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Old 08-20-2007, 01:45 PM   #16
AKDuc OP
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Originally Posted by tkfisher
Mark,
I rarley get to visit the website, and I always enjoy finding one of your reports. Thanks so much for your insights. I look forwrd to the next installment.Your cousin.
Most excellent! A big hello to a cousin on my mom's side that I hope to someday meet.

And to all a big thank for the compliments on the report. Mark H.
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Old 08-20-2007, 02:28 PM   #17
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I miss SE AK as well...

Wait a minute, no I don't - I live here now!
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Old 08-20-2007, 02:45 PM   #18
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I'd mentioned that Comet and I drove cross country a few times in the van with a motorcycle on board. One of those trips was to www.tailofthedragon.com and then up Washington DC to participate in the grand opening of the Smithsonian for Native Americans. It was on that trip that I met advrider n00b tkfisher's family, relatives from my mom's side. And they REALLY took a likin to Comet. So for them, and a few others, we'll start this off with a silhouette shot of my little buddy walkin the beach.



Then it's on to my aforementioned sunset in Southeast shots. Know that none of the following eight shots have had anything done to them except cropping and downsizing. That's how beautiful of an evening it was! Just before an amazing thunder and lightening storm blew in that dumped buckets of rain with about a 50mph wind blowin! Ya hoo fun!















Comet and I were parked out on this pier when I took the above shots. The storm you see beyond my van is what blew in with such great ferociousness. We were also presented with a very spectacular lightning display before it blew in. Awesome! Oh, and rest assured, Comet isn't bothered by such things. He, like me, seems rather to enjoy such extreme and exciting conditions.


Coming up: Our Metlakatla departure and a blessing in disguise ferry breakdown. Mark H.

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Old 08-20-2007, 06:05 PM   #19
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Let's begin to wrap up this little "back to my roots" adventure, shall we? :uhhuh

Had to get up early to catch the MV Lituya over to Ketchikan. It's named for Lituya Bay in Southeast where the largest "recorded" tsunami ever occurred back in 1958. It was over 1,700ft/500m tall and the occupants of two different boats rode it out and survived!



Yes, Comet spends a lot of time on the carpeted dash when we travel.


On a goofy side note: The day before while riding my bicycle around town I stopped at someone's yard sale and bought some fancy European jeans for $5 without even haggling. The the pretty lady said her husband had only worn them a couple times before "outgrowing them." When I told her I was catching the ferry the next day she told me her husband is the skipper of the Lituya and to go up and say hello. Coming from the "big city" and being all caught up in the "9-11 terrorist/homeland security" way of thinking I was amazed at the still relaxed attitude of being able to visit a crew up in the wheelhouse of a commercial vessel. Too cool and IMO as it should be. I had noticed on my way over to Metlakatla a couple weeks earlier that many people seem to be going up and down the stairs leading to the wheelhouse to visit just like they used to in the "old days." A good example of how things still are on and around Annette. Fun.


Coming into my birthplace, Ketchikan. As you may be able to tell, most of the town is on pretty steep terrain.


Took this trying to illustrate said steepness.


Here's where I was born back when it was still a hospital.


Hey look! I even ran into a couple parked GS'! Cool. They had Alaska plates.


I had time drive north of town and visit Saxman Totem Park before catching the big ferry to Haines.


I had chosen to ride the flagship of the Alaska Marine Highway, the MV Columbia back north for a few reasons. One, it's sailing schedule worked out the best for me to offload and walk Comet in the three ports between Ketchikan and Haines. Also, being the largest ship in the fleet I hoped having more passengers meant an even bigger "party" up in the "oh so social" solarium. I wish I'd ridden the MV Malaspina back up instead tho. Having now ridden all the Alaska State Ferries, I now know like the layout of the Malaspina the best. It's also the only ferry with WiFi. Tho my choosing the Columbia did prove to be serendipitous.

Yet another example of how good the weather was most the time during this trip. Hand held, shot from the ship, showing the stillness of the ocean. The Perseid Meteor Shower was also a lot of fun to watch while laying out on the back deck at night.


Approaching Juneau, which is the last stop heading north before Haines, we were limping along at half speed because of some as of yet undiagnosed engine trouble. We were notified over the intercom that our arrival into Juneau would be delayed. Upon arrival we were then then notified that our departure would be delayed "till further notice" as nobody seemed to know as of yet the seriousness of said engine trouble.


There was continued hope among both passengers and crew that maybe we'd still be able to head back north the next day. So many of us offloaded and proceeded to just hangout and/or explore the area.

These two guys had just gotten off another ferry from Bellingham and were preparing to take two months paddling home to Washington State. Cool.
I, and a few others, helped them carry their "ton-o-gear" down the steep and rocky shore.


Bon Voyage.


It was a beautiful day and I decided to do a little "recon" drive around the area as it was my first time to really spend any time in Juneau. I wanted to maybe find a nice beach for Comet and to see if it might be worth unloading the Duc to further explore the area. The ferry terminal is about 14mi outside of Juneau and we found this nice little beach on the other side of town. That's the Mount Roberts Tramway up high in the background.


Yay! Beach sticks and water!


Unloading the Duc really proved to be MOST worth it as well!


I was hoping maybe our "prettiest Governor in the Nation" Sarah Palin might see me and want to come out and do some posing with me and my lovely Duc in front of her office. Maybe next time?


In total I ended up riding the Duc about 126mi around the area!!! It was fantastic! Actually one of my most memorable riding days ever! An absolutely gorgeous day, spectacular scenery, and twisty undulating roads along water's edge. I rode to the end of the road on Douglas Island then to the end of the road past the ferry terminal to Echo Cove.
I was SO happy to be "dancin in the corners" with the Duc again with such awesome surroundings!






Alright. Enough of that ecstatic fun stuff already.

As many of you have now probably heard, the engine trouble on Columbia proved to be serious enough to pull it out of service for the entire rest of the season! How serious you ask? How about a bad big end bearing and cracked piston connecting rod bad! That's how bad. Yea baby, can't get much worse than that. Believe me, I know. That's EXACTLY what happened to my first Ducati 996 engine years ago!

Of course these troubles were on a slightly different scale. When I told one of the mechanics I'd gone through the same thing with my motorcycle he reminded me of how this rod probably weighed more than my whole bike. Ya think?!? How'd he know I rode a sportbike and not a cruiser?

I was one of the last people to offload before the ship left for drydock in Ketchikan and got some photographic evidence.




Ok, now how to get to Haines? Originally I was told the first available space for my vehicle wouldn't be for a couple MORE days! Then, lucky for many of us stranded "cagers," the new fast ferry Fairweather was able to do a double round trip up to Haines and Skagway to get us stragglers north.

I do feel badly for all those who had connections and plans that were disrupted. All told it was an extra 30 hour layover for us in Juneau. The Columbia's troubles from this sailing have been written up in the paper a couple times and just today it was mentioned how there's now only going to be ONE ferry going to and from Bellingham, WA for the rest of the season.

Next: Our final leg home. Hang on, we're almost there. Mark H.

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Old 08-20-2007, 09:31 PM   #20
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Mark:

Thanks for taking me along on your trip to southeast. A great report.

And you have a cousin in PA>>>>>now thats my old reservation. Is he anywhere near Lake Harmony?

Ride safe....seer ya out on the road soon I hope.

Dennis
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Old 08-20-2007, 09:48 PM   #21
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Yep, got me a ride on the new fast ferry Fairweather.



And man, I'm here to tell you, that sucker FLIES! The normal cruising speed of the other State Ferries is around 16 knots. The Fairweather's four jets push it along at 32 knots and for our trip the skipper bumped it up to 38! That's about 44mph! Cool.


The insides are pretty nice too.


So because of the Columbia's breakdown I was I not only able to enjoy this maritime marvel but I also had one of my best days ever ridin the Duc while exploring even more of our wondrous State in 'The Great White North'!

That, and I had the great fortune of making a wonderful new friend named Cheryl. She had been on-board since Bellingham and was on her way to be a Physician's Assistant out in Aniak near Bethel. We caravaned from Haines to Anchorage where she had a couple days before she headed out into "the bush."
I love serendipity and synchronicity.

Headed north again on four wheels.


I always enjoy these lovely mountains just north of Anchorage as I get closer to my "big city" home.


Well, that about does it for this little Indian, dogbrother Comet, and our journey back to the Res. I appreciate your taking the time to partake in this sharing. Thank you.

I'm also glad to hear that for some of you it's piqued an interest in experiencing it for yourselves. Yes, visitors are welcome.

Take care, Mark H.

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Old 08-21-2007, 07:31 AM   #22
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Dang Mark, you can make a mini-van trip look inviting! Great story and pics!
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Old 08-21-2007, 07:43 AM   #23
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Great report Mark!
Thanks for the story and pics.

Jimblack
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Old 08-21-2007, 08:04 AM   #24
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Hey Mark and Comet!

Great report and pictures.
I fizzled on my report, you make me want to get back on it.
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Old 08-21-2007, 09:33 AM   #25
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Excelent report!!!
The best of both worlds>>> BIKE cuz you want to, MINIVAN to e x p a n d the experience....
Excelent!!!!
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Old 08-21-2007, 09:46 AM   #26
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Wow, great report and pics. Thanks for posting.
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Old 08-22-2007, 02:19 PM   #27
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Thank you all for the great compliments.

I'm touched by how many people here, and on other msg boards that I linked up, were so moved by the pics and the story of my visiting relatives. Granted it is a very lovely area and a bit less accessible which contributes to it's uniqueness.

I'm very glad to have been able to share it with you all.

Take care. Happy trails, Mark H.
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Old 08-22-2007, 10:31 PM   #28
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Thumb Wonderful!!

Mark,
That was wonderful! Great photos, great commentary! As someone else posted, you made a mini-van trip sound exciting.
Back in the days when I lived in Ketchikan we had to land at the Annette Island airport, then be shuttled over to the city in a Grumman Goose. But that was all I ever got to see of Annette Island, other than the cove at the far northwest corner of the island, which was always a favorite for beachcombing. Your photos showed Annette to be a beautiful location, and Metlakatla certainly a hometown to be proud of. Thanks for taking us along and sharing your fun.
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Old 08-24-2007, 09:19 PM   #29
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Wow!!
Thanks for taking us on the trip Mark...a very special journy for you (and Comet) to re-connect with family and heritage. You are lucky to have history and a place with such wonderful memories and experiences. Thanks for the history lesson (WW2) and sharing.

Paul
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Old 08-25-2007, 07:54 AM   #30
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Magnificent!

AKDuc.

Magnificent pictures and a an interesting look at family and life on the reservation. Thanks for sharing this inside look at a part of Alaska most of us will never experience up close.

Also enjoyed the pics of the 996 (Motorcyclist Magazine's motorcycle of the Decade).

H

PS. Your bear encounter reinforces my decision to never pull off the side of the road and pitch a tent in Bear Country .... just call me a wuss!
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