We had been getting the bikes ready for this trip for weeks.
Oil changes, new chains and sprockets, fresh air filters, new tires, fresh brake pads, and had collected all the spare parts and tools we thought we might need for a big trip like this. The route had been researched and all the possible important waypoints had been uploaded into the GPS's.
On the morning of June 16th, the bikes were all packed, and we rolled them out of the aircraft hanger where we had been living for the past month or so.
Here's a picture of the nice clean bikes...
In the cool morning air, we headed west towards Arco, and then north towards Missoula MT where we would spend the night with some friends of mine.
The wide open emptiness of the Idaho high desert.
And behind me, one of my favorite sights, Motoadventuregal on her DR.
On the way to Arco, a good sign.
The almost obligatory picture of the Submarine in Arco.
What, you've never seen a Nuclear Powered submaine at 5,500 feet before?
In the foreground is "Tiger" my happy KTM.
Even with over 46K miles on it at the time, I knew "Tiger" my KTM had always wanted to go to Alaska. I had been promising Tiger this trip for over a year. In fact getting the time off from my new job for this Alaska trip was a 'signing bonus' that I worked into my contract.
And here's a picture of MAG and her DR in front of the Submarine.
Leaving Arco we head north.
Again, more beautiful emptiness and majestic mountains.
MAG with some nice scenery behind her.
Not bad for an over-the-shoulder shot at 65 MPH.
Some signs explaining the geography of the area.
As we stopped and had a roadside lunch we were passed by two other Dual Sport riders. They waved as they went by.
We would meet then again at the top of the pass.
Turns out they are also Adventure Riders, and they too were headed up to Alaska. (We would leap frog them for the next several days. And in fact Sydney called me about five months later - so we did stay in touch.)
Then we rode down the other side off the pass towards Salmon.
Can't complain about the weather.
A few twisties along the way.
Nope, this doesn't suck. Good weather, a wonderful motorcycle, good roads, an awesome travel partner to share the adventure with, and a month of riding to Alaska and back... This is my idea of Heaven.
We cross the 45th parallel, the half way point between the equator and the top of the North Pole. (MAG had been at the equator less than three month previous, so it was a cool thing to cross.)
Yeup, totally horrible out here. Stay away.
Tiger's point of view. Purrr....
More historic facts.
and soon we cross into Montana.
Down into the valley below.
The roads were fun and twisty, and the views were spectacular. We were really enjoying ourselves until we came to this line of stopped cars.
The news was that some other motorcyclist had had a bad crash and they had to call in a helicopter to evacuate them. (I really hope they recover and heal up quickly.)
After about an hour they opened the road back up and we were allowed to continue.
After 9 hours of riding we arrived at my friends house in Missoula.
I stayed with them two years ago on my National Parks tour, and it was really great to see them again.
Here's a picture of our accommodations or the evening.
MAG and I both think Airstreams' are the coolest, and we were delighted.
A few beers, the company of good friends, and yummy food completed the day.
So far so good. And it get's so much better!
Stat's for the day:
349 miles, Moving average 51 MPH, Moving Time 6:50. Stopped 2:23 Total 9:17.