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Old 07-28-2013, 10:25 AM   #31
Joined: Jun 2013
Location: Plattsmouth, NE
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Subbed! And nice Tiger. That's my favorite color!
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Old 07-28-2013, 08:26 PM   #32
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The Alaska Marine Highway changed Alaska in important ways. Captain Rudini told me how whole towns would come out to the docks to cheer the ferry's arrival. Here is a great shot of one of the other ships.

We arrived in Wrangell

On board they have park rangers who hold talks on Alaska. The wilderness. The wildlife. The towns we dock at. Thanks to her, we found that some very old stones with pictographs were just across from the dock in front of the library.

Rushed back to the ferry....still trying to make up time from the late departure and missing the tide. Next was the Wrangell Narrows and I had a first row seat on the bridge.

The view from my seat

The first view of the narrows.

Over 50 navigation markers and usually traversed at night. It must be impressive when you only see the green and red markers and the coast dotted with sleepy homes.

Here is one of the markers up close.

I spent a lot of time watching the water for whales and other marine life and was surprised by how many logs were floating in the water. This somewhat explains it.

Another small community.

Mark in Anchorage told me to ask for Stan. Turns our they are related. Stan was a sweet sweet man. In fact I made friends with nearly the whole crew over our 2 day voyage and was excited to learn that my return ferry would be the same ship and Rudini would be there.

Finally arrived in Skagway. The original plan was to arrive in Haines, stay the night and then ferry over the next morning to meet up with my childhood girlfriend Courtnay. Turns out, the delay made it a wiser choice just to go straight there and ride North from Skagway. It added 50 miles to the total trip to Tok but they were a gorgeous 50 miles.

Coming off the ferry nearly last.

With my very special home made moose antlers.

According to Courtnay, when her friend taking these photos saw me, she immediately said, 'Yep, that looks like one of your friends'.

What a cute town Skagway was, dirt roads and wooden sidewalks.

And some things just don't change...for example, Courtnay's love affair with big sunglasses.

For those of you who know'll certainly know this building. Her husband Brad built it and told me how many pieces of wood he used. (as a good accountant on sabbatical, I immediately forgot what that number was)

And my darling friend.

She has 4 dogs, most of them lap.

And this lovely lady...

Brad is a hunter (big surprise) and loves Cllint Eastwood. Yep, all those guns are family heirlooms.

Yep, he hunted this bad boy. I even had a mountain goat burger for dinner.

She brought me to my hostel.

Big, comfortable house. bottom bunk.

Big clean bathroom.

The first thing she took me to visit was the brothel house at the Onion.
This red lantern outside signified the type of establishment it was.

The main saloon where patrons were received.

Some fun signs

The money hole. Copper piping that ran downstairs where the working girls would drop the gold.

Actual bed from the day...alarmingly small.

Read the original use of Lysol and cringe.

Meet Margot. Buxom beauty with big red curls.

Next thing we did was take the whitepass summit train ride. View of Skagway from halfway up the mountain.

And a view of the train tracks to come up above.

Brad came along and brought his binoculars. He immediately spotted probably a dozen mountain goats and tried patiently to point them out to me.

This mountain top looked like a mouthful of broken teeth.

All I can say is thank god we didn't go over this old rickety wooden bridge.

Got to the top and the frozen lake at the border and turned around.

She's gonna hate me for posting this one....

It was a great day. We also visited the gold rush cemetery after dinner which was very special with all the old 1898 tombstones. The next day would prove to be the most difficult in terms of distance and problems with the bike but I did have an angel watching over me, two in fact...

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Old 07-28-2013, 11:02 PM   #33
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I'm really enjoying your RR. I love Victoria and really liked the pix. Keep up the excellent work, and ride safely.

"Converting oxygen to carbon dioxide since 1951."
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Old 07-29-2013, 05:13 PM   #34
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Originally Posted by Animal Instinct View Post in the drought-stricken, roasting, Texas panhandle. Our forecast is in the 100's for the next 10 days. Your report is a lifeline. Thanks for bringing us along!
Russ, my riding partner partway home is from Texas and hit quite a bit of heat coming to Alaska while I seemed not only to avoid cold but also rain which I was frequently warned about.
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Old 07-29-2013, 06:35 PM   #35
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Old 07-29-2013, 08:58 PM   #36
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Looks like a great tour of the Skagway area! Keep em coming and ride safe! Thank you!
The best executive is one who has sense enough to pick good men to do what he wants done and self restraint enough to keep from meddling with them while they do it. Theodore Roosevelt
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Old 07-29-2013, 10:49 PM   #37
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Nancy keep it coming , a five star report !
Was in Skagway in 1974 on the SS Prince George a small cruise ship . Through Wrangel Narrows many times , picked up 10,000 tons of logs there in 1999 on the logship Haida Brave .
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Old 07-30-2013, 05:51 AM   #38
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Hi Nancy,

Enjoying reading about, and seeing great photos of, the first days of your ride. It is HOT here in Tejas now, 100 plus every day, so photos of cool stuff helps!
"Guns are a lot like parachutes - if you need one and don't have one, you probably will never need one again." unknown

Colorado native, doin' time in Texas
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Old 07-30-2013, 08:52 AM   #39
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Hey Nancy,
Good for you girl. AK is the only part of my Continental ride I have yet to complete. Curious about your route. Do u have a map to show us your route?
I once was lost but now I' wait, I'm still lost.
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Old 07-30-2013, 10:14 AM   #40
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Originally Posted by Toadride View Post
Hey Nancy,
Good for you girl. AK is the only part of my Continental ride I have yet to complete. Curious about your route. Do u have a map to show us your route?
No which is why I post in each thread the route and road numbers. I might go back and put in a map but in the meantime you can see my route through the posts.

For example, my first post had this at the beginning.

So we chose to go the long way round: 32 north from Chico > 36 East > The the Mooney Road 'shortcut' which started as gravel but quickly went to pavement > to the 44 West and 89 South to Manzanita Lake campground.
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Old 07-30-2013, 11:00 AM   #41
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Great write up. One thing though. The Cowboy hanging on the wall is not John Wayne but Clint Eastwood. In some states you could be tarred and feathered for making that mistake. ;)

PS. DO I see a MS RT pro in your hands?
Got places to do and things to be.
'14 1200 GSA

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Old 07-30-2013, 01:39 PM   #42
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Originally Posted by seatec View Post
Great write up. One thing though. The Cowboy hanging on the wall is not John Wayne but Clint Eastwood. In some states you could be tarred and feathered for making that mistake. ;)

PS. DO I see a MS RT pro in your hands?
Ooops. Was watching a John Wayne movie last night, can't believe I did that. Hahaha.

yes it is. a lovely piece of expensive equipment....still not sure if the pro is worth the cost for what it does (and doesn't do)
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Old 07-30-2013, 07:55 PM   #43
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Day 14

Food is so important. Just as important as gas in the tank. So I started the first official solo & longest ride 450+ miles early with some poached eggs and chicken fried steak.

Then a couple well-intending riders walked in and started to tell me about how bad the road between Haines and Tok was. The road was ripped up to high holy hell with specifics like it was grooved in many sections, soft-filled potholes and lots of dirt and gravel. I began to feel disappointed by all the reconnaissance I'd done around mounting my TKC's upon arrival to Alaska in my original thread on ADV where many vehemently asserted that I could run street tires and mounting my TKC's too soon would just wear then unnecessarily.
It's not just that knobbies will give you better traction in dirt and gravel but that the probability of a flat goes down too when you encounter those sections. So I'll tell you this straight out now that I have 4 international rides under my belt and 1 Alaska ride. I regret not mounting my dual sport TKC's upon arriving. You never know what will happen and how the road conditions will be....some called my experience bad luck but curious how I've never had a flat in over 6 years and I usually ride 8,000 miles on a trip and I always run knobbies.

Moving on with the story.
I left the cafe with increasing fears about the day ahead. I had a long way to go alone and didn't know the roads and now these well-intending guys had just convinced me I was in for a rough go. I pulled over to collect myself just outside of Skagway when 4 dual sport riders roared by me. I set to following and within a couple miles got the attention of the sweep. We hit a few patches of hard packed dirt and small gravel (kids play) and I kept up with them at 60mph+ during these sections. When we all arrived at the border crossing, I noticed they were all running better tires than me, mostly TKC.

The leader of the pack, Roger, came over and extended his hand and said, "You are welcome to join us for breakfast in Whitehorse, we'll make sure you get there safe". I felt such relief. I took position of sweep and we stopped at Emerald Lake for a photo.

My bike is in the back on the left.

We rode fast and hard. Usually between 70-80 mph. It was faster than I like to go but I wasn't about to back out of my first lifeline. We made it to Whitehorse in just under 2 hours.

True hobbit style, I had my second breakfast. Pesto, prosciutto, cheese scrambled eggs.

We sat for an hour exchanging stories of car restorations after I told them of my 3 year project on a 68' Mercury Cougar XR7 that I am currently working on. Then I looked at the map...shouldn't have done that but like you've learned already, I'm very organized and know where I'm going. All I could see is that the section I'd ridden with these guys was a tiny part of the total ride I was still facing for the day. Compound that with how fast we rode and I was doing the math in my head and thinking, no way in hell I'm making Tok today. The boys were headed to Dawson City (not for D2D) so I said my goodbyes and thanks and went outside. As I was gearing up, a guy stopped by with his truck and handed me a card. Seems he serves the motorcycle community when it comes to tires and proceeded to tell me how bad the road was between Haines Junction and Tok just like the other fellas. That was the LAST thing I wanted to hear.
My father having raised me to be a good son, mustered my courage and got on the bike and decided, to hell with it, I'm going for it.
Right outside of town, I saw a fox on the side of the road and it bolstered me as this was the first official Alaska wildlife sighting I'd had. I rode almost all the way to Haines Junction and stopped at this gas station, having made the decision to gas up every time I could at a half tank or less.

Saw a couple of Harley's parked out front and decided to make sure I talked to them because if they were coming from Tok they could help me better understand the road conditions and if they were going to Tok, well wouldn't that be like winning the lottery.

Turns out they were headed to Beaver Creek and sure I could come along with them. Keith took the lead and Brian rode sweep. I do prefer being the cheese in the grilled cheese truth be told.

We rode an easy pace to Destruction Bay and had nothing but perfect pavement. I suspect that they were telling themselves that I didn't know what the hell I was talking about and I started to think, maybe all of these guys were playing a very nasty joke on me...but then we finally hit some dirt and wouldn't you know it, got a flat after the first mile of it.

Now one of the boys is a mechanic by trade so that made life easier but he was impressed with all of the tools I had and had everything you could need for a tire change. (well except for a tube, I only brought the front tube but did have a patch kit). No need though because one of the only other Tiger XC 800's in all of Alaska was only 15 minutes behind us and Mike from Texas with a lovely accent, pulled up just in time to sell me his spare.

I will mention that we were swarmed by a biblical hoard of mosquitoes when we stopped to change the tire, thank god I had repellent. I will also say I did a good part of the work of getting the wheel off the bike and the tire off the rim but I would have never broken the bead if it weren't for these guys.
Got the new tube in. Put the wheel back on. Guessed at the torque specs and set off again. Real stand up guys....remember they only knew me for about a couple of hours and this happened.

Made it to Beaver Creek and decided with Kim and Mike to continue on to Tok. This was my 3rd and last lifeline of the day.

Mike and I kept complimenting each other on our choice of bike.

Just past the border crossing back into Alaska, stopped at this beautiful vista.

Just how bad was the road? It was far better than most "roads" I've traveled in Romania and Turkey. It was only 10 miles of construction and dirt between Destruction Bay and Beaver Creek. Another 5 miles of dirt before the border and then perfect pavement all the way to Tok. OK OK, well maybe not perfect, this is Alaska after all. Two seasons: winter and construction.

Pulled into Thompson's Eagle Claw motorcycle camp site around 8pm.

Met Vanessa and settled into my bunk cabin.

Then I learned, no running water. No wonder her stickers say "I'm not a pussy. I camped at Thompson Eagle Claw". I'd ridden 450+ miles, I changed a tire, I was sweaty and stinky and I wanted a shower so bad I considered walking 2 miles to the other campsite to use theirs.

But she did have this, er, um, steam hut.

She filled the barrel stove, put a pot of water on top and showed me the shower head above and drain in the floor and locked it up behind me so I had it all to myself.

I will say that I had probably the best night of sleep on the whole trip that night. I was proud that I'd pushed through and in spite of getting a flat, still managed to make it all the way to Tok. Riding in Alaska isn't like riding anywhere else. You can't just look at the miles and calculate the it a twilight zone effect. But in spite of the hurdles, I'd made it and only had one more day of solo before arriving in Anchorage.
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Old 07-30-2013, 09:18 PM   #44
Joined: Jul 2013
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Very much enjoying your RR. Thank you for taking the time as reports like yours are not only enjoyable but also educational for those of us looking to do similar adventures.
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Old 07-31-2013, 04:05 AM   #45
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Enjoying the RR
how is that tomtom gps working out for you?
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