Great Alaska Adventure: A Good Start


1000 miles down and only 11,500 more to go. Actually 1,034 and I’m only guessing about the 11,500 since my 12,500 mile estimate will probably be off by a couple hundred miles one way or the other. But the Key West leg of the Great Alaska Adventure is behind us and it was a good start.

In the Navy, a “shake down” cruise is taken by a ship before it sets out for a long-term deployment. It gives the ship’s crew a chance to–in some cases literally–see what shakes loose when the ship is underway at full power and vibrations cause equipment and parts to shake apart.

The Key West “cruise” we just wrapped up was our shake down cruise. I’m pleased to report that the bikes and their crew stayed together pretty well. No serious problems with either bike and the crew of each bike managed tolerably well with no vital parts shaken loose. Still working out some communications issues but I’m getting better at obeying commands with the alacrity expected of one in my subordinate position. The CB radios have some static at 70 mph, but they’re working a lot better than they did before I re-secured the cables on Marilyn’s bike prior to beginning the trip. The rain gear, donned at least briefly each day of the three-day shake down cruise, performed well, though Marilyn’s concern about bulky gaiters will be addressed Monday with the purchase of some simple water-proof overboots of the same style I bought for Hanna.

We forgot to pack a couple of non-essential items (shorts for Marilyn and Jack Daniels for me) that we’ll be sure to include in Monday’s packing for the longer leg to Fairbanks and back.

Everyone who straddles two wheels is reminded nearly every time they roll down the road that the pilots of cars are frequently pre-occupied with such essential activities as gesticulating wildly while talking on the phone to an unseeing correspondent, stuffing a greasy full-pound double cheeseburger with bacon into a semi-toothed mouth, or entering a trance-inducing zen-like meditation phase. This shake down cruise was no exception, but at least Marilyn and I were able to work on keeping two bikes close together while responding expeditiously with auto-bike collision-avoidance maneuvers. The Miami area seems to be well-populated with people who enjoy practicing vehicular weaving skills in their $80,000 sport convertibles using lesser cars and elderly motorcycle riders as mobile pylons. And the Florida Turnpike was a Talladaga-like NASCAR track except with no turns where all the drivers are drafting and everyone’s waiting for the “big one” that transforms expensive driving machines into scrap metal. If you ride, be careful out there.

Really, though, the Key West trip was a good start. Now we have a couple days in Orange Park to wrap up unfinished business, say goodbye to friends, make a couple last-minute purchases, get the bikes serviced and take a deep breath before cannonballing into the deep end.

The blog, for what it’s worth, will continue daily. Thanks for stopping by. And to those of you leaving comments: THANKS A BUNCH. To those of you who haven’t yet chimed in, PLEASE DO.

“I can’t wait to get on the road again.”

Location:Orange Park, FL

6 responses to “Great Alaska Adventure: A Good Start”

  1. Jack says :

    I was expecting you to say something about the crazy drivers around Ft Lauderdale and Miami. Glad you made through safely.

  2. Brian Brannon says :

    Can you provide me the link to Marilyns blog heheheh. Actually after you have a few Jack Daniels maybe she can comment on your blog…

  3. Steve Hauser says :

    Glad the shakedown went we’ll doc. Keep the shiny side up and your wife in the mirror. I’m envious already. BTW, if you are passing through Kentucky you should get a bottle of good Kentucky bourbon to ward off these cold night chills later. I suggest Elijah Craig 12 year old. So sorry I won’t be at AJ’s in Jasper to have lunch with you. Several of the guys will be there though.

  4. Ron McCain says :

    Be safe out there ….. “Hill Street Blues” after the shift meeting was over and the police were off to their dutiy stations for the show.

  5. Hil says :

    Be sure to the bikes completely checked out and then get the hell outta OP. You have a lot of ridding still to do.

  6. Brad & Debbie Dykes says :

    I’m impressed with your wife’s stamina to pull this off! Kudos to her. Debbie Dykes

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