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Old 05-30-2009, 08:30 PM   #1
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a fine mess - ancient mariners in search of the acrtic ocean

Day 1 - Annapolis MD to Wheatland WY

I should know better than to mention a day dream to my friend of 46 years Jack (Jairlie on ADVrider). It seems that everytime a do that he grabs the idea like a pit bull and the next thing I know I am responsible for coming up with a plan to make the dream a reality. This time I said something about riding motorcycles to Alaska and here we are two years (and two Jack broken legs from moto accidents) later on the road to Prudhoe Bay.

In April Jack flew to Maryland and rode my bike back to Colorado Springs. On May 29 I got up at 4:15, caught the 7:30 flight to CSprings, Jack met me at the airport and 40 minutes later we were in his garage. Jack put his earplugs in so he didn’t have to listen to me whine about getting everything packed. Miracle of miracles, it all fit!!
The bikes

The players – Jack on the left (the old guy) and me on the right (young and spry)

The plan – north on the interstate to Montana, eventually ride through Great Falls to Canada, get to Prince Rupert and take the ferry to Haines, over to Wasilla to Friar Mike’s for TKCs and an oil change, up to Fairbanks then to Prudhoe Bay and the Arctic Ocean. After that who knows as long as we are back to CSprings by the end of June.
Its 1:30. Time to go!

We get on I25 and Jack immediately complains that there is too much traffic. I have a hard time with this as what I see is less than half of what I see(we daily on my commute on my RT through DC to Arlington, VA. We stop talking to each other (we are using Blue Ant Interphones for bike to bike comms – work fine at 80 mph). After Ft Collins, though, all the traffic magically disappears and we get moving at a reasonable speed (limit plus 10).

Its 233 miles to Wheatland, WY. It’s 6 PM. I’ve had enough for today.
The Best Western never looked so good.

Today’s stats:
233 miles
1drink stop, 2 gas stops
Gas – 4 gallons and $9.19
Motel - $100

lakota screwed with this post 06-27-2009 at 11:02 AM Reason: clarity
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Old 05-31-2009, 02:27 AM   #2
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Sounds Cool

I'm in guys - let's see where this leads to.


I know, it’s not a KTM or a Beamer. . . . . . but aye, it’s got two wheels & I’m go’n

Out there somewhere!
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Old 05-31-2009, 05:33 AM   #3
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Sounds good! thanks for the large font.. some of us appreciate it
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Old 05-31-2009, 07:58 PM   #4
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Day 2 - Wheatland WY to Harlowton MT

The problem with being a early riser for work is that when you are on vacation you tend to wake up at the same time anyway. And if you are in a later time zone, as I am, you wake up even earlier. If your travel partner has the same tendencies you spend a lot of time in the AM waiting for the sun to rise or for the motel breakfast to open.
Jack grabs a quick cup of coffee and we are off at 6:20.

Another day of riding mostly on the super slab.
The idea is to divide the ride into 80 mile chunks with breakfast coming after the first 80 miles. Problem is that the people who built the towns didn’t put them in 80 mile increments. So when we are 80 down the road, we still have 20+ to go before there is a restaurant or gas station.
Yummy breakfast – omelet with bacon, cheese, and avocado.

Not a lot to see and what there is seems all the same.

The day gets hotter and hotter as we get into Montana.

Eventually we see a sign for something not to be missed – The Little Big Horn National Historic Site
The hillside where the last stand was made.

Where Custer fell.

A memorial to the Native Americans who died here. It is a set of walls behind this mound listing the dead. Didn’t feel it was appropriate to take pictures inside.

I found poignant a sign that read “Died defending the Cheyenne way of life”.

Then back on the road. Did I mention it was HOT? Lunch at Sal’s diner in Hardin MT was a nice oasis for lunch.

Then more riding and the suffering continued – rest stops were not where we wanted them. Turning north at Billings we could see lots of rain to the west but it never go to us.
Then we found another nice spot – the Cozy Corner Bar in Lavina.

The last 40 miles from here to the closest motel – Corral MT – were miserable. But we were done.

Today’s Stats
483 Miles
8.5 gallons for $21.91
Motel $64

lakota screwed with this post 05-31-2009 at 08:23 PM
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Old 05-31-2009, 09:16 PM   #5
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DAY 3 - Harlowton to Calgary

Woke up this morning with an idea – do lots more miles today so when we are heading up the Ice Field Parkway and other spots on the way to Prince Rupert we will not feel the pressure of the ferry reservation. Since the Corral Motel had no breakfast or coffee we just got on the road at 6:40.

Almost immediately there was a sign saying unpaved road ahead – motorcycles should consider an alternate route. Didn’t take a picture since it would have been directly into the sun. The unpaved road was 2 sections of 1 mile and ˝ mile each of small gravel – barely worth talking about. Breakfast was at Eddies Corner in Moore MT. It was full of friendly and interesting people – another recommended stop.
The 80 miles and rest plan worked to perfection and the weather cooperated by staying cool all day – never had to vent the jacket. Again it was views that were lovely but unvarying as they were yesterday. The interesting thing was the wind. It would blow very hard in one direction and suddenly it would be just as hard from the opposite side. This did pose a few challenges. The roads for the most part were dead straight – in fact the best “twistie” was the on ramp in Shelby to get back on the interstate.
The crossing into Canada was uneventful.

The customs agent looked only at my passport and was more interested in discussing all the none Canadian entry/exit stamps I had. There was a learning experience going from riding 80mph in the US to 110kph in Canada. Its tough to slow down.
Got to Calgary and into the motel at 5:30.

instead of a pic of the motel here is the view across the street - the ski jump from the Calgary Olympics.

Forecast for tomorrow is high of 61. hope for a lot more photos on the Ice Field Pkwy.

Today’s stats
Mileage 459
Gas 7.7 gallons for 23.08
Motel 129
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Old 06-01-2009, 04:32 AM   #6
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Laugh In!

Thanks for posting the mileage & costs! And am I the only one who can't see the pics?
Ken => I'm a DAMN Rider (No rules, just ride!)
Happiness is a 3-wheel drift!
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Old 06-01-2009, 06:16 AM   #7
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Maryland Tag O Rama Thread/MD TOR Map

"The destination is simply an excuse for the ride." ~XC Rider
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Old 06-01-2009, 07:39 PM   #8
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Day 4 Calgary to McBride BC

Two days ago we were complaining about the heat. This morning the temperature was 41 degrees. It was a scramble to find everything we had that would keep us warm. Low and behold, I had no liner for my riding pants but had two liners for my jacket. So much for packing lists. It was cold enough that Jack was using his heated liner, gloves, and grips. I was content with heated grips.

The ride out of Calgary to Banff is 4 lane divided highway that leads to the park entrance. If you intend to ride the Ice Field Highway the admission fee is 9.80 Canadian (8.30 for the senior citizen).
The road to Lake Louise

Lake Louise still frozen

The Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise Hotel where we had breakfast.

What to eat?

It’s not inexpensive but worth the price. Look at the view from our table.

After a great breakfast we decided to get back on the road. This is a ride not to be missed!

Looking back the way we came.

Yes that is a big horn ram on the side of the road.

Athabasca Glacier – you can walk out or take a tour vehicle out to the middle.

After a lunch in Jasper we head west on Rte 16, another good ride.
The road goes west

And enters British Columbia

The ride ends at the North Country Lodge in McBride. Nice rooms with WiFi but no cell phone service (this was the case in Harlowton MT also).

Today’s stats
Mileage 362
6 gallons gas for 21.23
Motel 100
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Old 06-02-2009, 07:38 PM   #9
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Day 5 McBride to Smithers

We are starting to be impacted by the increase in daylight as we get further north. I got up at 4:30 to use the john and the next thing I know it’s 5:30 and we are heading out to buy gas and hit the road.

It was as cold or colder than yesterday so Jack was on electrics from the start and I was wearing two pairs of pants under my motorcycle pants. It was a slight improvement over yesterday. The road from McBride to Prince George is a motorcyclist’s delight. Some rolling, some steep hills with lots of well engineered constant radius curves. On the map there is nothing shown between the towns and in reality the map is correct.

We went 120 miles west before we saw the first westbound car at the outskirts of Prince George. Eastbound it was fewer than 30 cars and only one motorcycle. In Prince George they had something I had never seen before – a truck that goes along the street individually watering the trees growing along the sidewalk.

Leaving Prince George we encountered a different type of riding, almost as good as the previous 120 miles. A bit more urban, more towns and cars but again with hills and curves to keep the ride from becoming boring. There are lots of logging roads here that look like they would an excellent dual sport playground. The simultaneous reaction we had to crowning the hill behind us and seeing this was “wow”.

We get to Fort Frazer for a stop to buy gas and get a drink. Jack has a tough time negotiating the parking lot and we have the first bike drop after 1758 miles.

Along the way we passed through Houston, home of the world’s largest fly rod (60 feet long). They were working on it when we stopped to see it. Normally it is upright.

We rolled into Smithers, today’s destination, and Jack needed to get his chain adjusted. There is one moto dealer here, a Harley shop. Steve Graf and his crew put Jack at the head of the queue and had us out of there in an hour. A great place to get work done. They stock tires for most makes and even carry oil filters for the 1200GS. Stop in if you are in the area.

Some thoughts while riding.
We have seen very little wildlife so far. Thought there would be more. This morning Jack yelled bear on the road and two seconds later the bear was morphed into 3 moose.
Speaking of moose

That's not one.
When we stopped for gas in Fort Frazer there was an onslaught of bugs. Drove us nuts. And we haven’t gotten to real bug country yet.

Trucks are interesting. There is no judging how much wind an 18 wheeler is pushing around. Some give you a violent shove and others are like they are not there.

Tomorrw we ride to Prince Rupert to catch the ferry to Haines AK.

Todays stats
Mileage 366
Gasoline 6.5 gallons for 25.48
Motel 100

lakota screwed with this post 06-02-2009 at 07:53 PM
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Old 06-03-2009, 05:54 PM   #10
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Day 6 Smithers to Prince Rupert

Day 6 – Smithers to Prince Rupert
We’ve got to figure out a way to sleep later. For the second straight day we were up and on the road at 5:30.

The road from Smithers to Terrace is another great ride. I am running out of adjectives to describe the rides on Rte 16. We had to endure vistas like this for the entire ride.

I took this picture of the dog guarding the cow and her calves because it looked cool. The dog was not quite sure what to make of me.

Again it was 120+ miles without services so it was after 8 when we finally got to eat breakfast.
Leaving Terrace for the final 89 miles to Prince Rupert we hit the high point of the 3 day ride along Rte 16. The Ice Field Parkway was great and very worthwhile but this last piece is, for my money, a better ride. I hope the pictures do it justice.

We got to the motel at noon and were able to check in almost immediately.

The view out our window.

This ends phase 1 of the trip. Tomorrow is the ferry to Haines and that has a glitch. For some reason there will be a 3 hour delay in Ketchican and this will cause us to miss the connection to Haines. Therefore, we will have to spend a day in Juneau. That's why it is called adventure travel.

You can’t get unsweetened iced tea in Canada. Who knew?

Today’s stats
Mileage 224
Gasoline 4.6 gallons for 17.17
Motel 110

Total mileage to date 2129
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Old 06-03-2009, 07:34 PM   #11
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thanks for sharing, I love those roads i cant imagine driving for 10 miles without seeing a car, let alone 100.
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Old 06-04-2009, 05:09 AM   #12
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it's been a great ride so far
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Old 06-04-2009, 09:13 AM   #13
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Great RR and beautiful scenery.

Just curious, I just acquired a pristine F650GS as a "backup" bike, how did you like it on such a long haul?
I went somewhere once and came back.
It was kind of fun. I just might do it again.
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Old 06-04-2009, 11:17 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by Ramage
Great RR and beautiful scenery.

Just curious, I just acquired a pristine F650GS as a "backup" bike, how did you like it on such a long haul?
You should also ask SunnySideUp. She has been riding hers back from the tip of South America.
She is currently in La Paz, Baja Mexico. 3 months on the road

Waiting to hear about the Ferry ride up the inland passage
Not All Who Wander Are Lost
Make stupid catchphrases your favorite! -- LitteWan
The Journey of a thousand miles begins with a flat tire
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Old 06-05-2009, 09:59 PM   #15
lakota OP
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Originally Posted by Ramage
Great RR and beautiful scenery.

Just curious, I just acquired a pristine F650GS as a "backup" bike, how did you like it on such a long haul?
i was a little leery riding it for days on end (as opposed to my RT) but it has performed without a hitch and I have had no butt problems.
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