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Discussion Starter #1
Day 0: Final preparations
Odometer: 73,408

Well, the bike is as ready as I know how to make it and we just need to do the final packing. I am still undecided on the route for Day 1, but will finalize that in the morning based on the weather. The first night’s stay will be in Dearborn as I have always wanted to tour the Henry Ford Museum. From where I live in extreme north central PA (I can see NY from my house), it is shorter to cross into Canada and back at Detroit, but time wise there is not much difference as an hour of total wait time at the two border crossings will negate the 50 or so mile difference in distance. However, since I likely will come back through Ohio I am hoping to go out through Canada for different scenery if nothing else. And hope the border crossings aren’t too time consuming. We have had a few that took 10 minutes and one that took close to an hour. You just never know.

In order to maintain maximum flexibility for each day, I plan to not reserve hotels much in advance. In Europe that practice can be risky, but in the US it has always worked well for us. Generally, we will have an idea by either lunch time or our afternoon coffee break as to how far we want to ride given weather and such and we will pick a hotel for the night that is another 100-200 miles distant and make the reservation before all of the other travelers starting coming off the road around 5:00. This may not work as well as we near Alaska where towns and hotels are fewer, but it seems that many past travelers to Alaska have done this and mostly had success. We are taking no camping gear so the only alternative to a hotel is to ride all night. Hopefully, that won’t happen. :smile:

I found a gentleman through the advrider site who has offered to let me use his airplane hangar to do an oil change in Anchorage. I ordered a filter shipped to him yesterday so hopefully it will beat me to Alaska. I was going to mail a filter, but it is more than $6 to mail a filter and I found I could buy one on Amazon delivered to Alaska for about the same price so that seemed like the better deal. I am going to squeeze the filter wrench onto the LT somewhere and should be set for the change. I am hoping the tires will make the entire trip, but I don’t know how rough on them the alcan will be. I suspect wear will be accelerated on the roads in the far north as compared to the lower 48.
 

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Matt, I hope you both have a wonderful and safe journey and am looking forward to tagging along via the forum.
 

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Have a safe journey Matt. I did the Henry Ford Museum many years ago - it was great! Enjoy!
 
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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
Day 1: Lawrenceville, PA to Dearborn, MI
Odometer: 73,817
Miles: 437

Had a cool start with temps at 45 when we left. The sun soon warmed things to low 60s when we arrived at the Peace Bridge. We had a short 10 minute wait to cross the border, paid our $4.75 bridge toll and then headed up the QEW to Hamilton. It was 69 degrees as we headed up towards Lake Ontario where it very quickly dropped to 49 degrees! That lake is cold. It was like riding into a refrigerator.

We made our way across southern Ontario to Windsor passing through a few fairly light showers. Things slowly warmed up as we neared Windsor where it was sunny and 70. We then crossed back into the US at Detroit. The border crossing was nearly empty. We were 3rd in line and got across in less than 5 minutes. We got to our hotel about 6:30 and headed to nearby Ford’s Garage for supper. What a fantastic place. I had the best fish and chips outside of the UK. They actually had real wedge “chips” like England, not plain Jane french fries. The only thing missing was the vinegar, salt and newspaper wrapping. If you are ever in Dearborn, this is the place to eat.

Not much to show for pictures today as southern Ontario is kind of like Kansas.

PS. At first we weren’t sure about the new Russell seats. They feel much different than stock. Linda and I both feel like we are being slid/rotated forward all of the time. It is a somewhat disconcerting feeling. However, at the end of the day, we had almost no butt burn as we normally do and other than the normal (for us nearly 60s folks) stiffness in the joints, we ended the day in pretty good shape. So, even though the seats feel a little odd while riding, I think they certainly are living up to the “day long” claim as we had a pretty long day (437 miles and probably 8 hours in the saddle) and ended the day in pretty good shape. We aren’t iron butt contestants by any means, but this day was on the long side of our typical touring days. I try to keep us in the 300-350 range most days and most of our trips average only about 200 miles/day counting the few days we spend mostly visiting a sight of one form or another.

I see why Russell really emphasizes getting a 1,000 miles or so before calling them about issues. They say this “breaks in” the seat. I suspect it is more of “breaking in” the riders to get used to the seat and it does feel odd at first if you are coming from a stock seat. :grin:

As for the Vstream tall shield, Linda says it is better for her than stock. She feels less buffeting on her helmet and less wind overall. I find it worse than the stock shield for a couple of reasons. First, I get more wind on my arms and shoulders due to the funky shape at the midpoint that supposedly creates the vortex that National Cycle advertises. This was very noticeable when we got along the cold lake yesterday. I had to stop and put in a jacket liner where I likely could have toughed it out with just my t-shirt and mesh jacket with the stock shield. Second, The extra 3/4” of height puts the top of the shield almost within my line of sight even when fully lowered. I could easily see over the stock shield when fully lowered. I can see over the Vstream, but the edge of the shield is high enough to be bothersome. However, Linda is happy so it is a win overall. :grin:
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Day 2: Dearborn, MI to Mackinaw City, MI
Odometer: 74,118
Miles: 301

Spent a couple of hours at the Henry Ford Museum this morning. You could spend all day there, but two hours of walking and standing was enough for me. Lots of interesting technology there and Ford was a fan of “firsts” so he bought a lot of first of a kind/one of a kind machines. We had a snack in the Diner and then hit the road. We plan to go back again to see Greenfield Village and take the Rouge factory tour.

The wind was strong and gusty the entire ride this afternoon. It made 300 miles feel like 500. And I was going through fuel like crazy, barely getting 110 miles on half a tank. Found a nice mom and pop motel and a great restaurant just a short walk away. No rain today, but the temps dropped considerably as we headed north from a nice 78 in Detroit to 62 at Mackinaw City. Looks like 40s tonight so it may be a chilly start tomorrow as we cross the Mighty Mac bridge.

Hotels were getting scarce for the holiday weekend so we decided to book one tonight for tomorrow to ensure we have one. I suspect finding one for Saturday night may be challenging also, but I hate booking ahead and then having to get to a certain place and losing flexibility in travel.
 

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I grew up in Ann Arbor just west of there. We took many field trips in grade school to the museum & Greenfield Village. I have two friends that work at the museum in the restoration shop.
 

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I grew up in Ann Arbor just west of there. We took many field trips in grade school to the museum & Greenfield Village. I have two friends that work at the museum in the restoration shop.
That would be a fantastic place to “work.” I would probably pay them to let me work there!
 

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Day 3: Mackinaw City, MI to Ashland, WI
Odometer: 74,473
Miles: 355

It was a cool 46 degrees, but calm as we crossed the Mighty Mac bridge at 7 AM. The right lane was closed so we had to ride on the metal grid part of the bridge, but the LT handled that well. The temp never got above 50 as we rode along the northern shore of Lake Michigan. No significant rain during the morning, but overcast and not very warm.

After lunch at the Moose Drop Inn (I am not making that up!), the temp dropped to 43 along the southern shore of Lake Superior. It remained cool most of the day, but did warm into the mid 50s as we approached Ashland and then dropped back into the upper 40s at our lakeside hotel. We saw moose crossing signs, but no moose. Linda loves moose and so far she has been excellent moose repellent. We have been to Alaska, Maine and Newfoundland and now Michigan and have yet to see a wild bull moose. :surprise:

The “yooper” part of Michigan is pretty boring riding with mostly straight and level roads and not much to see. So, today was not the most fun riding day. Just a long, boring and cold day. Looks like tomorrow will be better as we head away from the Great Lakes which make great refrigerators this time of the year. However the hotel hot tub was very nice. :grin:

The first two pictures were taken last night after I had already made yesterday’s post.
 

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Hi , The Mackinaw bridge is getting repainted constantly . If the weather is good enough to paint, there on it .. and you have to run on the steel grid . The third time I rode up to Alaska I had TKC 80's on my '95 GS & it wanted to grab the grid's . If you try to keep on an angle on the grid it doesn't grab near as much.:wave

If your route is up the Yellowhead Hwy https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yellowhead_Highway , a stop in North Battleford at the Western Development Museum https://wdm.ca/north-battleford/ . Nice place, I liked the tractors and farm stuff there . They plowed in one direction then went the other way the next day.. There is a lot to see there .

Also , on the Alaskan HWY , north of Muncho Lake , just over the Liard river is the Liard River Hot Springs Liard River Hot Springs Provincial Park - BC Parks it is well worth the stop. There was a little waterfall you could seat under and have hot water work your back over..It was nice !:grin:
 
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Day 4: Ashland, WI to Fosston, MN
Odometer: 74,735
Miles: 262

It was a very nice morning in Ashland with bright sun and 65 degrees when we left at 8:30. The temps cooled as we approached Lake Superior again and the city of Superior, WI. Docked in Superior was the Arthur M Anderson, which will be familiar to those who know the story of the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald.

We rode through Duluth and up the hill to the Enger Tower which has great views of Duluth and Lake Superior. After snapping a few pictures, we hit the road again headed towards the town of Bemidji to snap some pictures at the statues of Paul Bunyan and Babe the blue ox.

The temps continued to cool into the mid 50s and the skies continued to darken as we approached our stop for the night in Fosston, MN. We hit some light mist, but got to the hotel before any significant precipitation. Now we are finalizing our route for tomorrow as we are getting into more remote country and finding hotels along the direct route is becoming more challenging so we may have to detour off the direct route in order to find lodging at a comfortable daily mileage.

I must say that these roads and scenery make it hard to stay awake. Miles and miles of straight roads with just an occasional bend and little to see along the way. The only good thing is there are a lot of good classic rock radio stations in this part of the country and you can hold a station for 80 miles or more in this flat terrain. Very unlike PA where it is hard to hold even a strong station for more than 40 miles.
 

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Sounds like things are going well, I recognized Duluth from your pictures. I wish I could send you the 95 degrees we had today and I would gladly take your mid 50's.
 

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Sounds like things are going well, I recognized Duluth from your pictures. I wish I could send you the 95 degrees we had today and I would gladly take your mid 50's.
I’d be happy to average those temps. I don’t mind it too bad in the 50s, but it does wear on you after a full day of riding, particularly when you add in gusty winds all day. I much prefer 60s to low 70s, but I like to stay out of the 80s and 90s.
 
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Day 5: Fosston, MN to Estevan, Saskatchewan
Odometer: 75,138
Miles: 303

A cold, windy and boring ride from Fosston to Minot, ND. I had originally planned to stay in Minot for the night, but since we were all bundled up for the cold and it was only 3 PM when we got to Minot, we decided to continue on to Estevan, Saskatchewan and get the border crossing out of the way, eh? Although, the border crossing on route 52 at Portal was pretty quick as the line was empty when we got there. I think the agent was bored as he asked a lot more questions than normal, but we still got through in less than 5 minutes. And most of that time was removing helmets and donning them again.

The scenery was a little better north of Minot as we headed towards Kenmare. Route 52 runs up a shallow valley and all along the hills were numbers made using white stones. We figured out after a while that they were graduating class years. I didn’t get the 19, 18 and 17 (I’m obviously old), but when I saw 65, 77, 79 and such it clicked. Looks like quite a long tradition as I think we saw a number back to at least 62.

We dodged the rain all day, but temps ranged from 48-55, mostly 50 or less. We are hoping for warmer weather in the days ahead, but it looks like a cool start tomorrow. And now we are watching the fires in Alberta and hoping they won’t affect us. Not much for pictures today.
 

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Hi, In 1994 , The second time I road to Alaska . I rode up with my friend Jim & our wife's flew up. Jim & I went thru the Portal / North Portal border crossing. We had to take everything off the bikes for inspection . I had 110 pounds of stuff on my bike & Jim had probably more. I had my wife's clothes, her BMW leather suit , helmet , boots... Plus my stuff, and our camping gear , tent sleeping bag , cook stove ++. I had everything packed in little stow bags , everything in its own bag in its place. Everything had to come off for inspection. I would take a small bag out , & tell the inspector what was in it, then she would feel it like it was a Christmas present then open it. One little bag at a time. After a while I would say what it was, she would feel it & just set it down & not look in that bag. O what great fun that was.:wave the next bay over the inspector was asking Jim what something was, & he would say If you want to know what is in there, you have to look for your self !:surprise:

After we got out of there, I could see that they were doing to same thing to a few Motorhomes too. :frown:
 

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Hi, In 1994 , The second time I road to Alaska . I rode up with my friend Jim & our wife's flew up. Jim & I went thru the Portal / North Portal border crossing. We had to take everything off the bikes for inspection . I had 110 pounds of stuff on my bike & Jim had probably more. I had my wife's clothes, her BMW leather suit , helmet , boots... Plus my stuff, and our camping gear , tent sleeping bag , cook stove ++. I had everything packed in little stow bags , everything in its own bag in its place. Everything had to come off for inspection. I would take a small bag out , & tell the inspector what was in it, then she would feel it like it was a Christmas present then open it. One little bag at a time. After a while I would say what it was, she would feel it & just set it down & not look in that bag. O what great fun that was.:wave the next bay over the inspector was asking Jim what something was, & he would say If you want to know what is in there, you have to look for your self !:surprise:

After we got out of there, I could see that they were doing to same thing to a few Motorhomes too. :frown:
I am glad that Linda and I did not look as sketchy as you and Jim! >:)
 
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Day 6: Estevan, Saskatchewan to North Battleford, Saskatchewan
Odometer: 75,509
Miles: 371

After sitting all night in temps as low as 29, my LT would not start this morning. The #$*#(@#*@ Shorai lithium battery would not crank it over enough to fire and on the third try I believe the starting relay kicked out on low voltage. Having read that sometimes in cold weather there is a need to load the lithium battery for a time to warm it up, I left the ignition on for 30 seconds or so as I programmed the GPS. The HID was also warming up so that should have been drawing some current. I tried again and the cranking was still very slow, but the LT fired. I am definitely one and done with Lithium Ion batteries in motorcycles, unless they find a way to deal with cold temps.

After getting the LT started, we hit the road at 8:15 and it had warmed to 42 by then. It was a great ride in clear skies and sun and continual warming. It was 55 by the time we took a break in Moose Jaw and then was 74 by the time we got to Saskatoon. The terrain south of Saskatoon makes Kansas look hilly! I think we were on some sections of road that were straight for 50 miles. At least it seemed that way.

Given how nice the weather was, we decided to continue on rather than stay in Saskatoon per my original plan. So we found a hotel in North Battleford and rode another hour and a half in upper 70s temps. Just a great riding day other than those flat and straight roads. However, as we got within 60 klicks or so of North Battleford, the terrain started to get some variation. Hopefully, tomorrow we will begin to ease out of the plains and into a little more interesting scenery.

We did see one fire off well in the distance, but it appears that we will be south of all of the serious fires.

Other than the battery not liking the cold, the LT is performing well. The only disappointment is the Russell seat. Linda is liking hers quite well, but mine is only a “day long” seat if your riding day is 4 hours. After that, the pressure under my thighs gets to be quite painful. It feels like they don’t have enough padding on the springs or wires or whatever is in the seat was it feels like two bars are under my thighs right at the front of each side “wing” of the seat. Very uncomfortable after about 200 miles. So, far the seat is as bad as, and I would say probably worse, than was the stock seat. I should still be within the adjustment window with Russell (8 months I believe) and I definitely will send it back for a do over. I’d rather have a stock seat back than live with this the way it is currently. And it is getting worse as the weather gets warmer. I should have kept my stock seat until after this trip...
 

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Day 6: Estevan, Saskatchewan to North Battleford, Saskatchewan
Odometer: 75,509
Miles: 371

After sitting all night in temps as low as 29, my LT would not start this morning. The #$*#(@#*@ Shorai lithium battery would not crank it over.
Sorry to hear you are having some issues. I was always happy with my Odyssey PC680 battery.

The only disappointment is the Russell seat. Linda is liking hers quite well, but mine is only a “day long” seat if your riding day is 4 hours. After that, the pressure under my thighs gets to be quite painful. It feels like they don’t have enough padding on the springs or wires or whatever is in the seat was it feels like two bars are under my thighs right at the front of each side “wing” of the seat.
After having send backs on custom seat conversions (not one was correct), for my FJR RDL, I arranged a ride-in appt to the factory in Shasta Lake, CA and it was right the first time. However, that would be a long trip for you.

I also did an earlier seat conversion before a long trip and had a comfort problem. My solution was to purchase an AirHawk large cruiser pad. Made the seat much more comfortable. You may check out any motorcycle stores you find. I found mine at Cycle Gear. There are dealers in Saskatoon and Calgary.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Sorry to hear you are having some issues. I was always happy with my Odyssey PC680 battery.



After having send backs on custom seat conversions (not one was correct), for my FJR RDL, I arranged a ride-in appt to the factory in Shasta Lake, CA and it was right the first time. However, that would be a long trip for you.

I also did an earlier seat conversion before a long trip and had a comfort problem. My solution was to purchase an AirHawk large cruiser pad. Made the seat much more comfortable. You may check out any motorcycle stores you find. I found mine at Cycle Gear. There are dealers in Saskatoon and Calgary.
I have one ... at home. Never imagined needing it after my test rides, but the longest was 2.5 hours which was too short to raise the issue. Lesson learned.
 
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Also a dealer in Edmonton.

ARGYLL MOTOR SPORTS
9055 63 Ave NW
Edmonton, AB, T6E 0E9
Canada
(780) 435-6811
 
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Day 7: North Battleford, Saskatchewan to Whitecourt, Alberta
Odometer: 75,861
Miles: 352

Another beautiful riding day in Saskatchewan and now Alberta. It was in the 40s last night, but up to 56 when we hit the road at 8:00. It was approaching 70 at our coffee break in Lloydminster. The forecast for sun and 80s in the afternoon was spot on and we had a great ride to Whitecourt, except for the transit of Edmonton. It was heavy traffic and pretty hot there (mid-80s) and we had no luck finding a place for lunch. They have no signs at all for restaurants and such and the GPS doesn’t show you where things are until you select one and then find it is two miles off the route. So, we continued out of the city and found a nice little restaurant just a mile off the road a few miles out of town.

The terrain is still mostly prairie, but we are seeing some trees now and rolling hills to break the monotony. Linda was bored and dozing so no pictures today.

I had some oddness with the bike today. The highways were all posted at 110 km/h today and I cruised pretty much right at the speed limit, maybe a couple klicks over. My first two tanks only returned 35 MPG which is quite low for 70 MPH in fairly nice weather on basically level roads. I was a getting worried that something was amiss with the LT, but it was running just fine, although the temp gauge read a little low. I was also thinking about fuel range on the Alcan as there is at least one stretch where it looks like 170 miles between fuel stations from Muncho Lake to Watson Lake. 35 MPG still gives over 200 miles to empty, but that isn’t a lot of margin. I normally get 40-42 MPG at similar speeds riding back home so this was perplexing.

After lunch I filled up again at an Esso station (I think the other two were less known brands, at least to me) and started out at 41 MPG which then dropped to 40 as some hills were encountered. This is still just a touch low, but in the ballpark of what I would expect. So, I am guessing that the fuel I had in the morning may have had more than the usual amount of ethanol. I don’t see the amount on the pumps as in the US, but the mileage would be consistent with maybe 25% ethanol. That is just a theory, but the change was abrupt after I bought the Esso gas.
 
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