Saturday, October 2, 2010

Texas World Capitals Tour - BunBurner 1,500

The Texas World Capitals Tour - Bun Burner 1500
This ride is a different take on the Iron Butt Association certified event in which the rider completes at least 1,500 miles in under 36 hours.  There are over 20 locations in The Great State of Texas that have names of country capitals throughout the world. The goal of this adventure was to ride to as many TX world capital locations under strict Iron Butt Association rules for the Bun Burner 1500 certified ride.  I planned the leg with the option to complete the ride in under 24 hours to qualify for BunBurner GOLD status.  The Athens segment end was to be the decision point on weather to continue on the quest for GOLD or stop for rest and continue for a regular BB 1500 finish.  See the Garmin Connect profile of the ride.   Scroll down for segment reports.
Navigation tip - press the Ctrl key when clicking the orange links.

LOCATION (capital of country) , Time in - Time out,  cumulative miles

Austin, TX -- 0600 - 0620 0 miles Witness sign off
I rode from my home near Wimberley to the parking lot at Reagan HS to get Jeff and Jude to certify my start.  Thanks guys!  Departing there I rode about 1/4 mile to obtain the dated business receipt that documents the IBA official start time. 

London (co United Kingdom)  0623 - 0628 141.8 miles
The ride to from Austin to London takes you through the Texas Hill Country.  Rolling hills with narlly oak trees and cactus.  London is a very small community with a gas station, post office and cemetery.  Took a picture of my bike in front of the US Post Office.

Dublin (co Ireland) 1059 - 1104 275.9 miles
Dublin is a fair sized city.  It is home to one of the first original Dr Pepper bottling plants.  The plant is open to the public, has a museum with the largest collection of Dr Pepper artifacts, and a real soda fountain where the "jerk" makes you a Dr Pepper from scratch.  Tasty and delicious!   I took a picture of my bike in front of the Dublin Police department.

Wellington (co New Zealand) 1505 - 1516 548.1 miles
Took a picture of my bike in front of the Wellington post office.  The PO building looks like it was built circa 1930's.  Wellington is it the east half of the Texas panhandle.  It was the farthest north world capital name town on the tour.

Paris (co France) 2001 - 2005 871.9 miles
When I took my picture in front of the City of Paris Public Library the flash didn't quite get the name carved into the stone sigh.  So, here's a Google Earth street view of the same location.

Kingston (co Jamaca) 2102 - 2106 928.6 miles
There is no "there" there.  No businesses, no post office.  There was lots of activity at a church.  Must have been a Saturday night church social. So, I took a picture of my bike next to the Kingston road sign heading into town.

Warsaw (co Poland) 2213 - 2217 987.4 miles
This community is in the middle of farm country.  Lots of nice homes and a church which I used to take a picture of my bike to show I was there.

Athens (co Greece) 2309 - 2316 1053.1 miles
Athens was the decision point to either continue on to accumulate 1500 miles to qualify GOLD, under 24 hours, or to select a rest stop and continue on for the Bun Burner 1500 miles in 36 hours.  At this point I was 13 minutes ahead of my route model.  At this point I had been awake since 0445 and riding about 19 hours straight.  My model predicted arriving at the 1500 mile mark at 24:06 total time since model start time of 0630.  I had not made up a sufficient time cushion to reasonably expect to finish the 1500 in under 24 hours.  I elected to do the rest stop.

Palestine (not a country) 0001 - 0616 1080.2 miles
Palestine (Texans pronounce it Palesteen) is a large city with lots of amenities.  I pulled out the Droid, fired up the "Find a Motel" app and picked one.  Stayed in a Quality in for $63 including tax.  Took an Advil an zonked until the wake up call at 0530.  Ate the free full breakfast and I was on my way.

Moscow (co Russia) 0841 -0851 1208.9 miles
As I was approaching Moscow I must have blinked.  I rode right past the way point shown on the GPS.  The way point I put into the zumo was the lat/lon from Google Maps for the Moscow US Post Office.  It was not accurate.  Needless to say I was 18 miles down highway US 59 before I decided to turn around and get this bonus....ah, I mean...location picture.  I'll be sure to mention the doubling back mile in my IBA submission papers.

Victoria (co Seychelles) 1148 -1209 1423.3 miles
Very large city near the coast.  Took a picture of the bike and Victoria Sheriff's Office.

Vienna (co Austria) 1231 - 1243 1492.3 miles
Took a picture of the bike and the Vienna historical marker in the center of town.  The local tavern was open so I went in an had a cool one....Diet Coke.  Tried to get a dated business receipt but no chance.  The gentleman who served me the Diet Coke actually put the dollar into his pocket.  I stopped at Hallettsville for a dated business receipt to mark the route corner.  That helps substantiate my claim of riding to Vienna.

Wimberley ("A Little Piece of Heaven") 1535 - 1547 1581.2 miles
Stopped at the Sac-N-Pac for the ending dated business receipt to finish the Texas World Capitals Bun Burner 1500.  Now, to start working on the route plan for the Bun Burner GOLD ride.  Of course, starting from and ending at more Texas Work Capital locations.

Other Texas communities with name of world capitals not visited this trip.

San Jose
San Juan

Adventure Tips
1581.2 Total miles 
33:19 Total time
67.4 Average Moving MPH
59.5 Average Total MPH
47.9 Gallons of Fuel Used
36.3 Miles Per Gallon

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

The Haul Road 1,000

The is the account of my ride up to Deadhorse AK to complete the Iron Butt Association Ultimate Coast to Coast Challenge - Key West, FL to Deadhorse, AK.

Although this "Haul Road 1,000" is not an official IBA ride my GPS recorded 1,010 miles from my start point at the camp grounds on Fort Wainwright to the Super8 Motel at the finish.  I'm not claiming any recognition beyond doing the up and down ride in less than 24 hours (22 hours and 50 minutes -- GPS track point time.)

My original intent was to ride from Fairbanks to Deadhorse and stay for some sleep before heading back south to Fairbanks.  This plan was due to me not knowing just how long it would take to ride the Dalton Highway from start point north of Fairbanks to the end at Deadhorse.  I was expecting to average about 40 miles per hour.  Google and Yahoo put the total driving time at just under 20 hours.  It's a 492 mile trip from Fairbanks to Deadhorse.  I seriously over estimated the time it would take me to cover the distance given the road condition and weather.  

The SPOT II messenger creates a "geo-tag" with the location, date and time  when the Check In/OK or the Custom button.  I refer to these tags as SPOT and the number in the narrative that follows.

SPOT 1 -- 09:15z / 01:15am / 04:15am Mile 0
Left Fort Wainwright RV/Camping park and rode to Denny's for breakfast after which departing for the Dalton Highway.

SPOT 2 -- 11:17z / 03:17am / 06:17am at  mile 84
At the entrance to the Dalton Highway (video) or Haul Road.  The first part of the road was gravel (video) and about what I expected.   The road then changed to paved (video) surface.  I discovered that about 25% of the length of the Dalton was paved.  As it would turn out this would have a big impact on my total riding time and stress level.  The BMW R1200GS Adventure was handling (video) the rough parts of the road with ease.  The power and suspension of the bike gave me a sense of confidence.  It was important to use correct technique for riding in loose material;  keep the power up, keep a tight center of gravity,  and avoid using the front brake when slowing to lessen the chance for a front tire slide out.

SPOT 3 -- 12:22z / 04:22am / 07:22am at mile 140
Crossing the Yukon River bridge (video) for the first time.  Stopped to mark the significant geographic location and event with at SPOT msg.(video)

SPOT 4 -- 14:24z / 06:24am / 09:24 at mile 260
Coldfoot Camp (video) for fuel and cup of coffee.  At this point I'm lolly-gagging and not in any hurry.  It had rained several hours earlier and the ground was very muddy.  So far in the ride up the sky was clear to partly cloudy. 

SPOT 5 -- 16:23z / 08:23am / 11:23am at mile 332
Crossing Atigun Pass. (video)   If you've seen the TV show "Ice Road Truckers" you would think the Atigun pass was a monster to be avoided.  As passes go it's pretty much mediocre and not very long.  I was underwhelmed by it and aside from some slipperiness on the road made good time over it.  Then again it may be that I was blessed with better than average conditions.

SPOT 6 -- 17:36z / 09:36am / 12:36pm at mile 398
Pump Station 3 hold for road work and pilot vehicle.  There were several areas of the road under active maintenance.  Especially north of the Atigun pass.  Heavy truck were hauling road material and road graders were spreading it out after being dumped in long rows.  The graders would create long rows of material from the side of their blades that were about 6 to 8 inches high.  These lines of loose material were to be avoided.   By this time the weather (video) started to get worse.  Light rain that felt more like ice pellets that had melted just before ground level and a cross wind from the west.  I stopped using my video helmet cam at this point at this point as you can see from the clip above.  The stretch of road (video) from the north side of the Brooks Range of mountains is arctic tundra and it just goes on for mile after mile of stunning geography.  Didn't see any caribou on the entire ride.  I did see a linx just before the Yukon bridge though....that was cool.

SPOT 7 -- 20:08z / 12:08pm / 3:08pm at mile 503
Parked in front of Prudhoe Bay Hotel and was going to take the picture of me and the motorcycle for the IBA certification, but there were too many trucks in the way.  Went inside to check on a room.  None available, just a dorm room at $135 a night.   I still had to get my dated business receipt that substantiates my finish time, so I got directions to the gas station.  It was a self serve kinda deal where you go into a pump house, swipe your card in the auto-teller then go outside to pump the gas.  When you are finished you go back into the pump house and swipe your card again and it gives you the receipt.  Completing this I rode to the Arctic Caribou Inn for picture and to check on room availability.  Got the picture, found out rooms were available at $195.  At this point I'm reaching a decision point.  But, I still needed my certifying witness form signed so I asked around for where the police station was.  Rode to North Slope Police Station and did the deed.  Now I had to make the decision about staying or heading back south.  I decided to make the gas stop at Coldfoot Camp my next decision point.  I was off....heading south

SPOT 8 -- 02:36z / 6:36pm / 9:36pm at mile 747
About 25 miles out of Coldfoot Camp I had to stop for a pilot vehicle down a stretch of road constructions.  The contractor was getting to road ready for paving.  The flag lady said they had to have this stretch north out of Coldfoot paved by first snow in September.  I took this opportunity to check the bike out.  By the time I got to Coldfoot for gas I had pretty much made the decision  to Iron Butt it to Fairbanks instead of camping or staying in the Coldfoot motel. Timing is everything.   Earlier in the day I had mused (video) about how my fatigue management strategy had played out to afford me the option of heading all the way back.  I have always incorporated a sound fatigue management (video) strategy into all my long distance endurance riding.  It part of an overarching risk management technique.  At this point in the ride I was feeling good so after gassing up I headed south for Fairbanks.

SPOT 9 -- 04:03z / 8:03pm / 10:03pm at mile 807
Stop at Arctic Circle roadside picture.   I had missed the turn off on the way up and looking at the GPS track in MapSource I had turned down the service road just north of the public parking area for the Arctic Circle sign.  This is a MUST picture for anyone traveling the Dalton Highway for the first time. 

SPOT 10 -- 07:27z / 11:27pm / 02:27am at mile 1,010
Pulling into Fairbanks I headed straight for the self serve car wash to hose off the motorcycle.  It took $8 to get most of the grime off of the motorcycle.  Finishing that I headed to the Super8 Motel and got a real room with all the amenities for $126....with breakfast.

What an incredible adventure this ride was.  I'll continue to refine this Spot Adventure as I develop more information.  I want to do a total cost piece and plug that info in for all to see.  So, check back in a few days

Adventure Tips
I seriously over estimated the difficulty of the Dalton Highway.  I was expecting a more rough road.  Much to my advantage I discovered that almost 20% of the road was paved.  About 60% of the road was is fast shape.  By that I mean I was able to ride faster than 40 mph with little difficulty.  Only about 20% of the road was difficult.  Most of this was due to ongoing construction.

I discovered that the R1200GS Adventure was tailor made for this exact kind of road.  Its handling was superb and inspired confidence.  Sometimes standing on the foot pegs, most of the time squeezing the tank during "snaking" and powering through the loose stuff.

I attribute my ability to complete the up and back ride to:
1.  The GS's power and suspension.
2.  My Aerostich Darien Gore-Tex suite with heated jacket liner.
3.  The fatigue management strategy that afforded me the opportunity to make changes to the ride plan.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Ultimate Coast to Coast Challenge

Cross North America from Key West, FL to Deadhorse, AK by motorcycle.

(Web navigation tip:  press CTRL key then mouse over the orange links to open in a separate window.)

The goal of this ride is to be recognized by the Iron Butt Association  for successfully completing the Ultimate Coast to Coast Challenge.  The rules for the event allows 30 days to complete the ride.  Unlike other IBA Rides the UCC is designed for a more relaxed pace.   Check out the bike (video) and route.

Scroll down this panel for the Adventure outline and latest updates:

This adventure will span 2 countries, 25 states and provinces at over 12,500 miles.  I will be traveling by myself but "SPOT"ing along the way.    During the day I will send a SPOT Check In/OK  message that are posted to the SPOT Tim and Live Feed pages to show key route point, routine gas or rest stops.  At the end of the riding day I will send a SPOT Custom msg that tells friends and loved ones I have stopped for the day at a motel or campground (also posted to SPOT Tim and Live Feed pages).  Using my NetBook computer I will update this blog with route, stop points and how the ride went that day.

Day X - Start-Finish point, Miles this day, Weather, High/Low temp

(Days/Dates are approximate and used for planning purposes)

Mon 6/28 - Wimberley TX to near Lake City FL 94/72, 985.8 miles
Day 1 went off as planned.  Scattered showers all along the way but temps were warm.  Stopped twice for gas, check the bike out, and eat a sandwich.  No pictures today.  Too busy riding.  Besides, seen one Interstate, seen them all.  Pulled over about dusk to put the sun glasses away and clean the face and wind shields.  Turned off of I-10 east to I-75 south to the Lake City exit.  The brand new Comfort Inn/Suites looked inviting so I SPOT'd my  Custom msg  in thier parking lot.  Too expensive, so the Econo Lodge next door got my business.  Hey, how much different can the shower, bed and WiFi be?

Tue 6/29 - Near Lake City FL to Key West FL 95/72 Showers 556.2 miles.
Great riding today.  Weather was hazy, hot and humid.  Rode through several showers, didn't even bother with gearing up.  Stopped a couple of times for gas and stopped to take some pictures at the Big Cypress national preserve.  It's part of the Everglades and I was hoping to get a picture of a Florida gator.  Alas, the closest thing I got to a gator was a big snapping turtle.  Arrived in Key West about 4:30 local time.  Pulled into the  Sigsbee RV Park on the Naval Air Station and setp camp.  The weather was great, with nice tropical breezes so I set up my hammock between two trees instead of a tent.  It works well and I use my GI poncho as the rain cover in case of sprinkles.  Had several visitors to see the bike and to remark about my spartan and primitive camping style.  One retired Army guy and his friend wanted to know all about my adventure.  I was more than happy to tell them all about it.  Wasn't too long before the invited me over for BBQ and a couple of cold ones.....Life is good!

Wed 6/30 - Key West FL North of Atlanta GA, 99/78 T-storms, 848.3 miles
Depart campsite about 5:30 heading to the Key West PD for witness certification.  There I picked up the wall phone and tried to explain to the young lady on the other end my need to have an Officer come out and do the deed.  I wasn't making much headway when a man in civilian cloths came out of the offices.  As luck would have it he was an IBA member and recognized the patch on my jacket.  He knew exactly what I was doing the at "O-Dark-Thirty" so he went back in and fetched an Officer. Then I rode over to Southern most point monument for picture of me and the bike.  Top off gas tank and secure the dated business receipt (DBR) to substantiate my official departure time for the Ultimate Coast to Coast Challenge.

Thur 7/1 - Kennesaw GA to Rock Port MO, 86/72, Clear  902.3 miles
Yesterday, after enduring oppressive heat and humidity up the full length of Florida and negotiating over 200 miles of sprinkles, showers and down-pours through the center of Georgia, I'm reminded why this kind of riding is not for everyone.  Yet, as I was emerging out of the last thunderstorm north of Macon my spirits were lifted by the sight of clearing skies and drying roads.  The setting sun cast a pinkish glow on the lingering clouds against a baby blue sky rewarded me with the promise of better riding.  Today that promise came true with near ideal riding weather.   Riding through the scenic mountains of TN and KY was a great change from the sprawl of FL and the sign cluttered I-75 in GA. Stopped in St Louis for a foto-op at the Great Arch.  I'll be thinking of this great weather when I'm riding through Atigun Pass along the north slope haul road.

Fri 7/2 - Rock Port MO to Portal ND, 94/68, Clear and windy 841.7 miles
Why Not Minot?  Because the border was just a bit farther.  Interstates are useful tools for the long distance rider.  They extend the riding horizon in a way that reduces risk.  The consistency of speed, route information, service availability are all designed for long distance.  Today I turned off of I-94 just west of Fargo ND and away from riding on Interstates until after the return trip as I enter Washington. The roads from now on will be much more interesting than Interstates.  Travel times and daily distances will shorten considerably.  And, I expect I'll be doing more sight-seeing along the way.  Not sure what the Canadian highways will be like but don't expect much of a difference from US roads.  Tomorrow, I cross the US-Canadian border into the great north.

Sat 7/3 - Portal ND to near Edmonton AB Canada, 59/75, Partly cloudy, 637.9 miles
Motorcycling is an outdoor sport.  Had to layer up today.  Woke up to showers and temps in the high 50's.  The riding was easy with only a couple of stops.  In Regina I zipped on the outer shell to my hot weather riding jacket and made it a chilly weather jacket.  Upgraded to mid-weight gloves and I was set.  Having the right gear sure makes a difference and takes stress out of the ride.  Riding across the great Canadian plains is just like riding across Nebraska....only bigger.  When I entered Alberta the the landscape got more interesting, with rolling hills and pastorial vistas.  Tomorrow I head north to Fort Nelson and a check of the weather shows more showers likely.  Like I said.....motorcycling is an outdoor sport.

Sun 7/4 - Edmonton AB to Fort Nelson BC, 46/67, Overcast and wet, 653.2 miles
Plan your Ride...Ride your Plan.  Today was a plug in and Gore-Tex up day.  The ride plan took me into the mountains of British Columbia.  Mountains mean elevation and weather changes.   Weather radar showed scattered rain most all the way to Fort Nelson.  So, I put on my electric jacket liner under my leather jacket.  It plugs into the motorcycle and is like an electric blanket.  Keeps me very toasty.  Also have gloves that plug into the sleeve wires for that all over warm feeling. I am so spoiled.   Approaching the mountains the weather turned wet.  Even with Gore-Tex from neck to toes the water still manages to find places to enter the protective barrier.  Riding is slow when it's wet and when you finally get to the destination for the day you need time to clean the gear, check out the bike and get ready for the next riding day.  The relatively short riding distances on these last few legs were designed to provide for these contingencies.   Stopped at Dawson Creek for a foto-op at "Mile Zero" of the World Famous Alaska Highway.

Critter Watch:  Saw a black bear foraging on the side of the road.   I didn't stop for a picture.

Mon 7/5 - Fort Nelson BC to Whitehorse YT, 45/68, Clear to partly cloudy, 594.2 miles
Hat tip to the Canadian highway dept.  Riding the Alaska Highway is a hoot.  Very well maintained and as good as any road I've ridden in the States.  Lots of RV traffic and motorcycles this time of year.  Has a few rough spots and some loose gravel at repair sites.  There is a lot of wild life on the road too.  I was going to keep "critter watch" list but there were too many sightings.  I saw (videos) black bear, moose, mountain goat, roaming buffalo and grazing buffalo.  Got to Whitehorse early afternoon, about 4pm local time.  After checking into a hotel in downtown I had to go find a car wash to hose the bike off.  Tomorrow is another easy day up to Fairbanks.  Going to get there early afternoon, set up the campsite on Ft Wainwright and pop over to the BMW dealership to check it out.  Got to get everything ready for my final ride up to Deadhorse.  Not sure I am going to have access to WiFi to post tomorrow's blog.  When I make the final ride to Deadhorse I will SPOT more often than just when I get gas so follow my progress on the SPOT Tim live feed page.  (See the top paragraph for the link)

Tue 7/6 - Whitehorse YT to Fairbank AK, 35,67, Clear, 588. 9 miles
Timing is everything.  Whenever I ride on a multi time zone trip I always keep the motorcycle and GPS clocks set to home (CDT) time.  This way I can take advantage of my circadian rhythm to manage fatigue. I model my riding time in the saddle as sunup to sundown.  If I want to extend the mileage then I start about 4am and ride to no longer than shortly after midnight. I avoid riding past 2am.

The ride up from  White horse was great.  Stopped at Delta Jucntion, AK, at the end of the Alaska Highway to photo-document my transit.  I arrived in Fairbanks about 2pm and headed straight to the Lands End BMW dealership to check out the bike.  That way if I found anything that need fixing I was in the right spot.  Just needed to add air to the tires.  Remember that bike time thing?  Well I also use it to plan my riding time instead of adapting to the local time I make riding decisions base on the bike/GPS time.   After gasing up I headed to Ft Wainwright to use their camp/RV park for a stay in the Iron Butt Motel.  Got something to eat, checked the Wx up north then headed back to the camping park to settle in for the sleep.....not
much "night" up here as it doesn't get dark this time of year.   I was about 8pm my time and 5pm local tme. 

Wed 7/7 - Fairbanks AK to Deadhorse AK to Fairbanks AK, 41/44, drizzle and windy, 1,040.2 miles
At 4am my time I departed the campground, headed over to Denny's for a hearty breakfast then left for Deadhorse.  Got to the entrance of the Dalton Highway   See the map and Alaska Jack's mile post pictures .  I'm writing a separate Spot Adventure on the ride up and back to give more detail so look for it in my Spot Adventure portfolio.

Decided not spend the night in Deadhorse and opted to head south.  Got to Coldfoot Camp, it was still a muddy mess, and checked on the price of a room in the modular units they call a motel.  $175 including taxes.   Fairbanks was only about 5 hours away and I was feeling pretty good.  Remember that fatigue management strategy gives me options.  Even though I had ridden all day I opted to ride to Fairbanks, hose off the bike in the car wash I spotted the previous day and get me a good hotel room....$126 including breakfast.  Check out the "Haul Road 1,000" Spot Adventure for details, videos and pictures.

Thur 7/8 - Fairbanks AK to Beaver Creek YT, about 250 miles
Enroute stop at Fort Greely AK near Delta Junction.  I spent almost 4 years stationed there in the late 70's  Going to take some pictures.  I was going to do some more camping starting tonight but just as I'm getting ready to stop for the day a huge line of thunderstorms lay just ahead of, another $100 Canadian and $18 for a hamburger and Diet Coke.  It was a good hamburger though.

Fri 7/9 - Beaver Creek YK to Deese Lake BC, 42/85, Clear, 682 miles
Had a great ride today.  Stopped in Haines Junction for coffee and hearty Canadian breakfast.  Stopped in Whitehorse and hosed off the bike again.  Still dirty from the Haul Road.  Headed south towards the Canada-Washington border and stopped in Deese Lake at a very nice hotel and very
reasonable price with WiFi.  Guess I won't stop at a hotel/motel unless it has internet access anymore.

Sat 7/10 - Deese Lake BC to Williams Lake BC, 54/84 Partly Cloudy, 748.9 miles
The ride down BC 37 was very scenic through the mountains and river valleys.  Saw a wolf cross the road in front of me and two black bears along the side of the road.  When I got to Williams Lake, checked into the hotel, got the laundry going I checked out the bike.  I need a new rear tire!  Dang, just put the current one on at 53,500 miles.  I'm now at 62,500....guess the Haul Road did a number on it.  The wear is almost down to the bars but there is a wear indication down the center of the case.  No casing is showing but I'll have to take it easy the next two riding days.  As I'm writing this it's Saturday evening and none of the BMW Cycle dealers within a 1,000 miles is open on Monday.  So the plan is to head to Seattle, then down I-5 to Portalnd then Eugene OR before heading to Reno.  Each of these cities have BMW Dealers so i"ll monitor the tire at each location and hold up if I don't feel it's safe to continue.  The Ideal situation would be to make it to Reno were my Sister lives arriving on Monday.  Then be at the dealership first thing Tuesday morning.  Stay tuned

Sun 7/11 - Williams Lake BC to Centralia WA, 55/88, Clear, 571.1miles
I had to deal with the tire issue today.  My plan was to head south towards Vancouver, Seattle, Eugene, check the tire about every 50-75 miles to see how much wear was taking place.  After the first check I didn't notice much change.  After about 150 miles cord started to show. At first it was only about 3 inches.  At the next stop about 6 inches of cord was showing.  I had reduced my speed to around 55 mph, the roads were smooth asphalt and mostly down hill.  I was committed to going to the BMW Dealership in Vancouver.  Last night I checked their website and it said they were closed on Sunday, today, but open on Monday, sales only.  So, the plan was to get to the dealership, spot a hotel near by and wait till Monday and hope the could sell me a tire.  Had to call my girlfriend back in Wimberley to get the address.  I had written down the phone number but didn't bother noting the address.

As I was approaching the address on Grandview Highway for John Valk BMW I saw lots of bikes parked outside!!!!!   That means the were OPEN.  Walked in and explained the problem and the guys got on the phone and called in Dave, one of their highly trained tech.  The sold me a new tire, mounted it and I was out of there inside of an hour and a half.  Now that's SERVICE at its best.  I highly recommend if you are in the area that you stop and spend some money at John Valk BMW in Vancouver BC.  They really helped me when I needed it.  Here's their website

Got back on the road and got into position for tomorrows ride to the IBA spiritual spot near Gerlach NV.  Then on to Reno to visit my sister and bro-inlaw. 

Mon 7/12 - Centralia WA to Gerlach NV, 56/98 Clear,  634.7 miles
On the way from Centralia WA to Reno NV I went right by Crater Lake National Park.  Had to stop and take some picture.  I always wanted to get to that picturesque location and now I have the chance.  Check out the pix.  So, instead of ending the day at my sister's place in Reno I decided to spend the night in the Iron Butt Hotel at the Iron Butt monument/memorial/spiritual spot.  Was a cool experience and I very much enjoy sleeping under the bright dessert night sky.  The wind was blowing very hard as the sun was setting....and usual condition for the dessert.  It stopped blowing around 10pm just as I was getting sleepy.  Cell phone connection was great so I checked in at home.  Popped my sleeping bag and pad on the picnic table and slept....ok.  Whenever I camp I revert back to that cat-nap mode like when I was in the Army.  Just barely slipping into REM sleep every 40 minutes or so.  Got up before sunrise, rode to Sparks, had a hearty breakfast, found a car wash to hose the bike off for the 4th time then rode to my sister's place.  Will remain there until Wednesday morning.

Wed 7/14 - Reno NV to Phoenix AZ, 66,118, Clear, 788 miles
Did a "French Leave" while everyone was still asleep and departed Reno just at the sun was rising.  Great riding in the high dessert with lots of visibility, good roads and little traffic.  Riding through Hawthorne NV I passed the huge Army ammunition depot.  Row after row of large one story buildings resembling German concentration camps.  Still heading south I took a cut-off from the main route to Phoenix and rode down NV 375.  The State of Nevada has officially designated this stretch of highway the "Extraterrestrial Highway".This road leads you around the east side of the center of NV where the US government has tested everything from atom bombs, U2 spy plan the F-117 stealth fighter and as some would tell you "Alien" space craft.  The entrance road to the east gate of the famous Area 51 turns off of the ET Hwy at the mysterious black mail box.  I stopped at the "Little A'Le'Inn" cafe and motel for lunch.  Bought some alien tourist junk and continued on my way.  By this time the temperatures were rising and it was near 100 degrees.  Riding trough Las Vegas and heading over Hover Dam into Arizona the temperature reach 118 degrees, yes, one hundred and eighteen degrees.  I didn't cool off until I was south of I-40 and then the temperature dropped to the 108 range.  It was a noticeable difference.  I was well protected from the sun with my full face helmet, mesh jacket and summer weight breathable gloves.  The wind screen and full face helmet makes a big difference when riding in heat above about 105.  It's like standing in front of a hair dryer on high heat.  Put the face shield down and you don't get the heat blast.  Staying hydrated is very important when riding in heat.  So I drink from my water bottle about every 15 minutes to keep my water level up.  Arrive in Surprise AZ about 7pm local time. 

Fri 7/16-Sat 7/17 -- Phoenix AZ to Wimberley TX
Just 1,018 miles to home and the end of a great motorcycle adventure.  The memories will last a lifetime....or what's left of mine anyway.  Spent the last night on the road in Stockton, TX.  Arrived back home about 11:30am on Saturday morning, July 17. 

EPILOG:  12,360 total trip miles.  No mechanical issues the entire trip.  Wore out one rear tire because of the added weight of gear and roughness of the Dalton Highway.  Total coast just shy of $3,000 for gas, hotels, meals, tolls and other things, including the new tire at $387.40 parts, labor and taxes.....the Adventure.....PRICELESS!

Adventure Tips
SPOT Messages
Check In/OK:  Key route point, routine gas or rest stop.  All is well.
   Parked for the night.  Check my Spot Adventure page for updates, location and photos.
Help:   Broke down.  Contact roadside assist and give them map location and grid coordinates.

So, you want to ride a long distance? 
Check the "Archive of Wisdom"