Houston to Alaska and back ride report.....9th July - 23rd August 2017 - Kawasaki Versys Forum
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post #1 of 138 (permalink) Old 06-22-2017, 11:04 AM Thread Starter
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Houston to Alaska and back ride report.....9th July - 23rd August 2017

Hi all, I am sat in the UK looking at the temperatures in Texas and feeling worried! I shall be leaving Houston on the 9th July and meeting up with an old RAF pal in Truckee (CA) on the 15th July the we shall be heading north.... it looks like about 10,000 miles there and back so no doubt I will be very familiar with the bike by then!

I shall try and keep a running account of how I get on and post some pics which may be of interest.

Any advice or recommendations will be gratefully received!

Regards

John
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post #2 of 138 (permalink) Old 06-22-2017, 12:32 PM
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John - stay hydrated, and COOL! I take my tee-shirt off, soak it in a creek, then back on, to provide cooling. That has worked for me in temps approaching 110F for 1.5 to 2 hours, then I do it all AGAIN!

I'll be on a 'cross-Canada' ride at the same time, so I'll miss you 'going by'. Ride SAFE!

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post #3 of 138 (permalink) Old 06-22-2017, 01:02 PM
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Hopefully the gen 3 chain is better than the gen 2. You might want to keep an eye on it for throwing O-rings. Mine got chewed up bad during my 2012 7000 mile ride.

Have you lined up tires up in Washington state? You may need them.

I used one of those cooling vests under my mesh gear. It holds a lot of water and takes over an hour to evaporate while riding. Really does help keep your blood from boiling.

I also wear a hydration pack and every time I stop for gas I fill it with ice from the drink machine.

Plan a route that gets you into higher elevations and away from cities for cooler temps.

Have Fun!
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post #4 of 138 (permalink) Old 06-22-2017, 01:41 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks guys... I have a cooling vest and I plan to ride very early morning to avoid the worst of the heat!

Ref - tyres........ I was hoping to just pop into a decent size town when I needed tyres... is this likely to be a problem?
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post #5 of 138 (permalink) Old 06-22-2017, 04:28 PM
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If you find yourself in Palmer, Alaska stop by for a chat if you've got the time.


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Jeff Reichel Palmer, ALASKA
1 Tim 6:11-12 "FIGHT the GOOD Fight"
There is no inappropriate temperature to ride a motorcycle…just inappropriate layers of protection.
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post #6 of 138 (permalink) Old 06-23-2017, 03:24 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by AlaskaJeff View Post
If you find yourself in Palmer, Alaska stop by for a chat if you've got the time.


Will do Jeff! Hoping it will like an English summer up in your neck of the woods!


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post #7 of 138 (permalink) Old 06-24-2017, 04:09 PM
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Thanks guys... I have a cooling vest and I plan to ride very early morning to avoid the worst of the heat!

Ref - tyres........ I was hoping to just pop into a decent size town when I needed tyres... is this likely to be a problem?
Shouldn't be. My rear tire was "toast" up in Alaska last summer, and I got it replaced at "The Motorcycle Shop" in Anchorage (in about 40 minutes!). Then I headed NE from there to Palmer to visit...
Quote:
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If you find yourself in Palmer, Alaska stop by for a chat if you've got the time.
...who puts on a pretty MEAN supper w/ his charming wife...!

- -
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post #8 of 138 (permalink) Old 06-28-2017, 12:00 PM
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Eddie, you know the creeks don't flow down here in the summer!
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post #9 of 138 (permalink) Old 06-28-2017, 12:52 PM
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Sounds like a great trip. Will be following your journey with interest.
Cheers!
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post #10 of 138 (permalink) Old 06-28-2017, 01:23 PM
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Thanks guys... I have a cooling vest and I plan to ride very early morning to avoid the worst of the heat!

Ref - tyres........ I was hoping to just pop into a decent size town when I needed tyres... is this likely to be a problem?
If you don't care what tire you get. Two times I had to get a rear tire on the road on different bikes. Both times the closest tire to a sport touring tire I could find was a Continental Contimotion. I had to ride 250 miles out of my way for one of those tires.

I also chose to replace a front tire while on a tour and found a shop along my route that was a day away.


These three events were in the Florida Gulf Coast, Wisconsin, and Tennessee.

Not everyone is as lucky as fasteddie.

My Versys Travels:


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post #11 of 138 (permalink) Old 06-28-2017, 01:28 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks. I shall plan ahead!


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post #12 of 138 (permalink) Old 06-28-2017, 02:55 PM
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Lot`s of fruit with potassium, bananas, grapefruit
and so on, these help me a lot with the heat here in Texas
plus plenty of fluids every gas stop = one bottle of water
weather you are thirsty or not.
if you ant peeing,, you ant getting enough fluids
do not take the heat for granted,, It can mess you up
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post #13 of 138 (permalink) Old 06-28-2017, 04:00 PM
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Eddie, you know the creeks don't flow down here in the summer!
For times like that, I suck water from my "hydration pack" (I use 100 ounce ones), then 'squirt' or 'dribble' it down the INSIDE front of my jacket, wetting my tee-shirt.

Works PDG...!

-

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post #14 of 138 (permalink) Old 07-05-2017, 04:13 PM Thread Starter
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Well, I now have some idea of what it is like riding a bike in Texas heat! I arrived yesterday and put the battery on charge, fitted the crash bungs/sliders, added a bigger foot to the side stand and gave it a wash. I was bathed in sweat by the time I was finished and it was night time!

I decided to go for a run this afternoon and only managed 45 mins before returning... it is SO hot! The Versys fired up straight away and is running sweetly but the fans run a lot! In the UK they run for about an hour per year! The tyres needed a bit of air and my Walmart 12V pump worked a treat.

The airhawk seat was a bit sweaty so I shall try the bead seat later on. The cool vest seems to work quite well and my new Shoei GT Air gets lots of air through it and is very good. I have borrowed a mesh jacket that is just mesh and armour which is great but I was still damn hot in traffic!

I only rode on the wrong side of the road once!!!! I will have to concentrate to try and remember you guys drive on the right! It was good to get back on the Versys!

So far so good but I shall do a few short trips to get acclimatised and then set off to Truckee to meet my pal before carrying on to Alaska. I hope the rest of the USA is a little bit cooler.



We Brits do not do hot weather!



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post #15 of 138 (permalink) Old 07-07-2017, 10:46 PM Thread Starter
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Four hours in searing heat (Houston to Lufkin) to get the fuel pump replaced followed by the mother of all thunderstorms, a burnt neck and burnt arms through the mesh jacket. Damn phone kept shutting down because it overheated and I quickly got lost in a thunderstorm in the middle of Houston...all steamed up, soaked to the skin and ended up outside a Harley Davidson dealers.... service manager saw my plight, made me a coffee, sat me down in front of the air conditioner and brought m,y bike in from the rain. Gave me a towel to dry myself off and insisted that I waited until the storm had passed. Nice folk in Texas!
Sent from my LG-M150 which shuts down when it gets hot and a tricky bit of navigation arrives.....
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post #16 of 138 (permalink) Old 07-08-2017, 07:19 AM
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Four hours in searing heat (Houston to Lufkin) to get the fuel pump replaced followed by the mother of all thunderstorms, a burnt neck and burnt arms through the mesh jacket. Damn phone kept shutting down because it overheated and I quickly got lost in a thunderstorm in the middle of Houston...all steamed up, soaked to the skin and ended up outside a Harley Davidson dealers.... service manager saw my plight, made me a coffee, sat me down in front of the air conditioner and brought m,y bike in from the rain. Gave me a towel to dry myself off and insisted that I waited until the storm had passed. Nice folk in Texas!
Sent from my LG-M150 which shuts down when it gets hot and a tricky bit of navigation arrives.....

There is a comradery among motorcyclists that doesn't exist among other modes of transportation. Sorry to hear that you have to get a fuel pump replaced so soon on your bike. Doesn't instill confidence riding to Alaska. Never heard of getting a sun burn through a mesh jacket. That is some intense sun there in South Texas!

My Versys Travels:


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post #17 of 138 (permalink) Old 07-08-2017, 10:24 AM Thread Starter
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I have a "mesh suntan" on my arms - it looks like a tatoo!
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post #18 of 138 (permalink) Old 07-09-2017, 06:22 PM
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John - didn't several of us recommend AGAINST wearing 'mesh' for your trip?

Pretty sure I'll be wearing my Kilimanjaro jacket (liner OUT) as well as similar pants. VENTS opened on both, of course, when I do my cross-Canada ride starting next Sunday!

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post #19 of 138 (permalink) Old 07-10-2017, 08:36 PM Thread Starter
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So far so good! Managed 350 miles today but it got very hot after 2.00 pm so decided to search out some air conditioning. Now in a motel in Lubbock keeping cool and washing my socks and undercrackers.
Texas roads are straight and long! I was surprised how green the place is but I guess the frequent thunderstorms account for that.
The mesh gear and cool vest are essential but I have burnt my face despite a full face helmet! I look like a panda.
The roads are fast and empty but get boring after a few hours. The bead seat cover is very good and I can go for hours before my arse gets sore.
I have to be careful were I pull over for a rest (I find shade under a tree) because the wonderful Texan people stop and ask if I have broken down. One chap stayed and chatted for ages and I wish I had got his email.
I seem to attract all sorts when I stop and I am never short of someone to talk to.
Everything seems dead easy when travelling. Loads of fuel stops with rest rooms and everything the weary Traveller needs. I have got into a routine of fuelling up when I have about a third of a tank and waxing the chain. Then to the loo and wet my cool vest in the sink followed by some water from my flask. It keeps drink ice cold all day and is well worth dragging about the place. I then loiter in the shop to get cool before checking the bike over and making sure everything is secure!
The smells of Texas are interesting and you really can tell you are in oil country!
I have spent a fair amount of time on dual carriagways today but when I am on smaller roads it is much more fun. Some of the little towns are full of ramshackl buildings and if I had more time I would stop. I am trying to get away from the heat as soon as possible so main roads seem wise.
I fitted some crash bungs and they double as footrests when I need them. The heat from the engine can be brutal especially when stuck at lights and I feel sorry for the poor engine- it is so hot!
The bike is running great now I have a new fuel pump and it is performing really well. It will prove it's worth when the roads get twisty!
I am not sure how long the tyres will last as they feel like they are melting! I came across roadworks and the road got very bad indeed. Just rough gravel and lumps and bumps all over. Bike was fine but it worried me.
I think this bike was a wise choice. It is comfy and cruises happily at 80 mph. The suspension is much better than it should be on a bike this price and although it wallowed a bit with the extra weight adjusting the preload solved that!
The screen is also very impressive for such a tiny bit of plastic.
My only gripe is a bit of a clunk going into 3rd gear but otherwise I am delighted with it. I have left all the camping gear on it but have a cover on so hopefully it will still be there in the morning.
Anyway, I am hungry so off to search out some food.

Tomorrow will be a very early start and off to santa fe or maybe a bit further

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post #20 of 138 (permalink) Old 07-10-2017, 08:38 PM Thread Starter
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Some pics.

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