This was my first large group ... a man brought his 15 year old daughter along and she was such an inspiration to us! A couple from Florida had a Gold Wing with an extended range fuel cell. They loved to do a late start every morning and after we had gone a few hours, they would blast past us at 100 MPH! What a thrill! Ed from Minnesota and Dan from Illinois joined us en route.
June 30 -- our first day -- we had a 3 police car escort from First City Honda in St. Augustine! Beth Davidson from the SKI-HI Institute in Logan, Utah as well as Gail Strauss and Kathy Mankinen from Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind had a breakfast table for the four bikers ... Debbie Butler, Glenroy and Cheryl Moses, and Mike Tuccelli. Leaving at 6 a.m., we arrived at Madison, Georgia where Ward Pettis and his daughter Mallory had a BBQ lunch prepared for us. Ward and Mallory and the rest of us took off ... and after just a few minutes, Ward had a flat tire!
Fortunately, a kind person offered to drive Ward to a motorcycle shop so we took off the tire off his BMW. Unfortunately, with such a late start, we missed the reception planned by Knoxville Parent/Infant group. Fortunately, Patrick Henry from last year's ride represented us. We arrived in Gatlinburg at 11 p.m.
Unfortunately, we were unable to make it to the festivies sponsored by the SKI HI parent group in Knoxville, TN at the Mountain Motorsports in Kodak, TN. Fortunately, Patrick Henry from last year's trip was there to represent us. Our heartfelt thanks to all those people who put this together.
July 1 -- our second day,we left Gatlinburg, TN in great spirits. Alas, Debbie's Kawasaki developed fuel flow problems. Fortunately, I was able to use my Sidekick and searched the web and found a dealer willing to fix her bike. After waiting three and a half hours, her bike was ready. We cancelled our reservations and made an early stop in Illinois for safety's sake.
July 2 -- our third day ... we caught up with Glenroy and Cheryl Moses in Madison, Wisconsin who had left the motel after us unaware of our problems. Under brillant blue skies, we took off from Illinois, crossed Wisconsin into Minnesota. We were making great time hoping to get to Fargo, ND that night. Unfortunately, the trailer hitch pin broke off and I was blissfully unaware of pulling a trailer on nothing but a chain at 65 MPH down the interstate. One of the alert bikers saw sparks and alerted me to the problem. Glenroy Moses had a brilliant idea and used a socket wrench and a vise wrench which I had to make a improvised hitch pin.
Just 130 miles from Fargo, it started to rain. For safety's sake, I thought it best to stop at a hotel rather than drive in the dark in rain to Fargo. We plan to leave early tomorrow morning and catch up with the rest of the group .. Dan Edwards from Minnesota and J B Erdmier from Illinois.
I plan to find a trailer repair service in Fargo in the morning and have them weld on a traditional hitch.
July 3 -- our fourth day ... at 5:30 a.m. Central Time Zone, we looked out at clearing skies. Checking Weather Channel, we could see the storm clouds starting to pass east of us and knew if we had pressed on last night, we would have driven 130 miles in the dark in constant rain. For those of you not familiar with motorcycles, we have bubble face shields and/or goggles and windshields. They don't have windshield wipers <g>. At night, water droplets become thousands of pinpoints of light when oncoming traffic comes, making it very difficult to detect road debris. Also, in rural areas, deer become active at night. It's on to Canada today!! Updates may be more brief depending on availability of internet. We've covered over 1700 miles so far. Arrived in Yorkton, Sasketchewan safely. The temperature went down to a really nice 62 degrees en route and our sympathies are with folks swelting in the humid 90s!
July 4 -- our fifth day .... We all left Yorkton at 9 a.m. and had an absolutely splendid ride thru the Canadian praries under clear skies in the high 70s and low 80s. A nice dip through the Battlefords ... and then into Lloydminster, Alberta. No problems today ... except Debbie Butler has a swollen hand and blisters from holding open her throttle but she, too, is in great spirits. Mallory and Ward Pettis took a dip in the hotel's splendid swimming pool while the rest of us did our laundry. We should be on the Alaska Highway tomorrow night. Again, depending on internet connections, we may update tomorrow.
With ENTHUSIASM, on to Alaska.
Our thoughts are with our travel mate, Darryl Petrack, recuperating from his unfortunate accident and we hope he is up to next year's four corner trip. His report is below ...
Decided you all deserved a "progress" report on my "Rebel Bike Trek / Alaska Bike Run." Some of you are already aware that this project came to a screeching halt a few miles east of Sweetwater, TX about 1:20 pm on Monday, June 19, with a wind turbulence induced crash on I-20, and a helicopter ride to the Trauma Center at Shannon Medical Center in San Angelo, TX.
I arrived home Wed. evening in amazingly good shape, broken collarbone which will probably get pinned this week, three broken ribs which have been amazingly pain-free, and an assortment of scrapes and bruises which daily enhance their variety of locations and color schemes!
Those who wondered as I did about the toughness of a nylon mesh jacket can quit! Mine did a great job!
My mesh gloves did such a great job that one of the EMT's who rides a cycle plans to get some -- only one gash, which appears to be because the leather knuckle protection didn't even give for me!
Brand new blue jeans were totalled, but I wasn't! Only scrapes on outside of both knees and both ankles.
Helmet had an assortment of scrapes, but no dents or breaks, and I did not even get a headache!
Baby Wing is home and probably rideable as is, altho she looks as rough as my left side feels!
Yes, I am disappointed, but I am so much more grateful for being in such acceptably good shape that I am barely aware of the disappointment (most of the time).
For those who sent donations for this project, I have sent them in as planned. If anyone wishes to have a refund because I could not complete my side of the agreement, let me know and I will replace the value. I did receive $1800 in total donations ($5 and up) from 17 donors (counting myself). So SKI-HI and my two Habitat For Humanity groups will benefit from my efforts, and I will know that even my recovery will have its positive payback! Exactly how I will followup - do Alaska in 07, restrict my rides to weekend rides, retire, whatever - is to be determined.
The group assembled and headed out on Friday, 30 June as planned. They did not leave the crashes and flats to me as I suggested . . .
July 5 -- our 6th day --- we left Lloydminter, Alberta under brilliant skies with temperatures in the low 60s. Barry and Dan went ahead of us while Leroy and Cheryl stayed behind for a few extra winks while Ward, Mallory, Debbie and I tooled down Transcanadian Route 16 at a leisurely 110 KM/HR (about 65 mph). We finally got onto the Alaska Highway late in the afternoon (see photos for Milepost Zero). Almost immediaely, we saw our first moose! After over 3,400 miles we reached the end of the 6th day and are hyper excited about the next two days on the Alaska Highway!
Thinking already about 2007, I plan to add a 300 mile day every fourth day for a nice rest. Group travelling is taking a whole lot more time than I expected <g>.
July 6 -- our 7th day We left Ft St John at 8 am under cloudy skies at 56 degrees feeling badly for our southerly friends facing humid 90 degree heat! At Pink Mountain, I saw a wolf. The group was delighted to see wild horses cavorting on the roads edge but the highlight was a feisty herd of buffalo .. About 50 .. With babies. Imagine seeing a 1500 pound male right smack in the middle of the road taking his sweet time to move out of the way for a 18 wheeler. We bikers have to yield. We also saw a few elusive moose. By the time we got to Toad River, it started to rain. In this last segment, we encountered our worst road .. MUD! Two wheel vehicles weighing 1,000 pounds, rain and mud is not a good combination! When we arrived at the lodge, we were stressed out!
July 7 our 8th day With a gentle drizzle welcoming us, we left Watson Lake Hotel. The Alaska Highway had a very few gravel breaks. It was much better than 2 years ago when I counted over 200 gravel breaks, with one break alone 20 miles long. We had a great time navigating a rough steel grating bridge at Teslin. The secret is to relax and relax. The bikes feel like they want to go one way and another .. it is the interaction of the tire tread with the grooves of the grating.
For lunch, Mukluk Annies Salmon Bake was the perfect medicine for us! There was spledid view of the Teslin River. I got some scented soap for my wife and others got souvenirs. I noticed that they have an all you can eat blueberry pancakes, bacon, egg, etc. breakfast so we are going to try to take advantage of that on the way back. Mosquitoes were so bad, they were entertaining us inside the restaurant!
July 8, our 9th day With rain and 50 degrees welcoming our departure from Beaver Creek, Yukon, we arrived in Alaska! At the border, we were cheerfully told that rain is predicted all the way to Fairbanks ... but the highway is much better!
With vastly improved highway, we arrived in Tok, Alaska one hour later. See photo album for group picture. Ward and Mallory split off for Anchorage. The skies brightened up and we cruised into Fairbanks under 72 degrees weather and sunny skies. 4900 miles completed!
July 9 ... Chatting with people in lobby of Super 8 hotel, they said road to Coldfoot is very bad. We had already decided to scratch the Prudhoe Bay segment. If Darryl was with us, I know he would wanted to have gone ahead and I would have gone with him ... maybe in 2007 <g>
For the next couple of days, it is rest, rest, rest! Service bikes, do laundry, do some local sightseeing.
Some of us will tour Denali and points south and west. Debbie is hoping the bike shop here in Fairbanks can repair her fuel flow problem!
July 10 -- Some of us got our bikes serviced. I went to the farthest North dealer ... they have Harleys, Hondas, etc. Surprised that they didn't have synthetic oil (I've been using Mobil 1 since 1972), I went out and got some.
Decided to do something really adventurous tomorrow ... I scheduled a seat with a bush mail pilot! On Tuesday at 2:30 p.m. Alaska time I will be flying to visit an Athabascan Idian village above the Arctic Circle way inside Gates of the Arctic National Park!
We plan to leave July 12, hopefully at 8 a.m. sharp. Ward will be dropping off Mallory and then catch up with us. We sincerely hope for dry weather at that muddy road segment we encountered right before Beaver Creek, Yukon a few days ago. This time, I am going to use a windshield tripod and video that crossing!!!
As of 10:45 a.m. July 11, the weather forecast for July 12 is 72 degrees, partly cloudy. We will be most relieved if we can get past that road construction right past the Alaska/Canada border without rain!
As of 7 p.m. Alaska time, Dan, Ward, Mallory, Debbie, Glen and Cheryl Moses and I are here in Fairbanks. Barry went on ahead and will hook up with us after Calgary, I believe. There may be no updates for the next three days, depending on internet connections until Montana.
Enthusiastically yours .. Mike Tuccelli
July 15 1 a.m. 760 miles from Ft Nelson to Red Deer. Debbie's bike broke its chain 100 desolate miles north of Ft Nelson. Drove her to a motel that had the last two remaini g rooms in town. Raining. Cold. Wet. After making sure she was all right and had plans A B and C, we left the next morning for Red Deer, Alberta. Ward and Dan iarrived here an hour later.
The Moses stopped in Edmonton for new tires. We are on schedule for the mini run in Logan, Utah this Sunday. Debbie emailed saying her chain is fixed she plans to take a direct route to Florida.
755 a.m. Saturday .. A bright, glorious Canadian day at 50 degrees! We are off with enthusiasm after 7,000 miles!!! Saturday July 15 Left Red Deer with brisk 55 degree weather, arrived in Butte 598 miles later. After we passed Calgary, it got hot quickly and reached 100 degrees before Helena, MT. Will be going to Logan, Utah and arrive before 3 pm for their mini run. Darryl will meet us in New Mexico and a friend of mine, Lee Hanks, will show us the best Mexican restaurant in the old part of Albuquerque. Most of us are still full of ENTHUSIASM!!!
July 16 Sunday Arrived in Logan at 2 pm. It was 55 degrees when we left Butte. It heated up to 95 degrees in Idaho. Dan went on home to Minnesota. Ward, Barry and I expect to see Glen and Cheryl at the mini run which begins at 3. Last time I heard, Debbie is driving here but I suspect she will be a day late so I plan to wait for her. Full update tonight when I get on a computer!
Debbie Butler called and said she is in Idaho Falls tonight and will be with us Monday morning so it is on to Farmington, New Mexico as planned .. the weather forecast is 100 degrees!! Not good for Barry on his air cooled Harley Davidson as it blows a blast furnace on him ... so we are going to tweak our route Monday to get to Farmington as fast as possible ... so it looks like they won't see the exciting Mokee Dugway ... see photo album for Patrick Henry's website for his photos.
As for the mini run .... it was fantastic! A live band, a cookout, prizes and a police escort!
On Tuesday, we plan to see Darryl Petrack in New Mexico after we stop in Albuquerque where Lee Hanks will show us the best Mexican restaurant in the old town. It is great to have friends en route! Over 8,000 miles covered so far ...
July 17 Debbie is with us! Joined us here at Logan 930 am record setting heat wave, high 107 to 110 degrees It is on to Farmington NM
Monday night Arrived in New Mexico, city of Farmington. Debbie had driven from Idaho Falls to meet us in Logan and the four of us drove in 107 degree heat for three hours. Imagine holding a 1000 watt hair dryer on high to your legs and face! Needless to say, all good humor was gone and I didn't protest when the group didn't want to go thru Mokee Dugway! Wind was fierce, blowing to one side and we were all leaning towers of Pisa. It will be great to drive a straight line tomorrow on the prairies. On with ENTHUSIASM still!
Tuesday night Barry left us to go thru Amarillo. We met Lee Hanks at a popular Mexican restaurant then met Darryl Petrack for dinner in Clovis, NM. The final three of us arrived in Lubbock TX. Tomorrow we are to stop in Ft Worth TX to meet another group affiliated with SKIHI. Weather was good, with temperature ranging from 82 to 97. It is fascinating to observe vegetation on eastern and western slopes of the mountains! The temperature and precipitation variables are fascinating! All three of us are in good spirits and have enthusiasm!!!
Wednesday evening Left Lubbock TX under clear skies and arrived at downtown Ft Worth in sizzling 104 degree weather to a very friendly welcome by the SKIHI group in a nice air conditioned place. Invigorated, we hit the interstate. I thought it would cool off later in the afternoon but it was a constant 104 to 106 to Texarkana. Hopefully, the worst hot weather is behind us! Tomorrow, we enter the Southeast!!! We heard from Roy and Cheryl Moses ... They are in Wyoming and should be home by Friday also. Unable to post pictures due to no internet for past few days (Motel 6). Should post more photos by Saturday.
Thursday night We three had a very pleasant cruise down highway 82. When we got into Greenville, MS, Ward had a taste for soul food so he asked a friendly guy at a gas station and we followed him to a local place. We all had catfish and Debbie had her favorite .. French fried sweet potatoes! The temperature bumped 100 degrees for a moment before we arrived in Tuscaloosa, our escort being a vigorous thunderstorm cell, so that makes four straight days of triple digit readings. Its on to Florida with enthusiasm tomorrow morning!
Friday, July 21 Ward left us in Tuscaloosa, Alabama to go on to his mother's home in Madison, Georgia. The final two of us (Debbie and myself) enjoyed a splendid ride on US 82, passing by some stately homes, manicured fields, and, of course, some trashy looking places. All in all, US 82 is a great route. The temperature stayed mostly in the mid 90s with a peak of 99 as we entered Florida.
Arrived home safe and sound. I plan to update this website one more time and add some photos soon. Already, I am thinking of next year's trip ... I guess I will relent and do a four-corner thing from Key West to Maine (but this time, go up thru Knoxville, TN, West Virginia and the middle part of Pennsylvania, staying far as possible from the congested coast up to US 2 to Maine, then go across Quebec and Ontario and down to Wisconsin and then take a route aross the Dakotas and Montana, then up to gorgeous Hyder, Alaska, then the Pacific Coast Highway in Oregon, then thru the middle part of California down to San Diego, then to Tecate, Mexico and then back up into the states. Check back on or around July 23 or so for the final update and photos!
On second thoughtt, this may be a clockwise route ... from here to California, then up the coast to Alaska, then across Canada to possibly Prince Edward Island, then down Maine back to Florida ... on a route that will go thru West Virginia, Knoxville, TN to avoid the horrendous I-95 traffic along the congested east coast. Reason for this is that some west coast bikers would like to go up to Alaska. The schedule will allow people to apply for a 4-corner certificate from the Iron Butt Association.
July 27, 2007 ... we heard from Glenroy and Cheryl Moses ... they arrived home safely and so did Ward Pettis. I posted the final five photos.
I will try to secure a donation of a motorcycle to serve as a prize for a planned POKER RUN to coincide with the benefit run in 2007. If my dreams come to pass, we will have five check in points where bikers can draw a card with the highest hand winning a new motorcycle (incentive levels must be met).
If you want a DVD of this trip, send $5 to Mike Tuccelli, 4492 Golf Ridge Drive, Elkton, FL 32033 and I will send you a DVD that has a 12-minute edited segment and a one and a half hour unedited segment.