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Old 09-19-2013, 05:41 PM   #90
SpecialAgentNancy OP
& your little dog 2!
 
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Joined: Dec 2008
Location: San Francisco
Oddometer: 532
The final days....

Today we rode over 300 miles, visited Kroschel's, an extraordinary place and it was only 2 pm! Russ and I were catching the ferry from Haines early the next morning and so we headed into town hoping to see a bald eagle along the reserve....no luck.

In spite of a confused GPS found Bear Creek Cabins all right.





My cozy bunk in the female dorm room (had it all to myself).Chilly enough to use my 'old lady' hot water bottle. On my list of items to make this trip go well, i'd say it was #3.



We dropped our gear and rode into town for a bite to eat. Yep, you guessed it...wings. And let me just say that Alaska could use some Hooters restaurants. These wings were just awful again, they look good but they tasted funny.



After we finished eating we decided to ride to the ferry terminal just to be sure we knew where it was and how long it would take to get there. We also hoped to see a bald eagle but no luck...

This was my last night on Alaskian soil and I was feeling glad to be headed home but I was also a bit melancholy. Course, the dark clouds, heavy with rain made me grateful that the next two days would be on a dry, warm ship. This was the end of the vacation so to speak and I'd made it. Not only had I succeeded in going 4000+ miles alone but I had a blast doing it!

We woke up early the next morning to a light drizzle. Just as we were heading out of the parking lot, I noticed a thick nylon strap hanging loose from Russ's side bag and caught it before he took off. Riding with someone is worth the hassle it sometimes brings. Imagine if that got caught in the rear wheel?

Made it to the terminal and finally did see a bald eagle, waited the requisite 2 hours in a light rain and then finally boarded. Since we didn't have a cabin and agreed to sleep under the solarium, as soon as we got the bikes on board, I grabbed our bags and high-tailed it to the top deck.



There was plenty of room. Nothing to worry about! Found out after we cast off that Captain Rudini was not on board and a substitute captain was at the helm.

This time I just lounged about watching the scenery go by and kept to myself mostly. Gosh, the Alaskian coast is just so beautiful. Can't recommend the Alaska Marine Highway enough!

Made it to Prince Rupert late the following night and right on time. Checked back into the Pioneer Hostel again and woke up to more rain the following morning. The road to Prince George is twisty, follows lakes for quite a ways and mountain ranges on both sides. Just gorgeous.
After about an hour, rode out of the rain and once in Prince George, found a campsite with a pool just outside of town and got the unholy smell out of my gear. Can't believe I didn't get a photo of the pool. The weather was getting hot and the spring fed water a welcome refreshment.





This would be our last night together. We were going to split the next day. I was headed back West towards Whistler and Russ was going to start angling towards Texas. It only got hotter for him. We stopped for one last meal in 100 mile house, shook hands and wished each other well.

I took the back road 99 from the 97. It was super twisty, steep, narrow, potholed and with sheer cliff drop offs. Oh and boy was it HOT. Remember, I'm wearing non-vented, weather gortex gear. Doesn't matter how fast I went, I was drowning in my own sweat. If I'd been more rested or properly geared, probably would have loved that road but I just wanted to get to Whistler.

My hostel was super cute and clean. Neat cafe at the entrance.



Well built wood bunkbeds with mini closets and a private bath.



I could even see my bike from the window!



I felt like a proud parent that night. My Tiger is a new bike so not much could go wrong mechanically but I will say that I'm completely satisfied with that bike now that I've ridden it for about 15K. It was a tough choice between the F 800 GS and my Gossamer but I chose wisely.

Whistler is a cute, cute place! Hot but cute. I'd gotten a breakfast place recommendation and had to only get to Seattle that day. Not too far but plenty of congestion and traffic as well as some toll roads with maniac drivers.

Crossed the border at Sumas on the 11. Took the twisty, single lane country back roads to my final destination of Issaquah. It was warm but didn't have any stop and go and with all the irrigated fields, the air was a bit cooler.
I'd have to say, that this day (once I got back onto US soil) was one of the best scenic rides ever.

I was staying with my friend Tyson and we went for a steak dinner. Also one of the best steaks I have ever eaten!





I had a king size, pillow top bed with super soft cotton sheets. I could have slept there a week. The exhaustion was starting to ooze out of me.



My own private bath too, with a shower about 2 feet higher than the floor.



And this big guy to keep me company.



Tyson has a great sound system and we enjoyed relaxing in his living room to classic rock.



That little guy on her lap is called Moose so I kissed him too just for luck.

When I first arrived, I was tired, dripping in sweat, the GPS was confused and there were 3 places that could have been his place. Unfortunately each place was a steep, gravel path up. Glad I chose the right one!

The next morning Tyson made some scary looking green shake for Jenn and I opted for some black coffee instead.



Today I was going to get to Portland and visit Danny, a friend from Phoenix I used to hang with. He's a mutual friend of Courtnay (in Skagway) and she suggested we meet up. I practically invited myself to stay the night...you'll see why after the photos I'm about to show you.

But first the ride that day...I got to finally ride the 25. Remember that was the road that was closed that I warned the other riders to not take a month earlier. Wound my way around Mount St Helens



Creepy





Got to Portland in the late afternoon and Danny took me to a food truck court for dinner.





There were a lot of food options. We both decided on the Mediterranean place but after some bizarre stressed out exchange with the lady behind the counter, decided on some fried chicken instead. Boy was it delicious! Back to the land of coleslaw made with vinegar and mayo. yahoo!



Their very cool arts and craft house but wait till you see inside....



My room. Super soft, comfy bed again. I had an AC unit in the window and thick drapes over the windows. It was pitch black in that room and I loved it.



Don't see these everyday.



Curios heaven.



Bad ass African stuff.



BTW, this is still only my room!!!!



It looked real....



The front living room



Massive weird masks





More cool, weird stuff







The next morning we went to Arleta Cafe. For me this was a special event because back in March when I was visiting my mom in Quebec we watched a foodie road show that highlighted this place.



I couldn't decide what I wanted so I got 3 things: eggs with meat. bacon and sausage biscuit sauce.





Yep I ate it all.

Danny posed by my bike and sent me off smiling and stuffed.



I got a late start that day and rode about as fast as I could down the 97, through Bend, in scorching heat. I had to stop for oil since the level was a bit low the night before when I checked it. I passed Crater Lake and stopped at the same BBQ joint in Klamath Falls and told the gals there that I had been there exactly a month before on my way to Alaska. Their jaws dropped.

Stable frenzy had now officially set in. I was doing everything I could to avoid going on the I-5 but I wanted to get as close to home as possible and California is a long state. After taking another single lane road around Mt Shasta and missing a lightening storm by mere minutes settled in a KOA campsite complete with blaring trains all night long every 40 minutes like clockwork.



It was a miserable night. Followed by a miserable last day of riding through some really hot weather but I arrived home, made myself 3 margaritas in a row and celebrated.

This is my last post. Thanks for sharing the adventure. Get out there and have your own adventure, you only live once.
I'll leave you with my favorite photo from the bizarre curio house in Portland.

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