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Alaska to South America: Two Moto Kiwis

We are Andi Delis, 44, Quantity Surveyor and Ellen Delis, 43, Chartered Accountant.

The Big Adventure Plan

We left New Zealand May 3rd leaving behind friends and family, our jobs and most of our responsibilities to come see America from top to bottom. Starting in Anchorage, Alaska, we will have a two-week build and shakedown run before setting off around Alaska for approximately one month, we will go up the Dalton highway to Deadhorse at Prudhoe Bay then over to Canada to the Dust To Dawson Fükengrüven gathering.

From Dawson we will be heading down via the west coast and making it in time for Laguna Seca MotoGP 2012 where we will be meeting up with a friend Shann Florer, we will also be looking around Sequoia Park, Yosemite Park and Bonneville before heading down to Mexico, Panama the into Colombia to start the South American part of our journey. 

The plan is to ride down the west coast and try and have Christmas Day 2012 in Ushuaia depending on how the travelling goes, from Ushuaia we plan to turn around and zigzag our way back up with no particular place to go.

We are riding two DR650s, Ellen has a 2011 white one, mine is a 2012 grey one, both new through Alaska Leather, we decided given the distance we will have to travel and the cost to ship my bike from NZ we both will start on new machinery.

We are running Safari 30L Tanks, screens from Screens For Bikes in Australia, Sargent seats, Bark Buster Storm, AME heated grips, Garmin 660 GPS and my bike has a YSS damping, both bikes have Intiminators.

We have some acknowledgments to make first off to the people and businesses that been of great help and sponsored us with product, in no particular order they are:


Sponsors

ARAI Helmets USA - Have sponsored us with the new XD4 Adventure helmets, Ellens in White, mine in Fluro Yellow, these things rock, I have an ARAI Chaser for my road helmet and these have met all the expectations for the same quality fit and finish.

Klim Adventure Gear - Have sponsored my Adventure Rally Jacket and Badland Pro pants as well as the Inferno warm layer top and bottom, this is the best gear I have ever worn in my life and I am very grateful to be wearing the best gear to cover all conditions.

Kevin and Keiko from Te Anau New Zealand - Keiko designed and drew our cards and logos, seriously cool given I don't have an arty bone in my body.

Delis Tools from Kaiapoi in New Zealand - sponsored our Kincrome luggage cases.

Icebreaker Clothing from New Zealand - sponsored our Merino gruds, socks and longs johns, we love Merino clothing and Icebreaker as it tolerates smelly stinky adventure bikers without stinking as cotton does and it is very warm to layer up with.

Alaska Leather - Barb and Victor, I simply can't say enough so I won't even try. Legends they are getting two foreigners of the ground in style.

Bark Busters- sponsored our Barkbuster Storms which Ellen has already crash tested and saved our first set of levers.

Sargent Seats - sponsored our low height comfort seats, they have saved our arse from one end of the planet to the other as the factory DR seats or shockers.

Mike and Mei Dawson in New Zealand for sponsoring a good contribution to riding to make sure we make it safely back to New Zealand

Screens for Bikes from Australia, these screens are mint taking the wind blast off our chest and taking the load off our helmets, who says you can't have a few home comforts

First Day In Alaska

Just a quick note to everyone, we are in Alaska now after 42 hours of no sleep. Entering the USA was smooth and easy. LAX proved to be quite OK. We were picked up by Barb and spent most of the day today getting our bikes registered so we can go to the bike blessing tomorrow in downtown Anchorage. We need to do a big shop tomorrow to get a laptop and cameras etc so we can start our blog properly.

Chiwi and Hobbit's first outing.

After 10 days of intense working, chopping, grinding, soldering, drilling, bashing, scraping and knuckle-bashing - Chiwi and Hobbit are finally ready to race (we are STILL married! ). We learned a lot about the bikes, everything we had prepared fitted like a glove and we established that if we couldn't fix it with a big hammer it was an electrical problem.

Dinner at Amy's

We were going to take both bikes to Amy's - an adventure rider who rides Suzuki DR650. She invited us and a few other guys for a salmon feed on Saturday night (12th May). Andi took both bikes out on the driveway and got them started.

Somehow Chiwi took herself out off the stand and fell over, on the way down Chiwi blatantly attacked Hobbit and knocked Hobbit off his "perch" as well. Ellen rushed over turned both of them off. Well, Andi's crash board on the side panniers took the hit and the left rear case took a beating where Chiwi "bit" him. Anyway, Chiwi seemed to not like the fall and wouldn't start when we picked her up! With the time pressure, we had to both jump on Hobbit and head to Amy's.

The dinner party (our first official engagement) was wonderful, we meet some local ADVs (adventure riders) as well. Amy cooked up a storm for us, Jack, Paul, Rodger and Katey all gave us some good advice on riding. It was the second time people asked us if we have heated vests. They said we would need them going up to the North. We think we will try what we have now - which is three layers of Icebreaker, and see how that goes.

At Amy's

Anchorage to Homer

On Sunday 13th May, we left Anchorage to Homer, which is 210 miles west of Anchorage. Andi gave Chiwi a blow job (per Amy) to get it started (remember it wouldn't start after falling over the night before, must have been an air lock in the fuel tube and stopped the fuel get into the carb).

We knew it would be cold, so two layers of Icebreaker long johns and three layers for the upper body. Only just out of city on the highway a bitterly cold wind hit us, then came the rain. With heated grips on full, our hands were still cold.

We stopped at a service station, we wanted some hot food to warm us up. The hot soup was nothing like the what we imagined - clear water with a few slice of noodles and chicken strips served with crackers. Not stopping here again!

After the lukewarm clear water soup, we hit the road again. It was getting colder and colder, the rain had turned to snow! We had to keep wiping our visor to be able to see through it. Ellen was thinking, "what the hell is it? It's not the same as what Amy said the night before!" She couldn't see through her visor, and kind of lost the sense of balance. She was almost in tears. Just as well Andi found a bypass so we could pull over.

Hi, we are in the snow again! Cheers, Andi.

We knew it would be cold, so two layers of Icebreaker long Johns and three layers for the upper body. Only just out of city on the highway a bitterly cold wind hit us, then came down with rain. With heated grips on full, our hands were still cold. We stopped at a service station - we wanted some hot food to warm us up. The hot soup was nothing like the one we imagined, clear water with a few slice of noodles and chicken strips served with crackers! Not stopping here again.

After the lukewarm clear water soup, we hit the road again. It's getting colder and colder, the rain turned to snow! We had to keep wiping our visors to be able to see through it. Ellen was thinking, "what the hell is it? It's not the same as what Amy said the night before." She couldn't see through her visor, and kind of lost the sense of balance. She was almost in tears, just as well Andi found a bypass so we could pull over.

Even Chiwi was cold!

Fortunately, the snow turned to rain again after we came down a bit. The road was getting drier and the sun almost came out. "It was lucky, " Ellen thought. However, she spoke too soon. The road turned wet again and this time, came down with hail! Ellen's visor was fogged up inside, so she could not see through it again. She tried to pull the visor up, then the hail hit her face like cutting knives. So she shut the visor - couldn't see the road. It was getting really dangerous now. She slowed down, kept the bike up straight, until finally passed the hail zone. "That was a ride in hell, I wasn't prepared for that," she thought.

After about 3 hours riding through wind, rain, snow and hail, it was still 95 miles away from Homer. The sky eventually came to clear, the road was dry and it was getting warmer. We were on the border of thinking heated vests might be on the shopping list for the next ride but also understood we only needed them here in Alaska, then we'd have to carry them around for the rest of the trip. Maybe we will try 4 layers of Icebreaker on the way back.

There was no drama for the last leg of our trip, we started to see moose on the side of the road. The GPS took us to Charlie's - another ADV rider. Homer welcomed us with sunshine, beautiful snowy mountains and a moose grazing in front of Charlie's front yard. The four seasons (cold, very cold, very very cold and freezing) we had gone through to get here - was worth it.

Ellen, almost in tears.
Good advertising for Klim gear, Bro.
We made it to Homer!
Homer, with a creature lurking in the background.
Moose grazing in someone's front yard in town
Looks just like the West Coast of NZ

Westernmost Point of the USA

Greetings all, well today (Tuesday 15th May) was very cool, beautiful day to play with greeted us through the curtains, we are lucky enough to be staying with Charlie at his home in Homer so 5 stars. We set off for a ride to Anchor Point the Western most point you can drive to, we were greeted with breathtaking views and a nice still day.

Twomotokiwis
Author of this article: Twomotokiwis
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