Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Slow Down and Smell the Moose Nuggets

 Finally taking a break on this trip but not by choice. It is 41 degrees and after getting wet for 2 days, I decided to get off the Alaskan Highway and wait it out. It should be sunny and in the near 70's soon again. In the mean time, I found this Hostel in Haines Junction. The sleepy little town is just like the town from the TV series "Northern Exposure". But then, most of the towns scattered along the ALCAN are like this. After two nights in my own tent, I wanted better accommodations but didn't want a standard hotel room although, up here you have to take what you can get. Things can book up fast in the evenings. I found a pretty cool hostel called " Wanderer's Inn". I got there early enough where I had some choices. For 40 dollars I could stay inside in a dorm with bunk beds. They also have an outside cabin/ tent set up dorm style but for a few dollars more, they have a single private cabin/ tent with heat, electricity and a big comfy bed. It even has wifi so I splurged.
  This cabin/ tent has wood floor and sides but the coolest part is the roof is made from a government issue tent from the 1930's era. It was decommissioned and sat until the Wanderer's Inn picked it up and incorporated it in this cabin. Instead of heavy canvas, it is made from thin parachute like material. You can see the tent on the inside but on the outside, it is covered with a tarp to keep out the in-climate weather. As it rained all night, it made the nicest sound but stayed totally dry. I got the best night sleep in awhile.
  Still, hearing the non-stop rain only reminded me that soon I would have to be off and riding in it. I should also explain that although I am still a ways south from mainland Alaska, daylight is prevailing. Sundown is about midnight and sunrise is 4:30am. I've been waking up pretty early.
    After morning coffee inside the main house, I came to the conclusion that what is the sense of being a motorcycle nomad if I had to be on a schedule? I'm going to hang out and talk to strangers who will soon be part of my next story. After all, isn't that what life is all about?
  "Downtown" Haines Junction.

Night before last in Watson Lake, Yukon. Clear sky and 20 degrees warmer. Weather here can change fast.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

The road to The Arctic Circle just got longer

   Always pushing to go further, I saved up my money for another Alaska adventure but this time I wanted to push the limits and make ut up past the Arctic Circle and up to The Arctic Ocean. Not just to get up there but to do it by motorcycle. And not just the enduro type adventure bikes, but on my chopper. It will be the better part a month endevour. Still, it can't be rushed.
  I also wanted to hit some National parks along the way. Yellowstone and Glacier National Park just to name a few. After riding through Yellowstone and making sure Old Faithful is still spewing up, I also carved my name in a 6 foot tall snow bank at one of the passes.
 I left the park at the wrong exit though. It was the most direct one for my route but I missed yet another great scenic byway- Beartooth Pass. So this morning I wake up, and decide to turn around, go back into Yellowstone and head east. In a couple of hours I'll be at the north east exit and the beginning of Beartooth Pass. It's adding another day to the trip but hey, good things can't be rushed!
I can't think of a better way to spend my Fourth of July. AMERICA! Oh yeah!

Sunday, June 25, 2017

The next chapter in the Book of Bean

  Meet the newest addition to my family. It;s a 1998 Valkyrie with a Champion sidecar. That was the furthist ( no misprint) thing from my plans but once again, that is just how my life happens.
   I have been trying to get a sidecar for awhile. They are hard to come by. A Harley sidecar is not cheap and they are rather plain and also difficult to get in and out of. I had to do something soon though, as my time was running out. My plans were to kick off my " Share the Wind" in Digby Nova Scotia at the Wharf Rat Rally in August. That may seem like a couple months away but I am leaving for Alaska in 2 days then catching Sturgis on the way back then straight up to Nova Scotia and The Cabot Trail the weekend before The Wharf Rat. Yep, I needed to do something fast.
   That is where this came to be. I contacted a sales ad for the complete rig and asked if he would separate them. He said no so I replied with an offer just in case. back and forth we went till finally I got him to agree to sell the car separate. I went down to Atlanta to buy it and when I seen it in person, I understood why he didn't want to separate it. He had went to a lot of time and trouble to set this up right. I was going to try to attach this sidecar to my chopper and I'm not even sure if it would have worked. I've never seen a long bike with a side hack. This rig was ready to go, safe and secure. It just made sense. I bought the set.
    My first sidecar was a Champion almost exactly like this one although it was 20 years older. I though it was the same till I saw it in person. It is a much newer model. It was like they took everything about my old one that I DIDN'T like and improved it in the new model. One of the best things is the entire nose tilts forward making it easily accessible.
   It also has electric tilt so it rides better when it is empty and no rider. It has two different tops, a 5 point mounting system and even a very large steering stabilizer. There is even plenty of room in the sidecar for someone as tall as me!
  As for the bike, it has a 1500cc Goldwing motor. It is a 6 cylinder and even has 6 carbs. I just put 179 miles on it today through The Smokey Mountains and I gotta say, it really performed well.
   Now the question is, do I take this rig to Alaska or do I ride my chopper? I got plenty of time to think about it. I'm not leaving till Tuesday ( 36 hours from now.) Monday I'm going whitewater kayaking in the Ocoee River and then I'm packing for the trip. 

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Mini Bike World Record recap and Raffle Announcement

What a long strange trip it was. The estimated amount of miles we did right now is 2,678.4 miles. When we translate the GPS recorded miles, it should be higher.
   But the important reason we did this was to bring about awareness of ALD and to support The Aidan Jack Seeger Foundation and their website www.aidanhasaposse.org .You can find out all about ALD at this link
We are having a raffle to raise money for this, in case you didn't know. The drawing is going to be next weekend LIVE on Facebook- The website - https://www.flipcause.com/secure/cause_pdetails/MTU2MzY
will be open for merchandise and to take donations but please get your raffle tickets no later than Tuesday morning ( so do it NOW if you haven't already. The foundation is tranfering all the internet ticket sales onto actual ticket stubs and mailing them to me here in South Carolina where I will be drawing a winner LIVE on Facebook next weekend.. The grand prize is this rare  David Uhl print, #6 of 9 and yes, it is signed by David Uhl. If the winner would like, I will sign it too.

Another prize is this Biltwell helmet hand painted by Darren McKeag. It is really amazing!

Biltwell  also donated a  500 dollar gift certificate for some lucky winner!
Not to be outdone, Spectro Oils prize packages will go to eight lucky winners!
Metzeler Tires is going to give a set of motorcycle tires to a lucky winner too.

 So tune into my Facebook page here https://www.facebook.com/beanre next weekend for the LIVE broadcast of the winners of these great prizes and more.
And if you don't have your raffle tickets, get there NOW, right here at this link-                 https://www.flipcause.com/secure/cause_pdetails/MTU2MzY

Sunday, April 9, 2017

New chances to win!!!!!!!

  As the news stations in San Diego covered, our mini bike tour cam to an end at Waterfront Park in San Diego on Friday, April 7th, exactly 20 days after we began in Daytona Beach, Florida. I mission for awareness of ALD and support of The Aidan Jack Seeger Foundation continues. The raffle for the great prizes will end soon but first let me tell you about another giveaway.
 Berry Wardlaw of Accurate Engineering has decided to donate one pound of bacon ( thick or thin sliced) to the winner who can guess the amount of miles we did  added with the amount of flat tires we had. He also will generously donate 100 dollars to The Aidan Jack Seeger Foundation. I will match that as will my partner, Tim "Bacon" Ford, making a grand total of 300 dollars to the Foundation. All you have to do is guess how many miles we rode, and add the number of flat tires we had to that number. This contest is only going to last a couple of days so you better hurry. Like to win more? How about a David Uhl Print?
This print is our grand prize of our other raffle. It is a rare 6 out of 9 prints, signed and delivered to your address worth over 3500 dollars.
  Second prize is this awesome hand painted Biltwell helmet by legendary Iowa artist, Darren McKeag. It is so cool. I was suppose to wear this helmet for the entire ride but it was such a work of art, I just could not do it. It is brand new in mint condition. It truly is priceless!!!!
  Biltwell not only donated this helmet to be painted but they contributed to our expense account for
 this ride, donated generously to The Aidan Foundation and also will give some lucky winner a 500.00 dollar gift certificate 
for anything on their website
 Our other sponsor, Spectro Oils, which we ran in our mini bikes keeping them rolling the entire way coast to coast, helped with our expenses, donated to The Aidan Foundation and also are giveaway 8 different Spectro Oil and  Spectro bike shine packages for you
And if all this wasn't enough, how about a brand new set of Metzeler tires for your bike!!!!!!
To get in on a chance to win these great prizes, click on this website The Foundation has created here
All the money goes directly to the Foundation. This will be only for a few more days before we draw so DO NOT put off any longer. Don't miss out on these prizes and your chance to support a great cause while being a history making part of Team Bean're.

Here is what one San Diego news channel had to say about us.............

Friday, April 7, 2017

25 miles to Graceland

Waking up in Calexico, we had about 130 miles to get to San Diego. I pulled what I thought was a new tube from my bag and changed it out my front tire. I even used the C02 cartridges that The Old Bastards m/c gave us at the Payson fundraiser. Problem was, it wasn't a new tube. It had a pin hole and was flat before we left town. I had ride a flat there so I decided I was done fixing flats and rode it all day. I figured this would keep my speed down. My front bearings were also going out and were making sounds like an angry rattlesnake.
   Going from sea level up over 3000 ft of hills I thought would be the challenge. what I forgot was what goes up, must come down. The down hill twisty canyon roads were sketchy. If I leaned in the turns, my front tire wanted to wash out. I knew if I ever got it to jump the bead, I would really be doomed. Still, we made pretty good time and kept moving forward.
  Most of the way we were right beside the border. Here you can see the wall. It's not a good wall. I know walls. Believe me, I could build a better wall. I'm not going to tell you how, but you'll see... and it's going to be great.
   The entire day we saw more Immigration official in the SUV's. We even went through a few check points again. There was also a lot of signs telling us that human smuggling was a felony.  For that reason, we didn't pick up any hitch hikers.
   As we got closer to our destination, it looked like it was smooth sailing. My front tire was getting really warm and felt like it was going to wash out from under me and any second so I stopped to let it cool. Traffic had picked up in the canyon roads too and there was very little shoulder to ride on. We rested for awhile and then I took off down a mountain grade. Tim was behind me but I lost him. I went back and he had went over the handlebars. They were badly bent too. I was concerned until he rolled up his pants leg he had a little owwie that looked like it needed a Strawberry Shortcake Bandaide on his "compound fracture". I ribbed him for the rest of the day and I guess karma had enough and less than a mile from our good friend, Pat's house. the front end came out from under me and I went skidding down the street. Tim got the pleasure of watching. I was just happy that he didn't run over me when I came to a stop.
   Now the finish line for us is 25 miles away. It is at Waterfront Park in downtown San Diego.  We will be there at noon with the TV news waiting. Come see us!!!
And don't forget to check out The Aidan Jack Seeger Foundation page at http://www.aidanhasaposse.org/ and please contribute to their cause on this link. You just might win some great prizes too!!!!!

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Problems at the border

Staying at The border of California and Mexico in a town called Calexico. On the Mexican side it is called Mexicali. I'm now about 120 miles from San Diego. This is what happened yesterday.
 We were heading into Mexico. We were going to cross the international border at San Luis, Arizona, It is about 20 miles south of Yuma. About 5 miles from the border we were stopped by the police. He was very friendly and wanted to know what we were doing. when he found out our plans were to go to Mexico, he shared some information about the bikes. Mexico would probably confiscate them at the border since we didn't have registration or licenses. Quite simply, if we didn't have paperwork saying they were ours, they would now be theirs.
Not being one to take advice well, we got escorted to the US Customs office on the American side of the same border. They confirmed this and said that even by some chance the border let us in on these bikes, they would most likely be confiscated shortly after and by law, we could also be arrested too. We decided to turn around and ride back to Yuma.
Yuma is on the border of California so in no time we crossed a bridge into California. The only problem was the sign was terrible and we like to get our pictures in front of the state signs. We turned back and took a different bridge across the Colorado river and back into Arizona only to find they had no welcome to California sign either. I guess the only good sign was on Interstate 8 but we didn't want to go on that. We stayed on frontage roads beside Interstate 8 that were in some of the worst conditions ever.They ended soon and then there was no other choice but to get on I-8. Even bicyclists had to take I-8 We even had to ride through an immigration checkpoint on I -8.Here is a good tip. When asked at an immigration checkpoint if you are an American citizen, never respond " Que?"
We got off at one of the first exits that we thought was a frontage road but instead it was The Imperial Sand Dunes Recreational Area.
Here we were, a could of guys in cheap black suits, riding mini bikes in the desert. But, hey, when in Rome.....
Our street tires were no match for the sand but they did succeed in throwing sand everywhere and in every nook and cranny.We decided to leave before we hurt the bikes or ourselves.
Back on 8 we looked for the next frontage road, When we found it, they had construction signs blocking at as they were re-paving it. Back on 8 we went but even the sides were under construction so we had to ride on construction roads for safety. There was a lot of steel rebar and other construction debris and I must have picked something up because I had a front flat tire. Now the interesting thing about those are, if you ignore them and just go faster, you can almost forget you even have one. Not wanting to deal with it, we rode on.
 Interstate 8 runs along the border and finally we got to highway 98 that runs even closer to the border. I spend the rest of the day, riding on that flat, with more border patrol vehicles and every branch of law enforcement there was but we never were questioned, Just a couple of suits riding mini bikes on the border.
Did I tell ya you can buy your mini bike tour tee shirts here> all proceeds go to The Aidan Jack Seeger Foundation. Just click on this link and then hit the "shop" button