Sunday, April 30, 2017

How I went from two to three wheels Part 3

I couldn't believe it

Sharon said she wouldn't ride on the back of our motorcycle with me, I should have known better, she hated riding two-up on a snowmachine. To the point that we had separate machines, even while we lived in Wyoming she had her own enduro motorcycle. But we were doing all of our riding in the Red Desert and off road. The only traffic we ever dealt with were Wild horses, Pronghorn Antelopes and a occasional herd of Elk. I asked her, about getting her own bike, and she flatly refused even talking about it.

So it was back to the drawing board for me. I really couldn't complain because I had two years of solo riding with a complimentary kitchen pass.

I rode almost every road I could in southcentral Alaska, and since I'm retired it meant just about everyday, but I was missing having someone to share my adventures with.

I think of Chris McCandless, and the note he left in his journal, "Happiness is only real when shared"  

I just had to find a way to share my ride

I called my friend Hobo who was the only guy that I knew who actually had a sidecar a KLR 650 with a sidecar, and asked him what he thought about putting a sidecar on a my 1200GS. He thought a bit, and told me it was a great idea, and that my GS would do great with the additional weight. He told me to visit the forums on ADV
ADV Hack Forum  ( Link)

My Inspirations 

So I started visiting the ADV Riders forums again and found that they do have a forum dedicated only to sidecars. And what a wealth of information there is there to see. 

In 20011 - 12  there was only a couple of sidecar builders is the US. and absolutely none in Alaska.                                                       And not much has changed in 2017

During this time, I read about a couple that had just purchased a BMW 1200 GSA that lived in Texas and were planning a trip to tour South America with a new custom made sidecar, and were going to see Claude Stanley in Middleburg Pa, to get a sidecar built.

This is the first time I realized that something like this was even possible. 

I'm not sure when I first heard of Matt and Kristen but I think it was a posting on ADV Rider about their trip to the arctic via a Ural. I was really intrigued in the fact that this couple were traveling together from Texas. Soon they started their own blog Bugs on my face and I immediately started following them. They had finished their arctic trip and were planning a trip to south america, but they were taking a BMW 1200 GSA and a custom made sidecar. 

I really got excited thinking this was going to be really possible for me to do, just cruise to Pennsylvania and just get this done. But then reality told me different, I live in Alaska, there is a couple feet of snow in my backyard, and I couldn't even think of driving out out of here until April. 

And 4,300 miles was really a long way to go and then a possible 7 week wait to get it built, I had to find a better way

Matt and Kristan in Bolivia ( picture from their blog)
Salar-de-Uyuni   (link)

Claude Stanley owner of Freedom Sidecar's Middleburg Pa.

The difference between Matt & Kristen's (Big Boi) and a Ural

Photo from Claude's' Facebook post

Meanwhile back in hack area of ADV Rider, I started reading about a couple of guys, who lived in Florida had taken their 1200 GSA's and sent them to a shop in Washington to have their sidecars purchased and installed.I started following this fellow with the screen name of ClearwaterBMW, his bike was basically like mine. 

And what really caught my eye was that, he had decorated his sidecar with Christmas lights. I sent him a private message via the ADV rider forum, and explained that I loved his pictures of his rig and would really like to talk to him about it, I included my phone number. 

I couldn't believe it, he called me back about an hour later and we chatted for about 20 min. He told me if I had any more questions to give him a call back. What a gentleman I was even more impressed with the fact that he was a doctor and took the time to spend the time with me on the phone. 

Xmas lights what a hoot

But what really sold me was a posting on ADV Rider by a fellow with a screen name of Abenteuer Fahrer which is the German for Adventure Rider. He had received his sidecar from DMC about the same time that I had bought my 1200 GS. 

And seeing pictures of it's delivery and the way it was created, I figured this was exactly the way I wanted to go  

Ingrid on delivery date 

Elmers wife and their new acquisition, This is the way it comes from DMC if you don't want it painted. Elmer was going to do a custom paint job for the sidecar and his 2005 1200 GS  

What a beautiful outfit, I copied quite a few options that Elmer had on his outfit, electric tilt on the sidecar, disk brake, the Micatech Pilot luggage on bike 

And after seeing that Elmer and his wife had made it up to Alaska from Arizona, I figured I would just move forward and order my sidecar

I contacted Jay with DMC and we talked a couple times, while I made up my mind what all I wanted in this side car 

From Clearwater's Rig (Greg)

I took his idea of getting a M72DX with a sidecar brake 
Two tone Paint Job
Front and Rear Kodiak Racks
Windshield, Sidecar Tow Hooks, Front Bumper W/Driving Lights, Aux gas tanks

From  Abenteuerfahrer's Rig (Elmer) 

I took his idea of the electric trim for the sidecar. But most importantly, because of his great build report. I gained the confidence that I could really do this myself 

I put in my order with Jay 12-19-2011 and with 50 % down I was on my way to become a brand new sidecar owner in Alaska

Jay, Owner of DMC Sidecars, Washington

My next purchase was the famous Yellow Book 

The book is great because it show some history of sidecars

And some of the different types

But most importantly it gave quite a few tips to driving along with some exercises  to do with your new toy

So I put it together and we never looked back

Chasing Highway 1 in Oregon 

Monday, January 2, 2017

Going from 2 wheels to Three Part 2

Part Two 

From the very beginning my thoughts for my bike where to be able to tour Alaska and the Lower 48 along with my wife, and additionally ride any road  I wanted to around my home. 
I started utilizing all the information that was available on the   ADV Rider Link   (please click)
After visiting that link, a dozen or so times showed to be that I really wanted to be involved in this type of a lifestyle. 

But it didn't take long before I realized that Alaska was more of a destination point then I thought that it was. And if I really wanted to get involved in this lifestyle it was going to take more then a short camping trip to McCarthy Alaska.

I found this book to be a great add to my library

There is a lot of information to consider

Great tips about getting your bike ready

A great read and I would advise anyone to pick up a copy

After coming back from my first moto camping trip I was putting some stuff away and Sharon came calling for me carrying my phone and telling me someone from anonymous ? is trying to get with you.

Anonymous is part of the BMW Owners of America in which I'm a member, and every year they publish a book called Anonymous where members will say how they able to help a fellow member on the road it doesn't post your name but only your number and it lists what you're willing to do, my codes are listed c,b,d,kk. C stands for camping or tent space. B stands for sheltered bed roll space, D will travel to help depending on situation and time, and kk stands for coffee and conversation. I think it was the D that got his attention. s he was about 30-40 mi north of Trapper Creek Alaska. Which makes it a little over 100 mi.  He said that he thinks that he broke his leg and that the bike had fallen over on him, apparently someone was there to get the bike off him. I tried to calm him a little on the phone, and asked if he had called  911 yet. he said no. I told him to make the call and to call me back. I then called Robb up and asked if he wanted to do a recovery with me. I'm not sure how it happened but it was decided to use his snowmachine trailer. I drove over to pick up Robb and the trailer and a bunch of ratchet straps that we had between us. Sharon said this is going to be exciting I'm coming with you guys. I still hadn't heard back from Bruce yet, so I gave him a call. He told me he had called the EMT and there were coming from Trapper Creek. I told him I was on the way up there as we spoke. He told me that someone was with him waiting for the EMT's. I was glad to hear that whoever was there to lift the bike off him stayed with him and he wasn't alone.

Apparently Bruce  was on his way back from Prudhoe Bay rolled in this rest area and was a little too close to the wooden rail, as he was setting his kickstand he didn't notice the asphalt sort of sloughed off a bit and he lost his balance between the bike and rail. And he felt something go bad in his left leg.

While this was going on, a fellow riding a Harley was parked in the rest area and witnessed the whole event and ran over to lift the bike off Bruce and went ahead and offered his assistance. Bruce in the meantime thanked him and politely and explained he had it under control all this time, He was looking for someone in the anonymous book. There were five numbers in the book and I as the last one.

During the drive to recover the bike, arrangements were made on getting the key to me, phone numbers were exchanged. 

We were actually making great time because when we got Talkeetna, we met up with the fellow that had the key and exchanged numbers

Check out the size of those Panniers

Loading the Bike

Stabilizing the Bike while I set the Straps up

Finished product, not to shabby for our first time. And I'm happy and proud to say the bike didn't move for the 100 miles over a frost heaved road back to Wasilla. 

Bruce made it to the hospital and it was discovered that he had damaged the connection point at the Tibia and Fibula on his left leg. Apparently Bruce had damaged it before, the hospital advised him to go home and see his own orthopedic man. They supplied him with a walking cast and he went back home somewhere around Ontario Canada. We kept in touch after he left, I moved the his bike over to the fellow that first assisted him when the bike tipped over. mainly because he had more space to store it, as no one was sure at the time it would have to be stored. Or when Bruce would be coming back.

Bruce left on the 22nd of August and went home, he returned on the 22nd of September, after a fast healing process and got reacquainted with his bike.

Taking Bruce to the airport

Getting ready to complete his ride

Bruce the very first traveller I ever met

The panniers that Bruce had on his bike,  I absolutely had to have, they seemed to be constructed so much better than the plastic boxes supplied by BMW. Unfortunately since I bought mine the owner of the company quit making them for a while, and was looking for someone to buy his business, glad I bought them in time 

Traveller  Number Two

Approximately a month went by since Bruce left and Sharon had purchased a couple of china cabinets from a friend of hers and we were going to pick them up. I told her that we should go to McDonalds, because you know what you're going to get and it's fast and inexpensive. As we were finishing our meal Sharon caught my attention and told me to look out the window.

I saw thru the window of McDonald's a helmeted rider , with a GoPro attached to the top of the helmet, we quickly finished our meal and went outside to meet him. He explained he was from Slovenia and was in the middle of a around the world tour. I thought "I just had to talk and spend some time with this guy." We offered him a place to stay for the evening, and explained we had to pick up some stuff and asked if he wouldn't mind waiting for us. He explained that he wanted to use the McDonald's WI-FI and have a shake.

I realized a little later that it is the absolute truth, McDonald's and Starbucks are the best when you're on the road and want to check with family and friends via the internet.

We got back to the McDonald's and Bostjan was still inside checking his mail and the internet. After finishing we told him to follow us back to our house.

Jack (Name of the Bike)  Bostjan and Myself in front of McDonalds'

After spending the better part of the evening swapping stories about each other, he explained that he had been on the road since 2008, he showed me his site that showed all of his travels and stories to go along with.

He also asked about some of the more popular rides around where we lived. I explained to him about Hatcher Pass, Denali Highway. He went on to explain that he only had a few days before he had to be out of Alaska because his Visa would be running out. I then suggested that he take a trip to McCarthy Alaska because it would be on his way out of the state. He said it sounded like a good idea and would give it a try. 

After a pleasant evening, hot shower great conversation Bostjan was packing up and getting ready to go. I opted to ride as far as Glenallen with him

Glenn Highway (link)

The Glenn Highway is one of the better riding roads in the state. as we were moving up the highway I noticed that Bostjan was no longer around, I pulled over to stop and turn around about a mile back he had pulled over to take pictures of his speedometer and his milage. He had just went over a 100,000KM.


The place where  his speedometer turned 100,000 KM

Inuksuk (Link please follow)

Natural Born Traveller 

The Boy

The Man

Just before meeting up with Bruce and Bostjan, Sharon and I were all set to do our first two-up tour on the bike. I even contacted Hobo to tell him about it, The plan was to go to Haines Alaska, ferry to Skagway Alaska and back home.

Unfortunately we had a ton of rain in August that year, and just won't leave during a torrential rainstorm, I don't mind riding in it, but I just won't start a trip in the rain.

In the meantime Sharon informed me that she didn't really want to ride on the back of a motorcycle!!

She reminded me about the time I bought a snowmachine and she had to have her own. 

 To be continued