Tuesday, May 31, 2011

North To Alaska

I'm David. My daughter-in-law Kristen's father is David. Her Step-father is David, and her brother is David. We were all together in Cary, NC for grand daughter Rachel's fifth birthday party on Saturday. Whenever somebody said "Dave?", four guys turned and said "yes?"

Sunday breakfast was a kind of bon voyage party for me and Kristen's father David's trip to Alaska. We both rode to Cary for the birthday party so we could leave from there to begin our Alaska adventure. It has been one year in the planning from the time last May when Dave W and I were helping to babysit grand daughter Rachel at her home in Cary. When I told Dave W that I was planning on riding to Alaska in 2011, I could tell from the look in his eyes that he would like to go. And so began the planning, culminating in yesterday's departure from Cary with an over-night stop at Dave W's home in Louisville. That's about 550 miles for day zero. I consider Monday to be day one since we left Dave W's home with Alaska as the destination.

OK, we need some nicknames here....there are too many Dave's. So, for the purposes of this ride report, Dave W will be Inspector Gadget, or just Gadget for short, and I will be Mr. Snakester, or Snake for short. We both had eventful rides to Cary on Friday. It rained most of the way for both of us. Here's a photo of the start of my trip.

I didn't make it out of the driveway before dropping the V-Strom on it's side. Gadget managed to make it to Cary without dropping his GS 1200, but he had to ride through 9 hours of rain and fog to get there. Here are Gadget and Mrs Gadget with Snake and Mrs Snake (the original Snakester) at the hotel Sunday morning.

Saying goodbye to Rachel after breakfast at Mimi's Grille and getting ready to hit the road.

Day Zero, 6/29: Cary to Louisville where Gadget lives, 555 mi. Hot and Sunny. Nice ride. I'm calling it day zero because Gadget ended up back where he started from on Friday.

Day one, 6/30: Louisville to Waterloo, Iowa, 560 mi. Hot and sunny and extremely windy, but not as windy as day two.

Day two, 6/31: Waterloo to Bemidji, MN, 444 mi. Cold and rainy with maniacal winds. This was the ride from hell. We were supposed to be in Kenmare, ND tonight, but conditions did not allow. It was unsafe to stay on interstate 94 west out of Minneapolis due to the wild and crazy wind that made it difficult to stay in a lane, let alone remain up-right. Add to this that Minot, ND (on our I-94 route to Kenmare) was flooding and being evacuated, and we had to bail on the original plan. So we reevaluated our route and headed north on Highway 71 and ended up in Bemidji, where wind conditions were continuing to worsen. This throws our entire schedule, and all lodging reservations, into chaos. Weather tomorrow is supposed to improve, and we hope to put in a long day and cover beau coup miles and get back on schedule by Friday so we don't have to cancel all remaining reservations. Best laid plans often go awry, but I wouldn't have guessed that it would be due to wind, oh yeah, and flooding. Stay tuned.