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#1 2011-07-25 23:45:27

hyperboarder
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The Saab 92x motorcycle trip to Alaska - July 2013

After more than a year of dreaming and reading of other people's adventures, I've decided it's inevitable that I make this sojourn.  It won't be too soon (I'm guessing 2012 is a pipe dream, so the summer of 2013 at the earliest), but hey, why not start planning.  Anyone wanna come?  With any luck a buddy will be accompanying me via Landcruiser, though I'm not totally confident in that.  Either way, not too early to start planning.  I've got a good stock of gear for now (minus a few pieces, I'll probably grab some a Klim Gore Tex setup), the big missing piece is the bike.  As much as I love the Ural and the DR, I don't think they're powerful enough for the big ride.  Options:

- Triumph Tiger: I don't want new (stalling issues and whatnot), so it'd be an older one, but they appear solid.  Not too well versed yet...
- KTM Adventure: The 990 is appealing, though I'm scared of the maintenance...
- BMW GS: The 650 might be a tad small and the 800 has weak wheels, so the 1150 or 1200.  Pricey but otherwise pretty perfect.
- Suzuki V-Strom: The 1000, not the 650.  Probably the cheapest, I like my zook so far, but I'm not sure the Strom is up for AK.
- Yamaha Super Tenere: New, likely not cheap enough, but if it is, it's a solid possibility.

Am I missing any?  Kawis, Ducs, Hondas?  Keeping my options open, obviously still dreaming for the most part, but I figure I can start setting aside cash pretty soon.  I'm thinking at least 2 weeks total and I'd like to make it all the way up to Deadhorse and dip a toe in the Arctic Ocean.  The Dempster scares the hell out of me, but fuck it, you only live once.  Camping as much as possible with hotels where necessary.  I've been getting good inspiration here: http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=696871

Anyway, just dreaming out loud, hope I'm not the only one...

*EDIT* - Past a starting point, getting to a real plan:

Departure (for me from Fort Collins) - Saturday, July 6th, 2013
Duration - 22 days
Distance - ~9300 miles
Destinations - Many, see below
Tentative riders - Hyperboarder, Avmaviator, Topher, b dash rian, Planespotting, AspenMike, Azrael, SZRimaging
Interested drivers - Oodles-Of-Noodles

Map: http://maps.google.com/maps?saddr=fort+ … pr&z=4

This route has a few tweaks from the above map

7/6 - Fort Collins, CO to Powell, WY - 460 Miles - Relatives here = free lodging
7/7 - Powell, WY to Kalispell, MT - 495 Miles - Hoping to crash with an ADV Rider
7/8 - Kalispell, MT to Jasper, AB - 439 Miles - Camping in the park
7/9 - Jasper, AB to Dawson Creek, BC - 324 Miles - Camping or staying with ADV Rider
7/10 - Dawson Creek, BC to Watson Lake, YT - 601 Miles - Camping or staying with ADV Rider
7/11 - Watson Lake, YT to Dawson City, YT - 601 Miles - Camping
7/12 - Dawson City, YT to Eagle Plains, YT - 253 Miles - Camping
7/13 - Eagle Plains, YT to Inuvik, NWT and back - 445 Miles - Camping
7/14 - Eagle Plains, YT to Dawson City, YT - 253 Miles - Camping
7/15 - Dawson City, YT to Fairbanks, AK - 388 Miles - UAF Dorms
7/16 - Fairbanks, AK to Deadhorse, AK - 496 Miles - Hotel
7/17 - Deadhorse, AK to Fairbanks, AK - 496 Miles - UAF Dorms
7/18 - Fairbanks, AK to Anchorage, AK - 359 Miles - Camping/RVing with the family
7/18 - 7/21 Anchorage, AK - Camping/RVing with the family
7/21 - Anchorage, AK to Destruction Bay, YT - 543 Miles - Camping
7/22 - Destruction Bay, YT to Watson Lake, YT - 433 Miles - Camping
7/23 - Watson Lake, YT to Hyder, AK - 406 Miles - Camping
7/24 - Hyder, AK to Prince George, BC - 437 Miles - Camping
7/25 - Prince George, BC to Whistler, BC - 396 Miles - Camping
7/26 - Whistler, BC to Baker City, OR - 588 Miles - Camping (family has land here)
7/27 - Baker City, OR to Salt Lake City, UT - 464 Miles - Friends here, hopefully staying with them
7/28 - Salt Lake City, UT to Fort Collins, CO - 490 Miles

At least one oil change, 2 sets of tires, possibly a chain/sprocket set depending on the bike, probably a set of brake pads, and at least one air filter. 
The long days will be 7/10, 7/11, 7/21, and 7/26.
The ambitious runs will be 7/13, 7/16, and 7/17 (the Dempster and the Dalton) so the schedule might shift as necessary depending on weather and whatnot.

Last edited by hyperboarder (2011-08-20 22:21:24)

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#2 2011-07-26 00:14:21

Azrael
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Re: The Saab 92x motorcycle trip to Alaska - July 2013

I'll dream out loud with you. No way I can commit to anything that far out, but the thought intrigues me.

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#3 2011-07-26 00:39:45

lizzardo
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Re: The Saab 92x motorcycle trip to Alaska - July 2013

A friend did it a couple of years ago.  His 1200GS performed flawlessly.  It's a big bike though.  Not for the short of inseam.  My Ducati ST4S has been sitting  for a few years, but was my daily driver for 65,000 miles with no real troubles.  I've toured through much of the western continental US on Ducatis (900SS, 748) but might think twice before going so far from civilization on an exotic.

I didn't realize the 800GS had weak wheels.  I haven't researched at all, but thought that an attractive choice for my next all 'rounder bike.


2005 9-2X Linear --> sold | Volvo C30 R-Design 6MT --> sold
A Real Saab and a LeMONS Saab - 1978 99 Turbo and 1979 900 Turbo
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#4 2011-07-26 02:19:49

AspenMike
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Re: The Saab 92x motorcycle trip to Alaska - July 2013

I'll say it only because I picked one up yesterday...  Kawasaki Versys. But if you think the GS650 (I'll assume you mean the twin 800cc) is too small...
It's not how much power you have, it's how you load and how you use it. I truly believe that most people take WAY too much stuff. Watching "Long Way Round" and "Long Way Down" pretty much confirmed this for me. There were a lot of times those guys would have been better off with smaller bikes... especially since they were supported.
I'd do the Alaska trip on the 650 vstrom in a heartbeat.


"When a man's best friend is his dog, that dog has a problem."  Edward Abbey

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#5 2011-07-26 08:41:19

hyperboarder
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Re: The Saab 92x motorcycle trip to Alaska - July 2013

AspenMike wrote:

I'll say it only because I picked one up yesterday...  Kawasaki Versys. But if you think the GS650 (I'll assume you mean the twin 800cc) is too small...
It's not how much power you have, it's how you load and how you use it. I truly believe that most people take WAY too much stuff. Watching "Long Way Round" and "Long Way Down" pretty much confirmed this for me. There were a lot of times those guys would have been better off with smaller bikes... especially since they were supported.
I'd do the Alaska trip on the 650 vstrom in a heartbeat.

I'm interested in your experience with that bike, I've had bad luck with Kawis thus far (2 of the 5 bikes I've owned were Kawis and both had significant issues) and their non-responsiveness to the oil burning issues on the 08+ KLR has soured me a bit on them, but I won't count them out yet.  Thumpers aren't really cut out for the long interstate segments that would be required in the early segment of the trip, though I suppose I shouldn't completely ignore the Versys, 650GS Twin, and Wee-Strom.  I'd probably want to hold onto the bike for a while after the trip, and I don't have anything that'll really eat up the highway miles now, which is one of the reasons I'm leaning towards something in the 1L+ displacement range.

I agree that most people overpack, the trip on the KLR last summer confirmed that as I had way more than I needed.  I could have easily done AK with the 3 box Jesse system I had and nothing else.  I think the only additions I'd want to my current gear is waterproof pants, heated liners, and better boots.  A few changes of clothes, a tent, bag, pad, food, extra gas, and tools/parts should easily fit in 2 boxes with a dry bag strapped on top.  It's becoming such a popular route that anything I was missing would be easy to get along the early parts of the ride.

Lizzardo, that's why I'm leaning away from the Tigers a bit, just less of a dealer network to work with, especially up north.  I've sat on a 1200GS, it is a beast but I'm a big guy, it felt like something I could handle.  As for the 800, I've just heard that from a few folks, one of which is Radioman on ADV.  I've followed enough of his ride reports to see that he knows his BMW's.  I love the look and size of the 800, but I really wouldn't want to budget another $1500 or so for wheels right out of the gate, so I'm shying away for now.  Not writing them off, but they're not at the top of the list.

Az, let me know man, the more the merrier/safer.

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#6 2011-07-26 08:46:25

bentmettle
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Re: The Saab 92x motorcycle trip to Alaska - July 2013

I've only managed 1 camping trip on my KLR since I got the Pelican cases for it.  It was a pretty tight squeeze to do the tent, sleeping bag, pad, cooking gear, etc.  I *didn't* use a top case, though, so maybe with another ~30% of storage and a tank bag, it'd suddenly be easier?

Is the road total dog crap or what's the concern about wheels?  I've been riding off road single track on the bike and figured if a person packs for a backpacking trip, the trip should be not such a big deal?

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#7 2011-07-26 08:46:38

b dash rian
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Re: The Saab 92x motorcycle trip to Alaska - July 2013

i'm in


1999 Saab 9-3, silver, stg 4+ | 2011 Subaru WRX STI Hatch, white
2002 Ducati Monster 620 ie Dark | 1989 BMW K100LT Project | 2008 KTM 250 XC-F | 1992 BMW R100GS PD

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#8 2011-07-26 09:30:49

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Re: The Saab 92x motorcycle trip to Alaska - July 2013

bentmettle wrote:

I've only managed 1 camping trip on my KLR since I got the Pelican cases for it.  It was a pretty tight squeeze to do the tent, sleeping bag, pad, cooking gear, etc.  I *didn't* use a top case, though, so maybe with another ~30% of storage and a tank bag, it'd suddenly be easier?

Is the road total dog crap or what's the concern about wheels?  I've been riding off road single track on the bike and figured if a person packs for a backpacking trip, the trip should be not such a big deal?

What kind of tent and bag do you have?  Size and weight are obviously much bigger of a deal on a bike.  My Kelty Grand Mesa 2 is a bit larger than I'd like, but the Big Agnes bag/pad setup mostly makes up for it.

It depends on the route, but I'm probably only doing it once, so I want to do it big.  Dempster, Dalton, Top of the World, etc.  I've heard the first two can get pretty bad, slick as snot and really pot holed, so nailing a pot hole and bending/breaking a rim would be a concern.  Looking into it more, it'd probably be a July deal as Deadhorse can get snow in August, which I'd rather not deal with.  I'll link up more good ride reports as I find them, but that first one has some good info (good stopping points, free camping, etc.).

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#9 2011-07-26 09:56:32

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Re: The Saab 92x motorcycle trip to Alaska - July 2013

BMW GS 800 gets my vote as it's the only one I've ridden of the bunch.  I was unaware of the 'weak' wheels.  Substituting any other BMW used set that fits should work, no?

Motor will lug and chug all day long but still rap out to it's relatively low final rpm with aplomp, albeit accompanied by a slightly agricultural growl.  Rotax, ftw!

A larger bike would be nice but with all your extra luggage, etc the lighter bike you can keep to the better off you'll be when the going really gets rough.  Though, I'm just always a fan of going lighter.  It's more fun that way.  People have done this trip on single cylinder 650s...  You could throw you back out picking up a battle geared 650 in the middle of AK, but you'd have to fully unmount all your gear to right an 1150.  You are planning on falling, right?   big_smile

I would think the biggest issue with a fully laiden 800 might be the suspension.  The one I rode seemed softer then I expected and I'm only 175lb.

Hope you actually do this!

Last edited by tlow98 (2011-07-26 10:06:39)


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#10 2011-07-26 10:07:13

bump909
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Re: The Saab 92x motorcycle trip to Alaska - July 2013

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#11 2011-07-26 10:29:10

hyperboarder
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Re: The Saab 92x motorcycle trip to Alaska - July 2013

tlow98 wrote:

BMW GS 800 gets my vote as it's the only one I've ridden of the bunch.  I was unaware of the 'weak' wheels.  Substituting any other BMW used set that fits should work, no?

Motor will lug and chug all day long but still rap out to it's relatively low final rpm with aplomp, albeit accompanied by a slightly agricultural growl.  Rotax, ftw!

A larger bike would be nice but with all your extra luggage, etc the lighter bike you can keep to the better off you'll be when the going really gets rough.  Though, I'm just always a fan of going lighter.  It's more fun that way.  People have done this trip on single cylinder 650s...  You could throw you back out picking up a battle geared 650 in the middle of AK, but you'd have to fully unmount all your gear to right an 1150.  You are planning on falling, right?   big_smile

I would think the biggest issue with a fully laiden 800 might be the suspension.  The one I rode seemed softer then I expected and I'm only 175lb.

Hope you actually do this!

The local BMW dealer has the 800GS and the Tiger 800 XC in stock, might go take a ride on both.  Truth be told the one that I'm leaning towards most right now is the VStrom, it's the most affordable and seems up to the task.

And yeah, I plan on falling  biggrin.  It appears inevitable in the frozen north.

http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=709997

The big worry is parts.  That and the fact that I know precisely dick about them.

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#12 2011-07-26 10:39:33

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Re: The Saab 92x motorcycle trip to Alaska - July 2013

I want to do that. I'm in.

BMW would be great.  Also thinking about a supermoto bike like the Husqy. It would be harder to fit gear on it, but these bikes drive great, they are comfortable, and they last.  More mass might be better tho.

A local dealer has them "onsale" for 6 grand.
http://www.teammcc.com/new_vehicle_deta … lYear=2011


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#13 2011-07-26 10:52:09

tlow98
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Re: The Saab 92x motorcycle trip to Alaska - July 2013

Avmaviator wrote:

A local dealer has them "onsale" for 6 grand.
http://www.teammcc.com/new_vehicle_deta … lYear=2011

How dare you threaten my bank account with that post?  For sale: vintage Honda.


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#14 2011-07-26 11:13:47

Avmaviator
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Re: The Saab 92x motorcycle trip to Alaska - July 2013

tlow98 wrote:

Avmaviator wrote:

A local dealer has them "onsale" for 6 grand.
http://www.teammcc.com/new_vehicle_deta … lYear=2011

How dare you threaten my bank account with that post?  For sale: vintage Honda.

Yeah, I'm seriously thinking about this bikes too. I've been trying to find how much I could sell my YZ400F. My neighbors would love me even more... wink


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#15 2011-07-26 11:17:40

bentmettle
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Re: The Saab 92x motorcycle trip to Alaska - July 2013

hyperboarder wrote:

What kind of tent and bag do you have?  Size and weight are obviously much bigger of a deal on a bike.  My Kelty Grand Mesa 2 is a bit larger than I'd like, but the Big Agnes bag/pad setup mostly makes up for it.

Seedhouse SL1, Sierra something or the other down bag 3 season, and a full length thermorest.  I think that all fits into one side.

I think the Pelican cases are just small.  The rear shock on the bike is garbage anyway.

Back in the day, my brother and I rode self-supported on bicycles from central Iowa to Greeley/Ft Collins/Boulder. It was hardly backwoods, and with two people you could split some gear up, but getting rid of extra crap works the same.

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#16 2011-07-26 12:08:52

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Re: The Saab 92x motorcycle trip to Alaska - July 2013

My concern with a supermoto setup would be front tire choices.  Most of the tires I would want to take on this kind of trip only come in a 19 or 21 inch size, 17's are hard to come by.  Otherwise I don't see why it wouldn't work.

Side note: I'm stoked on how many people actually seem kind of interested in this.

A few more RR's to peruse:

http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=604650
http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=603878

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#17 2011-07-26 13:15:20

hyperboarder
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Re: The Saab 92x motorcycle trip to Alaska - July 2013

One more note, anyone coming has to join the club in Dawson City with me: http://www.sourtoecocktailclub.com/

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#18 2011-07-26 13:19:08

Azrael
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Re: The Saab 92x motorcycle trip to Alaska - July 2013

BTW, I have a friend that moved here from Alaska, and he worked at one of the major bike shops that the adventure riders would stop in to.  I'll have to get the info, as it'd be good to know while going through.

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#19 2011-07-26 13:26:09

bentmettle
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Re: The Saab 92x motorcycle trip to Alaska - July 2013

hyperboarder wrote:

Side note: I'm stoked on how many people actually seem kind of interested in this.

More immediately realistically, I'd like to ride out in Colorado and/or Utah. When I lived in Steamboat, I had no moto.

The bits between Michigan and the front range are mind numbing and probably should be trailered. Or ridden high on bennies.

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#20 2011-07-26 13:38:39

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Re: The Saab 92x motorcycle trip to Alaska - July 2013

Azrael wrote:

BTW, I have a friend that moved here from Alaska, and he worked at one of the major bike shops that the adventure riders would stop in to.  I'll have to get the info, as it'd be good to know while going through.

Probably The Motorcycle Shop in Anchorage, I'd anticipate needing a new rear and possibly front tire at that point, so I'd definitely be a customer.

bentmettle wrote:

More immediately realistically, I'd like to ride out in Colorado and/or Utah. When I lived in Steamboat, I had no moto.

The bits between Michigan and the front range are mind numbing and probably should be trailered. Or ridden high on bennies.

I need to get the DR out and camp this year, shoot me a PM if you want to do a weekend ride around northern CO before the season's over.

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#21 2011-07-26 13:48:17

Oodles-Of-Noodles
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Re: The Saab 92x motorcycle trip to Alaska - July 2013

I'll be in the chase vehicle.


2005 Deep Blue Mica saab 92x Aero 5-Speed Sports/Cold Package
Just enough Mods to keep driving pleasurable in NoVA. Prodrive/KYB drop. Ixiz. Stealthed Beltronics STi. 4 Horns of Loudness.
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#22 2011-07-26 14:06:11

b dash rian
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Re: The Saab 92x motorcycle trip to Alaska - July 2013

i just bought Givi soft bags for the monster this weekend.  Not a long trip bike, it turns out... my ass was killing me.

an F800 GS would be on my list.  And there are some trips in CO and UT that i'd like to do first, not to mention a Europe trip potential for later this year smile


1999 Saab 9-3, silver, stg 4+ | 2011 Subaru WRX STI Hatch, white
2002 Ducati Monster 620 ie Dark | 1989 BMW K100LT Project | 2008 KTM 250 XC-F | 1992 BMW R100GS PD

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#23 2011-07-26 14:19:42

straytowel
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Re: The Saab 92x motorcycle trip to Alaska - July 2013

i'm not one for adventure riding, but pics like these always tempt me:

http://frank766.zenfolio.com/img/v8/p369457312-5.jpg

more here: http://www.bayarearidersforum.com/forum … p?t=324831

Avmaviator wrote:

Also thinking about a supermoto bike like the Husqy. It would be harder to fit gear on it, but these bikes drive great, they are comfortable, and they last.  More mass might be better tho.

A local dealer has them "onsale" for 6 grand.
http://www.teammcc.com/new_vehicle_deta … lYear=2011

although the 630 would probably be okay, how many rebuilds do you plan during this trip?  biggrin

edited for inline pic, was too lazy to do it on my phone.

Last edited by straytowel (2011-07-26 15:10:50)


'05 Aero

flickr

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#24 2011-07-26 15:04:40

Azrael
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Re: The Saab 92x motorcycle trip to Alaska - July 2013

hyperboarder wrote:

Alaskaleather.comProbably The Motorcycle Shop in Anchorage, I'd anticipate needing a new rear and possibly front tire at that point, so I'd definitely be a customer.

Just got a reply.  It was Alaskaleather.com, still in Anchorage.  They specialize in aftermarket, including tires.  He said there's the possibility of a discount by dropping his name.

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#25 2011-07-26 15:17:20

bentmettle
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Re: The Saab 92x motorcycle trip to Alaska - July 2013

Hrm. Neither of that guy's mirrors are cracked.

note to self: stop hitting tree branches big_smile

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