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