April 18, 2011

A UCCC - Unlimited Coast to Coast to Coast and an Alaska North South Insanity ride. Both to be conducted under the strict rules of verification and conduct of the Iron Butt Association. Well I guess the cat is out of the bag - sort of - started telling people of my plans for this summer's ride on the little Honda CBR 125. An Unlimited Coast to Coast to Coast - Key West, FL to Prudhoe Bay (Deadhorse) AK then back to Key West, FL. With the addition of a side trip to Hyder AK (to complete the inaugural Alaska North South Insanity) it should total in the 25,000 km range. After many many hours of upgrades to prepare it for longer distances I think the little bike is about as ready as she will ever be. Only a few more hours to complete last minute electrical upgrades. Perhaps on this ride she'll earn her name. As yet she's still just the "Little Honda". The test ride at the Iron Butt Association's Gator 1000 mile ride in Florida this past March was a pretty good test as it rained for about the first 6 to 8 hours - sometimes heavy. Even with a stupid error causing a side trip to Orlando on the return leg adding about 60 miles to my route the bike still finished fairley early and didn't disgrace herself. Found out that my new overgloves were faulty and leak like a sieve (since replaced by the great folks at Aerostitch) and that the constant nemisis - vibration - caused all but one of the tabs to shatter on the front fairing lowers. At present held on with zip ties. Soon to be replaced. Other than these two little things all is coming into focus for the trip. I'll post a photo here shortly The main problems are, as usual related to capacities. Or lack thereof in this case. First there is the electrical system - too weak for electric clothing. As we are going well above the Arctic Circle to the northern coast of Alaska on the Arctic Ocean - warmth is a necessity - not a luxury. Thus all lighting except directional signals was converted to LED lights. Including the headlights. I now have a spare capacity of about 110 watts, enough for an electric vest and gloves. The other lack of capacity is of course size. The size of what you can carry and the size of the engine. The engine has been somewhat warmed over to increase it's driveability at highway speeds and much larger panniers have been fitted with custom mounts fabricated that I hope will withstand the vibration and rigors of long high latitude dirt roads. Needless to say anything that is not essential won't be taken. Due to the variety of weather expected a need for both very hot weather clothing and very cold weather clothing needs to be available. This alone takes up over half of the storage space. The rest is tools, spares, tent, sleeping bag, bear flares & spray, tire repair essentials, off bike clothing (minimal), food, water etc.etc.etc. !! Unfortunately most of the preparations are once again for the dirt road (Dalton Highway) to the Arctic Ocean from just north of Fairbanks northward past the Arctic Circle and on to Deadhorse (Prudhoe Bay). I learned my lesson the hard way on the Four Corners of Canada ride - in the Arctic - expect anything. Especially poor road conditions and inclement weather. It can snow in every month up there and rain on dirt roads over permafrost make them undriveable. So you'd best be prepared to be self sufficient for a few days - or don't go. Once again Charles Fider will accompany me on his 1982 BMW R100RT and hopes to set a record for the oldest bike to complete the UCCC. It now has well over 400,000 km on it. He also has been working on it most of the winter to make sure that it is up to the trip. We will gain have the Spot Navigation Tracker to enable everyone to follow along via the ten minute updates to a Google map via satellite. Just click here: http://tinyurl.com/bobmunden starting June 1 and you should see a map showing our position updates as we travel. Please DO NOT panic if it stops or the track just vanishes. Like everything else it can malfunction or I can simply forget to reset it every 24 hours. This actually happened last year on the Coast to Coast ride and caused some to worry needlessly. OOPS - sorry! If the positions just overlap in the same position it just means we're not moving. Could be we just stopped to sleep or repair a tire or anything. So don't worry. We may also spend an extra day at Deadhorse and at Hyder. That's about it for now - the "cat's officially out of the bag" Bob

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