Great Alaska Adventure
We continue to sneak up on the Canadian border to prepare for our assault on Alaska. We are now in Bloomer, WI, for the final staging with our reserve force and staff photographer, Hanna. Tomorrow we show the new recruit how to pack for a month in half a tour pack. Roll up everything and put it one-gallon freezer bags. Leave behind non-essentials. Fashion statements are not required on the road. If it isn’t utilitarian, it stays home. If this was a vacation, you’d have a steamer trunk. It’s an adventure and you get about two cubic feet of space. Are we having fun yet?
We had a nice ride today. It’s only three hours from Madison to Bloomer via the Interstate, but we opted for character-laden back roads and scenic farmland. Saw six deer. (Four were sleeping peacefully by the roadside and two crossed in front of me causing me to brake firmly lest I flip them over my head with the front of my motorcycle like I’ve seen done before). Wisconsin’s title as the Dairy State was driven home as we drove by hundreds of big (to me at least) dairy farms. At any given time we could survey a half dozen gigantic red barns, dozens of silos of different vintages and size rising skyward and red and green tractors and various farm equipment constantly on the move. And, of course, cows. Too many to count (unless you’re a dairy farmer keeping track of them, I suppose.) Most of the time the country smells were delicious, but too close proximity to the scenic byway sometimes made the picturesque dairy farms a little less desirable. But even disagreeable aromas are essential to the experience of riding a motorcycle, reminding you that your senses still work. I believe I’d rather take in the occasional malodorous manure pile than have my olfactory senses dulled by the constant filter of conditioned air.
I think I finally solved the communications head set problem. I had ordered parts to be delivered to me in Bloomer, but canceled the order this morning and bought a new helmet and head set at Sauk Prairie Harley-Davidson. My Arai helmet was more than six years old and all advice (at least that given by helmet companies whose job it is to sell more helmets) is to replace helmets every 3-4 years because the protective parts become brittle and thus less effective. I probably should have replaced it before we left, but it was one of those things left undone. Chanel Jadack, the motorclothes manager at Sauk Prairie, helped me select a good fitting helmet and then, as a bonus, installed the Boom Audio Headset. (Chanel, if you’re reading this, the adhesive part of the hook and loop fastener has to be secured to a solid surface, not the cloth covering over the earhole. It was an easy fix this evening. Thanks again for your help.)
One minor mishap today. One of our party (not Marilyn) moved her bike after we got to the motel and forgot to turn the ignition off. Two hours later we discovered a dead battery. But, unlike the new helmet which I neglected to get before leaving I DID get a new pair of motorcycle jumper cables which employed to great effect after spending 20 minutes getting to the batteries. All is well again.
Tomorrow I’ll spend time with Heather and Hanna, make a final list of missing gear for Hanna, and water proof various gloves, rain covers and rain suits thanks to our friends at AJ Cycle in Jasper, IN, who provided some top shelf waterproofing spray.
“I can’t wait to get on the road again.”