Texas to Tuktoyaktuk

Where have you been riding? Tell us all about your trip. Prove it with pictures! If ya didn't take pictures, it didn't happen...
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mightymatt43
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Texas to Tuktoyaktuk

Postby mightymatt43 » Sun Aug 23, 2009 1:01 am

So I just turned 27 this past June and suddenly realized that my days of complete freedom were quickly coming to a close. My wife and I have been quietly discussing having kids, the idea of finding and keeping a career is growing evermore important, and I just feel like there’s not much time left before my life as a lazy vagabond is apprehended by responsibility. So, with that in mind, I talked my wife into driving across North America with me in our 2007 Gear Up.

The Gear:
For the past year, I’ve been planning and preparing. I became obsessed with compiling gear and parts and tools… I’m certain that this site only fed my habit. I bought so much stuff that I soon realized it wouldn’t even fit in my Suburban let alone on my bike. So I somehow condensed my list of stuff and made a pretty good effort in not taking too much stuff. I impressed myself, I must say.

The Essentials:
- riding gear: Rev’it!
- helmets: HJC and Shoei
- heated clothing: Gerbing
- communications system: AutoCom
- GPS: Garmin 478
- duffels: North Face
- security: Pacsafe
- tent and bags: Mountain Hardware
- cots: LuxoryLite
- cameras: GoPro wide, Canon 5D, Canon G9 (my wife is a pro photographer)

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The Route:
I’ve read literally hundreds of ride reports and yet over the past year I couldn’t seem to be able to put together a definite route. I decided that I’d rather just hit the road and not worry too much about it. The only thing I needed to know is that we will start in San Antonio, TX, stay off all main highways, and our goal is Tuktoyaktuk, Canada. There are definitely some things we’d like to see but we really just want to be free with this trip.

Modifications:
I have spent countless hours on this site learning from other foilheads in their modification mistakes and failures. But I realized that I’d kind of like to see what my machine can do how it is now. So I mounted an extra gas can to the hack, added a highway peg to the left crash bar, got all my electric gear hooked up (electric clothing, comm. system, GPS) and got ready to go. I’m pretty confident in this beast…

We’ve actually already hit the road and had a handful of experiences. I guess I need to get everyone up to speed…and if anyone is interested, we're doing a more interactive blog at http://www.bugsonmyface.com

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mightymatt43
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Day 1

Postby mightymatt43 » Sun Aug 23, 2009 1:28 am

DAY 1

We left our house in San Antonio at about 8 am. We definitely tried to get out earlier because it has been ruthlessly hot in this part of the country and we wanted to enjoy a few cooler moments on the road, but we’ve never been a couple that sticks to our schedule.

Anyway, the first hour of riding was great. Not much traffic. Small country roads – even a little dirt.

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Then, all of a sudden, as I’m pulling up a small hill, the bike dies. I pull off to the side of the road and get off to take a look at things. Nothing seems out of the ordinary and it starts up beautifully, so we take off once again. Then, five minutes later, it dies again and I’m barely able to muscle it off the road. We spend the next 4 hours sitting on the side of the road in the middle of nowhere while I try to do everything in my mechanical know-how. I pull the plugs, find that one is black, and begin focusing my energy on the left side. I check the valves. I pull the carb and do a bit of cleaning. I pull the airbox. I do absolutely everything I can think of but the bike refuses to run. Finally, after hours in the sun with no water or food, my wife convinces me to call for help. I am defeated. No pictures were taken during this part of the day - with the amount of curse words being thrown around, my wife doubted that it would be the proper time for a photograph.

Finally, I decide to call some friends to come pick us up with a trailer and as we’re sitting in the tiny bit of shade that we find under a small tree, a man stops and gets out of his car. Much to my chagrin, it is a good friend of my dad. He talks with us for a few minutes, hears that we’re okay and that we have a ride lined up, and leaves us with a chuckle. “All the way to Canada, huh?”, he says before taking off. Minutes later, our phones are choked with the calls of friends and family asking what has happened. Awesome.

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Finally, after several more hours of waiting (thankfully a kind woman stopped and gave us water, grapes and cherries), we’re picked up and driven back home. After talking to Ken Storm (our faithful dealer), we decide to drive 5 hours to Dallas to stay with a friend and take our bike into Stormseller Motorcycles. What a day…what a depressing first day…

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Day 1 mileage by bike: 60 miles
Day 1 mileage by car: 400 miles

http://www.bugsonmyface.com

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mightymatt43
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Day 2

Postby mightymatt43 » Sun Aug 23, 2009 1:42 am

Day 2

We wake up the next morning, after getting into Dallas way too late the night before, and head over to Stormsellers. For those that don't know, Ken Storm is about as standup of a guy as any man walking the earth. I trust him. A lot.

Anyway, we get to the shop and bring the bike in. Ken and I start talking and checking some things: valves, carbs, plugs, airbox, etc.

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Finally, after several hours, we realize that the engine has almost no compression. Something is very, very wrong. Ken tells me that he'd like to keep the bike for at least a day to check out some other things - namely, taking the heads off and having a look inside. After wandering around his shop a bit more we take our leave and head to my buddy's house to wait for a phone call.

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a '55 Ural in the shop!

Later that night (yes, he worked into the night to get me some information), Ken calls and gives me horrible news. My left head needs to be replaced and he will need to order parts to do the job properly.

This news basically slows our trip to a stall. We only have a month and a half to go across North America, and this type of hold up is not what we were hoping for.

Again, dejected and defeated, we decide to head home the next day.

Day 2 mileage: 0

http://www.bugsonmyface.com

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mightymatt43
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Day 3 and 4

Postby mightymatt43 » Sun Aug 23, 2009 1:51 am

Day 3 and 4

So we went home, thinking that our bike was destined to sit in the shop for weeks while we waited for parts. I spent the next day pouting and acting generally pretty pissy while we went back to our normal way of life, sans Ural. Then, while sitting on the throne on Friday, I received a call from Ken.

"I have some good news, your bike is ready to go!"

I nearly jumped off the pot without taking care of my business first.

"How is this possible? I thought you had to order parts?"

"Well, let's just say I found a way..."

So Ken was a hero that day. We were both extremely excited and couldn't wait for the next day so that we could finally get our trip underway.

Day 3 and 4 mileage: 0

http://www.bugsonmyface.com

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mightymatt43
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Day 5

Postby mightymatt43 » Sun Aug 23, 2009 2:17 am

Day 5

And this brings us to today.

My wife and I woke up this morning, tossed our gear in our car and headed to Dallas, once again.

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We saw this bumper sticker on the way. I have to say, I kinda look like a hippie with my long hair and was scared.

We arrived at about 2 and were overjoyed to see our bike eagerly awaiting our return. Ken explained to me that he just happen to have a perfectly good, used head that (after getting it cleared with Ural first) was used to replace my broken parts under warranty. The main culprit had been a busted valve guide that was causing all sorts of problems.

Here's the little trouble maker.
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And again.
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I had never seen these models in person before - wowee.
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Again with the '55.
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Before I took off with my bike, however, Ken suggested I take it for a quick ride. I eagerly jumped on and took off down the street. Less than a mile later, the bike died. I coasted to the shoulder and immediately began spouting curse words. I called Ken on the phone and he was on the scene in minutes. He got out of his car, took a few minutes to assess the situation then asked, "Does it have gas?". I am a schmuck.

We returned to the shop, and I got my wallet out to pay. Yet, when I asked how much I owed, Ken told me $20! Twenty-freaking-dollars for hours and hours of work! And really, all I paid for was the extra tube and tube repair I had done by his shop. If that doesn't say something about how Ural takes care of their customers, I don't know what will. Not only that, Ken went out of his way to make my trip possible. I will not forget that...

With the savior of our trip.
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Anyway, our trip was finally on! We spent the next 2 hours fighting our way out of the DFW area. Can I say I hate driving in the city? It sucks. We were sweaty and I was tired from all the stop and go but we were happy. It was weird - we were just happy to be on the road after such a strange couple of days.

When we finally got out of town, the ride really started. It was early evening, the roads were small and empty, and all seemed right with the world.

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We stopped just outside of Dallas in a town called Mineral Wells for the night and we are stoked for what's coming next!

Day 5 mileage: 127 miles

http://www.bugsonmyface.com

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Dwight
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Postby Dwight » Sun Aug 23, 2009 7:13 am

Sounds like you are off an running at last! I'm looking forward to your next update.

Safe ride,

Dwight
'05 Tourist "Serenity" (We never forget our first...)
'93 Solo (She's gone West, but she'll never be forgotten...)
Ridin' the back roads of Apex and Holly Springs, NC
Visit my website: http://www.dwightrahl.com

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Postby Latguy » Sun Aug 23, 2009 8:30 am

Well, you've passed the first test! ...and Kudos to Stormseller!
I wish you clear sailing and Happy Trails!
Will be following your journey...
'07 Gear Up Desert w/Modtops
'74 R90S w/SuperTrapps
'08 FLHP w/Sampson

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BillyG
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Postby BillyG » Sun Aug 23, 2009 9:46 am

I hope you brought along that valve and broken guide as a reverse voodoo spare :wink: Maybe string it on a chain and turn it into a talisman/good luck charm?

I envy you guys...have a great adventure!
Bill Glaser
2002 Ural Patrol "CYKA"
300,000 km's since May 1st 2002
The "Unofficial Ural Service Manual" can be viewed at: http://www.myural.com

jntroisi
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Postby jntroisi » Sun Aug 23, 2009 10:26 am

Nice! Have a great time and remember that even the crappy things that happen are an experience and a moment of the adventure. Add up all the moments, good and bad, and what you have is a life.

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Niteblues
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Postby Niteblues » Sun Aug 23, 2009 10:59 am

Awesome! I'm jealous for sure!

Looking forward to hearing more of your adventure. Be safe.
Scott

2004 Ural Patrol

"You can ride farther in one hour than you can walk in a day"

"Media bias contributes to erosion of the perception of truth." Tanya Marcum

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jcook004
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Postby jcook004 » Sun Aug 23, 2009 1:09 pm

:lurker:
Jody
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09' Honda Shadow Aero
07' Honda Shadow Aero (Hers)
IBA# 23052

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mr. cob
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Postby mr. cob » Sun Aug 23, 2009 3:10 pm

Howdy Matt,

Safe journey to you and your wife, enjoy the trip and please continue to take us along via the ride report and photos.
Mr. Cob

Driver of the "Predator" a highly modified 2005 Gear-Up.

Driver of the "Canyon Acrobat" a 2008 Gear-Up, this rig is now driven primarily by "Mrs. Cob"

Driver of the "Kraken", 2014 Asphalt Gray Gear-Up that will be used to prove out and test parts for the new generation of Fueli rigs.

My Photo galleries, http://mr-cob.smugmug.com/

Join "Smugmug", click this link and save some money, https://secure.smugmug.com/signup?Coupon=geyYbNZwLLrl6

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Spicy McHaggis
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Postby Spicy McHaggis » Sun Aug 23, 2009 5:00 pm

Awesome!

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greenmachine
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Postby greenmachine » Sun Aug 23, 2009 7:06 pm

Cool beans !

Stuff happens.

Have FUN and ride SAFE!

kermitski
Russian biker has-been....
Rode around the block a couple times
and got rid of the goofy thing...
:-))

cpres
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Postby cpres » Sun Aug 23, 2009 8:07 pm

I will be watching this one and look forward to a fun filled trip for you two.
2007 Ural Retro burning up the road at Ural speed.
Some of my family have asked if Urals come with social lives, I am thinking they do, we have met the nicest people with our Ural.


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