Alaska II (Lima, Ohio)

Well, we're on the road again! At least, we're in the setup phase. For the second Great Alaska Motorcycle trip, we are centering on Lima, Ohio. Dick and Bill's cousin Carol owned and road (rowed? rode! That's it!) a motorcycle for several years before the birth of her daughter Kelly. With Kelly well on her own, and Carol's retirement last year, she decided to join the fun. So this summer she bought a beautiful new Kawasaki 650 Ninja (you can see it in the garage behind her) and started training.

Carl was originally going to buy a new BMW to drive to Ohio (from Southern California). Then he was going to ride his Harley here (2200 miles!). Then he was going to borrow a trailer from a good friend. Then he was going to buy a small trailer followed by a possible larger trailer so he could also carry Dick's bike. The one constant in all this is that he was coming, no matter what it took!

Dick was either going to buy a trailer to tow behind his Matrix (Phoenix), or ride with Carl if there was room in the trailer. At one time it looked like there would be room for the Harley, Dick's BMW motocycle AND Dick's car in the trailer! Well...this all changed as time passed.

Bill bought a trailer hitch for his Toyota Sienna, but was still thinking he might put the BMW inside the Van (Boston area). It turned out that the BMW actually did fit in the Sienna, so the trailer hitch will be used later for another purpose.

Carl headed out from Southern Cal Sunday afternoon 9/9/07. Dick left Phoenix Monday morning. Bill set out from Chelmsford Wednesday afternoon.

Thursday September 13, 2007

Carl and Bill arrived at Carol's Thursday in time for lunch. Bill did decide to put the BMW in the van, and he and Cal are admiring the loading ramp setup. As usual, you can click on any picture to enlarge it.

Bill is releasing the straps that hold the front end, while Carl steadies the bike.

Slow and easy! Putting the bike in the van is a little more trouble than loading it on a trailer, but it makes the trip much easier. No issues backing up or parking, no extra tolls, etc. The BMW actually fits in the van like it was planned from the beginning. If it were Dick, it would have been. In Bill's case, he tends to depend on luck.

This is the grand opening of the Harley trailer. The hope is that the Harley didn't break free and rattled around breaking into many pieces during the long ride out to Ohio.

Wow! It's still in one piece. My friend Tom Miller was very kind to let me use his trailer preventing a possible unsafe motorcycle ride through rainy areas.

This is the Annual Iron Butt Shootout! I can't believe Carol took this picture!

Carl, I don't care if it is Harley, there isn't enough room for it in our motel room!

So you really thinik there is enough space for the two of us in here?

The Harley is big, and Carl and Bill, although also bigger than the old days, actually aren't getting much stronger. So care and teamwork are the key.

Success! Taking pride and satisfaction in small accomplishments leads to a happy and satistied life.

Friday, September 14

Carl and Bill had a great, grease-intensive breakfast at the motel. We are staying at the Holiday Inn Express in Wapakoneta, the Reunion hotel in 2004. Pretty nice place, and high speed Internet access!

Anyway, after breakfast, we headed over to Carol's. She needed to pick up Aunt Doris's cat and take her to the vet, so Bill decided to use the time to wash his bike (not a common occurrence). Carl and Bill rode over to Anderson's General Store to pick up some Gunk degreaser, some polish, and assorted towels, rags, etc. It was a beautiful morning, and an extremely pleasant ride through the farmland. I (Bill) really like Ohio!

Bill: I mounted my GPS on the BMW as an experiment. The windshield suction mount was able to grab onto the speedometer. I rigged up a safety harness using some Velcro, to try to avoid losing it if it falls off. It turned out to work pretty well, but the vibration made me a little nervous. So I think I'll take it with me, but probably only use it when it's actually required.

Dick rolled in about 11:00AM. Dick's having some arthritis in his hands, which makes it impossible to operate the BMW clutch, so he decided to use the Toyota Matrix this year as his motorcycle. Carol supplied the fixings for a great lunch, then we spent the afternoon with Bill cleaning his BMW, and all of us visiting and talking about the old days!

Early evening we visited Aunt Doris, and took a couple of pictures. She is starting to slow down (at 97), and in fact has had a few bad months lately. But she seemed her old self last night, very enthusiastic and animated.

We then went to the Old Barn Out Back restaurant for dinner. This was originally an actual renovated barn, although it has been rebuilt since a fire. They have a nice buffet (dynamite desserts!) and we enjoyed ourselves immensely. And thus the day endeth! Back to the hotel to close out a great Friday 9/14. It was so nice to have spend some time visiting Doris, a remarkable woman, before we leave on our trip.

Saturday September 15

Planning is everything...So here is the planning process in operation, maps and guides abound.

"So, when we leave the driveway, which way did you say we should go?"

It took all four of us to figure out how to get the saddle bags on Carol's bike. The directions were very helpful... when we finally decided to read them.

Dick decided that we needed to memorialize the moment that we completed the installation of the bags by having a great picture for the web site.

Bill thought that he saw a drip coming from his crank case and decided to chase it down. Wow! that was an elusive drop.

It's come to the time when we need to prepare for the departure photo. Dick, did you bring the tripod?

Yup! I got it and will first take a picture of the driveway, actually he is looking at the picture that he just took.

Dick was having some concerns about a painful wrist, so his bike for this trip became his car, a much safer way to go when you're feeling less than perfect. We are thrilled that he is still coming with us; and his car, the Matrix, is now referred to as his second motorcycle, at least for this ride.

So... here we are. and we will be leaving on the trip first thing in the morning. At least that's the plan. Tonight it's going to be steak and pizza for dinner, then back to the hotel to wrap up the day.