Wednesday, August 4, 2010

From Fine Old Vintage Motorcycles to New Tires in the Alaskan North

Was just climbing on the Raider in Tok, AK, to make the ride down the Glenn Highway to Anchorage to get my new tires... and this Ol' Indian scooter rolled in.

This Ol' Motorcycle rolled out of the assembly plant in... 1936! ... and it just rolled up the Alaskan Highway... from California!  Outside of a "Little hard starting"... its' rider claimed no difficulty along the road... How's that for a Touring Motorcycle? Awesome!

He noticed and admired my fuel bottles, and how I'm carryin' 'em. You can see his plastic fuel can strapped kinda rough, on the tail of his bike.

I've got four MSR fuel bottles from REI. They give me just a sliver over an extra gallon of fuel... for those times a fella might Miscalculate where he's at... and how far it is to the next place Fuel is at!...

... so far... I've only needed a part of these bottles, once... oops! I carry 'em in the outside pockets of my ruck, that sits strapped to the tail rack.

That back tire is just starting to get thin... but this pic was taken down near Dawson Creek... and though it's still not in Bad shape... it's unlikely the front tire would go back down the Alcan... and it's just not worth it to me... to risk a thin tire on either end... when you're a hundred miles from the beginning of nowhere! :o)

I got here too late today to get the new rubber... so I'll be sitting there come 9 tomorrow morning when they open the doors...

Had an awful pretty ride down this morning...

There's a couple of things I'm finding on this trip... one is an old thing with a lot of people... the uncomfortable feeling you get... when you get back into some of these Shining Mountains... and you don't have cell... or Internet service... arrrrgggghhh! You get this lil' twinge of panic...

Like the damn sky is gonna cave in if you can't Check on things...

It's a double edged sword for me... first... it's how I'm carving out a significant part of my living... so I have to give that part proper respect... I have to write and post my scribblings... it's what I'm doin' for my beans these days... but... if a guy ain't careful... he can get so hung up on those electronic distractions... he loses sight of what he's here about in the first place! 

So... I find myself having to be real deliberate. Consciously doing my writing in its' proper time and place... and giving what I'm here for... its' proper, dedicated time... a lesson I've got to keep reminding myself of...

The second thing is the country itself... Kind of like the Big Sky country of Montana... only on steroids.

Everything here... somehow seems, bigger. It's an idea that's been growing for a few days... and it hit me as I rolled past that glacier today.

The mountains, the rivers... even the more open flat country all just resonate this sensation of being heavier, more massive... the distances seem to magnify everything... I thought of the same sort of view... down home in Arizona... running along through some mountain valley... and then how it looks here...

Alaska is like Arizona or any other part of the Lower 48... only 3X :o)

If being made to feel for sure and for certain, truly insignificant, is something you can't deal very well with... it'd be best to pick a different location for a long trip... it's common to hear locals comment that; "Your NOT the top of the food chain up here!" :o)

It goes back one more time to what Lloyd says... Life is a Matter of balance... just wish I wasn't so damned un-balanced!

Grab Your Handles and Ride!

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I'll tell you... I won't say I don't give a thought to it... layin' in my tent at night... but I sleep well, knowing I've picked my camp carefully... With plenty of Other very Large, tasty travellers... surrounding my site! :o) ... to distract any errant Yogis that might could wander through of an evening.


Sharlotte said...

Great shots Brian. Glad you are back up and on the air. Have a question about your tires. Is it because of the roads you have riden that the tires are almost ready to be replaced, or have you put a lot of miles on the Raider since you bought it?? What is the mileage estimate of the life of a motorcycle tire?
Keep up the good pics, even if it takes you a little big longer to do your trip. How far into Alaska are you planning to go??

Brian said...

Sharlotte, this raider gets 'bout the same as a lot of bikes on the front tire... something around 12000 miles... the back one though... tends to only go a 7000 or so... depends on how you ride it... I knew it would need it... the back was the thing... it wasn't worn out... down home I'd have ridden a lot farther on it... just didn't want to put it to the test on the ALCAN :o)

I've gone down to Anchorage and swung up around Fairbanks... and made the turn for home now... the weather has caused me to bypass a few things... like the Kenai... Heidi and I will do that together I guess...