iMovie video of 2014 Alaska Trip

I've been playing around with iMovie some tonight. I've got 12,000 photos and hours of GoPro video that I have no clue what to do with so... This video covers only my first few days of the trip....from Denver to Yellowstone.


Posted by Rob Kiser on August 27, 2014 at 2:14 AM : Comments (0) | Permalink

Our Greatest Fear - Marianne Williamson

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.

Our Greatest Fear --Marianne Williamson


Posted by Rob Kiser on August 26, 2014 at 2:45 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

Sic Transit Gloria

It looks like I need to order a larger map. I have a lot of maps up in the master bedroom. I pin them up and trace out my silly little motorcycle rides on them. But it looks like I need a map of all of North America at this point to trace out all my absurd little peregrinations. So, I'm thinking about ordering this beast and putting it up on the wall (along with the others, of course.) as a 48" x 64" print.

Sic Transit Gloria - (Glory Fades)

One of the reasons I trace out my rides on maps and hang them on the wall is that there's a part of me that doesn't believe it happened. In a way, it's hard to believe that I even made these trips. I mean...I did make them...this wasn't all an exercise in Photoshp. The trips happened. But they're so far removed from work and my normal life that, in a way, it's hard to believe that they did happen. Tracing out my route on a map and pinning it up on the wall reminds me that I did do these things. That we are in control of our own destiny. That we can really do great things, if only we dare to try.

Here Be Dragons

Something struck me recently...someone said that we were born in the wrong time. That everything had already been discovered. That there was nothing left to explore. Meaning, as I understood it, that we don't have the opportunity to discover, as did Columbus, Balboa, or Magellan. But this point seems trivial to me. Maybe even contrite. So what if someone else discovered it first? As Hilary said, "what difference, at this point, does it make?" So what if we can't be the the first to discover Vancouver Island, the Arctic Ocean, or the Straits of Magellan? What of it? We still can discover the world for ourselves. The fact that others came before us is irrelevant. Go discover it now. For yourself. Don't worry that others found it first. Be glad that they've already been there, conquered the dragons, and paved the way for your arrival. Don't be silly. Get out and explore the world...if you've never discovered it, then, for all intents and purposes, it never has been discovered. It may not exist for all you know. May be a lie drawn on a map, like a mermaid or a dragon. Go explore it for yourself.


Posted by Rob Kiser on August 25, 2014 at 11:57 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

Interesting Quote

"Instead of wondering when your next vacation is, maybe you should set up a life you don't need to escape from." - Seth Godin


Posted by Rob Kiser on August 25, 2014 at 12:17 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

Rocket Explodes on Launch at KLC on Kodiak Island, AK

This just in...a rocket exploded on takeoff at Kodiak Launch Complex (KLC) on Kodiak Island, Alaska.

Eyewitnesses reporting a rocket at KLC (Kodiak Launch Complex) failed and exploded on takeoff. This happened just now (at approximately 12:28 a.m. Alaska Time on Aug 25, 2014).

Last week the Army announced it will conduct the second test of one of its hypersonic missiles in August.

Lt. Gen. David L. Mann, commander, U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command, told Congress last week that in August the Army expects to conduct the second Advanced Hypersonic Weapon Technology Demonstration. The results of this second test will determine the future of the program, which could include the U.S. Navy utilizing the new missile, according to Lt. Gen. Mann.

The Advanced Hypersonic Weapon (AWH) is part of the U.S. military's conventional prompt global strike (CPGS) program, which aims to give Washington the ability to strike any target on earth with a conventional warhead within an hour's time. According to the U.S. Army, "The AHW can be launched from the United States and can hit a target anywhere in the world. It can travel at speeds of Mach 5, about 3,600 mph, or higher."

Photo credit: Eric Dawson - Kodiak, Alaska - 2014

Photo credit: Eric Dawson - Kodiak, Alaska - 2014

Photo credit: Eric Dawson - Kodiak, Alaska - 2014

Photo credit: Eric Dawson - Kodiak, Alaska - 2014


Posted by Rob Kiser on August 25, 2014 at 3:41 AM : Comments (0) | Permalink

Into The Light - Michael Samsen

This is one of the guys we met on the trip. Apparently, his brother committed suicide a few years back, so he was riding to raise awareness for suicide prevention. He crashed his bike on the Dalton Highway as I recall, broke 5 ribs, flew back to Connecticut and recuperated for 5 months, then flew back out to continue his journey. I have a lot of respect for someone that has the tenacity, the chutzpah to fly back out to Alaska from the east coast to get back on a bike that has thrown them like a rented mule on the Dalton highway. Well done, Michael Samsen.

Categories: 2014AK

Posted by Rob Kiser on August 24, 2014 at 11:47 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

US Motorcycle Rider Disappears In Canada

Update: Looks like he turned up.

I have to tell you this...if this ole' trooper turned up at the Alaska Border on the Alaska Highway after crossing Alberta, B.C., and the Yukon on a 3-wheeled motorcycle, he is a trooper. He made it from the Port of Coutts, Alberta, Canada to the Alaska Border on the Alaska Highway, a distance of 1,890 miles, if he took the shortest route possible. (You have to take the Alaska Highway, at some point, it's the only way to get there). The Alaska Highway through the Yukon is pretty much a joke. Just one busted up section after another...constantly following a Pilot Truck for several kilometers at a time, always waiting for the sign turner to switch from "Stop" to "Slow". If he went up the Cassiar (BC 37), the gas stations are 150 miles apart, and there's very limited lodging options.

Saturday August 16th 2014 - Friday, August 22, 2014 11:52AM MDT

OK. So, I just did the math on his trip. In 6 days, he went AT LEAST 1,890 miles. This puts him at 315 miles per day, again, assuming that he didn't take the scenic route (I have no idea what route he took between the two ports of entry/exit between the US/Canada.) So, yeah...dude is doing just fine. No shame in 300 mile days. Just means he's taking lots of pictures is all.

The reason he wasn't in touch with anyone is probably because he turned his cell phone off to prevent the phone companies from raping him for being in a foreign country...I turned mine off of this reason. So, that's probably why he wasn't in touch with his family.

How he made this trip alone is anyone's guess, but he's a tough old bird. I'll give him that. I've got money he finished the trip just fine an shows back up in TN in 2-4 weeks.

Update: This web page says he left Mount Juliet, Tennessee on August 12, 2014, and made it to Coutts, Alberta on August 16, 2014.

This means that he went 1,927 miles in roughly 5 days (I'm assuming here he crossed into Coutts at dusk/dark on the 16th.) That would make the most sense, I think. That he had 5 solid days of riding (12th, 13th, 14th, 15th, 16th) to make to into Canada from TN. This means he was driving, on average, 385 miles a day.

Then, once he's in Canada, I'd say he drove like this....part of the 16th, 17th, 18th, 19th, 20th, 21st, 22nd. So, this gave him about 5-6 days for the driving roughly the same distance across Canada. I'd say his speed across Canada was pretty much the same as it was in the U.S. He only slowed down for the road construction, so far as I can tell. Glad he's safe.


Posted by Rob Kiser on August 23, 2014 at 1:15 AM : Comments (2) | Permalink

Unopened Safe

When I was staying in the Yoho National Forest in British Columbia, Canada a few weeks ago, I stumbled across a safe that the employees said had never been opened.

Categories: 2014AK

Posted by Rob Kiser on August 21, 2014 at 12:43 AM : Comments (0) | Permalink

Lost With Mike

This is the blog of some guy that drove a 49cc Honda Ruckus from Key West to Alaska. Not sure where he's he's heading next. He actually has a BMW R1200GS at home in the garage, if you can believe it.

Categories: 2014AK

Posted by Rob Kiser on August 20, 2014 at 11:34 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

Bonzai Becky

This is the blog of some chick(s) touring South America on motorbikes.

Categories: 2014AK

Posted by Rob Kiser on August 20, 2014 at 11:15 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

Conifer Honors Chemistry 2014-2015

Welcome to our Honors Chemistry website. You can use this website to download notes, course assignments and view helpful links.

Thanks for visiting, Mrs. Anderson

Contact instructor:

Honors Chemistry Syllabus

Conifer High School Science Department

Conifer High School

Categories: 2014AK

Posted by Rob Kiser on August 20, 2014 at 7:18 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

More pictures trickle in...

Remus and I rode together from Coldfoot, AK to Deadhorse, AK, back to Coldfoot, and then to Fairbanks. Apparently, he's made it back safely to Romania, and came through with some photos. Very cool that he was able to share these. We may have more coming from him, also, I think.

Above: The Brooks Range on the Dalton Highway (Alaska Route 11).

Above: The Brooks Range on the Dalton Highway (Alaska Route 11).

Above: The Dalton Highway north of the Brooks Range - Basically, a wet, sloppy mess.

Above: The Dalton Highway north of the Brooks Range - Basically, a wet, sloppy mess.

Above: A shot of me on the shores of the Arctic Ocean. In this shot, I believe I'm trying to get my boots back on and praying I won't lose my feet for walking into the ocean.

Above: After driving 180 miles in the rain down a mud road in 37 degree F temperatures, we stopped at this "closed camp" to warm up for a bit. Although the camp was private, and not open to the public, they allowed us to warm up, and even made us a pot of coffee. In this picture, I believe I was pouring some gas into the gas tank, as it's 250 miles from Deadhorse, AK to the next gas station (at Coldfoot, AK).

Categories: 2014AK

Posted by Rob Kiser on August 18, 2014 at 12:40 AM : Comments (0) | Permalink

Updating Photos

I'm going back and putting some text with my photos, and resorting them into the correct order, where possible. Usually, when I posted them, I just sort of uploaded them and then passed out from exhaustion. Often, they weren't in the correct order, due to the fact that I was shooting with 3-5 different cameras on most days. So, some of the pics were out of order (within a given day). Most photos did not have any labels under them. Now, they're being resorted and labeled. So, this process will probably take a few days, but I'll get them straightened out as best as I can, while it's still somewhat fresh in my memory.
Basically, at this point, I've resorted and labeled the photos from McLeese Lake, B.C., to Denver on the return part of the trip.

Categories: 2014AK

Posted by Rob Kiser on August 17, 2014 at 1:48 AM : Comments (0) | Permalink

Lost Photos of Northern Alaska

So, Enrico pointed out that some days didn't have photos posted, which I'd sort of conveniently forgotten. I'm now copying my images off of the MacBook Air and onto the home networks 12 Terabyte RAID Level 5 NAS Array. It appears that I shot roughly 12,000 photos on the trip. So, I'm copying these files over now. As soon as the files are migrated onto the network, I'll start going through and seeing what images are missing. The shots up in the very northern-most part of Alaska probably won't be all that great, as it was raining most of the time I was there, if memory serves correctly. I do have some shots of reindeer, swans, the Arctic Ocean, and Prudhoe Bay National Forest. The Brooks Range was pretty impressive though, and I may have some additional images of that. So we'll get those images up here shortly. :)

Categories: 2014AK

Posted by Rob Kiser on August 16, 2014 at 10:10 PM : Comments (1) | Permalink

The truth about Angus

Angus is a guy I ran into on the ferry from Port Angeles, Washington to Victoria, British Columbia, Canada on Vancouver Island three years ago. He's a very cool guy, and downplays his role as an adventure traveler, but he gave me advice when I was on the road, struggling with the demons that haunt people on the road.

When I met him, he was returning from a road trip on his motorcycle. And, as I recall it, he'd planned on doing this grand trip, but somewhere along the way, he pulled up somewhat short of his initial goal. And I'm not casting aspersions on him for this. The truth is that you spend a lot of time inside your own head on the road. All you hear going down the highway is the deafening wind, howling inside your helmet, and the voices of sanity speaking to you...."Why are you doing this? Where are you going? For what reason? What are you running from? Why are you going to this place? Why not just turn back now? Your bed is warm and soft and dry. Let's just turn back. It makes no sense to go on."

So, when I ran into Angus, I was sort of like..."Dude...I have no idea what I'm doing....I told everyone I was going to Alaska...I honestly don't even know if this will work...I'm trying to get to Alaska by driving up Vancouver Island...I heard there's a ferry from Port Hardee and..."

Angus says this..." have to follow through with your initial plan. Don't question it. I fyou said you were going to Alaska, then you need to go to Alaska. Some part of you wanted to go there, or you wouldn't have dreamed of going there. Whatever plan you had in your head when you left San Francisco....wherever you told people you were going....that's where you need to go. Don't question your plan on the road. Just do it. Make it happen. Otherwise, you'll regret not going there once you get home."

"But Angus...I don't even know if I can get to Alaska this way...." I whined. Like...there are demons on the road. Don't think there are not. Anxiety, fear, bears...all sorts of things can conspire against you. this point, I'm leaving the United States on a boat at night with my motorcycle chained into the belly of this beast with tie-downs so it won't fall over. Like...there's not a lot of people standing around saying...."You got this. you can do it. everything will be fine."

But there is Angus.

"You can make it. The ferry goes from Port Hardee to Prince Rupert. Then, up the Skeena River to Kitwanga, then turn left and you're in Hyder, Alaska. It is possible. Just keep going. Don't turn back. Don't stop. Never surrender."

So, I took his advice. I made it to Alaska. Took my photos at the state line, and then found my way back to San Francisco, and eventually, across the Great American Desert back to Denver.

But really, the advice he gave me is very powerful. Don't second guess yourself, especially once you get on the open road. You have to just keep going at it, hammer and tong, and put all the voices out of your head that say "turn one else is doing this...why are you?" Once you get rid of the self-doubt, then it's all downhill from there. All of the obstacles...a burned hand, a dead battery, a fuel tank that won't work, bald tires, worn sprockets and chain, flat tires, a 180 mile drive down a mud road in the pouring rain at 37 degrees's all just part of the adventure at that point. Once you decide that turning back is not an option, then success in inevitable - it's only a matter of time.

Here's the story from when I ran into Angus, almost exactly 3 years ago to the day. Since then, I've driven from the Panama Canal to the Arctic Ocean.

Categories: 2014AK

Posted by Rob Kiser on August 16, 2014 at 1:18 PM : Comments (2) | Permalink

Consolidated Map(s) of the 2014 Alaska Trip

I'm trying to do a better job of mapping out my trip so I can put it into perspective. Google Maps only allows me to do 9 stops, so I've broken the trip into 3 maps.

Map 1 : Days 1-9 : Evergreen, Colorado to Fort St John, B.C., Canada. Local copy here.

Map 2 : Days 9-18 : Fort St John, B.C., Canada to Fairbanks, Alaska. Local copy here.

Map 3 : Days 18-28 : Fairbanks, Alaska to Evergreen, Colorado. Local copy here.

Categories: 2014AK

Posted by Rob Kiser on August 15, 2014 at 8:35 PM : Comments (4) | Permalink

The Open Road

One of the things I'll miss the most about being on the open road is rolling into some small town on a filthy adventure bike, walking around in riding gear like a soldier-of-fortune, and having people come up to me and say "Christ, man...where are you coming from? Where have you been?"

Like, I used to have to tell people my destination. Like, when you're starting out, and still in Colorado, saying "I'm driving to Alaska" shocks people. But it's hard for them to objectively evaluate whether you're truly suicidal, or just a pathological liar.

When you're coming back from a trip to the Arctic Ocean, you don't have to say anything. Total strangers approach me, look at the mud-caked bike and gear, and they say...."Lord God, son...where are you coming from? Where have you been?"

I had total strangers buying me dinner on the road. Buying me drinks. And high-fiving me in the parking lot.

"My friends would never do this. I want them to go with me, but they won't go," they say.

"Just go. No one else can take a month off from work. And if they could, they wouldn't do this. Just go. You'll meet people on the road. There's nothing wrong with your friends. They just have different demons."

I miss mostly riding up to Harley riders and saying "which way you ladies heading?" and having them all bust out laughing and then ride with me for days. That's so crazy fun. Because you're forming these intense bonds with total strangers because, you can see, they're all chasing the same dragon. They're all haunted by the same demons, or they wouldn't be out here.

I was so fortunate to run into my friends doing the Hoka Hey cross-country endurance motorcycle race from Key West, Florida to Homer, Alaska. Learned so much about cross country riding from them that there just aren't words. They taught me how to get on my motorcycle (using the pegs). How to put my bike on the center stand. How to drive a thousand miles in one day.

So crazy fun to think back on all the beautiful places I went. Like eating the heart out of a melon.

Categories: 2014AK

Posted by Rob Kiser on August 15, 2014 at 12:33 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

Motorcycle Maintenance Issues

Motorcycle maintenance on the road:
Maintenance before I left home:
Before I left home, I put 2 new ties on the bike, changed the oil and filter. Bled the rear brakes. Tightened the steering-head bearings (to eliminate the head-shake at 50 mph). Put a new rear view mirror on the bike.

At the east side of Glacier National Park, my battery began to fail. I replaced it with a battery from Wal-Mart in Prince George, B.C. Poured the electrolytes into it in my motel room and charged it over night with a trickle charger. Also replaced my cigarette lighter adapter, as I melted my old one on the heater in the Yoho National Forest. Picked up a new one at the same Wal-Mart. This allows me to run multiple devices off of the alternator, like USB cables to charge the Garmin Montana 600, the iPhone, and the GoPro.

When I first rolled into Fairbanks, Alaska, I replaced both tires, as they were street tires, smooth, and showing the wear bands after 5,000 miles of hard riding. (The ALCAN Highway EATS tires.)

Then, I drove from Fairbanks, to Deadhorse, AK, to Fairbanks, to Anchorage, and then back to Fairbanks.At this point, I replaced chain & sprockets, rear brakes, changed oil, replaced air filter...all at the KTM shop in Fairbanks.

Eventually, I realized that one problem I was experiencing was related to my kick stand. Sam pointed this out to m. (Many thanks, Sam!) The bike is designed not to run if the kickstand is not up. So, in theory, this makes sense. In practice, not so much. There is no "kickstand light" on the instrument cluster, to my knowledge. So, all you know is that the bike is "on", and should start up, but it won't turn over. Or do anything at all. So, pushing the starter does nothing. Unless it's in neutral. Then, it will start, but die as soon as you put it in gear. This is very confusing if you're on the road, and say...the kick stand is about 1mm from being all the way "up". So, thanks to Sam for pointing this out. Whenever I experienced this, I'd just kick the kickstand up a little harder, and ride on.

I blew a front tire on the Sea-to-Sky Highway. This was a harrowing experience. Something that's never happened to me in 30 years of riding. The guy at the KAL Tire store said that it "rubbed a hole in the tube". His assertion was that a grain of sand was left inside the tire, with the tube. It had to be something like this, because the tire was not punctured, and still has plenty of tread on it. Have never heard of this happening before.

Categories: 2014AK

Posted by Rob Kiser on August 15, 2014 at 10:57 AM : Comments (0) | Permalink

Day 27/28 - Boise, Idaho to Morrison, Colorado (Home) (Thr/Fri 8/14-15)

(Thr-Fri 8/14-15)

Update: I am alive and well and resting peacefully in my own bed in Morrison, Colorado.

Starting Odometer: 24,225
Ending Odometer: 25,106
Miles Driven Today: 881
Miles Driven This Trip: 10,453
Miles from Home: 0

Here's a map of roughly where I drove today.

I ran into some guy at a gas station in Utah. He was really impressed with my trip to Alaska on the KTM. He has a KTM 990R, apparently. In any event, he said "Finish Strong", so I went ahead and drove all the way home. 881 miles is my longest ride in one day ever. Wouldn't necessarily recommend it, as I had to drive across Colorado in the dark, but it feels good to be home.

Technically, I got in at about 1:00 a.m. on the 28th day.

Categories: 2014AK

Posted by Rob Kiser on August 15, 2014 at 1:42 AM : Comments (9) | Permalink

Second Place is the First Loser

Ran through little town called "Mountain Home", Idaho this morning, and I remember it from the last time I came across Idaho, about 3 years ago, when I ran out of gas in the Owyhee Desert of Idaho. This, to me, is the most fun part of traveling. Running back over the same tracks you made when you were younger another crazy adventure to nowhere. I'm sort of retracing my steps, perpetually wandering across this lonely planet, rolling around with other lost souls. So crazy fun there aren't words.

Right now, I'm shooing flies off my food in a restaurant in Perry, Utah. Made it 300 miles, from Boise, Idaho to Perry, Utah by 1:30 p.m. I'm taking mostly interstates on the way home at this point, only because I've been on the road so long I'm actually ready to wrap this trip up. I'd like to be able to say "I drove to the Arctic Ocean and back on a KTM 990 Adventure", but somehow, there's still about 550 miles between me and my double-wide. See if we can't get something done about that today. 2nd place is the first loser.

This is the route I plan on taking to get home.

Categories: 2014AK

Posted by Rob Kiser on August 14, 2014 at 1:49 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

Day 26 - Coeur d'Alene, Idaho - Boise, Idaho (Wed 8/13/14)

Above: Lake Coeur d'Alene in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho.

Additional photos in the Extended Entry.

(Wed 8/13/14)

Update: I am alive and well and resting peacefully on the banks of the Boise River in Boise, Idaho.

Starting Odometer: 23,784
Ending Odometer: 24,225
Miles Driven Today: 441
Miles Driven This Trip: 9,572
Miles from Home: 843

Here's my planned route for today.

Looks like thunderstorms everywhere. I'm going for it, hell-bent-for-leather.

Here's a map of roughly where I drove today.

Photos in the Extended Entry.

Continue reading "Day 26 - Coeur d'Alene, Idaho - Boise, Idaho (Wed 8/13/14)"

Categories: 2014AK

Posted by Rob Kiser on August 13, 2014 at 10:22 AM : Comments (1) | Permalink