About the Motorcycle...

The bike I am taking to Alaska is a 2005 Suzuki Vstrom 650. It is generally referred to as a "dual sport" bike meaning it is capable of going off-road as well as on regular roads and highways. This makes for a very versatile bike and it has a good reputation as being relatively light and easy to handle, with plenty of power, good gas mileage, very reliable, and with plenty of places to get parts and repairs.

The previous owner (Will from Nashville) did a great job covering the basics of outfitting the bike for long trips (it was his intent to go to Alaska but work got in the way). He put on a skid plate, crash bars, a fork brace, a "Madstadt" movable windshield mount, and a few other things. It was a very good start for a trip like this.

Since last Oct (2010) I have added hand guards, Happy Trails saddlebags, a 42 liter top case, an extended Givi windshield, a Wolo "Bad Boy" electric air horn (LOUD!!), an accessory plug (12v outlet for chargers, GPS, etc.), a Pat Walsh Designs accessory shelf over the instrument panel, and a "fenda extenda" front fender extender.

Before I depart I will take care of the things that will wear out on a long trip just before I leave. I will put on brand new tires (Michelin Anakee 2 dual sport tires), a new chain and both sprockets, a new air filter, change the oil, and lube and clean everything else.

I have mounted on the handlebars a Garmin Nuvi 765T GPS which has lifetime traffic alerts and an MP3 player for all my music. It is not waterproof so if it rains I will either cover it with a ziploc bag or put it away in my tankbag. I am also carrying a Garmin Nuvi 350 as a backup (wife's previous model).

Will from Nashville the day I bought the Vstrom in Oct 2010. Thanks, Will! What a great bike!
Here is my brother Tom riding with me to the Texas Hill Country in May, 2011. Note the taller windshield, saddlebags, rear top case, hand guards.