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Old 07-29-2007, 10:47 PM   #1
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Started Out Well Enough.....

Happy day, loaded up for my Alaskan Adventure! June 13th.

Left the S.F. Bay Area around 6:45 am. Pretty much straight shot it to Bellingham, Washington. Arrived at 3:00am, some 940 miles later. Got my room and took a "nap" for about 6 hours. My riding partner John, arrives around 11:30 with his friend Alan and we go to breakfast.

So off we go towards BC via 542, then 9 if I recall. We cross the border and an attractive woman border guard asks me the "any guns, pepper spray alcohol" questions. "no, no and no". Darn if'n I forgot to get my passport stamped! We make good time and stop off at the Comfort 8 in Quesnel. Nice little town. We get up and notice the town is fogged in. I think the pulp mills are running causing all the moisture in the air, as once we leave Quesnel, the sun is shining and only puffy clouds are around. We pass Prince George, Chetwynd and get to Dawson Creek for our shot of Mile "0".

We push on past Fort St. John in the rain and saw our first moose on the way to Pink Mountain, a very rustic place.

The lady at the gas station says my card is no good and needs to collect it from me, whoa, I can prove it's not stolen and show her my license. Seems I forgot to notify my credit card companies I was leaving the state, as in the United States! She's kind and gives me back the card. We ask is there are rooms anywhere and she recommends 2K down the road instead of across the road. Ok, good enough for us. We get to the Sasquatch Inn, hmmm, also a bit "rustic".

Actually, it wasn't bad and the food not too shabby. Sorry, no food shots here. Next morning, we load up after breakfast and head towards Watson Lake. I'll tell you, the road is great as far as grip, even while raining, the road was like velcro! We wind around Muncho Lake and gas up at the lodge there.

The Dall sheep and Ram Horns are all over the road, sorry no shots of them either. While getting gas, a Caponord rider stops and chats with us. His name is Darin, nice guy and joins us while we ride down the mountain. We arrive in Watson Lake, get gas and look for a room. Seems they are pretty full up, but the lady at the gas station calls a place and scores a room for the three of us.

Let me tell you, it's one of the nicest places I stayed at. The three of us used one room and split the cost of $75! This was a very clean and friendly place. I highly recommend it. We also leap frogged with these nice folks, hearing impaired brothers riding together, very cool.

Next morning, we play tourist and check out the "Welcome To Yukon Territory" sign and the Sign Post Forest.

Here we part ways so we can each do our own thing, but we will meet up on the ferry on the 26th

I needed to check in with the log book left at Sally's and have a bite to eat.

A few Advriders have signed in and I actually meet one riding a KLR. Cool idea to leave the book there. On to Teslin.

Ok, I thought I had alot of stuff, but this guy beats all and he had a pillion. I think he was from Germany.

Whitehorse is next and it's a pretty big town.

While having some KFC, I check out my bike and notice this......

4500 miles on this tire and the "velcro" road did this to a pretty long lasting tire. I don't think this will survive the rest of the trip. So I run across a GSA rider in a motel parking lot to ask if he knows of anywhere I can get a tire on a sunday night. At his suggestion, I get a room for the night at the Yukon Inn, a very nice place, but $$. At least they have internet and I can contact my family to let them know I'm safe and sound and look for a tire in the area. The GSA rider Wayne, is retired and had been riding from Chatanooga for the last month and a half, what a life. I was pretty panicked about getting a tire, but a good nights sleep and a few calls and the Honda dealer has a Distanza in my size for the paltry sum of $245 plus installation. What are you gonna do . Just glad they had one. Tire changed and off I go to Tok. The Alcan is pretty rough, frost heaves, bad pavement and gravel. But sights like Lake Kulane softens the blow.

Welcome to Alaska!

I get a good meal at Fast Eddie's, in Tok and a room at the Golden Bear.

Another good nights sleep and start out to Fairbanks.

In Fairbanks I get a nice enchilada lunch and Chevron for the tank. Both of us are suitibly "gassed" up. I finally hit some Dalton dirt! I really like this picture, it's my background on my desktop.

Here I am bringing back petroleum to the Alaska in a sense.

I was worried about getting fuel and a guy named David, driving a Ford pickup filled up my tank with some spare fuel he had in a drum in the bed. He wouldn't even take any money for it. He just said "Welcome to Alaska and pay if forward". Very cool folks in this state. The road crew lady stopping traffic for the pilot truck mentioned The Hot Spot was the place to go for food. Sounded good to me. I get to the Hot Spot and get the Pulled Pork b-b-q sandwich. it was very good. I took a look around the place and they had some pretty interesting things on the boards.

Is there any camping around here? I ask the cook, "I don't recommend it, there are bears out there". Ok, how much for a room? "$100, cash". Uuuh, ok. Pretty much a mobile trailer. With the way the sun never sets, basically just goes around in a circle up there, the night is just about as bright as the day. Tough to sleep. I get up around 6:00am and load up for the ride to the Artic Circle. No chance to get to Prudhoe, you need to give the security more than 24hr notice so they can check you out. Off I go north. Here's my requisite Adv Rider salute.

Hmm, I think I'll go for Coldfoot. Check out the cool plane.

Nice wild flowers.

These guys got caught speeding, reportely doing 120mph! These guys are Iron Butters doing a C to C and left from Prudhoe to get to Key West.

Everyone should check out the interpretive center.

Yep, time to start heading back, lot's to see and do. Ok, this does not look good. This is slicker than water on oil and claimed the ST1300 IB rider.

hmm, it wasn't like this in the morning when I went through. Here's what his bike looked like at the Yukon River fuel stop.

After all that, I could have kissed the asphalt!

When I got back to Fairbanks, I filled up at the Safeway station, powerwash the calcium choloride and filled the belly at a local Sushi House. But I couldn't get a room, seems I'm right in the middle of the Summer Solstice! The town is packed. Hmm, it's 12am and what the heck, I'm going to Denali. 3am, I'm there. It looks like what I'd imagine Aspen is like. Big lodges and lot's of Princess Cruise buses.

Of course, it's 3am and nothing is open. Nothing except Subway's! I'm suddenly hungry and walk in and they are playing Andrea Bocceli and Sara Brightman's "Time To Say Good Bye". Cool! Fed and tired, I need some sleep. I grab an Iron Butt Motel here.....

Denali opened at 7am and I get the ticket for the 53 miler each way on the bus. The driver pulls over and says to take the picture of Mt McKinley now while it's visible as we may not have another chance later. When we got to the turn around, he was right, it was fogged in.

We also came across this black(?) wolf. It was pretty far away and my telephoto isn't very good.

And then of course the grizzlys

Beautiful view from the overlook. Awesome power of the glacier cutting this path.

I found it kind of funny, that folks were pretty excited about seeing Dall sheep up on some far mountain, basically specks on the hills. When we were practically running them over on the road at Muncho Lake.

The train runs through the park and thought I'd take a few shot of it.

Upon leaving the park, I'm thinking of going to 1 instead of back tracking the same road through Fairbanks and Delta Junction. It starts raining and gets kind of dark, plus I'm very tired now and see a lodging sign with a AAA approval in Cantwell. The Backwoods Lodge is a pretty nice place, but the only room they have is a big one, $135 with the AAA discount. Oh well.

Next day, I'm determined to get to Tok and start out early. Due to the fires, the sky is the darkest I've ever seen it, almost like real night. Here'a a war memorial to veterans of the Alaska and Canadien armed forces.

I have lunch in Wasilla and make my way towards Glenallen. Along the way, I take a few shots.

I take the Tok cutoff and arrive to a very windy town. I stay at the Golden Bear again and in the morning, I'm anxious to get going again. I eat breakfast at Grumpy's and on the way out see this Advrider at Fast Eddie's.

He's on his way to Prudhoe.
Ahh, Canada again. I don't know why the flag was half staffed though.

The folks at the Beaver Creek Info Center didn't either.

I'm about 12 miles out of Beaver Creek when the road is being worked on again, sunday no less! Then this happens.

Some nice folks try to help though. I think I may have hit a really deep spot in the gravel as all I can remember is tank slap and then hitting the road. ATGATT rocks! I know I was not seriously hurt, just bruised rib, tailbone and tweaked neck muscles. And a cut on my hand I still can't figure out where it came from. My glove isn't cut. Some of the helpful folks go to Beaver Creek to call the only tow yard to come out for me.

Not sure what to do at this point, some nice folks Williard and Gail, in an 18 wheeler offer to give me a ride to Whitehorse. Nothing I can do in Beaver Creek, so I go with them. Nice people and Williard tells me about his Kenworth. Two years old and already has near 300K miles on it! Think Advriders put on the miles? They help me get to a motel in Whitehorse and won't accept any money, only my gratitude. I owe them.

I went through my stuff to lighten my load since I'm now carrying everything by hand. So I leave my "moose tape" I was going to use to tie down my bike to the ferry deck, wasn't going to need that any more. Left behind two large canisters of GAZ gas never used, but heavy! Threw away the useless Cycle pump that never worked for me. And had to part with my very noisy Arai. Would have liked to have kept it for a souvenir.

I scored transport in the form of a tour bus going to Skagway, $53. I tried to get a rental car, but no one ways. So, 8am I boarded the bus and listened to all the good info on the local area. hey, I'm a tourist anyway. First stop is Carcross (shortened from Caribou Crossing).

Then it's on to Skagway. It's fullfilling my touristy inclinations quickly.

I had to change my ferry ticket from Haines to Skagway, not to mention no bike and it drops the price down over $300. I also get a room at Sgt. Prestons

I find out there's a Thai place in town, mmmm, Pad Thai! Sorry, no picture of food again. Next day, I play tourist and walk around since my ship doesn't leave until 5:30. It ended up being pretty late anyway. Home for the next few days.

We set sail pretty late, about 1 1/2hrs late. But the views are spectacular! This from my "room" on deck in the heated solarium.

We stop in Haines where I reunite with John and Darin and off to Juneau, Sitka(?), Wrangell and see porpoise or dolphins following the boat and I actually got a shot of a humpback.

In Ketchikan. We have a long layover there, so I get off to wander around. And watch all the sea planes drift in and out.

I walk towards the center of town and decide this looks like a good place to eat.

And it is....yummm! French Dip and fresh bean soup!

Welcome to Ketchikan! Yes, that includes the 4 cruise ships too, not just Advriders.

Pretty cool little side "street"...

This little park was in the middle of a island intersection.

Time to get back on board, next stop, Bellingham Washington.

My wife and daughter drove all the way up to come get me. To show how lucky I am, while in contemplating what to do, my wife even offered to let me buy a bike and ride it home. But I didn't want to buy the wrong bike for the wrong reason though. Seeing as how they drove all the way up here, we may as well check out the town for a little bit. Fairhaven is a quaint part of town under urban renewal.

The rest was pretty uneventful though. With the three of us taking turns driving, we got home pretty quickly. That's about it, ok, you guys can wake up now!

"Alles hat ein Ende--nur die Wurst, sie hat zwei"

"You only have too much fuel if you're on fire"

vtwin screwed with this post 06-22-2008 at 07:25 AM
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Old 07-29-2007, 11:05 PM   #2
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Wow. You're a lucky guy.
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Old 07-30-2007, 12:23 AM   #3
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Look at it like this, of all the places to crash in such a way, at least it happened to you where you could get some help. At least you were not seriously injured either. I just did that trip, and I spent a lot of time thinking about what it would be like if I screwed up here or there. There are so many more remote and rotten places that this could have happened you just have to be thankful about the way it turned out.

Best to you, and thanks for the report.
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Old 07-30-2007, 04:12 AM   #4
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Simply incredible ride report!
Sorry about your biff, man. But prior to that you took some great pictures and brought back some great memories of Alaska for me.
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Old 07-30-2007, 04:36 AM   #5
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Geebus!! and it was going so well... beautiful ride and pics.. and then bam... those deep loose gravel tank slappers are pretty much hard to recover from when you're riding at a pretty good pace.. Thank goodness you're unhurt... sorry to see your bike like that..

Thanks for posting and sharing your adventure
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Old 07-30-2007, 04:46 AM   #6
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Nice report. Too bad about the get-off, but at least you weren't hurt. So, what becomes of the Strom? Does an insurance adjuster head up there to survey the damage or what? Saw your post about the new Uly, so I'm assuming the Strom was totalled?
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Old 07-30-2007, 04:53 AM   #7
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Very nice ride report...until I got to the biff part.

Great photos though.!
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Old 07-30-2007, 06:14 AM   #8
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What a story! I'm not sure I could have enjoyed the rest of the trip the way you did.

BTW, what that guy doing in Alaska with my Maroon VX?
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Old 07-30-2007, 07:34 AM   #9
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Don't know that I'd keep your positive attitude and finish the trip/report after dumping my bike like that...great report and thanks for sharing!

Life is a participatory sport - say YES and let the adventure begin.
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Old 07-30-2007, 08:01 AM   #10
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Sorry about the Strom! Very glad you weren't seriously hurt!! I'm glad you were able to finish the trip, and get some great pictures, even after the the accident. Thanks for sharing your experience.
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Old 07-30-2007, 08:03 AM   #11
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Been there, Done that! It sucks!
Glad you were not hurt any worse.
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Old 07-30-2007, 09:51 AM   #12
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It broke my Wee heart when you emailed me those photos of the wreck last month. You were the one that got us "rolling" to ride to Alaska this year -- and we were really just days apart from meeting somewhere along the way in June.

But to see that you finished the trip in good spirits is a testament to you and the adventure spirit. Cheers to you Roland. See you out on the road again soon!!
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Old 07-30-2007, 10:11 AM   #13
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I saw this bike in Victoria BC this weekend. No lanesplitting for this guy, that bike is W I D E.
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Old 07-30-2007, 09:46 PM   #14
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Thanks all for the well wishes and encouragement! It's been three weeks since I've been back and was in a bit of a blue mood for a couple of weeks. Not just because I lost a good bike, but more so the ride was over. I'm glad the accident happened at the end of the trip and that I had the ferry ride scheduled on the way back instead of the way up. I'll always have fond memories of Alaska and feel I left a little part of me back there. Things have worked out though and yesterday I got this.

"Alles hat ein Ende--nur die Wurst, sie hat zwei"

"You only have too much fuel if you're on fire"
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Old 07-30-2007, 09:47 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by TomB

What a story! I'm not sure I could have enjoyed the rest of the trip the way you did.

BTW, what that guy doing in Alaska with my Maroon VX?
Tom, that was Alan and he only rode up with John from Port Townsend where John's VX is stored. He then rode back after having breakfast with us. Nice clean bike.
"Alles hat ein Ende--nur die Wurst, sie hat zwei"

"You only have too much fuel if you're on fire"
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