Earthbound Misfit, I
Joined: Nov 2007
Location: South of Gorman
Northbound! At last!
Here is my 1st ride report, or something alike… enjoy.
Finally, unemployed...I mean, on “vacation”, and in the summertime with a bike that has been longing for some miles for past 7 months! The contract work on the east coast is over and its time to ride! Timing couldn’t be more perfect as the fishing season for salmon was about to start, so there was some chance that i could actually afford the gas and the burgers id eat on this ride.
A while ago I tossed up an idea of a ride to Alaska, to few of my riding buddies around town and most that I got back was a "possible" ride along to Washington... man! Excuses from work and school to money and time! Only Sunday evening 40 milers for most if not all...
So there, all packed and shiny (not for long), full tank and ready to hit the road. Plan was to blast to the border as fast as possible to spend more time at easy paces in the Yukon and Alaska. I have been to the east before but never north enough to even Mt. Shasta. So it was double interesting.
What could be better than "accidentally" getting thru all the city traffic of north bay, and the bridges during the carpool times! Everyone loves free swag… or passage... right !?
There was a "historic place" sign that I went off to explore somewhere in Wolf Creek, Oregon, but only thing that was there is a closed hotel that some couple in an old Buick said had really good breakfast... but it was closed. So a little lunch on the side of the road was in order.
Gas stop, snack stop and a little detour to change the paces from the freeway and off til the sunset. So first day was a marathon, and ended with the sun marking my timeout, at some campground just inside Washington.
It was a bit pricey and wet, being right on the river but nonetheless, it was a place to put a tent down in a relatively quiet location. The only neighbors around were two ducks, splashing in the water and few guys fishing way down the river on the other side. Now I’m thinking more and more that I should have set off earlier so the fishing season wouldn’t be pushing the timeline so much, but nonetheless, it was a very interesting ride, being the first long distance trip I’ve made. It felt quite different waking up and still riding north, especially after second night in the tent, when an average ride would be headed somewhat back to the start point.
Canada welcomed me quite well, with a somewhat lengthy but fast moving customs line, and very easy checkpoint.
And just on the other side, I pulled over to see the information booth for some local dineros, and maybe a postcard. Hope is next. Hope is ahead, it has not been lost! The temps finally gone down a bit and scenery slowly changed to more hills, mountains even, and beautiful smooth roads! But what was most surprising to me is that I found a little bit of Arizona, riding further north through B.C.! Amazing! Northern Arizona has got to be one of my most favorite places, and what do you know, this so reminded me of the times when I used to live around Prescott…
Closer to the evening I made it up the 1 to Cache Creek, and the sun was saying “time to look for a camping spot”. There was a turn on my right, saying something with “lake” and “camping” in it, and a nice easy “16km” combined with a fun “narrow road” things! On I go to find a huge lake with not an inch of spared lakeside grass to pitch a tent on, and not a single open, or empty campsite. At that point a thing that crossed my mind was a little forest road about 6 miles back. Its an adventure ride, or is it not? I’m still amazed my heavy, skinnytired road bike made it up that hill and then off the road into the woods looking for a nice open spot not littered with animal droppings… amazing was the stay… who needs campgrounds anyway!
After the best night on the trip to date, waking up with the birds and packing off the camp, more stunning and increasingly mountainous scenery followed. A little rain on every mountain pass kept following me and trying to make the ride wetter and colder than it should be. Long behold I made it to Prince George!
Now was the decision, to turn left for Prince Rupert and catch a ferry, or turn right and actually ride to Alaska, instead of sailing… hard choice, right?
The sign, which was on my mind from some other ride report I’ve probably seen here, has been vaguely on my mind ever since I made that right turn and finally I found it. The Alcan mile “0” sign in Dawson Creek, BC. I also had some luck meeting a couple from France right there under the sign (you can see their adventures on www.motards-nomades.com ) who were also riding to Alaska, and invited me to stay on their reserved campsite.
I couldn’t turn that down and also had a very nice company as well. Called it early evening and followed them into town. While setting up camp and chatting about motorcycles I’ve met another traveler on yet another beemer, Al, who saw us getting the tents set across the whole campsite and snuck in the spot next to ours.
I have joined up with Al, for the next 2 days and kept up a little faster pace than I would have done solo but it was fun to ride along with someone for a change. There was plenty of wildlife on the road, but mostly herds of buffalo just chilling there… many herds…
Both of us made it on that day to the somewhat famous Sign Post Forest, in Watson Lake. Only later I find out there are more than 40,000 signs there! Amazing!
Camping for the night, in the forest, as usual, or not so usual for Al, but fairly educating, that I found out the mosquitoes are actually attracted to heat, rather than anything else since they simply swarmed our hot bikes, before realizing that we, the riders were a bit more tastier.
Next fill was just ordinary fill, but later I would find out the gas was lousy, mileage dropped much, and going at Al’s pace didn’t help my little 3.75 gallon tank either…
I have run out of gas!
And only 8 miles from the next pump, just on the other side of that bridge, that seems to be on everyone's pics..so here it is again!!
The scenery made up for it all though.
Somewhere further up the road, thru Yukon, we met up with two riders, saying they hang out on ADV as well, on very similar KLRs, whose names escape me for now, going to Purdhoe Bay. They were kind enough to invite both Al and I, to their campground in Tok, AK, where we decided to literally sneak in to hide the numbers J The meals were served at a local restaurant, with accidental free brews (!) and off we went setting our tents barely beating the rain.
The next day I only had 500 miles to go and was on my own again, as the rest of the bunch went up to Fairbanks while I steered towards Anchorage.
Alaska is simply wonderful! The ride is amazing and the scenery is plentiful, stretching over hundreds and hundreds of miles. The road is suitable for any bike, and while a bit patchy and sometimes gravelly in upper Yukon, it is paved. Had I something more suitable for offroading, or even adventuring I’d probably stay off the pavement more than just few forest roads… yea, still dreamin of a 1150GSA. Damn you college loans!!!
Kenai Lake, only 40-50 miles away from my friends’ house where I would spend the next few weeks or so...
Til next time!