Days 16 & 17
- Thursday & Friday, July 7 & 8
- Seattle, WA to Van Nuys, CA
- 1,116 miles
My ST1300 looks like it’s been sponge painted with mud. It’s the result of a custom blend of rain, hail, mud, dust, bugs, wind, 11 days and 3,941 miles. I can’t see how this is ever going to all come off and I seriously wonder if a new paint job will be in order. In the end, it takes a solid 8 hours of scrubbing, soaking, rubbing, spraying and polishing using gallons of water, several rounds of S100, lots of soap, spray polish and Armor All to get the ST back to normal.
I’m feeling pretty good about how the bike looks until I peer through the fairing at the engine and realize that every surface under it is covered with a fine layer of baked on grime. I realize that even with taking the plastics off and pressure washing, a part of Alaska will always be with this bike. As much as I love a sparkly, clean bike, I like the thought of neither the bike or me ever being the same after all we’ve been through. My psyche, and my bike’s, have been permanently altered. As we had suspected, the trip consisted of full time Adventure Touring and not just the one day per each prior trip. I tell the guys that I’m not sure how on Earth I’m going to properly describe it in words on my website but it will be fun trying.
Here are some of the post ride emails:
Pablo: I have now washed my FJR 4 times since I have been back and it is finally getting back to normal. I had the new tires mounted and I just need to put them back on the bike. I have taken the time since the wheels are off to give it a detailed cleaning in places you usually can not get to. I also have a few fairing pieces off so it is being detailed top notch. It deserves it after that long trip.
Scott: Now that I’m back at work, my mind is reeling from the enormity of what we accomplished, especially as I build the website. I’ve created maps for each day and I remember how we looked at Jasper on the map during our Rockies tour and thought that was the end of the world. Now, in comparison, it seems like a minor ride.
Eric: The Saddle Sore was a definite challenge and my hat is off to those who have completed the task. I assume something like a Goldwing heading East on a major highway like I-80 would be easier as I had rain, traffic and prohibitive law enforcement so my calculated average speed was 57.7 mph.
Uncle Bob: And I think we are all certified for gravel roads now. Towards the end of the trip we were barely slowing down for the patches, and complaining about the pilot cars going too slow through the miles of rubble. Maybe I need a GS….
Other post ride events:
Blaming that awesome ferry ride up the Inside Passage and a strong desire to tour with Inga and Freya, their rescued German Shepherd, Scott and Inga buy a boat in August 2005 capable of traveling that same waterway. Click here to read the stories and see photos.
Due to the Alaska ride, having read a motorcycle touring book by Neal Peart of Rush fame, and citing the vast number of gravel roads in Southern Arizona vs. paved ones, Pablo trades in his Yamaha FJR1300 and buys a BMW R1200GS.
Click here to return to the ride summary.
Click on a photo below to launch the slide show.