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AKDuc 03-27-2008 02:26 AM

Turnagain Arm, Alaska. Spring '08
Alrighty then! Finally, my first ride and report of '08! :choppa

Some of you may have read the reports I wrote up last winter about riding hundreds of miles around Southcentral Alaska on my studded tire KLR. Well, I was quite a bit less inspired this year as we didn't have quite the wonderful snowfall as last year. So sorry, but no reports.... till now. :ricky

We have been having a pretty nice Spring so far and there is still SOME snow. Why just yesterday dogbrother Comet and I were snowboarding up in the foothills behind Anchorage. And the day before that we were chasing the hockey puck around on the groomed ice of Westchester Lagoon. :thumbup

I thought we'd be boarding again today but after seeing Newfoundland advrider DRZ400SK4's recent thread that included some pics of sea ice, I felt like going for my first ride of the season to see if I could get some pics of some sea ice from this side of the continent to share myself. I was even more inspired to go for a ride today because it was just this last Saturday a bunch of adv'ers got together for the first KLR tech day of '08 at advrider "beemertwin" Paul's house.

I chose to head south on the Designated Scenic Byway, Seward Hwy that runs along the Chugach Mountains and Turnagain Arm of Cook Inlet. It's one of my favorite day rides since it's a bit twisty and is south facing for some added warmth this time of year. :wink:

Cook Inlet can be pretty spectacular any time of year with it's tidal range of over 35'. Normally it's chocked full of ice during the winter. It's been a pretty mild winter and a warm spring but I still managed to get some pics that include some snow and ice. After all, a thermometer next to the highway said 37f on the way down and 35 on the way back so the ice and snow isn't disappearing all THAT fast.

I also decided to do this as a ride report since so many adv'ers have been up here and traveled this road, the only one heading south out of Anchorage, during the summer and might enjoy seeing the surrounding mountains all covered in snow. :brow

Ok, enough with all the jibber jabber, how about some photos already?!? :evil

Since I didn't get started till late in the afternoon, the shadows were already getting long.

Just around this corner is McHugh Creek Wayside located about 12mi south of Anchorage.

Rounding another bend a little farther south:

I like this shot even tho the background is a bit washed out. It shows my little snowman that I cemented to the top of my front brake reservoir. Last year I carried a larger stuffed snowman on the handle bars. This one turned out to be more representing of this winter's lesser snowfall in the Anchorage area. :(: Yes, it's true, a few of us really do live up here for fun filled wintertime activities. :D

After skirting the mountains for about 35mi, Turnagain Arm opens a bit as you near the sleepy little community of Girdwood where Alyeska Ski Resort is located.

You can see some of the ski trails of Alyeska on the left beyond the three poles in this photo. And on the far right you can see the shine of some buildings located on what's the corner of the hwy and the road into Alyeska. There, on any day of the week, you'll often find many motorcyclists just hanging out and enjoying our long summer evenings. :thumb

And who's this?!? Why, it's your truly at a little pull out just before Girdwood. A "cager" had stopped and was taking some photos himself when I asked if he'd please take one of me. :D Such a lovely day.

A fair amount of snow in some locations like in the last photo but not much sea ice left.

As you might imagine with such a large tidal fluctuation, the creeks coming out of the mountains cut many deep and long channels out into the Inlet. And a little more ice where the tide hasn't come up high enough yet to clear it away.

I hope you enjoyed looking at the scenery as much as I did trying to capture then share it. And as always, you're more than welcome, invited, and encouraged to come up and see it for yourself in real life! :super

I got home a little after 8pm with the sun just setting. Seems like a nice way to wrap up my first report of '08. Thus ends another lovely little adventure for me up here in the still "Great White North." Mark H.

1stworks 03-27-2008 05:13 AM

thanks for the post.

keep them comming


GB 03-27-2008 05:30 AM

Beautiful Alaska! Thanks for the repot and pics :thumb

Fighter 03-27-2008 09:15 AM

Nice shots AKD, makes me anxious to fire up BiggerBird for a run to Weirdwood. See you this weekend at the Egan. Fite

helikron 03-27-2008 09:26 AM

Very cool, Mark!

I miss this time of year in AK.

alaskaOE 03-27-2008 10:35 AM

It sure was a great day for a ride yesterday. I got out for my first ride of the year also, same ride opposite direction.

BeeDub 03-27-2008 11:57 AM

Cool! Great shots! One of my helicopter flight instructors/friend lives in Girdwood, flies tours and such, and does ski patrol there in the winter. He trained me in CA back in '05. I'm planning on heading up there to have him show me around someday...

ridingAK 03-27-2008 03:17 PM

Nice report! :clap

You've inspired me. I think I'll ride to my kid's parent/teacher conference then go play for a while.

Easy-Z 03-27-2008 03:24 PM

Looks like a perfect day. If it were me I could have use a few more degrees though. :vardy Drove that same route in a rental car a few years ago on my way to the Double Muskie.

Nice pictures of beautiful Alaska! Cheers. :beer

bond007 03-27-2008 06:39 PM

Like the pics. I like the view from the drivers seat. It makes it easy to visualize being there. I'm gona borrow from your technic sometimes! I hadn't thought of shooting from there. What is your dig camera? Thanks Coolowl!:clap

Pastieman 03-27-2008 06:42 PM

Nice report.

This was the scene for me in Girdwood on Easter.

Still fun though!


adriftAK 03-27-2008 07:26 PM

The sea ice has melted A LOT since I was last down there about 2 weeks ago. :eek1

I want to get out on my bike so bad after seeing your pics!
Waiting for some much needed gear to show up on my doorstep.
no ATGATT = no rides. :cry

AKDuc 03-28-2008 01:00 PM


Originally Posted by bond007
Like the pics. I like the view from the drivers seat. It makes it easy to visualize being there. I'm gona borrow from your technic sometimes! I hadn't thought of shooting from there. What is your dig camera? Thanks Coolowl!:clap

Thanks for all the great compliments, guys! :choppa

I'm shooting a Pentax Optio. It's small and submersible waterproof with no moving parts. I got it on the recommendation of a good friend who's also a camera repairman. He told me the automatic opening and closing lens covers and extend and retract lenses of many point and shoot cameras are prone to failure.

The image quality is good most the time. I think there are better out there but I'm satisfied for now. I also "textured" up the whole outside of the camera with sandpaper for a better grip.

I have two velcro pouches on my handle bar cross bar. One for garage door opener and the other for camera. I can access the camera one handed with my left hand, turn it on, and shoot. Usually upside down depressing the button with my thumb. The large viewfinder back is also handy on occasion.

Take care and thanks again, Mark H.

knybanjo 03-28-2008 04:47 PM

Beautiful pics Mark!!:thumb :thumb

Nothing like a little spring fever, although I must say that I enjoyed your studded tire ice rides from last winter.:ricky

bluebye 03-28-2008 05:47 PM

Alaska calling
must come back

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