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  1. #21
    Forum Leader BigLew55's Avatar
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    Day 3 7/1/18
    Choteau, MT toGrand Prairie, AB
    Oh Canada
    Glacier NC, MT
    Portage bordercrossing
    Calgary Rain Storm
    .
    We got up and enjoyed the free breakfast and then packedthe bikes. We were about a tank of gasfrom Glacier Park. I had been hoping toride the famous “Going to the Sun Road” on this trip. The status on the website had shown that itwas closed for snow removal until about two weeks prior. It got to the point that I had two more plansfor hitting it on my way back into the states. Alas, it changed and stayed open, giving us no issues.

    Going through the park was nice, but it was cloudy andfoggy. This caused the vistas to be alittle less grandiose than we had hoped. It was still quite the view, and with watching the clouds roll up themountain and envelope us in a small vortex made it kind of neat. The traffic was about what I had expected,meaning typical tourists stopping in the road for whatever whim took them. This makes me quite impatient, so the eastgate was a welcome site. I’m sure I’llbe back, but I was glad to be on my way that day.

    From there we rode north to the Carway bordercrossing. This was my firstinternational crossing by vehicle, so I was a bit nervous. Thankfully, my sense of humor was appreciatedby the agents, who asked me to come inside for further discussion. In the meantime, my friend made it through,and got to join us inside. They askedhim the same questions as me, and then sent us on our way. I really think it was because I couldn’trecite my license plate number to them. That’s my story, anyway.

    After that, we had our first experience with Canadian gaspumps. Apparently, they use somethingcalled litres (and kilometers) and when you use your credit card at the pump,you need a PIN. I never use a PIN withmy card anymore, but I was lucky enough to guess what it was set to. Also, the sale was in Canadian dollars. I didn’t know the actual conversion rate, butI was pretty sure that the price was a bit more than it was in the states. Oh well, we’re not turning around here.

    Speaking of gas stations, there were several on this tripwhere pay-at-the-pump was not an option. Luckily for us, most of our riding was during normal businesshours. I don’t think we ran into aproblem with timing, but it might have been an issue had I been on my solo planpace.

    We ran into some storms and quite an extended showerlater that evening. My new AD1 lightpants held out the water just fine all trip. My old FXRG coat worked great too, except for one day we’ll discusslater.
    __________________________________________________ __

    2018 FLHTK
    1965 FLHFB
    2016.5 XL1200CX (Buh Bye)
    2015 FLHTK (C Ya)
    2011 FLHTK (Gonzo)
    2009 FLHX (gone)
    2004 FLHTCUI (gonner)
    2003 FLTRI/FLHTCI (farther gone)
    1999 FLHR (long gone)
    1981 FXE (gonnest)

    A wife, three daughters, and even my GPS tells me what to do!

  2. #22
    Forum Leader BigLew55's Avatar
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    Day 4 7/2/18
    Grand Prairie, ABto Continental Divide, YK
    Gorgeous BritishColumbia
    AK Highway, DawsonCreek
    Rain
    Continental DivideHotel

    The next morning, we got up and left in a lightdrizzle. We had breakfast in Dawson Creek,and got a picture of the famous Alaskan Highway sign. I don’t usually take may pictures, so this isa rare stop.

    We ride on up through British Columbia, which is the kindof gorgeous riding that one loves to find. Mountains and valleys with scale and scope on an awe-inspiringscale. Most of the ride after lunch islike this. Toad River, Muncho Lake andLaird River are all incredibly beautiful. This is the best riding of the entire trip for me.

    We end up at a place called the Continental Dividehotel. It’s a little off-putting atfirst, but in the need, it is really a true Iron Butt benchmark. The office is only open from 8 am to 8 pm. If you arrive or depart during the evening,you just leave cash and information in the room. This evening, we arrive in time to have aquick meal from their kitchen and in in the morning, we have a quick breakfastbefore leaving. The rooms are basic, butclean. It’s an old oil-rig dorm of somesort, with just enough room to do what needs to be done. The sunlight now comes through the window allnight long. There is no more darknessfor a few days.

    I also must note here that this is where the road qualitystarts to diminish. They are stillmostly paved today, but there are areas that are patched with chip seal andsome heaves and bumps that are awaiting attention. It’s not bad yet, but that will changetomorrow.
    __________________________________________________ __

    2018 FLHTK
    1965 FLHFB
    2016.5 XL1200CX (Buh Bye)
    2015 FLHTK (C Ya)
    2011 FLHTK (Gonzo)
    2009 FLHX (gone)
    2004 FLHTCUI (gonner)
    2003 FLTRI/FLHTCI (farther gone)
    1999 FLHR (long gone)
    1981 FXE (gonnest)

    A wife, three daughters, and even my GPS tells me what to do!

  3. #23
    Forum Leader BigLew55's Avatar
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    Day 5 7/3/18
    Continental Divide,YK to Fairbanks, AK
    Back to SAE
    AlCan BorderCrossing
    Road gets rough

    Today is mostly uneventful. We have a scenic ride around Watson Lake, butthe road is bad in some places. Roadconstruction just means loose gravel and dust in most places. One nicety that is granted to riders up hereis bypassing the line to wait for pilot cars. They just wave you to the front. This gives you the chance to ask the flagman for detail about thezone. They are happy to help, or just tochat with someone it seems.

    We cross back into Alaska and ride on up to Fairbanks. After my previous experience with crossingagents, I employ a more businesslike approach. It seems to help, as the rest of the crossings are shortconversations.

    In one spot, shortly after crossing the border, the roadgets rough enough that one of the trim pieces from my fairing comes off. It catches the wind up over the windshieldand somehow, I catch it. We stop, and Ithrow it in my saddlebag to address later. My friend is not amused by the road conditions, so we slow down a bitfor the rest of the ride in.

    In Fairbanks, we check into the hotel and walk down thestreet to have dinner. Even though it isstill light out, the restaurants are getting ready to close because it’s almost10.

    One other note, the gas pumps and speed limits make senseagain.
    __________________________________________________ __

    2018 FLHTK
    1965 FLHFB
    2016.5 XL1200CX (Buh Bye)
    2015 FLHTK (C Ya)
    2011 FLHTK (Gonzo)
    2009 FLHX (gone)
    2004 FLHTCUI (gonner)
    2003 FLTRI/FLHTCI (farther gone)
    1999 FLHR (long gone)
    1981 FXE (gonnest)

    A wife, three daughters, and even my GPS tells me what to do!

  4. #24
    Forum Leader BigLew55's Avatar
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    Day 6 7/4/18
    Fairbanks, AK to Deadhorse, AK
    Can I do a Saddle Sore on the haul road?
    Haul Road
    Coldfoot, AK
    Chandler Pass
    Atigun Pass
    North Slope
    Aurora Hotel
    Auxiliary Tank Mounting Hardware

    This is where it really gets interesting. Time to face the most challenging ride of mylife. I know the haul road is mostlygravel. I grew up on unpaved roads andmy first rides were all on gravel. Still,this will not be easy, and I do not take it lightly. But I do have to face it or turn back withouteven reaching the start of the UCC. Those are the options.

    My friend opts to stay in Fairbanks until I getback. The weather looks decent for myride up to Deadhorse. Did I mention howdifficult it is to get good forecasts this far north? That will come into play this afternoon.

    For now, I get up and have breakfast at the hotel. It’s included in the room price, and I figureeating anywhere else today will not be cheap. I fill up and make sure I have plenty in my belly for the long rideahead.

    I have 3 plans for today. Having these spelled out helps my friend in Fairbanks know what myexpectations are so that he will have some idea of what’s going on even if Ican’t communicate directly:

    Plan A will be to ride to Deadhorse, stay overnight andreturn to Fairbanks the next day. Thismeans everything went normally.

    Plan B would be a pie-in-the-sky execution. If, by some miracle, I make it to Deadhorsein 10 or even 11 hours, check the weather, fuel up and turn around. I figure if everything is going well, I willjust keep riding. I would need to beself-aware for energy levels or physical exhaustion. This would save me some hours and help keepthe budget down because it isn’t cheap to stay the night in Deadhorse.

    Plan C is the contingency plan. If weather is bad or I need extra recoverytime from the ride up, this is what I have in place. It includes staying in Coldfoot, Deadhorse,or even the camp at the Yukon river.

    So those are my plans. Now we’ll see which one gets called up. Heading north out of Fairbanks, the road is still paved but undulatesfrequently because of the severe frost heaves during the cold months (which isprobably most of them). I stop at theturnoff for Elliot Highway and take a quick picture of the bike. The pace is going well. I also stop a little further up the road totake a picture of the bike with the Dalton Highway sign. By now the road is gravel with some patchesof pavement. I can maintain about 50MPH, so that is about perfect. I pointmy sights on the Yukon river bridge as my next real landmark. As I approach it, I confirm that there’s noneed to stop and fuel. I have plenty inthe main tank and a full aux tank still.

    The next stop is Coldfoot. The road is about as I expected, with mostlygravel, and some sections of loose or rough surface and occasional bad sectionsneeding attention. Before I get toColdfoot, I open the valve and let the Aux tank drain into the main. I was going to be close on range, and I feltthere was no need to push it, when it was so easy to just turn the valve andkeep riding.

    In Coldfoot, it’s pump the gas and then pay inside. I add over 6 gallons, so the aux tank is agood idea for me. I decide I don’t needto eat or rest, so it’s a quick-turn stop. There is some pavement before and after the camp, and it’s welcome, butdoesn’t last long. The next area of notewill be the Chandler and Atigun passes. These are about 4,500-5,000 ft, but at this latitude, it wouldn’t takemuch elevation to become very cold and there’s always the threat of frozenprecipitation.

    As I get closer to the passes, the sky clouds up and Istart to get the occasional drop of rain. It isn’t until I’m on the shelf between the passes that it starts torain lightly. This definitely raises theanxiety level significantly. I have noidea what is around the next corner, or over the next rise. A wet gravel road can be nearly as slick asice. I know that Atigun pass will besteeper than Chandler. All I have arequestions with the only answers boil down to Press On or Turn Around. The temperatures are falling too but haven’tdropped to dangerous levels yet.

    As I head up the steep incline to Atigun, I’m scanningcontinuously for semis coming down, or from behind. The sign advising against stopping due toavalanche danger is not very comforting either. The rain is steady but not heavy yet. I regularly check the temperature display to confirm that it’s notdropping to freezing too quickly.

    The road in this area is rough. Most of it from here on in to Deadhorse iswashboard or potholed to the point that 30 MPH on my big Harley is plentyfast. Vigilant awareness of the roadsurface is a must, as frost heaves and other large hazards can sneak up on youquickly.

    Eventually, I make it up and down Atigun pass. It was less dramatic than I feared, but stillrequired my full attention to avoid road hazards and to maintain theappropriate speed, as it has a few areas with steeper inclines than most of usare used to experiencing. The rain haspicked up a bit and the temperature keeps dropping ever so regularly. My hopes that it would recover once I cameback down in elevation are dashed over the next half hour or so.

    As I head down the valley, the road is now rain soakedand getting muddy. I finally stop to puton some heavier gloves, conceding thoughts of the temperature recovering. The wind is picking up. It is from my left rear flank, which isusually a welcome development. In thiscase, though, it is blowing my muddy road spray back up over my shoulder andmaking a mess of me and the bike. Anything exposed is now covered in whatever substances make up the roadsurface. My bottle of water now mocks mein its muddy cupholder on my handlebars.

    I stop for every truck, oncoming or overtaking from therear. They slow courteously, but stillsling up dirty road spray from all 18 wheels. I consider stopping on the opposite shoulder, which would put me upwind,to avoid this treat, but figure it would only cause confusion, so I just turnmy head and try to preserve my face shield.

    I slog along like this for the rest of the tripnorth. I don’t recall encountering anywildlife during the day, but that isn’t a horrible thing when you’re on amotorcycle, 100 miles from phone service. Eventually, I start to see the structures near Prudhoe Bay. I’ve watched enough YouTube videos to knowwhat to expect.

    But, the roads taunt me. As you get out of the DOT maintained zone and into the commerciallymaintained area, it gets even worse. Sonow, I’m cold and getting tired, but I can only manage about 15 MPH. Any faster, and the washboards in the roadwould shake my bike to the point that I could easily lose control.

    As I pull into the Aurora hotel, the marque greets mewith a reassuring 35 degrees F. I parknear the front entrance and head inside. Just inside the door, I put on my booties. They provide shoe covers that are mandatoryto keep the constant trail of mud from outside from infiltrating the livingquarters. I struggle to get them tostretch over my size 15 steel toe riding boots, but they relent.

    I approach the desk and book a room for the night. It’s a princely sum of $160 but includes allI can eat from the dining area. It’s notlike I’m going to go down the street to price check either. She recommends that I hurry as they are aboutto clean up dinner for the night. A hotmeal after the long cold day sounds great, so I park the bike in a designatedarea and grab my gear.

    Back into the room, I dump my gear on the floor and headto the dining facility in my riding pants and LDComfort shirt, along with myblue bootie covered boots. I go throughthe buffet line and fill my plate. It’sa bit awkward, as I am not familiar with the facility. I have to search for the cups and waterdispenser, as well as track down the cart with silverware and napkins. Finally, I have all my mess kit assembled andfind a table to relax and consume.

    It is a good meal. Considering the environment in which I am in, it might even begreat. I make sure I have a pass at thesalad bar and try to my best attempt at a balanced plate, but really, I’m justtrying to eat so I can get back to the room to shower. I take a banana and full cup of water back tothe room.

    I remove and hang my gear so that any wet areas can dryovernight. The left sleeve of my jacketis a bit damp. I suspect that the windhas somehow driven rain into it or allowed my sleeve to wick moisture. It is not bad, but I want it dry for thereturn trip.

    Then it’s into the shower to warm up and clean off. Before the road got muddy today, it was a bitdusty. It is refreshing and finally I amready to lay down for the night. I havesent a few texts so that the folks who are monitoring my progress know what Ihave in mind. I turn out the lights andhope to wake up to sunshine.
    __________________________________________________ __

    2018 FLHTK
    1965 FLHFB
    2016.5 XL1200CX (Buh Bye)
    2015 FLHTK (C Ya)
    2011 FLHTK (Gonzo)
    2009 FLHX (gone)
    2004 FLHTCUI (gonner)
    2003 FLTRI/FLHTCI (farther gone)
    1999 FLHR (long gone)
    1981 FXE (gonnest)

    A wife, three daughters, and even my GPS tells me what to do!

  5. #25
    Forum Leader BigLew55's Avatar
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    Day 7 7/5/18
    Aurora Hotel

    As I wake and look outside to assess the weather, thereare raindrops hitting the window. Thatmeans it is rainy and windy. A lookthrough the window confirms that it’s not a positive outlook. A quick glance on my phone confirms thatcurrent conditions are not favorable, but tomorrow looks better. I watch some TV until about 11 and check theweather again. Still no sign of improvement. I head down to the desk to extend my stayanother night. I grab a light lunch andhead back to the room.

    I spend most of the day watching TV. They have a few movie channels available andI don’t really have many other options for recreation, so I rest up all daylong.

    One issue I did have to address is a missingbolt on my aux tank mounting. I had afew spare -20 bolts as it’s a common size on my bike. It only takes a few minutes to correct thesituation. While at my bike, I used therest of my now unusable water to clean off my tail lights. They were made opaque from the mud yesterday.
    __________________________________________________ __

    2018 FLHTK
    1965 FLHFB
    2016.5 XL1200CX (Buh Bye)
    2015 FLHTK (C Ya)
    2011 FLHTK (Gonzo)
    2009 FLHX (gone)
    2004 FLHTCUI (gonner)
    2003 FLTRI/FLHTCI (farther gone)
    1999 FLHR (long gone)
    1981 FXE (gonnest)

    A wife, three daughters, and even my GPS tells me what to do!

  6. #26
    Forum Leader BigLew55's Avatar
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    Day 8 7/6/18
    Deadhorse, AK to Fairbanks, AK
    North Slope
    Atigun Pass
    Chandler Pass
    Coldfoot, AK
    CB conversation
    Home Depot

    I wake before my alarm on Friday, July 6th. I check what few weather resources I have onmy phone as soon as I can convince my eyes to focus. The temperature has only improved a bit, butthe rain let up yesterday afternoon. Ilook out at overcast skies to see puddles still prevalent in the gravel parkinglot. I plan to head south after a largebreakfast.

    I hear a lot of mulling around up and down thehallway. The local workers are gettingto breakfast or to their trucks on the way to work. The heavy industrial equipment and mentalityis omni-present up here. I try to stayout of their way during this rush. I usethis time to pack and prepare for my return trip. I know the road will only be marginallybetter today. As I have everythingorganized, I head down to the chow hall. A plate full of eggs, sausage, hash browns, and some fruit seem to bethe best plan I can muster. I grab aquick cup of coffee and a cup of water, then sit down. After eating, I take a quick picture ofColleen Lake just outside the window. Itis still mostly frozen, reminding me that I should recalibrate my judgementwhen picking motorcycle destinations.

    After breakfast, I gear up and throw everything needed onthe bike. The bike is reluctant tostart. After a few more attempts thannormal, it fires and settles into its rhythm. GPS routes are all set and I head over to the gas station. This is a critical stop, so I try to makesure everything is in order. I go in thehut to insert my card and head back out to top off the tanks. Again, I’m just a bit over 6 gallons, so I amgrateful for my auxiliary fuel tank that I added only a few months ago. After the pump stops, I go back in and fumblewith directions before finding the procedure for obtaining the all-importantstarting receipt. With it in hand I headout to the bike. The time is off by afew hours, but on a ride timed via calendar (I have 30 days to get to KeyWest), I make a quick note and move on. Now I take the picture with the receipt with my bike’s odometer in theframe. Satisfied that I am now on theclock, I stow everything and start the arduous journey to Fairbanks. The next 150 miles will be the hardest roadI’ll ride the rest of the trip, and likely for many years to come.

    Again, the local roads are so potholed and rutted that Istruggle to do 20 MPH. I putter alongfollowing the magenta line until I slowly work my way up to 30 or so. Occasionally, I have to slow back down,sometimes abruptly, to avoid being bounced out of my seat or off the road. A few sections of road construction areparticularly harrowing, with larger stones exposed and less compact on thesurface. This big Harley sinks a bit andsquirrels through them.

    On the hills, with the road still wet, the front wheel isnot very planted. It struggles to followruts, while I try to maintain enough speed so that the back tire doesn’t startspinning. It is a balancing act thatrequires full attention at all times.

    I often wonder how the ride would have been had the roadbeen dry. Would I have been disappointedat the ease of this challenge? I stillwonder that as I write this, but it does no good. I know that the answer is just anotherquestion.

    At some point in this first segment just out ofDeadhorse, I notice a large brown furry shape along the road up ahead. I hadn’t seen much wildlife on the way up,but this morning, I had already passed a small herd of what I think werereindeer. Now I see this shape in thedistance, and I start flipping through the rolodex of possible animals in myhead. Is it a grizzly? I downshift and prepare for evasive maneuversjust in case. As I get closer, it looksmore bovine than ursine. Do buffalo roamthis far north? As I get closer I seethe distinct horn shape of a muskox. Idon’t think they’re aggressive, but I am cautious anyway. I also make sure to scan the area for anybuddies who may be nearby. I question mysanity for riding a motorcycle in an environment where I might encounter such acreature as the musk ox. I don’t really get any good reply from myself, so Icontinue, still unsure about my actual state of mind.

    I continue to slog along heading up into the valleytowards the passes. I cross them withattention and they are in about the same condition as when I wasnorthbound. The snow is freshly white,but there is no precipitation today. Soon I am heading back down in elevation towards Coldfoot. The miles tick down and finally a bit ofpavement. With this, I know I’mnear. Soon, I pull in for another tankof fuel and decide no longer break is needed. Breakfast is still holding me well enough.

    The road from Coldfoot to Fairbanks is not in greatcondition, but after riding the northern section of this road, it is a welcomeimprovement. It didn’t get the rain fromthe system that I was affected by on the north slope. The temperature is back up in the 50s and60s, making for a very comfortable ride. Occasionally, I am dusted by a vehicle, but everyone seems to becourteous.

    I strike up a CB conversation with one trucker. It doesn’t last too long, as he’s goingfaster than me. He obviously knows theroad better and struggles less with the loose rock that frequents the path.

    Eventually, I make it down to the Elliot highwayjunction. I stop for another picture ofthe bike. I have missed the “ArcticCircle” sign both directions and had wanted a picture if it too. In hindsight, I would have added it as awaypoint to my route to ensure I got it. I don’t plan to turn around.

    Pavement is becoming more regular as I drop back towardsFairbanks. It is a welcome change, butvigilance is still required to avoid going too fast through the patches ofloose gravel or hitting the unmarked potholes and frost heaves.

    Fairbanks is a welcome sight. I am ready for a meal and a shower. It has been a long day and I’m starting toget a bit worn. My friend recommends afood truck with great burgers and then it’s shower and bed. I send a few quick texts to my wife to lether know that I survived the gravel road. She was not real fond of my plan to ride up there by myself. I think her real comfort in letting me go wasthe hope that I would stop talking about wanting to go.
    __________________________________________________ __

    2018 FLHTK
    1965 FLHFB
    2016.5 XL1200CX (Buh Bye)
    2015 FLHTK (C Ya)
    2011 FLHTK (Gonzo)
    2009 FLHX (gone)
    2004 FLHTCUI (gonner)
    2003 FLTRI/FLHTCI (farther gone)
    1999 FLHR (long gone)
    1981 FXE (gonnest)

    A wife, three daughters, and even my GPS tells me what to do!

  7. #27
    Forum Leader BigLew55's Avatar
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    Day 9 7/7/18
    Fairbanks, AK to Continental Divide, YK
    Lots of moose and bears
    Road doesn’t seem as rough

    The next morning, we rise and pack as a team onceagain. There is a breakfast nookdownstairs and we have the room to ourselves. We chat some more about the prior days ride and what we expect on theway back. Soon, we are gassing up andheading south. Most of the same gasstations are set for stops for the next two days, for better or worse. I skip a few, employing my Aux tank to reducemy receipt count by a few.

    We are seeing quite a bit more wildlife on the wayback. Moose, bears, elk, deer, mountaingoats and more. I’m not really a fan ofspotting wildlife while on two wheels but it helps to add interest to the longride.

    My companion comments that he doesn’t think the roadseems as rough. We speculate whetherit’s not as bad on this side, that it’s a result of going a bit slower thistime, or if he’s in a better frame of mind, having rested in Anchorage for 3full days. It’s still not a great roadthough. We frequently have to haul itdown to well under the speed limit to keep from jarring the bikes or worse.

    We pull into the same Continental Divide hotel and it’safter hours. We set our wake time andhit the sack.

    Day 10 7/8/18
    Continental Divide, YK to Grand Prairie, AB

    I awake to a knock on the door. My alarm was not set properly, so I oversleptby an hour. The office is still notopen, so we pack the bikes and head out.

    I like the riding on this day. We go back through the parks I liked so muchon the way up. The roads areinteresting, and the views are great. Eventually, we ride back out onto the prairie and back into the world ofstraight roads. Eventually, we pull intothe hotel for the night. We try not tomull around too much because we know we want to pull some big miles tomorrow.
    __________________________________________________ __

    2018 FLHTK
    1965 FLHFB
    2016.5 XL1200CX (Buh Bye)
    2015 FLHTK (C Ya)
    2011 FLHTK (Gonzo)
    2009 FLHX (gone)
    2004 FLHTCUI (gonner)
    2003 FLTRI/FLHTCI (farther gone)
    1999 FLHR (long gone)
    1981 FXE (gonnest)

    A wife, three daughters, and even my GPS tells me what to do!

  8. #28
    Forum Leader BigLew55's Avatar
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    Day 11 7/9/18
    Grand Prairie, AB to Minot, ND
    SS1K
    Splitting the storm

    We wake early and head out. We don’t get a good starting receipt (ajudgement call on my part). Ourdestination for tonight will be Minot, SD. It is over 1,000 miles and a bordercrossing south of us. I don’t intend tosubmit this one, and he doesn’t have the required docs prepared to do so. Regardless, we will ride the miles and needto do it efficiently to maintain our sleep schedule for the next day.

    Most of the day is uneventful. We ride, gas and repeat until lateafternoon. Then the sky starts to darkenahead of us. I check the radar and findthat we’re mostly avoiding the storm cells and riding through moderateshowers.

    As the afternoon turns to evening, though, the stormscontinue to pop up around us. Theweather band occasionally interrupts with watches and warnings. I check the radar and modify the route abit. This causes a bit of fuel anxiety,but we find our stop and get back on track.

    Finally, we make it to the border. Our fourth and final of the trip is mostlyuneventful, except that I drop my earplugs while conforming to the agent’scommands. Riding without them afterbeing used to using them is a bit abrupt. We gas on the US side of the crossing at Portal, ND. We’re back in the land of gallons and MPH!

    The road from here into Minot is getting re-paved, andthere are several transitions that could have been a bit smoother, except forcontractors who didn’t consider it necessary. We are still fighting the storm from earlier today, but we never getstuck in heavy rain. There is enough tomake riding in the dark out here a bit more challenging than I prefer.

    Eventually, we make it to Minot and check in. We had made good enough time to get a bit ofsleep and start within striking distance of our houses tomorrow.
    __________________________________________________ __

    2018 FLHTK
    1965 FLHFB
    2016.5 XL1200CX (Buh Bye)
    2015 FLHTK (C Ya)
    2011 FLHTK (Gonzo)
    2009 FLHX (gone)
    2004 FLHTCUI (gonner)
    2003 FLTRI/FLHTCI (farther gone)
    1999 FLHR (long gone)
    1981 FXE (gonnest)

    A wife, three daughters, and even my GPS tells me what to do!

  9. #29
    Forum Leader BigLew55's Avatar
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    Day 12 7/10/18
    Minot, ND to Bettendorf, IA

    We wake early and get the bikes packed. The hotel is next door to a Perkins, so wetreat ourselves to a bit better breakfast than the Days Inn offered. I spend some time assessing the radar on myphone. It seems the storm from the nightbefore is only a few hours ahead of use. We are not sure it’s going to be out of our path when we get to it, sowe plan an alternate route that is a bit longer.

    All set with that we point the headlights south and twistthe throttle. The headwind is prettylively, I guess around 25 mph, almost directly head on for most of themorning. This kills our gas range, evenwith backing off 5 then 10 MPH on the cruise control. We decide that time is more valuable than gastoday and pick closer gas stops. Thismeans that we put the cruise back up to our normal setting and ride on.

    At our first stop, I inquire inside about ear plugs. The headwind is causing quite a bit of windnoise, and I’d like to mitigate that if possible. The attendant can’t locate any in the store,so I head back out to my bike. Parked atthe pump next to me is now a railroad crew. These are some of the most safety-laden workers I know of. I ask the fellow fueling his truck if hehappens to have any. He digs around inthe back seat a bit and hands me a foam disposable set. They’re not quite as effective as my normalrubber ones, but still a welcome improvement.

    We continue down to the interstate and then East to Fargoand Minneapolis. The wind has died down,but I still have to stop a bit short of the cities to fill up. Had I been able to make it to the south side,I could have eliminated one stop before home.

    At Mason City, my partner takes the route down throughDes Moines to SE Iowa. I peel off andtake the path through Waterloo to the Quad cities. It is nice to sleep in my own bed, even forjust one night. I slip in a load oflaundry and a bit of bike maintenance too.

    Day 13 7/11/18
    Bettendorf, IA to Macon, GA

    After a good night’s sleep in my bed, I have a quickbreakfast and load up the bike. I willmeet back up with my friend and another buddy in Galesburg, about an hour southof me. We travel the day heading towardsHot-lanta through some nasty Thunderstorms and continuously rising temperaturesand humidity. We have another friend whomeets us for dinner in Atlanta. Afterdinner, we make our way to Macon for the evening. It will be a short night, as we want to rollpretty early tomorrow.
    __________________________________________________ __

    2018 FLHTK
    1965 FLHFB
    2016.5 XL1200CX (Buh Bye)
    2015 FLHTK (C Ya)
    2011 FLHTK (Gonzo)
    2009 FLHX (gone)
    2004 FLHTCUI (gonner)
    2003 FLTRI/FLHTCI (farther gone)
    1999 FLHR (long gone)
    1981 FXE (gonnest)

    A wife, three daughters, and even my GPS tells me what to do!

  10. #30
    Forum Leader BigLew55's Avatar
    Tetris Champion!
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Quad Cities, Iowa
    Bike
    2018 FLHTK
    Posts
    565
    Day 14 7/12/18
    Macon, GA to Key West, FL

    The air is thick with humidity even this early in themorning. We are in the home stretchnow. We go through tanks of gas untillunch.

    My buddy went to college in Gainesville, so we stop forlunch at his spot of choice. After a aquick break we stop for another tank of gas and get rolling again.

    The Florida turnpike is not very scenic, but it movesalong nicely in most spots. We takelonger to fuel than normal, as we are cooling down a bit and consuming fluidsat the same time.

    After a few pop-up showers, we run headlong into Miamirush hour. Lucky for us, they’re in themiddle of a giant construction project to alleviate it a bit. Too bad we’re a few years too early. We crawl along for what seems like anhour.

    One of the bikes has trouble with the heat, so we have togive it 5 minutes to cool down. This isan interesting predicament because there is not much shoulder due toconstruction. The opposite shoulderwould have meant pushing his bike across several lanes of bumper to bumpertraffic. Luckily, if fires right upafter a few minutes and we are back underway, even if still very slow.

    Eventually, the traffic relents, and we find ourselvesheading for the Keys. We let the new guyset the pace down to Key West. Hedoesn’t use GPS, but it’s hard to make a wrong turn on this road. We go over Seven Mile Bridge at sunset andthat’s a nice treat.

    Shortly after sunset, we roll into Key West. I find a gas station and grab myreceipt. I feel a lot of relief havinggotten this. It has been a long trip,and not a budget friendly one either. Wedecide to head down to Hogsbreath for a celebratory beverage and something toeat. It is still fairly busy downtownand parking is a bit of a challenge even on motorcycles. We dine and toast, get a few picturestogether and head back to the hotel.

    I spend some time rinsing out my LDComfort gearso it will be a bit less funky for the trip home. We had decided not to plan to leave togetherin the morning because we had separate destinations. They were going to Hudson, FL where one hadbought a house last year. I would havejoined them for a day, had I not sat one out in Prudhoe the week before.
    __________________________________________________ __

    2018 FLHTK
    1965 FLHFB
    2016.5 XL1200CX (Buh Bye)
    2015 FLHTK (C Ya)
    2011 FLHTK (Gonzo)
    2009 FLHX (gone)
    2004 FLHTCUI (gonner)
    2003 FLTRI/FLHTCI (farther gone)
    1999 FLHR (long gone)
    1981 FXE (gonnest)

    A wife, three daughters, and even my GPS tells me what to do!

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