In my mind, a typical day goes something like this:
I rise early as the first light of dawn touches the east. I quickly pack and install the tankbag, laptop into the pannier, and expertly tie down the big yellow beast. I ride 100 kms to the next town, where I eat a healthy breakfast of toast and honey, no butter, and coffee. I am soon on my way and before I know it two or three hundred more kms have passed. Along the way, I stop frequently at the many available rest areas to stretch my legs, admire the view, and take photos. The numerous forms of wildlife happily pose for my photos before exiting on cue. I finish the day at a conveniently placed campground, which has wireless, set up my tent, update the blog within minutes, eat, and go to sleep.
That’s in my mind. In reality, I wake early – 5am to 6am – and mess around for several hours. I check the maps, either paper or online, to work out my route for the day. I dither about where to stop that night, and finally decide. I shower, and whilst drying off take note of the blisters and my dry, cracked feet and hands, and remember that I really must apply the cream I brought along especially for that purpose. Then I promptly pack the unopened cream with the rest of my gear.
Breakfast is non-greasy if possible, and most days I have coffee and toast or a bagel. That does me for the rest of the day and I don’t bother with lunch. If I did, I would want to have an afternoon sleep, and feeling sleepy/riding a motorbike don’t mix very well.
Once on the road, I do stop whenever possible, every couple of hours or so and usually for a few minutes to take photos, if there is a nice view, or just to stretch the legs. My throttle hand has a blister so it is always good to rest that.
At the day’s destination I unpack the bike and, with the camera, go for a walk around the town. I find this relaxing after a long day’s ride, and it also gives me a chance to take in the atmosphere of a place so as to describe it in my blog. I find somewhere to eat, then select which photos I’ll use for the blog. Then I update that if I have internet access, check emails/Facebook etc., have a shower, and go to bed.
Since leaving LA early in May, my goals have been to reach Anchorage for the bike service, whilst seeing as much of the countryside as possible in the timeframe. I try to do around 500 kms per day, and although tiring it is easier due to the bike – it was made for long distance touring and is quite comfortable. Henceforth, I shall be able to take my time and will not have to concentrate on riding as many miles as possible in any given day – no more 500 km days and a lot more taking in the surroundings!
I say the bike is good for long distances, but the gear also helps. I will do a bit of a review of what I’ve brought along, complete with photos:
The Klim Adventure Rally jacket is waterproof, has a bladder for water (which I don’t use), is thick and, although heavy, is very comfortable and I do not notice the weight whilst riding. It is extremely well-made, with a lot of attention to every detail. These jackets are arguably the best to be found anywhere, and very hard to find. If you want to order one you would probably have to wait weeks or even some months. I’m very pleased with this jacket – best I’ve ever owned.
The boots are Sidi Canyons. Again they are waterproof and possibly one of the best. They are certainly the most comfortable boots I’ve ever owned, and can go for long walks around the towns in them at the end of each day. I bought these from a company in the US, because they’re not available in Australia. They are fastened with velcro around the leg, and have a ratchet-type fastener on each side to tighten:
I bought the gloves from the same company as the boots. These are made by Held and are called “Warm ‘n Dry”. They are very comfortable and, as the name suggests, warm and dry. Perfect for a trip like this.
Heated jacket –
Best thing I ever bought! I got this from Steve Drane Harley-Davidson on Vancouver Island. I am kicking myself at how long it took me to hook up the thing. It makes the world of difference in terms of a comfortable ride. It’s called a “Black Jack” and is made by Electrowear MFG, BC, Canada. Trust the Canadians to know how to make warm gear! It’s basically a jacket which holds electrical wires, the end of which hooks up to the bike’s battery.
The helmet is a Schuberth. They make helmets for BMW but alas do not sell them in Australia as the market is too small. I bought this second hand from a bloke in Brisbane. Got a very good deal. It is noisy, contrary to Schuberth’s advertising blurb, but is made in such a way that the wind does not batter your head around as much as with other brands of helmets.
Obviously I needed a laptop for the blog and for keeping in touch with everyone. I dithered for many months over which type to buy. It was always going to be the Macbook Air, mainly due to the fact that it has a solid-state drive (no moving parts) which would reduce the risk of damage on bumpy roads. In the end, however, I just could not justify spending the extra money. I bought a Toshiba – highly regarded brand – for half the price. It’s one of the smaller models. I pack it in clothes, and it rests on my camping pillow, which is a half circle thing filled with beads, and it goes into one of the panniers.
I wanted a good quality tent and did not care how much it cost, because it needs to keep me not only dry, but warm. This one is made by Black Diamond (or Bibler as they are sometimes known) and is the Fitzroy. It is a single-walled tent, sturdy and lightweight, and other reviews have said it is perfect for mountaineering. Hmm…might climb Mt Everest for my next adventure…
And last, but not least, this massive thing:
This is a bag made by Touratech, which manufactures all types of gear for motorcycle touring. It is quite thick, waterproof, and heavy! It’s also quite large and holds not only all my camping gear, but other stuff like my clean clothes bag, dirty clothes bag, shoes, and other stuff. There are no annoying zips, which would leak water, rather, it is fastened like this:
The most important one! I am still very much learning about all this camera has to offer. It is a Canon 5D MkII which came with an EF 24-105mm f/4 L IS USM Lens [ whatever all that means 🙂 ]. No, I understand some of it, but not all. I could certainly do with some lessons.
I also bought another lens which can do some amazing things and which I REALLY have to read more about. It is a TS-E 24mm f/3.5 tilt-shift lens. I’m looking forward to learning more about all of the above, and experimenting.
Well, that’s about all for today folks. Time to see a bit more of Anchorage.