Page 6 of 6 FirstFirst ... 4 5 6
Results 76 to 89 of 89

Thread: Little GS, Big Adventure - F650GS to Alaska from Philly leaving 5/21

  1. #76
    Registered User jhbfly's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Malvern, PA
    Posts
    57

    Day 42 - Wichita, KS. to Vandalia, IL. Back East of the Mississippi River!

    Day 42 – Wednesday, July 1, 2009
    Start: Wichita, KS
    End: Vandalia, IL
    Trip Miles Today: 527
    Total Trip Miles: 11214

    This was a day for which I had no real expectations, except that it would be a long ride on a hot day. Well, as it turned out, this was a day of a number of fun surprises. My only real goal for the day was to make it across the Mississippi River before calling it a day. To do so, I felt the need to leave depart early, which I did by getting underway just before 6:30AM. It seemed a bit unusual to be packing up the bike in the pre-dawn darkness inasmuch as two weeks ago I was in Alaska where there was virtually no darkness at all. It was 65 degrees when I took to the Kansas byways and I took that as an omen that another sweltering day was in store. Anyway, off I went. The initial part of the trip took me on the Kansas Turnpike toward Kansas City, about 200 miles distant. I relished the lack of traffic at that hour and in the bright morning sunlight one could see lots of deer grazing in the farm fields. Pretty nice! I covered 100 miles before 8:00am and that amount of progress gave me confidence that my Mississippi Crossing goal was in reach as well as reinforcing the notion that I could stop in St. Louis and visit the Headquarters of the BMW Motorcycles Owners of America. So on I pressed. It was shortly after passing Kansas City that I got my first exciting “surprise” sighting of the day. Just barely into Missouri and what should I see but a sign proclaiming that the town I was passing through, Blue Springs, was the home of American Idol 2008 winner David Cook! The “World’s Biggest Prairie Dog “ yesterday and now this! I guess it’s just plain wrong to say there’s nothing to see on the prairie! And on I rode. About 2:30 I arrived in Ellisville, just outside St Louis at the BMW MOA headquarters, an organization to which I have belonged since the early 1990s. They gave me the grand tour and I spent some time speaking with the organization’s magazine editor about doing a piece based on this blog and on my trip. We explored ideas and left open the possibility. Maybe the best part of stopping in at BMW MOA was that it’s just right down the street from the Historic Route 66! I’ve spent days (no weeks!) following all manner of pioneer trails – the Oregon Trail, The California Trail, the Mormon Trail, etc, etc, etc. However, to we geezers from the motorized travel era nothing is bigger that Route 66. The Mother Road! And I got to ride on it (if only briefly) on my bike. How cool is that? Later in the day I had another encounter with Route 66 as I stopped just before crossing the Mississippi at the location of the historic “Chain of Rocks Bridge” that carried Route 66 over the Mississippi “back in the day.” All in all a pretty good day. Oh yes, it never really got hot either. Highest temp I saw all day was about 85 and after crossing the River I rode for another hour in mid 70s temps. Just about perfect I’d say.

    The plan for tomorrow is to get another early start and to arrive in the Columbus, Ohio area early enough in the afternoon to go and visit the American Motorcyclist Association Motorcycle Heritage Museum in Pickerington, Ohio. The distance is reasonable (only about 370 miles) but I get hit with another of those pesky time zone changes and lose an hour! Fortunately it’s the last one as, by this time tomorrow, I’ll be back in the Eastern Time Zone where I belong! I'm trying hard to avoid the temptation to make a mad rush to the East Coast and think I have an orderly plan laid out to get home with reasonable mileages, 370 tomorrow and about 450 on Friday. I only have one other thing to tell today but this is really weird. Tonight I’m in a hotel in Vandalia, Il. My room number is 312. In fact my room number has been 312 for 3 of the last 4 nights! Rock Springs, WY – 312. Limon, CO – 312. Now Vandalia, IL – 312. Very creepy! Maybe this means something but I don’t quite know just what yet. Stick around and maybe we’ll see before the trip is over!!


    Pretty dark at 5:30 AM!!







    More pictures are available to be seen at http://jackb1.smugmug.com
    '09 F650GS

    Read about my 2009 Alaska trip at:
    http://www.2wheels2alaska.com

  2. #77
    Registered User jhbfly's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Malvern, PA
    Posts
    57

    Day 43 - Vandalia, IL. to Pickerington, OH. One more day to go!!

    Day 43 – Thursday, July 2, 2009
    Start: Vandalia, IL
    End: Pickerington, OH
    Trip Miles Today: 358
    Total Trip Miles: 11572

    Today started out a little differently. At departure time it was cloudy, overcast, and it looked as if I might get rained on. The lack of that early morning sun burning my retinas was actually a welcome relief from the past few days. Off we went, first through the southern Illinois farmlands, then into Indiana, and ultimately through the cities of Indianapolis, Dayton and Columbus. These are bigger cities now and they come at me more often as I near the more populous Northeast. There is not much to really say about the ride as it was all Interstate 70, as it has been for days now.

    We haven’t really talked much about “road warrior cuisine” but I do want to give a shout out today for one of my favorite road foods – Skyline Chili! Skyline Chili is the prototypical “Cincinnati Style” chili. The company was founded in 1949 by Greek immigrants and has, over the years grown from the original store (within sight of the Cincinnati “skyline”) to outlets through Ohio, Indiana, Michigan and a few others. Mostly it’s a Midwest thing. I believe I previously mentioned that I lived in Michigan for many years and going through the Cincinnati area always required a stop for Skyline Chili. I was fortunate enough to find a restaurant near Dayton today and boy did that make me happy! I heartily recommend the 5-way (Chili, beans, onions, cheese, and spaghetti) if you ever get the chance. Skyline Chili can sometimes be found in food stores in other parts of the country but it’s somehow not the same as having it served to you at one of the restaurants.

    For lack of time, I passed up two stops that ought to be on every traveler’s short list. I skipped the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum because it was sort of out of the way and also because the Indianapolis Beltway, I-465, is all torn up with construction and I feared taking a huge amount of time getting to and from the Speedway. I’ve also been there in the past 7-8 years so I just kept on riding. Likewise I drove past the U.S. Air Force Museum at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton. As much as I would have like to stop in I just didn’t have the time. Since this is a motorcycle trip, I voted to allocate my time to the American Motorcyclist Association Motorcycle Hall of Fame Museum just outside Columbus, OH. I’m glad I did. The museum has two currently active displays. The first is “Moto-Stars” a display dedicated to celebrities and their motorcycles. Among the notables with strong motorcycle connections are Steve McQueen, Tom Cruise, and Keith Urban and there are both bikes and cycling memorabilia from these and others on display. Also featured, in a different gallery is a collection of the customs from noted builder Arlen Ness. Not exactly my cup of tea stylistically but nonetheless incredible craftsmanship that anyone can surely appreciate. In addition to these special displays there is the Motorcycle Hall of Fame Gallery and much more. If you ever travel this direction the Museum is just moments off I-70 a few miles East of Columbus in Pickerington, Ohio.

    Well, tonight is my last evening in a hotel and for that I am grateful. Another 450 miles or so tomorrow and I’m back home after 6 ? weeks on the road. I have no particular stops in mind for the final day. Just whatever coffee and “stretch your legs” breaks are required to get me through. It’s been fun but I’m not quite through yet. Maybe something surprising or interesting could yet happen. If so I’ll let you know. I really enjoy having others travel along with me.
    Jack


    Welcome to Ohio. Only one more state to go!


    AMA's Motorcycle Hall of Fame Museum in Pickerington, Ohio


    One of the galleries at the Motorcycle Hall of Fame Museum


    People go to museums to learn. Here's something useful that I learned at the Motorcycle Hall of Fame Museum. You gotta love John Wayne!

    More pics to see at http://jackb1.smugmug.com
    Last edited by jhbfly; 07-03-2009 at 01:57 AM.
    '09 F650GS

    Read about my 2009 Alaska trip at:
    http://www.2wheels2alaska.com

  3. #78
    Been following your trip the whole way through and it turned out great for all of us! Ride safe to home tomorrow and you'll get to sleep in your own bed for the first time in a while! Thanks so much for sharing your trip with all of us.
    Former bikes, Ahhhhh who cares!!

  4. #79
    Registered User dancogan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    SE Michigan
    Posts
    2,242
    Yes, ride safe tomorrow and thanks for taking us along. Really enjoyed the journey. Glad it didn't end for you and for us when you left Alaska. There's a lot to see wherever you go!
    Dan

  5. #80
    Registered User jhbfly's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Malvern, PA
    Posts
    57

    Day 44 - Pickerington, OH to Malvern, PA. 12,000 Miles Later - HOME!!!

    Day 44 – Friday, July 3, 2009
    Start: Pickerington, OH
    End: Malvern, PA
    Trip Miles Today: 447
    Total Trip Miles: 12019

    I can only say WOW! After 44 days, 20 states, 2 Canadian Provinces and a Territory, 4 time zones and 12,019 Miles I am, at last, back home. No crashes, no tickets, no bike drops. Just home. Safe and sound.

    There isn’t a great deal to say about today’s ride. I slept in just a bit and didn’t get on the road until about 8 AM. I ground out 100 miles in the first 90 minutes across Eastern Ohio via I-70. Inasmuch as I skipped all those “Boyhood home(s) of ……” in Kansas the other day I decided to catch at least one in Ohio. In New Concord, OH. I stopped by the boyhood home of astronaut John Glenn – now set up as the John and Annie Glenn Historic site, right there on the main street in New Concord. As a kid I was enthralled by the space program so John Glenn was a boyhood hero of mine, as he was for many of my generation. Alas, the house was not open for visitors so I kept on rolling. Sometime later, when I was about 200 miles out, and just beyond the Pennsylvania State Line it began to rain. A fine welcome back! I rode on the Pennsylvania Turnpike for about an hour in and out of showers. Nothing drenching, just enough to require full rain gear and the increased attention rain riding requires. Later the rain abated and I took the opportunity to leave the PA Turnpike to follow US-30 (The Lincoln Highway) through the western part of the state. Route 30 is a marvelous ride from Breezewood, PA headed East for about the next 30-40 miles. It’s mostly mountain views and twisties up and downhill. Any road posted “Dangerous Curves Ahead – Truck runaway Ramp 1 Mile!” has to be prime motorcycling territory. The number of other bikes out confirmed my assessment. A great ride. Further on I stopped briefly in Gettysburg, PA sight of the famous Civil War Battle (fought July 3-4, 1863…146 years ago to the day.) Pretty facsinating stuff for the Fourth of July weekend. After that it was just grinding out those last hundred miles. I was met just as I exited the PA Turnpike for the final time by my wife Lisa, and friend Don Verdiani who had ridden out to the same place they left me on that Thursday Morning 6+ weeks ago as I departed. Then my “posse” escorted me the last few miles home. That’s it. I’m home now. Of course, with ideas for other adventures after a suitable rest period!


    As you know, an important part of this entire enterprise was to raise awareness for and generate donations to the Austin Hatcher Foundation (www.hatcherfoundation.org). If you have enjoyed this story and have, at any point felt compelled to join me in doing something good for those who are in need then I’d ask you now to make a donation to the Austin Hatcher Foundation. Just go to their website and click on the “Donations” tab. If you do so please make a note in the comments field that you are supporting the “Ride to Alaska” or similar. If you don’t wish to donate online but would feel better writing a check simply send a check along to The Austin Hatcher Foundation, 7421 Savannah Drive, Ooltewah, TN. 37363. Again, please enclose a note that says you are supporting the 2009 Ride to Alaska. The Austin Hatcher Foundation is a 501c3 charity.

    A big part of the fun of this adventure was meeting new friends, both on the road and online. I consider all of you who are reading this to be my friends and it’s been great to have you along for the ride.

    Over the next few days I’ll be posting some “epilogue” and summary stuff so don’t stop visiting just yet!!


    Astronaut John Glenn boyhood home


    Back in the state of Pennsylvania!


    Back home!!

    more pics always available at http://jackb1.smugmug.com
    Last edited by jhbfly; 07-04-2009 at 01:13 AM.
    '09 F650GS

    Read about my 2009 Alaska trip at:
    http://www.2wheels2alaska.com

  6. #81
    Registered User dancogan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    SE Michigan
    Posts
    2,242
    Dan

  7. #82
    Ambassador BeerTeam's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    Fond Du Lac, WI
    Posts
    3,206
    Quote Originally Posted by jhbfly View Post
    I can only say WOW! After 44 days, 20 states, 2 Canadian Provinces and a Territory, 4 time zones and 12,019 Miles I am, at last, back home. No crashes, no tickets, no bike drops. Just home. Safe and sound.

    Very nice report.

    I liked your daily narrative and photos.
    __________________
    Jim Klas
    BMW MOA Ambassador
    Enjoy the travel photos at: klasjm.smugmug.com

  8. #83
    High & Dry statdawg's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    In the Endless Mountains
    Posts
    2,730
    OUTSTANDING JOB, and mission accomplished.

    I enjoyed following your journey of inspiration and it was nice that you dedicated it to a worthy charity. Sadly Jack the travel bug will infect you and I suspect that it will not be long till you are doing the Labrador 500, James Bay, or asking us if you should fly or use a pirate boat to travel beyond the Darie'n.
    If one cannot command attention by one's admirable qualities one can at least be a nuisance

  9. #84
    Registered User jhbfly's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Malvern, PA
    Posts
    57

    Day 45 - Epilogue! I didn't ride anywhere today!

    Day 45 – Epilogue
    Miles Today – 0

    Here I sit on 4th of July. A mountain of mail needs to be sorted and the bills paid. The first of several loads of laundry is underway. Even so, I am drawn to reflect on the events of the past month. By several thousand miles this was my longest motorcycle trip to date. Friends have pointed out that 12,000 miles is equivalent to just about halfway around the Earth. Even so I don’t feel particularly weary. Rather, I feel invigorated by having been so far and having seen so much. Were there things I would do differently? Sure.

    Regarding the bike:
    My F650GS performed almost perfectly throughout the trip. The exception was an intermittent stalling issue that appeared at about 4000 miles into the trip. I lived with the issue for about a week before putting the bike in the BMW dealer in Anchorage. Whatever they did (they weren’t talking) fixed the issue as it neveroccurred again. If I were starting out again I would do two things differently with the bike. First, I would add an extension to the side stand to make the foot bigger. I had repeated issues with the small “foot” sinking into the soft gravel and dirt in gas stations and parking lots in the North. Likewise, when it was just about 100 degrees last Tuesday in Wichita the bike began to sink into the soft asphalt. Fortunately things never quite so far out of hand that the bike fell down. Secondly, I would have replaced the very good, but street riding focused original equipment Bridgestone Battle Wing Tires with something a little more appropriate to the dirt and gravel I regularly found myself riding. In Oregon, on the way back I had a set of Metzeler Tourances installed but, of course, by then most of that sort of riding was over. The greatest “pucker”/”heart stopping” moments of the trip were in the mud and soft gravel of construction areas in Northern BC and the Yukon. Sure did wish I had some more appropriate tires then! The BMW Vario bags are spacious and seal well (though not perfectly. The hardware that latches the bags to the bike is a little "fiddly" and I worried throughout about the possibility of breaking the plastic latch handle. Nonetheless they held up pretty well. Fortunately the bike never got dropped so I can't comment on how they endure the incidental "muddy gas station drop". If I were starting from scratch I think I'd probably opt for some aluminum Top-loads (Touratech or other). They have the advantage that you don't compromise the sealing or hinges in a static drop over and also, if you drop the bike you can easily empty the bags to make the bike light enough to pick up. Admittedly they don't clip on and off quite so easily as the OEM BMW Stuff. Based on the number of times I got peppered with rocks by trucks going the other way in construction zones, some sort of headlamp protection is mandatory. I did actually see two other bikes with broken headlamps. Don't leave home without protection! As I have mentioned several times in previous commentary, the F650GS (as most other bikes) doesn't like all that weight up high which makes it a bit "wobbly" at low speeds. It also makes it more "entertaining" in the soft stfff. Again, if starting today I would try real hard to develop a packing scheme that kept weight out of the topcase and off the back seat. Likewise for crosswind stability - I had a lot of "Sail" area out back and it does blow around a bit at highway speeds. Bike (with stock gearing) seems perfectly happy to cruise at 75 all day. Average gas mileage for the return trip was about 56 mpg. Used about 100ml of oil every thousand miles though that seemed to be reducing as time went by and the bike was further broken in.


    Regarding the route:
    If I had this amount of time to make this trip again I don’t think I’d alter my route much. I did keep a pretty aggressive travel schedile and if I had wanted to have the opportunity to stop and see more things, make more sidetrips along the way then I just flat would have needed more time. Disregarding the days when I layed over somewhere, I averaged 332 miles per day on the Northbound trip and 375 miles per day coming back. That’s quite a bit and doesn’t leave a huge amount of time to enjoy the incredible number of diversions to be found virtually everywhere I went. On the other hand, if I had cut back to 200 or 250 miles per day it would have taken another month to make the trip. There are places that I should have gone (Cassiar Highway in BC) but it’s a little late to second guess now.The seat, well, was tolerable but certainly not as comfortable as my R1150RT was. Nonetheless not a big problem. Overall the bike was a very good compromise for this trip. Given the nature of the routes available in Northern BC, the Yukon, and Alaska, and that I really wasn't getting very far off the beaten path I didn't feel at a loss for not having a GPS.


    Regarding my equipment:
    My only equipment failure of the whole trip was when the heated vest quit (conveniently-the day before the coldest/wettest day of the trip!). I carried all the appropriate gear that I needed for the conditions I encountered – everything from the high 20s with freezing rain and sleet to nearly 100 degrees (F). One irony of the trip is that I carried camping gear but never camped. It’s a little hard to explain but during the Northbound portion of the trip it was mostly too cold to seriously think about it. Overnight temps around the low 30s were just beyond what my stuff would have been comfortable with. Then on the return trip I had gotten so geared up to have internet each night and do daily postings here and elsewhere that I kinda forgot about the camping thing. Of course, it was always there if I needed it in a pinch. Which I did not. I think for future travel I’ll be a little more specific in planning whether it’s a camping trip or not. My RevIt Sirocco Jacket performed brilliantly, although it is now so filthy that the only appropriate thing to do migh be to burn it (only kidding!). It (along with my helmet) was the only piece of equipment that I wore every mile of every day. I might have wanted it to be a bit warmer on those 30 and 40 degree mornings but, on the other hand, it remained mighty comfortable in the 80 and 90 degree afternoons toward the end of the trip. For sure it’s a sound 3 season jacket not a piece of winter gear. Maybe I just didn’t understand that winter wasn’t quite over everywhere I went.

    Other thoughts:
    One of the very best parts of the trip was meeting new friends, whether on the road or online through my blog or web forum postings. There are plenty of motorcyclists on the road in the North from the end of May on. They are friendly, helpful, and most are also fascinating to listen to as they tell their stories. People in the hotels, restaurants and other motorists are also helpful, interested and attentive. Traveling North America is easy and it’s as rewarding as it is interesting. I have just this one additional interesting anecdote to add. I had no GPS and, frankly didn’t really need to use maps all that much. However I did usually have a map in my tankbag. Occasionally I would stop alongside the road to look at or study the map. I did this a number of times throughout the trip. I specifically recall that I did it 3 times in Wisconsin. The reason I remember Wisconsin so well is that EACH time I stopped, someone pulled up in a car or pickup to ask if I was having any trouble or needed any help. On the other hand this NEVER happened anywhere else I went. I don’t know what it is about Wisconsin people but they sure are eager to help. Fascinating. Reassuring.

    While there were many highlights to this trip, the biggest of all was to be able to do something for others who are less fortunate than I. The trip has managed to raise several thousand dollars for The Austin Hatcher Foundation and, even now, additional donations continue to arrive. Thank you all for your generosity!

    I also need to thank, once again, the fine folks at RevZilla and RevZilla.com. Their support and encouragement was first rate throughout. If you need motorcycle gear & equipment they’re your guys. Give ‘em a call or check ‘em out on the web at www.revzilla.com. Likewise a shout out to Hermy’s Cycles in Port Clinton, PA. They’re my BMW dealer of choice and became a supporter of the ride early on. I especially liked being able to participate in their Spring Open House back in May before the trip began. The F650GS is going to go to Hermy’s for it’s regular service just as soon as it can be scheduled. See them for your BMW and Triumph needs.

    Anyone who is contemplating such a trip, even remotely following my route, is welcome to contact me at jhbfly@yahoo.com for insights, advice , or just to talk about the great adventure of it all.

    While others are contemplating a trip of this nature I'm, even now, noodling a few other trips I'd like to make. I have no doubt a plan, and details, will emerge in due time. Meanwhile I'm just gonna chill for a few days. Pretty quick I've got to get geared up for my "other" motorcycling affliction. I have an entry at the 61st Speedweek at the Bonneville Salt Flats in August. Lots of work to get done! Another bike, another kind of fun.

    A sincere thank you to everyone who has joined me on this trip. You’ll never know how much encouragement your interest has provided me.

    Be Well,
    Jack Broomall
    '09 F650GS

    Read about my 2009 Alaska trip at:
    http://www.2wheels2alaska.com

  10. #85
    david46
    Guest
    Thanks for taking all of us on your trip. Great job!

  11. #86
    firefly
    Guest
    Thank you again for sharing your fabulous trip! I felt like I was right there with you!

  12. #87
    Registered User jhbfly's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Malvern, PA
    Posts
    57

    RevZilla Open House Presentation, Oct 17th in Philly!

    Now I've been invited to give a presentation on this trip as part of the October 17th Fall Open House at RevZilla Motorsports (Philadelphia, PA). I intend to cover all elements of the trip....bike, planning, route, lodging, etc, etc, etc. If you want to know more about long distance travel on an F650GS twin or about making that once in a lifetime trip to Alaska please come on out. The more the merrier! Have questions or things you would like me to address? Message me here or email to jhbfly@yahoo.com! Please join me at RevZilla on Oct 17!

    My trip to Alaska is covered at www.2wheels2alaska.com

    Preparing the presentation by looking at all my trip pictures brings it all back for me as if it were yesterday. This is one of my favorites:





    Jack Broomall

    jhbfly@yahoo.com
    '09 F650GS

    Read about my 2009 Alaska trip at:
    http://www.2wheels2alaska.com

  13. #88
    Registered User jhbfly's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Malvern, PA
    Posts
    57
    FEAR OF PUBLIC SPEAKING !!!!

    ALASKA PRESENTATION NEXT SATURDAY, 10/17, IN PHILLY !

    I'm spending part of the weekend getting ready for my presentation next week at RevZilla Motorsports in Philly! Their open house goes from noon till about 4:00PM. Lots of deals on gear and the Alaska Ride Presentation goes off at 2:00PM. I've still got zillions of pics to sort through and I also need to make some time to pile up those last few miles for the MOA mileage contest which ends tomorrow!. So much to do, so little time! Get more details by checking out the Sept 29th entry at the RevZilla blog at http://blog.revzilla.com (or you can email/IM me!) Hope to see some new friends there!!
    Jack Broomall
    jhbfly@yahoo.com
    '09 F650GS

    Read about my 2009 Alaska trip at:
    http://www.2wheels2alaska.com

  14. #89
    firefly
    Guest
    I wish I was closer! Good luck and I'm sure it will be a wonderful presentation!

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •