Saturday, February 18, 2012

Marking tasks off our list

Good morning, Ed here, thanks for stopping in to check on us.  It is a chilly morning in Oklahoma, so I've fired up the fireplace which is right next to the computer to keep warm.

That's better.
We are getting really close to having everything done and ready for the trip.  We have been actively working our planning project plan for this trip.  This morning, I have done some additional research which I will share with you in a few moments.  I would like to share with you what our project plan looks like, perhaps it may help you plan for your adventure.  The plan is in Excel, here are a few screen shots below.

This sheet has kept us very well organized during our planning stage.  As tasks are completed, they are coded in green, tasks not started are in blue, and tasks past due are red.  We wrote down every detail we could think of so we won't forget anything.
This is what our pack list looks like.  We really need to go back through this and possibly eliminate a few items.  I think we are a little heavy right now.
One of our tasks is due between 02/01/12 and 02/28/12, which is the task I am going to complete this morning.  This task is to print information about a few places we may be stopping along the way.  Of course I will make sure we have this information in our netbook, but I also want to have a just in case printed copy.  So here we go.

The first place is called Adventure Cycleworks.  Adventure Cycleworks is in Fairbanks, AK.  They primarily are a tire shop, but do also provide some limited repairs.  I don't anticipate that we will need to purchase tires on this trip as we will be leaving with a fresh set, but they do offer a place to change your oil and have a power washer you can use to wash the Dalton muck off of your bike.  They are also willing to receive packages on your behalf and hold them for you.  We are hoping to be able to store our trailer here while we take on the Dalton.  I have heard many great stories about these folks.  This is a popular stop for the ADV crowd.

Though we are not making any reservation for hotels or campgrounds, we are wanting to stop for a brief rest in Fairbanks, AK.  Hotels are extremely expensive up north, so one solution is to stay at University of Alaska Fairbanks.  The University will allow you to stay in one of the student dorm rooms.  The cost is about $57.00 per night.  This will be a great stop for laundry and a shower.

If we attempt the Dalton all the way up to Prudhoe Bay, we will need to make reservations at one of the motels up there.  We were originally going to look at staying at the Arctic Caribou Inn; however, when I went to look this morning, the web page says it is no longer in operation.  This is a big disappointment as they also operate Tatqaani Tours which is the bus ride to the Arctic Ocean.  I will have to do some additional research to see if there are any other buses that run to the Arctic Ocean (you cannot ride there as the road is not open to the public).

That being said, I will print the information for the Prudhoe Bay Hotel.  This hotel costs $120.00 per night per person, so yes it is expensive but it is the place to stay in Dead Horse.  This place features a clean room with a private bathroom as well as a 24 hour all you can eat buffet which is included in the cost of the room.  This hotel caters to the oil field workers and not tourists.  If they have room for tourists, they will take them in.  They do not allow you to make your reservations until one week prior to your arrival.  I have emailed this hotel to see if they have any information on how to get to the Arctic Ocean.  I will share this information once I have it.

Here is information on all the current Hotels in Prudhoe Bay:

Prudhoe Bay Motel
P.O. Box 340004, Prudhoe Bay, Alaska 99734

Arctic Oilfield Hotel
Prudhoe Bay, AK 99734

Service Area Ten Camp Hotel
Pouch 34004
Prudhoe Bay, AK 99737-0044

If you are interested in a copy of our task list or a blank copy for yourself, please shoot us an email we would love to help.  Thank you for helping me to cross one more item off our list.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Trailer tires and a plug kit

Well, not much is going on here this weekend as it is very cold in Oklahoma City. 

This weekend, we installed new tires on our trailer.  We were not able to upgrade the trailer tires to twelve inch rims as they were too big to fit in the wheel openings.  We wound up buying a set of Carlisle USA Trail tires. 

We went with the C rated (6 ply) to accommodate additional weight if needed.  The best price we were able to find was on Ebay, so we ordered them.  Yesterday, we brought them over to Discount Tire and had them mounted at a cost of $6.00.

These have a great new tread pattern.

Here is the wheel and tire mounted on the trailer.  We don't really like the moon caps, but for now they will do.
Since we are on the topic of tires, we also purchased a fresh tire plug kit.  We always have one in the bike along with an air compressor just in case.  For this trip, we wanted to make sure we had a fresh kit.

Talk to you soon,

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Waterproofing the bike cover, trailer tires, and more riding gear

Ed here,

A few weeks ago, I rode my Wing to work like a I do every morning.  I knew rain was in the forecast, but it did not matter.  When I got to work, I put my full bike cover on the Wing to protect it from the rain.  It rained all day.  When I came out to go home, I noticed my seat was wet.  My cover has always seeped a little when the rain is heavy because the nylon get saturated.  This made me think a little, you can bet we are going to get rained on during our ride so I started thinking about a way to improve the water beading ability of our cover to repel rain better.  I want to make sure the bike is protected as much as possible from the rain when it is parked at campsites.

Many years ago, I had a pair of hiking boots that I sprayed down with a material that caused the water to bead and roll off the boots.  I thought to myself that this could probably work great for the bike cover.  So I went looking in the garage for this can (it has been sitting in my garage for about 19 years).  I found it and decided to spray down my cover.  Water now beads up and rolls right off the cover.

I searched and searched on the internet and could not find this stuff.  This can is about 19 years old but is still great stuff.  Based on my internet search, there are many similar products out there.
I hung the bike cover from a clothes line in the garage.
I just sprayed it down and used all that was left in the can.  I let it dry for about an hour and gave it a test.  The water now beads right off the cover.
We are going to replace all tires (bike and trailer) before we leave on this trip.  Yesterday, I started looking for tires for our trailer.  The trailer currently has four bold pattern rims with 4.80-8 tires.  I was considering upgrading the wheels to accommodate 12 inch wheels rather than 8 inch wheels.  Upgrading to a 12 inch wheel would help reduce bouncing.  Unfortunately, upgrading to 12's is not an option as they would not fit into the wheel wells of the trailer.  So my task for this week is to find tires for the trailer.  I may wind up buying rims and tires because it is not that much more to buy the tires on a new rim and then I would not have to deal with the hastle of mounting the new tires.  Stay tuned.

Earlier this week, Devon and I purchased riding pants.  We have been looking for pants that are well vented, waterproof, and have a thermal liner, that way we can wear them in all conditions.  We were able to find a pair that fit the bill, the Tourmaster Venture Air Pants

The nice thing about these pants is that they are available in "short" sizes.  Devon and I are short, we both have 30 inch inseams.  The "short" pants are a perfect length.  One thing we did find with these pants are that they run a little on the small size.  I wear either a 36 or 38 inch waist depending on the pants, so I ordered the XL which is supposed to be a 36-38 inch waist.  They actually fit more like a 34-36 in waist, but I am trying to drop a few more pounds before our trip so hopefully they will be a little more comfortable.  Devon's ran about a size too small also, we have ordered an exchange for hers to the next size. 

These pants should provide a ton of flexibility for the various temperature ranges we will encounter.  With the thermal liner in, they are quite warm.  With the thermal liner out, they are a mesh pant.  If it rains, the waterproof liner can be used with the thermal liner in or out so these pants will work perfectly for all riding conditions we may encounter.  Here are some of the feature of these pants.

The Tourmaster Venture Air Pant.  The pants have two zippered pockets, hip pads, and adjustable knee pads.  The adjustable knee pads are wonderful, I found with many other pants that I was wearing shin guards rather than knee pads.
The legs are zippered and a Velcro flap covers the zipper.  Notice the shell of the pants is mesh.
Here is the waterproof membrane.  
The thermal liner.
These pants do run a little on the small side.
The waist band has adjustable straps.  When I (Ed) wear my pants, I have them on the furthest out setting.
I also wanted to get a mesh riding jacket for Devon.  This is because we are having to plan for temperatures from the low 30's to the high 90's.  I have been looking for quite some time and recently found a pair of matching mesh coats with thermal liners being sold by a member of a motorcycle forum I frequent.  The price was very reasonable for both, so I reached out to the member and decided to purchase the jackets.  I already have a mesh coat, but now Devon and I will match.  The jackets are the OSI Cool'R series jackets.  These jackets have a removable full sleeve waterproof thermal liner, so we are considering using just these coats for the trip rather than bringing our winter riding coats and mesh coats.  I figure using these in conjunction with the heated gear that we would be OK.  This would give us more flexibility with less bulk, but we will need to test it to make sure they are plenty warm.  These jackets run on the large side.  Here are some of the features.

The coats were in excellent shape.  The fellow I purchased them from said they were worn about 5 times.  They recently moved to Florida and sold their Goldwing so they no longer needed the jackets.  The jackets have pads for the elbows, shoulders, spine, and kidneys.
The waist is adjustable with Velcro straps.  The jackets will breathe nicely with the thermal liner out due to the mesh shell.
The thermal/waterproof liner.
There is a nice pocket along the left zipper.
The Kidney pad is zippered to allow for more room if needed when sitting.
These coats run on the very  large side.  I would say they wear like an XXL rather than an XL.
Well, only 117 days and counting.  The trip is really coming together.  We have been hearing from many other riders headed the same direction we are going around the same time, we hope to meet them on the road.

Talk to you next week,