screen
  • Touratech Light Guard
  • Rigid Dually Driving Light.
  • VIRB Elite mounted to the upper crash bar (right side of the bike, left side of the picture)

 

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Cockpit:

  • KTM Tank bag
  • Delorme InReach SE
  • Garmin Montana GPS
  • Touratech GPS mount

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For water, I’ve got two 2 liter MSR bladders strapped to the top of the side panniers.

Not really pictured anywhere:

  • Radguard Radiator Guard
  • Heated Gear Harness
  • PDM60 for power management
  • KTM Orange bar end caps
  • KTM Orange brake reservoir cap
  • KTM Orange valve stem caps

For tires, I went with the Hidenau K60s. The tend to get mixed reviews, but I don’t want to deal with having to swap out tires in Alaska – the rear tire is a funky size. So, I went for I tire that should last the whole trip (I guess I’ll find out).

I’m sure there are some other small things I forgot, but this is the bulk of them!