Thursday, May 23, 2013

Day ONE, and the Challenge begins..

After midnight started hearing the big trucks roll down toward the Keys. By 3:45 I had to get up and join them. Da'mit and I made good time and were in Key West by 7'ish. Found my two witnesses at the Central Fire Station,then over to the 90 Mile buoy for photos.

and finally an Official Pump generated gas receipt to start the clock.

My start time is May 23, 2013, 7:31 am Eastern Time Zone. So to qualify for the Ultimate Coast to Coast Challenge, Da'mit and I must arrive together in Deadhorse before 3:30 am Alaska Time Zone on June 22, 2013.

Today we took the first bite out of this Iron Butt elephant. Immediately we left Key West and rode for the mainland. Just to verify that we actually were in Florida, took several more photos,

Then had to wait for a draw bridge to close


In Texas we have Road Gators that can bite you if you hit one while riding two wheels. Gina is a long time motorcyclist who doesn't even own a car, rides everyday. A Texas Road Gator got wrapped up in her bike and she took a spill, breaking her ankle in the process. Here's what they look like.

In Florida they have Road Gators too, here is what they look like (CAUTION - BLOOD & GUTS)

Hit one of those when on two wheels and they can bite you. Hello asphalt. He was about 4-5 feet long.
Back to riding, A roadside wizard forecast a pleasant ride, Said Da'mit soars like an eagle and Alaska was in our future. Also said he could forecast the weather: If the ball is wet, it's raining, Dry, the sun is shining. If he can't see the ball, heavy fog.
Around the corner was his gargoyle friend. His facial expression and hand gestures are the same as mine after a rough patch of Louisiana back road.

So how much ground was covered today? Left Homestead, rode to Key West, turned around and rode back to the mainland, across the Everglades and arrived in Sebring for the night. 488 Km today. In spite of the forecast, no rain today.

Tomorrow I expect to exit Florida north of Marianna. Am ahead of schedule, as I said in the beginning, planning and schedules are great, but once the ride begins, it takes on a life of its own.

For the fellow Uralists:

Was having a small leak in the final drive when I arrived at Gene's. We thought it might be overflow. In 2011Ural tried a different fill plug on the final drive, but soon found it leaked. I have one of those plugs. Gene looked around and found an old style plug. We put that in, plus the "NEW" exact amount of gear oil. Gene said they got a memo saying to put less. I was using 75-90 gear oil, Gene likes the 80-140, so we went with that. Bottom line, after two long riding days, the final drive is DRY.

If you switch out to the old style fill plug, carefully measure the correct amount of gear oil, then dip it, look to see where the new level is, then notch the dip stick as the notches on both the old and new sticks are no longer correct.

The seat back is UGLY as sin. But with a slight tweaking to it, I think it stays on the rig, at least for the duration of this trip. It was pushing me forward in the seat so I rebent the frame, slightly. Now it is there when I want to sit back, or if I sit upright I don't even touch it. With all the farkles and mods, Da'mit never was going to win a beauty contest, but she sure does ride nice.

Da'mit is running smooth and strong. Drinks gas like a mule but gallops down the highway like a horse. Her sweet spot is 4000 rpm. No issues. Tires might present a problem down the road as the pusher is being eaten faster than anticipated. Gene thought it was because of all the weight I was carrying. Am not so sure, my camping stuff doesn't weight more than most spouses. Do they wear out tires?

The only mechanical problem was the RAM mount dropping the iPhone, then another piece of it fell off, so I removed it.

Well, a great first day, only 29 more to go.


Night all







  1. Glad day 1 was without incident. Thanks for the daily updates and the pictures. Safe travels - Keith

  2. I am going thru pushers rapidly as well though I thinks it's the Alaska use of chip seal on their roads! Wishing you continued good luck.