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Old 02-19-2013, 09:07 AM   #316
nick949eldo
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LadyCruiser View Post
Anna thanks for letting us join your adventure :) You rock girl!!
I hope we meet someday on a trial
Here's hoping you meant trail......................

Nick
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Old 02-19-2013, 12:47 PM   #317
ruffntuff OP
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Day 24: Kluane Lake, YT - Haines, AK

Day 24:
June 13. 2012
Kluane Lake, YT – Haines, AK: 239 miles

Ah, yes, an evening without rain! Regardless of the lack of precipitation, I was still reluctant to leave the cozy warmth of my double sleeping bag protecting me from the bitter cold and wind outside. I don’t know what the temperature was, but it was cold enough to wake me every hour past 3:00am with a chilly shiver.

Hearing the water lapping against the edge of the lake, while serene in sound, only reminded me of its icy temperature making me that much colder. It was kind of like when the sound of water makes you have to pee, only this time, it was making me cold.

I finally decided if I wasn’t going to get any sleep, I may as well get to Haines and enjoy the day there. I braved exposure to the elements outside my modest abode and pulled out my alcohol stove suffering bare hands to fumble a frozen lighter. While waiting for my water to boil, I reminded myself to change the fuse on the bike so I would at least have warm hands in this freezing weather.

I ate my hot oatmeal fast, enjoying the temporary warmth from the inside. Unable to sit still for a moment, I packed the bike swiftly and was on the road by 6:00am.

Kluane Lake is the largest lake in Yukon Territory covering 154 square miles between the Ruby Ranges on the east and the Kluane Ranges on the west. The Alaskan Highway follows the perimeter of the lake, winding along its edge parallel to the continuous chain of magnificent mountains averaging 8,000 feet.



I sensed I had the road to myself and was humbled by how small I felt in a land so grand.



After thirty miles I came to Bear Creek summit, the highest point of the Alaskan Highway, at just 3,294 feet. Clouds covered the sky but the sun pierced through to one high peak like a halo. I stopped to stare in awe at the radiance and flurries floated from the sky.



It was a cold ride through the last bit of Yukon I would see, but it was dry and gorgeous. At Haines Junction, I only stopped for gas before turning off the Alaskan Highway towards Haines. I savored the scenery enjoying every moment I had left.

In 60 miles I said goodbye to Yukon, the land that truly was and felt “larger than life”, and entered back into beautiful British Columbia, “the best place on earth.”

I followed the broad alpine valley of black spruce until the road climbed up to Chilkat Pass at 3,510 feet, the highest point of the Haines highway above timberline. As the road became steeper and twisted its way up the mountain, the tundra grew thinner, the air became colder, the fog became denser, the snow became deeper and I felt an arctic wind sway me at times.



I refueled with the RotoPax, unnerved by the cold wind and snow, before descending the mountain to the U.S. border of Alaska.

I crossed the border with another friendly encounter. The officer was kind and impressed to hear my story. I was only there a few minutes and continued for the last 40 miles I would ride on Alaskan terrain.

Repressing sadness, I softened my mind to be in the moment and always remember this miraculous journey I was fortunate and thankful to experience.

Just 20 miles from Haines, I stopped at Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve. I walked along the Chilkat River hoping to catch a glimpse of a massive raptor and within moments saw one fly directly over my head. I sighed and thought of Dan.



At 9:00am I rolled into the quaint settlement of Haines, “the adventure capital of Alaska.” Located at Portage Cove on the Lynn Canal of Chilkoot Inlet, it remains the home of two Tlingit tribes, the Chilkat and Chilkoot Indians, with a meager population of just 1,700.



Originally, the Indian name for Haines was Dei-Shu, meaning “end of trail.” It was where they would trade with Russian and American ships and transport canoes from the river to the canal. For me, I felt it too was the end of my trail, the end of my trail in Alaska.





I wandered up and down the streets of the tiny town wondering what to do for the day. I decided I better find the hostel first and stopped at the information center for directions.

The lady there showed me on the map that it was a few miles outside of town past Chilkat State Park. I headed down Mud Bay Road and passed it at first. After turning around, I saw the tiny sign, “Haines Hostel,” and a group of little green cabins situated in a half-circle off the road.

When I pulled in a nice man greeted me and informed me although it was only $12/night, they only took cash. I asked if it would be alright to pay later since I had no cash on me. He didn’t have a problem with it so I settled into my unoccupied bunkhouse and took a tour of the hostel grounds.

There were six or seven cabins, each with four bunks. There was a shower house with hot water (so he said) and flushing toilets, one for men and one for women. There was a kitchen cabin with a stove, sink, refrigerator and any cooking utensil one would need for a nice meal, plus complimentary hot chocolate.

I suddenly felt excited I had the entire day to explore. My ferry to Prince Rupert didn’t leave until tomorrow morning and with no more riding to do, I was eager to use my legs and get out for a hike around town and hopefully find a trail somewhere.

I enjoyed a light ride on the gearless bike back into town and stopped again at the information center. I asked about where the bank was and where I could find a good coffee shop, hopefully with WiFi so I could check in with family back home.

I left the Radian parked and risked leaving my helmet and armored gear. Since it was parked right in front of the information center, I felt okay with it. But throughout the day, paranoia would kick in and I’d walk in a direction where I could catch a glimpse of the bike from far away.

After getting some cash I dove into a little coffee shop for a fresh scone and a cup of espresso while I updated Facebook and family with my whereabouts.

The main tourist attractions in Haines are the Sheldon Museum and Hammer Museum. I walked by, but decided to refrain from spending cash to walk through a door. Instead I bounced between art galleries and talked with local artisans about their work and learned the symbolism behind the tribal images often seen in native Alaskan art.

One woman explained to me how to look at the animals often carved on totem poles and seen in prints. Some were so abstract they were hard to distinguish. She showed me how every circle was figurative of a joint or body cavity. There was a circle for not just the eye and abdomen, but for the wrist, tail, fluke, jaw, and ankle.

She also informed me how the Tlingit society is divided into two moieties (descent groups), the Raven and the Eagle. These are also divided into clans which are then subdivided into house groups. The house groups would display their heraldic crests on totem poles and canoes.



I struggled to see the difference between the two birds but then she pointed out the Eagle always had a curved beak, sometimes yellow, and large talons unlike the Raven with a longer thin beak and smaller talons. One must always marry the other she explained. A Raven could never marry a Raven and an Eagle could never marry an Eagle.

There were many stories about the Raven and the Eagle passed down generation after generation. Telling and remembering these stories was a big part of their culture and society illustrated in their art. I felt Haines ought to be the art capital of Alaska.



I walked over to the Chilkat Art Center. It is a beautiful old building next to Fort Seward that was previously a hospital for the fort. Now it has been converted into a center full of several artisans and their working galleries. I had the opportunity to walk along the length of a totem pole lying on the ground in the process of being meticulously hand carved. It was amazing to stand close enough to see the thorough detail of the piece. I can’t imagine raising the giant to stand vertically.













As I was making my way to another gallery, I suddenly realized the population of Haines seemed to of tripled. There were crowds of people, mostly elderly with cameras, fanny packs, and binoculars. A cruise ship the size of the entire town had ported and the simple local community impression of Haines’ character left.



I retreated into another gallery that seemed empty. I walked around gazing at beautiful handmade jewelry with jade and gold and carved beads. Some hand carved pendants, similar to the totem pole carvings I had been seeing, caught my eye.



I asked the artist if I could just buy the pendant, and not the whole necklace. He hesitated but then said he had never done that before and had a bunch in his shop I could choose from for $10 apiece.

He walked me down the hill from Fort Seward towards the crowd of consumers making their tourist trap investments on T-Shirts, key-chains, and bumper stickers to prove they had stepped foot on Haines, AK. He asked if I was on the cruise ship and I quickly said, “Hell no!” I could never do that. It takes all the adventure out of a trip getting plopped out at your destination with no effort while being catered to in-between ports.

I felt slightly important following him into an old wooden building from the early 1900’s next to a smoked salmon shop with a line out the door. The room was scattered with paintings, masks, sculptures, and prints. He dug out a bowl and poured across the table probably twenty pendants, all carved from cow bone and stained brown with tea he said.

They were all different and unique in their own way. I picked several for some close friends back home to carry with me until I’d see them again. He asked where I was from and about my journey and when I told him he said, “Well that’s different.”

We walked back up the hill to his gallery so I could pay him and I thanked him for this exclusive experience.
At this point I decided I had had enough of the town and wanted to get some groceries for lunch and for the ferry ride. I walked back down to the salmon shop which was now empty and bought a couple packages of Coho and Sockeye salmon.

I found a little natural foods store where I got some nice cheese and crackers to go with the salmon and splurged on some chocolate covered blueberries. Then I made one last stop, the most important stop, before heading back to the hostel- the liquor store. I bought some Canadian whiskey to keep me warm and busy. What else was I gonna do on a ferry for two days?

I headed back to the hostel to unload my groceries and dress for a day hike. It was mid afternoon and I still had time for a moderate hike. I drove down to Chilkat State Park and saw Rainbow Glacier and Davidson Glacier from the visitor center. They were stunningly impressive.







I talked with the ranger there about trails and she suggested I hike Mt. Riley down the road. It was 2.8 miles up the mountain, 5.6 roundtrip, and with a 360 degree view of Haines and the Chilkoot Inlet on top. She warned me there would be a lot of snow on top and to be careful not to get lost. She said several people lately never made it to the top because they couldn’t find the trail in all the snow.

It was the one and only day-hike I got to do in Alaska. I was slightly nervous leaving my helmet and jacket on the bike at the trailhead. But then I thought, fuck it. It’s my last opportunity to hike on Alaskan soil and if someone steals my shit, I have two days on the ferry to figure something out.

The hike started off lush and green with moss laden roots and soft ferns scattering the forest floor. I tried not to think of stumbling across a grizzly bear. As I climbed higher the trees became smaller and rougher and the trail became rockier. Snow was more frequent and spotted the path with icy patches.









As the snow got deeper I struggled following the trail. I followed the footprints that at times lead me in the wrong direction. Occasionally my feet would sink below soft spots and I would be up to my hips in a snow drift.





I started thinking this hike may not have been a good idea to do alone. What if I fall in a drift over my head and can’t get out? What if I get all the way up here and can’t find the trail back down? Well at least I know to go downhill to get back I guess.

Mt. Riley is the highest point on the Chilkat Peninsula at 1,760 feet. The elevation gain getting up there was 1,600 feet. I made it to the top and was humbled by a breathtaking view. I have thru-hiked the entire Appalachian Trail and seen a lot of vistas, but this was the most magnificent.









The navy blue mountains covered in virgin white snow, untouched and faultless, endlessly following the deep indigo inlet is the most elegant piece of the natural world I have seen.

I felt a quiet, calmness come over me while I sat there taking in the spectacular sight.

I took my time heading back down the mountain only getting lost a couple times in the snow, but I wasn’t worried. I didn’t even think about the bears. Once again I came to the dirt path and strolled back through the enchanting mystical forest with a peaceful composure I hadn’t felt in a long time—I felt free of anxiety and free of grief.

When I got back to the trailhead, thankfully my bike and gear was still where I left it. It may have ruined the moment if it wasn’t.

I headed back to the hostel to take a hot shower, make dinner, and get to bed early. When I got in the shower I had just enough hot water to get wet. By the time I got soap on my hands the water was so cold I had to jump out.

Oh well, guess I’ll stink up the ferry. Its only been four days since I took a shower at Denali Mountain Hostel, but its been a week since I did any laundry. And considering how wet the weather has been, well, I’ll leave it to your own imagination.

I informed the keeper the situation with the water and he apologized unsure of what the problem was. Instead of getting clean and warm in a shower I warmed back up in the kitchen with hot chocolate and made my usual rice dinner with tuna and lemon pepper.

I recognized two boys in there from Germany I had seen at Denali Mountain Hostel. We talked for a while and sipped a little on some whiskey. I wanted a good night sleep to have time in the morning to get breakfast in Haines and maybe go for a quick ride before tying myself down to a boat for two days.

Although I knew it would be a fun experience and beautiful trip on the ferry, I knew it would be torture. Being stuck on a boat with nowhere to go and hide and with people everywhere and expensive beer (hence the liquor) was going to be a mental challenge for me. I just hope I can go sit on the bike when I start to go through withdrawal.
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Old 02-19-2013, 04:32 PM   #318
tvbh40a
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Sweet report

Nice, you never disappoint, rare quality.
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Old 02-19-2013, 04:33 PM   #319
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Nice.....
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Old 02-19-2013, 04:51 PM   #320
prsdrat
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Just found this RR and I'm in! Alaska is on my list for next year, but in a
cage dragging a couple of bikes for me and whomever meets me whereever.
Go Girl!
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Old 02-20-2013, 01:35 AM   #321
LadyCruiser
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nick949eldo View Post
Here's hoping you meant trail......................

Nick
hihihi yes!!! trail :P Thanks Nick
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Old 02-20-2013, 06:44 AM   #322
CharlestonADV
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I'm enjoying your report and writing style. BTW, a small cable and lock (that can be easily carried in a pocket) provide a bit of security when leaving gear on the bike.
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Old 02-21-2013, 08:33 AM   #323
TigerMike
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I envy you for doing such a trip, especially at such a moment in your life. Nice write-up too!
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Old 02-21-2013, 03:12 PM   #324
Streetslammer
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GaryAK View Post
Anna showed up in the pouring rain - doing a great impersonation of a happy, drowned rat. Apparently, she had just dumped her bike a few houses down the street, thinking she had found us. Luckily, my neighbors helped out and pointed her to us.




After the Radian was unloaded (couldn't believe how much stuff she had!), Deb got Anna settled into her room and a hot shower, while I took a look at the chain.


The chain was super loose and within the clutches of rigor mortis - you can see where it has just started to saw across the swing arm. Props to the chain for getting you here!


Let me get this straight...a used 26 year old motorcycle brought you from Virginia to Alaska? And back? For the record - Yamaha Radians officially rock!


Made some more phone calls, and although my mechanic buddy Ronnie was laid up with a broken foot, he agreed to look at Anna's sprockets/tires and other wear items. At Ronnie's shop, he gave Anna's sprockets and tires a thumbs up to continue on the rest of her trip. He said a new chain and oil/filter change and Anna would be good to go. Side note - Ronnie officially rocks! Even with a broken foot, Ronnie wanted to meet Anna and check her bike over.


The next morning at the Anchorage Yamaha shop - Anna scored a new .530 chain. They offered to move Anna up in the cue because she was on the road and far from home, which was very gracious, but I convinced Anna that we could easily do this ourselves. So we thanked the service manager and headed back home for some tech time.

Anna is happy with her new chain. First thing we did was to count the links several times and then shortened the chain.


Could have riveted Anna's chain, but decided to use the clip master link with safety wire - this would make it easier if she needed to remove the chain/sprockets out on the road. Didn't have .032 safety wire, so I called my buddy Don and he soon showed up with the calvary (Hal) and some safety wire. For the record - Don and Hal officially rock.




With plenty of help on hand, we made short work of wrenching. After grinding the pins and pushing out a link, we connected the new chain to the old chain with the master link and threaded the new chain through the front sprocket housing.


Anna is actually a natural motorcycle 'wrench' - more than she lets on. We came out one link too long on the chain, so Anna used the tools to remove one link.


Finished - old school safetying the master link clip - .032 stainless steel safety wire - master link clip stays put, but easy to come off for maintenance.


Close up:


Once the new chain was squared away, new oil and filter.


Duke the wonder dog supervised while he made sticks into smaller sticks.


Anna did all the work herself - a natural wrench.


That filter housing barely fits between the pipes.


Some other cleaning and checking over Anna's Radian, and tech time was completed - Anna took a quick road test and reported everything was fine.

We went out to dinner and then Anna showed us some neat pics from her other trips. Then a geocaching adventure.

The next day, Anna was heading North to Denali Park - at Anna's invitation, Deb decided to ride with her as far as Wasilla.


Would have loved to have Anna stay and hang out with us for the summer - but the North country was calling her and this was good bye for now. For the record - Anna officially rocks!


Anna - you are first rate and welcome back anytime - I hope our paths cross again.

You have officially earned your ADV stickers.

We duly noticed that you have your passenger pegs down for Dan - way cool,

Hugs and Respect,

Gary & Deb

Alaska Triangle Trip

Alaska Triangle Trip Video

Denali Hwy Trip

Denali Hwy Trip Video

These Two Lanes Will Take Us Anywhere
Gary & Deb You Rock!!!!
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Old 02-21-2013, 09:48 PM   #325
Klay
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What a great trip! Thanks for writing, and now I can't wait for the end.
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Old 02-21-2013, 10:31 PM   #326
dirtdreamer50
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What a great trip! Thanks for writing, and now I can't wait for the end.
It's great, I agree, but being relayed a day or two per post, we will get to enjoy her wonderful way with words and life for a long while to come.
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Old 02-22-2013, 09:07 PM   #327
The Cheese
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Hi Anna,

I just wanted to drop a note and let you know what a huge fan of yours I am.

Why? Because I am a Radian afficiando, that's one reason...but also because you have bigtime class...toughness, smarts, and a wicked sense of humour.

I bought my first 1986 Radian used in 1987 with 1500 miles on it, and then I rode the snot out of it, putting 55000 miles on it over the next 5 years, commuting in Philly, sporting everywhere, and touring across...one memorable 7000 mile trip around the US that seems not unlike the spiritual journey you are telling us about.

I bought my current '86 Blue about 8 years ago, and now have another one for parts...Great bike, super capable, reliable, and fun!

You probably know about these links already, but I want to mention the finest Radian Website in the Universe as well as the best informational source:

BadRad600.com


http://autos.groups.yahoo.com/group/radian/


Here is me with my Radian, back in the day... http://badrad600.com/richs%20radian.htm


BadRad has pictures, old magazine article and service manuals, and the Yahoo Newsgroup has pretty much covered every common Radian mechanical issue repeatedly. The archives are invaluable, in terms of Radian knowledge.

I hope you, or someone following your awesome story, enjoy the links I provided...I am a true lover of the Radian, and I look at your pictures of your bike, and I know the emotion you feel, because I own one of these awesome machines, too. Trusty steed....(She just called me a "steed!!!!!!" lol)

I am quite curious about one point....you stated a few times in earlier posts (while riding the SuperSlab) that your bike routinely gets about 80 miles to a tank.

This is really different with my experience with this bike, where I usually count on 125 miles between fuelings (more or less, depending on highway or byway riding). At 125 Miles, riding at highway speeds, I had 15-20 miles left on Reserve...

Can you elaborate on this point? Did you at some point find some issue that was causing this abysmal gas mileage?

Thanks so much for sharing this story with us...it is much greater than a Radian story...but I am very happy to see my favorite bike so prominently featured!

Keep the rubber side down!

peace,

Rich

AKA "Cheese"
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Old 02-22-2013, 09:44 PM   #328
dirtdreamer50
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Rich, just guessing but loaded down like this may have assisted in the lower MPG on the trip. Could have been mechanical, but that is one loaded motorcycle. Good thing women are generally more organized than men, because I know I could never pack that well every day. tp
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Old 02-23-2013, 08:25 AM   #329
CharlestonADV
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Originally Posted by dirtdreamer50 View Post

Rich, just guessing but loaded down like this may have assisted in the lower MPG on the trip.
In addition to the weight of your gear...there's also a significant amount of wind drag on the bike from the panniers (bug catchers) sticking out. The combination can really affect a mid-displacement bike's mpg.
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Old 02-23-2013, 11:23 AM   #330
The Cheese
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Question

Thanks CharlestonADV and Dirt, but I have experience with a fully loaded Radian like that, and it really didn't affect the mileage much...
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